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House of Commons Hansard #51 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was workers.

Topics

Maher ArarOral Questions

Noon

Liberal

Omar Alghabra Liberal Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Mr. Speaker, this week the government has been dodging questions about the case of Maher Arar. Parliament has unanimously passed a motion that calls for an apology and the whole country regrets what happened.

Now that the Prime Minister, the Minister of Public Safety and the member for Calgary—Nose Hill have had time to reflect, do they regret jumping to conclusions and convicting Mr. Arar at the time? Will they answer the call made today by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister to apologize when something inappropriate is said and to personally apologize without further equivocation? Canadians are tired of this hypocrisy.

Maher ArarOral Questions

Noon

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, we continue to thank Justice O'Connor for the good work that he did on this particular report and all the people who worked with him. We have further said that we want to follow all 23 of the recommendations related to this matter.

If the gentleman would have checked the record he would have seen that back as far as November 4, 2003, we were asking questions. We were asking for a public inquiry. I asked the question then why the government would not spare Canadians millions of dollars and months of delay and simply give Mr. Arar the answers to his fair questions. We are giving him those answers.

AfghanistanOral Questions

12:05 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Goldring Conservative Edmonton East, AB

Mr. Speaker, reconstruction in Afghanistan is key to creating lasting security in that country. Our government is committed to helping Afghanistan stand on its own as an independent, stable and prosperous nation.

Could the Minister of International Cooperation please tell the House how the government is supporting development efforts in Afghanistan?

AfghanistanOral Questions

12:05 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, Canada's approach to helping Afghanistan is to help the people help themselves.

Let me share some results that we have attained: 183,000 Afghans now have access to micro-credits, 75% of those are women; 10,000 widows and their families have received food aid; 13,000 communities are involved in the development of 250 schools, 180 community centres, 18,000 wells--

AfghanistanOral Questions

12:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

That will conclude question period for today.

The hon. member for Wascana has a point of order.

Tabling of Privy Council Office DocumentPoints of OrderOral Questions

12:05 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, there were references in the House both yesterday and today to certain materials produced or provided by the Privy Council Office in respect of the access to information procedure. We have asked for that material to be tabled, both yesterday and again today. We have not seen it, but apparently the media have.

The parliamentary secretary characterizes that PCO information in a particular way, but the media, who have seen the material, say that the parliamentary secretary is exactly wrong, that he has misrepresented the material and may have misled the House.

As a first step in getting to the bottom of this, it is important that the parliamentary secretary do now what he said earlier in question period he would do, and that is to table that PCO document.

Tabling of Privy Council Office DocumentPoints of OrderOral Questions

12:05 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I am sorry the House leader for the official opposition managed to get to his feet, because he just wasted some time as I already indicated that I would table the document. I am quite happy to do so and I therefore seek unanimous consent to table the e-mail from which I am quoted.

Tabling of Privy Council Office DocumentPoints of OrderOral Questions

12:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The parliamentary secretary is in a privileged position. He does not need unanimous consent to table the document. The document is therefore tabled.

Criminal CodeRoutine Proceedings

12:05 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-352, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (peace officers).

Mr. Speaker, I thank the seconder for helping out on the bill.

This enactment would amend the Criminal Code to impose more severe penalties on a person or persons who assault peace officers and to eliminate the possibility of parole for those who murder peace officers.

We have to send a very strong message out to people who would inflict harm upon the people who protect us that that type of action will simply not be tolerated.

We believe the bill would go a long way in acting as a deterrent to protect the integrity of all peace officers in this country.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Canada Elections ActRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-353, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act (date of general election).

Mr. Speaker, this enactment amends the Canada Elections Act to provide that, subject to an earlier dissolution of Parliament, a general election must be held on the third Monday in September in the fourth calendar year following polling day for the last general election, with the first general election after this enactment coming into force being held on Monday, September 21, 2009. This change would allow the Chief Electoral Officer to recommend an alternate day if the day set for polling is not suitable.

This bill would enhance democracy in our country. We would like to see speedy passage of the bill.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

ImmigrationPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

Mario Silva Liberal Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the pleasure to present a petition signed by many people from across the country, including from my riding.

The petition calls on Parliament to immediately halt the deportation of undocumented workers and to find a humane and logical solution to this situation.

Earlier today the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration stated that his government and his party are in support of immigrants. I am hoping that due to these various petitions, he will in fact be supportive of many immigrants who play a vital role in the economy of this country and allow them to stay in Canada.

Age of ConsentPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege to rise in the House to present a petition on behalf of the constituents of Kitchener—Conestoga and the surrounding Kitchener--Waterloo area.

The more than 200 people who signed the petition are asking the Government of Canada to take all steps necessary to protect our children by raising the age of consent from 14 years of age to 16 years of age.

Age of ConsentPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Conservative

Maurice Vellacott Conservative Saskatoon—Wanuskewin, SK

Mr. Speaker, I have several petitions. The first is from 275 of my constituents from Saskatoon, Blaine Lake, Speers, Hafford, Hague, Martensville, Warman and other towns around my riding.

The petitioners call on the government to raise the age of protection for children from 14 years of age to 16 years of age. They note the support of the Canadian Police Association and many of the provincial governments for increasing the age of protection. They also note the importance of this move in protecting young people from sexual exploitation.

Child CarePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Conservative

Maurice Vellacott Conservative Saskatoon—Wanuskewin, SK

Mr. Speaker, in the second petition 32 petitioners from Saskatoon ask the federal government to build a high quality, accessible and affordable community based child care system and to ensure fair and effective income support for Canadian families.

I am proud to be in a government that is indeed moving forward with equitable and accessible initiatives for child care and income support for Canadian families.

Child PornographyPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Conservative

Maurice Vellacott Conservative Saskatoon—Wanuskewin, SK

Mr. Speaker, in the last petition the petitioners draw the attention of the House to the fact that the creation and use of child pornography is condemned by a clear majority of Canadians and that the courts have not, in their view, applied the current child pornography law in a way that makes it clear that such exploitation of children will be met with swift punishment.

The petitioners call on Parliament to protect our children by taking all the necessary steps to ensure that all materials that promote or glorify pedophilia or sado-masochistic activities involving children are plainly, clearly and flatly outlawed.

Trans FatsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am very proud to present a petition from literally thousands of Canadians from all across the three prairie provinces who call upon the government to recognize the will of Parliament in banning trans fats.

The petitioners point out that they want the government to implement the recommendations of the task force which clearly called upon the government to ban trans fats and get them out of our food supply for all of the very obvious public health reasons. Trans fats do in fact cause obesity, heart disease and diabetes, all of which can be prevented by the elimination of these deadly toxins from our food supply.

They call upon the government to follow the lead of Denmark and become the second country in the world to be trans fat free.

Age of ConsentPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

Lloyd St. Amand Liberal Brant, ON

Mr. Speaker, I wish to present a petition signed by various constituents in my riding who urge Parliament to take all measures necessary to immediately raise the age of consent for sexual activity from 14 years of age to 16 years of age.

MarriagePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

Lloyd St. Amand Liberal Brant, ON

Mr. Speaker, the second petition is signed by various constituents in my riding who urge Parliament to re-open the issue of marriage and to defend marriage as the lawful union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.

Toronto WaterfrontPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow NDP Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a 10-page petition. It notes that the Toronto Island Airport is heavily subsidized by taxpayers and has been losing money every year for the last 15 years and that operating an airport is contrary to the tradition of a clean, green, vibrant waterfront and that the Toronto Port Authority is unaccountable and is a rogue federal agency that was created against the wishes of Torontonians.

The petitioners call upon the Government of Canada to abolish the Toronto Port Authority, close the island airport and return the waterfront to the people of Toronto.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Royal Galipeau

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Questions on the Order PaperPoints of OrderRoutine Proceedings

September 22nd, 2006 / 12:15 p.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order.

Earlier this week the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons raised an objection pursuant to Standing Order 39 to question No. 90 from the member for New Westminster—Coquitlam. The basic argument was that the question was too long. On that basis the parliamentary secretary was arguing that it was out of order and should be struck from the list.

The purpose of Standing Order 39 is analyzed in Marleau and Montpetit at page 438 which states that those questions are put on the order paper “with the intent of seeking from the ministry detailed, lengthy or technical information relating to public affairs”.

Standing Order 39 is quite clear. There are certain rules that allow us to place before individual ministers, and in rare cases other members of Parliament, detailed questions for information that we require in order to perform our functions as members of this House.

The question that is being challenged by the parliamentary secretary is the only one on the order paper by the member for New Westminster--Coquitlam. Standing Order 39 allows for up to four questions to be on the order paper at any given time by any given member in the House. This is the only question she has on the order paper at this time. Without question it is lengthy; the question has a number of subsections in it.

There used to be no limit to the number of written questions a member could put on the order paper. About 10 years ago a new rule was introduced that limited the number of questions a member could put on the order paper to a maximum of four at any given time. My colleague is clearly in compliance with that part of the rule in the sense that she only has the one question.

The question is with regard to Afghanistan and the deployment of military resources there. What you have to do, Mr. Speaker, in making your determination as to whether the request from the parliamentary secretary is a reasonable one, is to look at the practice that has grown since the change in the Standing Orders. In particular, I would call to your attention questions that were put forward by Mr. John Cummins, who was a member of the Conservative Party in the last Parliament, and questions--

Questions on the Order PaperPoints of OrderRoutine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Royal Galipeau

I rise to remind the hon. member who is experienced in this House that we do not name members of this current House.

Questions on the Order PaperPoints of OrderRoutine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

I apologize, Mr. Speaker. I am going to have the problem of not knowing which riding he is in: Delta—Richmond East.

In the last Parliament that member put forward two questions at the same time and they were Question Nos. 5 and 7. Those questions, and I am looking at copies of them right now, run on to a length that is longer, or at least as long as Question No. 90 which is the subject of the objection from this government and the parliamentary secretary at this time.

Those questions were in fact subsequently answered. They were on fishery items, I believe. The member was then and is still now quite interested in that topic. He was asking as I believe proper, specific questions, wanting specific answers to specific facts, wanting that detail, all of which seems to be well within the spirit and the wording of Standing Order 39 as is Question No. 90.

The position that is being put forward by the government, and the parliamentary secretary on its behalf, is one that is inconsistent with its own practice in the last Parliament when Conservatives were in opposition. Even the parliamentary secretary could go back and look at some of his questions in the last Parliament. They were fairly lengthy as well. It is inconsistent with the practice that has grown up since Standing Order 39 was changed.

I would argue strongly that the motivation behind this is really about the issue itself and the government being unhappy at having to provide this information from the Departments of National Defence and of International Cooperation.

Just to give an example, this morning in some of the national newspapers in this country in response to information that this same member gathered from the same government in the spring response to written questions, very interesting, factual and needed information came out.

The hon. member was doing her job in asking those questions and that information was necessary for the debate that is going on around that issue in the country. It is just a glaring example of why we need to be able to ask these types of detailed questions. She was very successful in the information she received.

Similarly, to the question she is asking now in Question No. 90, there is information there that the country needs to have as this debate goes on with regard to our deployment of troops and resources in Afghanistan at the current time.

My argument in summation refers to the fact that Standing Order 39 was changed. It limited these questions. She stayed within those boundaries. The questions have to be of reasonable length. If we look at the practice that has grown since the reincarnation of Standing Order 39, she has stayed within the practice that has grown up in that period of time, a practice that the political party now in government followed when they were in opposition.