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House of Commons Hansard #55 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was cuts.

Topics

YouthStatements by Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Maria Minna Liberal Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government's meanspirited cuts took over $10 million out of the international youth internship program, abandoning our young people.

This great employment program provides underemployed or unemployed Canadians with the opportunity to gain viable international development work experience.

Through CIDA Canada sponsors internships that help unemployed college and university graduates between the ages of 19 and 30 from all provinces gain international development experience.

Roughly 65% of the youth who benefit are young women and 98.4% of the interns completed their program. Of the 550 who completed their internship during the first year 71% were successful in finding employment within six months. An additional 19% returned to school and only 9% reported being unemployed.

Why has this government chosen to target Canada's unemployed youth?

Culture DaysStatements by Members

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Maka Kotto Bloc Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, September 29 and 30 and October 1 mark the 10th anniversary of Quebec's culture days. More than 1,800 free activities in 289 municipalities will bring together the general public and artists and creators.

Quebec's culture days provide me with another opportunity to remind this government of the vital importance of culture in the lives of people and societies.

To attack our culture the way the Conservative government does is to break up the foundation of our social connection, to destroy what makes sense in our existence and our identity.

What lack of concern, what thoughtlessness.

Government ProgramsStatements by Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, earlier this week the government announced that it was cutting vital community programs so that it could reallocate that money to the real priorities of Canadians. All told, those cuts amounted to over $1 billion.

Where do we find that money going? Why, into subsidies to the oil and gas industry in the Prime Minister's own province.

I have to say that is not the priority of families in Hamilton Mountain. They are already being gouged at the pumps and certainly would not agree to have more of their hard-earned tax dollars go to the oil and gas industry through government subsidies.

No, the real priority for Canadians is health care. In fact, the Conservatives recognized that during the election campaign when they promised to make health care one of their five priorities. Once elected, they dropped health care completely from their list of must do items.

New Democrats are not going to let the government get away with that.

I say to the Prime Minister that he has a $13 billion surplus. Cut wait times and improve care by hiring more doctors and nurses, expand home care and long term care programs, and bring in national pharmacare. The surplus belongs to Canadians. Spend it to meet their needs.

Robert MacIsaacStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Wallace Conservative Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, today I want to honour Mayor Robert MacIsaac of the city of Burlington. The mayor has announced he will not seek re-election this fall. This loss is a loss for my community.

Mayor MacIsaac has been a true municipal leader in Burlington, in Ontario and in our country. He has had nine very successful years as mayor. He understands the balance between a growing urban community and a city with more than half of its land mass being rural.

Mayor MacIsaac has pursued smart growth principles, formed the mayor's transit caucus, and chaired Ontario's greenbelt task force. He established team Burlington to promote all aspects of economic development and led the revitalization of the downtown and the waterfront. His mayor's gala has raised over $1 million for the community foundation.

We have not always agreed, but I have always admired his clear vision and his great contribution to the quality of life for the citizens of Burlington.

Mayor MacIsaac has done a great job for our community and the people of Burlington thank him. He will be missed.

Government ProgramsStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Nancy Karetak-Lindell Liberal Nunavut, NU

Mr. Speaker, on Monday the minority Conservative government cut the commercial heritage property incentive program and $7.6 million in other grants and contributions given out by Environment Canada. This continues this government's long string of needless cuts to environment programs, cuts we know are needless because its own officials say so.

In February the Minister of Natural Resources was told that EnerGuide ranked among the most efficient and effective GHG reduction programs in the country. What was the government's response? It cut EnerGuide.

The minority Conservative government was told in February that over half of Canadians learned about global warming through the one tonne challenge and six million of them took action to reduce their energy consumption. What was the government's response? It cut the one tonne challenge.

This government was also told in February by its own officials that renewable energy projects were reducing more GHGs at a lower cost than had been anticipated. What was the government's response? It cut the renewable power reduction initiative.

The EnvironmentStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Luc Harvey Conservative Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, today the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development submitted her report. We had a chance to learn that the former Liberal government had invested nearly a billion dollars in various programs. The result, and that is what matters here, is that a one megatonne reduction, in other words one half of one per cent of the Kyoto objectives, cost the Canadian government nearly a billion dollars.

Lucky thing our new Minister of the Environment has taken matters in hand and that the Canadian government will be able to come up with concrete cost-saving measures, including the use of fuel containing 5% methanol and various types of support for public transit.

HydroelectricityStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Paule Brunelle Bloc Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, during a media scrum last Wednesday, the premier of Newfoundland stated that it was in Canada's best interest to give greater support to hydroelectric projects in Labrador rather than those of Quebec because he believes that the political climate in Quebec is unstable. Furthermore, the premier is urging Ontario to not buy its electricity. Quebec has every right to sell its electricity to whoever wishes to buy it, including the United States.

Nothing in Quebec suggests an unstable political climate. The Quebec government is fully responsible for developing its hydroelectric potential within its territory, which it will continue to do. Once Quebec becomes a country, it could then develop and sell its electricity to whomever it likes. One province's thin skin will not change anything.

As the Governor General would say, the premier of Newfoundland and Labrador is completely out of touch.

HIV-AIDSStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Laurie Hawn Conservative Edmonton Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, on Sunday, September 24, I had the privilege of taking part in Edmonton's 15th annual HIV-AIDS Walk for Life. I am proud that this event is held in my constituency and I want to salute the organizers, the donors and all the people who took part in this phenomenal fundraiser.

I am happy to report that due to the support of people in Edmonton, Ottawa and many communities across the country, I was able to personally raise $3,600, and Edmonton as a city contributed $37,000.

This is a sign of our commitment to improving the resources, support and care for people suffering from this terrible affliction. This is also a coast to coast initiative and I know that many of the members in this House also took part in events in their own communities.

I encourage all Canadians to get involved with the local organizations that are making a difference in so many lives. All of us know someone whose family has been touched by the tragedy of HIV-AIDS. Events like Walk for Life mean we can look forward with hope in the future in the fight for a cure.

JusticeStatements by Members

September 28th, 2006 / 2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Ruby Dhalla Liberal Brampton—Springdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, this minority government takes great pride in portraying itself as a government of law and order. However, its idea of law and order is becoming more and more clear all the time. There is more money for jails, less money and fewer regulations for gun control, taking conditional sentencing away from our experienced judges, and arbitrarily increasing mandatory minimums.

That is certainly not something to applaud because its concept of law and order means three things: more guns, more jails and longer sentences.

This week the government has cut over $14 million from the national crime prevention program, a program which actually endeavoured to reduce crime and victimization. This is yet another example of all its cuts and talking about safe communities but doing absolutely nothing.

Constituents in Brampton—Springdale and Canadians deserve safe communities. The most vulnerable among us, women, minority groups, francophones and families living in poverty, all demand safe communities.

George BoltonStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Helena Guergis Conservative Simcoe—Grey, ON

Mr. Speaker, George Lawheed Bolton, a D-Day veteran with the Queen's Own Rifles of Canada, died this past Monday in his 87th year. He was a resident of Elmvale and a member of the Elmvale Legion.

In 1939 he joined the Queen's Own Rifles Reserve, trained at Camp Borden, and was shipped out to Gander, Newfoundland. After a year in Gander as an operator-mechanic, he was assigned to the Bren Gun Carriers. He was shipped to Britain in 1940. After several assignments he became involved in the preparation for the Normandy invasion of June 6, 1944.

George hit the beach during the first assault wave on D-Day. Seasickness, deep water and intense enemy fire did not keep him from reaching the seawall. Despite leg wounds he continued on to Falaise suffering shell shock from a bomb hit. George remained in Holland until the war's end and then completed his tour in Germany before returning to Toronto.

Canada has lost another fine soldier and hero. Let us never forget his courage and that of the brave men and women who have and continue to serve our country.

Canadian Wheat BoardStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Alex Atamanenko NDP British Columbia Southern Interior, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to express my dismay on behalf of the thousands of western Canadian farmers who are distressed by the government's attacks on the Canadian Wheat Board.

The multinational grain corporations have found another government willing to do their dirty work, remove a formidable competitor, and then capture the price advantage of our superior Canadian wheat.

Bundles of letters are coming in expressing this outrage and demanding that farmers themselves decide the future of the Wheat Board at the grassroots level. This is not a time for big government, whether new or old, to be dictating the future of the family farm.

Let us be clear: if the government successfully undermines our Canadian Wheat Board today, this will be the beginning of the end for our supply management system, which should very much please the large multinational companies.

It is time that our federal government support our Canadian and Quebec farmers in their fight for the survival of rural communities.

WomenStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Diane Marleau Liberal Sudbury, ON

Mr. Speaker, women make up approximately 52% of the Canadian population. It is a proven fact that they are often at a disadvantage, and even discriminated against, in most fields.

To cut programs that support their financial security and equality is categorically unfair.

We have been working to improve our situation for years, and I feel we have been very successful. These cuts send a very negative message from the Conservative government.

When the Conservatives gain ground, Canadian women lose ground.

Quebec CityStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, according to the annual ranking by Canadian Business magazine, Quebec City is the best city for business, as already pointed out by KPMG and the Conference Board in recent months. Quebec City has a comfortable lead over Charlottetown, Saguenay, Laval, St. John's—Newfoundland, Calgary, Montreal and Toronto.

Quebec City is one of 40 cities ranked for establishing a business in Canada and had the best ranking based on the criteria of construction of commercial buildings, employment rate, cost of living, operating costs for a business, and crime rate. Quebec City is experiencing an economic boom with 60,000 jobs created since 1999. It is reaping the benefits of economic diversification undertaken 15 years ago by local decision-makers.

All Quebeckers are pleased with this first place ranking and the Bloc Québécois applauds the results of the efforts undertaken 15 years ago.

Court Challenges ProgramStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Sue Barnes Liberal London West, ON

Mr. Speaker, this minority Conservative government struck a blow against human rights in Canada by cutting the court challenges program. This important program provides funding to help minority, women's and other disadvantaged groups to challenge laws that may violate their human rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The cutting of the court challenges program as well as the cuts to Status of Women Canada shows that the government has no interest in advancing the rights of minorities and women.

This minority Conservative government had a $13 billion surplus, yet it chose to cut a $5.6 million program that helped disadvantaged people. This was not only meanspirited and petty, but it was an ideological cut.

Now, the only Canadians who will have access to the courts are those with deep pockets. The government is muzzling the voices of less advantaged Canadians who only seek to protect their rights under Canada's Constitution.

On behalf of all those Canadians, I call on the Conservative government to reinstate the court challenges program.

AfghanistanStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Rahim Jaffer Conservative Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canada is playing a crucial role in Afghanistan as the country rebuilds after years of oppression. In addition to our military role, Canada is leading the way by cooperating with dedicated and experienced NGOs to provide needed development, reconstruction and humanitarian assistance.

Our new government is working with NGOs like the Aga Khan Foundation Canada to provide support for programs that are making life better for the people of Afghanistan as they move forward to a peaceful and more hopeful future.

With CIDA's support, the foundation is working to provide viable economic alternatives to poppy production in several Afghan provinces. The project works closely with the Afghan government to enhance livelihoods by spurring entrepreneurship and rehabilitating the country's economy.

This government is also proud to support projects enhancing democratic participation among ordinary Afghans.

This government's support for the positive work being done by NGOs like the Aga Khan Foundation is just one way Canada is stepping up to provide real leadership in Afghanistan.

Phil LatulippeStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Louise Thibault Bloc Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, on September 24 Mr. Phil Latulippe died at the age of 87. He was known for his many running feats that benefited charities and the foundation bearing his name.

Born in Cabano, Témiscouata, Mr. Latulippe was a member of the Order of Canada and a knight of the Ordre du Québec. These honours are a testament to his determination, altruism, courage and generosity.

Mr. Latulippe crossed Canada twice on foot, when he was 62 and 70, and once by bicycle at the age of 80. He took up these challenges to help the disabled, youth, and seniors in Canada and Quebec.

I pay tribute to Mr. Latulippe for inspiring his fellow citizens and for his remarkable life. I extend my sincere condolences to his spouse and family.

Maher ArarOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, this morning, the Commissioner of the RCMP did an honourable thing. He apologized to Maher Arar, his wife and children for the injustice that they suffered. Last week, this House also offered an apology, but Mr. Arar and his family are still waiting for a formal apology from the government.

More than a week after the publication of the O'Connor report, why has the government still not apologized to Maher Arar? An apology is not sufficient, but it is necessary.

Maher ArarOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the government agrees that Mr. Arar was the victim of a great injustice. That is the reason the government has accepted, without reserve, all the recommendations in Mr. Justice O'Connor’s report, as the Commissioner of the RCMP did this morning before the Parliamentary committee.

However, we have a responsibility to arrive at a fair and honourable solution for Mr. Arar, and to represent the taxpayers’ interests. That will be done in a responsible and timely manner through discussions between government lawyers and those representing Mr. Arar.

Maher ArarOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, when he was in opposition, the Minister of Public Safety preferred to undermine Maher Arar's reputation rather than supporting the appointment of the O'Connor commission, which enabled us to get to the bottom of this matter. Without that commission, we would never have known that Mr. Arar's wife and two young children were on a security watch list.

Ten days after the publication of the clear conclusions of Mr. Justice O'Connor, why are Ms. Mazigh and her children still waiting for a formal apology from the government?

Maher ArarOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, quite simply because as the government we have a responsibility to the taxpayers to ensure that the result is responsible in financial terms. We are proceeding with discussions between lawyers for the government and lawyers for Mr. Arar to reach a conclusion that is honourable, fair and financially responsible.

The Minister of Public safety emphasized this morning that he had questioned the previous government about its failure to accept responsibility concerning Mr. Arar.

Maher ArarOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canada owes a moral debt to Maher Arar, his wife, and their children. Our Liberal government took the first step in establishing the O'Connor inquiry. We followed up when we supported the motion in this House apologizing to the Arar family. Commissioner Zaccardelli has apologized. Only the Conservative government has yet to apologize.

Why has the government not done the honourable thing? Surely compassion is not a matter of negotiation. An apology is not sufficient, but surely it is necessary.

Maher ArarOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, how ironic that a representative of the Liberal Party should say they took the first step with respect to Mr. Arar. They did by taking actions which ended up putting him in a Syrian jail.

I find it peculiar that the Leader of the Opposition has not asked questions in this regard. After all, it was the Leader of the Opposition who denied that Mr. Arar was facing torture. It was the solicitor general of the previous government who refused to take action.

We have taken responsibility on behalf of the Government of Canada, which is our obligation. It would be nice to see the Liberals take some of that responsibility too.

Maher ArarOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, that was a willing misrepresentation in this House and it behooves all of us to convince the government not to peddle that kind of stuff.

Given that the public safety minister has admitted that he had several conversations with the RCMP commissioner over the past few days, does the minister still claim that the commissioner never received any direction from any agent of the government saying not to comment on the Arar report to the media until today?

Maher ArarOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague makes it sound like I admitted that I talked with the commissioner. I talk with the commissioner on a regular basis. It is my duty to do that.

As a matter of fact, last Wednesday and Friday we had discussions. That is certainly no secret at all. The commissioner had indicated to me that his officials, just like other government officials, were taking the time to look at the recommendations. Then he indicated to me they were going to accept all of the recommendations pertinent to the RCMP.

He also indicated that he was going to be having a public discussion with the media or otherwise. He was the one who told me that. He also indicated that he would indeed appear before the committee. So it was a good--

Maher ArarOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Kitchener Centre.