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House of Commons Hansard #2 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was opposition.

Topics

2 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

It being Wednesday, we will now have the singing of the national anthem led by the hon. member for Sackville--Eastern Shore.

[Members sang the national anthem]

United WayStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Gord Brown Conservative Leeds—Grenville, ON

Mr. Speaker, United Way campaigns are currently under way. In my riding of Leeds—Grenville, volunteers headed up by executive director Judi Baril are busy working hard to raise money for this worthy cause.

I am pleased to report that members on this side of the House are helping out. Next Monday evening, October 22, members of the Blue hockey team are travelling to Kemptville, some 30 minutes south of Ottawa, to take on the Leeds--Grenville United Way All-Stars, a team that consists of municipal politicians and others from my riding.

The hockey game begins at 8 p.m. and will be followed by a reception. Tickets at $10 per person are still available for the game. I invite all members who are looking for something worthwhile to do next Monday evening to take the short drive to the north end of my riding to see the Blue team in its next victory.

Persons Case AwardsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, the 2007 Governor General's awards in tribute to the Persons Case were presented today to recognize the contribution made by six outstanding individuals in advancing women's equality.

Wendy Robbins, Shari Graydon, Élaine Hémond, Mildred Louise Burns, Viviana Astudillo-Clavijo, and Muriel Smith, who comes from my riding of Winnipeg South Centre, are all being recognized today.

Muriel is an inspiring role model in her community and abroad, as a teacher, a mentor and the first Canadian woman to become a deputy premier. Some of her many achievements include bringing forth the first pay equity legislation, creating a network of women's shelters, and a zero tolerance domestic violence policy in the judicial system.

The award to honour the 50th anniversary of the Persons Case gives us the opportunity to celebrate the work of these extraordinary women who have enriched their communities and indeed Canada by working for the advancement of women in substantial ways. I ask my colleagues to join me in recognizing and paying tribute to them.

Élaine HémondStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to pay tribute to Élaine Hémond, who this morning received an award in commemoration of the Persons Case, so named because it had to do with the legal recognition of women as “persons” in 1929.

If Ms. Hémond can now be ranked with the Famous Five, it is because she is the type of woman whose determination and tenacity have helped advance women's rights to equality in all spheres of society, and contributed much to civic and democratic action.

One of this extraordinary woman's many accomplishments is Groupe Femmes, Politique et Démocratie, which received international recognition when it won the Condorcet-Aron award in August 2005.

Underlying all her efforts is a strong belief in the equality of men and women in all spheres of politics.

Congratulations to Ms. Hémond, we owe her much.

Persons Case AwardsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by offering my congratulations and gratitude to the six magnificent women who today were honoured by the Governor General with the persons award.

Tomorrow is an important landmark for women in Canadian politics. It does indeed mark the date in 1918 that women were finally recognized as persons under the law. This meant that Canada had turned a corner and women could finally begin to take their rightful place in the political life of our nation.

The new law laid the groundwork for the 1921 election when a woman was finally elected to this House and it eventually led to the 1930 appointment of a woman to the Senate.

Women have come a long way since 1918, but we have not come far enough. Sadly, in this Parliament only 21.4% of the elected representatives are women. That is not enough representation for 51% of our population.

Public policy impacts men and women differently. Equality therefore demands equal representation in decision making and public affairs. We need to ensure that women's voices are heard more consistently in this--

Persons Case AwardsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Kootenay—Columbia.

Speech from the ThroneStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Jim Abbott Conservative Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, my constituents in Kootenay—Columbia are enthusiastic about yesterday's throne speech.

Our mandate is based on five clear priorities: a proud and sovereign Canada in which the government rigorously defends Canada's place in the world; a strong federation; a prosperous future; a healthy environment for Canadians, in which the government will continue to improve the environment and health of Canadians; and a safe and secure Canada, in which the government will continue to tackle crime and strengthen the security of Canadians by reintroducing important crime legislation with the new tackling violent crime act and by putting a strong focus on safe communities and youth and property crime.

Our government is going to make effective use of all resources while it gets tough on crime, and it is going to repeal the long gun registry, which has proven to be an abysmal waste of money.

The throne speech is about getting the job done in the Kootenays.

International Day for the Eradication of PovertyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Ruby Dhalla Liberal Brampton—Springdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, October 17 is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. The theme this year is “Working together out of poverty”, which highlights the need for a truly global anti-poverty alliance.

One in five people around the world live on less than one dollar a day. Right here in Canada, poverty is a daily fact of life for over one million children, and in aboriginal communities, poverty only compounds the challenges aboriginals already face.

As Canadians, we can make a difference by volunteering our time or giving our money, but it is imperative for the Conservative government to ensure that it provides leadership and delivers on behalf of the most vulnerable in our society and around the world. We must work together as MPs from all parties to ensure that families, children and aboriginal people living in poverty do so no longer.

International Day for the Eradication of PovertyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Meili Faille Bloc Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, today is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. I would like to express my support for the students at Chêne-Bleu high school in my riding, Vaudreuil-Soulanges, who are participating today in the global call to action against poverty and in the United Nations' millennium development goals campaign. I invite all parliamentarians to stand up and take part in the “Stand up Against Poverty” challenge.

Last year, more than 23 million men, women and children from 87 countries, including 10,000 from Quebec, stood up together to eliminate poverty around the world.

The message to governments everywhere is clear: they should do everything they can to achieve the millennium development goals.

All across Quebec, including in my riding, Vaudreuil-Soulanges, many of us are working to fight poverty, hunger and homelessness. Together with my Bloc Québécois colleagues, I would invite all members of Parliament to stand up against poverty.

Senate of CanadaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson Conservative Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday my constituent Bert Brown was sworn in as Canada's newest senator. Our Prime Minister appointed Mr. Brown after the province of Alberta twice elected him Alberta's senator-in-waiting.

No Canadian has done as much to advance the cause of Senate reform as Bert Brown. He has been a tireless advocate for the democratization of the upper house for over two decades. He is a perfect role model for elected senators, and yesterday's swearing-in ceremony demonstrates that our government is serious about moving forward on Senate reform. Over 300,000 Albertans voted for him in the province's 2004 Senate election. More Albertans voted for Bert Brown than all Liberal candidates put together in the last general election in my province.

In 1989 Alberta first elected Senate nominee Stan Waters, who later was appointed to the Senate. The federal Liberals have appointed none of those elected since.

Liberals should be ashamed of their refusal to accept Senate reform. It is time for the Liberals to follow the example of the Conservative Party and support an elected Senate.

Aboriginal AffairsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Todd Russell Liberal Labrador, NL

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government has given aboriginal people in Canada a slap in the face. At the insistence of the minority Conservative government, Canada was one of just four countries to vote against the United Nations declaration on the rights of indigenous people at the General Assembly last month. This marked the first time that our nation has voted against a major international human rights document.

The decision to not support the declaration is a stain on Canada's international human rights reputation and an affront to the aboriginal peoples of Canada and all nations. By not supporting the declaration, the government has sent a message to aboriginal Canadians that their government is not interested in being held to even a modest standard.

It is unacceptable that the government has abandoned Canada's leadership role on human rights for indigenous peoples.

Governor General's AwardsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Sylvie Boucher Conservative Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Governor General's Awards in commemoration of the “persons” case pay tribute to the determination and dedication of the famous five. These national awards salute women who are working to promote women's full participation in building our country.

Today, six Canadian women who are upholding the tradition of courage and determination started by the Famous Five received the 2007 Governor General's Award. These outstanding women are Mildred Burns of Montreal, Shari Graydon of Kingston, Élaine Hémond of Quebec City, Wendy Robbins of Fredericton, Muriel Smith of Winnipeg and Viviana Clavijo of Toronto.

On behalf of our government, I would like to express our recognition and admiration for these inspiring women, who are working steadfastly and with conviction to promote women's full participation in all facets of Canadian society.

Port of ChurchillStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Rod Bruinooge Conservative Winnipeg South, MB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Governor General of Canada outlined our government's long term agenda based on five clear priorities, including a focus on Arctic sovereignty and our north.

On October 5, the Prime Minister announced $68 million to help guarantee the success of the Port of Churchill. His visit there was an important step in strengthening and re-establishing Canada's sovereignty in the Arctic.

Today, the Port of Churchill inaugurates its first international two-way traffic shipment.

This is an important moment for Churchill's economy.

Western Economic Diversification has been working closely on this project, and I am pleased to see the first of many positive results.

I would like to take this opportunity to underscore the vital role Churchill has played in Canada's history.

As the main Arctic Ocean seaport in North America, Churchill has an important place in the government's realization of a strong Arctic vision. The north needs our attention and with our government, it is getting it.

IraqStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Alex Atamanenko NDP British Columbia Southern Interior, BC

Mr. Speaker, over the past year I have had the pleasure of meeting some young Americans who have come to Canada because of their opposition to the illegal war in Iraq.

They are here because they want no part of this immoral, disastrous war. Some of them lived through the horror of the invasion.

Some Canadians have criticized these young men and women for having the courage to speak out against this war. Let us look at this in context.

Young U.S. citizens, many of whom are part of the 47 million without health care, are attracted to the slick ads that promote the glamour of military life. They are promised a job, a uniform, a college education along with free medical and dental care. However, once reality sets in they see the horror of this war and some choose to come to Canada.

I call on our government to welcome these young Americans to Canada so that they can become loyal, productive members of our society.

Let Canada once again be known as a refuge from militarism.

Gatineau Soup KitchenStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, on October 11, 2007, I was very pleased to attend the sixth annual media supper, which is held every year to raise funds for the breakfasts served by the Soupière de l'Amitié de Gatineau. Donations are received from businesses, organizations and citizens. The three-course meal is prepared by cuisine and pastry students from the Centre Professionnel Relais de la Lièvre-Seigneurie.

The Soupière de l'Amitié de Gatineau aims to fight poverty and impoverishment in all its forms and in all areas of human existence.

During the 2006-07 school year, it served 117,000 breakfasts in 24 schools in the Outaouais.

I would like to commend the extraordinary work of the entire team at the soup kitchen. I would like to thank and congratulate the members of the local media who, for the part six years, have been contributing to the enormous success of this event. For a few hours' time, various local media personalities donned their aprons and served a meal to everyone who came out for this worthy cause.

Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot RidingStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Ève-Mary Thaï Thi Lac Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, on September 17, the voters in Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot placed their trust in me as the Bloc member to represent them in the House of Commons. I would like to thank them and say how proud I am to have been chosen to assert their aspirations and to defend their interests, and those of all Quebeckers.

My countrymen are entitled to have elected representatives who demonstrate, at all times, that they are worthy of being entrusted with such responsibility and who are effective in their actions. In this regard, I am pleased to be a member of the excellent team of Bloc MPs led by Gilles Duceppe.

I also wish to express my gratitude to the volunteers who worked tirelessly on those beautiful summer days to get me elected. I would also like to recognize my predecessor in Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot who left me a riding where the citizens are proud of the work accomplished by the Bloc.

Government AccountabilityStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, while many Canadians enjoyed their summer on vacation or with their families, the Prime Minister and his party were busy being investigated by Elections Canada.

Apparently, Elections Canada has revealed that at least 66 Conservative candidates participated in a scheme that allowed the Conservative Party to overspend on the last election by more than $1 million and candidates then billed the party for almost another $1 million in padded rebates.

It seems the party that touted accountability as its theme has been unmasked. Conservative members of the procedure and House affairs committee used every trick in their dirty handbook to block the committee from actually investigating these improprieties.

It is no wonder the Prime Minister was in no hurry to get back to the House. Around here, he might actually have to answer for his deceitful actions.

Speech from the ThroneStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Gerald Keddy Conservative South Shore—St. Margaret's, NS

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Governor General presented a Speech from the Throne which outlined our government's five clear priorities for this new session. One of those priorities provided effective economic leadership for a prosperous future. Our government believes that hard-working Canadians pay too much tax and our tax system must reward this hard work, encourage investment and job creation and promote Canadian business on a world stage.

The government wants to ensure economic security for all Canadians and will bring forward a long term plan of broad based tax relief, further reduce the GST, strengthen the economy through our long term economic plan, “Advantage Canada”.

Since taking office we have announced more than $40 billion in tax cuts for families, individuals and businesses. This is good for the economy and it is good for Canadians.

Under the strong leadership of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and our Conservative government, we are building a better Canada.

Speech from the ThroneStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I should remind hon. members that naming other hon. members is not in order, and I am surprised the member for South Shore—St. Margaret's would make that mistake given his extensive experience in the House.

The hon. member for Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot made the same mistake, perhaps because this was her first speech in this House.

Therefore, the next time members will recall that we do not name members. We use titles and such like.

New MemberStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I have the honour to announce that the Clerk of the House has received from the Chief Electoral Officer a certificate of the election of Mr. Denis Lebel, member for the electoral district of Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean.

Mr. Denis Lebel, member for the electoral district of Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean, is introduced by the Right Honourable Stephen Harper and the hon. Jean-Pierre Blackburn.

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

October 17th, 2007 / 2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, for a government that cynically wrapped itself in the Federal Accountability Act, its own unethical behaviour is coming home to roost.

We now have three independent investigations being conducted into the unethical practices of the Conservatives: investigations by Elections Canada, the Privacy Commissioner and the Ontario Provincial Police.

What has the Prime Minister done to get to the bottom of this? Absolutely nothing.

When will the Prime Minister come clean on the role his staff has played in this sordid affair? When will he start demonstrating some of the accountability that used to mean something to him?

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, I guess after an entire summer the best the member could come up with is a story where we refused to give an appointment to someone. When it was the Liberals in power, the issue was to whom they gave appointments. With us, the problem is an appointment that should not have been made and was never made. That is why we never made it.

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, there are currently three investigations underway into questionable practices by this government. For a party that claims to be as pure as the driven snow, this is a harsh dose of reality. Elections Canada is looking into allegations that the Conservatives may have cheated during the last federal election by hiding the fact that they exceeded their election expense limits. And the Prime Minister is doing nothing about it.

What is the Prime Minister waiting for?

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows very well from his own party's practices that what he says is entirely untrue. Our election financing activities are entirely legal. We know they are legal because they are what the law permits and because that is what other parties have done: grouped advertising buys, grouped collections of materials, the transfers from ridings to the central party.

Guess what I have just defined? The way the Liberal Party has won elections for years. However, there is one difference. We did not dip into public funds the way the Liberals did for years and years to do it.