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House of Commons Hansard #18 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was provinces.

Topics

Federal-Provincial-Municipal RelationsStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Conservative

Barry Devolin Conservative Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to take a moment to pay tribute to our provincial and municipal colleagues. I am lucky to have an excellent working relationship with my Queen's Park counterpart, Laurie Scott. At the municipal level I have the pleasure of working with local officials from Haliburton County, Kawartha Lakes, Brock Township and parts of Peterborough County.

While federal and provincial members spend a lot of time out of the riding in the capital, it is municipal officials who are in the coffee shops and on the main streets of our communities every single day. As such, they have an excellent sense of what is going on and what their communities need and want.

Tonight I will be attending the Haliburton County Warden's Dinner. This is an annual event that recognizes the contribution of our local officials, past and present.

While we may squabble a bit from time to time, I believe that most Canadians are well served by federal, provincial and local officials working together for the good of their communities.

Here is to our provincial and municipal colleagues across Canada. Thanks for all the great work being done.

Canadian Association of Research LibrariesStatements By Members

November 16th, 2007 / 11 a.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Association of Research Libraries, also known as CARL, is the leadership organization for the Canadian research library community.

The association's members are the 27 major academic research libraries across Canada, plus Library and Archives Canada, the Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information, known as CISTI, and of course the Library of Parliament. CARL members are the backbone of Canada's intellectual holdings in all disciplines.

I congratulate Ms. Leslie Weir, university librarian at the University of Ottawa, my alma mater, on becoming the new president of the Canadian Association of Research Libraries.

She is widely admired in her profession as an innovator in providing electronic information to the teaching and research community that the University of Ottawa serves and now her experience will serve other libraries.

Once again, congratulations Ms. Weir and long live the Canadian Association of Research Libraries.

InfrastructureStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Conservative

Rick Norlock Conservative Northumberland—Quinte West, ON

Mr. Speaker, on October 26 the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans visited the municipality of Port Hope and announced the divestiture of the Port Hope harbour and 75 hectares of surrounding land. Port Hope will now own the property surrounding its harbour and the citizens will be able to enjoy walks along the waterfront and a planned municipal park and marina.

Mayor Linda Thompson and her colleagues on Port Hope council, as well as municipal staff, are to be commended for their great partnership in this endeavour. This is not the only example of this government's positive influence in my riding of Northumberland—Quinte West.

Many millions of dollars will be spent at CFB Trenton to improve its aging infrastructure, and the economic spinoffs to local businesses will be tremendous.

As well, our government's announcement of a panel to review the Trent-Severn Waterway has been good news to the municipalities that border this wonderful year-round natural attraction.

In short, our government is getting things done for the people of Canada and Northumberland—Quinte West.

International Day of the Imprisoned WriterStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Bloc

Luc Malo Bloc Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, November 15 was the International Day of the Imprisoned Writer, and I would like to honour the gesture of solidarity made by 10 Quebec writers who have been twinned with writers from around the world who are in prison. Yesterday, during the Montreal book fair, these 10 Quebec writers each read the dedication from one of their books, which will be sent to the prisoners or their families. Those attending the book fair can sign petitions in support of writers.

“Livres comme l'Air” was created to condemn repression and censorship. Now in its eighth consecutive year, the event is organized by the Quebec union of writers, Amnesty International and the Quebec branch of PEN, an international association of writers. Since the project was launched in 2000, 33 writers imprisoned for their beliefs have been set free.

Writers help enrich, refine, and sometimes even transform our vision of the world. Today, we should take a moment to think of those who have been silenced by force.

DiabetesStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Rod Bruinooge Conservative Winnipeg South, MB

Mr. Speaker, last week I met with the Styba family from my riding whose 14-year-old daughter has type 1 diabetes. This disease reduces her quality of life and increases her chances of heart disease, stroke, blindness and amputation.

Canada has one of the highest rates of juvenile diabetes and the number of people with type 2 diabetes continues to grow dramatically.

I have seen the effects of diabetes first hand because my brother, Nick, is one of the more than two million Canadians who suffer from this disease.

It is for these Canadians that the Styba family has asked me to present a key to the Minister of Health and to the Minister of Finance as a symbol of the need to address this growing problem.

November 14 was the first UN recognized World Diabetes Day. I ask the ministers and this House to consider the personal costs of diabetes. We are coming increasingly closer to finding a cure, but we must act now.

InfrastructureStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Navdeep Bains Liberal Mississauga—Brampton South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to bring to the attention of this House the crisis facing Canadian cities.

Last week, residents of Mississauga were hit with a 9% tax increase to help fund the city's crumbling infrastructure. Then mayor Susan Fennell of Brampton said that she too might have to raise property taxes by up to 10%.

Nationally the infrastructure deficit facing Canadian cities is over $100 billion. The cold hard fact is that the Conservative government is ignoring urban and suburban Canadians.

Last month's so-called mini budget offered no help to Canadian cities. Instead, it left mayors across Canada scrambling for funds to help their decaying roads, bridges and sewers.

What does the government have against cities? Is it because they do not vote Conservative? The government should put its ideology and politics aside and show real leadership on the cities file.

Sir James DouglasStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Conservative Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, this Monday, November 19, will mark the 149th anniversary of the union of what is now the province of British Columbia.

In 1858 at Fort Langley in my riding, a booming colony on the Pacific was united more than a decade before B.C. joined Confederation.

For his role in bringing British Columbia together, Sir James Douglas is commemorated on November 19 each year with Douglas Day. Next year Sir James Douglas will be honoured on a Canada Post stamp.

A century and a half later, British Columbians can still relate to the immigrant success story of Sir James Douglas, a British Columbian who was born in British Guiana, worked in Alberta and found success in British Columbia.

I hope the House will join me in wishing British Columbia a happy Douglas Day and a successful 150th anniversary next year as it continues under our government to be a booming province on the Pacific.

Freedom of ExpressionStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, last Monday in downtown Hamilton's Mahal Restaurant, I had the honour to meet Afghan journalist Farida Nekzad, 2007 winner of the International Press Freedom Award and the founder of a coalition of over 200 women journalists in Afghanistan.

Every day Farida is threatened with violence and death simply because she is a woman and a journalist who challenges the status quo. One of Farida's best friends, another woman journalist in Afghanistan, was gunned down in her own bed last June. Farida was told that she is next. Farida has said she will not give up her fight, “Even if I escape tomorrow, they will just target another woman”.

Thanks to the organization Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, Farida's courage, determination and incredible work have been recognized.

At the same event, I spoke with Hamilton Spectator managing editor Jim Poling, who founded the internationally trained journalists project, which helps foreign trained journalists who now live in Canada get work experience here. This year 34 people will graduate from this influential program.

Thanks to people like Farida Nekzad and Jim Poling, the right of freedom of expression everywhere is being promoted here in Canada.

PovertyStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, thanks to the former Liberal government, Canada now enjoys federal surpluses and the freedom to plan a better future not only for ourselves but for future generations.

Unfortunately, the Conservatives are squandering this precious opportunity on poorly planned cuts to the GST, boutique tax gimmicks, with absolutely nothing to alleviate child poverty in this country. Even the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, a group once headed by the current Prime Minister, has condemned the Conservatives' tax announcements.

Last week the leader of the Liberal Party put forth a solid action plan to cut child poverty in half within five years. This plan would also reduce the number of Canadians living below the poverty line, especially seniors, and would deliver necessary tax relief to low income Canadians.

Manufacturing and Forestry SectorStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Bloc

Robert Bouchard Bloc Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is unacceptable. On November 14, the 11 Conservative members from Quebec abandoned the workers in the manufacturing and forestry sector. Even worse, the two Conservative members from my region voted against the Bloc Québécois motion to help the forestry industry, which is extremely important to the Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean region.

The votes of the member for Jonquière—Alma and the member for Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean prove yet again that they place more importance on defending the interests of the Conservative Party than the interests of their constituents.

If the Conservative members from Quebec had listened to the cry for help from their constituents, they would all have supported the Bloc Québécois motion.

How can they claim to defend the interests of Quebec if they do not listen to the needs of the people? With these votes, the two Conservative members turned their backs on my region and sent a clear message to hundreds of workers, young people and families: they will not help them.

International Day for ToleranceStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Borys Wrzesnewskyj Liberal Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, today is the International Day for Tolerance. This day is an opportunity to promote tolerance, education, and an occasion for wider reflection and debate on local, national and international problems of intolerance. However, to tolerate our neighbours is but a first step. We need to respect our global diversities and in Canada to celebrate our nation's multicultural achievements.

Let us teach our children. As individuals, as parents, as members of Parliament, as Canadians, we are all capable of performing local acts of kindness and respect and to be international envoys of this message.

Let us embrace and celebrate our global diversities, our colours, our languages, our religions. International Day for Tolerance is a clarion call to all to take a moment to truly look inside ourselves and at each other through eyes of tolerance, respect and embrace, a time to take stock of where we are as humanity and the type of global village we can build in the 21st century.

Bloc QuébécoisStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Luc Harvey Conservative Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, on Wednesday, the hon. member for Trois-Rivières proposed a motion to reopen the debate on the current situation in the manufacturing and forestry sectors. The Bloc Québécois may try to take advantage of its opposition day to justify its presence here in Ottawa, but I think it is important to remind those members of their hypocrisy.

They should be ashamed of themselves for calling on the Economic Development Agency of Canada to intervene in this sector, given that the Bloc Québécois voted against the creation of that agency. Bloc members also voted against the Speech from the Throne and the economic update, which identified those sectors as a priority for this government.

Unlike the empty rhetoric of the Bloc Québécois, we are taking consistent action to promote the regional economic development of Quebec.

AirbusOral Questions

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Schreiber will be the key witness in the public inquiry. It is therefore crucial that Mr. Schreiber be available to testify at any time.

Will the Minister of Justice, who has the authority to postpone Mr. Schreiber's extradition, ensure that the key witness will be available, in order to get to the bottom of this matter?

AirbusOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, there is an established procedure. We know that some of the individuals involved wish to make submissions, following that procedure.

When an individual is in such a situation, it is not an appropriate time for the government to make specific comments on that individual.

AirbusOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, that simply was an answer to a question that was not asked.

Not only does the Minister of Justice have discretionary power to postpone an extradition, but there is a specific supplementary Canada-Germany agreement that specifically allows for the postponement of the extradition.

Will the Minister of Justice assure this House that Mr. Schreiber will be present in Canada for this inquiry, so that the truth can be served and the ends of justice can be served?

AirbusOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, the former minister of justice would well know there are dual competing interests here with regard to the public interest.

There is a very clear public interest related to a full public inquiry in this matter. There is also a public interest in terms of maintaining our extradition agreements, in that individuals who have been charged with fraud, bribery, and tax evasion, would also be available to face those charges and face due process in their country.

So there is a competing interest there, but it is a dual interest and it is a complementary interest at the same. In any case, what happens is that a person would still have to be available to testify.

AirbusOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, both those interests can be served. If the witness is not available for the inquiry, then that interest will not be served. It is in the power of the minister to ensure that the main witness will be here for the inquiry and postpone the extradition and, when appropriate, have him extradited to Germany. Both those interests can be served.

The question is whether the minister is prepared to serve the interests of justice or is he serving another interest which is in not in the interests of justice?

AirbusOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, as we have heard many times in this House from the former minister of justice, quite appropriately, he would not comment on specific cases and many times he stated that, and we understand that.

I will say that whatever happens, and we do not want to get into hypotheticals here, the full public inquiry comes complete with the power of subpoena and requiring the key individuals to testify wherever they might be.

AirbusOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, either this government is interested in getting to the truth or it is not. If it is interested in the truth through a full public inquiry, it is essential that it hears testimony, under oath, from Karlheinz Schreiber.

Experts, including Patrick Monahan, the Dean of Osgoode Hall Law School, have said that Mr. Schreiber's presence at the inquiry must be assured, otherwise the inquiry will be pointless. The power to delay this extradition rests with the justice minister. It is his duty to act.

Will he exercise his duty and keep Mr. Schreiber in Canada until the public inquiry has had an opportunity to get to the truth?

AirbusOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I realize the member opposite did not have time to change his script after I just answered in detail that question, so I will respond to it again.

There are public interests at stake here. We want to see a full public inquiry. That is what the Prime Minister has asked to take place. That comes complete with subpoena powers and with the ability to require people to be witnesses, especially those who are the principals. That will be the situation whatever takes place with regard to any extradition matter.

AirbusOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, we will keep asking the question. Will he actually answer the question? The government promised a full public inquiry; an inquiry that is only meaningful if its main witness, Mr. Schreiber, stays in Canada until he gives testimony under oath.

The choice is clear. Either the justice minister exercises his power to ensure Mr. Schreiber testifies or he proves this process is a sham, a PR exercise and a continuation of the cover-up that got blasted open by public outrage.

What is the Conservatives' choice? What do they choose? Mr. Mulroney or justice?

AirbusOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, it is a good thing to see that this member is following the same approach that his leader takes who, for instance, opposed our budget before he even saw it, opposed the throne speech before he even saw it, and now we have a situation where this member is actually undermining the work of Professor Johnston. Professor Johnston has not even started yet.

This is going to be a full public inquiry complete with powers of subpoena and the power to require individuals to testify, and already we have members opposite saying they do not like it. We like it because it is going to be a full public inquiry.

AirbusOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, Karlheinz Schreiber stated yesterday that if he is extradited to Germany he will refuse to testify before the public inquiry in Canada. No one is opposed to this individual facing German justice; however, the absence of a key witness in Canada could derail everything.

Notwithstanding the recent decision to extradite Karlheinz Schreiber, the Minister of Justice has the authority to postpone this extradition. Will he do so?

AirbusOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I am interested in the words and plans of Professor Johnston, but not in the comments of an individual who may be implicated in the process. That is why we will have an open and transparent inquiry that will include everyone who has something to say. That is exactly what we will have and what Canadians want to see happen.

AirbusOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, if the government is serious about wanting to get to the bottom of it all, it cannot just stand back and let Schreiber slip away without taking action, especially since a spokesperson for the German justice department has stated that they cannot ensure that Schreiber, if he is extradited, would appear before a public inquiry. Once again, we want Schreiber to face German justice, but not before he has faced justice here.

Will the Minister of Justice invoke his authority and does he intend to postpone the extradition?