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House of Commons Hansard #36 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was immigration.

Topics

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I would like to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of the winners of the 2007 Governor General's Literary Awards: Michael Ondaatje, Geneviève Côté, Don Domanski, Serge Patrice Thibodeau, Colleen Murphy, Nigel Spencer, Karolyn Smardz Frost, Annette Hayward, Duncan Weller, Lori Saint-Martin, and Paul Gagné.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The Chair has notice of a question of privilege.

The hon. member for Westmount—Ville-Marie.

Hon. member for Westmount—Ville-MariePrivilegeOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I wish to inform you that I will be resigning from my position as the member for Westmount—Ville-Marie effective January 25, 2008. I want to officially thank my electors who voted me in five times.

I entered politics almost 18 years ago: first in 1989 as the member for Chambly in the National Assembly of Quebec, and then in 1995 as the federal member for the riding of Saint-Henri—Westmount, as it was called at the time.

Often being a politician is a thankless job, but it can be extremely rewarding when we succeed in serving our constituents.

I must admit that I was privileged in my political career to have six different leaders, including four prime ministers, believe in me and I want to take this opportunity to thank them: the late Robert Bourassa, Daniel Johnson, Jean Chrétien, the hon. member for LaSalle—Émard, Bill Graham and the leader of the official opposition, the hon. member for Saint-Laurent—Cartierville.

Throughout the years I worked wholeheartedly and I would like to think I have shown that it is possible to be in politics and stay true to one's self, by staying true to one's values, by being loyal and honest and maintaining a sense of duty.

I owe my success in this career to the great people around me: to the volunteers in my political party and my association, to Simon Potter, the late Hans Fluehler, and Brigitte Garceau; the staff in my constituency office under the direction of Nathalie Dallaire and the staff in my political offices led by Marc Saint-Pierre, Marie-José Reid and Yves Lemire. I have also worked with public service officials of the highest quality and I want to thank them.

None of this would have been possible without the love of my friends and the unfailing support of my life partner, Christian, who was there with me through all the ups and downs of political life.

I leave today with a sense of accomplishment, but also with high hopes for the future.

I dream of a Canada where respect and belief in the potential of every individual are the driving forces behind every government action and the inspiration for every parliamentarian.

I dream of a Canada where the children are bilingual and travel across the country and are open to the world.

I dream of a Canada where there is equal representation of men and women in Parliament.

I dream of a Canada where the partners in the federation trust one another and focus their common efforts on the best interests of the citizens.

I dream of a Canada that is an international leader in peacekeeping, the development of democracies, the respect for human rights and the preservation of this planet.

I dream of a Canada where our country's history is taught to children and new immigrants so that they come to understand that the presence of francophones throughout Canada, their attachment to their language and culture, and Quebeckers' determination to affirm their unique identity have resulted in Canada being open to cultural diversity.

And I dream of a Canada where Quebeckers take their rightful place in this country that belongs to them.

These dreams, or most of them, could become reality with the will of our political leaders.

Mr. Speaker, dear colleagues from all political parties, it has been a pleasure and an honour to work with you and to serve my country.

Hon. member for Westmount—Ville-MariePrivilegeOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Hon. member for Westmount—Ville-MariePrivilegeOral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please. The Chair has notice of a number of points of order. I will start with the hon. member for Timmins—James Bay.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, as you know, I take the veracity of the public record very seriously, and perhaps he was flustered, but the Treasury Board president did make an allegation in his response that was simply inaccurate. He claimed that the NDP had killed the public appointments commission when that is simply not the case.

We do know that the public appointments commission was set up. In fact, on January 13, the Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board said, “We will implement it because we are bound by law to implement it. We will do it as quickly as possible”.

Therefore, my point of order is to ask the President of the Treasury Board to retract his statement so that we have a clear and honest public record.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:20 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 will very quickly clarify the reference by the President of the Treasury Board. It was of course to the actions of the opposition parties that united to oppose the nomination of the chair of that body, Gwyn Morgan, a very distinguished Canadian, selected as Canadian entrepreneur of the year and was willing to serve, I believe, for $1 a year. They blocked that appointment, which is why this commission has not proceeded.

They need to take responsibility for their actions and that is all the President of the Treasury Board was asking them to do.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I think it is quite obvious that we are into a debate so we will not proceed with that. I do not think it is a point of order.

Tabling of a DocumentPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would request that the government House leader table in the House the document he was reading from in response to a question that I posed today. The document he was reading from was not the same document as the press release issued by the OPP.

The OPP press release neither mentioned the environment minister, let alone exonerated him. Further, that release also contained the critical words “at this time”.

Therefore, I would ask that the government House leader table that document, which none of us have seen.

Tabling of a DocumentPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:20 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 think the statements from the OPP are a matter of public record. I would be happy to obtain them, in both official languages. They do not indicate the Minister of the Environment in particular. They indicate no federal official.

I think that is the clear point that we were trying to make. I am really surprised because I thought the member was getting up to apologize finally for the smears that he continues to make.

Tabling of a DocumentPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The minister has indicated that when he has the document in both official languages we will hear from him. The document cannot be tabled until he has it in both official languages. He said that he would be getting it in both official languages and then, presumably, we will hear more. Until then, we will have to wait.

Is the hon. member for Marc-Aurèle-Fortin also rising on a point of order?

Hon. member for Westmount—Ville-MarieOral Questions

December 12th, 2007 / 3:20 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Bloc Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

No, Mr. Speaker, I did not rise on a point of order.

As I believe we informed you, I am rising to pay tribute to the member for Westmount—Ville-Marie. I thought that was what you said. I will rise on a point of order later, if I may. It is unfortunate that so many people have left, but at least the person I want to honour is still here. I would like to pay tribute to her now.

Those of us in politics do not always put on a very good show. From time to time, some politicians stand out because of the way they practise politics. Typically, they stand out because of their respect for others and the respect they inspire. That is what the member for Westmount—Ville-Marie has done and will continue to do for another month or two. The member inspires respect wherever she goes. I knew her for a short time at the National Assembly. All members, regardless of party affiliation, respected her.

When she engages in debate, she does not attack her opponent. Rather, she discusses her points of view and raises the tenor of the debate. She is the kind of person who makes politics look good and who helps us improve our reputation, which can often use improvement. I have often seen her defend her points of view with vigour and a sense of conviction. She was known for her grasp of the issues she dealt with. She has been described as studious, always well prepared, and, as I said before, always very respectful.

The meanest thing I ever heard her say—actually, I read about it because I was not there at the time—while she was a minister in the National Assembly was this: one of her opponents asked her a question. He was outraged and insisted on his point of view. When he asked the speaker if he had been dreaming, she rose calmly to tell the speaker that if the member had been dreaming, then he must have been asleep. That is one for the books. It should be kept in mind because it may apply to some of my colleagues one day. That is an example of her sense of humour. Her approach to debate was never mean-spirited and was always respectful of others.

She has a number of degrees, including an MBA. Yet she worked as social worker and thus, for her, politics was an extension of her commitment to the public and, as she constantly demonstrates, to people, the poorest members of society and those who deserve to be defended. She also speaks several languages. Not only does she speak excellent French, which is only natural, since she is a former education minister, but she speaks excellent English. She speaks Hebrew as well. I have seen her speak off the cuff in Hebrew, and I did not understand anything, but what she said was very well received.

I am convinced that she will continue to help people. During her long career, she has been responsible for a series of departments. First, in the National Assembly, she was Minister of Cultural Affairs, Minister of Higher Education and Science, Minister of Education for more than two years, and Minister of Health and Social Services. She worked in the departments that were most important both to public service and to the quality of education.

I did not get to know her until the very end of her time in the National Assembly, when I was elected in a byelection. She began sitting here in the House of Commons in 1995. During her 12 years in the federal government, she was responsible for the federal campaign during the Quebec referendum, and she served as Minister of Labour, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Minister of Multiculturalism and Citizenship and Minister of Communications. She was also President of the Treasury Board for four years and Minister responsible for Infrastructure for three years. In addition, she served as Minister responsible for Crown Corporations, Minister of Industry, Minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, President of the Privy Council, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development.

In fact, she has had an extremely well-rounded career. I know she is leaving, and I do not know what she is going to do from now on. I wish her every success in her future endeavours. I may not know what she plans to do, but I do know one thing: wherever life takes her, she will be serving the public. I extend my best wishes not only to this person whom I respect and who is leaving us, but also to the people she will be helping.

Hon. member for Westmount—Ville-MarieOral Questions

3:25 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to join my colleagues in wishing the member for Westmount—Ville-Marie all the very best in her future endeavours. I have had the honour and the pleasure of knowing her since she first arrived on the political scene. At the time, I was the president of the Office des professions du Québec. As a senior executive—the president of an agency in my case—you learn to recognize various types of individuals, the different abilities of ministers, at the upper levels of the public service. Whether at the provincial or the federal level, you quickly come to know the ministers. In all sincerity, I have never known an individual who has elicited such admiration and respect from all senior officials as the member for Westmount—Ville-Marie.

It was her trademark that she always had an in-depth knowledge of her files. It was a point of honour for her to know them even better than the officials who were to brief her on the various issues she had to deal with.

She left her mark as the minister of education. At the time we belonged to the same political party and people were surprised and somewhat saddened to see her leave and come to this House. Having followed her career, I can say that she embodies the best of Quebec politics and Canadian politics.

The community that she will continue to represent for a few more weeks is very diversified. Her understanding of that community is a reflection of what is best about this parliamentary institution. As my colleague just stated, not only does she speak both of Canada's official languages but, to my great surprise, one evening I also had the privilege of hearing her speak in Hebrew, a language that she learned while working in a kibbutz some years ago.

That is what she is all about. She is an extremely generous individual who is very open to others. She represents the best of Canada and Quebec. Through you, Mr. Speaker, I wish to express all my admiration, respect and friendship. Quite simply, I wish you good luck in your future endeavours, Lucienne.

Hon. member for Westmount—Ville-MarieOral Questions

3:30 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, like the other members, I would like to share fond memories I have of our colleague. We both sat in the Quebec National Assembly, and we both served in the cabinet of the late Robert Bourassa.

A few moments ago I heard her say that she had brought to political life the same values she espoused throughout her professional career. These values are what have always defined her. I have watched her lead an extraordinary political career, and she is leaving politics with the same values she held during that time. That is to her credit.

It was a great pleasure to meet with her when she was Minister of Higher Education to ask for more funding for a school or even an expansion in my riding. She was always generous with public funds in that regard. Obviously, I never had the chance to thank her for these things, and I am doing so today.

She is a courageous woman, a woman of conviction. On both a personal and a professional level, she sincerely believes that Quebec belongs in Canada. She is one of the great women of the Liberal Party of Quebec, one of the great women of Canada, and one of the greatest women this House has ever seen.

I call her my friend Lucienne. I wish you continued success, Lucienne; good luck in the journey ahead.

Hon. member for Westmount—Ville-MarieOral Questions

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Liberal Party, I would like to express my fondness for our hon. colleague from Westmount—Ville-Marie. I have tremendous respect for her and hold her in the highest esteem. She has devoted her entire career to the service of the public, as a committed social worker and public trustee in Quebec, as a member of the Quebec National Assembly and the House of Commons, as a provincial and a federal minister in many important departments, and finally, as deputy leader of our party.

No one in this House can question her dedication to the public good or her political judgment. Whether it was about reforming Quebec's cultural policy, pay equity in the public service, education or economic development, she has made an immense contribution to Canada.

If I may, I would like to continue in my mother tongue.

Canada is a better place because of her public service.

We will miss her. We will especially miss her political wisdom, her laugh and her wonderful sense of humour.

In conclusion, I think the finest tribute I can pay my dear colleague and friend is to say that when she finished reading her statement a few minutes ago, a colleague of hers came up to me and whispered, “What a loss. What a loss to our party.”

We want to thank her for her service. We want to thank her for her friendship and her devotion. We wish her bonne route.

Hon. member for Westmount—Ville-MarieOral Questions

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

On behalf of all hon. members, I thank the hon. member for Westmount—Ville-Marie for her exceptional service to this House, for the friendships she forged with all the members—for so many members conveyed their good wishes—as well as for her final speech here today.

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:35 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, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to 11 petitions.

Interparliamentary DelegationsRoutine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

Bob Mills Conservative Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1), I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian delegation of the Canada-China Legislative Association respecting the co-chair visit to Hong Kong, China, on August 18.

Interparliamentary DelegationsRoutine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Liberal

Bryon Wilfert Liberal Richmond Hill, ON

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1), I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the report of the joint Canadian delegation of the Canada-Japan Inter-Parliamentary Group and the Canada-China Legislative Association, representing its participation at the 28th General Assembly of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, from August 18 to 24.

Pursuant to Standing Order 34(1), I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian delegation of the Canada-Japan Inter-Parliamentary Group representing its participation at the third General Assembly of Interparliamentarians for Social Service held in Seoul, Korea, from August 22 to 25.

Procedure and House AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

Gary Goodyear Conservative Cambridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the seventh report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs regarding its order of reference of November 16. Your committee has considered Bill C-18, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act (verification of residence) and reports the bill without amendments.

Official LanguagesCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the second report of the Standing Committee on Official Languages. This report is on the protection of language rights under the court challenges program.

Agriculture and Agri-FoodCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the first report of the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food.

The report is in regard to our study into the beef and pork sector income crisis and makes our recommendations to the minister.

International TradeCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

Lee Richardson Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present today, in both official languages, the second report of the Standing Committee on International Trade, entitled “Building Closer Economic Ties Around the World: Improving Canada's Trade and Investment Relations with Arab States, the EU and Southeast Asia”.

Natural ResourcesCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Conservative

Leon Benoit Conservative Vegreville—Wainwright, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the first report of the Standing Committee on Natural Resources.

In accordance with its order of reference of Tuesday, October 30, your committee has considered Bill C-5, An Act respecting civil liability and compensation for damage in case of a nuclear incident, and agreed on Tuesday, December 11, to report it without amendments.