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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

2:05 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 Cambridge.

[Members sang the national anthem]

Canadian Pacific RailwayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Gary Goodyear Conservative Cambridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, CP Rail's plans to build a bargain basement rail yard will bring dangerous road blockages, more noise, air pollution and an increased risk of environmental damage to the sensitive Nith River in my riding.

CP's flat out refusal to live up to its corporate and social responsibilities to mitigate any possible dangers to residents and the environment has residents concerned, and with good reason.

After meeting with senior representatives from CP, it is clear that the situation has not changed, as CP representatives simply regurgitate the same corporate line: we are within the law and that is the only place we have to be.

One would think CP would choose voluntarily to adopt a higher threshold of corporate responsibility, as so many other good corporations have done in Canada.

I encourage all members to hold CP accountable to a higher standard than it is willing to hold itself. Being railroaded in Canada continues and it will come to a town near you soon.

Celtic Colours International FestivalStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Eyking Liberal Sydney—Victoria, NS

Mr. Speaker, Cape Breton has once again been recognized for its national award-winning entertainment. The Celtic Colours International Festival took home a great honour from the Tourism Industry Association of Canada.

The Celtic Colours International Festival was named the event of the year at a gala during Canada's leadership summit in Victoria, B.C. Held each fall throughout Cape Breton, the nine day festival of Celtic music and the beautiful fall colours attract over 7,000 visitors to Cape Breton each year.

The awards for tourism excellence, presented by The Globe and Mail, were developed in 2003 by the Tourism Industry Association of Canada, which is a private sector advocate for Canada's $67 billion tourist industry.

Celtic Colours is a leader in tourism excellence and a shining example of what Cape Breton Island has to offer.

Mr. Speaker, if you have not been to Celtic Colours, I encourage you, along with all the members of the House, to partake in Canada's Celtic heritage.

Again, the member for Cape Breton—Canso and I offer our congratulations to the performers and volunteers of Celtic Colours on winning this prestigious award.

O'Connor ReportStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Meili Faille Bloc Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, a year ago, the Commission of Inquiry into the Actions of Canadian Officials in Relation to Maher Arar released its second report, entitled, “A New Review Mechanism for the RCMP's National Security Activities”.

Commissioner Dennis O'Connor came up with a series of recommendations for a new approach to reviewing the RCMP's national security activities. One year later, no significant progress has been made in implementing these important recommendations or developing an action plan for improving the review of national security activities.

The Conservative government is clearly lacking leadership in this area, as in many others, especially when we see how reckless it is about ensuring that the most basic rights are respected. We should be doing everything in our power to avoid another Arar affair, but the Conservatives are sitting around doing nothing about these fundamental issues.

Women At RiskStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the NDP, I express our deep sympathy to and support for the families, friends and communities of Vancouver's missing women. They have suffered terrible losses and a long, arduous trial.

Many troubling issues remain. Why did so many women go missing? Why are sex workers in particular at such great risk? Why are these women disproportionately aboriginal?

The verdict for these women must compel us to act, to seek answers and to make changes that will minimize the risk and harm that sex workers face.

In memory of all the women who have gone missing across Canada, we demand action from the government to repeal harmful laws, improve police training, and ensure basic human rights are met, such as affordable housing, a living wage, social supports, and an end to poverty and violence.

We call for a public inquiry into the policing issues surrounding the missing women. No person in our society should experience the danger and harm that these women faced.

Changes must be made at every level so that the women who are at risk today will not be at risk tomorrow.

Government PoliciesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Larry Miller Conservative Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, ON

Mr. Speaker, the House will be rising soon and members of Parliament will be heading back to our ridings and families. I think it is time to reflect on the accomplishments of the House over the past few months.

We started the new session with a Speech from the Throne that set a new long term direction for the government.

Together we passed an economic update that gives billions back to Canadians and reduces our debt by historic margins.

We also brought in the tackling violent crime act, a tough new bill that will make streets safer for our children.

We brought in a series of amendments to the Canada Elections Act to expand voter opportunities.

We have tabled legislation that would see senators elected and therefore more accountable to Canadians.

No doubt there is still much more to be done, but for the next few weeks, I think all of us, members of Parliament and senators, should be proud of the job we have done in our respective Houses.

For all of my colleagues, to you, Mr. Speaker, and for all of our staff and all of our constituents, merry Christmas, happy holidays, and a safe, prosperous and happy new year.

Youth in PhilanthropyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Maria Minna Liberal Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, on November 15 two special young people received a very prestigious award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals, when the Greater Toronto Area Chapter held its 2007 National Philanthropy Day Awards luncheon, witnessed by 1,300 people.

Sophia and Sanjay Sugumar were awarded the Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy award for their voluntary donation of $2,033.05 to the Rouge Valley Centenary Hospital, where they were born. In October 2006, the brother and sister donated all of their piggy bank contents in an effort to give back to the community. They went on to raise another $10,000 in a walkathon.

The dollar value of a philanthropic donation is not the criteria for recognition. What matters are the motivation, passion, discipline and commitment of the donor, which need to be celebrated.

Sanjay and Sofia say they have a simple recipe for fundraising success: hard work, determination, dedication, and a passion for the cause.

These young people can inspire people of all ages to volunteer, raise money for worthy causes and give back to their communities. Their dedication and hard work is to be commended.

Golden JubileeStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Rahim Jaffer Conservative Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow, Ismaili Muslims in Canada and around the world will congregate in prayer, feast and dance. They will be celebrating the birthday of their current imam, His Highness the Aga Khan.

This year is even more special as the community is celebrating the golden jubilee, which is 50 years of service of the Aga Khan to his community and the world. Our Conservative government is proud to join the worldwide Ismaili community in marking this celebration.

Earlier this week, the Secretary of State for Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity sent out a video greeting to the Ismaili community, a first, I believe, for a government minister.

In addition, our government is proud to be supporting the Global Centre for Pluralism, which will draw on a wellspring of Canada's experience. This initiative builds on the pioneering work of previous Conservative governments, culminating in the passage of the Multiculturalism Act in 1988.

Today I know I speak for all of my colleagues on the Conservative benches in wishing the worldwide Ismaili community Salgirah and Khushiali Mubarak.

Laurent McCutcheonStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Raymond Gravel Bloc Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate Laurent McCutcheon, president of Gai Écoute and the Fondation Émergence, who has been rewarded for his achievements and his tremendous contribution to improving the lives of homosexuals. Mr. McCutcheon was awarded the 2007 rights and freedoms prize. This prestigious prize is awarded annually by Quebec's human rights and youth rights commission to a person, group or organization having demonstrated outstanding dedication in the field of human rights and freedoms.

This award highlights Laurent McCutcheon's 25 years of dedication to Gai Écoute. He understands the challenges related to homosexuality and has fought many a battle. His dedication and leadership have long been recognized by Quebec's gay and lesbian community and by Quebec society.

My Bloc Québécois colleagues and I would like to congratulate Mr. McCutcheon on receiving the rights and freedoms prize. Keep up the good work, Mr. McCutcheon.

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Luc Harvey Conservative Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, the hypocrisy of the Bloc Québécois knows no borders. The Bloc does not want China, India and the United States, although they are the world's largest emitters, to have greenhouse gas emissions targets.

As Quebec's environment minister said: “we believe that mandatory targets must be imposed upon everyone, and that is, yes, countries must participate in the fight against climate change, including the United States and emerging economies like China and India”.

The Bloc knows that we deliver on everything we say. We committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020 and by 60 to 70% by 2050. Once again, while the opposition prefers to complain and live in the past, we are putting our words into actions by showing leadership in order to protect our environment.

I would also like to take this opportunity to extend my sincere wishes for a happy holiday season to everyone.

Antoine HakimStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate Dr. Antoine Hakim, a distinguished member of the faculty of the University of Ottawa, on being invested into the Order of Canada on October 26, 2007. Professor Hakim is recognized for his tireless work to increase public and scientific awareness of cerebrovascular disease. He is an internationally respected scientist whose research has influenced treatment strategies for stroke victims in Canada and around the world.

He has also received the highest distinction from the American Stroke Association for his work. In addition to conducting research, Dr. Hakim has been the catalyst for the development of the Canadian Stroke Network, the Heart and Stroke Foundation Centre for Stroke Recovery and the Ottawa Stroke Consortium for Applied Research.

On behalf of the residents of Ottawa—Vanier, where Dr. Hakim lives, and on behalf of my colleagues, I thank and congratulate Dr. Hakim for his unstinting and dedicated work.

Federal Accountability ActStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, today marks the one year anniversary of the Federal Accountability Act, the toughest anti-corruption law in Canadian history.

Following years of Liberal theft and corruption, the act expands access to information to 20 additional organizations, outlaws big money and corporate cash from politics, and bans ministers and their staff from lobbying for five years.

Liberals want us to believe that all politicians are just as corrupt as they are, so they howl about an appointment for Terry Kilrea that was never made, or about election financing practices that they themselves have used for decades, or, worst of all, they dredge up supposed events that happened five prime ministers ago when I was only 13 years old, attending a grade nine dance, listening to Achy Breaky Heart which topped the charts at that time.

2008 is coming and Canadians can celebrate that accountability is now the law.

HomelessnessStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Catherine Bell NDP Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, with a high today of four degrees, a low of minus one and a chance of rain turning to snow tonight, it is normal weather for the Comox Valley this time of year. It is winter after all, no worries unless one is homeless.

If people are homeless in the Comox Valley, they are making do the same as the homeless elsewhere. If there is room in the local 17-bed shelter, people may be using one of three shelter nights allowed per month. They may be couch surfing, sleeping in the car or sleeping in a tent provided by the Salvation Army.

Affordable housing is scarce and the competition for what does exist is fierce.

There are over 10,500 homeless people in B.C. today, according to a recent survey of 60 B.C. cities by the B.C. NDP homelessness critic, proving that homelessness is not just a bit city problem.

A 0.5% vacancy rate in Courtenay means that people spend far too much of their income on rent for unsafe and unhealthy living conditions and many are left out in the cold, literally.

When will the government recognize the housing crisis in this country and adopt a national housing strategy and show it values all its citizens enough to ensure that they can live in dignity and be nurtured in the emotional and physical safety provided by a home?

Religious FreedomStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, religious freedom is under attack in many countries around the world.

Countless Iraqi Christians have been driven out of their country and many of these refugees have been approved for sponsorship to Canada.

The minister refuses to meet with their Canadian sponsors or offer any assistance. The member for Etobicoke North and I have tried countless times to secure a meeting with the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration or her officials to work toward a solution. We have been stonewalled every time.

I call upon the minister to go and see for herself the suffering of Iraqi Christians who have had to flee to Jordan and Syria.

Local families and community groups are ready and able to sponsor these true refugees but, sadly, many of these applications are stalled as the minority Conservative government is turning its back on these very individuals.

The rest of the world is helping and Canada just watches.

I have raised this issue in the House before and I will continue to raise it until the government commits to helping the victims of religious persecution in Iraq and around the world.

What does this minister have against Christians?

Bill C-411Statements By Members

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Vincent Bloc Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, today members will vote on Bill C-411 on anti-dumping, at second reading. The Bloc Québécois is seeking the support of all members in order to help the Quebec manufacturing sector.

This bill will give the Canada Border Services Agency the tools needed to determine whether or not emerging countries are dumping goods. It provides for anti-dumping measures similar to those adopted by the European Union and the United States. I hope that this bill will pass the second reading stage and be sent to the Standing Committee on International Trade.

Our businesses will no longer be required to submit to incomplete investigations that do not protect them from dumping. Time is of the essence: 84,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost in Quebec since the Conservatives came to power. Passage of Bill C-411 is the opportunity to breathe new life into Quebec industries.

Pork IndustryStatements By Members

December 12th, 2007 / 2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, leadership is about acting with solutions in times of crisis, but the government is failing dismally to show leadership to the Canadian hog industry in its time of need.

Past governments have acted with action and resolve in times of commodity crises and yet the present government sits on surpluses and dances away from solid solutions proposed by Canada's pork industry.

Canada's hog producers are in serious trouble. Families are suffering, communities are jeopardized and we are losing an industry.

Every day efficient producers exit, gone forever, financially ruined. For what? For having provided food to Canadians and meeting Canada's export needs. Canada's hog industry has lived up to its responsibility. It is time the government lived up to its responsibility.

Every day counts. I call upon the government to act with financial assistance and long term security for Canada's hog producers, now, immediately, forthwith.

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

David Sweet Conservative Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to hypocrisy on climate change, the Liberal Party cannot be beat.

In recognition of its complete failure over 13 years to fight climate change, we continue awarding a special Liberal with the hypocrite of the day award during the course of the current United Nations conference on climate change.

Wait for it. Today's winner is none other than that Liberal leader himself who said, “I never, never will speak against my government when I am with international personalities”.

The Liberal leader even went on further and said that to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality, “the Canadian government must first negotiate with its American neighbour”.

When it comes to the environment, it is clear that the Liberal leader flips and flops. After four failed climate change plans and a lot of talk, the Liberal leader allowed greenhouse gases to skyrocket.

When it comes to fighting climate change on the world stage, only one party is serious about getting things down, and that is the Conservative Party of Canada.

Chalk River Nuclear FacilitiesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, last night, the House had to clean up the government's mess and pull us back from a medical catastrophe. However, Parliament should never have had to deal with this situation in the first place.

Government negligence, pure and simple, landed us in this mess. We have a 50 year old facility in Chalk River, no functioning backup reactor and no guarantee that we will not run out of medical isotopes again.

When will the government get our nuclear house in order?

Chalk River Nuclear FacilitiesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member, I hope, knows, Atomic Energy of Canada Limited and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission are both agencies completely independent of the government. I think it is ridiculous that the government can only resolve an escalating dispute between those two agencies by actually coming to Parliament and passing a law.

However, this is an interesting question coming from a leader and a party that, as late as yesterday afternoon, was saying that the government should simply sit back and let Ms. Keen and the commission resolve this in their own good time.

Chalk River Nuclear FacilitiesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister well knows that this side of the House did its duty last night.

Since the Chalk River reactor will now be restarted, can the Minister of Health guarantee that Canadian patients will be the first to benefit from the isotopes produced, before the international markets are supplied?

Would the minister guarantee that worried Canadians will not be waiting in line for isotopes while other foreign contracts for AECL are fulfilled?

Chalk River Nuclear FacilitiesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Health and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

Mr. Speaker, as I said last night, each hospital and each clinic has a contract that is sometimes with Nordion, AECL or with another supplier. Those contracts would be honoured.

At this time in the House, I want to give our thanks to the medical oncologists and the nuclear medicine specialists who have worked day and night across this country to ensure this particular situation did not create a medical crisis. I think they deserve all of our applause for doing so.

Chalk River Nuclear FacilitiesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, for 17 months, the Chalk River facilities were being run in violation of the licence. The backup reactor does not work. The operator let Canadians down; this government let Canadians down.

Since the minister failed to do his job, will the government immediately ask the Auditor General to conduct an inquiry?

Chalk River Nuclear FacilitiesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the government is ensuring this situation gets resolved. We have been working intensively with Atomic Energy of Canada and with others over the past several days to ensure this gets resolved. I can certainly assure the House that when this is all behind us, the government will carefully examine the role of all actors in this incident and ensure that accountability is appropriately restored.

Chalk River Nuclear FacilitiesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Omar Alghabra Liberal Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Mr. Speaker, last night, the House of Commons reluctantly passed an unprecedented law to cover for the incompetence of the Conservative government.

The situation in Chalk River turned into a crisis after a year and a half of inaction. The government should have been aware of the potential impact by the nuclear reactor shutdown by AECL.

I hope the minister responds to this question with sincerity and transparency. What concrete measures is the government taking to hold AECL accountable to Canadians and to parliamentarians?

Chalk River Nuclear FacilitiesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Saanich—Gulf Islands B.C.

Conservative

Gary Lunn ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, as I have said before in this House, our first and foremost priority was the resumption of the production of medical isotopes and the first steps were taken last night. Immediately upon learning of the situation, we took extraordinary measures.

As the Prime Minister has just stated, we will ensure on this side of the House that there is full accountability for all the players involved in this.