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House of Commons Hansard #37 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-31.

Topics

Book on Quebeckers of Haitian OriginStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Vivian Barbot Bloc Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, I had the honour to attend the official launch of a book edited by Dr. Samuel Pierre for the Association des ingénieurs et scientifiques haïtiano-canadiens (AIHC), entitled Ces Québécois venus d'Haïti, Contribution de la communauté haïtienne à l'édification du Québec moderne.

This book takes the reader through the past 40 years of Quebec's history, telling the stories of 52 Quebeckers of Haitian origin. It is a touching tribute to these men and women who have formed close ties to our society. It is also a source of inspiration for younger generations and offers them models of determination, perseverance and excellence that encourage a positive outlook on the future.

My Bloc Québécois colleagues and I are happy to highlight the contribution of the AIHC and of all those whose time and energy went into the production of this unique book, which tells how members of the Haitian community have integrated into and contributed to Quebec society.

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, immoral, dishonest, misleading; surprisingly, those are not the words of committee members delving into the Mulroney-Schreiber affair. They are the words of the international community as it condemns Canada's refusal to commit to deep emissions reductions to fight global warming.

This week marked the 10th anniversary of the Kyoto protocol. World leaders are gathered in Bali trying to negotiate a global agreement on the second post-Kyoto phase. Why? Because, as UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has pointed out, climate change is the biggest challenge to humanity in the 21st century.

However, under the stewardship of successive Liberal and Conservative governments, Canada's greenhouse gases are now almost 33% above Canada's Kyoto target. We should be with the leaders of the world, not the laggards.

It is an abdication of leadership to suggest that the world can only sign a climate deal if the U.S. does. Canadians expect the Prime Minister to act in our interest, not in the interest of George Bush.

While climate change has been rapid, it is devastating that Canada's response is not.

Female Elected OfficialsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Cheryl Gallant Conservative Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, congratulations are in order for Killaloe, Hagarty and Richards Township Mayor Janice Visneskie on her recent acclamation to a second term as warden of Renfrew County.

Long before it became politically correct to demand gender equality among politicians, the smart voters of Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke recognized the benefit of balanced representation to lead their local government.

As the first female elected to upper level government, I am joined by Warden Janice Visneskie, Mayor Ann Aikens of the Town of Deep River, Mayor Sandi Heins of the Town of Renfrew, Mayor Mary Campbell of McNab/Braeside Township, Mayor Raye-Ann Briscoe of Admaston/Bromley Township, Head, Clara and Maria Township Reeve Tammy Sonnenburg, and Town of Renfrew Reeve Audrey Green.

There is no higher calling than an elected office. I congratulate citizens of both genders who answer that call.

I look forward to working with Warden Visneskie and all members of councils in Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke as we work together to improve the lives of our fellow citizens.

Joseph ZatzmanStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, the remarkable life of Joseph Zatzman ended this week. He was 95.

Born in St. John, he chose the community of Dartmouth as his adopted home. He opened a grocery store on Portland Street, moved into real estate, and became one of Nova Scotia's most significant landlords, most admired business people and prominent public citizens.

He was elected to town council and in 1963 was elected mayor of Dartmouth. He is our only Jewish mayor and is widely regarded as one of the best mayors in Dartmouth's proud history.

His most significant achievement, and also the most significant in Dartmouth's development, was his leadership in the birth and growth of Burnside Industrial Park. It was his project, his success and his legacy.

His post-mayoralty life continued to be one of achievement and recognition.

Although he lost some zeal for life after the death of his beloved Leah, he continued to be one of our most respected and beloved citizens until his death this week.

Our whole community feels his loss. To his family, including my friend, his son Michael, we offer our condolences on the loss of a man whose beliefs were simple--faith, family, and community--but whose achievements were remarkable.

LebanonStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Conservative Calgary East, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday in Beirut an explosion killed Lebanese Brigadier General Francois al-Hajj and a number of other people. Canada strongly condemns this new terrorist attack, which comes at a time when Lebanon is putting forth considerable effort to find a political solution to the current crisis.

Canada sends its condolences to the families of the victims and to the people of Lebanon.

We also reiterate our firmest support for Prime Minister Fuad Siniora and his government.

This attack against the stability and democracy of Lebanon must not weaken the resolve of the Lebanese people to resist those who seek to destabilize their country.

Those who committed this act of violence and those who support them must be brought to justice.

Minister of Public Works and Government ServicesStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Thierry St-Cyr Bloc Jeanne-Le Ber, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Public Works finally announced on December 10, 2007, the federal government's contribution for the relocation of the Montreal planetarium to the Rio site.

During the press conference, the unelected minister put on a shameful display of partisanship unworthy of his position. Indeed, although the host of the event had planned to invite the federal representatives from east Montreal, the unelected minister apparently objected, despite the fact that these federal representatives joined forces to complete the project.

Furthermore, this unelected minister, showing absolute pettiness and a complete lack of ethics, took it upon himself to invite and introduce Conservative candidates from Montreal Island, emphasizing that they would likely be his future colleagues in the House of Commons.

Coming from someone who was not elected, this contempt for the democratic process is not only unacceptable, but I think it is safe to bet that Montrealers will not soon forget it.

Government PoliciesStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Komarnicki Conservative Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, what a refreshing change it is from a previous government that was full of talk and no action to a government that gets things done. We are a government that speaks and takes action, and that promises, then delivers.

Let us have a look at what the government has accomplished and what it has delivered. We have reduced the GST from 7% to 6% to 5%.

We have reduced the lowest personal income tax rate to 15%. We have increased the amount Canadians can earn before paying income tax to $9,600.

We have delivered $100 per month to parents for each and every child under six years of age.

We have reduced the national debt by $37 billion, with interest savings used to further reduce taxes.

When it comes to protecting our streets, the government has delivered by introducing sweeping reforms on the justice front.

After having listed a number of initiatives that will put more dollars than ever before in the pockets of all Canadians, I would like to wish all members of the House, and indeed all Canadians, a very merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous new year.

Dunlap ObservatoryStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Bryon Wilfert Liberal Richmond Hill, ON

Mr. Speaker, the David Dunlap Observatory opened in 1935 on land donated in trust to the University of Toronto by the widow of astronomy supporter David Dunlap. Under the terms of the trust, the Dunlap heirs would regain ownership of the university facility if it closed.

The University of Toronto recently announced that it will declare the observatory surplus and put it up for sale.

I believe that this is such an important historic site because it is the largest observatory east of the Rocky Mountains and it is where the first black hole was discovered in 1972 by astronomer Thomas Bolton.

It is unfortunate that at this time it will be the highest bidder who will control that particular property.

I have spoken with and urged the Government of Canada to consider creating a large national urban park that would be the first of its kind in the greater Toronto area. I believe that all orders of government should participate in support of this. I believe the residents of Richmond Hill want to maintain this great jewel, not only for the people of Richmond Hill, but for Canada.

Bloc QuébécoisStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Conservative Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois is like Santa Claus. The story is that he is the one who makes and delivers the gifts, but we know that is not what really happens.

People can write letters to Santa Claus, but at the end of the day, it is our government that has the means to take action, to keep its word and to deliver the goods.

The Bloc Québécois has introduced 242 private members' bills, but has managed to get just two private members' bills passed and that was just to change the names of two ridings. If the Bloc was truly Santa Claus, then Quebec families would be disappointed with their gifts this year.

For every issue, the Bloc has a solution. The only problem—and it is a huge problem—is that they are stuck in the opposition benches and cannot implement their solutions.

Those who do not have the responsibility that comes with being in power can say or ask for anything they want. Our government is proud to act in the interest of Quebec and Canadians where the Bloc simply cannot.

Government PoliciesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Catherine Bell NDP Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker: the softwood lumber sellout, which increased raw log exports, the rapid expansion of the tar sands so we can pipe bitumen to the U.S., the deregulation of air traffic safety, and the introduction of security certificates. I could on about all the shameful ways in which the Conservative government is harmonizing Canada's trade, safety and environmental policies with George Bush's United States.

Canadians know that the introduction of these measures will have long-lasting negative impacts on our jobs, our communities and our sovereignty. Under the Security and Prosperity Partnership, Canada will have less and less ability to adopt independent and sustainable economic, social, cultural and environmental policies.

In the long run, this could have a lethal effect on Canadian public programs such as universal health care and public education.

As members of Parliament, we are each privileged to represent a portion of this country, but we also have a duty to protect it. I see it as my duty to do all I can to stop the SPP from going any further.

Universal Declaration of Human RightsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Mario Silva Liberal Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, 2008 marks the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has called on all countries to mark this anniversary by renewing their commitment to human rights throughout the world.

Let this task start first and foremost with the United Nations itself, which needs to deal with pressing issues like Darfur and genocide.

The often repeated one-sided resolutions against Israel to the exclusion of all others, such as Iran, undermine the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council, as well as diminish the UN's credibility, and this ultimately hurts the noble goal of universal human rights.

We need to all join in echoing the words of the UN Secretary-General when he says that countries should “promote the Declaration's ideals and principles of justice and equality for everyone”.

If universal human rights are to be enjoyed by all, then we must all do our part.

Bill C-482Statements By Members

December 13th, 2007 / 2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, last November I tabled Bill C-482 to amend the Official Languages Act. The amendments proposed by the Bloc Québécois would require the federal government to recognize Quebec's Charter of the French Language.

Yesterday, at the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, this bill was deemed votable by everyone except the Conservatives. Those who boast constantly about having recognized the Quebec nation refuse to even vote on a fundamental aspect of this very nation: the French language.

The Conservatives attempted to impede debate on the primacy of the French language by citing false constitutional arguments. In one fell swoop they clearly demonstrated that the motion adopted by this House on the Quebec nation is nothing but empty words and that the recognition is meaningless.

Recognition of the Quebec nation means respecting the primacy of Bill 101 in Quebec.

PovertyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Tina Keeper Liberal Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, across my constituency of Churchill, and indeed the entire country, Canadians are united in their demands for immediate action to address poverty in this country.

The 30-50 plan recently unveiled by the Liberal leader will reduce the number of Canadians living below the poverty line by at least 30% and, more importantly, will cut the number of children living in poverty by half within five years.

It will improve the child tax benefit, help lift vulnerable seniors out of poverty by increasing the guaranteed income supplement, and create a “making work pay benefit” to lower the welfare wall and encourage personal success and independence.

When implemented, this approach will then, and only then, set Canada back on track toward a fair and just society.

United Nations Conference on Climate ChangeStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Joe Preston Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to flip-flopping on climate change, the Liberal Party cannot escape the truth. In recognition of the Liberals' complete failure over 13 years to fight climate change, we are happy to continue awarding a special Liberal with the flip-flop of the day during the course of the current United Nations Conference on Climate Change taking place in Indonesia.

Today's award goes to Bob Rae, who said on November 2, 1979, “In my opinion, if we look at the record, the most hypocrites in this House are in the Liberal Party of Canada”.

Bob Rae also said on November 30, 1979, “It is amazing how the Liberal party at moments of convenience, and when they are looking for a policy and looking for a leader, suddenly latch on to an issue about which they have no coherent point of view at all”.

Bob Rae concluded by saying on July 10, 1980, “Nothing embarrasses the Liberals because they do not know the meaning of shame. They are without shame; they are shameless”.

This government could not agree more.

United Nations Conference on Climate ChangeStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Milliken Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Order, please.

Pursuant to order made this morning, the House will adjourn this afternoon for the Christmas holidays.

I wish to advise hon. members that, as is the custom, I will be hosting a reception following private members' hour, whenever that might occur, in Room 216, to which all hon. members are invited.

Chalk River Nuclear FacilitiesOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, on Tuesday in this House, the Minister of Health said that a two or three day delay in the production of isotopes would affect more than 200,000 patients around the world.

Can the Minister of Health explain why his colleague, the Minister of Natural Resources, waited two days before informing him of the impending crisis? He waited two days and put 200,000 patients at risk.

Chalk River Nuclear FacilitiesOral Questions

2:15 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, of course when the government was informed of this situation, we took vigorous action to ensure the health and safety of Canadians.

When we heard about the situation at AECL being an unscheduled, prolonged shutdown, this government acted. We contacted over 800 hospitals and institutions. We ensured that triaging was taking place in the health care system.

This, we believe, has helped divert catastrophe until such time as the reactor will fire up and will deliver much needed isotopes for Canadians and for the rest of the world.

Chalk River Nuclear FacilitiesOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, one minister is not talking to the other. The same minister admitted that he only learned of the crisis two days after the Minister of Natural Resources. We are talking two days and 210,000 patients put in danger.

The left hand of the government does not know what the right hand is doing. Why did it take 48 hours for one minister to talk to the other in the middle of a national crisis?

Chalk River Nuclear FacilitiesOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I think the testimony on Bill C-38 indicates that this government and the ministers acted as quickly as possible upon learning the information.

The real question is why the deputy leader of the opposition does not listen to himself. He says this was a crisis, but as late as this Tuesday afternoon, he was still insisting the government should defer to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, to Ms. Keen, and not act at all. That is the position he is going to have to explain.

Chalk River Nuclear FacilitiesOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister well knows that this is entirely false. We worked in cooperation with the government to get this done.

Let me ask this. On Tuesday the Department of Justice told the nuclear regulator that it was not going to provide legal counsel on the Chalk River crisis. Why did the Minister of Justice withdraw legal services to the commission? Why did the government subvert the legal authority of the regulator? What message is the government trying to send to other federal regulators: “Watch out or we'll come after you too?”

Chalk River Nuclear FacilitiesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the opposition has it wrong again. The Department of Justice continues to offer legal services to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.

What it did suggest, with respect to the Chalk River reactor, was it might be a good idea that it engage independent legal advice, so there would be no potential or conflict of interest. It seems to be a pretty reasonable proposition.

Chalk River Nuclear FacilitiesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Omar Alghabra Liberal Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have independent advice that this is not true.

My question is for the Minister of Justice. It is clear that the government has deliberately been undermining the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. Incredibly, the justice department cutoff legal advice to the regulator on Monday, just before that act was introduced.

The minister ordered his officials to stop giving legal counsel or doing any work on the Chalk River research reactor. This is a clear violation of the minister's obligations. Is it the minister's intent to kill Canada's nuclear regulator?

Chalk River Nuclear FacilitiesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, there were so many mistakes in that question I hardly know where to begin. The member is completely wrong.

Legal services continue to be provided to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. Inasmuch as there was a discussion with respect to the Chalk River reactor, the department gave the very sensible advice that it may want to contact independent legal advice with respect to that issue.

Why can those members not accept good advice?

Chalk River Nuclear FacilitiesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Omar Alghabra Liberal Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Speaking of advice, Mr. Speaker, this week the Prime Minister cowardly attempted to undermine the credibility of the nuclear safety commissioner by accusing her of being a partisan hack, and the record shows she is not.

Ironically, the Prime Minister decided to overrule an independent and credible commissioner by relying on the advice of the Durham Conservative Riding Association's vice-president.

How can anyone have confidence in Canada's nuclear safety when the Prime Minister personally makes the decision and relies on the advice of partisan hacks?

Chalk River Nuclear FacilitiesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, on Tuesday afternoon, the Liberal Party was attempting to defend the actions of Ms. Keen, which were going to put hundreds of thousands of people's health in jeopardy. That night, the Liberal Party completely abandoned Ms. Keen and passed the government's legislation. Yesterday, it continued to abandon her and passed the legislation through the Senate. Today, it is back to trying to defend the actions of Ms. Keen and the Nuclear Safety Commission.

The government's legislation has spoken clearly. It has passed. Canadians are going to get those—