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House of Commons Hansard #29 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was ports.

Topics

Budget and Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2007Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Dave Van Kesteren Conservative Chatham-Kent—Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, in defence of my hon. colleague who is going to retire this year, I want to talk about the debt just a little more because the hon. member talked about one-third, one-third and one-third. Now let me think. That is $17 billion over one year, and $465 billion, that is one-third of a thousand years. Is that what he is advocating, that we pay this debt off in one-third of 1,000 years? I would like an answer.

Budget and Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2007Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Royal Galipeau

The hon. member for Sackville--Eastern Shore has 20 seconds to respond.

Budget and Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2007Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, I am speechless. The problem is that he is too addicted to his BlackBerry and he got the figures all wrong, but if I may say, in honour of my good Dutch friend--

Budget and Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2007Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Royal Galipeau

Resuming debate, the hon. member for Scarborough--Guildwood.

Budget and Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2007Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

John McKay Liberal Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to direct the attention of hon. members to page 95 of the government's economic statement made on October 30. It is a statement of the government's priorities and it is also a statement of missed opportunities.

As members know, when the Liberals left office they left the country in pretty good shape, and the Conservatives are the happy beneficiaries of that hard work over 13 years. It is so strong in fact that it is hard for even this bunch to make a hash out of things, but government is more than just simply not making a hash out of things. It is about having a clear vision. It is about being able to anticipate political and economic challenges, so as to minimize the difficulties to citizens.

The statement starts with $60 billion worth of tax relief over five years. So far so good. It promises to reduce corporate taxes by $14 billion, a direct steal from a previous announcement made by the leader of the Liberal Party a full month before the economic statement was released.

This is really a government that did not see fit to give credit to the Liberal leader for his idea, but of course had it done so, it would have been an acknowledgement of the Liberal leader's obvious leadership qualities and his ability to project a vision for the nation.

Naturally, we in the Liberal caucus would support this particular measure, since it was ours in the first place, originally thought of by our party, and when we were in power, we started the general direction of reducing the corporate tax from 28% to where it is presently.

Budget and Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2007Government Orders

2 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Royal Galipeau

We will now have statements by members under Standing Order 31. When we return to the study of Bill C-28 after question period, there will be eight minutes left for the hon. member for Scarborough--Guildwood.

Freedom of ReligionStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Ken Epp Conservative Edmonton—Sherwood Park, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am very grateful that my grandparents chose some 85 years ago to make Canada their new home. They left the former Soviet Union because of grievous persecution, mostly because of religious beliefs. Three of my grandfather's brothers were executed at midnight just because they tried to live out their firmly held convictions of the Christian faith.

Canada is a country where citizens can choose how to believe, where there is a healthy debate, and where no one is forced to believe a certain way at threat of persecution and death.

In Canada people of all faiths are encouraged to express their views and beliefs, and to use the language of their faith which is then accepted and tolerated by all.

At this Christmas season I am happy that I can express without fear my celebration of the birth of Jesus, the son of God. Christians celebrate with great enthusiasm this pivotal event of history.

I invite all Canadians to respond in the words of the well known Christmas Carol, “Oh come, let us adore Him!”

International Day of Disabled PersonsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, the International Day of Disabled Persons was established by the world program of action concerning disabled persons and adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1982.

Each year on December 3 this day aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and generate support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities.

The day also aims to make people aware of the advantages of integrating persons with disabilities into all aspects of political, social, economic and cultural life.

A new Statistics Canada survey reveals that one out of every seven people in Canada is living with a disability. We must continue to develop policies and attitudes of acceptance, and inclusion for differently-abled Canadians.

This year the theme “Decent work for persons with disabilities” is based on the goal of full and equal enjoyment of human rights, and participation in society by persons with disabilities.

I invite hon. members and all Canadians to take a moment to reflect on what they can do to honour this day and to bring us closer to full citizenship for all Canadians.

Older WorkersStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Christian Ouellet Bloc Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, when Olymel shut down on December 22, 2005, Nicole Lachance, a 58-year-old from Magog, lost her job after 24 years of loyal service. She received employment insurance for 39 weeks, during which she took part in the targeted initiative for older workers. Despite searching for jobs and facing the fact that she was 58 years old, Ms. Lachance did not find a job. She was without income for more than a year, until she turned 60 and was eligible for Quebec pension plan benefits.

Could the Minister of Human Resources and Social Development explain to Ms. Lachance that although his government's coffers are overflowing with surplus money, much like the employment insurance fund is, he will not make an effort to implement any financial measures to support older workers? He could just admit that his Conservative government could not care less about older workers.

Climate ChangeStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, delegates representing 180 countries will gather in Bali, Indonesia, today to craft a new agreement to combat climate change following the Kyoto protocol's expiry.

To our collective embarrassment Canada will bluster from the sidelines because the government is hellbent on abdicating its leadership and will keep Canada out of step with every progressive nation on the globe.

These Conservatives mouth platitudes about family values but what a legacy they leave to Canada's children. Over the past decade the Canadian government has marginalized itself on the climate change challenge. Both this government and its Liberal predecessors violated our international obligations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The Conservative government heaps the burden for action on the world's poor while the largest per capita polluters, Canada among them, get off scot-free.

If the government was serious about engaging the developing world on climate change, the Prime Minister would not have axed the Canada climate change development fund. With all the hot air rising from members opposite, no wonder Canada's emissions continue to rise.

UkraineStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson Conservative Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, on December 1, 1991, the rebirth of the Ukrainian nation was confirmed when Ukrainians voted overwhelmingly for independence. The next day Canada recognized Ukraine as an independent state.

Our bonds extend over centuries. Ukrainian Canadians nurtured the dream of Ukrainian independence over many years. Canada has helped Ukraine on its march toward democracy. Canadians have been election observers in Ukraine since 1997, most recently in September 2007.

Since 1991 Canada has provided over $320 million in assistance to Ukraine, an amount almost matched by Ukrainian Canadians. Our ties are growing dynamically, embracing every sphere of life: political, economic, cultural and personal.

Our Prime Minister has spoken of our special kinship. This has led to Canada recognizing in the international fora the 75th anniversary of the great famine, the Holodomor, in Ukraine.

Canada will continue to work with Ukraine to build on our already warm and close relations.

AccountantsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, having been a chartered accountant for 32 years, I rise on behalf of my profession to inform the House that World Accountancy Week is being held during the week of December 2.

This week commemorates the 30th anniversary of the founding of the International Federation of Accountants, the global organization for the accountancy profession. Canada's CAs, CMAs and CGAs are founding members of this group.

World Accountancy Week honours the valuable contributions of more than 2.5 million professional accountants around the world whose work collectively and individually helps foster the integration and efficiency of international business and the capital markets. The high quality of Canadian accounting standards and practices is the foundation of Canada's reputation as an excellent place to invest and do business.

As a chartered accountant, I am proud of my profession and the important role it plays in helping Canadians prosper in a global economy.

Abolition of SlaveryStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Chong Conservative Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday marked the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery. Canada's early settlers brought slaves to Upper Canada and slavery expanded rapidly as British Loyalists brought their slaves with them.

In 1793, under Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe, Upper Canada, which is now southern Ontario, became the first jurisdiction in the British Empire to limit slavery. A few years later, in 1807, some 200 years ago, Westminster passed a bill to abolish the slave trade in what was then the British Empire. The Slave Trade Act of 1807 marked the beginning of the end of the transatlantic slave trade.

This bicentenary gives us an opportunity to remember and pay tribute, and to demand to know why in some parts of the world today forms of slavery still persist two centuries after the argument for abolition was won, an issue the member for Kildonan—St. Paul has been working on and something the Secretary of State (Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity) will mark in Toronto this December 10.

The abolition of slavery marks an important point in our nation's development as we work toward a more enlightened society.

LandminesStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Mr. Speaker, 10 years ago, Canada launched into negotiations that resulted in the ratification, here, on December 3, 1997, of the famous Ottawa Convention, or the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction.

At the time, 130 countries had inventories of almost 260 million landmines; today, 46 non-signatory countries have almost 176 million.

A great deal has been accomplished but much work remains to be done.

Negotiations are currently underway for the ratification of a treaty on cluster bombs by 2008. Many countries, including several NATO members, have already stated that they are in favour of such a treaty and have adopted measures pertaining to their use, stockpiling and sales. It is disturbing and shocking that Canada, which led the fight against anti-personnel mines, did not support the draft treaty and has not yet adopted any measures in this regard.

Is it folly to believe that it will do so before the next Vienna conference being held this week?

International Day of Disabled PersonsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

James Rajotte Conservative Edmonton—Leduc, AB

Mr. Speaker, today is the International Day of Disabled Persons.

Our government has made a very strong commitment to making sure that persons with disabilities can fully participate in society and can contribute to the community to their full potential.

That is why our government has acted to: commit $140 million over two years for the creation of a new registered disability savings plan; provide $30 million over five years for the Spinal Cord Injury Transnational Research Network established by the Rick Hansen Foundation; provide $20 million toward the operating costs of the 2010 Paralympic Games in British Columbia; and invest $233 million to support programs delivered by the provinces and territories that help people with disabilities find and keep meaningful employment.

I invite all members of the House to join me in celebrating this important day and encourage them to take the time to reflect on their awareness and understanding of disability issues.

LandminesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Bryon Wilfert Liberal Richmond Hill, ON

Mr. Speaker, today landmine survivors, mine experts and activists from all over the world will be in Ottawa to mark the 10th anniversary of the Mine Ban Treaty, the Ottawa convention.

Ten years ago, 122 countries signed this historic treaty in Ottawa and now over three-quarters of the world's states are members of the Mine Ban Treaty. The treaty and the global effort to eradicate anti-personnel mines has yielded impressive results.

A new international norm is emerging. Even governments that are not party to the Mine Ban Treaty are taking steps consistent with the treaty and an increasing number of non-state armed groups are also embracing it.

The leader of the official opposition had it right when he said at the Conseil des relations internationales de Montréal that one of our greatest foreign policy initiatives, the international ban on landmines, is one that speaks to deeply held Canadian values.

We on this side of the House welcome all to Ottawa today to celebrate this very important and significant anniversary.

400th Anniversary of Quebec CityStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Daniel Petit Conservative Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, on November 29, I went to Orléans with my colleague, the member for Ottawa—Orléans, to meet with students from Merici College in Quebec City, who had come to the Ottawa area to promote the festivities marking the 400th anniversary of Quebec City.

As part of their training, students in tourism, hotel management and restaurant management organized a one-day show on the theme: Destination 400e de Québec.

Their goal was to make residents of Ottawa and the surrounding area aware of the activities that are being held to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Quebec City and to promote our city as a travel destination in 2008. The students staffed some 30 booths showcasing Quebec City's tourist attractions.

The members for Beauport—Limoilou and Lévis—Bellechasse, who also visited the show, benefited from the students' expertise in tourism in Quebec City.

I would like to thank these young ambassadors for the excellent job they did in promoting the 400th anniversary of Quebec City. On behalf of my colleagues, I would also like to extend sincere congratulations to the new mayor-elect of Quebec City, Régis Labeaume.

InfrastructureStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, Today municipal leaders are marching upon the Hill,
Their message is clear: they're asking for political will,
To invest in our cities now!
Without proper attention to our roads, libraries and pools,
The result will be abysmal,
It will be downright cruel.
But, Mr. Speaker, that's not all,
No child care spaces,
No new buses at all.
What is the response from our finance minister?
Well, Mr. Speaker, he thinks this is sinister.
He wants corporate tax cuts instead.
But corporate tax cuts don't build bridges or clear snow!
It's time to invest in our cities, don't you know.
Just recall,
When the Grits took the bait,
We pulled them back, it was called Bill C-48.
Again, it was the corporate agenda to which the Grits and the Tories conceded,
But the NDP knew,
That $123 billion in infrastructure money is what our cities needed.
Invest in our cities,
They are in a pinch,
Learn from Santa, don't be the Grinch.

Foreign PolicyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Keith Martin Liberal Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, 10 years ago today the world signed a treaty here in Ottawa to ban landmines. It was an extraordinary effort led by the international committee to ban landmines, civil society, the Liberal government of the day and other MPs. The result is that casualties have dropped from 27,000 to 5,700 a year, hundreds of thousands of acres have been demined, and stockpiles have been destroyed.

As a country we must now move toward a ban on cluster bombs, lead a small arms and light weapons registry internationally, invest in demining, and back up our responsibility to protect with an obligation to act so that we have an enforcement mechanism to back up our judicial mechanism.

In the 1990s Canada had an inspired foreign policy, a courageous foreign policy that brought us the landmines ban, the International Criminal Court, and the responsibility to protect. We need to get back to that courageous foreign policy where we put protection of civilians at the centre of our foreign policy and worked toward international peace.

International Day of Disabled PersonsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

France Bonsant Bloc Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, in 1992 the United Nations proclaimed December 3 as the International Day of Disabled Persons.

Every year, the UN urges member states to intensify their efforts in order to improve the condition of the disabled.This year's theme is “Decent Work for Persons with Disabilities”.

In Canada, 55% of disabled adults of working age—and 75% of disabled women—are unemployed or are not in the workforce.

The Office des personnes handicapées du Québec will soon introduce its new draft policy to guide the efforts of Quebec society with respect to the disabled and their families. The federal government should listen to what the OPHQ has to say in order to improve the lives of Quebec's disabled.

LandminesStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Diane Marleau Liberal Sudbury, ON

Mr. Speaker, today is the 10th anniversary of the convention to ban landmines.

Canada played a leadership role and the treaty was signed right here in Ottawa, in December 1997. I must say that I was proud to be there that day.

This treaty is one of the most important tools we have to fight the devastating effects of landmines. It has enabled millions of people to lead safer lives. The treaty was hailed as an effective process because of its rapid implementation and universality.

I am proud to say that the treaty to ban landmines was the result of a major Canadian effort. There are now 156 signatories to the treaty.

Long live the treaty to ban landmines.

Picton War MemorialStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Daryl Kramp Conservative Prince Edward—Hastings, ON

Mr. Speaker, today I was pleased to announce a significant contribution to the Picton monument restoration program.

The Picton War Memorial honours local residents who were killed in the first and second world wars and in the Korean war.

As in many communities across this country, the Picton War Memorial is a focal point for our communities. I am pleased that this funding will be used to conserve this memorial for future generations.

Our government's cenotaph and monument restoration program helps communities across Canada to preserve the memory of those who have served our country. Through partnerships with community groups and local organizations, the cenotaphs and monuments honouring veterans, war dead and significant events are maintained with the standard of care and dignity that they deserve.

Memorials like these across the country tell the story of communities which have worked together to honour their local heroes. Supporting these memorials is one way our government ensures that the actions of our men and women in uniform are forever remembered.

To the Minister of Veterans Affairs and his department, may I extend my heartfelt gratitude on behalf of the citizens of Prince Edward—Hastings and all Canadians.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

December 3rd, 2007 / 2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, months ago, the Department of Foreign Affairs told the government that if the world warms by more than 2 °C, there will be disastrous damage. The science is clear. There is a risk of “wide-reaching and large scale impacts” to the planet, but the Prime Minister continues to ignore the science and his own experts. Why?

When faced with the worst ecological threat to humanity, why does the Prime Minister ignore the science? Why?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, that is interesting coming from the man who oversaw a 32.9% increase above our targets in the last protocol.

The recent United Nations panel reports that have come out this year have pointed to a 0.6% increase in temperatures worldwide. That is far too much for this government. That is why we are committed to taking real action in Canada and real action around the world.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the foreign affairs document clearly states that, as a precautionary measure, we must consider the fact that a temperature increase of less than two degrees Celsius, perhaps even a single degree, could be disastrous.

Why is the Prime Minister ignoring the science and ordering his government to keep fighting against recognition of the two degree tipping point in international negotiations?