This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #110 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was health.

Topics

2 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 Timmins—James Bay.

[Members sang the national anthem]

Kin CanadaStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

David Tilson Conservative Dufferin—Caledon, ON

Mr. Speaker, Kin Canada has considerably enhanced the quality of life across Canadian communities by promoting service, fellowship, positive values and national pride since its founding on February 20, 1920.

This month, the Kinsmen and Kinette Clubs of Orangeville will be celebrating the organization's 87th anniversary of community service by declaring February 20 as Kinsmen and Kinette Day and the week of February 18-24 as Kinsmen and Kinette Week.

This declaration presents an excellent opportunity for all Canadians to pause and reflect with pride on the rich heritage of accomplishments throughout the 87 years Kinsmen, Kinette and Kin Clubs have been in existence in Canada.

I would like to recognize the tireless efforts of the Orangeville Kinsmen Club in improving the lives of so many Orangeville residents.

I encourage, not only Orangeville residents but all Canadians to salute their local Kinsmen, Kinette and Kin Clubs for their hard work and commitment to developing and funding the many fantastic programs that continue to meet the needs of Canadian communities.

AfricaStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, last month I had the opportunity to visit Africa with my colleagues from Halifax, Cumberland—Colchester and Scarborough—Guildwood. Our trip was arranged by RESULTS Canada, an outstanding NGO that advocates on issues of poverty.

We visited the notorious slums of Nairobi and other regions of Kenya to gain insight into the effects of HIV-AIDS, malaria and TB, an absolutely curable disease that needlessly kills 300 Kenyans every day.

We visited a micro credit trust, Jammi Bora, which is doing transformative work with the poorest of the poor. We met remarkable people like Beatrice who has lost all seven of her children and their spouses to HIV in less than two years but who has overcome this to raise her 12 grandchildren.

Africa is a continent of horror but also of hope, of people who are resilient, industrious and entrepreneurial.

Canada must do more. We can do more by passing Bill C-293, focusing our aid on poverty, and by recommitting to our millennium development goals.

The world needs more Canada and Africa needs more from Canada.

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Cardin Bloc Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to bring to your attention an initiative undertaken by thirty or so young people from the Sherbrooke region who decided to brave the winter cold and ride their bikes 400 km from Sherbrooke to Ottawa in support of Kyoto.

These young people are students at Du Phare high school, the Sherbrooke CEGEP and the Université de Sherbrooke. The ride took them six days.

When they arrived in Ottawa this morning, the young cyclists asked to meet with the Minister of the Environment to give him some recommendations for greenhouse gas reduction. No dice. Yet the Minister of the Environment would surely have benefited from meeting these young environmentalists.

The Bloc Québécois is very proud to highlight this initiative. Once again, young people from Sherbrooke are showing us that they do not intend to sit still when it comes to the environment. Let us hope that their heroic journey will make an impression on many people.

Violence Against WomenStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, every Valentine's Day for 16 years, hundreds of people gather in the heart of Vancouver's downtown east side to join in the annual Women's Memorial March.

Women from the community, especially aboriginal women, sisters, brothers, mothers, daughters and sons, march in memory of the hundreds of women who die each year from violence.

This year is particularly sad and difficult for the families and friends of the women whose murders are before the courts and who are daily reliving those tragic events. The Highway of Tears, in northern British Columbia, is further evidence of the appalling situation facing aboriginal women.

Members of the federal NDP caucus stand in solidarity with the family, friends and activists who are speaking out on this issue. We demand that all levels of government commit to end the cycle of violence against women, to improve the safety of women in the sex trade and to provide desperately needed housing and income support.

Too many women have suffered and gone missing across Canada. It is time to act.

JusticeStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Garry Breitkreuz Conservative Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, a tragic case played out in a Yorkton courtroom last month.

On March 17, 2003, Kim Walker, fearing for the life of his morphine-addicted 16-year-old daughter, Jadah, confronted her 24-year-old drug-dealing boyfriend, James Hayward.

The confrontation, more than two years in the making, spun out of control, the father shot and killed the drug dealer and, on January 19, 2007, he was convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.

Jadah Walker was just 13 when she was lured into the world of drugs. She says that she would have been dead in just a few more weeks had she kept living with her boyfriend, her pusher.

However, Jadah also feels the deadly confrontation could have been avoided. She said that the system failed her parents; that if the police had arrested Hayward earlier or had responded better to the concerns they raised, her dad would not be behind bars today.

There are many lessons to be learned from the Jadah and Kim Walker case by the members of this House who make the laws, the provinces that administer them and the police who enforce them.

Member for Vancouver SouthStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, our colleague, the member for Vancouver South, suffered a little body betrayal here in the House of Commons. The member wants the House to know that he is doing well and feeling great.

Ontario's Minister of Health should be very proud.

The care provided by the paramedics, Philip Hasek and Michael Call, using the Ottawa STEMI protocol, allowed him to be taken directly to the Ottawa Heart Institute cath lab for the most modern, effective treatment worldwide.

My colleague would like to express his thanks to all of the paramedics, nurses and doctors who looked after him, as well as to parliamentarians for their support and words of encouragement.

The member for Vancouver South is an extraordinarily healthy guy who sets an example for all of us with his hour of exercise every morning. He is raring to get back to work on the Hill and in the gym.

Chinese CanadiansStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the member for Richmond shocked all Canadians again. He admitted to The Vancouver Sun that he still opposes our government's apology for the Chinese head tax.

When he was minister for multiculturalism, the member for Richmond stubbornly opposed any apology or symbolic payments, deeply dividing the Chinese community. He is even blaming his former prime minister for not following his advice on the issue.

Thankfully, Canada's new Prime Minister showed real leadership. After widespread consultations, he acted. Head tax payers and their survivors received a meaningful redress and commemoration, and our Prime Minister offered an unconditional apology to the Chinese Canadian community.

Where were the Liberals? After 13 years of doing absolutely nothing, almost half of the Liberal caucus did not even show up to hear the apology. The member for Richmond and his Liberal friends should be ashamed of themselves.

Genie AwardsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, the 27th annual Genie Awards ceremony for film and television was held last night in Toronto.

This year, 21 feature films received at least one nomination. Three Quebec films won more than one award. In all, 12 Quebec feature films were nominated, and the movie The Rocket, the story of Maurice Richard, reaped the most awards.

Here are the main winners: Bon Cop, Bad Cop won for best motion picture and received the Golden Reel Award; for The Rocket, Roy Dupuis won the award for actor in a leading role, Julie Le Breton for actress in a leading role and Charles Binamé for achievement in direction. The Claude Jutra award was a tie between Julia Kwan for Eve and the Fire Horse and Stéphane Lapointe for The Secret Life of Happy People.

These many recipients from Quebec illustrate the enormous talent of Quebec's creative commnuity.

The Bloc Québécois expresses its great pride in the recipients who magnificently showcase Quebec culture and wishes a long and successful life to Quebec creators and artisans.

Harold Lessard and Thomas NicholsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Fletcher Conservative Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia, MB

Mr. Speaker, on February 4, 2007, our country lost two great Canadians, Captain Harold Lessard and Captain Thomas Nichols of the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service.

Today in Winnipeg, thousands of Canadians and firefighters from across North America gathered to honour these men. These thousands were joined by millions more watching on their TVs and observing moments of silence. This tragedy reminds us once again of the risks our firefighters take every single day to protect our homes, our businesses and our lives.

Few can understand the grief Captain Lessard's wife, Lynn, and his children, Christine and Bryan; and Captain Nichols' wife, Linda, and his children, Kelly and Kimberley, are feeling. We can only hope they will accept the sincere condolences of a grateful nation.

I hope all of us in the House will join our fellow Canadians in honouring Captain Lessard and Captain Nichols in our thoughts and prayers.

National Mental Health StrategyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, how can the government explain that, in 2007, Canada is the only G-8 country still without a national mental health strategy?

On June 7, 2005, this House passed a motion calling for the implementation of such a strategy. Nearly one year later, a Senate committee made the same request.

There is no lack of evidence of the devastating effects that mental health problems have on individuals, families and businesses across the country.

Canadians with mental health problems have to wait too long for appropriate care and services. More importantly, these Canadians living with mental illness have been waiting for their condition to be recognized and to be shown that we understand what they are going through.

The government must act now. They have waited long enough.

Judicial AppointmentsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, as this is Justice Week, it seems that the Liberals are taking an interest in judicial appointments. This sudden interest on their part is certainly surprising, given that they made numerous appointments that were questionable to say the least.

While our new Conservative government is making appointments based on candidates' merit, the Liberals made appointments that were clearly partisan.

In fact, the Liberal member for Mount Royal appointed his former chief of staff, Yves de Montigny, to the bench of the Federal Court of Canada in 2004. Could it be that the Liberals suffered memory loss when they crossed to the other side of this House?

Even worse, Benoît Corbeil, the former head of the Quebec wing of the Liberal Party, said on Radio-Canada in 2005 that anyone who aspired to a judgeship or any other plum position had to be friends with the members of the Liberal Party of Canada.

Talk about partisanship. As they say in court, “I rest my case”.

Child CareStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Bill Siksay NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, families in Burnaby--Douglas face a child care crisis of fewer spaces and higher fees.

Families know that the Conservatives' $100 a month baby bonus did not help provide child care because it covers only a fraction of child care costs. Many know that at tax time they will lose again as part of that allowance gets taxed back. They also know that losing the young child supplement hurts families too. They know that the Conservatives' cancellation of the early learning and child care agreement has made things worse.

The B.C. Liberal government, another conservative government with a huge surplus, now claims it has to slash important programs due to federal cuts. Child care resource and referral centres will disappear. Child care operating and capital funds have taken a hit. Parents of special needs children had to fight when even support for the child care development program was threatened.

We need spaces now. We need a legislated, universal, quality, affordable, not for profit child care program with stable funding. That is what New Democrats have put forward in Bill C-303, our early learning and child care act.

FirefightersStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I too acknowledge that today in Winnipeg more than 2,000 firefighters, volunteer firefighters, paramedics, police and armed forces from across North America joined the citizens of Winnipeg, and indeed representatives of this House, to say goodbye to two heroes: Captains Thomas Nichols and Harold Lessard.

The bravery of these two individuals and the countless others who put their lives in danger is something we can never forget. We must remember that whenever the siren goes off in a fire hall or the call comes into 911 or the ambulance is dispatched to the scene of an incident, brave men and women are putting their lives at risk for our safety and well-being.

I too ask my colleagues here in Ottawa to join with those in Winnipeg and all across Canada in paying tribute to Captain Nichols and Captain Lessard and all of the brave men and women who sacrifice for us on a daily basis. We remain indebted to them.

Arab and Muslim CommunityStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Meili Faille Bloc Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, several representatives of the Arab and Muslim community are here today to express their appreciation for the country that welcomed them, in which they now hold full citizenship, and their deep desire to play a positive role in Canadian life.

I know that, like Christianity, Islam is a religion that teaches love for one's neighbour, forgiveness and human solidarity.

Media reports of certain world events often paint a negative, unfair picture of Islam, portraying it as a religion associated with extremists and terrorists.

We need to remember that many Muslims in Canada fled regimes that had misrepresented Islam's fundamental values, or are the children of immigrants who fled such regimes. They looked for freedom and true respect for those values, and they found that here. Like us, they want to perpetuate those values.

The Arab and Muslim community can count on the Bloc Québécois to fight against any prejudice that could prevent it from flourishing and enriching our society.

Maher ArarStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Omar Alghabra Liberal Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Mr. Speaker, hundreds of Canadians from across our great land have gathered in Ottawa to honour Maher Arar and Monia Mazigh and pay tribute to their sacrifice. Tonight parliamentarians and fellow Canadians will express their gratitude and appreciation to the Arar family for their commitment to justice and fairness.

At a time when some people would choose to shy away from defending justice when a label of terrorism is attached, Monia, Maher and their supporters taught us many important lessons. These lessons are especially relevant now in light of the recent debate on the anti-terrorism motion.

I think it is appropriate that we are celebrating the Arars' sacrifice on Valentine's Day. Their love for each other and for their family, their country, Canadian values and the pursuit of justice shall remain an inspiration to all of us.

No amount of financial reward could ever compensate them for their ordeal, but if we truly want to honour them and benefit from their tragic experience, the best way to honour them would be to ensure that it never happens again.

JusticeStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Myron Thompson Conservative Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, today we will be debating Bill C-27, which fixes the process for designating dangerous offenders. Provincial attorneys general, police and victims groups have been calling for this bill, but so far the opposition is determined to kill the bill and confuse the public by calling it a three strikes bill.

Bill C-27 is an important part of a series of government bills aimed at making our streets and communities safer from violent criminals. As an MP who meets regularly with victims and as a member of the justice committee, I am deeply frustrated at how long it is taking to pass these bills.

Yesterday the president of the Canadian Police Association said:

Police officers across the country see people that are victimized by violent, repeat offenders. These bills will keep dangerous criminals from returning to the streets, and help protect our communities...We are simply asking MPs to act on their commitments and help police officers do their jobs.

Every one of us made a commitment to Canadians in the last election to get tough on crime. I urge opposition members to get busy and meet their commitment.

Judicial AppointmentsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government had no plan to anticipate the obvious increase in passport applications.

It had no plan to address the job losses announced today in our manufacturing sector.

Aboriginal Canadians: no plan. Our cities: no plan. Access to education: no plan. Poverty: no plan.

Instead, the government spends all of its time running an election campaign and looking for ways to push its ideological agenda.

Why does the government have a plan to change the way judges are appointed, but no plan to help Canadians succeed?

Judicial AppointmentsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, what is clear is that the hon. member certainly has a plan to audition for a new role.

The former minister of justice announced important changes last year which would ensure that when we select judges the police have input into the selection of judges in this country.

We want to make sure that we are bringing forward laws to make sure we crack down on crime and make our streets and communities safer.

We want to make sure that our selection of judges is in correspondence with those objectives.

Judicial AppointmentsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has confirmed our worst suspicions on this issue. The government has changed the selection rules for the judicial advisory committees. It has taken away the voice of the judiciary during the candidate evaluation process.

Why is the Prime Minister changing the rules? Why is he showing so little respect for the independence and authority of the judiciary?

Judicial AppointmentsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, this government has established a process that is indeed independent, with the participation of a number of voices, including the voice of the police who have to enforce our laws. It is important for our government to select top-notch judges to help us keep our streets and communities safer.

Judicial AppointmentsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, Peter Russell, a noted expert on judicial selection, has said the Conservatives have lowered the qualification standards for judges. He said:

--they've changed the role of the advisory committee so now they do not select the most highly qualified...there is really no merit selection going on and that is a dreadful change....

How can Canadians have faith in the judicial system, that it will be fair and impartial, when our selection process is now about politics and no longer about the interests of justice?

Judicial AppointmentsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Once again, Mr. Speaker, this government has made a number of appointments to the bench of people of very high quality. In fact, these were people who were all recommended by a selection process put in place by the previous government.

It is very different to select people based on diverse input and based on merit rather than the previous system, where Benoît Corbeil told CBC radio that for all intents and purposes judgeships were available to those who gave the most money to the Liberal Party.

Judicial AppointmentsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, former Supreme Court Justice Claire L'Heureux-Dubé, has criticized the Americanization of our justice system following the changes made by the Conservatives for the selection of judges. She said, “Changing the composition of these committees...introduces what I think to be a rather pernicious element, which is the ideology of the candidate”.

Why does this government want to skew the role of the committees in favour of ideological appointments? What will be the next step in the Conservative plan? Electing judges like they do in the United States?

Judicial AppointmentsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I would like to point out to members of the Liberal Party that there have been a number of changes over the years since these were introduced by a previous Conservative government in 1988. I believe there were four different modifications, and I think all of them have improved the process.

I do not see what the problem is with the members of the Liberal Party. If they do not think the police have anything constructive to offer to the judicial system, then let them make that point, because they are certainly making it here in the House and I could not disagree with them more.