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House of Commons Hansard #111 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was aboriginal.

Topics

Opposition Motion—Government PoliciesBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Bloc

Marc Lemay Bloc Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will answer as follows. The Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development quietly let me know that they did not want to recognize the Kelowna accord because nothing was signed and the government was not committed. We suspected—and I still suspect, with all due regard—that they do not want to recognize the Kelowna accord because it comes from the Liberals.

I would go further, though. If only they had made the same $5.2 billion available, in whatever form they wanted. They can call it the Calgary accord or the Kashechewan accord, if they want. That is what we criticized the government for. It is not true that the government has invested more money than would have been spent under the Kelowna accord. We have all the figures. This $5.2 billion is what the aboriginal peoples were supposed to receive.

That is what is unacceptable and that is why our aboriginal peoples in Quebec and Canada and our Inuit in the far north now find themselves in need. Even their basic needs are not being met. There will be lawsuits coming up in regard to health care. The department is going to have some serious problems over the next few months.

Opposition Motion—Government PoliciesBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Western Arctic, NT

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal motion speaks to the frustration the Liberal Party has sitting in opposition in a minority Parliament. It speaks to my frustration as well in a minority situation. Quite clearly the rules of Parliament are still colonial and do not allow this assembly to truly act democratically. If the government knew that in the case of a non-confidence motion a new arrangement could be struck between the other parties as to the government's future, this would put a lot more pressure on the government to deal with issues correctly. Sixty-five per cent of Canadians did not vote for the Conservatives. They voted for a much more progressive agenda.

Does my hon. colleague not agree that the rules of this House should allow for a democratic process when a government falls and allow choice for another government?

Opposition Motion—Government PoliciesBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Marc Lemay Bloc Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have great respect for my hon. colleague across the way. However, I am not sure that it is up to me to say whether the rules should or should not be changed in regard to the current situation.

What is important, I think, is to remind the House—I was going to say the court and I apologize, Mr. Speaker. I have been conditioned and it shows. After all, I was a lawyer for 25 years. What is important, though, is that this government is a minority government because we can control it in committee and tell it that what it is doing does not make any sense. Most of all, we can prevent legislation from passing, as we just saw at the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. Just for that we could keep this minority government and continue controlling it for a while longer.

The Liberals, though, are not any better, if they are preparing to return to power. Positions will have to be taken. When agreements are signed nation to nation, they will have to be respected. That is why aboriginal peoples have been so angry for the last six months.

Opposition Motion—Government PoliciesBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Ruby Dhalla Liberal Brampton—Springdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to a very important motion. It is a motion that really speaks to the track record of the Conservative government since being in power for the last year. This motion speaks to the fact that the minority government has failed. It has failed when it comes to the issue of the environment. It has failed to provide leadership when it comes to the issue of health care. It has failed to provide leadership when it comes to an issue that is important to so many families and parents across this country, and that is the issue of child care.

Being the social development critic, I have had the opportunity to meet with numerous child care advocacy groups and Canadian parents. I have listened to Canadian families and the struggles and challenges they face on a daily basis because the government has neglected its promise and commitment to create child care spaces.

The Conservatives promised over 125,000 child care spaces, spaces that they would create for Canadian families, and that they would invest in early learning and childhood development. We have seen that the government has broken its promise because it has delivered zero of 125,000 spaces. It is unfortunate that child care centres, child care advocacy groups and parents are now struggling to find out what they will do on April 1 to ensure that children actually have the very best.

Earlier this month we heard from child care advocacy groups. They provided a report card for the Prime Minister and the Conservative government. In a number of different areas child care advocacy groups gave the government a failing grade. On universal child care the Prime Minister was provided with a grade of F. The report stated that the Prime Minister has trouble understanding some basic concepts, and his major term project, the universal child care plan, is certainly not child care because it is certainly not a plan and it is certainly not universal.

I am sure that many Canadian families and parents are going to be in for the shock of their lives when they file their tax returns because they will realize that the $1,200 a year child care plan by the Conservatives is actually taxable. Many Canadian parents and families will have to give money back to the government. They are going to have to give almost $31 a month per child back to the government.

Opposition Motion—Government PoliciesBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I hesitate to interrupt the hon. member, but as she knows, we have to proceed with statements by members. She will have seven minutes and a bit remaining in the time allotted for her remarks, which she will be able to resume a little later this day.

Star of Military ValourStatements By Members

February 15th, 2007 / 1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Leon Benoit Conservative Vegreville—Wainwright, AB

Mr. Speaker, on Monday, Sergeant Patrick Tower, who served at CFB Wainwright, will become one of the first ever recipients of Canada's Star of Military Valour.

In true soldier fashion, Sergeant Tower insists that he was just doing his job when he led two of his comrades through 150 metres of enemy fire to help a group of Canadian soldiers who were pinned down and had suffered heavy casualities.

Later that day Sergeant Tower learned that four soldiers, including his best friend, were killed during the battle. His courage and selfless devotion to duty figured significantly in the survival of the remaining platoon members.

A soldier since the age of 17, Sergeant Tower is proud of his troops, his country and his mission and he humbly points to those who did not come home as the true heroes.

However, when heroes do manage to come home, like Sergeant Tower, it is a privilege to recognize and thank them for their service to Canada, to peace and to democracy, and I am humbled to do so today.

Thanks and well done Sergeant Tower.

Making Kenora HomeStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Roger Valley Liberal Kenora, ON

Mr. Speaker, today I would like to recognize the Making Kenora Home organization. Mike Aiken, Nan Norman, Selen Alpay and the Harbour Town Centre have worked tireless to bring awareness to the poverty issues in the Kenora area.

This week has been deemed Poverty Week in Kenora, where individual community organizations and businesses have come together to raise money and educate about poverty and homelessness.

Yesterday marked the Wear Red for Poverty Awareness Day, where people all over the city wore red to make the statement that we must find solutions to help these people who are living with these challenges.

I congratulate the Making Kenora Home organization for its efforts and I applaud everyone who participated in these events.

Michaël BoissonneaultStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Bloc Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, it gives me pleasure today to welcome Michaël Boissonneault, the winner of the first “MP for a Day” contest for political science students at the Cégep de Victoriaville.

As part of the Canada-Quebec politics course, participants were asked to examine Quebec’s traditional demands vis-à-vis the federal government. Michaël submitted the best presentation on this topic, taking care to give equal weight to all demands.

This non-partisan contest is intended to encourage young people to consider a career in politics and helps make them aware of the realities of parliamentary life, as well as enhancing the image of politicians and politics in general, all the while, of course, leaving young people to form their own opinions.

I would like to thank Jean-François Léonard, professor of political science and geography at the Cégep de Victoriaville, with whom I launched this contest. I also want to thank la Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste du Centre-du-Québec and La Capitale Centre-du-Québec for their contributions to a scholarship of $550, which was awarded to Michaël, a young man with a promising future.

Adventurer of the Year AwardStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Catherine Bell NDP Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate two extraordinary individuals from my riding. Colin Angus and Julie Wafaei have been awarded the National Geographic 2006 Adventurer of the Year Award for their two year human powered world circumnavigation.The team used zero emissions travel to highlight issues of global warming and to inspire others to use non-motorized transportation.

Colin and Julie completed the expedition last May, 720 days of travel. Colin travelled 43,000 kilometres by rowboat, bicycle, canoe, ski and on foot, a journey that voyaged across three continents, two oceans and seventeen countries.

Julie travelled with him for most of that expedition, including rowing 10,000 kilometres unsupported across the Atlantic Ocean, making her the first woman to row across the Atlantic from mainland to mainland and the first Canadian woman to row across any ocean.

Congratulations Colin and Julie on receiving this award and on highlighting the issue of climate change.

Academy AwardsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Jim Abbott Conservative Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate Oscar nominee, Ms. Torill Kove. Born and raised in Norway, Ms. Kove moved to Canada in 1982.

The Danish Poet, Torill's latest film, is a co-production by the National Film Board and Norway's MikroFilm. It is Miss Kove's second Oscar nomination and the 69th nomination for the National Film Board of Canada. This week the film won a Genie for best animated short film.

Torill's first professional film, My Grandmother Ironed the King's Shirts, co-produced by the National Film Board of Canada and Studio Magica of Oslo, won numerous international awards and was nominated for an Oscar as well.

Other Canadian Oscar nominees are: Ryan Gosling, best actor; Paul Haggis, best original screenplay; Paul Massey for sound mixing; and Water, a film by Canadian filmmaker Deepa Mehta as best foreign film.

Congratulations and good luck on Oscar night.

Ocean RangerStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Simms Liberal Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to commemorate a sad anniversary.

Twenty-five years ago today, 84 lives were lost at sea after the Ocean Ranger capsized in the icy waters of the North Atlantic. February 15, 1982, will be a day long remembered by all Canadians and particularly by Newfoundlands and Labradorians as this happened on the southern Grand Banks just off our coast.

Tragedies at seas are not something new to my province. Newfoundlanders and Labradorians for over 500 years have been making a living from the resources of the ocean. The Ocean Ranger tragedy and the men whose lives were lost on that fateful night will be forever etched in our memory.

By remembering those who lost their lives, we honour both their courage and their families' pain. In the wake of this tragedy, advances in technology and training have helped us reduce the risks taken by those who venture into our oceans, but there will always be danger and there will always be brave men and women willing to meet it.

I invite my colleagues to honour the crew of the Ocean Ranger with our thoughts and prayers and to pledge vigilance for those who today follow their passion and seek their livelihood on the high seas.

Ocean RangerStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Fabian Manning Conservative Avalon, NL

Mr. Speaker, 25 years ago today, the people of Newfoundland and Labrador and Canada were awakened to the tragic news of the worst offshore accident in Canadian history.

In the early hours on February 15, 1982, during a major storm that brought 100 knot winds and 65 foot waves, the offshore drilling rig the Ocean Ranger sank beneath the waves. All 84 crew members lost their lives that fateful morning and the families and friends and communities of our province were changed forever. It was indeed a dark, sombre day in the history of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Today we stand in the House, from coast to coast to coast, and remember those brave pioneers of our oil and gas industry and express our sympathies and prayers to the loved ones who were left behind. Brave men is what they were, those who faced the icy winds, knowing as they left those sheltered coves that they may never return again.

May their souls rest in peace.

Maher Arar and Monia MazighStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Marcel Lussier Bloc Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, Quebeckers and Canadians of the Muslim faith or of Arab origin reaffirmed their commitment to creating a better society by contributing to its sociocultural and economic development.

The community paid tribute to Maher Arar and to his wife, Monia Mazigh, as part of a parliamentary evening to recognize their struggle to obtain justice and reparation from the Government of Canada.

In recent years, a number of disturbing events have created situations that we can unfortunately associate with terms such as “Islamophobia” or “Arabophobia.” The members of the Arab and Muslim communities of Quebec and Canada declare their firm resolve to promote peace and to contribute to building a society based on the values of solidarity and social, economic and cultural prosperity.

The Bloc Québécois joins with the Muslim and Arab communities in paying tribute to Maher Arar and to Monia Mazigh.

Liberal Party of CanadaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Lake Conservative Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont, AB

Mr. Speaker, recent actions by the Liberal Party have Canadians questioning Liberal motives: 261 days wasted by the Liberal dominated Senate on a bill limiting Senate terms, a principle the Liberal leaders stated his agreement with; continued obstruction of common sense crime legislation that the Liberals claimed to support during the last election campaign; and now an extremely disconcerting turnabout on the Anti-terrorism Act, a move that has been questioned by prominent Liberals like Anne McLellan, John Manley and even their current human rights critic.

The Liberal Party, in its desperation, has developed a strategy not of principled opposition but of obstruction and confusion. It is like a streaker at a sporting event, running around in no particular direction with no purpose other than to distract the public from the action on the field, drawing attention to itself with no awareness of its own glaring inadequacies.

I am a little nervous about taking this analogy any further, so I will conclude by pleading with the Liberal members to stop flopping around and start cooperating, at least on the issues that they have professed to support.

Quebec Federation of LabourStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Mario Silva Liberal Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Fédération des travailleurs du Québec, or FTQ, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this week.

Since its creation in 1957 under the impetus of Gustave Francq, it has been and remains today the largest labour union in Quebec. The FTQ has always defended the rights of individual workers fighting for social justice, in the interest of promoting the values that we are proud to share.

I am delighted to stand behind this progressive organization and its 500,000 members. Together, we will continue to defend the social, economic, cultural and political rights of workers in Quebec, who contribute to the prosperity and dynamic nature of our economy.

As the official labour critic, and on behalf of the Leader of the Opposition and the Liberal Party of Canada, I would like to congratulate the FTQ and its president, Henri Massé, on reaching this important milestone.

Liberal Party of CanadaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Sylvie Boucher Conservative Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, today's opposition motion really serves as a scathing indictment of the 13 years of Liberal government.

The Liberals ratified the Kyoto protocol knowing full well that Canada would not be able to meet the Kyoto targets.

In their first red book, the Liberals promised to create a national childcare program. They delivered nothing in 13 years.

As for judicial appointments, Benoît Corbeil, former president of the Quebec wing of the Liberal Party, stated 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.

The motion presented by the hon. member for Etobicoke—Lakeshore bears witness to the desperation of the Liberal Party, which is completely out of new ideas and innovative solutions.

The federal Liberals refused to act. The Bloc Québécois will never be able to act. We, on the other hand, are taking action.

JusticeStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Penny Priddy NDP Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, last month I joined the member for Toronto—Danforth in Surrey to announce the NDP strategy for getting smart on crime.

Some crime is down in Canada, but violent crime is increasing at an alarming rate. It is time for a new approach. Hard-working families in Surrey deserve to feel safe on their streets and in their homes.

Getting smart on crime means focusing on the three Ps: prevention, policing and punishment.

Prevention is important to stop crime in the first place. It costs a few hundred dollars to help a youth in Surrey get a summer job. It costs $150,000 a year if that same youth gets involved in a gang instead and gets sent to prison.

Adequate policing is crucial. We need to ensure that the Surrey RCMP has the people and the resources it needs to keep our street safe When a person commits a crime, there should be appropriate punishment. This guiding principle is needed to protect our community from those who would prey upon it.

Many politicians talk about getting tough on crime, and I agree, but not with oversimplified answers to complex questions.

I am proud to be working toward real solutions for making Surrey safer for everyone.

National Flag DayStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Susan Kadis Liberal Thornhill, ON

Mr. Speaker, with great pride I rise to mark the National Flag Day of Canada. Chosen by Parliament in the time of Lester B. Pearson, today is the 42nd anniversary of the first hoist of the maple leaf emblem over the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill.

This moment in our rise from colony to nation is one in which all Canadians take pride. Around the world the maple leaf is a symbol of justice and hope because Canada is a new nation, an immigrant nation, where peoples of all national origins have united in a peaceful and tolerant society.

For our soldiers killed in action, the ultimate symbol of respect is to half-mast our national flag. On this Flag Day, when we have cause to reflect on a year of sacrifice, I call on the Conservative government to reverse its disturbing decision to cease this practice.

To honour all fallen Canadian soldiers, the government must obey the dictates of decency and honour and order the flag half-masted whenever one of our own is killed in action.

Quebec Film FestivalStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Diane Bourgeois Bloc Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, in February 2007, we celebrate the 25th anniversary of Rendez-vous du cinéma québécois, a festival which supports and promotes Quebec film in Quebec, Canada and throughout the world.

Over the past 25 years, we have discovered and enjoyed the quality and diversity of a truly national film industry in Quebec which has produced shorts, feature films, documentaries, animated movies and art and experimental films.

On behalf of my Bloc Québécois colleagues, I would like to pay tribute to those who work in this vibrant industry.

This major Quebec film festival takes place at a time when we are exploring new avenues for the financing and development of the Quebec film industry. We expect the federal government to do its share and to show a real interest in this industry, which is an important component of our culture and an incomparable tool for promoting it worldwide.

Chinese CanadiansStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Raymond Chan Liberal Richmond, BC

Mr. Speaker, as elected officials we must endeavour to always provide Canadians with accurate information so they can make informed decisions. We may have differences of opinion, but we must always speak the truth.

Sadly, it has been recorded that the Secretary of State (Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity) has more than once misled the House and Canadians.

He has misled the Chinese Canadian community by stating that I was not telling the truth about the legal advice given by the department on the head tax question and that I opposed the head tax apology even after the fact.

The Secretary of State (Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity) must come clean and apologize to the House, to Canadians and in particular to the Chinese-Canadian community for misleading them.

Anti-terrorism ActStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Chris Warkentin Conservative Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, just when Canadians wondered if the Liberal leader could be any less reasoned or coherent in his policy direction, several high profile Liberals have come out to denounce the hypocritical and reckless position on the Anti-terrorism Act.

The Liberal member for Mount Royal has stated publicly that he not only opposes his Liberal leader on this issue, but reinforces the importance of the extension of the act. Former MP Anne McLellan, responsible for the original act, has even stronger criticism for the new leader, saying:

I am in a sense perplexed as to why at this point you would take these important tools away from law enforcement--

Another former Liberal deputy prime minister, John Manley, continues the onslaught of criticism by saying:

--cabinet and Parliament got the balance right in 2001-02. And I do not believe that anything has changed to make that balance inappropriate today.

Will the new Liberal leader recognize the gravity of this issue, heed the advice of his Liberal colleagues, and ensure that Canadians have the protection that they deserve?

Judicial AppointmentsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has finally admitted that he is stacking the judicial system to suit his right wing ideology. Yesterday he told the House that he wanted to make sure that the selection of judges adheres to his right wing agenda.

How can Canadians trust the Prime Minister to respect their rights and values when he admits that he intends to manipulate the judge selection process?

Judicial AppointmentsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the government has made it very clear to Canadians that we want to see a strong, in fact, a stronger criminal justice system that strengthens, supports and protects our children, our streets and our communities.

In that regard, the former minister of justice announced that when we set up independent committees for advice on judicial appointments, that would include, for instance, the perspective of the police, the law enforcement perspective.

I understand that the leader of the Liberal Party and the Liberal Party do not like the police, do not like a law enforcement perspective. It is important that we move in this direction and get away from the soft on crime policies.

Judicial AppointmentsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker—

Judicial AppointmentsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!