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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

FinanceCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

Brian Pallister Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is with mixed emotions, both honour and some regret, that I present today, in both official languages, two reports, the first being the 11th report of the Standing Committee on Finance in relation to Bill C-253, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (deductibility of RESP contributions).

This report was made necessary by the need to delay the consideration of Bill C-253 and we are asking for an extension to do so because of all the urgent business, such as income trust discussions, that has been before the finance committee over the last number of weeks.

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 12th report of the Standing Committee on Finance, relating to Bill C-305.

The report deals with the exemption from taxation, 50% of United States social security payments to Canadians residents. Again, this report was made necessary because of the ongoing incredible workload of the finance committee and the need for us to have an extension to deal with this until a later date.

FinanceCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Pursuant to Standing Order 97.1(3)(a), two motions to concur in these two reports are deemed moved, the questions deemed put and the recorded divisions deemed demanded and deferred until Wednesday, February 21, immediately before the time provided for private members' business.

Holidays ActCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-403, An Act to amend the Holidays Act (Flag Day).

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to introduce an act to amend the Holidays Act. This private member's bill seeks to declare February 15, Flag Day, a national statutory holiday.

I think we should be celebrating the birthday of Canada's first very own flag that was first flown over Parliament Hill on February 15, 1965. What better way to celebrate than to declare Flag Day a national statutory holiday.

February is one of the few months of the year that does not have a national statutory holiday, something I hope to change with my Flag Day bill. Canada does not have a single day off between New Year's Day and Easter. Many comparable industrialized nations enjoy more holidays year than we do. Hard-working Canadians need a mid-winter break. I think it is time we celebrated this special day with a national holiday.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Excise Tax ActRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

James Lunney Conservative Nanaimo—Alberni, BC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-404, An Act to amend the Excise Tax Act (natural health products).

Mr. Speaker, this bill is a very short bill. It simply would provide an exemption from the GST for natural health products, as defined in the regulations.

I would just note that a survey from March 2005 indicated that 71% of Canadians have used NHPs, 77% of Canadians believe NHPs can be used to promote health and 58% believe they can even be used to treat illness.

The bill would simply help people who are promoting their own health by taking vitamins and using nutritional products.

I note that the new food guide includes a recommendation of vitamin D to help with bone metabolism and calcium absorption. Vitamin D will even help in the mitigation of multiple sclerosis. Folic acid is well-known for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. A simple supplement like chromium can help with blood sugar metabolism.

The bill would help Canadians, who are investing in their own health, to accomplish that objective and would probably help the government accomplish its objective of reducing wait times because people who are healthy will not be in the wait lines.

I hope all members will find this an interesting bill and support this project to help all Canadians live a healthier life.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

China-Tibet DialogueRoutine Proceedings

February 15th, 2007 / 10:10 a.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am seeking unanimous consent from the House for the following motion. I move: That, in the opinion of the House, the government should urge the government of the People's Republic of China and representatives of Tibet's government in exile, notwithstanding their differences on Tibet's historical relationship with China, to continue their dialogue in a forward looking manner that will lead to pragmatic solutions that respect the Chinese constitutional framework, the territorial integrity of China and fulfill the aspirations of the Tibetan people for a unified and genuinely autonomous Tibet.

China-Tibet DialogueRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Does the hon. member for Parkdale—High Park have the unanimous consent of the House to propose the motion?

China-Tibet DialogueRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Business of SupplyRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, discussions have taken place in the usual manner between all the parties and I believe you would find consent for the following motion. I move:

That at the conclusion of today's debate on the opposition motion in the name of the member from Etobicoke—Lakeshore, all questions necessary to dispose of this motion be deemed put, a recorded division deemed requested and deferred to 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, February 20.

Business of SupplyRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Does the hon. member for Wascana have the unanimous consent of the House to propose the motion?

Business of SupplyRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Business of SupplyRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Business of SupplyRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Business of SupplyRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

(Motion agreed to)

Canada Elections ActPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

Mike Lake Conservative Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition on behalf of my constituent, Mr. Jim Sexsmith, who has worked very hard to gather 43 signatures to support his petition to change the definition of registered party from those which have had nominations confirmed in 50 electoral districts to replacing 50 electoral districts with 231 electoral districts.

I commend Mr. Sexsmith for his energy and passion on such issues and for his service, dedication and concern for our country.

Criminal CodePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

Patricia Davidson Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is my privilege today to present two petitions to the House.

The first petition is from constituents in Sarnia—Lambton requesting Parliament to consider restoring to the Criminal Code the prudence it held prior to 1968 by removing the words “after becoming a human being” from subsection 223(2).

Remembrance DayPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

Patricia Davidson Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Mr. Speaker, the second petition, signed by over 1,000 constituents, supports Remembrance Day as a national holiday.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, Question No. 169 will be answered today.

Question No. 169Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

What funds, grants, loans and loan guarantees has the government issued in the constituency of Nanaimo—Cowichan since February 6, 2006, including the 2006-2007 Budget and up to today, and, in each case where applicable: (a) the department or agency responsible; (b) the program under which the payment was made; (c) the names of the recipients, if they were groups or organizations; (d) the monetary value of the payment made; and (e) the percentage of program funding covered by the payment received?

Question No. 169Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, the Privy Council Office has contacted all departments and agencies to ascertain whether they have the electronic capacity to search for and sort financial information such as funds, grants, loans and loan guarantees by federal electoral riding. The results of the survey indicate that the majority of departments and agencies do not have this capacity. A manual search would require an inordinate cost and length of time. For this reason, the government is not able to provide a comprehensive answer to this question.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Conservative Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all remaining questions be allowed to stand.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Opposition Motion--Government PoliciesBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

moved:

That, in the opinion of this House, the government is failing to act in accordance with the democratic and open values expected of its office by imposing a narrow minded, socially conservative ideology as reflected in its approach to the judicial appointment process to dramatically increase the influence of right-wing ideology in the judiciary, its refusal to honour Canada's international obligations under the Kyoto Protocol including a refusal to act immediately to introduce regulations under the Canada Environmental Protection Act, its misconception that Canadians don’t want or need a dramatic increase in child care spaces on a national basis, its budget spending cuts directed at aboriginal people and silencing advocacy work done on behalf of women and the most vulnerable Canadians even in the face of budget surpluses, its failure to protect and promote linguistic and cultural diversity, and its undemocratic assault on farmers who support the Canadian Wheat Board.

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the hon. member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine.

We have a motion in the House today that calls on all of us to take a hard look at the government's record. It is a moment to ask some questions. What is the big picture? Where is the Prime Minister taking the country?

The official opposition is concerned about the direction the government is taking and this is the day on which the House of Commons gets to call it the way we see it.

We on this bench start with the standard that we set in government. We have been nation builders. We create the institutions that make our country strong: the Canada pension plan, old age security, employment insurance, medicare, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Kelowna accord and a national child care program, that is until the Prime Minister scrapped both of them.

Thanks to Liberal leadership, Canadians benefited from sound public finances and enviable economic growth. The contrast between the Liberal record and the record of this minority government is striking.

This government has no plan for economic growth, no plan for employment, no plan for post-secondary education and no plan for investment in science and research. That means no plan for Canada's future. That means no plan to help Canadians succeed.

This Prime Minister is governing only to win the next election. He has forgotten his country's future, and the future will judge him.

The government just does not understand that we cannot have a successful and united country unless we have a just society and a just society is one that offers everyone in Canada an equal chance.

Canadians have built a society with less poverty and less crime, a society that sends more young people to college and university and fewer to prison.

Canadians have abandoned the 19th century notion of a single dominant culture in favour of a constitutional and institutional framework that promotes a bilingual and multicultural diversity of peoples, including our aboriginal fellow citizens.

We on this side of the House have come to see that our differences are our strengths, unlike the Conservatives who see differences as wedge issues to exploit.

Thanks to the Liberal governments in the 1990s, Canada has had a budget surplus for a decade now. All Canadians should be proud of what we have accomplished together. These achievements are now threatened.

After just one year in office, the government has shown its true colours. The Prime Minister is turning back the clock on the social reforms of the last 30 years. It is not surprising that the Conservative Party decided to drop the word “progressive” from its name. That means we are no longer faced with the conservatism we know but with an ideological conservatism, a movement conservatism that will take Canada backward.

Bit by bit, the Prime Minister is shaping Canada into his vision and it is less progressive, less fair, less just and less equal. He cut funding for women's advocacy groups, and he was wrong to do so. If we want Canadians to have an equal chance, we need to do more to reduce economic and social inequality between the genders and not less.

In the last election, the Prime Minister told Canadians that our court system would protect them from the Conservatives if they pursued an ideological agenda.

But then he cut the court challenges program, the very program that funded a number of important cases that sought to advance equality rights. Abolishing this program is a serious step that directly reduces Canadians' ability to defend their charter rights.

The government also wants to appoint socially Conservative judges and rig the judicial appointment process to shift our courts to the right. Just yesterday, the Prime Minister told the House that he wants to choose judges on the basis of whether they support his criminal justice agenda. This fails to respect the separation of powers that is the basis of Canadian freedom. Governments pass laws, judges enforce and interpret them. One branch does not seek to bend the other branch to its will, except under the present government.

I again urge the Prime Minister to reverse the changes he has made in the way the government selects judges. I urge him to stop trying to politicize our judiciary.

The Prime Minister has even politicized the issue of equality in our country. He tried to reopen the same sex marriage debate and most Canadians regard this as a settled matter. We need to ask why a sitting Prime Minister would want to put into question the equality gains made by his fellow citizens.

The Conservatives have also cut funding for adult literacy programs, calling such programs “repair work after the fact”. For the government, adults who cannot read do not count.

This government inherited a $13 billion surplus, but still made $1 billion in cuts, mainly at the expense of those people who need help the most. These Conservatives have promised to cut another $1 billion before the next budget. What other social programs will be axed? When will it be enough?

This is a government that has plans to build more prison cells instead of child care spaces.

This is a government that has scrapped the historic Kelowna accord between Canada and its aboriginal citizens. For this government it appears to be acceptable to break faith with aboriginal Canadians once again.

Yesterday evening, this House adopted Bill C-288, which requires the government to step up to the plate and introduce a plan to achieve the Kyoto protocol targets. Instead of a plan, all we are seeing is fear and denial. This is not leadership. This is not governance. It is shameful. We need action and a comprehensive sustainable development plan, with accountability and targets, and we need it now.

This is a government obsessed with cutting taxes, not tax cuts that create jobs or enhance Canadian competitiveness or make it easier for Canadians to make ends meet, but tax cuts which weaken our capacity to build a just society for all. The Conservatives will strip back the government until the cupboards are bare in Ottawa and across the country, and that will weaken Canadian citizenship and it will weaken the national unity of our country.

The Prime Minister will try to hold onto power by using so-called wedge issues in the hopes of dividing Canadians. When will these politics stop? Canadians do not want a country where the values of a right-wing minority are imposed by stealth on a progressive majority. Canadians sense the reactionary drift of their government. They can feel the daily descent of their country into a place where opportunity is shrinking.

This is a progressive country, a place held together by faith in compassionate, smart and accountable government, and we are not going to get compassionate, smart and accountable government from a party that loves power but actually dislikes government.

We are not going to get national unity from an ideologue. We are not going to get the country pulling together under a party that governs for its base and not for all the people.

I urge all the opposition members to vote for this motion and send a clear message to this Conservative government and the people of Canada.

Let us declare that it is the opinion of this House that the government is failing to act in accordance with the democratic and open values expected of its high office. Let us draw a line in the sand. Let us say together that enough is enough.

Enough is enough.

My fellow parliamentarians, this country deserves better.

Opposition Motion--Government PoliciesBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

10:25 a.m.

Conservative

Brian Fitzpatrick Conservative Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Speaker, the member made reference to the just society. I now want to go through a few things. Pierre Trudeau was the person who brought in the War Measures Act and imprisoned hundreds of innocent Canadians without reason.

It was Mackenzie King who interned thousands of Japanese Canadians and took away their property rights and every civil right they ever had. It was Mackenzie King who rejected German Jewish refugees who sought refuge in Canada.

John Diefenbaker brought in the Bill of Rights, the first recognition in this country of protecting fundamental individual rights. John Diefenbaker gave aboriginal people the right to vote almost 100 years after Americans were freed from slavery.

I would also point out to the former professor from Harvard that it was Earl Warren, a Republican who was appointed to the Supreme Court of the United States, who finally brought sanity to the segregation laws in the United States and struck down its segregation laws.

The professor can try to be a professor to people in here, but he obviously was seeking refuge from this country for 30-plus years, from Liberal rule and so on. For him to come back here and lecture us about what a just society is leaves a lot to be desired.

Opposition Motion--Government PoliciesBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

10:25 a.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am slightly surprised by this line of attack. In this House there has been consistent bipartisan support for the rights and freedoms of Canadians. The member refers to the legacy of Mr. Diefenbaker. That is a tradition that is held in respect on this side of the House.

It therefore seems strange that he should cast aspersions on the record of Prime Minister Trudeau, a man who commands the respect of all Canadians and left as his legacy a Charter of Rights and Freedoms of which all Canadians can be proud.