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House of Commons Hansard #115 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was fisheries.

Topics

EqualizationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty ConservativeMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the principles upon which predictable, long term funding will be based to resolve the fiscal imbalance and create fiscal balance will be in the budget.

HealthOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Wallace Conservative Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, HIV-AIDS affects people from all walks of life in all parts of the world. Earlier this week, the Prime Minister, the Minister of Health, the Minister of International Cooperation and the Minister of Industry, along with Mr. Bill Gates, announced funding for research into the development of an HIV vaccine.

Would the Minister of International Cooperation share with the House the importance of this initiative in regard to HIV-AIDS research?

HealthOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Louis-Saint-Laurent Québec

Conservative

Josée Verner ConservativeMinister of International Cooperation and Minister for la Francophonie and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.

Yesterday, the Government of Canada, along with Bill Gates, announced that it was investing $111 million in the Canadian HIV vaccine initiative. This major investment shows that Canada is an international leader in HIV-AIDS research and prevention. Of course, we have also contributed $250 million to the global fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, and, last December, we announced $120 million in funding for nearly 20 projects.

The Prime MinisterOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, the last time the Conservatives accused us of being soft on terror, they were slurring Maher Arar.

Earlier in the House, the Prime Minister said that if I doubted a particular story in The Vancouver Sun I could check with the newspaper.

Did he not check himself before proposing to use that news story in the House of Commons? Does he subscribe to the view that any old smear will do? Why will the government simply not do the honourable thing today and withdraw that allegation?

The Prime MinisterOral Questions

3 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, once again the member is talking about something that he is supposing we were about to say. Had it been said, I suppose opposition members could explain the article themselves. They had an opportunity to do that on the public record. They still have the opportunity to explain it and I do not wish to deny that to them.

The real issue is that this is a diversion. The real issue is that the big question of the day is the serious question of the Anti-terrorism Act and the risk that Canadians are being put at because the Liberals are pulling their support for those important public security measures.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

February 21st, 2007 / 3 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, last March Clearwater of Glace Bay, Nova Scotia locked out around 100 workers. In June 2006 it decided not to reopen the fish plant. The federal government rejected the workers' claims for employment insurance, since there are no benefits during a strike or lockout and the dispute was not over. However, the EI ruling gave the workers full benefits, including retroactive payments, but the federal government decided to appeal the ruling.

Could the minister please explain to these workers why he is letting them down?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

3 p.m.

Medicine Hat Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, obviously, it is a tragedy whenever anyone loses their job. In situations like this, there are a range of benefits that are available for people if they meet the standards, and 83% of people who lose their jobs through closures like this ultimately are able to get benefits

In some cases, there is a dispute. Those disputes are sent to an objective body, to an arm's-length body, a panel of referees, and ultimately, it is appealed again to an umpire. That process is now underway.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, this situation is unacceptable. These workers have not received any money for a year or more. They will have to wait at least six months because the government has appealed. The message being given to the workers is very clear: not only are we going to abandon you, but we will do everything possible to avoid helping you. These workers and their families deserve much more.

Will the minister withdraw the appeal filed by this government, which is unfair to its workers?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

3 p.m.

Medicine Hat Alberta

Conservative

Monte Solberg ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Social Development

Mr. Speaker, this member is really way out of line here. The government has moved to help workers on many occasions, including the targeted initiative for older workers. We have extended unemployment benefits in areas of high unemployment.

In this case, I can guarantee the member that this is a fair process and that people will be treated fairly. As I pointed out earlier, workers are able to get benefits. I would urge the member to let the process take its course.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I would like to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of The Right Honourable The Baroness Scotland of Ashtal, Minister of State, Home Office of the United Kingdom.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I have the honour to inform the House that a communication has been received as follows:

Rideau Hall

Ottawa

February 21, 2007

Mr. Speaker:

I have the honour to inform you that the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, signified royal assent by written declaration to the bills listed in the Schedule to this letter on the 21st day of February, 2007, at 11:05 a.m.

Yours sincerely,

Sheila-Marie Cook

Secretary to the Governor General

The schedule indicates the bills assented to were Bill C-28, A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on May 2, 2006, and Bill S-1001, An Act respecting Scouts Canada.

Alleged Remarks by Prime Minister during Oral QuestionsPrivilegeRoyal Assent

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege pertaining to the deeply disturbing events that took place during question period today. The issue that seized question period is a terribly serious issue and it cannot be treated with the frivolous disregard that we saw from the government over the course of the last hour or so.

There can be no doubt about the Prime Minister's intention. He can try to hide behind the excuse that he did not get an opportunity to read his insult into the record, but there is no doubt about what that insult was intended to be.

This is a matter that has impugned the character and the reputation of an hon. member of this House. The Prime Minister was asked on no less than 12 occasions to withdraw those remarks and to apologize to this House. That opportunity, that invitation, was ignored by the Prime Minister.

He has avoided the opportunity of doing the right thing, the honourable thing, and that kind of conduct in this House by the Prime Minister or anyone else simply cannot be condoned. To move on to the ordinary flow of business without first raising this issue is absolutely untoward.

Therefore, Mr. Speaker, I invite you to review the record of what happened here very carefully. As soon as people have had an opportunity to read the transcript in Hansard from question period and as soon as members have informed themselves of the Hansard record, I invite you to hear arguments in this House about how the reputation of this member of Parliament, an hon. member, has been impugned by the Prime Minister and by the government, and that cannot be allowed to stand.

Alleged Remarks by Prime Minister during Oral QuestionsPrivilegeRoyal Assent

3:05 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, on the same question of privilege, I heard the opposition House leader actually raising a question of privilege that did not relate to himself, and I understand that is not the way in which questions of privilege are to be raised in this House. Second, it is a very unusual question of privilege relating to something that was not said and that is particularly unusual.

I however would like to raise a question of privilege about something that was in fact said by the member for Wascana and therefore is very much in order, and that is his comments today where he accused the Prime Minister in fact of being deceitful.

As the Speaker well knows and all member of this House know, that is unparliamentary. On February 23, 1970 at page 3953 of Hansard and on May 19, 1970 at page 7087 of Hansard, Mr. Speaker, you will find that it was ruled unparliamentary to accuse another member of being deceitful.

All of us who were here heard those words actually spoken by the member for Wascana, and therefore he should withdraw those words and apologize to the House.

Alleged Remarks by Prime Minister during Oral QuestionsPrivilegeRoyal Assent

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, if the House leader is in fact offended by that reference, of course I withdraw it. However, it does not undermine the basic point today, that the behaviour of the government is unacceptable and that behaviour must be corrected on the record of the House of Commons.

Alleged Remarks by Prime Minister during Oral QuestionsPrivilegeRoyal Assent

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Navdeep Bains Liberal Mississauga—Brampton South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would also like to raise a question of privilege with respect to the comments that were made in the House today. I had the opportunity to listen to the Prime Minister attack my integrity, the integrity of my family, and I would personally ask that the Prime Minister apologize.

Alleged Remarks by Prime Minister during Oral QuestionsPrivilegeRoyal Assent

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will simply restate the point that I made. I did not hear any words spoken in this House. I did hear an article referenced. If the hon. member has a difficulty with what was actually in that article, words which were never spoken by any member of this House, then his remedy lies within the courts with that newspaper.

Alleged Remarks by Prime Minister during Oral QuestionsPrivilegeRoyal Assent

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, the government House leader cannot do indirectly what he cannot do directly.

The House leader said that he heard nothing spoken. I would refer him to the written Hansard of today where the Prime Minister is quoted as saying: “The Vancouver Sun has learned that the father-in-law of the member of Parliament for Mississauga—Brampton South--”.

That clearly identifies the article. There is absolutely no doubt about what was intended here and the government cannot hide behind a fiction.

Alleged Remarks by Prime Minister during Oral QuestionsPrivilegeRoyal Assent

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, it was very difficult to actually hear the comments that were made during question period because of the complete bedlam that took place.

We would like the opportunity, if you are not making a ruling immediately, Mr. Speaker, to actually review what the Hansard said because the response that was given is something we would like to look at. We would like to reserve the right to make a comment after we look at the Hansard when it comes up and we actually see the comments that were made.

Alleged Remarks by Prime Minister during Oral QuestionsPrivilegeRoyal Assent

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

That is exactly what the Speaker will do when we have finished the mini debate that is taking place on this item now. I suggest that we leave the matter here, so that all hon. members will have the opportunity to review the Hansard, and so that we are not arguing on the basis of what might have been said during the excessive noise that occurred during question period today.

Justice and Human RightsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

Art Hanger Conservative Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the ninth report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.

In accordance with the order of reference of Tuesday, June 13, 2006, the committee has considered Bill C-10, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (minimum penalties for offences involving firearms) and to make a consequential amendment to another Act, and has agreed on Tuesday, February 20, 2007, to report it with amendments.

Procedure and House AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

Gary Goodyear Conservative Cambridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 35th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.

Pursuant to Standing Order 111.1, the committee examined the qualifications and the competence of the nominee, and agreed that the nomination of Mr. Marc Mayrand as Chief Electoral Officer of Canada be concurred in.

FinanceCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Massimo Pacetti Liberal Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present in both official languages, the Thirteenth Report of the Standing Committee on Finance in relation to Bill C-37, An Act to amend the law governing financial institutions and to provide for related and consequential matters, with amendments.

I would like to thank all the members for handling the bill expeditiously and allowing me to chair the committee once again.

Human Resources, Social Development and the Status of Persons with DisabilitiesCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

Dean Allison Conservative Niagara West—Glanbrook, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the ninth report of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities regarding Bill C-257.

International Mother Language DayRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Sukh Dhaliwal Liberal Newton—North Delta, BC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-407, An Act respecting an International Mother Language Day.

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour for me today to table my first private member's bill, an act to declare February 21 international mother language day.

Many thanks should be given to the mother language lovers of the world for their tireless efforts in advocating this cause. As one of the diverse and multicultural countries that promotes these values around the world, it is vital that Canada take the lead in supporting these worthy initiatives.

I hope that all members will see the importance of supporting the bill.

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