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House of Commons Hansard #123 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was seniors.

Topics

Navy League of CanadaStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Patricia Davidson Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Mr. Speaker, in January, I was proud to announce that the Navy League of Canada in Sarnia--Lambton had resolved its tax problems, thanks to the help of my federal colleagues, the Minister of Transport, the Minister of Public Works, the Minister of National Defence and our Prime Minister. They all took action when I asked them to save the organization that runs the Sarnia Sea Cadets.

For nearly 20 years, young people aged 12 to 18 have learned all about seamanship and water safety, while being taught the importance of discipline, teamwork, self-reliance and leadership in Sarnia--Lambton.

It took a Conservative government to finally resolve a problem that had plagued the Navy League for years.

I would like to give further thanks to Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley, as well as the local Navy League, including Dave Anderson who always kept faith that our government would ensure such an important youth program survived.

Now we look to a bright future for the Navy League and the Sea Cadets. I urge parents in Sarnia--Lambton to sign up their kids in the cadet programs.

Cabinet MinistersStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are starting to learn what Ontario already knows which is that they just cannot trust the three Harris triplets sitting on the front benches of the Harper government.

The Minister of the Environment has a particularly disturbing record from his Ontario government days. He was part of the Harris government that increased Ontario's energy dependence on coal-fired plants by 127%. The minister was also a member of the Harris cabinet whose decisions on municipal downloading lead to the Walkerton tainted water tragedy. He had the honour of serving as energy minister during the blackout of 2003. Ontarians were treated to the joke that he was doing a rain dance to keep the province cool and power usage low during that summer before the blackout.

Ontario already knows the damage that has been done by those former Harris ministers. Canada should not have to pay the same price.

Daniel TessierStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Raymond Gravel Bloc Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, two weeks ago, the Laval Police Brotherhood lost a member for the second time in less than 15 months. The first was the tragic death of Valérie Gignac, a police officer in Laval. This time, it was my personal friend, Daniel Tessier.

As the brotherhood's former chaplain, I met with Daniel the night before the tragedy. He gave me a hug and told me I was his favourite member of Parliament. Who could have known that a few hours later, during a risky and dangerous operation, he would be killed so tragically and cruelly?

I would like to salute these courageous police officers, the men and women who risk their lives to serve their communities. I would also like to pay tribute to Daniel and tell him that he will always be in my thoughts and in my heart. I would also like to salute his wife, Dominique, and his daughters, Marie-Andrée and Véronique, and tell them that I care for them and I share their sorrow.

InfrastructureStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, communities across northern Ontario are scrambling to deal with the growing municipal infrastructure deficit. The federal government, along with the provincial Liberals, have simply walked away on the north. Sure we will hear them talk about the COMRIF program but COMRIF has been a complete failure to deal with the years of underfunding.

Meanwhile, the municipal infrastructure gap continues to grow. Homeowners are facing massive increases in municipal tax rates to pay for water, sewage and road improvements. Many of these communities do not have the tax base to cover it.

I want to speak today to the issue facing the people in Larder Lake and Virginiatown, Ontario. These are proud communities. They are not asking for handouts. They want to know why the federal government has shifted the burden of infrastructure costs onto the family economy. This is a fundamental issue of fairness. The gold resources from these communities helped build the Canadian economy and yet it feels like these communities, along with communities right across the rural north, are being cut adrift from the rest of this country.

How are we going to build viable communities as long as we continue to shift the infrastructure debt down to the municipalities? It is time we dealt with the growing gap between the rural and the urban south.

CurlingStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Bruce Stanton Conservative Simcoe North, ON

Mr. Speaker, just over a week ago, Glenn Howard's Coldwater Ontario curling rink won the 78th Brier Curling Championship in Hamilton, Ontario. This was Glenn's first Brier win as skip and his third in a winning Brier rink.

This is a proud moment for the citizens of Glenn's hometown of Penetanguishene in my riding. It is a proud moment for the members of the Coldwater District Curling Club, also in Simcoe North.

Glenn's Ontario rink included Richard Hart, Brent Laing and Craig Savill. Now they will be representing Canada at the World Men's Curling Championship starting March 31 in Edmonton. They will be seeking the 30th world title for Canada since 1959, an honour that no other country can claim.

I would ask all hon. members to join me in congratulating Glenn and his rink for their Brier win and wish them all the best in bringing home another world championship for Canada.

Cabinet MinistersStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Anthony Rota Liberal Nipissing—Timiskaming, ON

Mr. Speaker, the three musketeers of the Harris government are back on the political scene, but now they are operating at the federal level.

We have seen how they governed in Ontario and left the province with a $6 billion deficit.

Now we get to see them in action in the federal government: from flip-flopping on the income trust issue to breaking wait times promises, not to mention big contracts for their friend, Gordon Haugh, and, to top it off, an environment minister who does not believe in climate change.

The return of these three musketeers is a real nightmare.

Female Victims of ViolenceStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, last May I introduced a private member's bill to support women who must take extreme measures to get out of threatening situations with their violent ex-spouses. After exhausting all available resources, these women must go as far as changing their identities.

After years of waiting, our new government took concrete action last Friday.

The Minister of Human Resources and Social Development and the Minister of Public Safety announced the beginning of consultations for a new service for these victims of abuse.

Today, I would like to thank my fellow ministers for finally taking action after so many years when nothing was done.

I would also like to thank the sponsor of my private member's bill, the member for Prince George—Peace River, who was moved by the experience of one of his constituents caught up in a process that has been going on for eight years, with no help from the former government.

The years of waiting are over. To victims of abuse: our new government is ready to step up to the plate.

Les Brasseurs du NordStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Diane Bourgeois Bloc Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, Blainville's microbrewery Les Brasseurs du Nord, which is one of the most important in Quebec, is once again standing out by investing $5 million to double its space. What is special about the expansion of these facilities is that they incorporated environmental measures that promote sustainable development.

By changing her architectural plans, transplanting mature trees and plants elsewhere, improving energy efficiency by building a solar panel and recovering the heat generated by the fermentation tanks, Ms. Urtnowski demonstrated, in an innovative and socially responsible way, that sustainable development is also a matter of business.

Well done, Ms. Urtnowski.

Ralph Lung Kee LeeStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Carrie Conservative Oshawa, ON

Mr. Speaker, two weeks ago, I received an invitation to celebrate the 107th birthday of Mr. Ralph Lung Kee Lee, the oldest remaining member of the Chinese Canadian community to have paid the infamous $500 Chinese head tax.

Mr. Lee came to Canada at the age of 12. After paying off the head tax fee, Mr. Lee joined thousands of Chinese labourers who were working to construct the Canadian Pacific Railway.

Last Saturday, I had the honour, on behalf of the Government of Canada, to personally apologize to Mr. Lee and his family and deliver to him a redress cheque, a redress that Mr. Lee had waited 95 years to receive.

I feel it is my responsibility to inform the House that this past Thursday Mr. Lee died in his Pickering home. Canada has lost a living link to its past dreams, a man who chose our nation and, despite adversity, lived his life with dignity, love and honour for his family and his country.

Canada thanks Mr. Lee.

[Member spoke in Chinese as follows:]

Xie Xie Ni, Lee Xian sheng.

Health CareStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Omar Alghabra Liberal Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Health, another of the Harris triplets, is the honorary president of the wait times guarantee broken promise club.

The minister was ousted from power in Ontario after his stint firing nurses and closing hospitals. Ontario taxpayers especially did not like the huge $25,000 per month contracts handed to personal friends like Gordon Haugh.

Today the minister is up to his old tricks in Ottawa, handing yet another $25,000 contract to Gordon Haugh.

Maybe the health minister does not realize that he has an obvious priority that has yet to be fulfilled.

Perhaps we will see in today's budget if he has actually been able to get something, anything, done on the Conservative promise to take action on wait times and do something positive for the health care system in Canada. Or, is that triplet going to remain as ineffective in Ottawa as he was in Ontario?

Liberal Party of CanadaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Lake Conservative Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont, AB

Mr. Speaker, last week, the Liberal leader emerged from one of his party's regular, “What can we say to get elected” meetings, and announced that his party would get tough on crime, honestly, for real this time.

The Liberal leader says that the only way to protect our homes and our rights is to “catch and convict” more criminals. This is from the same party that completely gutted Bill C-9 which would have ensured that people who commit serious crime would not go back into the community but would actually serve their time behind bars.

While the Liberal leader used the phrase “catch and convict”, I would suggest that, based on the Liberal record, what he meant was catch and release.

Time and time again during this Parliament we have seen Liberals obstruct justice legislation which they said they supported during the last election campaign.

Given their current leadership void, I have some advice for Liberal organizers if they are planning to force an early election. Perhaps they might consider printing a “dry erase” version of the red book, complete with a marker and eraser so Canadians can keep their Liberal platform up to date with each new Liberal flip-flop.

Economic ProsperityStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, I spent the last two weeks talking to hard-working families in Hamilton Mountain. They are increasingly recognizing the existence of a prosperity gap in Canada. They do not feel that they are benefiting from the economic growth they keep hearing about.

They are right. The numbers back them up. Not only is there a growing gap between the rich and the poor, there is also an alarming erosion of economic security for middle class Canadians.

Here is what my constituents want to see in the budget: property tax relief through federal investments in urban infrastructure; a manufacturing sector strategy and help for building trades to secure decent paying jobs; fairness at the gas pumps instead of billion dollar subsidies to the oil and gas industries; a $10 minimum wage so that no Hamiltonian working full time is still living below the poverty line; investments in green technology and post-secondary education to help climate change and our kids; assistance for cleaning up Randle Reef; timely access to public health care; pension protection and income security in retirement.

In short, Hamiltonians can do without flashy pre-election announcements. All that working families want is fairness from their government. Surely that is not too much to ask.

Minister of FinanceStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Liberal Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, in recent weeks, we have witnessed a flood of prebudget spending on the part of the government: money handed out right and left with no financial framework and no long term vision, in other words, spending to buy votes.

When he was the Ontario Minister of Finance, the current federal minister said that everything was fine in the province. Soon after that, Ontario found itself with a $6 billion deficit. Therefore, it is worrying to now hear him say that everything is fine in Ottawa. It brings back bad memories. It also reminds me that, shortly before his last budget, the minister tried to be reassuring, just before making deep cuts to social programs. He took advantage of that budget to target the poor, women, aboriginals, the illiterate and minorities. He cut recklessly and blindly in the environment, and let us not forget also that he had said he would reduce our taxes, when he in fact increased them.

Robert LalondeStatements By Members

March 19th, 2007 / 2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Richard Nadeau Bloc Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, as part of the Francofête 2007 celebrations, Robert Lalonde received the award for Mérite du français dans la culture during the Gala de la Francoville. The recipient of this award is chosen by the Union des artistes, the Union des écrivaines et écrivains québécois, the Société des auteurs de Radio, Télévision et Cinéma, and the Office québécois de la langue française.

Robert Lalonde joins a prestigious list of recipients, including Gilles Vigneault, Clémence DesRochers, Richard Desjardins, and Fred Pellerin. Robert Lalonde is known for his contribution to theatre, his roles on the big screen and the small screen, and his critically acclaimed writing. The Bloc Québécois and I would like to acknowledge Robert Lalonde's remarkable dedication to the promotion of the French language throughout his career.

Cabinet MinistersStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are not impressed by the three Conservative amigos left over from their days as provincial Ontario ministers.

Like a bad dream, the Harris triplets are trying to take Canada “back to the future”, undermining the social and economic progress of hard-working Canadians.

The anti-Kyoto environment minister, so puffed up like a blowfish on his own hot air, greenhouse gas at its worst.

The hospital hunting health minister handing contracts to long term friend Gordon Haugh. No accountability there.

The blarney fuelled finance minister still searching for his pot of gold at Canadians' expense.

Just like in Ontario, Canadians are gathering strength against the three Harper triplets. Canadians will not allow the three amigos to do damage to Canada like they did to Ontario.

This party, the official opposition, the Liberal Party of Canada, will prevent it from happening.

Cabinet MinistersStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I am not sure what reference the hon. member had but it sounded as though he was referring to the Prime Minister by name and if that were the case, I know he knows that is contrary to the rules and he will not want to repeat that mistake.

The hon. member for Fundy Royal.

Crime LegislationStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Moore Conservative Fundy Royal, NB

Mr. Speaker, one day last week, the Leader of the Opposition woke up and decided to become tough on crime.

Canadians can see through this blatant Liberal hypocrisy since this is coming from the same member who voted against funding for 1,000 new RCMP personnel, the same member who blatantly ignored the Liberals' own election platform in which they promised to double mandatory minimums for gun crimes and whose party is now blocking our Bill C-10 and the same member whose party gutted this government's bill to crack down on house arrest.

The Leader of the Opposition is clearly only pretending to be tough on crime because Canadians are fed up with a Liberal justice system that, according to the Liberal Ontario Attorney General, is stuck in the summer of love.

I know the Liberal leader finds it difficult to set priorities but will he for once make the safety of Canadians a priority and tell his MPs to stop blocking this government's justice agenda?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, Canadians have great confidence in the work of the men and women serving our country in Afghanistan, but they no longer have confidence in the minister overseeing the mission.

The Minister of National Defence has apologized for providing inaccurate information to the House about the situation of prisoners of war, but the questions remain.

How can the Prime Minister and Canadians continue to have confidence in a minister who has been so careless about the safety of human beings and Canada's responsibility to uphold human rights and international law?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 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, unlike the previous government, we have made human rights a cornerstone of our foreign policy.

It is our policy in Afghanistan to ensure that all detainees are treated in accordance with the Geneva conventions. We have an agreement with the Afghan government that it shall do that. We expect it, as a sovereign government, to honour that agreement.

We have recently entered into an agreement with the Afghan independent commissioner of human rights. This will also ensure that we have another check to ensure the human rights of detainees are respected.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence spoke with absolute certainty each time he made one of his many erroneous statements about the role of the Red Cross with respect to Afghan detainees. Why is that?

The minister has 30 years' experience as a commander. He is supposed to know the Geneva Convention inside out.

I am once again asking the Prime Minister how could the minister have made such a mistake?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 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, it is quite clear that the International Committee of the Red Cross has a very real role to play with respect to the question of overseeing the rights of detainees. That is part of our agreement with the Afghan government. The Minister of National Defence has made the nature of that arrangement clear.

The International Committee of the Red Cross is given full access to those detainees under that agreement. We expect the government of Afghanistan to respect that. We now have an arrangement with the Afghan human rights commissioner to ensure that is in fact the case and that human rights are respected.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, there was no answer to my question on how the minister could have been mistaken for so long.

Let us talk about the new agreement. How can the Prime Minister have any confidence in the ability of the Minister of National Defence to uphold basic human rights when his alternative to the Red Cross, the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, admits that it is unable to do the job?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 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, part of the reason we went to Afghanistan was at the request of the Afghan government as part of the United Nations' mission, together with 36 other allies, in order to ensure a democratic government could result.

Part of our program there is to help build the strength and capacity of that government, including the question of human rights. We have supported, and will continue to support, the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission so it can develop that capacity in Afghanistan, something we believe in strongly.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, the role of the Red Cross is not the only issue on which the minister is misleading Canadians.

Last week we learned that the Minister of National Defence was challenging the jurisdiction of the Military Police Complaints Commission to investigate alleged abuse of detainees in Afghanistan. The minister's action contradicts the commitment made in the House, “there are three investigations going on. We are not going to interfere with those investigations”.

Why did the minister mislead the House saying he would not interfere when he is interfering?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I am not interfering in any of the ongoing investigations. There are four ongoing investigations and they will continue.