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House of Commons Hansard #127 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was benefits.

Topics

Religious FreedomStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, religious freedom is under attack in many countries of the world and all of us as parliamentarians should be concerned about that. Persecution of individuals for their religious beliefs is both immoral and unjust.

Countless Iraqi Christians have been driven out of their country and many of these refugees have been approved for sponsorship to Canada. Local community groups are ready and able to sponsor these true refugees, but sadly, many of these applications are stalled as the minority Conservative government is turning its back on these very refugees.

The minister refuses to meet with their Canadian sponsors or offer any assistance. I call upon the government to commit today to help the victims of religious persecution around the world.

Andryves Landscaping CompanyStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Bloc

Diane Bourgeois Bloc Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, Paysagiste Andryves has carved out an enviable spot among specialized landscaping companies, thanks to the courage and determination of its owners, and has firmly set down roots in the area.

Over the years, André Fournier and Yves Charest, originally math teachers, have pursued their passion and, through their art, have shared with the residents of Les Moulins and Quebec their love of the environment while continuing to educate people to the beauties of nature.

Proud of its team of more than 20 employees, Paysagiste Andryves, which has won several awards in Quebec, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.

The members of the Bloc Québécois and I offer our sincere congratulations and wish them many more years of success.

Arts and CultureStatements By Members

March 23rd, 2007 / 11 a.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, we are fortunate that Ottawa is the home to the world's largest chamber music festival. However, Ottawa remains the only capital city in the western world without a concert hall that would serve as a multi-use facility for musicians to record and perform their music.

The opportunity for a concert hall was first raised during the last session of Parliament, but the government did not act to secure the funding. Today we can make that dream a reality.

The proposed project has been endorsed by the community, the City of Ottawa and the Government of Ontario. It is now dependent on the Government of Canada to provide matching grants for this project.

A new concert hall in the nation's capital would be a major benefit to the cultural life of the citizens of Ottawa and would be an economic impetus for the tourism industry.

I urge the government to provide the Chamber Music Society with the matching contribution which is essential for this important venture to provide the arts community with an economic platform and Canadians with a dynamic venue for music and performing arts.

The BudgetStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Conservative

Gary Goodyear Conservative Cambridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, this week Canada's new government tabled a historic budget built on the needs of Canadians and the potential of this great country, a budget that is broad enough to touch every sector, yet focused enough to touch individuals.

Without even reading it, the opposition leader said no, but when one of his own said yes, he yelled, “Get out. It is my way or the highway”.

On behalf of Cambridge, I say yes to $300 million for a cervical cancer vaccine, to more money for child care and families, to a rebate to help the environment and our automotive industry, to haz mat training for our firefighters, to MedicAlert bracelets for kids, to a 100% GST rebate for our municipalities, and to more gas tax funding to our cities.

Why would the Liberals vote against these things? Because their leader said not to? I say that is not fair.

Denise Beauchamp and Grant TooleStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, on February 9, the Ottawa regional council of the Ontario French-Canadian association awarded the 2006 Grandmaître prize to Denise Beauchamp. Following her 35-year teaching career, Ms. Beauchamp dedicated herself to volunteer work. In addition to her involvement with young people and her parish, she also became the chair of the regional section of FAFO, the Ontario federation of francophone seniors and retirees, a job she has carried out brilliantly. Bravo, Denise, and thank you.

For his part, Grant Toole received the francophile of the year award from the French language Catholic school board of eastern and central Ontario. As program director for the Focus Vanier community organization since 2000, he is very involved in his community. He was also one of the five claimants in legal action that led to control over the management of French language schools in Ontario. As this is Francophonie Week, on behalf of the residents of Ottawa—Vanier, especially the residents of Vanier, I would like to thank Denise and Grant for their outstanding contributions.

ConservativesStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, if people believe in Canadian sovereignty from coast to coast to coast and honour our sovereign; if people believe in the value of a dollar and the worth of investing in their community; if people work hard for an honest day's wage and share their earnings to assist those in need and to help individuals help themselves; if assisting a fellow human being is as rewarding as helping oneself; if people pray for humanity rather than prey on it; if people encourage our military and support our veterans when the fighting is done; if people desire clean air to blow, clean water to flow, and green forests to grow; if family is most important and is closely followed by true patriot love; if people believe in personal responsibility and aspire for truth and justice; if people believe in democracy, freedom and hope for a better tomorrow; they are Canadians and together we stand on guard for thee. And which is more, my friends, they are Conservatives.

Canada Summer JobsStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Bloc

Robert Bouchard Bloc Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, last Sunday, the Minister of Labour gave an interview to the Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean Progrès-Dimanche in which he said he was disappointed that he had lost his discretionary power as a member of Parliament to award subsidies in the new Canada summer jobs program.

As the member for Jonquière—Alma, he was very open about criticizing that decision when in the Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean region, but here in Ottawa, the minister is taking a completely different approach by remaining silent on the subject. If he really is that disappointed in his government's decision, it is his duty to express that here in this House just as he did in his riding. Many community organizations are concerned about the choice to centralize decision-making in Montreal and Ottawa, where regional realities are less well understood.

I would therefore urge the Minister of Labour to stop contradicting himself and denounce the Conservative government's decision here in Ottawa.

ZimbabweStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Conservative Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington, ON

Mr. Speaker, Zimbabwe's opposition MPs face the constant threat of physical abuse, beatings or even death at the hands of the police and the gangs used by Robert Mugabe's regime to carry out its dirty work. To protect these MPs, many have been twinned with legislators from other countries.

Sometimes twinning works and sometimes it does not. Several years ago I was twinned with an opposition MP named David Mpala. He was beaten to death by thugs who were never prosecuted.

So I was paired again with a brave young opposition spokesman named Nelson Chamisa. Two weeks ago, he and dozens of others were attacked by police while conducting a peaceful demonstration. And then last Saturday, as Nelson was preparing to fly to Brussels to report on this latest round of abuse, he was beaten by eight thugs in the parking lot of Harare airport.

Today Nelson is hospitalized with a fractured skull, a detached retina and possible kidney damage. As usual, the assailants have vanished without a trace. It is time for the entire civilized world to hold Robert Mugabe personally accountable for his regime's reign of terror.

Distinguished CitizensStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Andy Scott Liberal Fredericton, NB

Mr. Speaker, I wish to congratulate a number of my constituents who were honoured this week. The Fredericton Chamber of Commerce has recognized four individuals in the annual Distinguished Citizen Awards.

They are: the late Ira Beattie, a founding partner with ADI Group and former head of the University of New Brunswick civil engineering department; family physician and provincial health minister Dr. Russ King; and long time artists Molly and Bruno Bobak. In fact, a street on Fredericton's north side is being dedicated to the Bobaks.

The 16th annual Fredericton Sports Wall of Fame inductees are: former Canadian national team triathlete Elizabeth Seiffert; long time midget hockey coach Kevin Pottle; Minto hockey coach and administrator Bob Deap; and Frank “Mush” Morehouse who is 91 years young, who played senior hockey in Fredericton, Toronto and Quebec from 1931 to 1950.

University of Ottawa quarterback Josh Sacobie has been named Fredericton's athlete of the year.

Commendations to them all.

CornwallStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Guy Lauzon Conservative Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry, ON

Mr. Speaker, I stand in my place as the very proud member of Parliament for the riding of Stormont--Dundas--South Glengarry. One of the communities in my riding is the city of Cornwall. I want to talk about the residents of this great community.

On March 31, 2006 one of our major industries closed and 1,000 of our best paying jobs were lost. Did the residents of Cornwall roll over and die? Definitely not. We decided to pick ourselves up by the bootstraps and move on, and that is just what we did.

This March we set out to claim the title of Hockeyville. I am proud to say that thanks to the leadership of people like Christine Lefebvre, Lorne Taillon and Gilles Latour of team Cornwall, we came second. That is right. Of all the cities and towns in Canada that wanted to be Hockeyville, Cornwall came within a whisker of claiming the title.

I am very proud of the people of Cornwall and their wonderful attitude. I want the whole country to be proud of them as well.

The BudgetStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, my constituents in Hamilton Centre watched this week's budget announcement closely, hoping for something, anything, that would alleviate the growing challenges they face every day, but for Hamilton and other municipalities, there was only disappointment.

There was nothing for our public transit system. Improving the HSR is a priority for my hometown of Hamilton, but the government still will not provide long term funding to municipalities and it still will not develop a national transit plan.

There was nothing to help the one-quarter of Hamilton's children who live in poverty, this from a government that only cares about wealthy oil companies and big banks.

There was nothing to meet our Kyoto targets or for the environment, even though Hamilton suffers the equivalent of three weeks of unbreathable air every year.

There was nothing to help build public housing, nothing for post-secondary student debt and nothing to help new Canadians have their professional credentials recognized, another Conservative promise broken.

It is shameful that with a $13 billion surplus, Hamiltonians woke up the day after the budget no better off than they were the day before.

PassportsStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Don Bell Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, the delays in issuing and renewing passports in Canada has become a national embarrassment.

Across this country thousands of frustrated Canadians have agonized over the possibility that their travel plans would collapse for lack of a passport. A process that should take 20 days now takes up to 60 days or longer. People are waiting for hours in long lineups at passport offices.

Who is responsible for this mess? It is certainly not the overworked passport office employees who are doing their best under difficult conditions to serve the public. No, it is the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the government who had over a year's advance notice of the new requirements for passports who are responsible. They did nothing to prevent this nightmare. There were no staff increases, no process improvements, nothing.

Now the citizens of Canada are paying for the Conservative government's inaction, such as families whose carefully planned holidays have had to be cancelled, often with financial loss or penalty.

Canadians demand and deserve better service from their government. A minister and government who could not or would not plan ahead for a problem they knew was coming is not acceptable.

Salon du livre de l'OutaouaisStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Bloc

Richard Nadeau Bloc Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, under the honourary presidency of Ms. Pauline Gill, the 28th Salon du livre de l'Outaouais was held March 1 to 4 at the Palais des Congrès in Gatineau.

The theme of this year's edition was the environment. With the slogan “Mon livre, mon uniVERT”, the Outaouais book fair offered its visitors of all ages a number of activities and a variety of events to encourage literacy and promote current literature. Activities included quizzes, comic book quizzes, seminars, book launches, discussions and a series of events called “Tout le salon en parle”, hosted by distinguished guest Richard Petit and his Fou du Salon.

On behalf of the Bloc Québécois, I would like to commend the tremendous success of the 28th Salon du livre de l'Outaouais. In spite of harsh winter conditions, the event welcomed over 27,600 visitors. Congratulations to the organizers who contributed once again to carrying on the work of the event's founder, the late Jacques Poirier.

FisheriesStatements By Members

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Liberal Cardigan, PE

Mr. Speaker, fishers in Cardigan and across the country have serious concerns regarding the federal government's proposed new fisheries act, Bill C-45.

The government wants to push this bill through the House of Commons even though it has failed to properly consult with fishermen, the very people who depend on the fishery for their livelihood. The fishery is a common resource property and as such, Canadians from coast to coast deserve to be heard on this new legislation.

The P.E.I. Fishermen's Association supports the Liberal motion to hoist Bill C-45 so that the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans can hold proper hearings across the country.

Fishermen want to be heard. I ask the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to support the Liberal motion so that Bill C-45 can receive proper hearing from the industry and the public itself. Why does the government want to shove this bill down the throats of fishermen without proper consultation?

The BudgetStatements By Members

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson Conservative Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, all Canadian farmers should be contacting their members of Parliament to tell them to support budget 2007 because our Conservative government is getting the job done for agriculture and the environment.

Budget 2007 includes $2 billion in incentives for renewable fuel production. The results will be a fresh energy supply and new jobs in our growing Canadian renewable fuel sector, including biofuels and cleaner air. This is a big boost for farmers, homegrown biofuels producers and our environment.

This measure will lead to over 20 new world-class biofuels facilities in Canada, create over 14,000 new jobs in rural communities, and provide a new market for over 200 million bushels of Canadian grains and oilseeds.

After 13 years of neglect and denying Canadian farmers, the current government is preparing for the agricultural opportunities of the future

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, the defence minister has already had to admit that he misled the House on Afghan detainees and now it appears he has done it again.

This week he claimed his department was not trying to block any inquiry into the treatment of detainees, but a March 13 letter from the Judge Advocate General says just the opposite. It confirms that national defence is actively trying to block the Military Police Complaints Commission.

The minister is obviously incapable of handling his duties or even knowing what they are. When will he resign?

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I have said a number of times in the House that all four investigations that are in transit right now will proceed.

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister's incompetence is astounding. Yesterday, he affirmed that Canadian troops and the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission were going to supervise detainees in prisons. Yet, the United Nations Secretary-General said, and I quote:

Access remains a problem for the commission.

The minister still does not know all the facts and continues to speak nonsense. When will he resign?

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the government is very proud of the excellent work of our Minister of National Defence and I think most Canadians are very proud as well.

We have entered into an agreement that ensures that the independent human rights commission has the opportunity to investigate and report back to us on any reports or any questions on the treatment of detainees.

Of course, the original agreement with the Afghan government ensured that the International Committee of the Red Cross also had the same type of access. As a result, we are satisfied that the protection of detainees is ensured under the Geneva Convention.

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Conservative government claimed it was funding the Afghan Human Rights Commission to monitor detainees. Again, that claim is completely false.

The only Canadian money that commission has ever received is $1 million from the Canadian and Liberal government five years ago. The Conservative government has not given the commission a penny.

Will the defence minister do our troops and Canadians a favour and resign?

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, there is no news here. News reports and opposition questions have suggested that Canada had given no money to the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission.

For example, an Ottawa Citizen article from March 19 reported: “Canada had earmarked just over $2,000 for the commission, but its report indicates that money was not disbursed”.

I felt obliged to reassure the House that this was simply not correct. The Canadian government had, as the member just pointed out, given the commission $1 million. That is a fact and that is what we told the House.

Minister of Public SafetyOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Omar Alghabra Liberal Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is the public safety minister's job to ensure the integrity and independence of the RCMP.

Serious allegations have surfaced that when the minister was leader of the opposition his officials appeared to have designed an illegal buy-out to pave the way for the minister to run in a safe riding.

Because these allegations lead directly to the minister and suggest he may have known in advance of the scheme, will he do the prudent thing and step aside while the RCMP looks into this serious matter?

Minister of Public SafetyOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I believe the RCMP dealt with that matter many years ago. It is an old matter.

Perhaps while the opposition is concerned about these kinds of issues I could read this to the House:

“Ontario Grits paid candidate to step aside: $25,000 deal set up by MP after McGuinty ousted contestant”

Ontario Liberals paid $25,000 in compensation to nomination contestant David Merner after Premier Dalton McGuinty anointed Madeleine Meilleur as the provincial party's candidate in Ottawa-Vanier in 2003. According to Mr. Merner, the man who brokered the deal was a federal Liberal cabinet minister, the MP for the federal riding of Ottawa-Vanier.

Perhaps the hon. member would like to ask for his resignation today.

Minister of Public SafetyOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Omar Alghabra Liberal Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I know why the minister is sensitive about this issue, but this is a serious matter and the minister must acknowledge its seriousness.

The only way to ensure that the RCMP is able to investigate this new evidence that has come forward is for its boss to step aside. If he believes in accountability, he must also practise it.

Will the minister step aside and remove any possible conflict of interest?

Minister of Public SafetyOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I notice that the hon. member did not give any response to our suggestion that if an apple is an apple perhaps he should ask the Liberal member for Ottawa—Vanier to resign. Apparently, they are two different tests, two different standards. That is the way it has always been for the Liberal Party.

We do not work that way. This is an old news story. It was investigated and dealt with by the RCMP. Perhaps he could talk to the member for Ottawa—Vanier about what he did.