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House of Commons Hansard #133 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

National Wildlife WeekStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Marcel Lussier Bloc Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, National Wildlife Week, which was celebrated from April 8 to 14, raised our awareness about the major climate changes in the north. But we can all help to conserve northern wildlife species. These amazing species and unique ecosystems, which have been around for thousands of years, are now facing the impact of rapid climate change, increasing toxins and growing natural resources development.

We must all realize that our awareness is critical to the conservation of biodiversity and habitats, sustainable development, climate change, invasive species and the recovery of species at risk.

I urge my colleagues to learn about and actively contribute to wildlife conservation in their day-to-day lives.

Operation Nunalivut 07Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Cheryl Gallant Conservative Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to congratulate the men and women of the Canadian Forces and of RCMP Division V who over the past two and a half weeks successfully completed Operation Nunalivut 07.

During this exercise, these brave women and men conducted patrols in one of the most inhospitable and challenging environments our planet has to offer.

In this ambitious exercise, three separate patrols left Resolute Bay, two destined for Canadian Forces Station Alert and one destined for the Alexandra Fiord.

Patrol 1's trek across western Ellesmere Island to CFS Alert was the first patrol to complete this route in its entirety in recorded history.

These operations are crucial to maintaining the sovereignty over our precious northern territory. It is about time that Canada had a government that takes the north seriously.

Canada's new government considers the sovereignty of the north a very serious matter.

I stand in the House today proud that we have a Prime Minister and a Minister of National Defence who are willing to commit the necessary resources to keep our true north strong and free.

Holocaust Memorial DayStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House to pay tribute to the innocent victims of the Holocaust, the courageous survivors, the allied troops who freed the camps, and the righteous gentiles who risked and sheltered, saving lives.

But even more importantly, I rise in the House to remind my colleagues that anti-Semitism is still with us, that history will repeat itself unless we learn from it, and to remind our government that vigilance should translate into concrete action.

Canada still does not have a comprehensive strategy to combat anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial. At-risk communities still shoulder the burden of extra security, alone.

Remember and act, Mr. Speaker. We must all remember and act.

Marie-Pier BeaudetStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to share how proud I am of a 20-year-old woman from Lévis who recently captured her third Canadian archery title, breaking a 23-year-old record in the process.

I am inspired by Marie-Pier Beaudet from Lévis, who also won six gold medals at the Copa Merengue in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, a few weeks ago.

Not resting on her laurels, Lévis' star athlete is now in Phoenix for the Arizona Cup International, where she is ranked fifth out of 62.

Achieving that kind of distinction requires a great deal of effort, patience and talent. We would therefore like to highlight Marie-Pier's exceptional achievements, which have earned her a place among archery's best and have made her a role model for all citizens of Lévis-Bellechasse.

Marie-Pier, Lévis' Canadian champion archer, my colleagues and I congratulate her and wish her every success in her future endeavours.

Jackie RobinsonStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Luc Malo Bloc Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, sixty years ago yesterday, Jackie Robinson broke a major racial barrier when he suited up for the first time in the Brooklyn Dodgers uniform, putting an end to several decades of segregation in major league baseball. Robinson had previously achieved a significant milestone in 1946, when he joined the Montreal Royals and led his team to victory in the Little World Series. He has left Quebec's baseball fans, who quickly took to him, with an undying memory.

Robinson was named rookie of the year in 1947 and best player in 1949. His career included six all-star games and he was the first black player inducted into the Cooperstown Hall of Fame. Besides being a prominent sports figure, Jackie Robinson remains a symbol of courage and dignity for all those who have fought and continue to fight against racism and discrimination.

Today, the Bloc Québécois wants to pay tribute to this athlete who changed the face of professional sports.

Daniel PoirierStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, today I would like to draw attention to the departure of journalist Daniel Poirier from Radio-Canada's Atlantic Canada news network.

Daniel gave Acadians and Atlantic Canadians a window on the world and understood what they cared about. In his 32-year career as a journalist, Daniel did an exceptional job of showcasing our people. He was their confidant, their ally, and he listened to them.

Thanks to his outstanding work, he helped communicate the concerns of Atlantic Canadians—from francophone rights to the fishing industry, to name but a few—to everyone in this country.

I would like to express my boundless gratitude to Daniel for everything he has done for Acadians, and I wish him every success in his future endeavours. We will always love him, moustache or no moustache.

Bloc QuébécoisStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Conservative Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, QC

Mr. Speaker, last week, PQ supporters from Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, including an assistant to former Bloc member Yvan Loubier, decided to begin taking steps to get to the bottom of things, as called for by their leaders.

Given that Quebeckers will soon be able to speak out democratically, their very clear message should serve as an inspiration to many members in this House.

In their words, “The presence of sovereignist members in Ottawa should ensure that the rules of the game are respected in the event of a referendum.” However, the Bloc prefers to ignore the evidence suggesting that people are fed up with the repeated referendums.

Regarding the Bloc's presence in Ottawa, they added that “this situation is no longer tenable” and that it is time for the Bloc members “to return to Quebec to take care of what is essential” and to not waste its time on federal debates, especially since the Bloc Québécois cannot bring about any solutions that would serve the interests of Quebec, unlike our Conservative government.

For the past 15 months, the Bloc Québécois has been trying to clarify the mystery of Quebec. Well, I would suggest that Bloc members first listen to their rank and file and make the obvious decision.

William Henry DrummondStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Anthony Rota Liberal Nipissing—Timiskaming, ON

Mr. Speaker, 2007 marks the 100th anniversary of the death of Dr. William Henry Drummond in Cobalt, Ontario. Dr. Drummond was Canada's first national poet, and his unique style blended English and French in a symbolic and meaningful way.

Dr. Drummond was a remarkable person. In addition to crafting his celebrated writings, he practised medicine and operated a silver mine in Cobalt. He was also an avid sportsman and enjoyed the outdoors.

William Henry Drummond thoroughly enjoyed living in northern Ontario and his surroundings served as inspiration for his many poems.

In the words of David Clayson Brydges, “Yet this poetry represented the Canadian saga of unsung common salt of the earth folk”.

On April 5, I had the privilege of attending a special commemorative ceremony held in Drummond's honour at the Cobalt Library. His memory was celebrated by young and old and his poems were read in both official languages.

As the member of Parliament for Nipissing—Timiskaming, I am pleased to draw attention to one of the most significant Canadian cultural legacies that Cobalt can call its own.

Liberals of Central NovaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Gerald Keddy Conservative South Shore—St. Margaret's, NS

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to point out the difference between leadership and opportunism. I speak in favour of democracy and in respect of partisan choice.

Today I rise to defend a group of Canadians ignored and abandoned by their own party, the Liberals of Central Nova. Their own leader has told them that they do not matter and Nova Scotia Liberal MPs have not been able to find enough backbone to speak for them. They want them to vote green.

What an embarrassment for this once proud party. What is next?

In the last federal election in Central Nova, the Marxist-Leninist Party placed just behind the greens. So, in the upcoming days I fully expect Nova Scotia Liberal MPs to call another press conference stating a new alliance, this time with the Marxist-Leninist Party.

For Central Nova Liberals I offer an alternative course: find a home in the Conservative Party, a party with principles, a party that will not abandon them.

June CallwoodStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is with profound sadness that I and all of her friends in the New Democratic Party have learned of June Callwood's death.

June was kind, compassionate and driven to make the world a better place. She was never afraid to speak out whenever she saw suffering or injustice. There was no obstacle that stopped her in her crusade to help those in need and, through her conviction and charm, she was able to turn opponents to her projects into advocates and collaborators.

No issue was closer to June's heart than child poverty. Even in the face of setbacks, like Parliament's failure to follow through on its pledge to end child poverty by the year 2000, she never stopped fighting to ensure that no child must live in poverty.

While June was unable to end child poverty in Canada in her lifetime, she was able to give hope and relief to the many children she did help through so many different projects. We could and should honour her life and legacy by recommitting ourselves to making poverty history.

June will be sadly missed by all Canadians but her spirit lives on in the many lives she touched and through the work of the 50 charities and organizations that she created.

Canadian ForcesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Andy Scott Liberal Fredericton, NB

Mr. Speaker, I wish to pay tribute to our fallen soldiers in Afghanistan.

Corporal Aaron E. Williams, 23, and Trooper Patrick Pentland, 23, were from Lincoln and Geary in my riding. Private David Greenslade, 20, Master Corporal Allan Stewart, 30, Corporal Brent Poland, 37, Sergeant Donald Lucas, 31, and Private Kevin Kennedy, 20, all served at CFB Gagetown also in the riding of Fredericton. Corporal Christopher Stannix was serving with the Halifax-based Princess Louise Fusiliers.

I ask the families and friends of those courageous soldiers to please accept our prayers and sympathies.

For our troops still in Afghanistan we send our hopes for a safe return. Canadians are proud of their dedication and unwavering commitment to serving Canada proudly.

Holocaust Memorial DayStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Mr. Speaker, more than 60 years ago, between 1940 and 1945, millions of Jewish men, women and children from various Nazi-occupied European countries, along with homosexuals and political dissidents, perished in Hitler's death camps.

On this Holocaust Memorial Day, it is good to remember that at the end of the second world war, the world, stunned by so much horror, asked itself how such a death machine could have been developed and sustained. People needed to understand and name what had happened. The word “genocide” was coined in 1945.

The Shoah—the Holocaust—made it imperative not to forget. Remembering is one way to prevent other genocides. The international community and the United Nations extended the desire to protect against genocide to war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing and, in 2005, adopted a resolution on the responsibility to protect.

Virginia Tech UniversityStatements By Members

April 16th, 2007 / 2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, it was with shock and grief that we learned of the terrible shootings on the university campus of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia this morning. Such a senseless act leaves Canadians stunned and horrified.

We extend our sympathy to the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives and to the students and staff of the university whose lives have been altered forever by this tragedy. For those who have been injured, we offer sincere wishes for a swift recovery.

We are reminded today in this House that life is both precious and fragile. We renew our commitment, wherever we are, to reduce gun violence in our homes, on our streets and on our campuses.

Our thoughts are with those scarred by the tragedy and we vow to rededicate ourselves to prevent such tragedies from occurring in our own communities.

Anti-Terrorism ActStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Air-India inquiry is investigating the worst terrorist act in Canada's history: the murder of 331 people. Shockingly, the Vancouver Sun today reported that the Liberal opposition leader still opposes investigative measures under the Anti-terrorism Act, measures that he himself supported. Now he claims that they were never used in a useful way.

Since when is the Liberal leader an expert on terrorism? Today he admitted that he has never once spoken to the RCMP about the worst crime in Canada's history. In fact, he has not even asked the RCMP for a briefing note.

Maybe the Liberal leader should listen to the RCMP's Gary Bass who said that the inquiry had, without a doubt, suffered “a serious and damaging blow”. Even B.C.s solicitor general was shocked by the Liberal leader's refusal to allow investigative hearings into this terrorist act.

Do the families of the victims of this horrendous crime trust the Liberal leader? Do Canadians believe that the Liberals can protect them against terrorists? The answer is a resounding no.

National Volunteer WeekStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Louise Thibault Bloc Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, on the occasion of National Volunteer Week, it behooves me to highlight the invaluable contribution of volunteers who work with our children, the hungry, the lonely and seniors, those who improve our environment and collect funds in order to support aid agencies in our communities.

This unheralded army of citizens is made up of men and women of all ages and from all backgrounds, young people and seniors, workers and the retired, our neighbours or members of our families. They all help make our communities stronger.

They contribute two billion hours of labour to Canada annually. All these individuals, those in my riding and in other regions, deserve our support and our thanks for the difference they make to the daily lives of so many individuals.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week all Canadians mourned the loss of eight Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan.

We on this side of the House have a duty to demand clarity and accountability from the government and the defence minister has demonstrated a very poor grasp of his responsibilities. Last week he said this about the death of those soldiers: “I've got my fingers crossed that this won't happen again”.

Canada deserves a defence minister who does more than cross his fingers and hope for success. When will the Prime Minister replace his incompetent Minister of National Defence?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we obviously all mourn the loss of Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan, who are there protecting our interests, doing the work of the United Nations and also protecting the Afghan people.

Obviously the Government of Canada is doing everything it can to help National Defence pursue this mission. We have been very generous in terms of new equipment.

They are constantly reviewing their practices to ensure the utmost safety, but nothing can change the fact that this is a very dangerous mission in a very dangerous part of a very dangerous country.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government continues to refuse to be straight about its intentions in Afghanistan. First the defence minister said Canada will be there until the progress is irreversible. Then he said we may withdraw by 2010, but only if certain conditions are met. Now we learn that the Conservative cabinet has not even discussed the issue of withdrawal and will not do so until next year.

There are too many different answers to the same basic question, which is how long we are going to be there. When will the government begin to level with the Canadian people about its intentions in Afghanistan?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, I think the government has been extremely clear. We brought forward a motion to the House to extend the current Afghan mission to February 2009. That was in fact supported by the deputy leader of the Liberal Party.

The government has been clear that if it were to seek further extensions, it would come to Parliament to do that, and that remains our position.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, once again the answer is not clear. It leaves open the possibility of extension.

This government refuses to take the necessary action to ensure that our allies can take over from us when our commitment in Kandahar ends in 2009. The government is postponing talks on this issue until next year, when it will be too late.

Why does this government not pledge to end this mission in 2009? Does it intend to extend it?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this Parliament extended that mission to February 2009. If the government wants to prolong the mission beyond that date, it will make proposals after assessing the situation over the next two years.

But I must say, in looking at the new Red Green show over there on the Liberal side these days, I note that the policy of Elizabeth May and the Green Party is to cut the Canadian Forces budget by 50%. I can say with some degree of certainty that if that were the policy of the government not only would we not prolong this mission, we would have to close most of the bases in this country.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, it seems to be working, because the Prime Minister looks quite red today.

The Minister of National Defence should know that the cold war is over. He firmly believes that we must send more tanks to Afghanistan. He forgets that the Afghan guerillas had a field day against Soviet Union tanks, in the eighties. There is a budget of $650 million for tanks, which says something about our new way of dealing with conflicts in the future. Afghanistan takes a lot of flack. Through this measure, the general is contributing to the escalation of the Afghan conflict, instead of working to contain it.

Instead of grandstanding at the expense of taxpayers, will the Minister of National Defence recognize that his decision to send these tanks is a strategic mistake and it only gets Canada more bogged down into this mission—

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, there is absolutely no escalation. We have a squadron of tanks over there now, Leopard 1s. We are going to replace them with a squadron of Leopard 2s, which are more modern and overcome some of the technical problems we have had, so there is no escalation whatsoever.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

No escalation, Mr. Speaker. I am very impressed. Finally this weekend the Minister of Defence allowed us to understand--