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House of Commons Hansard #140 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was animal.

Topics

2 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

It being Wednesday, we will now have the singing of the national anthem led by the hon. member for Regina--Lumsden--Lake Centre.

[Members sang the national anthem]

Seventh Annual Non-Violence WeekStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Sylvie Boucher Conservative Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, as the member for Beauport—Limoilou and in association with my colleague, the hon. member for Jonquière—Alma and Minister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, I would ask the hon. members of this House to join us in recognizing the seventh annual non-violence week currently under way in the Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean region, which is an initiative of the Jonquière youth table.

Event partners include the Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean crime victims' assistance centre, the La Baie friendship centre, Alcan Inc., the Saguenay police department, the Jonquière school board and the Chicoutimi heath and social services centre.

Sadly, violence continues to be all too present in our communities, through either physical or verbal abuse. No violence is acceptable. That is what non-violence week is all about.

This is why we are asking each member of this House to support our efforts to have this week declared national non-violence week.

Africa Malaria DayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

John McKay Liberal Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

Mr. Speaker, today is Africa Malaria Day.

Last January I visited rural Kenya and saw firsthand the devastating toll this disease has taken on that country and indeed, all of Africa.

Over one million children alone die of malaria each year. A city the size of Ottawa dies annually. This is an enormous loss of human potential and I urge the government to support the global malaria drug subsidy. It is simple and it is cost effective.

This instrument alone could potentially save 25,000 lives a month by making drugs that work accessible and affordable to the people who need them the most.

Last week the federal government announced a $20 million commitment to the Red Cross malaria bed net campaign which is a good start but much more needs to be done. By supporting the malaria drug subsidy Canada could become a world leader in finding a cure for this dreadful disease.

Quebec ManufacturersStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Luc Malo Bloc Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, every day, men and women all over Quebec get up and go to work, happy to do their part to build the province.

Thanks to quality labour in Saint-Hyacinthe and Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, NHL players next season will be wearing new uniforms created using leading-edge materials and technology and made in Quebec. In Germany, skiers now prefer Orage clothing, made by Coalision in Longueuil. In addition, Louis Garneau Sports, which still manufactures half its products in Quebec, conducts all its research and development in our national capital region. I congratulate these craftspeople in the manufacturing sector, who do us proud.

Workers and entrepreneurs in Quebec are known for their expertise. Instead of the Conservatives' laissez-faire approach, which threatens our prosperity, our manufacturers need help along the road to success.

International AidStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Catherine Bell NDP Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, hundreds of students from the Comox Valley signed a letter calling on the government to address issues of health, education and the rights of women in developing countries by honouring our promise to the world.

Canada committed to increase our foreign aid to .7% of our GDP. Today our contribution lies below .3% of GDP. That is not even half of the promised level of support.

The students at G.P. Vanier Secondary School understand the importance of advancing women's equality in order to improve living conditions in developing countries. In the words of Stephen Lewis, “All roads lead from women to social change, and that includes subduing the [AIDS] pandemic [in Africa]”.

The students at G.P. Vanier told me that Canada must share its wealth to be a real leader in the world community, something the Prime Minister and his cabinet do not understand. Any of these students would make a better leader than the current ministers responsible for foreign aid.

Canada Foundation for InnovationStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

James Rajotte Conservative Edmonton—Leduc, AB

Mr. Speaker, today marks the 10th anniversary of the inception of the Canada Foundation for Innovation.

Over the last 10 years, CFI has invested $3.7 billion into 5,000 projects at 129 universities, colleges, and research institutions across Canada, providing the state of the art infrastructure and equipment needed to conduct leading edge research and provide world-class training.

CFI is an essential pillar of Canada's science, research and development infrastructure. Investments by the CFI have enabled Canadian researchers to make their mark through discoveries that have improved the quality of the lives of thousands of Canadians, while also contributing to the economic development of our country.

Budget 2007 provides an additional $510 million to CFI which demonstrates our government's commitment to cutting edge research and innovation, and support for Canada's world-class research community.

I ask all parliamentarians to join me in wishing everyone at the CFI continued success in their efforts to nurture Canada's reputation as a nation of innovation.

Aboriginal AffairsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, today on the grounds of the Manitoba legislature a peaceful and lawful protest is taking place. Led by the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, first nations, Métis and others from Manitoba are gathered.

They are there to speak out against two successive federal budgets that ignore aboriginal issues and to speak out against the injustice of abject poverty in their communities.

They gather to protest the government's unwillingness to apologize for the legacy of residential schools. They gather to insist the government acknowledge and respond to the 27,000 children in care. They are there to object to the amount of time it takes to settle land claims.

They gather peacefully to show that intimidation is not collaboration. They come together to show Canadians that the government has failed them.

They ask members of this House and all Canadians to support their efforts to improve the lives of aboriginal Canadians across this country.

TibetStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

David Sweet Conservative Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, today is the 18th birthday of Tibet's Panchen Lama. He is the second most important religious leader for the Tibetan people after His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

He also became the youngest political prisoner in the world when, in 1995 at the age of five, he and his parents were arrested by Chinese authorities. His only crime was being chosen by the Dalai Lama to become a great spiritual leader for the people of Tibet.

The Dalai Lama received honorary Canadian citizenship after a unanimously accepted motion that I presented here in the House June 22, 2006. That motion and subsequent citizenship recognizes, among other things, the Dalai Lama's relentless commitment to non-violent conflict resolution and tireless work for genuine autonomy for the Tibetan people within China.

Despite the Dalai Lama's best efforts for reconciliation, the Tibetan people continue to be denied their basic rights. I call on the government of China to deal in good faith with the Tibetan people and the Dalai Lama, and release the Panchen Lama and his family immediately.

Catherine Mangelinckx-TahanStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to pay tribute to a woman in my riding of Drummond, Catherine Mangelinckx-Tahan, who has returned from a humanitarian aid mission.

A talent agent, Ms. Mangelinckx-Tahan has spent the past five weeks volunteering in a maternity clinic in Cambodia. There, she assisted with dozens of births and looked after the babies and mothers while they stayed at the clinic.

Giving birth in a hospital is a luxury that most women in Cambodia cannot afford. That is why in July 2005 Dr. Keo San opened the first free maternity clinic, where a physician and midwives are available around the clock.

A true humanitarian, Ms. Mangelinckx-Tahan proves that solidarity is still the key to our future. She reminds us that we all have a duty to the less fortunate in society.

I join the people of Drummondville in expressing our appreciation to Ms. Mangelinckx-Tahan.

World War II VeteransStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Brian Jean Conservative Fort McMurray—Athabasca, AB

Mr. Speaker, sadly this week, Fort McMurray lost two Canadian heroes from World War II.

The first is Mr. Bill Woodward, who served in Italy and was captured in 1944. Forced to march through Austria to Germany, the six-foot tall Bill weighed just 137 pounds when liberated. Bill was very proud of his Métis heritage and was a very hard worker.

The second is Mr. Roy Hawkins, another hero, who enlisted in 1939 and worked with Canadian and British intelligence overseas. He narrowly escaped from the Dieppe raid and later served in Sicily as a first lieutenant. Roy was a charter member of the local branch of the Royal Canadian Legion. He was the first fire chief and, indeed, he had the first firefighter unit named after him.

Both Mr. Woodward and Mr. Hawkins will be greatly missed by their families and the community they influenced. Their courage and bravery will always be remembered with gratitude.

I knew both these men and, truly, Fort McMurray in northern Alberta is a better place today because both Roy and Bill chose to make it their home.

Africa Malaria DayStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Mario Silva Liberal Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today and speak in the House regarding Africa Malaria Day.

Malaria is a terrible disease that often goes unnoticed in our media, while SARS, HIV and AIDS receive most of the headlines. Every year, however, 300 million to 500 million are infected with malaria and more than one million die from the disease. Even more tragic is the fact that African children under the age of five account for 75% of these deaths.

It is with these statistics in mind that I would like to recognize the work of my colleagues from Newmarket—Aurora and London North Centre with the spread the net organization.

Spread the net is an innovative partnership with UNICEF Canada that has been raising awareness of the malaria pandemic in Africa and raising funds to buy anti-malarial bed nets to protect children in Liberia and Rwanda. The goal is to raise the necessary funds to purchase 500,000 insecticide treated bed nets over the next two years.

As parliamentarians, we have a responsibility not only to represent our constituents' interests in Ottawa but also to promote Canada's values around the world.

Canadian Gas AssociationStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Brian Storseth Conservative Westlock—St. Paul, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to mark the 100th anniversary of the Canadian Gas Association.

Earlier today, the Minister of Natural Resources and the Parliamentary Librarian were presented with a commemorative book for the occasion called Fuelling Progress: A History of the Canadian Gas Association.

This book connects the natural gas industry to the everyday life of Canadians. It tells the story of the people, events and developments that impacted not only the industry's evolution but our very way of life. From the gas lamps of the 1830s, to the 1970s era of cooking with gas, to today's focus on clean energy, this book tells all.

As the Minister of Natural Resources said, natural gas is an important part of Canada's energy mix. This book is an excellent research tool which provides a glimpse into Canada's history and the role that natural gas has played in shaping our country.

I congratulate the Canadian Gas Association on its 100 years and for generously providing a complimentary copy of this book to all university and public libraries in Canada.

Security CertificatesStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Bill Siksay NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, Hassan Almrei, never charged, never convicted, is now the only security certificate detainee at the Kingston Immigration Holding Centre. His hunger strike continues.

Last week, the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration recommended that alternatives be found should there be only one detainee left at KIHC due to concerns about solitary confinement and again called for the appointment of the Correctional Investigator to mediate.

The government must find an urgent solution to his hunger strike and ensure that he is not subject to any form of solitary confinement.

Adil Charkaoui, also never charged, never convicted, is subject to a security certificate. The case against him is crumbling. Witnesses have recanted, unreliable evidence obtained by torture was used against him, and other evidence has been destroyed. The government should reopen his case and allow justice to be done.

The security certificate process must be repealed. Alleged terrorism should be dealt with as the serious crime it is under the Criminal Code of Canada.

College Mother HouseStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased, on administrative professionals day, to congratulate a historic Montreal educational institution, College Mother House, on its 100th anniversary.

Founded in 1907, the Notre-Dame Secretarial School, later renamed College Mother House, was the first secretarial college in Montreal. Established by the sisters of the Notre-Dame congregation, where education was the primary mission, the college was located for most of its history on the current site of Dawson College.

The college accepts about 35 women annually in the 10 month program. They study business and computer skills plus languages and receive a provincially recognized certificate. The college's mission is the theme of its anniversary: “100 years of women helping women”.

I invite all members to join me in wishing College Mother House a happy centennial anniversary and many more anniversaries to come.

Quebec Mining WeekStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Yvon Lévesque Bloc Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, QC

Mr. Speaker, the mining industry in Abitibi-Témiscamingue and in northern Quebec is enjoying great prosperity. It is an important economic engine of development in our resource region.

Exploration and development projects are on the rise. The mining industry generates many jobs and there will be a significant need for workers in the coming years.

Let us acknowledge the progress made by the industry to improve its environmental results through innovative technologies and ethics. Although the production of mine waste is unavoidable, mining companies are investigating procedures that will help them be profitable and at the same time respect the environment.

That is why, with a theme of “Mines in society, a world of possibilities”, members of the mining community will be participating in a number of activities to show what this industry has to offer.

Jack WiebeStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the “who's who” of Saskatchewan gathered at a memorial service in Swift Current to say a fond farewell to the Hon. Jack Wiebe, a former member of the provincial legislature, a former lieutenant governor and a former senator.

However, amidst all the dignitaries and all the pomp and ceremony, Jack would have liked two things the best: first, the heartfelt eulogy delivered by his nephew, Scott, because Jack was devoted to his family; and second, the hundreds of ordinary local citizens who came to say “thank you” and “goodbye” to someone like them, who believed in community values and in doing what it takes to enrich community life.

In all his many roles, Jack Wiebe always showed genuine affection for people. He made every individual feel valued and worthy, whether in Buckingham Palace, or these Parliament buildings, or the Saskatchewan legislature, or at home on the farm.

He was one of the “really good guys” in political life, representing the very best of Saskatchewan.

We extend our sincere sympathies to his loving spouse, Ann, and the entire Wiebe family.

The Bloc QuébécoisStatements By Members

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Luc Harvey Conservative Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, this week, while desperately trying to justify her party's presence in Ottawa, the Bloc Québécois member for Rivière-du-Nord contended that her party could take credit for settling the fiscal imbalance issue.

If they took a close look at their actual performance, Bloc members would be ashamed to make such comments, because they would notice that they are just windbags. The first time the Bloc asked the old Liberal government in this House to deal with the fiscal imbalance issue was on November 17, 1999. We know what happened. Even now, the Liberal leader still does not recognize the existence of a fiscal imbalance. It is only when the Conservative government took office that this issue was dealt with.

The Bloc is now boasting to have taken seven years, four months and two days to restore fiscal balance. That is a rather poor performance.

In fact, the Conservative government was the only party to take action in this matter. The Bloc talked about fiscal imbalance, while we solved it.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the government was told by its own officials that Afghan detainees face a high risk of torture and extrajudicial executions. However, yesterday the Prime Minister told this House that he had no evidence at all to support these allegations.

Why did the Prime Minister hide from Canadians the fact that he had received this damning report?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition should know that annual reports on governance, democratic development and human rights have been prepared by our embassy in Afghanistan since 2002. They document general concerns and the various actions that the government and its officials are taking to deal with those concerns.

We have no evidence of the specific allegations that appeared this week in the The Globe and Mail but, obviously, as I have indicated, we take any such allegations seriously. Officials are working with their Afghan counterparts and, I am told, receiving full cooperation in getting facts.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

I have some questions, Mr. Speaker.

Who told foreign affairs officials to release only positive sections of this report? Who told them to black out those sections that warned about these potential abuses? Who told officials to deny the very existence of this report on human rights issues in Afghanistan? Was it the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of National Defence or the Prime Minister?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I wondered how long it would be until we got the conspiracy theories going but here is the reality.

The Leader of the Opposition, who is a former minister of the Crown, knows the process. The process is very simple. When it comes to access to information, these decisions are made by government lawyers. They do not consult politicians or ministers. They act according to the law and their decisions can always be appealed through the Information Commissioner.

I have to note that the previous government received reports since 2002 and some of these problems had no policy on detainees until January 2006.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence has repeatedly told this House that the government had no information about any abuse Afghan detainees might have been subjected to. We now have proof that this was not true.

The Prime Minister no longer has any choice. Will he finally fire his Minister of National Defence?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as I have just said and have said on many occasions this week, we have heard these allegations. We always take these allegations seriously. That is not the same thing as assuming that every allegation made by the Taliban is true. We are, however, consulting with our partners in Afghanistan and, so far, we have had full cooperation in finding the facts.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, first, there is no proof that these detainees were Taliban and, second, it is impossible to believe the government did not know.

We now have a report by officials warning the Conservative government of torture, abuse and murder in those prisons. After first denying the existence of the report, the document was released with disturbing sentences blacked out.

Who among the Prime Minister, the Minister of National Defence and the Minister of Foreign Affairs saw the report and, above all, who ordered the cover-up?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I think I have already answered the question on the process. I suppose the deputy leader of the Liberal Party who has not been in government does not understand the access to information process.

As the member knows, this is a general report prepared for the last five years on some of the challenges in Afghanistan and some of the actions taken. I want to quote another section of the report which also said:

--judges and prosecutors are being trained, more defendants are receiving legal representation, courthouses and prisons are being built or refurbished and the capacity of the permanent justice institutions has been enhanced.

We are not under any illusion about the big challenges in Afghanistan but progress is being made.