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House of Commons Hansard #141 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was troops.

Topics

Stormont—Dundas—South GlengarryStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Guy Lauzon Conservative Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry, ON

Mr. Speaker, last year, the residents in my riding of Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry displayed 15,095 Canadian flags at their residences on July 1, Canada's 139th birthday. They did this to indicate to the rest of Canada and to the whole world that our riding was the most patriotic riding in all of Canada.

I was very proud to stand in my place last September and officially declare the riding of Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry the most patriotic riding from sea to sea to sea.

I am proud to rise again today to declare to this House that we in the riding of Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry plan to again claim the title of the most patriotic riding in Canada on Canada's 140th birthday. I hereby challenge each and every member of this House and their constituents to compete with us for this most prestigious title.

Children's Mental Health WeekStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Alan Tonks Liberal York South—Weston, ON

Mr. Speaker, May 7 to May 13 is designated as Children's Mental Health Week in Canada. In my home province of Ontario, one in five children is believed to struggle with some form of common mental illness, such as depression, anxiety disorder or bullying.

The chair of the Senate committee on social affairs, Michael Kirby, has described children's mental health services as the “most neglected piece” of the Canadian health care system.

The average cost of treating children's mental health problems in community based agencies is less than $2,500 per child.

When children with mental health disorders are not effectively treated, they become more vulnerable and less resilient as they approach adulthood, which may result in adult mental disorders, involvement with the law and homelessness.

I raise this important issue today so that we may do our share in combating the stigma associated with mental illness and all work toward a national strategy to address the needs of our most susceptible youth.

Defence ScienceStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Russ Hiebert Conservative South Surrey—White Rock—Cloverdale, BC

Mr. Speaker, today I stand to recognize the 60th anniversary of defence science in Canada.

In April 1947, the Defence Research Board was established as a single civilian research body within National Defence. The Defence Research Board evolved to become Defence R&D Canada, the research and development agency of the Department of National Defence.

After 60 years, the work of Defence R&D Canada continues to ensure the safety of our soldiers and the security of our nation.

Canadians directly benefit from the defence science and technology.

Our defence scientists created the “Bombsniffer”, used to chemically sniff out hidden explosives. They invented the “Franks Flying Suit”, the world's first anti-gravity suit to prevent pilot blackouts. In 1985, Canadian defence scientists were at the forefront of an incredible technology when they were the first to open an Internet gateway in Canada.

Today I am proud to pay tribute to the 60th anniversary of defence science in Canada.

RCMP Pension FundStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, recent testimony in the RCMP pension scandal has included contradictory allegations of theft and harassment, whistleblowers being reassigned, and cover-ups on top of cover-ups. The whistleblowers range from staff sergeants to a chief superintendent, all veteran police officers.

A full inquiry would have the power to subpoena witnesses and evidence; this investigator will not. If someone does not want to testify, they do not have to and, if they do appear, they will not be testifying under oath. Witnesses will not even be protected from being sued for slander or charged under the Privacy Act. How can whistleblowers come forward if they are not protected?

In fact, the public accounts committee formally rejected the government's ad hoc investigation. Even the Conservative members on the committee chose to abstain rather than support their minister's plan.

I would say to the Minister of Public Safety today that he should not take this shortcut to failure. He should call for a full inquiry and he should stand up for the RCMP, stand up for due process and stand up for getting to the truth.

Bill C-278Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Liberal Cape Breton—Canso, NS

Mr. Speaker, I stand today to recognize and offer congratulations to a friend and colleague, the hon. member for Sydney—Victoria. Through his private member's bill, Bill C-278, an act to amend employment insurance sick benefits, he was able to bring attention to an issue that impacts on a significant number of Canadians.

All members of this House have heard the stories of Canadians living normal lives, raising families and contributing to their communities until their world is forever changed by cancer, a heart attack or a stroke.

As these brave individuals summon up the courage and energy to fight for what might be their life, they should not be burdened by the additional stress of not being able to provide for their families. Personal financial devastation should not be a side effect of cancer.

This bill was inspired by my colleague's staff, two of whom have waged their own personal battles with a serious illness, and was supported by all opposition members.

I congratulate my colleague from Sydney--Victoria and I call upon the government to find the heart to allow this bill to go forward.

Intellectual PropertyStatements By Members

April 26th, 2007 / 2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Vincent Bloc Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, according to manufacturers and exporters, copyright infringement costs between $20 billion and $30 billion annually in losses. In my riding, Polyform Foam Plastics Inc. holds a patent for an insulating foam, and its innovation has been copied by another company. Obtaining a patent is expensive, but defending it in court costs even more.

Today, in the context of World Intellectual Property Day, I once again call on the Minister of Industry to implement the recommendation of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology. The recommendation aims to eliminate this scourge by amending Canada's Copyright Act. I also call on the minister to put in place the necessary measures to eliminate the proliferation of copyright infringement and pirating.

This government's failure to act is distressing. It is about time the government acted on this, instead of attacking the Bloc Québécois' work.

Canada Foundation for InnovationStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Anthony Rota Liberal Nipissing—Timiskaming, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to highlight the 10th anniversary of the Canada Foundation for Innovation. In fact, it was on yesterday's date, in 1997, that Parliament passed legislation to create this independent public agency responsible for providing money for research infrastructure, free from all partisan or political interference.

Since that day, the CFI has transformed the research landscape in Canada by investing some $3.65 billion in more than 5,000 projects led in 129 institutions across the country. These investments create jobs and draw researchers from around the globe.

In one decade, the achievements of the CFI have aroused unprecedented enthusiasm and optimism in the Canadian research community. On the international stage, Canada is increasingly admired and recognized as a prominent player in the field of sciences.

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Daniel Petit Conservative Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the Bloc Québécois no longer knows what to say to justify the presence of the Bloc in Ottawa. Recently he incorrectly stated that the Conservative members from Quebec were not defending their province's environmental interests. The criticism from the leader of the Bloc is even more surprising and contradictory given that in just 14 months, the Conservative government has given $349.9 million to Quebec to help it meet the goals of its 2006-12 climate change plan.

With this $349.9 million, provided as part of the Canada ecotrust program, Quebec will now be able to meet its Kyoto objectives, which was recently confirmed by Quebec's new environment minister. This is $22 million more than the Bloc was asking for, and $350 million more than what the Bloc could ever get for Quebec.

We, the 10 Conservatives from Quebec, say what we do and do what we say.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, in a parliamentary committee, less than one hour after question period, the Minister of National Defence proclaimed that he had made an agreement giving our military access to Afghan detainees.

Later, he was a little more forthcoming in an elevator, and even later still in a press release.

Was the Prime Minister aware of this agreement before his Minister of National Defence announced it in such an impromptu and confused manner, and is this a verbal or written agreement?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I have said several times this week that the Leader of the Opposition should get his facts straight before speaking.

Canadian government officials consulted their counterparts in the Afghan government. The latter did not block access to prisons, as claimed by the Leader of the Opposition. That is a false and irresponsible allegation. He should apologize to the Canadian military.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, it is even more confusing than ever. I would laugh if it were not that the lives of human beings are at stake.

The Minister of National Defence said that “our military can have access to our detainees”, but the Chief of the Defence Staff, not aware of the so-called agreement, said, “That's not our area of expertise”. He said, “It wouldn't be soldiers” who would monitor the detainee situation.

Who is right? The minister or the general? And if there is an agreement, why will the Prime Minister not show it to Canadians right now?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, once again, I suggest to the Leader of the Oppositionthat he have the facts before making allegations against the Canadian military.

The truth of the matter is that we have consulted with the government of Afghanistan over the past several days. We have found no evidence there is any access blocked to the prisons. In fact, not only are Afghan authorities agreeing to access to the prisons, they actually agree that they will formalize that agreement so there is no potential misunderstanding.

These allegations were made recklessly. They were made without information. The Leader of the Opposition should apologize to the Canadian military.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order. The hon. Leader of the Opposition.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Chief of the Defence Staff--

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order. The Leader of the Opposition has the floor. We have to be able to hear the next question.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Liberal Saint-Laurent—Cartierville, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Chief of the Defence Staff was not aware of the deal. The Minister of Foreign Affairs was not aware of the deal. When caught off guard, he said. “Having just heard about it myself, do I think it's a good idea? Sure”.

Now the Prime Minister is saying that we do not need a deal because we always have access to the situation of the detainees. It would be a joke if it were not so serious.

My question for the Prime Minister is this. Does he still have confidence in his Minister of National Defence?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, who I do not have confidence in is the Leader of the Opposition.

We will conclude a formal agreement so that we never again face these kinds of baseless accusations.

The fact of the matter is this. The real problem is the willingness of the leader of the Liberal Party and his colleagues to believe, to repeat and to exaggerate any charge against the Canadian military as they fight these fanatics and killers who are called the Taliban. It is a disgrace.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, I do not know how the Prime Minister believes the allegations are baseless if he has not investigated them at all.

The defence minister said yesterday that they had reached an access agreement with the government in Kandahar province. Then he released a statement saying the arrangement was actually with NDS, the intelligence police accused of torture in the foreign affairs report released last week.

Now we have two conflicting stories, plus an improvised arrangement with an outfit known to practise the torture we are trying to prevent. I know the Prime Minister hates to admit when he is wrong, but this farce has gone on long enough--

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The right hon. Prime Minister.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as I said, this government would take the time to get the facts. Public security has consulted with its counterparts in the Afghan prison system. National defence has done similarly. The Department of Foreign Affairs has been in touch with the Afghan government and other Afghan agencies. I gather today that the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission held a press conference in Kabul to correct the record on some of these matters.

The only person wrong is the deputy leader when he made allegations that we could not get access and nobody could get access to prisons in Afghanistan. That is false, and rather than repeat it, he should withdraw it.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, I cannot withdraw the allegation because the issue is whether the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission has the capacity to investigate these abuses, and it is plain, in fact, that it does not.

Yesterday, the Prime Minister rose in the House and stated that none of his ministers was responsible for the decision made by officials, first, to lie about the existence of a damning report by Foreign Affairs, and then, to censor the content.

Why is the Prime Minister refusing to take responsibility for these misleading statements and this cover-up?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, all the member of the Liberal Party of Canada has come up with are difficulties and allegations.

I also have to address this. Once again, we have these random allegations about the fact that reports may be covered up or not released or blacked out by ministers. If that member is making an allegation against me or any member of this government that we have interfered in the access to information process, the member should have the guts to make it outside or withdraw it.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker—