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House of Commons Hansard #151 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was companies.

Topics

Wilma DowningStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Dave Batters Conservative Palliser, SK

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to the late Wilma Downing, a renowned high school teacher in my riding of Palliser.

Ms. Downing taught English, health and physical education at Sheldon-Williams Collegiate in Regina from 1956 until 1990. During those 34 years, she attended any athletic event featuring her beloved Spartans. She was also famous for baking cookies for her students and fellow staff members.

Besides being caring and conscientious with her students and colleagues, Ms. Downing helped lead the Spartans to 25 city track championships and nine girls' city basketball championships.

Even after her retirement, Ms. Downing continued her important role in Regina's athletic community. In 2004 she was inducted into the Regina Sports Hall of Fame to recognize her tireless voluntary work.

I was pleased to meet Ms. Downing last fall after the Sheldon football team won the provincial championship.

Sadly, Ms. Downing passed away earlier this year from cancer. I am proud to give thanks for her life and her contribution to our community and to wish her family all the best.

2/3 WalkStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Bloc Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow May 11, La Marche 2/3 will be held in Montreal. This walk was instituted in 1970 by the CLUB 2/3, an educational and international cooperation organization in Quebec that works with young people in Quebec, Canada and countries in the southern hemisphere.

The theme of this 37th edition of the walk has to do with changing the world. Taking part in the walk will be thousands of young people who are very concerned about this cause and dedicated to it.

The walk is an opportunity not only to celebrate their dedication and what they do to promote a fair, equitable world in which people show solidarity with one another but also to peacefully denounce the injustices of the world economy and demand a fair distribution of the wealth of this world.

La Marche 2/3 is an appeal for citizen involvement. The message that these young people are sending through this walk for international solidarity should be seen as an appeal for us to join forces with them. The government should therefore seize upon this message and direct the necessary efforts and resources into making significant strides toward achieving the millennium objective of eradicating extreme poverty in the world.

Mental HealthStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to inform the House and all Canadians that the week of May 7 to 13 marks the 56th anniversary of National Mental Health Week in Canada.

The Canadian Mental Health Association's message for this week is to achieve a better work-life balance. Some of the ways to achieve this balance include: schedule brief breaks throughout the day; create a buffer between work and home; and participate in daily exercise activities. Individuals can empower themselves by researching the programs, policies and benefits at their workplace. These are just some of the ways in which a better work-life balance can be achieved.

Canada's new government has made significant investments to reach out in practical and compassionate ways to promote mental health and to assist those who have mental illness to recover and live full and productive lives.

Please join me in wishing all those who work for mental health a very successful week.

Hershey Plant ClosureStatements by Members

May 10th, 2007 / 2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, today is a very sad day for the workers at the Dartmouth Hershey plant. It was announced yesterday that Hershey will close operations resulting in the loss of almost 600 jobs as part of an international restructuring plan.

Each of us can imagine the effect this will have on families in our community. Employees, many of whom dedicated their entire working life to Hershey and Moirs, now find themselves looking for work.

This is a time for our community to come together and help. I will work with the union and management to ensure fairness for workers. I will work with other elected officials from all parties to provide a common effort and work with government departments like Service Canada to ensure the transition for the workers is as smooth as possible.

I offer my heartfelt sympathies to the workers being displaced, some of whom I know. I know my colleagues in the House from the Dartmouth-Halifax region feel the same way.

Let us all do everything possible to work for a positive outcome for the loyal workers of the Hershey Moirs plant in Dartmouth.

Saint-Hubert AirportStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, for several weeks the Bloc members have taken a keen interest in the upgrading of the Saint-Hubert airport. This is nevertheless a very recent interest. Why is the Bloc being opportunistic by suddenly taking an interest in the future of this airport?

Until very recently, the Bloc members only talked about Mirabel airport. In fact, no mention was made of the Saint-Hubert airport in their platform. Even in 2004, the regional platform of Bloc candidates in the Montérégie region, including the member for Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, made no mention of this airport.

Does the Bloc's new position now favour the development of the Saint-Hubert airport over that of Mirabel?

The eternal opposition can ask questions and write press releases but it will never be able to do anything to upgrade a single airport in Quebec, much less ensure the development of the aerospace industry.

The EnvironmentStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, Toronto has just suffered through two consecutive smog days that are severely affecting the health of Torontonians.

Toronto Public Health estimates that 1,700 Toronto residents die prematurely each year due to air pollution but the Conservatives have announced a plan that will not get the job done on smog and climate change. This plan is no match for the breakthrough Bill C-30 as rewritten by the NDP-led all party committee.

Last week our leader called on all opposition parties to unite to force the new clean air and climate change act to a vote in the House. However, instead of using their opposition day today to achieve real results on smog and climate change, the Liberals have decided it is more important to protect their corporate friends.

In my party, we walk the talk. Next week the NDP will use its opposition day to call on the government to bring forward the clean air and climate change act to Parliament for debate and a vote.

Thirteen years of Liberal inaction is not an excuse for falling further behind. Toronto families and all Canadians are counting on us to finally get the job done.

Canadian Executive Service OrganizationStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, this year marks the 40th anniversary of a unique Canadian organization.

Since 1967, the Canadian Executive Service Organization, CESO, has successfully completed over 40,000 projects in 50 different countries, including Canada's aboriginal communities. CESO volunteer advisers are Canadians who share their professional experiences with those in need to strengthen the economies and build more self-sufficient communities.

I am, therefore, proud to report that one of my constituents, Mr. Charles Scott, recently returned from Sri Lanka where he helped train 32 people in the management of a large dairy operation that has been facing problems with sales and distribution.

A dedicated professional and a true volunteer, Mr. Scott and many Canadians like him have made a positive impression throughout the world ensuring that Canada is a respected member of the international community.

I ask all members of the House to recognize the important contribution that Mr. Scott and his fellow CESO volunteers are making on behalf of Canada.

Gasoline PricesStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Vincent Bloc Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, the price of gas has again reached record heights. In addition to hurting several sectors of the Quebec economy, including manufacturing, the price of gas has a direct impact on consumers' budgets.

On May 8, the House of Commons voted in favour of the Bloc Québécois motion to give more power to the commissioner of Competition to conduct thorough investigations of fluctuations in the price of gas and to establish a petroleum monitoring agency. We hope that the government will respect the will of the House.

Perhaps this time the Conservatives will set aside their incredible arrogance, shelve their demagoguery, and show respect for democracy by moving forward with the motion adopted. Otherwise, Quebeckers will remember this government's indifference towards the decision of the majority of members on this important matter.

Dwight WilsonStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Glen Pearson Liberal London North Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in honour and humility to pay tribute to a World War I veteran, Dwight Wilson, who passed away yesterday at the age of 106.

Mr. Wilson personified the spirit and courage of all Canadians when he volunteered for our armed forces in 1916. Being a minor, Mr. Wilson was twice discharged from active duty but his determination is representative of all the young men who fought for Canada in the Great War.

As our country sadly loses our last veterans of World War I, it becomes vital that we not let the memory of their ultimate sacrifice be forgotten and that we honour the hundreds of thousands of brave Canadians and Newfoundlanders who fought in World War I.

On behalf of all parliamentarians in this room, I wish to pay our respects to Dwight Wilson and express our deepest sympathies to his family and loved ones.

We shall never forget.

Canada Elections ActStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Komarnicki Conservative Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, scarcely a year ago, the Liberal Party was led by a man who vowed to end the tyranny of “who do you know in the PMO”. In a way, that dream has come true for in the Liberal Party today it is no longer “who you know”, but “who you owe”.

Candidates for the recent Liberal leadership are in hock to the tune of $2.6 million, almost all of it owed to titans such as Rod Bryden, Stephen Bronfman and John Rae. That is five times what the entire Liberal Party raised in the first three months of this year.

However, relief is on the way, not for the indebted Liberals, but rather for future candidates. Canada's new government has introduced legislation that will end the practice of using loans to evade, yes, evade, contribution limits.

Never again will a party leader start his new job accompanied by a briefcase full of IOUs and his own personal collection agent. The accountability with respect to the loans bill will close this last loophole in our election financing laws, ushering in a modern era of clean politics.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, I asked the Prime Minister the same simple, crucial question three times and, as he often does in this House, he avoided it. Canadians and our troops deserve a straight answer from him, so I am asking the question again.

Is our government in talks with NATO or any of our NATO allies to come up with a plan for replacing our troops in Kandahar in February 2009?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, no such negotiations are currently unde rway, and our NATO allies do not currently expect us to make a decision.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, it is not for NATO to ask for the replacement of our troops. The fact is that our combat mission in Kandahar will end in February 2009 and the responsible thing to do is to facilitate the replacement as we did in Kabul in 2003.

Why does the Prime Minister not want to act responsibly and engage NATO right now?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I can say with great certainty that our allies appreciate the fine work that Canadian troops are doing in Kandahar and, to my knowledge, they are not seeking Canada to withdraw from its international responsibilities in any way.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is confirming that his opinion is that of his government and that our combat mission in Kandahar should not have a deadline.

Are we to understand that there is no deadline for the Kandahar mission, yes or no? The Prime Minister's claim that he would respect the February 2009 deadline was, once again, doublespeak.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we left it up to Parliament to decide, and Parliament decided to extend the mission to February 2009.

However, I can say with great certainty that the men and women in uniform for our allies no more appreciate the games of the opposition than the men and women in uniform for Canada.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, we cannot get development, diplomacy and defence to work together in Kandahar if we have muddle, misinformation and mismanagement in Ottawa.

We cannot win the hearts and minds of people in Afghanistan if all they see are troops, tanks and guns. Afghans need to see new wells, new roads and new schools.

Our military is looking for help from our development people but our development people are missing in action.

When will the Prime Minister get control of this mess, fire his Minister of National Defence and get some real coordination between diplomacy, defence and development?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Louis-Saint-Laurent Québec

Conservative

Josée Verner ConservativeMinister of International Cooperation and Minister for la Francophonie and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, I would like to report what is going on in Kandahar in terms of development. This year alone—and I went there again recently—we have spent $39 million, which is eight times more than the $5 million the former government spent in Kandahar.

We are making progress there. I visited the villages and communities. I met Afghan men and women. The Afghan people do appreciate our development efforts.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, the growing number of civilian deaths in Afghanistan has shaken the faith of the Afghan people in the mission and in the Karzai government. The Afghan senate is now urging that diplomatic ways to end the conflict be considered.

What discussions are currently underway between the Canadian government, our NATO allies and the Karzai government regarding an expanded diplomatic strategy?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Mr. Speaker, as the member opposite would know, Canada is playing a major role in terms of our continued contact within the Karzai government. We have representatives from our embassy, including our new ambassador, Arif Lalani, in constant contact in Kabul with government officials.

I can also inform the member that the decisions being made with respect to discussions with the Taliban are discussions that are made by Afghan officials. This is a democratically elected government under President Karzai. Those decisions are his to make and we are advised constantly of the discussions that do take place.

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, a study released today confirms our fears. Consumers in Quebec and Canada are paying too much for their gas. According to the study, the price per litre is 15¢ too high, and production costs cannot account for this. This unexplained difference raises the question of whether the oil companies are really competing with one another. Competition is a federal jurisdiction.

Will the Prime Minister shoulder his responsibilities and act on the Bloc Québécois motion passed on Tuesday in this House by amending the Competition Act to strengthen it and give the commissioner of competition and the Competition Bureau more power?

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Beauce Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to answer my opposition colleague, because he is being a bit inconsistent in this House today. He is calling for lower gas prices for Canadians and Quebeckers, yet the Bloc Québécois is supporting Bill C-288, which will drive up gas prices in Quebec by $1.50 to $2.00 a litre. That is the Bloc Québécois for you: inconsistent and incompetent.

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, the problem is that prices are inflated because of the oil companies' excessive profits. On Tuesday, the minister confirmed that the refining margin was 22¢ a litre. That is three times the average margin early in this decade. The price at the pump comes under Quebec's jurisdiction, we know, but the refining margin is a question of competition, which is a federal jurisdiction.

Is the Prime Minister aware that by refusing to give the Competition Bureau more power, he is condoning a situation that is hurting consumers and the economy yet benefiting the oil companies?

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Beauce Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, if my friend wants to give the Competition Bureau more power, I invite him to vote for Bill C-41, which gives the Competition Bureau greater power to conduct investigations. The Bloc Québécois has been blocking Bill C-41 for some time.

That said, the Bloc Québécois should also know that gas prices are due to a shortage of inventory in the United States, a breakdown in the production chain. Oil inventories are being built up, and you will see that market forces will soon drive down gas prices again, if Bill C-288 is not adopted.

Gasoline PricesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Paule Brunelle Bloc Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, we keep hearing that when the price of crude goes up on the international market, the price at the pump increases as well. In the past few days the price of crude has dropped, but the price at the pump has remained high.

Does the Minister of Industry have a new explanation for us today?