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House of Commons Hansard #155 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was chair.

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 Madawaska—Restigouche.

[Members sang the national anthem]

Piotr RytwinskiStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Norlock Conservative Northumberland—Quinte West, ON

Mr. Speaker, we mourn the passing earlier this week of Piotr Rytwinski. Piotr was well known to Canadians of Polish heritage as a businessman, philanthropist and tireless advocate for the community. He was also well respected by many cultural communities in the Toronto area, especially those of eastern European origin, for his hard work to make their collective voices heard in Ottawa.

Piotr's commitment to Canada led him to volunteer in the 1988 federal election in his home riding of Etobicoke—Lakeshore. Since then, Piotr was an untiring and capable political volunteer, always trying to help the ethnocultural communities develop a stronger relationship with the federal government.

Our government is proud of the strong relationship Piotr helped us develop with the Polish Canadian community, among many others.

I know the House will join me in a united parliamentary voice to express our condolences to Piotr's family, especially his new wife Izabela, as well as the Canadian Polish community. We all mourn and are affected by his loss.

Wind EnergyStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Joe McGuire Liberal Egmont, PE

Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw the attention of the House to the fact that for three hours on May 7 the city of Summerside, P.E.I. was totally powered by green energy. This is the first time in Canadian history that a city has received 100% of its power from wind energy. Power that would normally be purchased from off the island can now be provided locally from three wind farms in North Cape, West Cape and East Point.

I am proud to say that P.E.I. is at the forefront of developing this sustainable resource with 15% of the province's energy needs now supplied by wind power.

With funding provided by the previous Liberal government, in particular, Infrastructure Canada, ACOA and Natural Resources, the Wind Energy Institute and interpretive centre was established in North Cape. The institute is a world-class testing and research facility that develops new ways to harness wind power.

In 2006, after consultations with officials and residents, a private company, Ventus Energy, started construction of a wind farm in West Cape with eight turbines erected in phase I, and 35 to come.

We are proud of the initiative--

Wind EnergyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Papineau.

Nicolas SarkozyStatements By Members

May 16th, 2007 / 2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Vivian Barbot Bloc Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, today, Nicolas Sarkozy made his official entry into the Élysée Palace, following his election on May 6 as the sixth president of the French Fifth Republic. The Bloc Québécois and I extend our warmest congratulations to Mr. Sarkozy.

We would also like to congratulate Ségolène Royal, the first female candidate for the presidency of France, on running an excellent campaign.

After his election, Mr. Sarkozy stated his position on the Kyoto protocol, saying that the United States had a duty not to stand in the way of the fight against climate change. Let us hope that Canada, as a signatory to the protocol, will take that statement to heart and, like Quebec, make an effort to comply with the protocol.

We also hope that the special relationship between France and Quebec will continue, in the best interests of la Francophonie.

Ottawa Senators Hockey TeamStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Ottawa Senators may be making history today as they have the opportunity to make it to the Stanley Cup final for the first time in their modern history.

The people of Ottawa could not be more proud.

Senators, like leading scorers, Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley; team captain Daniel Alfredsson; rock solid Ray Emery in net; and overtime hero Joe Corvo; when I think of hard-working senators, I think of those guys.

Maybe even some of our friends in the other place could be inspired by this team. Maybe they will benefit from seeing Ottawa's dogged determination, how they just play their hearts out every night and how they get the job done.

The Senators hail from all over Canada, from Alberta, Saskatchewan, Quebec and Ontario. They even come from Russia, Germany, Sweden and the United States.

If I may say so myself, we are behind the Senators. In fact, the whole country is behind them.

Ottawa Senators Hockey TeamStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

We will overlook that flagrant breach of the rules.

The hon. member for Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière.

National Mining WeekStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, National Mining Week runs from May 14 to 20. Our mining industry means social and economic prosperity for many communities across the country. I invite the hon. members to join me in congratulating our mining industry during this week of celebrations.

This year's theme is “Canada's Natural Resources: Celebrating 100 Years of Excellence in Mining and Minerals Science and Technology”. Through Natural Resources Canada, we are promoting partnerships with the mining industry, universities, other governments and Canadians to continue the sustainable development of our mineral resources.

In addition, in budget 2007, our government allocated $60 million to set up a major projects management office for better regulation of mining projects in Canada.

I ask the hon. members to join me in congratulating mining industry workers and government officials on the work they are doing to support mining communities in Canada and around the world. Together, we will create a climate of hope, opportunity and sustainability that will make Canada a model for the rest of the world.

Cluster BombsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Mario Silva Liberal Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians can be proud of the fact that in 1997, the Government of Canada, under the Liberals, hosted a meeting during which leaders from around the world signed the Ottawa convention to ban land mines. At the time, Canada showed the way, and it should do so again now.

Cluster bombs are an insidious problem and are raising more and more serious concerns because they are wreaking havoc among civilians who become innocent victims of armed conflicts. The use of weapons that cause collateral damage by destroying both civilian and military targets indiscriminately contravenes the most basic human rights conventions.

We must all act together to put an end to the suffering caused by cluster bombs. Together, we can achieve this goal.

VietnamStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Conservative Calgary East, AB

Mr. Speaker, over the past few months, Vietnam has been cracking down on peaceful political activists. Since March 30, seven Vietnamese activists have been found guilty in four trials and given jail sentences ranging from three years to eight years for spreading propaganda against the state.

These actions violate the principles of freedom of expression and tolerance for peaceful opposition. Canada calls on the Government of Vietnam to release all political prisoners and to respect the international standards for human rights to which it has freely adhered.

Vietnam has a duty as an ASEAN member country and an increasingly engaged member of the international community to respect these fundamental rights.

Canada urges the Vietnamese government to respect an individual's right to a fair trial. The promotion and protection of human rights forms the central part of Canada's relationship with Vietnam.

Canada will, therefore, continue to urge Vietnam to ensure that the right to freedom of expression and due process are fully respected.

Genetically Modified OrganismsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Marcel Lussier Bloc Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, students from Notre-Dame-St-Joseph de La Prairie elementary school have come to Parliament Hill today to ask for mandatory labelling of genetically modified organisms.

After gathering information from the available literature and websites, Thomas Drolet and James Cameron created their own website where people can learn more about this.

In record time, nearly 2,000 people signed the petition against GMOs, half of them on the Internet. The purpose of the petition is to draw the government's attention to the negative and unknown effects of GMOs on the food chain and the environment.

Soon, I will table the petition on their behalf.

Lincoln Alexander DayStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, February is Black History Month and the third Monday is Heritage Day across Canada. Now a bill has been introduced in Queen's Park to make the third Wednesday of February in Ontario, Lincoln Alexander Day.

Lincoln MacCauley Alexander is well known for his compassion, charisma, hard work and generosity. He sat in this House as an MP for Hamilton, was a Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, is a Companion of the Order of Canada and a Member of the Order of Ontario.

Linc's credentials are far too long for me to list in their entirety in the brief time I have. One that does need to be mentioned is that last June, Linc was named the greatest Hamiltonian of all time. Daily, when I use the Lincoln Alexander Parkway when I am back in the riding I represent, I think of all the values that Lincoln Alexander still stands for today.

No one single person who I know embodies black history and heritage as does Lincoln Alexander. In a spirit of non-partisanship, I strongly encourage all members of the Ontario legislature to support Bill 220 and make the third Wednesday in February in Ontario, forevermore, Lincoln Alexander Day.

Status of WomenStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Belinda Stronach Liberal Newmarket—Aurora, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to speak to a report released yesterday by Plan Canada called “Because I Am a Girl: The State of the World's Girls 2007”.

The report examines the rights of girls throughout the world, their childhood, adolescence and as young women. An eight point action plan is outlined that would defend women's rights around the world. How does Canada measure up to this eight point plan?

Point one: Listen to girls and let them participate. Over the past year, 12 out of the 16 regional offices for the Status of Women have been closed.

Point two: Invest in girls and young women. The government has changed the mandate of the women's program and removed equality.

Point three: Change and enforce the law. The government has cut the court challenges program and funding to the National Association of Women and the Law.

Point four: Change attitudes. The government is listening to regressive groups like REAL Women and not promoting a progressive agenda focused on women's rights.

Point five: Have a safety net for girls. It also cut one-fifth of the Status of Women's operational budget before being forced to reinstate the funding.

Point six: Get specific data on girls.

Point seven: Take a life cycle approach.

Award for Teaching ExcellenceStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Gord Brown Conservative Leeds—Grenville, ON

Mr. Speaker, earlier this year I had the opportunity to present a Prime Minister's Award for Teaching Excellence to David Sheridan at Thousand Islands Secondary School in Brockville.

His peers make the following comments about him: a community minded arts teacher with a flair for inspiring students to reach their true potential; and he is an innovator who has a unique ability to get students excited about learning and engaged in learning.

David Sheridan moves classroom instruction to practical reality. The work produced by him and his students can be found throughout the city of Brockville and area as they have created legacies, from statues to murals, in their own community.

Visiting Ottawa today with his family, I am proud to take this opportunity to recognize in the House David Sheridan and his many accomplishments.

Sri LankaStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, for over 20 years, the nation of Sri Lanka has been embroiled in a deadly armed conflict.

Today, the violence continues, breeding widespread human rights abuses. Over 65,000 lives have been claimed and hundreds of thousands of citizens have been displaced or have fled the country. Families are being cut off from food, water and medicine. Political disappearances, forced evictions and the recruitment of child soldiers are daily occurrences. Freedom of speech has been choked by the recurring abduction and murder of journalists.

I was at a community meeting in Burnaby last weekend and the message from my constituents is clear. It is imperative for peace that the federal government increase pressure on the Sri Lankan government and military to respect the human rights of the Tamil population and other minorities.

I urge the government to actively support the peace process and efforts of the United Nations to uphold human rights of all peoples in Sri Lanka.

HockeyStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Ken Boshcoff Liberal Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

Mr. Speaker, this past weekend residents of my riding of Thunder Bay—Rainy River beamed with pride as Thunder Bay's own Staal brothers exhibited their superb hockey skills.

Jordan and Eric Staal won the gold medal with Team Canada at the World Hockey Championships in Russia.

The win is a historic one as Jordan and Eric became the first brother combination to ever win gold medals for Canada since our participation in the event began. Jordan is also the youngest Canadian ever to win a gold medal at the tournament.

In the OHL, their younger brother, Marc of the Sudbury Wolves, was awarded the Wayne Gretzky Award as the Most Valuable Player of the Rogers Championship Series.

The youngest sibling, Jared, is anxiously awaiting his chance to join his brothers in the big leagues.

Please join me in recognizing the Staal brothers of Thunder Bay—Rainy River on their superb hockey excellence and in wishing them continued success.

Valleyfield Curling ClubStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Claude DeBellefeuille Bloc Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate John Stewart, Jean-Marc, Denis and Raymond McSween as well as Claude Comeau, the proud representatives of Quebec at the Canadian senior men’s curling championships held in Trois-Rivières from March 18 to 25. The Valleyfield Curling Club represented Quebec magnificently and with honour at these championships. They competed against the best senior teams from other provinces.

This club was established 100 years ago and is known for the quality of its organization, its development of new curlers, and the importance it places on having a club where the well-being of its members is the primary focus.

In addition, this club is a model of social commitment and solidarity in its community as it supports the Special Olympics curling team. The club has showcased these athletes and provides them with tangible encouragement to maintain the excellence of their play.

Once again, bravo and congratulations to the senior athletes of the Valleyfield Curling Club for their participation in this important championship.

Summer Jobs ProgramStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Eyking Liberal Sydney—Victoria, NS

Mr. Speaker, students in my riding are being denied opportunity. The Canada summer jobs initiative has eliminated the chance for hundreds of students to gain work experience.

In my riding of Sydney—Victoria previous governments have assisted thousands of students with summer jobs. Cuts to the Canada summer jobs program mean hundreds of students in my riding are now without work.

This program was supposed to give priority to organizations in areas of high unemployment. Day cares, museums, recreation programs, minor sports leagues, seniors clubs and small retail operations in remote areas all have been denied funding.

The effect this will have on Cape Breton and other areas is devastating. This meanspirited action by the Conservatives is an attack on our economy and our culture. Worst of all, it is a meanspirited attack on our students.

I demand that the minister instruct his officials to immediately restore the jobs that were taken away.

Senate Tenure LegislationStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Wallace Conservative Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, Bill S-4, an important government bill on Senate term limits, has been languishing in the Senate for almost a year as the Liberals play procedural games to delay true Senate reform.

Compare that to what happened in the Senate last night. The Liberals rammed their environmental plan, Bill C-288, through a Senate committee in, and wait for it, 43 seconds. This is the same bill that independent analysts Don Drummond, Mark Jaccard and Carl Sonnen said would cause a massive recession with little or no benefit to the environment. This is the same bill that the Liberal leader in the Senate promised Canadians would not be fast-tracked.

That is the Liberal Party for you, Mr. Speaker. It says one thing and does exactly the opposite. In its pursuit of power, the Liberal Party will stoop to the lowest anti-democratic methods it can get away with. They should be ashamed of themselves.

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is violating the Official Languages Act, section 88 of which requires the Standing Committee on Official Languages to review the report of the Commissioner of Official Languages.

Will the Prime Minister simply designate a new chair so that the committee can do the work required by the act? Will the Prime Minister do this simple thing and behave responsibly?

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, according to my information, the Conservative members on that committee support the hon. member for Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry as chair. He is doing good work. The chair and the Conservative members of the committee are ready to get back to work as soon as possible and I hope the Liberal members will do the same.

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, will the Prime Minister admit that he killed the court challenges program because he lost a case against the anti-poverty coalition funded by this program, because, thanks to this program, his Minister of the Environment has been unable to close the Montfort Hospital and because, thanks to this program, gay rights have been protected, something that has been criticized by the chief of staff?

Will the Prime Minister stop this personal and vindictive vendetta against minority rights in Canada?

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this government certainly has nothing to learn from the Liberal Party in the area of rights.

This is the government that dealt with the issue of the Chinese head tax, which the previous government refused to do. This is the government that is trying to get matrimonial property rights for aboriginal women. This is the government that is trying to toughen up laws to protect women and children in Canada.

We have an important bill before the House, Bill C-44, to give aboriginal people, under the Canadian human rights code, equal status for the first time. The Liberal Party should stop blocking it and support it.

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, as is far too often the case, the Prime Minister misled the House again yesterday. He falsely claimed that the action plan for official languages, which I had the honour of launching in 2003, had been criticized by the commissioner.

On the contrary, the commissioner said, “The action plan has achieved much of what it set out to do. It has given the new momentum that was so desperately needed to the official languages policy...the federal government must be inspired by the spirit of the action plan...the government has...directly undermined the action plan over the past year”.

When will the Prime Minister stop misleading the House? When will he stop playing politics and live up to his role?

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I can cite the report of the former Commissioner of Official Languages, who said, “As was clearly seen in last year’s annual report, political leadership is in a downward spiral and is running out of steam; it lacks the strength to properly undertake the renewal of linguistic duality announced in 2003”.

Those are the words of the former commissioner. This minister has increased funding for linguistic minority programs.

The hon. leader uses the term vindictiveness, talking about the current chair of the official languages committee—