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House of Commons Hansard #146 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-22.

Topics

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

There are four minutes left in the question and comment period, but we will have to continue after question period.

2 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I have the honour to inform the House that a communication has been received as follows:

Rideau Hall

Ottawa

May 3, 2007

Mr. Speaker:

I have the honour to inform you that the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, signified royal assent by written declaration to the bills listed in the schedule to this letter on the 3rd day of May, 2007, at 10:30 a.m.

Yours sincerely,

Sheila-Marie Cook

Secretary to the Governor General

The schedule indicates the bills assented to were Bill C-26, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (criminal interest rate)--Chapter 9, Bill C-16, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act--Chapter 10, and Bill C-36, An Act to amend the Canada Pension Plan and the Old Age Security Act--Chapter 11.

Automobile IndustryStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Jeff Watson Conservative Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, our government supports Canada's auto industry. Budget 2007 implements 16 unanimous recommendations, made by an industry committee, to rebuild the industry.

What did the NDP-Liberals do? They reneged and voted against this help for the auto sector. That is not all.

Here is what the NDP-Liberals voted for. They voted for a Kyoto target and timeline to kill 275,000 jobs and plunge us into the deepest recession since World War II, something CAW president Buzz Hargrove said would be “suicidal for the economy” and would decimate the auto sector.

The NDP-Liberals also voted for a tougher than California auto emissions standard that Hargrove said leaves the Impala as the only car built in Canada that we can sell in Canada.

They want to kill the auto industry.

Thankfully, our green plan listens to industry and labour, but members do not have to take my word for it: “I think the environment minister is right on the money”. Who said that? Buzz Hargrove.

The NDP-Liberals turn their backs while our government is standing up for clean air and auto jobs in Canada.

Citizenship and ImmigrationStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Gurbax Malhi Liberal Bramalea—Gore—Malton, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada's Department of Citizenship and Immigration is not treating people fairly in many countries.

Many of my constituents have family members who have been denied visitor visas without being given a valid reason. Some visitor visas are denied based on financial reasons, but I know they would not be denied if the ministry had read all of the attached financial documents.

Some visitor visas are denied to people who already have received them many times and have visited Canada during the time of the previous government, but now these same people, who followed all the rules before, are finding that their applications are being rejected without proper review.

This means that many Canadian families are not able to have their relatives or friends from overseas attend weddings, graduations and funerals. Even when a member of Parliament makes a personal guarantee for an applicant, the applicant still gets refused without any acknowledgement.

Canadian families are depending on the government to end the hardship. I strongly urge the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to take immediate action--

Citizenship and ImmigrationStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Laurentides—Labelle.

Pay EquityStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Johanne Deschamps Bloc Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, this week marks the third anniversary of the Pay Equity Task Force report published in May 2004. It is sad to note that despite the broad consensus for the implementation of the report's recommendations, mainly to adopt federal pay equity legislation, the Conservative government, through its Minister of Labour, simply announced the addition of minor administrative measures to the existing legislation.

Even today, women who fall under the Canada Labour Code experience wage disparity that jeopardizes their economic security and that of their families.

The Conservative government has a very poor track record on women's issues. Discrimination against women must stop. This government is responsible for guaranteeing women's equality by adopting proactive legislation.

When will this government have the courage to follow the lead of Quebec, which has proactive legislation to guarantee pay equity for women.

Burnaby LakeStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Bill Siksay NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, Burnaby Lake is smack dab in the middle of the city of Burnaby. It is key to our urban landscape, home to wildlife and a site of recreation and solitude for Burnaby's people.

As an urban lake, it is under great stress from the surrounding city. It is gradually silting in. Without a major dredging effort, it will become a swamp, an unsuitable habitat for the many species that need open water to flourish. Without open water, recreational uses also disappear.

The city of Burnaby has a plan to keep Burnaby Lake an open water lake. It has support from the GVRD and the province. Environmental approvals run out in September. The federal government has yet to agree to participate in this important project.

The previous Liberal government found money for similar projects in Liberal ridings. Surely the Conservative government can support a good project based solely on its merits.

There are strong environmental reasons to do this work. The clock is ticking. I would urge the government to approve infrastructure funding for this important project to save Burnaby Lake without further delay.

Parliamentary Prayer BreakfastStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Ken Epp Conservative Edmonton—Sherwood Park, AB

Mr. Speaker, I had the privilege of attending the annual Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast this morning. It was absolutely inspiring. Besides hearing beautiful music and having representatives from all parties participate in reading of the scripture, we were all greatly touched by the story told by our guest speaker, Mr. Serge LeClerc.

In his words, Serge was the product of rape, born to a young Cree girl who was only 14 years old. His life story, with all the pain he endured during his growing up years, was painful to hear. He became involved in drugs and organized crime and spent a number of years in jail.

While in jail he was visited by a dedicated Christian who reached out to him in love. As a result, Serge experienced the life-transforming grace that can come only from God and his life was turned around. He also received a pardon from the government and is now working full time with an organization, Teen Challenge, that helps young people break free from the bondage of drug addictions.

It was a truly inspiring event.

New Democratic PartyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise in this House to denounce a bizarre political alliance, a sort of perverse marriage between the NDP and the minority Conservative government.

To everyone's surprise, we learned earlier this week that the member for Windsor—Tecumseh supported a series of retrograde amendments to Bill C-10. These amendments were tabled by none other than the member for Fundy Royal. Who would have believed it?

It is sad to see the NDP's enthusiastic support for such a reactionary government. This is not the first time; we all remember the travesty of the income trusts and the loyal support provided by the NDP.

There is no longer any doubt about the fact that the real opposition to the current government is the Liberal Party of Canada.

Headwaters Health Care CentreStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

David Tilson Conservative Dufferin—Caledon, ON

Mr. Speaker, on May 3, 1997, a state of the art hospital opened in Orangeville, Ontario. The new hospital's name was Headwaters Health Care Centre. It included 108 beds and provided a range of acute care services for the town of Caledon and the county of Dufferin.

This year, Headwaters is celebrating its 10th anniversary of outstanding service and community excellence. This Saturday, the Headwaters Health Care Foundation will be hosting its annual dinner and auction in support of the centre.

Over the past nine years the volunteer committee has generated more than $1 million for the hospital to purchase new equipment. I commend the tremendous efforts of this dedicated group of volunteers who ensure that this event is such a resounding success each year.

This is an excellent opportunity for all Dufferin—Caledon residents to congratulate the Headwaters Health Care Centre on 10 incredible years of providing superior health care. I wish the centre more years of success and excellence in our community.

World Press Freedom DayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Diane Bourgeois Bloc Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, freedom of the press, which we are celebrating today, is one of the basic principles of democracy, which is based on freedom of opinion, freedom of thought and freedom of expression.

Unfortunately, in many countries around the world, this freedom often comes under attack.

The Bloc Québécois has always vigorously stood up for every person's right to his or her opinion. Those who would take that right away from others become slaves to the views they hold at that time because they abdicate the right to change their own opinions. As a result, they cannot remain true to themselves.

Thomas Paine said that “infidelity does not consist in believing or in disbelieving; it consists in professing to believe what one does not believe. It is impossible to calculate the moral mischief that mental lying has produced in society”.

The Bloc Québécois sincerely hopes that assaults on these basic freedoms, including freedom of the press, will end once and for all.

Member for QuébecStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, this week, we learned that the Bloc member for Québec ordered a report recommending that the Bloc support the ADQ in its efforts to achieve independence from Ottawa. However, her leader calls himself a sovereignist and a Parti Québécois ally.

Instead of misleading the people to justify the salary and benefits received by powerless MPs, members of the Bloc would do well to recall what one of their own, who has since left Ottawa, said. In 2003, a former member of the Bloc said, “If the Parti Québécois does not win the next election, do not expect me to run in another federal election. Personally, I am not interested in speaking on behalf of Mario Dumont or Jean Charest here in the federal Parliament”.

I wonder whether the member for Québec agrees with what her former colleague said.

HousingStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Ruby Dhalla Liberal Brampton—Springdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, under the Conservative government Canadian families are being left out in the cold and are being forced to live in deplorable housing conditions, all due to the lack of action by the Conservative government on affordable housing.

In one of their first acts as government, the Conservatives cancelled the Kelowna accord, which would have earmarked a significant investment in housing to help reduce overcrowding and homelessness for aboriginal Canadians.

The Conservatives then rebranded the Liberal government's supporting communities partnership initiative, SCPI, a program funding communities, organizations and shelters that assisted Canadians in coping with homelessness, and instead announced the homeless partnering strategy, which had a funding amount equivalent to SCPI's.

The Prime Minister and the government need to take action. They need to show some leadership. They need to ensure that we have a national housing strategy in this country.

We on this side of the House support a national housing strategy. Will the Prime Minister step up to the plate and show some leadership to ensure that homeless Canadians get what they deserve?

Green Party LeaderStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Dykstra Conservative St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker, Green Party leader Elizabeth May has still not completely backed down from her comparisons of Canadian public policy to Chamberlain's appeasement, nor has the Leader of the Opposition withdrawn his support for her candidacy.

Last night on CBC's The National, Rex Murphy challenged Ms. May's comparisons and said:

There are a number of problems with injecting the Holocaust or its shadow into the current political debate on global warming and the separate debate on what to do about it.

Ms. May continues to qualify her remarks and offer only half apologies. She should have made an immediate, clear and unequivocal retraction.

The opposition leader has staked a lot on Ms. May. He has even disenfranchised Liberals of Central Nova to help get her elected to Parliament.

Miss May has refused to completely retract her remarks. Will the Leader of the Opposition finally withdraw his support for his candidate in Central Nova?

Polish ConstitutionStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to pay tribute to Polish Canadians and, in particular, to the Polish community in my riding of Parkdale—High Park who celebrate the 216th anniversary of the Polish constitution of 1791.

The Polish constitution is generally recognized as the first modern national constitution in Europe and the second oldest in the world. It would later influence many democratic movements.

During the 20th century the celebration of the Polish constitution took on even more meaning for Poles around the world because it represented the reunification of Poland after the first world war. During the occupation of Poland after the second world war, official celebrations were prohibited.

For the Poles in Canada, the date was celebrated with an air of defiant determination in anticipation of the day when Poland would again become a sovereign country. Now Poland is a free, democratic and proud country within the European Union.

I am proud to join with the Polish Canadian community, all our neighbours and all those in this House to celebrate the proud Polish Canadian heritage on this special day.

Goldman Environmental PrizeStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Tina Keeper Liberal Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Goldman Environmental Prize is the world's most distinguished award that honours environmentalists at the grassroots level.

I am especially proud to have the opportunity to congratulate one of this year's recipients, Sophia Rabliauskas of Poplar River First Nation in the boreal region forest of Manitoba, located on the eastern side of Lake Winnipeg. She is one of six individuals throughout the world to be recognized with this honour.

As a result of her tireless leadership and vigorous environmental vision, today the residents of the Poplar River First Nation can proudly say that they have secured interim protection for over two million acres of undisturbed forest land. She is only the third Canadian to have ever won this prestigious honour.

I invite all members of this House to join in honouring Sophia Rabliauskas and the residents of Poplar River First Nation.

Ducs de LongueuilStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, this year, the Ducs de Longueuil, Longueuil's junior elite baseball team, is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

The team was founded by a Longueuil native, Émile “Butch” Bouchard, and has won a number of championships in Quebec's junior baseball league. A number of the team's players, including veteran Gaétan Groleau, have been drafted to the major league. The current mayor, Claude Gladu, and municipal councillor Normand Caisse, were once members of this illustrious team.

These young people between the ages of 17 and 22, who play on the team, are a real hit with the fans who go to the Paul-Pratt park in Longueuil every season.

The Ducs have been regular season champions of Quebec's elite baseball league for the past two years and they also won the president's cup in 2004 and 2006.

The new season starts in a few days and I want to offer the players, volunteers, management and all the fans my unwavering support and best wishes for success for the 2007 season.

Automobile IndustryStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Lloyd St. Amand Liberal Brant, ON

Mr. Speaker, manufacturers and dealers of Canadian vehicles are disappointed with the government. The feebate policy in the budget levies a tax on Canadian made, advanced technology engines, a tax that will cost GM, Ford and DaimlerChrysler $55 million.

The government announced this policy without consulting the industry, without realizing that the policy will punish Canadian manufacturers.

These levies will have an adverse effect in that consumers will keep their older vehicles longer, vehicles not as environmentally friendly as today's vehicles. The levies also penalize those who require larger vehicles for their families.

The measure does nothing to combat rising emissions. Canadians who want to purchase more fuel efficient, alternative fuel vehicles can do so but the infrastructure required to fuel those vehicles does not exist.

Experts note that feebates cost consumers more with little benefit to the environment and hamper our vital auto industry. The government should immediately address this flawed policy.

Liberal Party PoliciesStatements By Members

May 3rd, 2007 / 2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Guy Lauzon Conservative Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are confused with the Liberals' contradictory positions regarding Canada's international reputation.

Yesterday, the Liberal MP for Bourassa was suddenly concerned about Canada's reputation abroad, attacking the government for supposedly undermining our reputation on the international stage.

Shockingly, that is the same member who only days ago bragged to the press that during his trip to Europe for a NATO meeting of foreign ministers, he was going to bash Canada. When he came back, he bragged about how he had smeared our country. This position seems to go against his Liberal leader, who has stated, “I never, never will speak against my government when I am with international personalities”.

The Liberal leader has refused to remove Farhan Chak a his candidate in Edmonton--Mill Woods--Beaumont for his controversial comments and he continues to endorse his candidate, Elizabeth May.

I realize we are not in question period yet but I would like to ask the Liberal leader whether he condones his defence critic making a mockery of his position and words.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the improv league continues.

Last week, the Minister of National Defence told us that there was an agreement, but the Minister of Foreign Affairs knew nothing about it. His parliamentary secretary said that there was no agreement but that talks were under way. The Minister of Public Safety said that there was no need for an agreement, because the work was being done anyway. Today, in an eleventh hour move to avoid an injunction, the government claims that it has an agreement.

My question is for anyone who wants to answer it, but they had better not all speak at once because they will contradict one another. Can they table this agreement immediately in this House?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, the December 2005 arrangement on detainees remains in place.

We have said that we would work with the Afghan government to clarify its responsibilities for the treatment of Taliban prisoners. Working with the Afghan government, we have made explicit their responsibilities and we have identified and implemented these improvements to the existing 2005 arrangement, as we said we would do.

We are ready to table the agreement in the House.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, there are other reasons to worry about this new step in this sad saga. The chief of defence staff said that he was not aware of the details of this agreement.

Did the Minister of Public Safety, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of National Defence meet together, maybe in an elevator, to get their stories straight and, if they did, did any of them bother to inform the Prime Minister?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, the confusion, as always, continues to come from the opposition benches. We have been consistent.

The December 2005 arrangement on detainees remains in place. We have said that we would work with the Afghan government to clarify its responsibilities for the treatment of Taliban prisoners, as we have told the House previously. Working with the Afghan government, we have made explicit its responsibilities and we have identified and implemented these improvements to the existing 2005 arrangement, as we said we would do.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, it is very important to know. Regarding the detainees who have already been transferred to the Afghan government, will the government be able to determine where they are and whether they are being treated in accordance with the Geneva convention, free from torture?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, we have arrangements in place and are satisfied that they are working.

I invite the Leader of the Opposition to read this agreement.