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House of Commons Hansard #168 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was finance.

Topics

VolunteerismStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Ken Epp Conservative Edmonton—Sherwood Park, AB

Mr. Speaker, my riding will be the host of two very significant sport and cultural events this summer. These are always fun for the participants and spectators and offer the people in our community an opportunity to demonstrate their wonderful spirit of volunteerism.

First, we have the Seniors' Games in the City of Fort Saskatchewan from July 26 to 29. This is a time when people my age and older compete and show that they are superior in mind and body. There will be about 1,200 participants and we are all looking forward to this time of challenge for mind and muscle.

Then we have the Western Canada Summer Games in Strathcona county from August 3 to 11. This will involve over 2,300 athletes, coaches, officials and performers, plus about 3,000 volunteers.

I offer my congratulations and thanks to all the volunteers and their leaders, people like Margaret Marciak the team leader, because without them such events just could not happen.

I say way to go to Sherwood Park and Fort Saskatchewan.

Scleroderma Awareness MonthStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Omar Alghabra Liberal Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Mr. Speaker, members of the Scleroderma Society of Canada are here in Ottawa to meet with officials from Health Canada.

They have designated June as Scleroderma Awareness Month and are working hard to inform Canadians and the government about its seriousness.

Scleroderma is a progressive and chronic connective tissue disorder that causes the thickening, hardening and scarring of the skin and other organs. It is a highly individualized disorder and symptoms and severity can range from mild to potentially life-threatening.

Scleroderma affects women four to five times as frequently as men and its exact cause is still unknown. While many symptoms can be improved with medication and lifestyle changes, there is still no known cure. There is a need for more research and studies.

I would like to thank the Scleroderma Society's president, Shirley Haslam, and its regional support groups and volunteers for their dedication to raising awareness about this disease.

I also call upon the government to increase investment in research that would find a cure for this debilitating disease.

Martine PaiementStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Johanne Deschamps Bloc Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, as Bloc Québécois critic on the status of women and member for Laurentides—Labelle, today I would like to pay tribute to the remarkable work of a woman in my riding.

Martine Paiement, a resident of the municipality of Piedmont, recently went to Africa as part of the international cooperation program of the Canadian Executive Service Organization. The purpose of her trip was to develop the “African woman entrepreneur”.

African society is very dependent on the work of women. Whether they are working to bring home food or to support families, they are often the last thing standing between survival and extreme poverty.

Her trip was productive. Canada's African trade commissioner, Jude Bijingsi, visited the Upper Laurentians and had the opportunity to take a closer look at our region's trade potential.

Congratulations once again, Ms. Paiement, for your excellent work.

Manufacturing IndustryStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, in question period I recently challenged the government to act on real solutions to stem the flood of job losses in the manufacturing sector; 11,000 in Hamilton alone and over one-quarter million nationwide.

The minister's answer was, in essence, that he was “taking care of business”. That line has not made workers happy since Bachman-Turner Overdrive took that song to the top of the charts in 1974.

Working families deserve more than song and dance from their government. It is time for government to be at the table when companies like Stelco in Hamilton contemplate mergers, partnerships, acquisitions or sales.

The government needs to ensure that no action is taken on the backs of workers and retirees. It is time to stand up for working families, demand that collective agreements be respected, ensure that all pension and benefit obligations for active and retired workers are honoured and ensure that jobs will be protected.

Workers need those decent paying jobs to sustain their families, small businesses need them to stay afloat and our city needs them for the tax base that supports community centres, hospitals and schools.

During the election, the Prime Minister promised he would stand up for Canada. The time to deliver is now.

PhilippinesStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Conservative Calgary East, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Philippines faces serious human rights challenges. Foremost among those is the large number of extrajudicial killings that have been reported. These killings have targeted political activists, journalists and others. Many of them have gone unresolved.

Canada has expressed our concerns on numerous occasions to the Philippine government about extrajudicial killings and the apparent culture of impunity that is undermining law and order.

Canadian officials continue to meet and consult with groups most affected by the violence. We support building a capacity of expertise in the Philippine government institutions that are mandated to improve the human rights situation.

I would also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the important steps the Philippines have taken to address this problem, including Task Force USIG, the Melo Commission and the invitation of the UN Special Rapporteur. Further, President Macapagal-Arroyo has stated her intention to implement new measures, including the creation of special courts to investigate the killings and the strengthening of witness protection to address the issue.

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Anthony Rota Liberal Nipissing—Timiskaming, ON

Mr. Speaker, today I want to pay tribute to 26 students and 15 adults who spent Saturday, May 27, picking up garbage along the highway between New Liskeard and Haileybury.

The driving force behind this initiative was Nathalie Lessard, an educator who recognized the importance of beautifying the area and decided to put out a call for help. The participants filled more than 100 bags with garbage. This simple yet effective initiative is an excellent example of how each one of us can help protect the environment.

I hope that, one day, it will no longer be necessary to organize such clean-up campaigns, because more and more people are aware of the importance of a clean and healthy environment. I want to again thank Nathalie Lessard and the many volunteers who pitched in and who have certainly inspired others to do the same.

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Luc Harvey Conservative Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, last week, the Prime Minister filled Canadians with pride when he helped achieve a global consensus on an agreement to fight climate change.

The leaders of Germany, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, Russia and Japan welcomed the climate change agreement reached at the G-8 summit, calling it a great success.

Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations, has said that he is very encouraged by the commitment the G-8 members have made to establish a multilateral process under the auspices of the United Nations.

My question is this: if the true leaders of the world are welcoming this major agreement, why can the Leader of the Opposition, the champion of inaction, not do the same? Leaders take action. The Prime Minister took steps at the G-8 summit to combat climate change. Unfortunately, the president of the “laissez-faire” club, the Leader of the Opposition, is more interested in partisan squabbling than in taking real steps to help the environment.

François BoyerStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Claude DeBellefeuille Bloc Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to pay tribute today to François Boyer, an admirable man who played an important role in developing ties between the Mohawk community of Akwesasne and Quebeckers. I was deeply saddened to hear of Mr. Boyer's passing.

He was a dedicated, jovial man whose positive outlook was simply infectious. He was also very kind and sincere. His memory will live on in his community and in the hearts of all his friends and family.

François was very well known in the Mohawk community of Akwesasne, although somewhat less so outside it. There is no doubt that the bridges he built constitute an important accomplishment for our two cultures, both for today and for years to come.

Our thoughts at this time are with his family, friends and loved ones in particular, those he loved and those who loved him. May his memory inspire us to be better people and more open to others.

Northwest TerritoriesStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Brian Jean Conservative Fort McMurray—Athabasca, AB

Mr. Speaker, the hard-working people of the Northwest Territories have only one representative in Ottawa. The member for Western Arctic is here to stand up for them and their interests, not to play political games that threaten the important funding that brings significant benefits to the territories.

Unfortunately, the current NDP member for Western Arctic does not see it that way. Shamefully, he voted against a budget that his own premier called good news. Now he is supporting his leader's efforts to delay the budget bill that will cost the Northwest Territories over $54 million in funding.

The people of Yellowknife, Hay River, Inuvik, Fort Smith and all communities in between sent the member for Western Arctic here to make Parliament work for them, not to take part in his leader's political games.

It is time for the member for Western Arctic to stand up for his constituents and to stand up to his leader and tell him that the $54 million that will be lost is too important for his constituents and that it is time to pass the budget implementation bill. It is time to stand up for the people of the Northwest Territories.

Northwest TerritoriesStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I remind hon. members that we have to be careful not to do attacks on other hon. members in the course of Standing Order 31 statements.

The hon. member for Thornhill.

Sanatan Mandir Cultural CentreStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Susan Kadis Liberal Thornhill, ON

Mr. Speaker, recently I had the pleasure of joining members of the Sanatan Mandir Cultural Centre on their walkathon fundraiser.

The centre is a self-sustaining community organization which benefits many members of Thornhill and York region. Proceeds from the walkathon will be used for renovations to their temple. Members of the centre also have future plans to build a seniors residence.

The walkathon is only one of the many events that I have attended. I have seen so many seniors, some of them with heart conditions, at these events. It is very poignant and inspiring.

The centre has a thriving seniors club that meets regularly, and free Sunday school for children. It provides settlement programs to help newcomers and also assists battered women. The centre's tireless efforts never cease to amaze me.

It was a pleasure to walk with community members of all ages. I have visited the centre many times over the years and am continuously impressed by its members' unwavering commitment to community building.

I wish the members of the Sanatan Mandir Cultural Centre continued great success in all their endeavours.

Research and DevelopmentStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Carrie Conservative Oshawa, ON

Mr. Speaker, all members have a responsibility to make Parliament work. Canada's Conservative government is attempting to do its best to make this minority Parliament work doing what Canadians sent us here to do, like supporting cutting edge world-class research that would help Canada acquire the expertise and generate the knowledge that would ensure future economic growth and job creation.

In budget 2007 Canada's Conservative government made major investments in talented Canadians and their ideas, but because of the petty, partisan antics of the Liberal and NDP members, nearly $300 million in support to world-class institutions such as CANARIE, Genome Canada, the Perimeter Institute and the Rick Hansen Foundation is in peril.

Why are the Liberals and NDP ready to punish Canada's researchers and Canada's future so they can play their pathetic—

Research and DevelopmentStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Hamilton East—Stoney Creek.

Community Beach PondsStatements By Members

June 11th, 2007 / 2:10 p.m.

NDP

Wayne Marston NDP Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Community Beach Ponds, also known as the Turtle Ponds, are one of the best remaining examples of diverse urban biospheres and are found in the Stoney Creek portion of my riding. Sadly, Turtle Ponds are at risk of being sold to housing developers.

The current land owners, our two school boards, cannot be faulted for wanting to sell and make money. We all know the shameful state of education financing in this country where the Conservative government and past Liberal governments have wiped their hands of providing adequate funding for our schools.

The government failed to take any steps to assist the other levels of government interested in protecting the Turtle Ponds.

There is historical proof of the presence of two turtles that are species at risk in this area, but no recent studies have been done to see if those at risk species are still present. A blue-spotted salamander species is present and is considered a rare and ecologically valuable wetland species.

The Conservative government needs to act now to help preserve this natural area and ensure that it is safe from development and remains a protected area of biodiversity for the community and future generations.

Alphonse-Pesant SchoolStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Massimo Pacetti Liberal Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, QC

Mr. Speaker, on May 31, 2007, I was pleased to attend the closing ceremonies of the “Phonse dans la lecture” project organized by teachers and volunteers at the Alphonse-Pesant school in Saint-Léonard.

I was delighted to tour the exhibition and admire the remarkably creative and varied projects designed to encourage students and visitors to read more. The projects were created by students at this elementary school, which is known for encouraging such programs. Events like these make my proud to represent the riding of Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel.

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all participants, staff members, the principal and volunteers for this wonderful initiative.

I would also like to thank all our teachers, who are never given the recognition they deserve for stimulating a desire for learning among our young people.

Douglas JungStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Meili Faille Bloc Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday was the 50th anniversary of the election of Douglas Jung, the first Canadian of Chinese origin to be elected to the House of Commons for the riding of Vancouver Centre.

Every step of Mr. Jung's career set a precedent in relations to improve racial tension. Mr. Jung was the first member of Chinese origin to sit in the House of Commons and to represent Canada at the United Nations and he was also the first Chinese lawyer to argue before the British Columbia Court of Appeals.

This anniversary gives us an opportunity to reflect on the contribution of Mr. Jung and Canadians of Chinese origin of his generation who managed to have the Chinese Exclusion Act repealed and who successfully advocated for the creation of a special immigration program, inviting people of Chinese origin who had entered Canada illegally to come forward and have their status regularized.

My colleagues in the Bloc Québécois join with me in calling on this 50th anniversary to continue to guide our actions toward harmonious relations between parliamentarians of all origins.

Mehrnoushe SoloukiStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Bernard Patry Liberal Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, once again we have serious concerns about a Canadian national who is having difficulties with Iranian authorities.

I rise today to call on the government to pay particular attention to the case of Mehrnoushe Solouki, who is currently free on bail without a passport in Iran.

Ms. Solouki is a documentary filmmaker and a member of the Fédération professionnelle des journalistes du Québec.

We all remember the tragic events surrounding the unfortunate death of Zahra Kazemi and we have a duty to ensure that such a thing does not happen again.

Ms. Solouki has permanent resident status in Canada. I call on every elected member of this House to join me in sending a clear message to the Iranian authorities: all Canadians are concerned about the fate of Ms. Solouki and want her to return to us immediately, safe and sound.

AfghanistanStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Wajid Khan Conservative Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are proud of our continued support and aid to the beleaguered country of Afghanistan. As the Afghani people work toward a better future, valiantly continuing the struggle against terrorism, Canada's contribution has been measured both in monetary terms and in the ultimate sacrifices by our men and women in uniform.

However, the sacrifice of Canada's armed forces is undermined without a substantial developmental aid component to complement the work of our military. In budget 2007, Canada's Conservative government outlined such aid for the Afghan people.

Shockingly though, the leaders of the Liberal Party and the NDP are playing political games that threaten $135 million in developmental aid to Afghanistan. What do the NDP and Liberals have against helping the poorest of nations? It is time to put petty partisanship aside and make this Parliament--

AfghanistanStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Quebec National HolidayStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Louise Thibault Bloc Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, on June 24, more than seven million Quebeckers will show their pride and their solidarity.

With pride in our beautiful language and our strength recognized the world over and in solidarity with Quebeckers who have achieved success around the world, Quebec will thrill to the sound of Québécois and international music and, in the glow of the bonfires, we will say loud and clear that it is good to come from Quebec.

I want to wish the men and women of Quebec a national day filled with humanity, openness and altruism. I hope that this special time will be filled with the well-being that we all feel when we know we have truly succeeded.

May you all enjoy the Quebec national holiday.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, now the Prime Minister wants to take the premiers to court, but there is no need to go to court to know that the Prime Minister broke his electoral promise to Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador when he committed “no caps, no clawbacks, no limitations, no conditions, no big exceptions in the fine print”.

Will the Prime Minister admit his budget is just that: a cap, fine print, limitations, conditions, a broken promise?

The BudgetOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the government committed to bring in a new equalization formula that would be based on clear principles and treat everyone equally. We accepted, in large measure, the recommendations of the O'Brien commission, but at the same time we left in place the existing side deals, the Atlantic accords, which this party had supported, and continues to support.

I will point out that on May 5, 2006, on Mike Duffy Live, the Leader of the Opposition said that he believed there should be caps except on the existing accords, which is exactly the same position as the government.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, when the finance minister announced the end of federal-provincial bickering, he did not say that meant “we will sue you if you disagree with us”.

Can the Prime Minister tell this House what is in clauses 80, 81 and 82 of Bill C-52?

The BudgetOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, once again, this government has introduced a new equalization formula that respects the existence of the Atlantic accords and includes equitable criteria for all the provinces and an option for Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.

I think that this position is fair, and the Government of Quebec supports it.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, since the Prime Minister does not want to or cannot answer, I will answer.

In these three sections the government unilaterally imposed a cap on the Atlantic accords, forced provinces to choose between a new equalization formula or the Atlantic accords. However, the accords are very clear. The agreement says that the provinces will receive a payment “under the equalization formula as it exists at the time”.

Will the Prime Minister learn that Canadians want sincerity and honesty, not more manipulation and legal threats?