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House of Commons Hansard #175 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was safety.

Topics

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

We have several aboriginal veterans with us today.

I would like to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of members of the National Aboriginal Veterans Association, who are here in Ottawa to celebrate National Aboriginal Day tomorrow, June 21.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Willowdale is rising on a question of privilege.

Resignation of MemberOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Jim Peterson Liberal Willowdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to address you and my colleagues. It is with great emotion that I announce today that after July 12, I will no longer be the federal member for Willowdale.

While this is a very difficult decision for me, we all know a law was passed that would see an election in the fall of 2009. As my good friend and colleague, the hon. member for Toronto Centre, said yesterday, I feel this is the best option we have for renewal and for the voices of tomorrow to be heard in this august chamber.

For the right hon. Prime Minister, while I respectfully understand the calling of a byelection is his sole prerogative, I can assure him that the people of Willowdale will stand behind him if he chooses to do so.

It was a great privilege and a great honour for me to have served in the national capital under this Prime Minister and to have represented the people of Willowdale.

There have been many highlights. I am proud that in 1982, as parliamentary secretary to the minister of justice, the Right Hon. Jean Chrétien, I was able to help pass Criminal Code changes that created the offence of sexual assault and ensured that a woman's previous relationships could no longer be put on trial.

As chair of the finance committee in 1993, the very first duty assigned to me by the prime minister was to find a way to honour our election commitment to replace the GST. We looked at over 20 alternatives and we found one. The conclusion was that we would harmonize the federal sales tax with the provinces. We would have tax included pricing and, most important, we would change the name to the national value added tax.

I can say that former Prime Minister Chrétien was not very happy but former Prime Minister Mulroney was.

The finance minister at the time, the member for LaSalle—Émard, instituted pre budget consultations by the finance committee which continue to this day and have been adopted by other legislatures in Canada and abroad. Our reports were long and scholarly and, as I was so often assured, they were, perhaps sometimes, read by someone in finance.

Secretary of state for financial institutions was an active stint. It included foreign bank branching, a five year review of the Bank Act which resulted in the longest bill to ever hit Parliament, the deneutralization of our insurance companies, FINTRAC to counter money laundering, major reforms to the office of the ombudsman and four major financial institution mergers without a public furor.

I want to say that our financial institutions in Canada are among our leading corporations and many are global champions. I believe mergers will help our banks remain competitive and that these mergers can be engineered without major job losses or branch closings, as evidenced by the TD Canada Trust merger. We should not fear bank mergers.

As minister of international trade, I received incredible support from the prime minister at the time, the member for LaSalle—Émard, to develop and implement a commercial strategy, not just for the U.S., EU and others, but especially for the Brazils, Russias, Indias and Chinas. We see the strategy being continued today but I believe there is urgency in bringing greater resources and efforts to bear.

I visited China three times and India twice, as well as Russia and Brazil. The prime minister at the time, the member for LaSalle—Émard, was a huge help with these BRICK countries. We visited them and opened doors for Canadians that only a prime minister can open.

India is especially dear to me. Last Saturday night in Toronto, I met with Kamal Nath, India's industry minister. He is a great leader, politician, statesman and friend. Later on in the evening, Heather and I attended the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce dinner where he was a keynote speaker, along with someone else from this House. It was a splendid event.

I remember not only fruitful bilateral dealings with Minister Nath, but our work at the WTO. I especially recall going three days without sleep as we worked in the green room in Geneva at the end of July. It was hot and there was no air conditioning. We opened the windows but there were no screens. Millions of mosquitoes joined us inside but, nevertheless, we achieved a framework agreement for Doha.

Today, success in this realm seems illusive. However, I leave this House believing that a successful outcome of the Doha round is critical. It must be about development and, most important, only the WTO can rein in the obscene agricultural subsidies that we find in the U.S. and in the EU. Bilateral and regional deals will not do it.

Life in the public eye has had some precious moments. A few days after the same sex vote in this House, I was scheduled to attend the laying of a cornerstone at a convent, something I faced with great trepidation. The Mother Superior met me at the gate and said, “Jim, thank you for what you did”. I asked her what she was talking about. She replied, “Your vote for same sex marriage”. I told her that she had to be kidding. She said, “No, Jim, Jesus would want us to be inclusive”.

I am very proud of the parishioners of Newtonbrook United Church who have donated a huge, expensive property at Young and Cummer, raised the money and built 52 affordable housing units. This is a shining example of what more of us might do to help others.

I recall the time I worked long and hard to get a young man with severe disabilities into a proper facility that could cope with his needs. During the next election, I called at the family's door and asked if I could put up a sign. He replied, “No, I am not Liberal”. As members in this House know, one's best efforts are not always met with a reward but that is not the reason that we make those efforts.

There are so many to whom I am grateful. I want to thank the involved, caring and committed people of Willowdale who made my public years possible. To the officers and employees of this House, I thank them for being unfailingly helpful. To the many public servants at finance, trade and elsewhere, I thank them. They are among the hardest working and ablest people I know. To our extended family of outstanding staffers over the years, to whom I owe so much—would it be in order to recognize them in the gallery?

Resignation of MemberOral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

No.

Resignation of MemberOral Questions

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Jim Peterson Liberal Willowdale, ON

No. They are right up there.

My staffers are among Heather's and my closest friends today. My mom and dad are both 94 and they have given me more than any son could hope for. They are to this day an incredible inspiration. I could not have chosen better parents or better Liberals. To my brothers, David and Tim, who have always been there for me, I look forward to seeing more of them and their exceptional families. I could not have chosen better brothers.

My most important thanks goes to Heather, who, if members looked in the gallery she would be there but I cannot recognize her. I met Heather the first week of grade nine and eight years later I finally got her to marry me. That was 44 years ago. Heather has shared this journey with me 24/7 and I thank her. I thank her for her unconditional support that has made all of this worthwhile. I thank her for her wisdom and advice which have proven invaluable. I thank her for her love that has made tough times easier, good times better and, at election time, she got far more signs up in Willowdale than anyone else.

Lastly, I want to thank my colleagues throughout the years from all parties in this House, including you, Mr. Speaker. We may at times have differed over policies but we never differed over the need to serve our constituents with dedication and commitment, to work to make a difference in the lives of people and to build a better Canada and a better world.

In closing, I would like to say that over the course of my life I have visited and worked in many countries but it has always been such a great joy to come home to Canada. We Canadians are among the most fortunate of all people on earth.

I leave my colleagues today fully confident that they and those who follow will ensure that Canada is always the envy of the world.

Thank you for everything you have done for Canada. Thank you for everything you have done for me.

Resignation of MemberOral Questions

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I thank the hon. member for Willowdale for his announcement.

Ethics CommissionerRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Pursuant to section 72.13(1)(b) of the Parliament of Canada Act, it is my duty to present to the House the annual report of the Ethics Commissioner on activities in relation to public office holders for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2007.

Pursuant to section 72.13(1)(a) of the Parliament of Canada Act it is my duty to present to the House the annual report of the Ethics Commissioner on activities in relation to members of the House of Commons for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2007.

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to 22 petitions.

Public Safety and National SecurityCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

June 20th, 2007 / 3:20 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, as Minister responsible for Public Safety, I am pleased to table the government's response, in both official languages, to the ninth report of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security.

The government's response agrees with the recommendations of the standing committee to consider the advisability of new enabling legislation for the establishment of a missing persons index for Canada following the completion of the ongoing federal-provincial-territorial process, which is intended to address the legal, financial and privacy issues surrounding the implementation of such a system.

The government recognizes the important work that has been done to advance this issue by the hon. member for Burlington, by the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security and many other parliamentarians.

Interparliamentary DelegationsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Conservative

Leon Benoit Conservative Vegreville—Wainwright, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have three reports to table today.

First, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1) I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the report of the delegation of the Canadian NATO Parliamentary Association respecting its participation in the annual session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly held in Quebec City, Canada, November 13-17, 2006.

The second is respecting its participation in the parliamentary Transatlantic forum of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly held in Fort McNair, Washington, D.C., U.S.A. on December 11 and 12, 2006.

The third is regarding the participation in the joint meeting of the defence and security, economics and security and the political committees held in Brussels, Belgium, February 18-20, 2007 and the annual economics and security committee consultation with the OECD of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly held in Paris, France on February 21 and 22, 2007.

Interparliamentary DelegationsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Merrifield Conservative Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1) I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian delegation of the Canada-U.S. Inter-Parliamentary Group respecting its participation at the co-chair's meeting in Washington, D.C., United States of America, on April 16, 2007.

Interparliamentary DelegationsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

Roy Cullen Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present two reports.

The first is pursuant to Standing Order 34(1) and it is the report, in both official languages, of the delegation of the OSCE Canada-Europe Parliamentary Association respecting its participation in the winter meeting of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly held in Vienna, Austria, February 22 and 23, 2007.

The second report is pursuant to Standing Order 34(1). I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the report of the delegation of the OSCE Canada-Europe Parliamentary Association respecting its participation in the fall meeting of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly held in St. Julians, Malta, November 17-19, 2006.

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern DevelopmentCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Mayes Conservative Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the ninth report of the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development regarding debates on the repeal of section 67 of the Canadian Human Rights Act.

Canadian HeritageCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

Gary Schellenberger Conservative Perth—Wellington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 21st report of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage related to the nomination of Mr. Tom Perlmutter to the position of Government Film Commissioner of the National Film Board of Canada.

Industry, Science and TechnologyCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

James Rajotte Conservative Edmonton—Leduc, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the eighth report of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology in relation to a study on counterfeiting and piracy of intellectual property. Pursuant to Standing Order 109 the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to the report.

Justice and Human RightsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

Art Hanger Conservative Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 17th report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.

In accordance with the order of reference of Tuesday, February 6, 2007, the committee has considered Bill C-32, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (impaired driving) and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, and as agreed on Tuesday, June 19, 2007, to report it with amendments.

I would like to commend the members of the committee. We sat very late yesterday to conclude this particular debate on Bill C-32 and were successful in bringing it to the House today.

Justice and Human RightsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, there have been consultations among the parties and I believe that if you were to seek it, you would find unanimous consent for the following motion. I move that the House congratulates the Pugwash conferences on science and world affairs, on the occasion of their 50th anniversary, for their significant contribution to nuclear disarmament.

Justice and Human RightsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Does the hon. member for Halifax have the unanimous consent of the House to propose the motion?

Justice and Human RightsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Justice and Human RightsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Justice and Human RightsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

PassportsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased today to rise to present two petitions signed by hundreds of people in northern Ontario concerning the need and desire in our region to actually have adequate passport services.

As we know, we have had major passport issues with backlogs right across the country, but in northeastern Ontario we are challenged because we have no walk-in passport facilities anywhere. We have people who have to often travel 12 hours by bus to get walk-in passport service.

The petitioners call upon the federal government to work to develop a walk-in passport service for northeastern Ontario, like other regions in the country are able to have, so that people in our part of this country, and it would service also possibly people from northwestern Quebec, can get walk-in passport services on a need basis.

I am very pleased to bring forward those two petitions today.

Natural Health ProductsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

James Lunney Conservative Nanaimo—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions on two different subjects. I have a group of petitions on Bill C-404. There are about 500 signatures coming from Kelowna and Surrey in British Columbia and as far away as Quebec.

The petitioners call on Parliament to take note that the weight of modern scientific evidence confirms the mitigation and prevention of many diseases and disorders through the judicious use of natural health products. They note that Canadians support the use of natural health products to promote wellness and health.

They call on Parliament to provide Canadians with greater access to natural health products by removing the GST from natural health products and implementing Bill C-404, An Act to amend the Excise Tax Act (natural health products).

Age of ConsentPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

James Lunney Conservative Nanaimo—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, the second petition is signed by some 400 petitioners from British Columbia, many from my riding.

The petitioners call on the government to take note of the age of consent and protection for our children from sexual predators. They call on the government to make this a priority and to raise the age of consent to 16 to protect vulnerable 14 and 15 year olds.

The bill, I believe, is at the Senate. The petitioners are hoping the bill will be enacted.