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House of Commons Hansard #49 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was senators.

Topics

Senate Appointment Consultations ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member will have just over seven minutes left after question period. We will move now to statements by members.

Safer Internet DayStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Myron Thompson Conservative Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, today, more than 43 countries around the world are recognizing Safer Internet Day.

Safer Internet Day is a chance to educate parents about the dangers that lurk online and encourage them to protect their children from harm. As the Internet continues to reach into more homes and be accessed by younger children with each passing year, this need is becoming even more critical.

Our government has taken strides on this important issue. Bill C-2, currently in the Senate, would raise the age of sexual consent from 14 to 16 years old and protect Canadian teens from so-called sex tourists who would take advantage of our existing laws to abuse our precious children. We need that bill passed by the Senate and we need it into law now.

All organizations, like Kids Internet Safety Alliance, deserve credit for their tireless efforts to eliminate online sexual exploitation of children and youth, but the battle is far from over.

On this Safer Internet Day, I ask everyone to please encourage everyone who cares for a child to educate themselves and their children on how to stay safe online and to put pressure on the Senate to get the job done and get Bill C-2 passed now.

Youth Exchange ProgramsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Nancy Karetak-Lindell Liberal Nunavut, NU

Mr. Speaker, a group of about 30 cadets from Montreal will soon arrive in Repulse Bay in Nunavut's Kivalliq region to spend two weeks in the community.

Repulse Bay, a community situated on the Arctic Circle, is considered one of the more traditional Inuit communities and is the entryway to Ukkusiksalik National Park where the wonderful Wager Bay teems with wildlife, such as polar bears and whales.

A group of Repulse Bay cadets will then travel to a southern Canadian community in the coming year. I wish the two parties the best in their adventures.

I am a great supporter of these exchange programs for youth as these programs open their eyes to the incredible differences that exist within our great land of Canada while giving our youth a chance to showcase this part of our country. Friendships formed from these exchanges help to foster a better understanding for tolerance and diplomacy in Canada.

I congratulate all the volunteers and teachers in all the Nunavut communities who are working hard helping in fundraising and filling out applications.

International Child Soldiers DayStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Freeman Bloc Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, February 12 is International Child Soldiers Day. Throughout the world, hundreds of thousands of children are forcibly enrolled in militias or join out of need. These children serve on the front line, and are used as scouts or, worse, as slaves. They are deprived of a decent childhood. They suffer injury, abuse or deep trauma, and die in combat.

That is why the Geneva Convention and the 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child seek to prohibit the involvement of children in armed conflict. Since the late 1990s, a multitude of international treaties, resolutions and protocols have been added to guide the protection of child soldiers.

I therefore reaffirm the Bloc Québécois' unfailing support for the cause of stopping the use of children as soldiers, so that these children can have a real childhood.

Forestry IndustryStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the pine beetle crisis is not going away and the Conservatives are not doing nearly enough for the hard-working people of British Columbia.

More than 25,000 families have been affected by this devastation. Eighty per cent of the pine trees in B.C. will be gone by 2013. Seven million hectares of land have been affected and there has been more than $10 billion in lost value.

First nations and isolated British Columbian communities surrounded by standing deadwood are living in fear waiting for that fire that is certain to come.

When communities ask for accountability for the money promised them more than two years ago, they are met with blank stares and delays from the government.

The government needs to step up and improve on its record of negligence. An example of this was the $1 billion that the NDP and communities across the country forced out of the government for communities in need right now.

This is only the tip of the iceberg. The implications are serious and far-reaching. This crisis of national scope requires leadership and courage, and the NDP and its leader will provide this leadership.

Taiwan StraitStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Jim Abbott Conservative Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, a wise man once said that the true meaning of freedom is not what we are free to do but what we are free from doing. This adage comes to mind as I watch events unfold for my friends with respect to Taiwan Strait issues.

I make these observations with deference, as an interested observer, recognizing that I cannot truly appreciate the values or the personal history as one who lives there.

I took note of the results of the democratic expression of Taiwan's citizens in January, believing it represented the desire to move toward a less confrontational approach to Strait issues.

The world eagerly looks for and respectfully encourages initiatives that will build closer economic and cultural relations across the Taiwan Strait to result in the reduction of tensions.

To that end, may I humbly suggest that my friends on both sides of this vexatious issue consider another adage. If it is desirable not to do something, then it is advisable not to do it.

Certified General Accountants Association of CanadaStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, 2008 marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Certified General Accountants Association of Canada.

CGA Canada represents 68,000 professionals and students and is one of the three accounting designations recognized equally by provincial and territorial statute in Canada.

It is, therefore, perplexing why the Conservative government recently posted a notice of vacancy for the important position of Comptroller General of Canada stating a preference for the single designation of chartered accountant. This implies a bias against not only CGA's members, but certified management accountants as well.

As an equal opportunity employer, I would like to know why the Conservatives are denying thousands of professional accountants fair access to opportunities in the federal public service.

Canadian Rabbinic CaucusStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

James Lunney Conservative Nanaimo—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, visiting Parliament Hill today is the Canadian Rabbinic Caucus. This is the second annual visit by the caucus, which is comprised of rabbis from across Canada, men and women, from all streams of Judaism.

They are visiting Ottawa today to meet with parliamentarians and government officials, representing their various communities and bringing a rabbinical and spiritual point of view.

Noting that terrorism is rampant in the world, the rabbis will repeat their call to the leaders of all faith groups to denounce the killing of innocents in the name of God or of religion.

The Rabbinic Caucus carries the message once more to all Canadians that overseas conflicts and the resultant passionately held views should not be allowed to degenerate into uncivil discourse and antagonisms here at home.

This caucus has embraced a hope shared by many Canadians that Canada, as an open, pluralistic, democratic and diverse society, might aspire to be the country that offers guidance and inspiration to the world in these troubled times.

I hope all members will join me in welcoming the Canadian Rabbinic Caucus to Parliament Hill.

30th Anniversary of Drummondville Sports OrganizationStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, this year is the 30th anniversary of the Grands du sport of Drummondville, an organization dedicated to promoting people who have made their mark as volunteer builders in sports.

In honour of the anniversary, the organization's executives decided to create a sports hall of fame in Drummondville, a project that has been in the works for nearly 28 years.

In addition to the traditional evening celebrating excellence in sports, this year's program includes a hockey game at the Centre Marcel Dionne, showcasing hockey legends Guy Lafleur, Yvon Lambert, Stéphane Richer, Marc Bureau, Enrico Ciccone, Sergio Momesso, Gilbert Delorme, Normand Dupont and Serge Boisvert, who thrilled Quebeckers when they played in the NHL.

I would like to wish a happy 30th anniversary to the athletes, teams, trainers, referees, administrators of the various sports federations, and the executives of the Grands du sport.

The Conservative PartyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, on Saturday, the people of Quebec City gave a warm welcome to the Prime Minister of Canada at the Calgary Stampede's western breakfast during Quebec City's Carnaval.

Unlike the leader of the Bloc, who always arrives empty-handed, our Conservative government keeps its promises and gets results.

The Conservative government has kept its promises to provide funding for Quebec City's 400th anniversary, for the congress centre in Lévis, for the Musée national des beaux-arts, for the project office for a science and technology exploration centre, for the Patro de Lévis, for the Chauveau soccer facility, and more.

Here is a piece of advice for the Bloc leader and his followers: forget about the studies; there is no “Quebec City mystery”. The people of Quebec City want members of Parliament who will act in their best interests.

The Bloc team has been on the ice without a puck for 17 years. The people will judge the Bloc's empty words and its powerlessness. In the meantime, the Conservative members from Quebec are taking action and are standing up for Quebec's interests within a united Canada.

Canadian Rabbinic CaucusStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I too want to acknowledge the presence in Ottawa today of the Canadian Rabbinic Caucus.

Rabbis from across Canada and from all streams of the Jewish faith are meeting today with parliamentarians, government officials and diplomats to discuss three important subjects: support for Canada's withdrawal from Durban II; the importance of the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state as a precondition for Middle East peace; and the threat that Iran poses to Israel, to Middle East stability and to world security.

Iran continues to accelerate its uranium enrichment in defiance of the UN resolutions. The Liberal Party believes that the international community has an obligation to exhaust all appropriate means of solving the Iranian nuclear crisis.

I call upon the government to take the lead internationally by imposing sanctions on Iran through the Special Economic Measures Act, SEMA.

SEMA is a flexible, expedient and efficient way for Canada to respond to threats to international peace and security. It is more than time to put it to use.

JusticeStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, he could be in your neighbourhood or he could be in mine.

Violent criminal, Sheldon Kuiack, is on the lose. After shooting his girlfriend in the face in 2004, the sex offender was serving his sentence in a halfway house. CTV Ottawa has learned that two weeks ago today he simply opened the door and slipped off into the night.

Why on earth did the Liberal justice system allow this violent sex offender to serve his time in a halfway house and not in jail?

The Conservative tackling violent crime bill would throw gun criminals, like Kuiack, in the slammer for at least five years on the first offence. Under the bill, he would still be locked up today. However, the Liberal leader is blocking the bill in the Senate.

Residents familiar with Kuiack's whereabouts should immediately call the police as he is extremely dangerous and, for the sake of his victims, the Liberal leader must pass the bill immediately.

Côte-des-Neiges DistrictStatements By Members

February 12th, 2008 / 2:10 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the Association des gens d'affaires de Côte-des-Neiges for a project that promotes tourism in their community, which I am very pleased to represent in the House of Commons.

The result of broad community consensus, this project will set up a seasonal information booth in the neighbourhood to promote, on behalf of the residents and local businesses, the important local and international tourist attractions.

The intent is to make Côte-des-Neiges a tourism centre by highlighting its architectural, cultural and religious heritage which include such jewels as St. Joseph's Oratory, the Saidye Bronfman Centre for the Arts, Université de Montréal and the north entrance to Mount Royal.

In addition, the project encourages cultural exchanges and informs visitors about the multi-ethnic nature of the Côte-des-Neiges district, a Canadian model for welcoming people from all over the world.

Congratulations to the Association des gens d'affaires and to the citizens of our wonderful neighbourhood, who wish to promote Côte-des-Neiges.

Certified General Accountants Association of CanadaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I would like to pay tribute to the Certified General Accountants Association of Canada, of which I have been a proud member since 1990, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

CGA-Canada has come a long way in 100 years. Today, it is the fastest growing professional accounting association in Canada. CGA-Canada has 68,000 members and students as well as affiliated associations in Bermuda, the Caribbean and Asia. CGAs work in more than 80 countries and look after the interests of businesses, governments and non-profits.

CGA-Canada has also advised the Parliament of Canada by providing input to important committees such as the Standing Committee on Finance, of which I am a member. These contributions have greatly helped to shape Canadian public policy.

Congratulations to CGA-Canada.

The BudgetStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government will table its budget on February 26. The Bloc Québécois would like to remind the government that there is a $10.6 billion surplus for 2007-08, and a $9.9 billion surplus for 2008-09. So, the Conservatives are in a position to consider our proposals.

The government must provide assistance for the economic and social sectors, which are in dire straits. It must improve the current aid plan for the manufacturing and forestry industries, restore the dignity of seniors by awarding them full retroactivity of the guaranteed income supplement, increase transfers for post-secondary education, reinvest in women and social housing, and invest more in culture and the environment.

The government will still be able to pay down the debt, without paying it down entirely. The Conservatives must embark on a major change of direction with significant gains for Quebec if they want the support of the Bloc Québécois.

Kelowna AccordStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Todd Russell Liberal Labrador, NL

Mr. Speaker, it has been almost a year since Parliament passed Bill C-292, An Act to implement the Kelowna Accord. Since then, the bill has been stalled in the Senate because the Conservative senators have used tactics of delay and diversion. They have done so in spite of the will of Parliament and in spite of their own election promise to honour the terms and objectives of the Kelowna accord.

In so doing, they have turned their backs on aboriginal Canadians. The Conservatives have denied aboriginal Canadians better health care for their children and families. They are denying aboriginal Canadians a better education and housing. The Conservatives are denying the aboriginal people of Canada the hope of a better life.

The Conservatives like to talk an accountability and transparency game but practise exactly the opposite. They said that they would honour the commitments of Kelowna but they have refused to fund the agreement and are using parliamentary tactics to back out of their commitments.

How can they continue to justify turning a blind eye to the needs of the aboriginal people of Canada? Why does the Prime Minister not show some leadership and order his Conservative senators to pass BillC-292?

Liberal Party of CanadaStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Jeff Watson Conservative Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, Valentine's is near. For Liberals it is big corporate bucks, not love in the air. Liberals have a sweetheart deal, an Ottawa cocktail party and no holds barred live auction stacked to the roof with lobbyists and corporate bigwigs, looking to buy Liberal love in all the wrong places.

Ad scam netted the Liberals $40 million. This Liberal love note promises corporate sugar daddies “the sky is your limit during this auction”, never mind the Conservatives limited political donations to individuals to a cap of $1,100.

CEOs can bid thousands for golf with a former PM, doubles tennis with the Rae brothers or hockey with the Liberal for York Centre, thousands of corporate bucks through the finance law's five hole.

This is not a third rate romance, low rent rendezvous. Liberals are asking corporations How Deep is Your Love and to prove it with their chequebooks, giving until their Love Hurts.

We might as well face it: Liberals are addicted to corporate love, even if it means breaking all the rules.

Quebec Private Lumber ProducersStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Independent

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

Mr. Speaker, if I were to mention $400 million in sales, $700 million in payroll, $4 billion in processed products, $500 million in tax revenue, 29,000 jobs and 35,000 producers, you would probably think I was referring to a rapidly expanding key area of economic activity in Canada. But the numbers I just mentioned represent the economic contribution made to the forestry sector by private lumber producers in Quebec.

However, this is becoming a thing of the past, since the Conservative government is ignoring these owners and the impact of the forestry crisis on them. Today, they are on the brink of bankruptcy, facing the inevitable and in despair. In the past two years, they have suffered a total loss of revenue of $70 million and, unfortunately, it is not over.

The government's trust fund should help them continue to develop one of our most precious natural resources, our forests, with their customary respect, professionalism and consideration for sustainable development. But such is not the case. These private lumber producers might as well not even exist as far as the Conservative government is concerned.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, today during a press conference in response to mine, the Prime Minister used the word rotation for the first time. That is a happy surprise and an encouraging sign. We thought the Prime Minister did not believe in the rotation principle.

Will he say today that, under the rotation principle, the additional troops that NATO should provide will enable our troops to be replaced in their combat mission, their offensive mission, and allowed to focus on a new security, training and reconstruction mission?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I said that the leadership positions of the mission in Afghanistan rotate. That has been NATO practice since the beginning.

I was very interested to see the new proposals of the leader of the Liberal Party. There is more agreement now between our positions. We will study these positions with a view to achieving a greater consensus. That is what Canadians want.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, in this spirit of consensus seeking, could the Prime Minister clarify the government’s position in regard to 2011 after the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons was so confused about it yesterday?

Is 2011 a firm date or deadline that will be communicated clearly to our allies and the Afghan government so that they can plan accordingly? Or is 2011 simply an opportunity to prolong a never-ending mission? Is it a recipe for getting bogged down?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this government obviously does not want a never-ending mission. We said in the throne speech that we wanted to transfer security responsibilities to the Afghan forces by 2011. We said the same thing in a motion before the House.

I noted as well that the Manley report, by a group of experts appointed by the government, also says that we do not want a never-ending mission.

Once again, we intend to study the proposals made by the Liberal Party.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, for a year, the government made the mistake of not taking seriously February 2009 as the firm end of the combat mission in Kandahar. We see the result today. It is important not to repeat the same mistakes twice. We need to have clear end dates for a mission that allow the government to set clear benchmarks, our allies to have clear expectations and have clarity for our troops.

Considering all these benefits, why is the Prime Minister refusing to make 2011 a firm end date for the mission?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have never suggested that February 2009 is the absolute end date of the mission. It has been our position, looking at the facts, that it would not be likely. On the other hand, I point out the Speech from the Throne in which we indicated the desire of the government to transfer responsibilities for security firmly to Afghan authorities by 2011.

We believe the Canadian contribution is important. We believe our allies, as well as ourselves, should work with the Afghan government in a way that makes a smooth transition toward Afghan responsibility for its own security.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has acknowledged today that Canada must secure a rotation of troops from its NATO partners if the mission in Afghanistan is to continue after 2009. Our party has been saying that for more than a year.

The Prime Minister has finally begun phoning around to secure the additional troops, but I am sure he understands that this process cannot go on indefinitely. Canadians need to know whether help is on the way.

Has the Prime Minister fixed a clear deadline for a conclusion to his negotiations with our allies?