House of Commons Hansard #46 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was aboriginal.


5:45 p.m.


The Acting Speaker Royal Galipeau

Order, please. I have the honour to inform the House that a communication has been received which is as follows:

Rideau Hall


February 7, 2008

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 bill listed in the Schedule to this letter on the 7th day of February, 2008, at 4:41 p.m.

Yours sincerely,

Sheila-Marie Cook

The Secretary to the Governor General and Herald Chancellor

The schedule indicates the bill assented to was Bill C-41, An Act respecting payments to a trust established to provide provinces and territories with funding for community development--Chapter 1.

The House resumed consideration of the motion.

Status of Women
Private Members' Business

5:45 p.m.


Bruce Stanton Simcoe North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for London West for her comments today and her presentation. Clearly, she is an advocate and standing up well for the rights of women in Canada.

These are important questions, questions I must say that the government takes very seriously.

In the minister's presentation just last week to the standing committee, she was very clear about the fact that equality continued to be the objective of Status of Women Canada, in particular the women's program.

I would like to ask the hon. member, why does she still believe that this is something that needs to change? Her motion supports doing something that in fact has already happened.

When she is giving her response, I wonder if she could explain why it is that the advocacy component that she talked about is somehow equitable with equality.

Equality is there as the objective. Advocacy, as I see it, might be one of the tools, but the member will know that these programs go out to groups and none of the groups that she mentioned, groups that might have done advocacy in the past, are not restricted from applying for program funding under the women's program.

I wonder if the member could respond.

Status of Women
Private Members' Business

5:50 p.m.


Sue Barnes London West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I obviously know at this point in time that the member has not read the guidelines clearly because they do not allow for advocacy any more. They used to. We can produce services to individuals and we can help them with the problems that exist, some problem that currently exists.

However, we cannot get over the hurdle. We cannot change the equality by just coping with the problem. We have to have some understanding of what is really happening, the ability of those organizations to do the research.

There is still some allowance for small amounts of research, but they cannot use it to advocate for change. It is sort of like the court challenges program. We cannot challenge and we cannot make it better. We are not talking about keeping status quo or helping someone out. Those are all programs that can be done through HRDC or Immigration Canada.

The real focus of this program was under past governments, but not the member's government. All the members on that side have watched and were silent since 2006 when this changed.

I came into my office this morning. I checked the website. It was the same with just a couple of words on the front pages, similar to what the minister had said the other day. She never referred to anything in her opening statement to the committee when she came to make her presentation on Tuesday. Members had to draw it out of her.

Do we do everything in secret? There have been real changes over the last two years. We cannot deny that the offices have closed, but it is the work of organizations that had to be more creative in trying to get funding. However, they are not allowed to advocate for equality.

I am sorry but status quo is not acceptable. If we do not have champions, if we do not move for change, it does not happen. I am sorry, the government is failing in that regard.

Status of Women
Private Members' Business

5:50 p.m.


Yasmin Ratansi Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to commend the member for her excellent presentation and applaud her for her perseverance in fighting for equality. As we noted, equality was achieved through advocacy and it is the famous five who were able to get us women the voting right.

I have a very brief question of the member. In her opinion, why does she think the current Conservative government is so afraid to give equality to women and why are the r the women on the other side so complicit in not fighting for equality rights?

Status of Women
Private Members' Business

5:50 p.m.


Sue Barnes London West, ON

Mr. Speaker, there is a lack of understanding of the core issues. I know one has to fight to equality. It is not just about helping individuals. It is about changing the whole system and the dynamic.

Quite frankly, the government just does not get it. It has not gotten it for two years, even when organizations from all across Canada went before the Status of Women committee and complained about how the changes affected them. Organizations had to close their doors in this country.

When the minister responded to the Status of Women's request on this particular point, she did not address it. It was put out clearly as a recommendation and it did not address it. If--

Status of Women
Private Members' Business

5:50 p.m.


Status of Women
Private Members' Business

5:50 p.m.



Sylvie Boucher Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and for Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, I must be honest and say that it is a shame we are taking time this evening to debate this motion, when our time would be better spent studying other important issues. Why? Because the motion of the hon. member for London West serves no purpose.

The Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages has already indicated that the mandate of the women's program now reads, “to advance the equality of women across Canada through the improvement of their economic and social conditions and their participation in democratic life”.

The women's program fulfills its mandate by providing financial and professional assistance to organizations to carry out projects at the local, regional and national levels, in key areas such as women's economic status and violence against women and girls, within a framework of transparency and accountability.

On Tuesday this week, the hon. member for Beaches—East York issued a press release stating that the minister was misleading Canadians. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is the hon. member who has her facts wrong.

In committee, the hon. member asked the following question of the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages, “Are you saying that you've now changed the policy and you've put the word “equality” back in the mandate? That's what I understood you to say”. And the minister responded, “Exactly”.

I believe it is the hon. member who is misleading Parliament, women's groups and all Canadians, since the hon. member believes that “equality” means “lobby groups”. The hon. member should ask clear questions if she wants clear answers.

I believe that these hon. members are simply confused. It is important to remember that for many people—especially for women—the word “equality” has a lot of meaning.

The terms and conditions of the women's program have changed to reflect the new mandate. We have updated the priorities and we have informed the public about it. Nonetheless, it is insulting for the hon. members opposite to harm organizations that are working very hard across the country.

“Equality” is defined as “the condition of being equal in quantity, magnitude, value, intensity”; it is “the condition of having equal rank with others”.

Clearly, the term “lobby group” does not appear anywhere in the definition.

Our government supports practical projects that make a clear difference in the lives of women and that promote equality for everyone.

As for lobby groups calling for funding to lobby on behalf of a certain category of women and certain ideas, we continue to believe that it is not up to the government to fund or support one opinion more than another. Our government has always cared about equality for all its citizens.

It is important to recall that the women's program was created in 1973 as a result of a recommendation regarding equality presented by the Royal Commission on the Status of Women. In its report released in 1970, the royal commission recommended implementing a federal mechanism that would support the efforts being made to improve the status of women in Canada.

In his message to Canadians on December 6, 2007, on the occasion of the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, the Prime Minister said: “We believe fundamentally in the equality of men and women”. The words of our Prime Minister are a source of inspiration. They convey this government's sincere commitment to two profoundly Canadian values: equality and justice for all—values that are firmly entrenched in our history.

Including the word “equality” in the mandate of the women's program of Status of Women Canada is a reflection of our remarkable achievements in this area. Our government increased the women's program budget to $20 million, an increase of 76%, which is the most significant increase it has ever received. Current funding for the women's program is the highest it has ever been.

Moreover, our government is committed to improving the status of women, their families and their communities across the country. The work we have done to improve the women's program reflects that commitment.

We are also partnering with federal departments and agencies, civil society and other levels of government to eliminate the systemic barriers to women's participation in the economic, social and democratic life of Canada.

In October, the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages announced $8 million in funding for 60 projects that will be carried out across Canada under the women's program of Status of Women Canada. These projects were submitted in response to the first call for proposals issued in June.

More than 260,000 women and girls will benefit from these projects, which are aimed at eliminating the barriers they face, providing them with information about preventing violence, helping them improve their financial knowledge and encouraging them to create peer support networks.

A second call for proposals was issued by the Women's Community Fund in November 2007. By the December 21 closing date, the fund had received 342 applications, a 30% increase over the first call.

All these proposals are for projects intended to promote women's economic security and prosperity and their health and personal safety and to put an end to all forms of discrimination and violence against women. All the projects are expected to help improve the status of women in Canada.

In recent months, the government has made a number of changes to the women's program to make it run more efficiently. For example, this year, for the first time, applications can be submitted online, and numerous sessions have been held across Canada to train potential applicants. In addition, teleconferences have been used to reach rural and isolated communities. Questions and answers have been posted online, as well as application and proposal forms.

By including the word “equality” in the mandate of the women's program of Status of Women Canada, the Government of Canada is demonstrating its commitment to full equality for all Canadians, which is not yet a reality, despite the tremendous progress we have made. Including the word “equality” in the mandate of the women's program can only be good news for Canada as a whole and for Canadians in all their diversity.

Status of Women
Private Members' Business

6 p.m.


Nicole Demers Laval, QC

Mr. Speaker, I must say that I found the parliamentary secretary's speech rather amusing, even though I am very fond of her. I am surprised that they can claim to not agree with providing support for defending rights and claim to want to achieve equality for women. How can we achieve equality for women, men, children or human beings if we are not open to discussions and debates on our ideas and opinions? How can we achieve equality under those circumstances? It is not possible because equality comes only after long discussions on ideas and opinions. I found it quite amusing that she said the government does not provide support for defending rights.

It should not come as a surprise, from a party that firmly believes in equality among nations, from a party that firmly believes in the emancipation of peoples, from a party that firmly believes in democracy, that the Bloc Québécois will support the motion we are debating this evening.

No matter what the Conservatives say, there is not equality among men and women. We just need to look at this House, which is under-represented by women, and at what little consideration the members of the minority government have for more than 50% of the population, to understand how much further we have to go.

At present, this government does a disservice to women. It hurts the cause of equality and it is imperative that we limit its actions as much as possible so that it does no further damage, hence the pertinence of this motion.

I said that it does a disservice to women and I said that the Conservatives are hurting the cause of equality and these are not insults or rants made lightly. You can rest assured that much stronger words come to mind when I think of what they have done to the status of women.

In September 2006 this government eliminated the court challenges program. At the time, the Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action was concerned that eliminating the program would slow down women's progress towards true equality. It said, “This program has provided Canadian women with their only access to the use of their constitutional equality rights.”

At the time, this government's fallacious argument was that it made good laws and it would not pay lawyers to challenge them. The decision to abolish the court challenges program did a disservice to women.

Subsequently, the Conservatives slashed the women's program to prevent human rights groups from gaining access to it. They muzzled women not just once but twice.

The World March of Women is an international feminist movement that brings together groups and organizations working to eliminate the causes of poverty and violence against women. They fight all forms of inequality and discrimination affecting women. Their actions are based on 21 demands falling under four broad themes.

The first is establishing programs to eliminate poverty and violence against women.

We are talking about violence against women. This law and order government boasts backwards and forwards that it has improved the security of women. If we tell them that they have done nothing for women, they reply, “security”.

Is that how women want violence against women to be eliminated. More tasers for the police, perhaps? We shall see.

They are demanding a comprehensive 10-year education and awareness campaign, managed by feminist groups and funded by the government, to eliminate violence against women; immediate and free access, for all women victims of violence, to resources providing assistance as well as to prevention, awareness and advocacy services; better financial support for women's shelters for victims of violence in aboriginal communities; access to operational funds for women's groups from cultural communities and visible minorities, enabling them to meet their needs and participate in Quebec society; better access to education for all women, particularly single mothers and women with no personal income; universal access to French courses, along with adequate allowances and access to childcare, without any exclusion based on immigrant status or years of residency in Quebec; a major social housing initiative, with 8,000 units of low-income, cooperative and non-profit housing per year.

This is not at all like the Conservatives' reactionary thinking. This is about awareness and education. This is about minimizing isolation and poverty and improving quality of life for women.

When it comes to the second theme, redistribution of wealth in order to improve the living conditions of women, things are not good. The Conservatives do not care about redistribution of wealth, and they do not care about the demands of the World March of Women. Women want progressive taxation of businesses and individuals based on the principles of justice, equity and redistribution of wealth. We do not have that. They also want a universal family allowance program with a supplementary allowance for poor families based on children's real needs. We do not have that either. One thousand dollars a year is not much help to many people.The Conservative government is not interested in these demands, particularly not if rich oil companies think they are a bad idea.

Unfortunately, I do not have time to elaborate on the other two themes—elimination of discrimination against all women and legislation to ensure the respect of women's rights. However, it is clear that the government is not particularly concerned about these demands.

To help achieve the goals of the International March of Women—and I assure the House that I trimmed the list in order to bring to light those that pertain exclusively to the provinces and Quebec—it is vital to have the support of women's rights and lobby groups, such as the Fédération des femmes du Québec, the National Association of Women and the Law, the Canadian Feminist Alliance and other feminist lobby groups that have watched this government's support disappear.

This government is in fact harmful to women and is making it very difficult to achieve equality between men and women.

Last December several major unions, disgusted with this government, took a preemptive strike by providing financial support to women's organizations “that have been punished under the Conservative government’s anti-equality agenda”. The announcement made by the unions coincided with the 26th anniversary of Canada's ratification of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. Furthermore, John Gordon, president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, stated:

This government’s decision to stop funding research and advocacy by women’s organizations was short sighted, and our unions will continue to push for its reversal.

We know where this government stands, and it is not in defence of women's rights, that is for sure.

This motion calls on the government to restore equality for women, by setting that as an objective of the women's program of Status of Women Canada. The motion also should have called on it to restore the eligibility criteria for women's rights groups and lobby groups, but we all know that, for those who care about equality, the only way to advance the cause of women is to send this government back to the opposition benches, where its yearning to fight wars, restrict the right to abortion and bring back the death penalty will no longer be a danger to us all.

Status of Women
Private Members' Business

6:10 p.m.


Maria Minna Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am completely shocked that the member representing the government would even suggest that this time could be used for other important issues and that this is wasting time. It indicates very clearly the attitude and the mentality--

Status of Women
Private Members' Business

6:10 p.m.


The Acting Speaker Royal Galipeau

Excuse me. I would ask the hon. member for Beaches—East York to forgive me. I should have recognized the hon. member for London—Fanshawe and I do so now.

Status of Women
Private Members' Business

6:10 p.m.


Irene Mathyssen London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for London West for giving this House the opportunity to debate such an important issue. While I absolutely agree with the motion, it needs to be more specific, because like everything else with the Conservative government, Canadians, and certainly women, cannot trust the Conservatives. They manipulate things. They turn and twist things. We need to be very careful as we respond.

As has been stated, Status of Women Canada has carefully and very recently reinserted the word “equality” on the website. However, it is only a word. The work, the raison d'être, of the mandate should encompass more than just a word. It must include the essential work: the research, lobbying and advocacy done by women's organizations across the country. That, of course, is what is really at stake.

The government is systematically dismantling the gender equality mechanisms that women in Canada fought hard to establish. The government cannot be trusted. It is failing ordinary women in Canada and it is stalling women's equality.

The government has already de-funded and disastrously altered Status of Women Canada. It has cancelled the court challenges program. It has refused to sign onto international agreements that would advance women's equality in Canada. As well, it has failed to implement recommendations from the pay equity task force and the expert panel on accountability mechanisms for gender equality.

After hearing from hundreds of witnesses, the House of Commons Standing Committee on the Status of Women conducted a study on the impact of recent funding changes to the programs at Status of Women Canada. That committee made five key recommendations.

The first recommendation is that Status of Women Canada reverse its decision to close the 12 regional offices of Status of Women Canada. The second is that the department maintain its policy research fund to fund independent policy research. The third is that Status of Women reinstate the goal of equality in the mandate of the women's program. The fourth is that Status of Women must also remove limitations on funding for research and advocacy activities in the revised terms and conditions of the women's program. The fifth is that SWC provide funding through the women's program and that it be made available to non-profit organizations as well as for profit organizations.

While the word equality is bandied about by the government, real equality has been removed from the core of the women's program. By changing the requirements for funding under Status of Women, groups that do research and advocate changes to public policy to promote women's equality will no longer be eligible for federal funding. The objective of women's organizations is to advocate on behalf of women, and this restriction will silence the heart of the women's movement. One has to wonder if that has not been the goal: to silence the women of this country.

I am also very concerned that for profit organizations are now eligible for funding from the women's program. Generating funding proposals is very difficult. It is very time consuming, especially for not for profit organizations, which have very tight budgets and very few people to do the important work. It is even more difficult with the now defunct regional offices, with 12 of 16 gone. For profit groups have the means to hire experts in preparing funding applications, while the non-profit groups struggle just to stay open, just to stay alive.

The Conservative cuts to the operating budget of Status of Women Canada and the closure of those 12 of 16 offices across the country is a major setback for women's equality. The government eliminated nearly half of the Status of Women's staff responsible for the advancement of women's rights and 40% of the operating budget for SWC.

Along with the closure of the offices at Status of Women Canada, the government also cancelled the research policy fund, which supported independent, nationally relevant, forward thinking policy research on gender equality issues. This fund supported research that identified policy gaps, trends and emerging issues.

I am afraid the department will not be able to produce the same calibre and diversity of research. What on earth will we do without all that input? How will we make good policy in this country?

In addition to these recommendations made by the committee on the Status of Women, New Democrats believe Canada needs an independent Status of Women department, with full funding and its own minister. An effective Status of Women department must be able to research, monitor and advocate for women's rights and support women's groups because they are promoting gender equality. We need them there.

While the government has cut women's equality at the program, policy and research level, it has also cut women's access to equality at the judicial level by cancelling the court challenges program. This small program provided the most vulnerable Canadians with the ability to access equality under our Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

It is clear that the cancellation of the program was an ideological decision, not a fiscal decision. It is part of the plan to systematically dismantle gender equality mechanisms in Canada.

Internationally, the government has failed to provide leadership on gender equality. Domestically, it has failed to provide leadership. When compared to other countries, Canada is underperforming. The 2007 global gender gap report by the World Economic Forum places Canada 18th, behind Sri Lanka, the Philippines and most European countries.

The government has failed aboriginal women in Canada by refusing to sign on to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People.

The president of the Native Women's Association, Beverley Jacobs, states:

While the adoption of the Declaration brings me great joy, Canada’s unprincipled decision to vote against the Declaration demonstrates a lack of commitment not only to Indigenous Peoples but to human rights more generally.

The government has also failed to live up to its commitments under the convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women by not implementing any of the 23 recommendations from the CEDAW committee.

At a national level, the government has also failed to provide leadership on gender equality by refusing to implement the recommendations from the 2004 pay equity task force and the 2005 expert panel on accountability mechanisms.

Clearly, the government has and will continue to systematically dismantle gender equality mechanisms unless we are prepared to fight back, and I can assure the House that the women of this country are prepared to fight back.

Status of Women
Private Members' Business

6:20 p.m.


Maria Minna Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, I find it appalling that the member who spoke for the government said that this time could be used for other important issues, as if this is not important. The other comment she made was that the Conservatives would not fund one opinion over another. The last time I looked, I thought that women's rights were human rights and not subject to opinion. They are not a matter of opinion; they are a matter of fact.

I will present a scenario. Two years ago, the Conservative government removed equality from the Status of Women program and shut down 12 of 16 offices.

After two years of aggressive lobbying from all opposition parties in the House of Commons, all provincial Status of Women ministers across this country, all women's organizations in the country and after advocacy organizations, like Women and the Law, were forced to shut their doors, and after they shut down the women's rights and then the voices of women in this country, the Conservatives came out with the word again and put it somewhere. Why? Because we are coming to an election soon, after all, and the Conservatives want to be perceived as moderate. They are trying to fool women.

Yesterday they put the word “equality” in the cover page and not actually in the program mandate. Because my colleague and I issued a press release and were pretty aggressive on that, today we have a different version. The Conservatives have now put “equality” in the program mandate but the criteria for the funding with respect to research and advocacy on behalf of women is still not there. They are still not eligible for funding and regional offices are still shut down.

This shows real contempt for Canadian women on the part of the Conservative government in my view. The Conservatives are playing a shell game with the women of this country, because at the core of the Conservatives they really do not believe in women's equality. I do not believe so after what I have seen.

All the projects funded may help the individual woman who is lucky enough to access some of those programs the Conservatives are funding that deal with their specific problem individually, whether it be access to training or something else, but it will not change the conditions, the policies and the environmental culture that caused that problem in the first place. It will most certainly not help the thousands of Canadian women who are affected by the systemic barriers to services or the law.

For example, women in this country cannot access civil law because legal aid funds do not cover that and yet their spouse, who may have assaulted them, can access legal aid assistance under the Criminal Code, while the woman cannot access it because it is civil. That is pretty sad.

Those are the kinds of injustices for which those organizations work and fight. It is the research on policies and laws that discriminate against women that was done by women's organizations and then their lobby that really gave women their voice, which then resulted in changes by government, things like changing the assault of women. Police never charged the person who assaulted when they went to a home. The woman had to charge the person. Now it is the police who must charge the person who assaults.

Parental leave, rape shield law, property rights at time of divorce, all of these things were done because women had voices through organizations that did research and then helped them to lobby for those things.

The Conservatives are playing, as I said, a disgusting shell game because of a possible election coming up. They do not truly believe in any of this. Otherwise this would not be happening at the eleventh hour and they would have done it properly and made the proper changes.

Another example is that the Conservatives initially took out the word “political”. Now they have inserted another word that says “democratic”. However, it means very little. It is attached to nothing. Women's organizations will still remain shut down. Advocacy on their behalf will remain shut down as well. Pay equity will still remain a dream for women. The United Nations recommendations to give women more equal rights will still not be a reality and will not mean anything.

I have been told that the government cannot fund women's organizations that lobby and yet it can give $500,000 to the Canadian Conference of Defence Associations, which is a lobby organization for defence contracts. We cannot give money to women's organizations to lobby for women's rights in this country. How sad is that?

The government has made women voiceless, just like it has done with its backbench members who cannot say anything. Women in Canada are not allowed to be advocates.

Does the government really think Canadian women are stupid? The minister should be ashamed of herself and either show respect for Canadian women or resign. It is quite obvious she has absolutely no influence over the Prime Minister in this area of policy.

On top of all this, the Conservatives have shut down the court challenges program, which allowed women to challenge government laws on policies that assisted women to attain their rights. This was a very valuable tool for women and it remains shut down. This again shows to me that this work means nothing, otherwise the government would have reinstated the court challenges program which gave women the strength and power to access their rights.

Unless people have money in this country, they cannot access their charter rights. The government has left it up to only those men or women who have money. No one else can access their charter rights.

Equality is not a word that should be thrown around lightly without substance behind it. Many people are struggling all over the world to fight for their equality and many are dying for it. We in this House have been talking about Afghanistan. Our soldiers have given their lives in Afghanistan to assist women, in part, to regain their rights in Afghanistan and yet the government turns around and plays charades in its shameful games with Canadian women's rights, human rights. I find that appalling and embarrassing as a Canadian. I cannot believe that the Conservatives would do that.

We are lucky to live in a country that prides itself on multiculturalism, compassion and goodwill toward one another but we are not perfect. We have a history of issues and problems in areas marked with violence. We are learning from that but we have a great deal more to learn. We should be condemned for the way we treat women and for the way we treat our aboriginal women in particular.

In a time when we should be moving forward and correcting these past wrongs, what does the government do? First, it cancels good programs and then, because it thinks it will go to the electorate and the polls indicate that women may not vote for the Conservatives, they put a word back in that means absolutely nothing.

By eliminating the early learning and child care agreements that we had established across this country, by eliminating the Kelowna accord, a real plan to help eradicate poverty among first nations communities and by closing 12 out of 16 Status of Women offices across this country, the government is telling women too bad, so sad. The Conservatives claim it is not their problem if women do not have child care and cannot go to work. They are saying that they should stay on welfare.

I met with rural women this summer and their major problem is that they do not have access to government services in their region. Many of them do not have access to computers, transportation and many other services. The government is telling these women to figure out a way to look after the problem themselves because it is not its problem.

This is a sad day in our country. Canada has shown the way around the world in many different ways through our international development agency, as I know from my time there. We have advocated for women's equality. We are ensuring that other governments in the world, like South Africa, have women's equality in its constitution. Africa actually has a champion for all women's policies. We have been aggressive and strong around the world, and then we do not even do it in our own home. It is a disgrace.

Status of Women
Private Members' Business

6:30 p.m.


The Acting Speaker Royal Galipeau

The time provided for the consideration of private members' business has now expired, and the order is dropped to the bottom of the order of precedence on the order paper.

[For continuation of proceedings see part B]

[Continuation of proceedings from part A]

HIV-AIDS among Aboriginal People
Emergency Debate

February 7th, 2008 / 6:30 p.m.


The Acting Speaker Royal Galipeau

The House will now proceed to the consideration of a motion to adjourn the House for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter requiring urgent consideration, namely the HIV infection rates in aboriginal people in the downtown east side of Vancouver.