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House of Commons Hansard #63 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was afghan.

Topics

EthicsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Toronto—Dan—

EthicsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

EthicsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

—no, Malpeque.

Order, please. The hon. member for Malpeque has the floor.

AgricultureOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Agriculture did a little tour on P.E.I. last Friday to shore up his nominated candidates. However, in the process the minister insulted not only producers in Prince Edward Island, but all of Canada by telling them there would be no free ride for farmers. There has never been a free ride for farmers in our country. Farmers are the generators of wealth. The only problem is they do not share in terms of that wealth.

The minister has failed abysmally, cutting program spending by 33% in Prince Edward Island. Will the minister accept his responsibility and assist farmers today?

AgricultureOral Questions

3 p.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster Saskatchewan

Conservative

Gerry Ritz ConservativeMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, I can understand your dilemma in trying to tell the difference between the member for Toronto—Danforth and the member for Malpeque. Farmers in western Canada have the same problem.

The one thing that came to light in our meetings in Prince Edward Island was that milling wheat in Prince Edward Island went for $600 a tonne. Do members know what it is worth in Saskatchewan under the Canadian Wheat Board? Half of that.

Why does the member for Malpeque force western Canadian farmers to take half the money he gets for his farmers?

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I would like to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the Ladies Gallery of a group of boys and girls, the Children's Miracle Network 2008 Champions from across the country.

These youngsters have overcome life threatening illnesses or injuries and have been chosen to represent the millions of children who are treated annually by the Children's Miracle Network hospitals and foundations across North America.

These remarkable young people are true champions who have overcome some very serious obstacles to be with us here today.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Bravo!

Commonwealth DayOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I would also like to bring to the attention of hon. members that today is Commonwealth Day and that a message from Her Majesty has been received and will be read at a reception in Room 237-C this evening to which all hon. members are invited.

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:05 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 responses to four petitions.

Citizenship and ImmigrationCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Norman Doyle Conservative St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the sixth report of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration on the minister's non-appearance on the supplementary estimates.

Official LanguagesCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Liberal Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the third report of the Standing Committee on Official Languages called “Leading by Example: Bilingualism in the Public Service and the Renewal of the Action Plan for Official Languages”.

It constitutes an important contribution on the part of the committee to advancing the cause of bilingualism within the public service and across the country.

Financial Administration ActRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Chris Warkentin Conservative Peace River, AB

moved that Bill S-201, An Act to amend the Financial Administration Act and the Bank of Canada Act (quarterly financial reports), be read the first time.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to sponsor Bill S-201, An Act to amend the Financial Administration Act and the Bank of Canada Act.

Bill S-201 would allow parliamentarians to track the nation's expenditures by introducing quarterly reports that would allow for more effective management and accountability.

(Motion agreed to and bill read the first time)

Income TrustsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present this income trust broken promise petition on behalf of residents of Calgary, Alberta, who remind the Prime Minister about his boasting of his commitment to accountability when he said that the greatest fraud is a promise not kept. The petitioners remind the Prime Minister that he promised never to tax income trusts, but he broke that promise by imposing a 31.5% punitive tax which permanently wiped out $25 billion of hard-earned savings of over two million Canadians, particularly seniors.

The petitioners therefore call upon the government to admit that the decision to tax income trusts was based on flawed methodology and incorrect assumptions, to apologize to those who were unfairly harmed by this broken promise, and to repeal the punitive 31.5% tax on income trusts.

Bill C-482PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition signed by nearly 400 people from Quebec City calling on the Government of Canada to pass Bill C-482, which requires the federal government to comply with the Charter of the French Language within the province of Quebec, and therefore to amend the Official Languages Act and include a provision in the Canada Labour Code requiring federally regulated companies to comply with Bill 101 in Quebec and make French the language of work. This bill was introduced by the Bloc Québécois.

TaxationPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table two petitions today.

The first petition is yet again on the urgent need for this House to pass Bill C-390. The bill would allow tradespeople and indentured apprentices to deduct travel and accommodation expenses from their taxable income so they could secure and maintain employment at construction sites that are more than 80 kilometres from their homes.

This time the petitions have come from Vancouver, New Westminster, Burnaby, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto, Guelph, Whitby, Oshawa, Orillia, Barrie, Peterborough, Thunder Bay, Laval, Dorval, Moncton, Shediac and River View in an expression of support that is truly national in scope. Unfortunately, another federal budget is now behind us and once again the building trades were ignored. All they have been asking for is some basic fairness.

I will continue to represent their issues in this House and will gladly introduce all of their petitions until the government finally lives up to its commitment to act.

Consumer Price IndexPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table the second petition this afternoon that arises out of my national campaign to fight for fairness for ordinary Canadians and in particular for seniors who were shortchanged by their government as a result of an error in calculating the rate of inflation. The government has acknowledged the mistake made by Statistics Canada but is refusing to take any remedial action.

The petitioners call upon Parliament to take full responsibility for this error, which negatively impacted their incomes from 2001 to 2006, and to take the required steps to repay every Canadian who has been shortchanged by a government program because of a miscalculation of the CPI.

The petitions are signed by hundreds of people from Hamilton, including an overwhelming number from my riding of Hamilton Mountain. The petitioners are people who have worked hard all their lives, have played by the rules and now are finding it harder and harder to make ends meet. All the petitioners are asking for is a bit of fairness from their government.

It is a privilege to table this petition on their behalf.

Student LoansPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Diane Marleau Liberal Sudbury, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to stand here today and present a petition signed by many of the students from Laurentian University.

They are asking that the government consider giving large grants to those students who come from poor families. Tuition fees have increased tremendously and more students are relying on loans and it is extremely difficult for them to repay the loans when they graduate.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:10 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, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I would like to inform the House that under the provisions of Standing Order 30, I am designating Wednesday, March 12 as the day fixed for the consideration of private member's motion No. 310 standing in the order of precedence in the name of the hon. member for Kitchener—Waterloo.

This additional private members' hour will take place immediately after the time for private members' business already planned for this day, after which the House will proceed to the adjournment debate pursuant to Standing Order 38.

The House resumed consideration of the motion.

Opposition Motion--AfghanistanBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Before question period, the hon. member for Halifax had the floor for questions and comments consequent upon her speech. There are four minutes remaining in the time allotted for questions and comments to the hon. member for Halifax.

Questions and comments. The hon. member for Burnaby—Douglas.

Opposition Motion--AfghanistanBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Bill Siksay NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, in her speech earlier today the member for Halifax addressed the whole question of the need for more initiatives around peacemaking, seeking peace and working toward peace in Afghanistan. I want to read a quote from Oxfam's “Community Peacebuilding in Afghanistan” report:

As Oxfam research shows, for the vast majority of Afghans, problems have local causes and people turn to local institutions and individuals to resolve them. Yet little work has been done with local institutions and other actors, especially with shuras, to enhance their capabilities to promote peace. Peace work at the community level strengthens community cohesion, reduces violence, and enhances resistance to militants.

Canada is talking about signature projects that will publicize the effort in Afghanistan, mainly to Canadians. We have seen how some of our aid in Afghanistan seems to have been primarily directed at bolstering the military effort, the road building efforts for instance, and not necessarily directed to what is good and best for the Afghan people.

I wonder if the member for Halifax could comment on what Oxfam says is a deficiency in our foreign aid commitment to Afghanistan.

Opposition Motion--AfghanistanBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, I am going to invite all members to introduce themselves to the complete report, “Community Peacebuilding in Afghanistan: The Case for a National Strategy”, authored by Matt Waldman of Oxfam International. I am sure they can find it on the website.

It is important for me not to do an unfair summary of the excellent proposal for what we should be doing instead, and in the very few moments left, I want not to use up my time to respond to the insults that were being hurled by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence during my speech today. Rather I would like to invite him and other members of the Liberal-Conservative alliance for continuing the Afghan counter-insurgency on a very brief tour of defence ministers and military leaders who have shown themselves more willing to face up to the reality of the hazards and the flaws in the counter-insurgency mission.

“Every time you kill an angry young man overseas, you're creating 15 more who will come after you” Who said that? Major General Andrew Leslie, former chief of the Canadian land staff. “I don't think Canada is winning the war, and this war is not winnable”. Who said that? Retired Colonel Michel Drapeau.

Afghanistan is a “textbook case of how to screw up a counter-insurgency”. Who said that? British Captain Leo Docherty. “The situation is deteriorating and...NATO forces risk appearing like an army of occupation.” The Belgium defence minister said that. “One should not try to bury one's head in the sand...the operation is encountering real difficulties.... the situation is not improving.” The French defence minister said that. “If...the international community cannot find a”-- political solution--“...then...we have no moral right to ask our young people to expose themselves to that danger”. Des Browne, the U.K. defence minister, said that.

I could go on. There are others who said much the same. A Dutch military commander said that ultimately, the key to defeating the counter-insurgency is political accommodation, and in Afghanistan, that means talking to the Taliban.

We have no moral right, as was suggested by many of these highly placed, experienced defence ministers and military leaders, to keep sending our young men and women to Afghanistan in a mission that is either going to jeopardize their lives or destroy their health for all time.

We need to get on a path to peace. We have to take the leadership necessary to do that. In doing so, we can regain the respect that countries around the world have had for Canada's traditional role of peace seeking, peace building and peacekeeping in our troubled world.