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House of Commons Hansard #65 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was policy.

Topics

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

It being Wednesday, we will now have the singing of the national anthem led by the hon. member for Timmins—James Bay.

[Members sang the national anthem]

Chamber of Commerce AwardsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Blaine Calkins Conservative Wetaskiwin, AB

Mr. Speaker, on Friday night I had the honour of attending the Chamber of Commerce awards banquet recognizing the outstanding business leaders from the great community of Rocky Mountain House.

It is often said that small business is the backbone of the Canadian economy. The heart and soul of small businesses are the owners and employees, whose dedication and commitment provide jobs and services in communities from coast to coast to coast.

Our government knows the demands of running a business in the 21st century. That is why we are creating a competitive economic environment that supports innovation, rewards success and reduces unnecessary regulations and red tape.

Budget 2008 responded to requests from groups such as the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, whose members wanted to see an end to the big surpluses in the employment insurance fund and the use of these surpluses for unrelated programs.

I know all members will join me in congratulating the Rocky Mountain House Chamber of Commerce award recipients: Lorrie McMeekin; Francis Baich; Wesley Eror; James Brady; Challand Pipeline; and Civic Tire and Battery.

I thank them for the valuable contribution they make to life in and around Rocky Mountain House.

Kidney Health MonthStatements By Members

March 12th, 2008 / 2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Gurbax Malhi Liberal Bramalea—Gore—Malton, ON

Mr. Speaker, this is Kidney Health Month in Canada, and tomorrow, March 13, is World Kidney Day.

While ongoing research and new treatments have greatly improved the lives of those affected by kidney disease, there is still much work to be done.

Two million Canadians have or may develop kidney disease. Each day, 14 Canadians learn that their kidneys have failed. Seventy per cent of Canadians waiting for an organ transplant are in need of a kidney.

The Kidney Foundation of Canada funds almost one-third of kidney research projects in Canada. I wish to commend the Kidney Foundation for its role in supporting this important research and speaking up for Canadians living with kidney disease.

Michel GouinStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, ultramarathoner Michel Gouin, of Drummondville, literally crushed a world record, running more than 1,000 km in 11 days on a treadmill. He shattered the previous record, set in February 2007 by a German, Peter Bartel, who ran the same distance in 14 days and 11 hours. Michel Gouin's performance shaved nearly 66 hours off the record.

Around 30 volunteers worked with him around the clock over the course of his run. In order for the record to be authenticated, Michel Gouin, 47, was always in the presence of two witnesses.

Michel's next challenge will be to take part in a 10-day race through the streets of New York City, an international competition that will be held from April 23 to May 3 featuring the 70 best long-distance runners in the world.

On behalf of the people of Drummondville, I would like to congratulate Michel Gouin. We hope to see this record soon in the Guinness Book of World Records.

ImmigrationStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow NDP Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, every day more stories emerge about the Conservative government's heartless immigration practices.

First, a hard-working father and husband is being deported even though his Canadian wife is sponsoring him.

A gay man was deported last week to Malaysia, where he is likely to face torture and discrimination.

A disabled Canadian boy's family faces deportation to Uruguay, where he will not get the care and education he desperately needs.

Today we learn that an Israeli woman who suffered physical and mental abuse is being deported. As a result, her children will be cruelly separated from their mother and may be at risk.

Instead of focusing her energy to remove the almost 2,000 known criminals under deportation, the minister only seems to go after the most vulnerable.

This heartless Conservative government cannot be trusted. Why is the minister not intervening in clearly humanitarian cases and making Canada's immigration system fair for everyday families?

Canadian Museum for Human RightsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Joy Smith Conservative Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, one week ago today, the Senate passed Bill C-42, An Act to amend the Museums Act. Later this week, Bill C-42 will receive royal assent.

This bill will establish the Canadian Museum for Human Rights as a national museum in my home province of Manitoba, the first new national museum since 1967.

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights will help Canadians, especially our youth, understand the sacrifices the people of our nation made to build this country.

I want to thank the Prime Minister of Canada for his vision for my province of Manitoba. This is the first time a national museum has been located outside the national capital region.

I also want to thank Minister of Canadian Heritage for introducing legislation to create the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

Finally, I want to congratulate all those who worked so hard to bring this museum to fruition, especially Gail Asper and the Asper Foundation. What a momentous day for all Canadians.

Fay BlandStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, the West Island of Montreal recently lost one of its most caring and dedicated advocates for the mentally disabled.

Fay Bland was the visionary founder of AVATIL, a non-profit organization that promotes independent living for the mentally disabled, and was the recipient of many awards, including the Governor General's Caring Canadian Award for her decades of volunteer work.

Throughout her life, Fay was an inspiration to all who knew her. She had a rare gift for motivating people to get things done. Fay saw things that needed to change and then worked to change them.

In the 1950s, Fay realized that the West Island's services for children with intellectual disabilities were woefully inadequate. So with an audacity of spirit that one can only say was typical of Fay, she set out to ensure our community offered more and better services for these children.

Fay's legacy will live on in the institutions she helped create and foster and in the lives that are now better because of her kindness.

Post-Secondary EducationStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

David Sweet Conservative Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, in November 2006 the government presented “Advantage Canada”, our national economic plan.

One of the objectives set out in “Advantage Canada” is for Canada to have the best educated, most skilled and most flexible labour force in the world.

This is good news for the riding I represent and for all of Hamilton, which includes four post-secondary educational institutions: McMaster University, McMaster Divinity College, Mohawk College and Redeemer University College.

Since being in government, we have increased transfer support to the provinces for post-secondary education by $800 million per year, starting this year, with a guaranteed increase of 3% per year until 2014.

Our contribution to post-secondary education through the Canada social transfer program totals $3.2 billion in this fiscal year alone. As well, we are committing $123 million over four years, starting next year, to streamline and modernize the Canada student loans program.

As McMaster University President Peter George said: “...the strong signals in the federal budget about the government's commitment to supporting universities and the important role they play in Canada's economic prosperity were welcome indeed”.

Quebec DeclarationStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Vivian Barbot Bloc Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, together with numerous representatives of Quebec's civil society and international partners, the members of the Bloc Québécois have expressed support for the Quebec association of international cooperation organizations' manifesto, Déclaration du Québec: Responsables aussi du monde.

This declaration expresses our shared vision for international development and solidarity. Among other things, we want to build a world based on the law and individual and group rights, a world where men and women are truly equal, a world that condemns war and military action as pathways to conflict resolution, a world where access to basic education for all people, male or female, is a priority.

The Bloc Québécois invites all parliamentarians to sign the Déclaration du Québec: Responsables aussi du monde.

2010 Paralympic Winter GamesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

James Moore Conservative Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, today marks the two-year countdown to the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games.

From March 12 to 21, 2010, the world's best athletes with a disability will come to Canada to compete. In 64 medal competitions, they will inspire us with their determination, their drive to excel and their physical ability.

The Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games will be Canada's games: one festival, two events and 60 days of celebration. They will be an inspiring and inclusive celebration and a proud moment for Canada as we show the world our very best.

The Vancouver 2010 Winter Games will be “Canada's games”—one festival, two events and 60 days of celebration. The games will unite and inspire many, and will be a very proud moment for Canada, as we show off our best to the entire world.

DarfurStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Maurizio Bevilacqua Liberal Vaughan, ON

Mr. Speaker, Mahatma Gandhi once said, “You must be the change you want to see in the world”.

Today I would like to recognize the students and teachers of Maple High School for their campaign and support for the people of Darfur.

I would like to thank the STAND group and, in particular, a determined student leader, Nagina Shahsamand, and an exceptional educator, Michelle Hadida, for their commitment to this just cause that requires immediate international attention.

The men, women and children of Darfur live the painful and harsh reality of brutal murders, destruction of villages, the spread of deadly diseases and the displacement of millions of individuals.

The Maple High School community is giving a voice to the voiceless. Its perseverance and dedication to the Darfur awareness campaign has drawn the support of hundreds of students who want the Canadian government to act in concert with international partners to put an end to this human tragedy. As they stated, “Every minute wasted is another life lost”.

Bloc QuébécoisStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Conservative Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am always surprised to hear Bloc members quote a Quebec government minister or the leader of the official opposition in Quebec City. After all, their former Bloc colleague from Lévis said:

Personally, I am not interested in speaking on behalf of Mario Dumont or Jean Charest here in the federal Parliament.

The Bloc Québécois is once again trying to convince people that our government's leadership in the climate change file is disadvantageous for Quebec. Yet, on February 8, 2007, the Bloc leader said:

For a number of years, Quebec has asked the federal government for $328 million, to enable Quebec to implement the Kyoto protocol within its borders.

I am very pleased to see that, even according to the separatists, we, Conservative members from Quebec, responded with $350 million for Quebec to reduce its emissions within its borders.

The Bloc Québécois will be taken to task for its powerlessness and inconsistency, since Quebec is growing stronger under the Conservatives.

Women's EqualityStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Wayne Marston NDP Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week, Canada celebrated the 97th annual International Women's Day. Around the world, we have witnessed a significant change in society's thoughts about women's equality but there is so much yet to do.

Two years ago in Iran, Iranian women came together to organize the One Million Signatures Campaign, also known as the Change for Equality Campaign, in order to fight to change the laws in Iran that are hugely discriminatory toward women.

Parvin Ardalan, a founding member of this campaign, was to be acknowledged internationally with the 2007 Olof Palme award in Stockholm for her courageous work. On March 2, Ms. Ardalan was aboard an Air France flight about to leave Tehran to go to Stockholm to receive her award when she was arrested and removed from the flight.

Ms. Ardalan is facing possible imprisonment for her part in organizing the Change for Equality Campaign.

The Olof Palme Memorial Fund chose Parvin Ardalan because she has succeeded “in making the demand for equal rights for men and women a central part of the struggle for democracy in Iran”.

I stand in the House today to congratulate and offer my--

Women's EqualityStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Don Valley East.

Federal-Provincial RelationsStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, my constituents are wondering what the Conservative government has against the people of Ontario.

The Prime Minister first thumbs his nose at the province by denying Ontario the legal number of seats in the House of Commons, which it is entitled to under the Constitution of Canada. When the premier pointed out that it was unfair to deny Ontario its democratic rights, the Conservatives called him “the small man of Confederation”.

Now the Conservative finance minister is continuing the relentless attacks on Ontario. Is this what the Prime Minister defines as a new era of harmony with the premiers?

By calling Ontario the “last place” to do business in Canada, the finance minister is being totally irresponsible and scaring off foreign investment and sacrificing jobs in Ontario.

If this is how the Conservatives do business with the provinces, our country is in serious trouble.

International Day of La FrancophonieStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Freeman Bloc Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, March 20 is the International Day of La Francophonie, when francophones will celebrate the language spoken by more than 264 million people around the globe.

French is one of the 10 most commonly spoken languages in the world. It has a rich history and a wide-reaching cultural heritage. With English, it is the only language taught in every country on the planet. And the number of people who are using and learning French is growing steadily.

However, the government's attitude toward the French fact is deplorable. It is sad to hear the pleas of federal prosecutors who, to save $2.8 million a year, want to abolish the court challenges program, which has provided valuable assistance for minority francophone communities.

In the face of the Conservatives' indifference, let us take time to affirm our pride in our francophone heritage and celebrate a living language that sets us apart from the rest of North America and reflects the culture in Quebec today.

Linguistic DualityStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Liberal Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, in 1969, the Parliament of Canada enacted the Official Languages Act. This legislation has had significant and positive impact on minority language communities.

Since then, we have also expected our government to affirm, on a regular basis, the benefits and the importance of linguistic duality. Therefore, as we celebrate the Semaine de la Francophonie this week, it is appropriate to reaffirm in this House, with a loud and clear voice, the importance of linguistic duality for our country.

We are talking about much more than just a simple asset or a series of programs to be funded every five years. We are talking about a defining characteristic of our identity. In fact, linguistic duality is an integral part of this country's social fabric. For that reason it must be treated with respect and given priority, and we must provide the requisite financial support.

Therefore, I ask my colleagues to join with me to ensure that linguistic duality remains a core priority and part of the legacy we will pass on to our children.

Leader of the Liberal PartyStatements By Members

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Joe Preston Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Speaker, as my dad used to say, it is time for the Liberal leader to fish or cut bait. Actually, he used a different saying but with the same meaning.

In 2006, the Liberal leader was quoted as saying that he was counting the days to the next election. I would like to remind him that it has now been over 450 days since he immediately called for an election. Perhaps he has a different meaning for “immediately” than I do.

We have a Liberal leader who charges toward an election with an army of 80 rejecting his leadership and supporting the responsible leadership of a balanced Conservative budget.

Again this weekend we heard the Liberal leader in Hamilton telling Canadians to be ready for an election call at any minute. Who is still listening?

On Monday, in this very chamber, the Liberal leader again backed down or, as his dog, Kyoto, would say, he rolled over on the environment.

The Liberal leader predicted that 2008 would be a whole new ball game, and he is right. This government and this Prime Minister continue to hit home runs.

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, today I have a multiple choice question for the Prime Minister: (a) what did thePrime Minister mean by “financial considerations” when he spoke on the tape; (b) will he ask Michael Wilson and Ian Brodie to step aside; (c) why did he authorize his party's in and out scheme during the last federal election; or (d) why did his environment minister's chief of staff call the OPP?

He can take his pick but none of the above is not an option.

Canada-U.S. RelationsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I have previously noted as one example the unacceptable leak on the Obama campaign. An investigation is being undertaken by the Privy Council Office and the Department of Foreign Affairs and I am sure they will do a thorough look into this.

We will continue to work hard to ensure that we maintain good and productive trade relations between Canada and the United States.

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister failed the test.

We will give him another chance. On the tape, the Prime Minister mentioned an offer made to Mr. Cadman by party officials to help resolve Mr. Cadman's financial situation in the event of an election. The questions are: (a) What offer? (b) What officials? (c) What financial situation?

While the Prime Minister is at it, he should tell the truth and answer all three questions once and for all.

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have said there was a meeting with Mr. Flanagan, Mr. Finley and Mr. Cadman about the possibility of Mr. Cadman rejoining the Conservative Party, receiving the Conservative nomination and running as a Conservative candidate. Our answers are clear.

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, again he did not answer and did not even mention the tape. We will give the Prime Minister another chance.

Who is he accusing of lying: (a) Mr. Cadman's widow; (b) Mr. Cadman's daughter; (c) Mr. Cadman's son-in-law; (d) the journalist, Lawrence Martin; (e) all of the above; or (f), and this is a hint, the government and the Prime Minister are misleading the House and Canadians?

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, let me do my own multiple choice. I was wondering at the beginning of this session: (a) whether the official opposition might support us on our budgetary and financial policies; (b) whether it might support us on our crime policies; (c) whether it might support us on our foreign policies; or (d) whether it might support us on our environment policy. The answer is: all of the above.

EthicsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, after 10 days of this, a pattern of evasion is emerging in the government's answers on the Cadman affair.

Inside the House, Conservative spokesmen deny the allegations but outside the House, they duck and cover. This pattern of evasion is unworthy of a government that walks around claiming that it is clean.

I will try again with a key question in the affair. Was a financial inducement ever offered by one or more representatives of the Conservative Party to Chuck Cadman, yes or no?