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House of Commons Hansard #67 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was equality.

Topics

Chantale GuayStatements by Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Liberal Laval—Les Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, as part of Quebec intellectual disability week, I would like to pay special tribute to a woman of great merit from Laval, Chantale Guay, who passed away in December at the age of 51.

Ms. Guay was the executive director of the Laval association for intellectual disability for eight years. She loved and respected people with intellectual disabilities, giving generously of herself in her devotion to them. They were very dear to her.

For many years, she was a member of the board of directors of the Laval association of organizations for people with disabilities. She spearheaded the annual “Hats off” program, which honoured five people with intellectual disabilities from Laval who achieved exceptional personal growth.

Her commitment made a real difference in people's lives. Chantale Guay very much deserves this tribute on behalf of all of the people of Laval.

Fire DepartmentsStatements by Members

11:05 a.m.

Bloc

Claude DeBellefeuille Bloc Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of all my Bloc Québécois colleagues, I am pleased to congratulate the 24 firefighters from Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Beauharnois, Sainte-Martine, Saint-Étienne-de-Beauharnois and Saint-Louis-de-Gonzague who were decorated with medals or bars for distinguished service. The awards were presented by the fire departments of those towns and municipalities.

Whether as a firefighter, chief, captain, lieutenant, deputy or director of a fire department, these men and women serve with dedication in a dangerous profession whose ultimate goal is to save lives, while they place their own at risk. The tragic events of recent weeks confirm, once again, that fighting fires can cause death. Their commitment is that much more praiseworthy.

I have nothing but admiration for these men and women who were recently decorated.

Arctic Winter GamesStatements by Members

March 14th, 2008 / 11:05 a.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Western Arctic, NT

Mr. Speaker, this week more than 2,200 athletes, coaches and officials from the northern regions of Canada, Russia, Greenland, Norway, Finland and the United States have gathered in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, for the 20th Arctic Winter Games.

This is a very special event for the people of my riding. Yellowknife hosted the very first Arctic Winter Games back in 1970.

The games focus on traditional sports such as soccer, hockey, skiing and gymnastics, along with unique Arctic sports, but also place emphasis on the diversity of northern cultures. The general theme of the games is a celebration of sport and culture.

Tomorrow I will be presenting bronze, silver and gold Ulu medals to athletes, and celebrating another successful games with thousands of participants at the official closing ceremonies.

I would like to extend my congratulations and sincere thanks to all who have helped make the 20th Arctic Winter Games the best ever, especially the dedicated volunteers who have worked so hard to make it all happen. I extend my thanks to Yellowknife, Northwest Territories.

Christian Population in IraqStatements by Members

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Maurice Vellacott Conservative Saskatoon—Wanuskewin, SK

Mr. Speaker, yesterday morning the body of Mar Paulos Faraj Rahho, Chaldean Catholic Archbishop of Mosel, was found riddled with bullets in northern Iraq. He was kidnapped in late February as he left church.

The death of Archbishop Rahho is a tragedy that illustrates the difficulties faced by Iraq's Christian population. This gruesome murder is just one example of the tragic persecution faced by Iraqi Christians. I would like to take this opportunity to draw the House's attention to the community's struggles.

Iraq's Christian population is dwindling in size because of this new wave of violence levelled against them. This community constitutes only a small fraction of Iraq's predominantly Muslim population. They are one of the oldest communities in Iraq, being distinguishable by their Christian religion, unique culture, and Aramaic language, which was spoken at the time of Christ.

Our government sends condolences to the Chaldean community and all the Christians of Iraq who suffer persecution.

International Day of La FrancophonieStatements by Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

John Godfrey Liberal Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, the International Day of la Francophonie allows us to highlight the importance of the French language for our country and also provides the opportunity to reflect on the role Canada should have among francophone nations, thanks to institutions such as The Toronto French School.

Canada must ensure that its participation in the francophone dialogue promotes the French language as well as francophone values among member countries of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie.

Our country can make our point of view known to other countries by setting an example and ensuring that member countries respect the same principles as we do, such as justice, transparency and democracy.

By participating fully in the promotion of la Francophonie, Canada has the opportunity to strengthen the credibility of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie and to attract as members other countries with a francophone component.

The significance of the International Day of la Francophonie extends beyond the borders of our country and Canada should be its proud standard-bearer.

ZimbabweStatements by Members

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Conservative Calgary East, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canada is concerned that conditions on the ground in Zimbabwe will not allow for free and fair elections that respect fundamental human rights at the upcoming national election on March 29.

We note the lack of a free media, state imposed restrictions on the freedom of speech, assembly and association, and the use of force by the police against the political opposition.

At the last minute Zimbabwe invited some countries and international organizations to observe and monitor the elections, but only those that were expected to provide a positive assessment. Canada was not invited, nor was any international organization of which Canada is a member.

Canada is concerned about the prospect for violence in Zimbabwe during the period surrounding the election. Canada calls on the government of Zimbabwe to ensure that all human rights are respected.

St. Patrick's DayStatements by Members

11:10 a.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, traditionally March 17 is St. Patrick's Day, a day to recognize the contribution of the Irish community to Quebec's development, among other things. The traditional St. Patrick's Day parade through the streets of Montreal will be held on the eve of St. Patrick's Day, on March 16. The parade will go on rain or shine or whatever mother nature brings. Year after year, this parade all in the colour of Ireland, green, draws large crowds. The second largest parade in Quebec will be held in Rawdon, in my riding, which is home to a large Irish community.

As we know, during the 19th century, the Irish massively fled Ireland, which was devastated by famine and disease, to start their lives over. Many of them settled in Montreal. They have greatly contributed to the development of that city with their vitality, courage, joie de vivre and traditions.

This is why I encourage everyone to come out and take part in any of the various activities scheduled across Quebec to mark St. Patrick's Day.

Government PoliciesStatements by Members

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Dean Allison Conservative Niagara West—Glanbrook, ON

Mr. Speaker, as we rise today, after a productive winter session, it is worth recapping the many accomplishments of this government under the strong leadership of our Prime Minister.

Canadian families are safer today, thanks to the Tackling Violent Crime Act, an act that imposes mandatory minimum sentences on gun criminals, will keep repeat violent and sexual offenders behind bars and protect children by raising the age of sexual consent from 14 to 16 years of age. This passed with the help of the Leader of the Opposition and the Liberals.

The Canadian economy is now on a responsible and prudent course, as budget 2008 has passed and we have a balanced budget that pays down more than $10 billion of debt and which provides Canadians with a powerful new way to save through tax-free savings accounts. This budget passed, thanks to the help of the Leader of the Opposition and the Liberals.

The Canadian Forces serving in Afghanistan now have the clear support of Parliament. A consensus motion extending the military mission in Afghanistan to 2011 was passed last night, thanks to the help of the Leader of the Opposition and the Liberals.

The Conservative government announced a real greenhouse gas reduction plan, the first to ever include mandatory emission reduction targets, and an NDP environmental motion declaring non-confidence in the Conservative government was defeated with the help--

Government PoliciesStatements by Members

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Hull--Aylmer.

André ManseauStatements by Members

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today with sadness to mark the tragic death of André Manseau, a young volunteer firefighter in Val-des-Monts.

André Manseau had dreamed since childhood of becoming a firefighter. He had been with the municipal fire department for barely six months. Although he was just 18 years old, André Manseau was very mature for his age. He died tragically, doing what he had always wanted to do, which was help others.

The people of the Outaouais are in mourning. We have lost a member of our rescue team, the people we count on and place our greatest trust in. We respect and admire these people for their courage and determination.

I invite all my colleagues to join me in extending our heartfelt sympathies to the family, colleagues and friends of young firefighter André Manseau, who died in the line of duty. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.

Tackling Violent Crime ActStatements by Members

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Mr. Speaker, as we prepare to rise, after an extremely productive winter session, I would like to take a moment to reflect on one of the very significant things we have accomplished for Canadians.

As my colleague has stated, Canadian families are now safer due to the passage of the Tackling Violent Crime Act. This Conservative act will impose mandatory minimum sentences on gun criminals, keep repeat violent and sexual offenders behind bars, and protect children by raising the age of sexual consent from 14 to 16 years old, is now law.

Kitchener--Conestoga residents asked me to represent them on these very issues and it is gratifying to see that results were delivered on their behalf, with the help of the Liberals and the Senate who helped pass this Conservative act.

The Conservative government wants to wish all Canadians a safe and happy Easter break.

Queen Street Community in TorontoStatements by Members

11:15 a.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow NDP Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, this month alone, the Conservative government has taken the wrong direction on climate change, extended the war in Afghanistan and offered no solution for the doctor shortage or help for our cities to prosper.

However, despite the depressing scene on Parliament Hill, Torontonians are working together and taking action. On February 20, a massive six-alarm blaze destroyed 14 addresses in a historic part of Queen Street West in downtown Toronto. Some 20 families were made homeless, dozens made unemployed and shops, some in business since 1914, were destroyed.

However, Toronto's spirit of generosity and our engaged community came together to raise money, put on benefits, donate clothing and furniture, and help the people affected by this devastating fire.

The Queen Street community's unique spirit, dynamic activism, diversity and talent is what makes it so special. I want to take this opportunity to thank all the volunteers and the local councillors in making the rebuilding of people's lives and these historic buildings possible.

I want to urge all members to help out and--

Queen Street Community in TorontoStatements by Members

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Beauséjour.

National Francophonie WeekStatements by Members

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, I invite all my colleagues to join me in celebrating national francophonie week.

Our country was founded on two great international languages and French is in the spotlight this week.

The French language is more than just a tool of daily communication for us; it is our link to millions of francophones throughout the world. Our ideals of peace, justice and prosperity are strengthened by our membership in this great global francophone family.

Across the country, particularly in Acadia, a region I proudly represent in this House, francophones are inviting their fellow citizens to celebrate the French language with them. This is especially true in schools, where the Association canadienne d'éducation de langue française has developed a variety of activities for teachers to present to their students.

I want to wish everyone a wonderful national francophonie week.

Ottawa Film FestivalStatements by Members

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Richard Nadeau Bloc Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Ottawa film festival will be held from March 14 to 21, 2008, chaired by Lucie Laurier. Some 50 films from 17 countries will be showcased during the festival.

Things will kick off with a screening of Caramel, a dramatic comedy by Nadine Labaki. The festival's founder, Didier Farré, has selected Florent Emilio Siri's drama, L'ennemi intime/Intimate Enemies, to close the festival.

A gala celebrating the festival's 10th anniversary will begin with a screening of The Counterfeiters, which won the Oscar for best foreign film. The Quebec film industry will be in the spotlight with Continental, a film without guns , Tout est parfait/Everything is Fine, Les 3 p'tits cochons and many other films.

My Bloc Québécois colleagues and I congratulate the organizers and volunteers, and we invite everyone to come out and participate.

Long live the Ottawa film festival!

EthicsStatements by Members

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Robert Thibault Liberal West Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, in just two years, the Conservative Party has gone from rhetoric and bluster about accountability to stories of shadowy Conservative operatives working on behalf of the Prime Minister, offering financial inducements to a man suffering from terminal cancer so that he would overturn a democratically elected government.

I cannot help but look across the aisle at my colleagues from the Conservative Party and wonder where it all went wrong. It must be disheartening to those sitting on the government benches.

So much for ideals and so much for promises they made to their constituents. Instead, they watch and listen every day to the changing story of the Prime Minister, the same Prime Minister whose voice was recorded, the same Prime Minister who said that financial considerations were on the table.

Mulroney had Fred, the Prime Minister has Flanagan and Finley, all F's, not very good grades, not good at all.

Government of OntarioStatements by Members

11:20 a.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, Dalton McGuinty did two things upon taking office. First, he hammered the middle class with the biggest tax increase in Ontario history, the McGuinty health tax. Second, he raised taxes on Ontario businesses, targeting them and making them less competitive.

Because of McGuinty's regime in this province, Ontario has the highest tax on new business investment anywhere in the developed world.

Dalton McGuinty never met a tax he did not hike and, make no mistake, these high taxes kill Ontario jobs.

However, it is never too late to do the right thing. Mr. McGuinty has a budget coming up this month and we would encourage him to do what we have done at the federal level, which is cut taxes for investors, entrepreneurs and their workers. I ask him to liberate our economy, let the eagle out of the bird cage and let us build our economy on low tax and high competitiveness.

EthicsOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Prime Minister again tried to dodge that damaging tape that caught him talking knowledgeably about an offer to Chuck Cadman. He has admitted in the House that it was indeed his voice mentioning the offer to Chuck to replace financial considerations by people legitimately representing the party.

However, yesterday, for the first time, the Prime Minister claimed that the tape had been tampered with. If that is true, why did it take over two weeks to say so, and will he table the complete unedited tape in the House right now?

EthicsOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services and for the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals keep changing their story but the facts remain the same.

First, the Liberals said that there was a meeting on May 17, 2005. They were wrong. The Liberals said that we offered Chuck Cadman a $1 million life insurance policy and that was false. The Liberals said that Chuck Cadman was not going to run again and that was false. The Liberals asserted that I was somehow involved in organizing a meeting and that was, of course, false.

The Liberals claim outrage but they have had this story for well over a year and yet they continue to ask questions. If they were really sincere about their outrage, they would have asked these questions long ago.

As the Prime Minister has said, when this issue goes to court all the facts will be on the table and the Liberal Party will be sorry for it.

EthicsOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary answers everything but the question.

The tape is from author Tom Zytaruk. He made it public. Dona Cadman and her family stand by their statements that Conservatives did make an offer to deal with their financial insecurity. That is consistent with the tape.

If it is all false, why is the Prime Minister not suing the source of the allegations, Mr. Zytaruk and the Cadmans? Is it not true that his political lawsuit against the official opposition and now this tale about a tampered tape are all a desperate dodge to avoid confronting the Prime Minister's very own words?

EthicsOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services and for the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister of this country, just as any Canadian citizen, from the newest Canadian citizen who was sworn in yesterday to the Prime Minister of this country, has the right to defend themselves from false accusations.

It is only the Liberal Party of Canada that has falsely accused the Prime Minister of this country of a crime. He has a right to defend himself and that is exactly what he is doing.

EthicsOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is claiming that Mr. Zytaruk doctored the recording so he must find the tape as released by Zytaruk to be truly damaging, otherwise, why attack it.

Is it because of that specific mention of the offer to Chuck? Is it the references to financial considerations, financial insecurity, financial issues? Is it the admission that the people who made the offer were legitimately representing the party?

It is easy to clear the air here. Why will the Prime Minister not just table his own tape un-Grewaled, so to speak?

EthicsOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services and for the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics

Mr. Speaker, as I have said, the Liberals have falsely accused the Prime Minister of this country of a crime. This will see the full light of day in court and the Liberals will be sorry for what they did.

The Prime Minister of this country has been consistent on this issue. I have answered all the questions that have come before the House of Commons, as has the Prime Minister of this country.

The Liberals should apologize for what they have done in this matter, which is falsely smear the Prime Minister of this country without any evidence whatsoever.

EthicsOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, libel cases begin with a process called examination for discovery where the Prime Minister will be compelled under oath to answer all the questions he is not answering here.

Why is the Prime Minister waiting for a judge to force him to give Canadians answers? Why will he not simply explain here and now why his own voice on a tape confirms that he knew representatives were going to have discussions with Mr. Cadman about financial considerations?

EthicsOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services and for the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics

Mr. Speaker, it sounds to me like the Liberals do not like that part of law that allows people to sue other people for making libellous accusations against them.

Perhaps I would ask the member for Kitchener Centre a question. Was she outraged when the leader of the Liberal Party in 2005 issued a $400,000 lawsuit against the leader of the Bloc Québécois himself for false accusations that he said were made against him?

The Prime Minister of this country, just like the leader of the Liberal Party, has a right to defend himself, and that is exactly what he is doing.