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House of Commons Hansard #60 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-10.

Topics

2 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 Kitchener Centre.

[Members sang the national anthem]

True Blue Masonic Lodge of BoltonStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

David Tilson Conservative Dufferin—Caledon, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to announce that True Blue Masonic Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons 98, located in Bolton, Ontario, is celebrating its 150th anniversary on March 5, 2008.

This is a tremendous milestone that warrants considerable recognition for the lodge's many accomplishments and contributions to Bolton and across Canada.

The Masonic Lodge has become widely known for its founding principles and for its support of various causes affecting Canadian communities, including hearing research, a bursary program for university and college students, as well as alcohol and drug awareness programs in elementary and secondary schools.

The Masonic Lodge has also placed great emphasis on supporting the Canadian blood donor program. We are extremely fortunate and proud to have such a strong and dependable goodwill organization located in Bolton.

As the member of Parliament for Dufferin—Caledon, I congratulate the True Blue Masonic Lodge of Bolton. I wish it another 150 years of community dedication and success.

Beef and Pork IndustriesStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Shawn Murphy Liberal Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House to highlight the crisis that is occurring in our rural areas. Many farmers, especially the beef and pork producers who have put food on our tables and have supported their families and the local economies, are now facing enormous challenges, increased expenses, a rising dollar and, in many sectors, falling prices.

The families who have developed these industries are proud and do not want handouts but the government cannot continue to ignore the challenges being faced by these sectors.

The loan program offered by the Conservative government last week is not sufficient. One cannot borrow one's way out of debt. The beef and pork producers need an immediate injection to save the farms operated by the families who have devoted their lives to feeding Canadians. This country was built on the backs of the family farm.

I understand that the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food will be in my province of Prince Edward Island tomorrow or later this week. I urge him, in fact I plead with him, to announce a program that will immediately assist our beef and hog producers.

The BudgetStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Guy André Bloc Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, even though 150,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost in Quebec in the past five years, most of them since the Conservatives came to power, this government's budget shows once again how oblivious the government is to the impact of the manufacturing crisis, which is devastating a number of regions of Quebec.

There is nothing in this budget to help the manufacturing industry in Quebec, including the furniture industry in Berthier—Maskinongé. However, the Conservatives are providing $250 million to help the automotive industry in Ontario. Worse still, they are maintaining the generous tax breaks for rich oil companies in the west.

What are the Conservative members from Quebec doing to help Quebec? They are doing nothing, and they are keeping quiet, which shows that they are powerless and under the thumb of their government.

Their silence proves that only the Bloc Québécois members are truly defending Quebec's interests.

Status of WomenStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, nearly 90 years ago, women got the vote and nearly 80 years ago, we were legally recognized as “persons”. However, after decades of progress toward equality, ordinary women in Canada are stalled.

Today, an estimated one in four women will be a victim of sexual violence in her lifetime. In the workplace, women still only earn 70% of what men make. Poverty affects almost half of single, widowed or divorced women over 65 and more than 40% of unattached women under 65.

Instead of dealing with any of these issues, the Conservative government, propped up by the Liberals, passed a budget that gave only $20 million to advance the equality of women, yet it found $50 million for the hog industry. That works out to $3.57 for every hog in Canada but only $1.21 per woman.

There was no new money for the national child benefit, child care, affordable housing, the GIS, a revival of the court challenges program, proactive pay equity legislation or any improvement in the minimum wage or maternity leave benefits.

Even as we celebrate International Women's Day this Saturday, women across this country will recommit to the fight for a fair and just society.

Fire SafetyStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, this past weekend in West Hamilton, within the riding I represent, a devastating fire took the life of five people.

Hamilton's Emergency Services chief, Jim Kay, was quoted as saying, “This is the worst I have seen”. All that could be done to save these lives was done. More than 20 firefighters, 6 fire trucks and 6 ambulance crews responded.

Despite all the heroic efforts, Melissa DenHollander, a 22-year-old mother, perished with her three children: Emma, 4 and a half; Ella, 2 and a half; Alana, 1 and a half; along with a young man of 19 identified as Josh.

The citizens of Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale grieve with family and friends at the loss of these precious lives.

The tragic circumstances of this past weekend call attention to the fire departments' reminder for Canadians to put fresh batteries in their smoke detectors at the same time as we set our clocks ahead this weekend for daylight saving time.

I ask all Canadians to please ensure that they have good quality smoke detectors installed appropriately in their homes to keep their families safe and remember to refresh their batteries this weekend.

InfrastructureStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Omar Alghabra Liberal Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Mr. Speaker, last November, Mississauga city council reluctantly voted to implement a special infrastructure levy. Much of the city's infrastructure is aging and, as one of the fastest growing cities in Canada, the needs continue to rise.

Mississauga mayor, Hazel McCallion, has launched a Cities NOW! campaign, calling on the federal government to address those urgent needs, not just for the benefit of city residents, but for the sake of Canada's future prosperity and environmental sustainability.

Cities are the economic engine of our country and ignoring their welfare is a huge mistake that will eventually cost us even more.

As a proud member of Parliament for Mississauga, it is my duty to inform the House about this massive infrastructure deficit and offer the Prime Minister the following advice.

First, he should stop insulting our premiers, mayors and Canadians. It is not only offensive but it is counter-productive. Second, he should end the over the top partisan approach and present Canadians with the urgently needed plan to address this infrastructure deficit.

AgricultureStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Komarnicki Conservative Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, on Monday, this government delivered on a campaign promise by introducing legislation to free western Canadian barley farmers from under the grip of the Canadian Wheat Board marketing monopoly.

It is a matter of freedom: freedom for producers to sell their own barley to whatever buyer they choose, domestic or foreign, including the Canadian Wheat Board. Who could argue against this freedom?

I find my constituent, Herb Axten of Minton, just a bit cranky when he cannot sell his own grain to whoever he wants, especially at a profit. Who would not be?

Well-known fighter for marketing freedom, Art Mainil of Benson, writes in a letter to the editor, “Today, February 19, world durum wheat is $30 a bushel...CWB price $11; world red spring wheat $20 per bushel...CWB price $7.40; world barley, new crop, $8.50 per bushel...CWB price $6.60.

Let us not condone this loss of thousands of dollars by Canadian prairie farmers. Let us support freedom. Let us stand up for our western Canadian producers by passing this legislation now.

The BudgetStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Freeman Bloc Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government brought down its budget on February 26. Once again, it ignored the social priorities the majority of Quebeckers agree on.

Once again, this budget shows how unimportant women, seniors, homelessness and social housing are to the Conservatives. On the one hand, the government is cutting funding and refusing to reinvest; on the other, people are getting poorer and must take care of their immediate, basic needs.

In short, this budget is socially unacceptable. Yet the Bloc Québécois had made specific, achievable demands that were consistent with Quebec's priorities, totalling $15.3 billion. That is what it means to understand what people are going through and be attentive to their needs.

It is comforting to see that the Bloc Québécois still understands and is still defending Quebec's legitimate demands, while this Conservative government is moving further and further away from what Quebec wants.

The BudgetStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Joe Preston Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Speaker, today is a great day for Canadians in every province and territory of our land. Last night the third Conservative budget passed the House of Commons. The budget is balanced, focused and prudent. We have built on the decisive pre-emptive action taken in the 2007 fall economic update.

What I do not understand is why the opposition voted against lower taxes for people and businesses. Why did it vote against targeted support for troubled industries? Why did it vote against help for the homeless and those suffering from mental illness?

I would like to thank the 82 Liberal MPs who supported the budget. It is with their support that Canadians will now be able to take advantage of measures in the budget, such as watching their savings grow tax free with the tax-free savings account.

My constituents and all Canadians are pleased to have a strong government and a weak opposition working together to get the job done.

Status of WomenStatements by Members

March 5th, 2008 / 2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Liberal Vancouver Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, on International Women's Day, all Canadian women should mourn the effective silencing of their voices by the Conservative government.

From the day it took office, the government signalled its intent to embark on a concerted, continuous campaign against women in Canada who advocate for equality.

First the Conservatives cut the court challenges program denying vulnerable women access to justice. Then they closed the doors of Status of Women's regional offices denying them access to program funding. Next they gutted the research capacity of the department denying it the evidence based data that showed continuing barriers to gender equality.

The Harper government may consider women to be a special interest group but we are the majority in Canadian society and Canada is signatory to the United Nations declaration that women's rights are human rights.

Erosion of these rights may move women to heed Dylan Thomas' advice:

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Status of WomenStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I remind the hon. member for Vancouver Centre that referring to members by name is out of order. She will not want to repeat that error the next time she makes a Standing Order 31 statement.

The hon. member for Burlington.

EthicsStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Wallace Conservative Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, last night the media reported something to which the Liberals should pay close attention. The publisher of the book on the life of Chuck Cadman has temporarily halted production so the May 17 date can be removed from the final version of the book.

The facts, as we have stated many times now, are a meeting took place on May 19 between Chuck Cadman, Doug Finley and Tom Flanagan. This is the only meeting that Mr. Finley and Mr. Flanagan had with Mr. Cadman.

The attempt to misrepresent the truth is despicable, and the members for Etobicoke—Lakeshore, Brampton—Springdale and York West should be ashamed of themselves.

I have to go back to the fact that if the Liberals really thought unlawful activity had occurred, why did they wait more than a year to bring these concerns forward?

The Prime Minister has asked the Liberal leader for an apology for his awful remarks. I hope—

EthicsStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Winnipeg North.

Status of WomenStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, this International Women's Day, women in Manitoba and across Canada are waging a courageous battle for equality.

Today we honour the courage of Amy and Jesse Pasternak of Winnipeg who persisted over three years against incredible resistance and won the right to play hockey on an equal footing with boys; the courage of Lisa Michell and other aboriginal activists who continue organizing marches for missing and murdered women in Manitoba; and the courage of Kathy Mallett, Loa Henry, Cindy McCallum Miller, Cheryl Ann Carr, Linda Taylor and Ellen Kruger being honoured by Grassroots Women Manitoba.

The budget was the time for the Conservatives to back these courageous women with measures that would further women's equality. Instead, they are not standing up for women. They are silent and have set back the women's agenda.

Guess what? The Liberals are supporting them. Yes, the Liberals do not have the courage to stand up to the government and vote down the budget. This is the Liberal twilight zone. They allow the budget to pass one day and the next moment decry the cuts to women's programs.

Today we honour the many women fighting for equality and condemn those who do not have the courage of their convictions to stand up for women in Canada.

International Women's WeekStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Brian Murphy Liberal Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, this week we are celebrating International Women's Week. Thanks to their determination, Canadian women achieved full recognition of women as persons.

However, since the Conservatives have been in power, we have been moving backward. They want to stifle the voices of minorities. The government has refused to explain why it has stopped funding groups that protect the rights of women. These groups are active all over the country, including in New Brunswick, and they have brought about positive changes for women and our society in general. One might wonder whether the government really believes in the equality of women.

To enable women to keep making progress in our society, the government must show that it is ready to support them in achieving greater equality in our country.

I would like to wish all women a happy International Women's Week.

Member for Saint-LambertStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Louis Plamondon Bloc Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet—Bécancour, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to highlight the exemplary contribution of the member for Saint-Lambert, who is leaving us today to continue serving Quebec in another forum.

A man of conviction, a man of broad experience and appeal, he represented the Quebec nation in all its diversity.

His deep voice will continue to resonate for some time here in Parliament. His poetic lyricism and his colourful vocabulary will not be forgotten, particularly given that French was his third language.

A man of integrity and rigour, a man of conviction, a persuasive man, he shared his implacable logic and his acute sense of social justice with us all.

Always responsive to the people of Saint-Lambert, he served his fellow citizens with great pride and loyalty.

He was here in the House of Commons when Quebec was finally recognized as a nation, and he will soon be in Quebec's National Assembly, patiently laying the foundation for what will someday be our country.

Thank you, Maka.

Member for Saint-LambertStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Bravo!

Status of WomenStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, as we approach International Women's Day, we take the time to reflect on the progress made to advance the issues important to women and we celebrate these gains. We also take time to assess the challenges still facing women and consider what future steps we can take to enhance the quality of life of women.

Mental health is an important issue to women. We think back to the untimely death of Ashley Smith, an 18-year-old inmate at Grand Valley Institution for Women. This mentally unstable teenage woman had spent most of her sentence in segregation.

Despite being repeatedly told that our federal prison system has become a warehouse for the mentally ill, the Conservative government continues to ignore the fact that our prisons remain ill-equipped to treat those who suffer with mental health issues.

I call on the government to make it a priority to implement a mental health strategy for our federal prison system so another tragic incident like the death of Ashley Smith never happens again.

EthicsStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Conservative Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, I read a bit of interesting news last night. It seems the publisher of the Cadman book has “stopped the presses” to remove the May 17 date from the final version of the book. In fact, we have been clear all along that the only meeting that took place between Chuck Cadman, Tom Flanagan and Doug Finley was on May 19.

The Liberal members for Etobicoke—Lakeshore, Brampton—Springdale, York West, the Liberal leader and others are acting irresponsibly as they continue their campaign of misinformation and smear.

Why are the Liberals choosing to ignore the truth? Why is the Liberal leader and his party refusing to apologize for their defamatory comments about the Prime Minister?

The allegations made by the Liberal leader regarding the Prime Minister's involvement are incorrect and are a shameful attempt to mislead the public. The Liberal leader had an opportunity to apologize. Now he is going to have an opportunity to defend his allegations in a court of law. I suggest he get his chequebook out.

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Prime Minister finally admitted that it was his voice on the tape. Therefore, I have another simple question for him.

What did the Prime Minister mean on the tape when he talked about “financial considerations”?

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I have answered that question on numerous occasions. However, the real point is the leader of the Liberal Party and his party have already said publicly that I offered a bribe in the form of a life insurance policy to a man who was critically ill with cancer. That is their story.

Just like they retracted their position on the budget last night, they will eventually want to retract that policy as well.

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I did not receive an answer to my question, so I will ask it again.

What did the Prime Minister mean on the tape when he spoke about financial considerations ? What are these famous financial considerations?

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I have already given an answer to that. The main problem here is that the leader of the Liberals and his party have already incorrectly answered this question. They have committed an illegal act. This whole thing will play out before the courts. The Leader of the Opposition and his party will want to retract their remarks.

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, again, we know why the Prime Minister is afraid to answer. It is because he is afraid of the truth and the consequences.

What did the Prime Minister mean on the tape when he talked about an offer to Mr. Cadman for “financial considerations he might lose due to an election”?