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House of Commons Hansard #61 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was equality.

Topics

Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame GalaStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Meili Faille Bloc Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebec is outraged by CBC's affront to Quebec artists, particularly to Claude Dubois, who was invited to receive an honorary plaque for his work from English Canada at the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame gala broadcast on Monday night. All the francophone artists were cut from the televised broadcast. Nothing can justify this insult to Quebeckers and francophones.

The author of Femmes de rêve had accepted this invitation to receive this honour because he was assured that the event would be apolitical. It was so apolitical that only one of the two solitudes ended up being seen by television viewers. And yet, Claude Dubois gave Quebec the distinction of having one of the best record sales in Canada, selling 250,000 copies of Duos Dubois.

This is a prime example of how important Quebec is to the rest of Canada. That is how much the Quebec nation matters.

Citizenship and ImmigrationStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is with sadness that we learned earlier that, despite massive support from many groups and individuals in his community, Mr. Kulenthiran Amirthalingan will be deported this evening to his country of birth, Malaysia.

Kulen called Montreal home and felt welcome in our country, which made no fuss about his sexual orientation, although unfortunately that is not the current situation in his country of origin.

Amnesty International tells us that homosexual acts are illegal in Malaysia, that for simply being who he is, Kulen could, under section 377 of the Malaysian penal code, be sentenced to whipping and to imprisonment for up to 20 years. Yet the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration of Canada has refused to stop the deportation.

The masks are truly off. Kulenthiran Amirthalingam could become a victim of the Conservative government's indifference because of his sexual orientation and because of his ethnic origin.

As a Canadian who believes we can and must do better, I am ashamed.

Citizenship and ImmigrationStatements By Members

2 p.m.

An hon. member

Oh, oh!

Citizenship and ImmigrationStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

You should be ashamed of yourself.

Citizenship and ImmigrationStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, order. The hon. member for Macleod.

Citizenship and ImmigrationStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Citizenship and ImmigrationStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, order. The hon. member for Macleod has the floor.

Citizenship and ImmigrationStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Citizenship and ImmigrationStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Outremont should control himself immediately.

The hon. member for Macleod.

Order of CanadaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Ted Menzies Conservative Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I congratulate Ms. Irene Pfeiffer and Dr. Robert H.A. Haslam, two constituents of mine who were recently appointed Members of the Order of Canada.

Ms. Pfeiffer received her award in December for her volunteer contributions with health, women and community organizations.

Dr. Haslam received his award in February for his leadership in pediatric neurology.

Ms. Pfeiffer's and Dr. Haslam's commitment, hard work and enthusiasm have made a significant and lasting impact on the countless lives within my riding, province and our great country.

In light of their lifetime of distinguished service, I think it is entirely fitting that they be awarded one of the highest honours that a citizen of this country can receive. They are truly an inspiration to Canadians everywhere.

Please join me in congratulating Ms. Pfeiffer, Dr. Haslam, and all the other Canadians who have been awarded the Order of Canada.

Armand BrunStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, I am very sad to rise here today to pay tribute to Armand Brun, who passed away earlier this week.

Armand was a devoted educator who dedicated his life to francophone education in New Brunswick and who improved the lives of generations of young people in our province. He also worked on the Dr. Georges-L. Dumont Hospital Foundation to help cancer patients.

Armand Brun was an activist on social issues and served brilliantly as vice-chair of the National Council of Welfare. His commitment to helping those most in need was evident in my last conversation with him just two weeks ago. This worthy tradition is now carried on by Armand's wife, Carmel, his daughter, Natasha, and his son, André.

We will miss our good friend Armand Brun. He leaves behind a proud legacy of service to his community, to Shediac, to New Brunswick and to Canada.

National Glaucoma DayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

James Rajotte Conservative Edmonton—Leduc, AB

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Canadian Glaucoma Society, the Canadian Ophthalmological Society and the CNIB, I am pleased to declare today, March 6, 2008, to be National Glaucoma Day in Canada.

Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in Canada. According to Statistics Canada, nearly three out of every 100 Canadians over the age of 40 self-reported having glaucoma.

It is estimated that 60.5 million people worldwide will have glaucoma by 2010 and 8.5 million of those will be blind in both eyes.

The motto of this year's campaign is “Don't Get Blindsided by Glaucoma”. Early detection is the key to treating the effects of glaucoma since more than half of these sufferers do not even realize they have the disease known as “the sneak thief of sight”.

Canadians need to be much more vigilant about this disease. Those who are at high risk should have their eyes examined for the disease at least every two years by an eye care professional.

I ask all parliamentarians to join me in recognizing National Glaucoma Day.

International Women's DayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Freeman Bloc Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, March 8 is International Women's Day and will be celebrated this year with the theme, “Strong Women, Strong World”.

To mark the occasion, I would like to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the decriminalization of abortion. Indeed, on January 28, 1988, in the Morgentaler decision, the Supreme Court declared section 251 of the Criminal Code unconstitutional because it infringed on women's rights to life, liberty and security.

This decision helped reduce the number of clandestine abortions, which were causing serious health problems for women, often even leading to women's deaths. Since the Morgentaler case, not a year goes by when the rights of women to exercise autonomy and free will are questioned, jeopardized, limited and even threatened. The Conservatives are the masters of this, as evidenced by Bill C-484.

Vigilance is crucial with this backward-thinking government that has no other wish than to see the rights of women take a step back, even though they are strong women for a strong world.

Visitor VisasStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Norlock Conservative Northumberland—Quinte West, ON

Mr. Speaker, on March 1 our Conservative government waived visa requirements for Poland, Slovakia, Lithuania and Hungary. This means that citizens from these countries will no longer require a temporary resident visa to visit family and friends in Canada. Canada has strong ties with each of these countries and lifting the visa requirements will help build better relationships.

Recently, the member for Etobicoke Centre has been trying to take credit for the Conservative government's hard work on this issue. The fact is that he and the Liberal Party had their chance, and guess what, they did not get it done.

In April 2005 that member put forward a motion on this issue. That motion stayed on the order paper for seven months. It stayed there until his government was thrown out of office. His motion was ignored by his party. The member for Etobicoke Centre and the Liberal Party did not get the job done.

I am proud to say the Conservative government got the job done.

Conservative Party of CanadaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Navdeep Bains Liberal Mississauga—Brampton South, ON

Mr. Speaker, we just cannot trust the Conservative government.

As NAFTA-gate reaches a boiling point it seems very clear to Canadians that the Prime Minister's chief of staff, Ian Brodie, deliberately leaked sensitive diplomatic conversations to CTV journalists. This first leak came just days before the crucial votes in Texas and Ohio, and triggered a firestorm in the American media.

Then there was a second leak. A Canadian diplomatic memo further hurt Barack Obama's campaign.

The Prime Minister is desperate and he is trying to sweep this issue under the rug. In fact, he has denied any involvement by his chief of staff.

I see a pattern. The Conservatives tried to bribe Chuck Cadman with a $1 million life insurance policy to trigger a federal election. Using his Conservative connections, the mayor of Ottawa tried to buy-off a rival candidate.

The Conservative government's actions are sleazy and deeply disturbing.

After NAFTA-gate, the world will think twice about trusting the Canadian government. Canadians already feel that way.

AfghanistanStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Ron Cannan Conservative Kelowna—Lake Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, to mark International Women's Day, the Canadian International Development Agency has organized a day of special events in recognition of Afghan women.

After decades of suppression, denied education, freedom and rights, Afghan women and girls are beginning to realize a fuller life and future.

Today a panel of invited guests discussed the work being done by Canadians of all ages to support Afghan women and children. This panel included Alaina Podmorow, an 11-year-old constituent from my riding of Kelowna--Lake Country and founder of Little Women for Little Women in Afghanistan.

We are proud of the work being done by Alaina and her small army of little women who have motivated our community to work together to raise over $30,000 to pay for Afghan teachers and school supplies.

She is a bright light in an otherwise challenging time as Canada and the Afghan people work together to restore peace and bring stability back to the country of Afghanistan.

I would like to thank Alaina and welcome her to the Hill.

Status of WomenStatements By Members

March 6th, 2008 / 2:10 p.m.

NDP

Tony Martin NDP Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Mr. Speaker, as International Women's Day approaches I pay tribute to the women of Sault Ste. Marie and Algoma.

There are countless women in my riding whose hard work and daily participation in our community make life better for all of us.

It was indeed an honour for me and my staff to highlight a few of these women in our 2008 calendar.

Women make a valuable contribution in business, industry, the arts, education, social justice, environmental causes, community awareness, volunteering, and preserving our cultural heritage.

They represent us in our churches, families, labour unions and municipal government.

I am proud to belong to the caucus with the largest proportion of women in it. Strong, creative women in leadership roles direct debate toward better decisions for working Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

I salute the women in my life, my family, my colleagues, staff and friends who teach me to embrace equality and the dignity of each human being.

It makes me proud to be a New Democrat. It makes me proud to live in Sault Ste. Marie-Algoma.

Réseau AwardStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Raymond Simard Liberal Saint Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, last Sunday I had the pleasure of attending the 20th anniversary of the Réseau award in Saint Boniface. This award is presented by the Réseau action femmes, a political action organization that seeks to improve the social, economic, cultural, educational and political situation of Franco-Manitoban women.

The Réseau awards are always handed out a few days before International Women's Day, and this year's theme was “Strong Women, Strong World”.

The three winners this year are: Sister Olivine Fiola, in the education and social services category, for devoting her life to helping the hard of hearing; Josée Vaillancourt, executive director of the Festival du Voyageur, in the community category, for her commitment to Franco-Manitoban youth; and Mariette Mulaire, executive director of the Agence nationale et internationale du Manitoba, who received the award in the politics category and whose energy and influence have literally changed the way people perceive the economy in Manitoba.

Congratulations to the Réseau action femmes and our three winners. We are all very proud of you.

Afghan WomenStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, since we will be celebrating International Women's Day on Saturday, I would like to share my concerns about women's rights in Afghanistan. The new Afghan government has been in power for six years now, and much remains to be done to improve the living conditions of women.

More women are committing suicide. Women are being raped by local commanders of fundamentalist parties. Women are being killed for expressing their political opinions. Islamic law still limits women's rights. All of these things show that there are still major obstacles to advancing women's rights in Afghanistan.

As a show of solidarity towards these women and to highlight International Women's Day, the Bloc Québécois is calling on the Minister of International Cooperation to continue what she is doing and provide more support for Afghan women who are fighting for equality.

Status of WomenStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, as we celebrate International Women's Week, I want to recognize a new event in Winnipeg, the women who created it, and the five remarkable women who will be honoured at it.

The event, called “Spirit of Leadership: Celebrating Legacies of Vision and Action”, will honour Marjorie Blankstein, whose community contribution has influenced 32 different organizations, most notably the United Way and the Winnipeg Jewish Community Council.

It will honour Yhetta Gold, whose work and volunteerism in the community has touched the lives of many, from youth, to seniors, to people with disabilities.

It will honour June Menzies, a groundbreaking proponent for women's equality rights in Canada whose words, “If you aren't constantly vigilant you go backwards”, ring even more true today.

It will honour Bernice Sisler, best known for her work with numerous women's organizations, where she fought for reforms in family law legislation and pensions.

It will also honour Muriel Smith, the first woman in Canada to be named deputy premier and whose volunteer experience encompasses international, national, provincial and local organizations.

The vision of these extraordinary women helped lead us to the opportunities we share today.

Status of WomenStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Sylvie Boucher Conservative Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, advancing women's equality means establishing a solid foundation for future generations. That is why, in the last budget, our government proposed the creation of an action plan for women.

Advancing the equality of women in Canada by improving their social and economic conditions and increasing their participation in Canadian democracy is this government's primary objective.

It is time to recognize that women have been making a huge contribution for a long time. Their contributions will probably change the face of our society, which will benefit us all.

This is what real action looks like. Here, we listen, we have dialogue, we take concrete action, while the Bloc Québécois talks and talks, but can never take any positive action.

We believe that equality is not just a symbol; it is our reason for being.

EthicsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Prime Minister was unable to answer my question, so let me help him. When asked about the million dollar insurance policy for Mr. Cadman, on tape the Prime Minister talked about “financial issues”, “financial considerations”, and “financial insecurity”.

Will the Prime Minister admit that he was talking about addressing Mr. Cadman's financial insecurity in exchange for his vote?

EthicsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Absolutely not, Mr. Speaker. I have been absolutely clear that what the party was talking to Chuck Cadman about was the financing of an election campaign. That has been absolutely clear, not just clear from me but clear from party officials and clear by the statements of Chuck Cadman himself when he was alive in 2005.

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's story is ridiculous. It does not hold up, and it shatters his credibility. He is the only one who believes it. He has been contradicted by Mr. Cadman's wife, daughter and son-in-law and by his own taped statement, and I quote: “The offer to Chuck was that it was only to replace financial considerations he might lose due to an election.”

My question for the Prime Minister is as follows. Why does he not tell the truth?

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Liberal Party and his followers keep changing the story in this case.

The Liberal Party said there was a meeting on May 17. That has apparently now been withdrawn. Those members claim that Chuck Cadman was not interested in running in an election. That is contradicted by statements at the time.

They claim that Dona Cadman was making allegations against me. She was very clear that she is not. They said that Chuck Cadman said he was bribed. It is on the public record that he was not. They claimed he was offered a life insurance policy, which is simply not credible.

I wish they would get their own story straight.