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House of Commons Hansard #69 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was english.

Topics

Arctic Winter GamesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Nancy Karetak-Lindell Liberal Nunavut, NU

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to report that Team Nunavut was awarded the prestigious Hodgson Sportsmanship Trophy at the 2008 Arctic Winter Games held in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories.

Named after one of the founders of the Arctic Winter Games, Commissioner Stu “Umingmak” Hodgson, the trophy is a stunning example of Inuit artwork. It is awarded to the team whose athletes best express the ideals of fair play and team spirit. Team members receive a distinctive pin in recognition of their accomplishment.

These last games were the 20th anniversary of the Arctic Winter Games, which were first held in 1970 in Yellowknife. They have since grown in size, but the circumpolar countries still celebrate the friendship, cooperation and sharing which are essential to survival in the north.

I want to congratulate Team Nunavut for this great accomplishment and to thank Sport Nunavut for the tremendous strides they have made with the sports programs and development in Nunavut, plus the athletes.

Quebecor WorldStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Christian Ouellet Bloc Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, it was with a heavy heart that we learned yesterday of the closing of Quebecor World, in Magog, in my riding of Brome—Missisquoi. The loss of these 320 well-paid jobs is another serious blow to a region already scarred by the closure of manufacturing firms.

The obsolescence of its equipment is the main reason for the closure. We have been urging the Conservatives to adopt programs that will improve and modernize Quebec plants. I can assure the men and women who have just lost their jobs that the Bloc Québécois will continue to fight for the establishment of an older worker adjustment program and therefore prevent them from being out on the street.

With these thousands of dollars of our tax money, this plant would have survived and supported another generation. This is a dark day for workers and I deplore the insensitive attitude of the Conservative government towards the manufacturing and forestry sectors.

SudanStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, today is the third anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1593, referring mass atrocities in Darfur to the International Criminal Court for investigation and prosecution.

One year ago the ICC issued arrest warrants for Sudanese government minister Ahmad Harun and Janjiweed militia leader Ali Kushayb for their planning and perpetration of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur.

Sudan refused to hand over the accused and promoted these two perpetrators of genocide to important posts, thus abysmally abdicating their humanitarian and international responsibilities.

The international community must put an end to this appalling culture of impunity through enhanced targeted sanctions, travel bans, asset seizures, arms embargoes, divestment, and the like. It must also pressure China to end its complicity in the vicious cycle that sustains the genocide: China buys Sudan's oil; Sudan buys China's arms; the Chinese arms are then used by the Sudanese government to massacre the people of Darfur.

The murders, displacement and destruction must cease and the Chinese complicity must be stopped.

ImmigrationStatements By Members

April 1st, 2008 / 2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Wajid Khan Conservative Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

Mr. Speaker, the hypocrisy of the Liberals when it comes to immigration is unbelievable. The fact is it is the Liberals who allowed the backlog to balloon from 50,000 to 800,000 applications. For 13 long years they did nothing.

The Liberals also opposed measures this government took to clean up their mess. They voted against $1.3 billion in new settlement funding for newcomers to Canada. They voted against the foreign credentials referral office. They voted against our cutting the $975 head tax on immigrants.

The deputy leader of the Liberal Party admitted the Liberals did not get it done on immigration and I have to agree with him.

The Conservative government wants families to be reunited faster. We want skilled workers to come here sooner.

The question is, what do the Liberals have against immigrants? With their track record we certainly will not take lessons on immigration from the Liberal Party.

ImmigrationOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, let me read--

ImmigrationOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

More, more.

ImmigrationOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, order. I hear members calling for more. We are going to get some. The Leader of the Opposition will start and we will have some order please.

ImmigrationOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Liberal Saint-Laurent—Cartierville, QC

Mr. Speaker, let me read from the 1988 Reform Party platform authored by the current Prime Minister. It says that immigration should not “radically or suddenly alter the ethnic makeup of Canada”.

Will the minister admit that the government's attempt to sneak in sweeping changes to our immigration system through the back door may look like an attempt to deliver promises made by the Reform Party 20 years ago?

ImmigrationOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative Party and this government are very proud of our commitment to a diverse Canada and to a strong immigration system that supports our Canadian economy. In fact, last year under this Conservative government, Canada welcomed more new Canadians than ever in anybody's lifetime in this House: 429,000.

That did not happen under the Liberal Party. That happened under the Conservative Party which understands what it takes to build a strong, diverse, economically powerful country.

ImmigrationOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, rather than inflating figures by adding students and temporary workers, could the government tell us, if it does not think that the exorbitant powers that it wants to give itself have anything to do with the Reform ideology, why it is afraid to submit these radical changes to a full, comprehensive and open debate in this House by bringing forward independent legislation?

ImmigrationOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, I can appreciate that the Leader of the Opposition does not want to see students here in this country. It surprises me because he is a professor. I can certainly say that when it comes time to vote on this issue, I expect we are not going to see the Liberals stand up, because this past weekend the Liberal leader set out what the Liberal plan is. They will not take a stance on any issues. They will not stand on principle. The only time they are going to stand up is when they think they can get back to power.

He laid out their plan this weekend. It is the only Liberal plan they have ever had. The only reason they ever want to be in government is that they want to enjoy the power it gives them.

ImmigrationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, why does the government think that it should have the absolute right to pick and choose which immigrants are allowed to come to Canada? Why does the government want to introduce these radical changes through the back door instead of bringing forward independent legislation and allowing a full and open debate in the House of Commons as it should be doing?

ImmigrationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, there will of course be a debate starting on Thursday and I hope he will be here for that.

The reality is that this is a change in our system that is required because the Liberal government thought it was fine to tell Canadians who were qualified they had to wait six years for their applications to be processed. They were happy to see a backlog of a million. That is not good for the Canadian economy. It is not fair to new Canadians who want to come here, to immigrants who want to add to our economy and make it strong.

We are making the changes that are necessary to have a strong Canadian economy fuelled by the skilled talent that we need from around the world coming to Canada for the hope and opportunity that it offers, especially under a Conservative government.

ImmigrationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, what the government says and what it does are two different things. It says it is trying to fix the immigration system, but what it does is it centralizes unprecedented power in the hands of a minister. It says it wants more immigrants, but what it does is it lets in 36,000 fewer permanent residents over the last two years.

Why is it fudging the numbers? Why has it been admitting fewer permanent residents? Why will the government not be straight with the Canadian people?

ImmigrationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, let us take a look at what some other more objective people think about the proposed amendments.

I would like to quote the Vancouver Province, which said:

What the Tories are proposing is to bring order to the current chaos, while allowing immigration patterns to match national priorities.

Surely that is to the benefit of all Canadians, immigrants included.

ImmigrationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, I did not get an answer to my question. Why were there 36,000 fewer permanent residents over the last two years?

That was a clear question and I am asking it again.

ImmigrationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, let us listen to what was written in the Winnipeg Free Press:

What the Conservatives propose is common sense.... This is good policy.... Canadians, new and old, have been offered a clear choice: Conservative policy that will benefit Canada, or politics that will benefit Liberals.

The Quebec NationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government has been boasting for more than a year about its recognition of the Quebec nation. But recognition of a nation needs to be more than symbolic. For example, 270,000 workers in Quebec are not protected by Bill 101, because they are under the jurisdiction of the Canada Labour Code. The language of work in Quebec is French, and this should be the case for all Quebec workers.

What then is keeping the government from amending the Canada Labour Code so that Quebec workers, such as those in banks and telecommunications, which come under federal jurisdiction, can work entirely in French? That is what recognition of a nation is all about.

The Quebec NationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn ConservativeMinister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois has been here in the House of Commons for 17 years now, if not 18, and they turn up with this debate this year. We wish to respect provincial areas of jurisdiction, yet here we have the Bloc Québécois wishing to bring a provincial law into an area of federal jurisdiction. The members of the Bloc want to trample over our areas of jurisdiction.

The Canada Labour Code, like the provincial labour codes, does not deal with language. The Canada Labour Code deals with labour relations, occupational health and safety, and labour standards, but not with language.

The Quebec NationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, what the hon. member has just said is totally wrong. The Canada Labour Code stipulates that the minimum wage is determined by each province. If that can be done for the minimum wage, it should be possible for language of work. This needs just an amendment to the code, not even a change to the constitution.

Let him tell the truth. He wants to travel around Quebec saying that he has recognized the nation, while travelling around the rest of Canada saying that this means nothing and stating his plan to continue to try to impose bilingualism on Quebec. That is what he wants.

The Quebec NationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn ConservativeMinister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

Mr. Speaker, the ministers of this government and the Quebec MPs have worked to ensure that the Quebec nation is recognized within a united Canada. That is precisely what this party's Quebec members did for Quebec.

What is more, it is a federal responsibility to provide services in both official languages in Quebec. As for the minimum wage, which is covered by Canada Labour Code standards, the provinces did indeed ask us to respect their jurisdictions and we apply minimum wages according to the level set by the province.

MulticulturalismOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, if recognizing the Quebec nation does nothing for Quebeckers, it is pointless. It is exactly the same for Canada's multiculturalism policy. It is not consistent with the Quebec model of integration. "That notion hardly seems compatible with Quebec's reality." That was the opinion of a man whom the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities very much admired, I would think. Yes, it was Robert Bourassa who wrote those words to Pierre Elliott Trudeau in 1971, more than 35 years ago.

Will the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities repudiate Robert Bourassa and refuse to ensure that Quebec is exempted from the Multiculturalism Act?

MulticulturalismOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Louis-Saint-Laurent Québec

Conservative

Josée Verner ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, clearly, as everyone knows from media reports over the weekend, the Bloc Québécois is going through an existential crisis. After conversations about nationhood, here they are questioning their raison d'être here in Ottawa. Really. That is how new propositions arise.

As Quebeckers, we will continue to promote the Quebec nation within Canada.

MulticulturalismOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, if the minister had been reading the newspapers lately, she would not be proud of the portrait they are painting of her.

The federal government's policy on multiculturalism is an obstacle to the harmonious integration of newcomers to the Quebec nation, where the model is based on shared values and a common language, French.

Now that it has recognized the Quebec nation, will the government show consistency and exclude Quebec from the Multiculturalism Act, thereby allowing Quebec to fully develop its own model for the integration of newcomers?

MulticulturalismOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Louis-Saint-Laurent Québec

Conservative

Josée Verner ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, indeed, as a minister from the Quebec City region, I have read the results of polls printed in the newspapers, polls that project a positive image of the Conservatives in the region.