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House of Commons Hansard #78 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was appointments.

Topics

Northwest British ColumbiaStatements By Members

April 14th, 2008 / 2 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the northwest of British Columbia is a land of partnership and a deep collective spirit. For millennia people have worked with the environment and continue to hold true to that value today.

A coalition of first nations, commercial fishermen and sport fishermen, municipal and environment groups, and every day citizens joined together to fight the provincial and federal governments' plans for open net fish farms at the mouth of the Skeena. Friends of Wild Salmon fought alongside northerners and we won.

Even as we celebrate this victory, we must turn our attention to another threat. Shell's plans to drill for coal bed methane in the Sacred Headwaters bringing the threat of irreparable damage.

We are a hunting and fishing people. We work to be stewards of the land. Northerners will work with those companies willing to work with us, like Galore Creek and Blue Pearl Mining.

If not, we will unify. We will organize and we will defend our rivers and our way of life for future generations to come.

CFB TrentonStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Norlock Conservative Northumberland—Quinte West, ON

Mr. Speaker, Northumberland--Quinte West is the proud home of Canadian Forces Base Trenton, the hub of Canada's air force. Since the Conservative Party became the government there has been an unprecedented amount of investment at the base in Trenton. The frequent flights of Canada's new C-17s are a visual reminder of this.

Over the next 10 years the government will invest many millions of dollars into the base. The economic spinoffs are and will continue to be an economic boon for the entire region. Contracts have been let to businesses in Cobourg, Colborne, Trenton, Brighton, and there will be more to come.

CFB Trenton is a vital part of the community, and the thousands of military families and support staff are the backbone of our community. I am proud to represent them and all of the people of Northumberland—Quinte West, and proud to be a member of a government that recognizes the importance of protecting our sovereignty. We have placed a priority in rebuilding the Canadian Armed Forces which were shamefully neglected for far too long.

Geoffrey PearsonStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, on Saturday hundreds of people gathered here in Ottawa to celebrate the life of Geoffrey Pearson.

A career diplomat and recipient of the Order of Canada, Geoffrey Pearson held many key posts at the Department of External Affairs, including ambassador to the Soviet Union during the height of the Cold War and special representative for arms control under Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.

As the son of Nobel prize winning Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson, Geoffrey Pearson established his own brand of diplomacy with an ambitious view of the role Canada plays in the international community. He served as the first executive director of the Canadian Institute for International Peace and Security and later as president of the United Nations Association of Canada.

A loving father and grandfather, Geoffrey Pearson leaves behind his wife, retired Senator Landon Pearson, his beloved children and grandchildren and, ultimately, a legacy that serves every Canadian around the world today.

National Victims of Crime Awareness WeekStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Moore Conservative Fundy Royal, NB

Mr. Speaker, today marks the beginning of National Victims of Crime Awareness Week. This year's events revolve around the theme “Finding the Way Together”, a very appropriate theme which acknowledges that it takes the efforts of many people from all walks of life and throughout our communities to address victims issues.

During National Victims of Crime Awareness Week, people in communities across Canada will be getting out the message about what crime does to victims and what all of us can do to help victims more effectively.

Our government is committed to protecting Canada's citizens, but we cannot do it alone. Clearly, all of us must work together to help victims and to prevent crime and that is what National Victims of Crime Awareness Week is all about.

I would also like to recognize that this year marks the 20th anniversary of the signing of the first Canadian Statement of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime.

Canadians now have a government that cares about victims issues. This government will continue to stand up for the victims of crime and for their families.

Standing Committee on Procedure and House AffairsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, last Thursday, to undermine opposition efforts to get things moving in the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, the member for Elgin—Middlesex—London finally resigned as chair of the committee.

In his letter of resignation, he goes on at length about a supposed “tyranny of the majority”, which he seems to be confusing with the democratic expression of the will of the majority of elected members of this House.

However, when the Chief Government Whip tells us to buckle under or else the Prime Minister will go to see the Governor General, that is tyranny. When the chair of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights vacates his chair to avoid holding a vote on a motion on the Cadman affair that is embarrassing to the government, that is tyranny. When the chair of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs resigns to avoid calling meetings and prevent us from shedding light on the Conservatives' irregular election spending, that is tyranny. When the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons makes barely veiled threats that “there will be consequences”, that is tyranny.

Bloc QuébécoisStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc is trying every way possible to take credit for the Conservative government's accomplishments. The Bloc's inconsistency is certainly not in the interest of Quebec. In fact, at 18 years of age, when it should be mature, the Bloc is still going through adolescence: it yells, it contradicts itself and it tries to advance its own agenda when it is in fact at the mercy of its head office. The Bloc would like to prove its relevance here, in Ottawa, but it will never have significant influence.

Our Conservative government recognizes the nation of Quebec within a strong and united Canada. The Conservative caucus of Quebec has been working day after day, month after month, for over two years now, on such things as respect for Quebec, UNESCO, the fiscal imbalance, providing $350 million for Quebec's green plan, resolving the softwood lumber dispute, support for farmers, support for supply management and the reopening of the military college in Saint Jean.

The Bloc Québécois is as powerless as ever on its perpetual opposition benches. In the next election, Quebeckers will choose the winning team: the Conservative team.

Municipal Property TaxesStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Albina Guarnieri Liberal Mississauga East—Cooksville, ON

Mr. Speaker, homeowners in Mississauga and around the country are bracing for massive property tax increases as the federal government continues to shortchange the future of Canada's cities.

The latest estimates show that homeowners will pay thousands more in property taxes over the next decade to rebuild roads, transit, waste management, and other municipal infrastructure that are the essential bodily functions of a growing economy.

In Mississauga the bill will work out to $100 per resident per year, adding over $300 to the average property tax bill. This is the end of the road for Canada's cities. Property taxes will have to rise unless the federal government rises to the occasion and finally commits to funding the infrastructure our economy is built on.

Liberal Party of CanadaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Patrick Brown Conservative Barrie, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Party's inability to articulate clear policy on virtually any issue is evident by the number of flip-flops made by the leader and his party.

The Liberals' pattern of behaviour is becoming all too familiar. First, they criticize the government's policy initiatives, and then they turn around and support the good work of our government.

The Liberals have criticized a number of our government's policy initiatives, too many to name, but I will showcase a few.

During the Afghanistan debate on extending the mission, the Liberal leader changed his mind as often as he changed his shirt. On the important issue of the budget, the Liberals attacked it, only to turn around and let it pass. Just recently on immigration reforms, after a few days of criticizing our initiatives, the Liberals voted in favour of them.

With the number of flip-flops reaching close to 100, it is no surprise Canadians are confused about where the Liberals stand.

Our government was elected to stand up for Canada and that is what we are doing.

HomelessnessStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Dawn Black NDP New Westminster—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, last week the Social Planning and Research Council released the homeless count for metro Vancouver.

To say that the results were devastating is an understatement. Across the Lower Mainland, homelessness increased by 19% over the last three years, in New Westminster, 53%, in the tri-cities, a whopping 157%.

There is something fundamentally wrong with this picture. The numbers have increased in B.C. since 2001 and continue to rise. Not since the Great Depression have we seen a crisis like this.

The Conservative government is failing its people. There was a lot of back-slapping in Ottawa over the announcement of $148,000 for a homelessness strategy. Yet the reality for ordinary folks in B.C. is that this money is less than one-quarter of the cost of a family home in Coquitlam.

We do not need more strategies. We need housing. The government is failing, and we see the results of that failure under every bridge and on every street corner in metro Vancouver.

Louise ArbourStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Omar Alghabra Liberal Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to rise in the House to recognize an extraordinary Canadian. Louise Arbour was the first francophone ever appointed to the Ontario Court of Appeal.

Renowned for her courage, she relentlessly pursued justice and dignity as chief prosecutor for both Rwanda's and Yugoslavia's international tribunals.

In 1999 Louise Arbour was appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada. In 2004 Ms. Arbour became the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

During her tenure she spoke with clarity about the responsibilities governments have toward their citizens. She has always been a strong advocate for civil and political rights and did not spare despots or democracies when making her point.

Ms. Arbour led the world in exposing problematic practices in Darfur, Zimbabwe, China, Sri Lanka, the Middle East and the United States, to name a few.

Louise Arbour has shown the world the best of what Canada stands for. We hope that we will see even more from her.

On behalf of all Canadians, I want to thank Ms. Arbour for her brilliant record of public service to Canada and the world.

“There for Quebec”Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, “There for Quebec”, the Bloc Québécois' new slogan unveiled yesterday, reiterates our commitment and will guide the Bloc's actions until the national convention in October 2008.

“There for Quebec” expresses the commitment and leadership of the Bloc Québécois, the only political force on which Quebeckers can count here in Ottawa.

“There for Quebec” also conveys the Bloc's determination to ensure that recognition of the Quebec nation is more than just talk and that the federal government will take concrete action that respects the foundations of the Quebec nation, namely its language, culture and identity.

“There for Quebec” recognizes that, for the Bloc Québécois, gains made on a day-to-day basis in the name of Quebec strengthen the Quebec nation and takes it one step closer to full sovereignty.

Aboriginal AffairsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, this meanspirited government shows no respect. Last week the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians and his parliamentary secretary shamefully attacked the former prime minister, the member for LaSalle—Émard.

By attacking the former prime minister and the Kelowna accord, they show a lack of respect for the prime minister's office, provincial and territorial governments and all aboriginal Canadians.

If they thought undermining the member for LaSalle—Émard would bring honour to their government, the members were mistaken. Their attacks confirmed why, under the Conservatives, relations with aboriginals have gone from an all-time high in 2005 to a second day of action planned for next month.

When the minister and his parliamentary secretary stand in the House and scurrilously attack the former prime minister and his accomplishments, they attempt to deflect criticism of their own lack of progress for aboriginal Canadians and their opposition to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Instead of tossing around cheap shots and partisan rhetoric, why will they not listen to the words of their former minister, who acknowledged Kelowna--

Aboriginal AffairsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Abbotsford.

Liberal Party of CanadaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, with spring finally here, fishing season is fast approaching. True to form, the Liberal leader continues to perform like a fish out of water.

First, he wanted troops out of Afghanistan by 2009. Then, lured by the deputy Liberal leader and his motley crew, he took the bait and supported our motion to continue the mission until 2011.

This month, as he angled foreign issues to divide Canadians, he promised to defeat our efforts to make positive changes to our immigration system. Then in midstream he flipped and flopped and finally allowed our budget to pass.

Desperately dodging to find another wedge issue, he and his Liberal cronies told Canadians a whopper by promising to abolish the GST. Yet, recently he suggested that he will increase the GST back to 7%.

Ever since the Liberal Party swallowed his leadership hook, line and sinker, the Liberal leader, like a fish out of water, has been left gasping for air on issue after issue. It is no wonder that he and his Liberal Party continue to flounder.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the motion we passed in this House about our mission in Afghanistan called for much more transparency by the government, but just look at what it is trying to do to the Military Police Complaints Commission. The government is trying to shut down an investigation into allegations of torture.

Why is there this persistent lack of transparency about an issue as serious as torture? Why is the Prime Minister trying to go to court to shut down this investigation?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Mr. Speaker, that is simply not the case. In fact what we are doing is supporting the Military Police Complaints Commission.

On this particular issue, however, there is a question of jurisdiction. For that reason the Department of Justice, on behalf of the Department of National Defence, is looking for clarification on the jurisdiction and the mandate of the military police. However, we have provided incredible disclosure. We continue to work with this commission on a range of subjects. On this particular mandate subject, we believe the commission is outside its jurisdiction.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the truth is that the Conservatives are shutting down this investigation.

The government's lack of transparency has consequences for detainees who might be tortured, and also for our troops. At the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development last Thursday, General Hillier said that the government knew for two years that we were short 1,000 soldiers for the mission in Kandahar. The government only revealed that information a few months ago.

Why hide that information from this House and Canadians for two years? Why put our troops at greater risk that way?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Mr. Speaker, again there has been a tremendous amount of transparency. With respect to the disclosure on this particular case, there have been over 1,300 documents that have been turned over. There have been 38 witnesses whom the police commission have been allowed to interview. This is the type of disclosure that we believe is in keeping with the mandate.

However, we believe that when it comes to this subject, it is outside the current jurisdiction of the mandate. We will have a judicial clarification on the matter, despite the righteous indignation from the member opposite.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, that was not even the question. The question was about why the Conservatives hid the fact that we needed another 1,000 troops for two years.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Liberal Saint-Laurent—Cartierville, QC

I will tell you why they showed such a lack of transparency: because they want to hide their incompetence and their contradictions.

Not so long ago, the Minister of National Defence supported General Hillier by saying that the governor of Kandahar was doing phenomenal work. Yesterday, the Minister of Foreign Affairs asked that the governor be replaced. Today, the Minister of Foreign Affairs is telling us to forget what he said yesterday.

Who are we to believe: the Minister of National Defence, yesterday's Minister of Foreign Affairs or today's Minister of Foreign Affairs, or none of them?

AfghanistanOral 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, Afghanistan is—

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please. The hon. Leader of the Government in the House of Commons has the floor to answer the question. Let us listen to his answer.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, Afghanistan is a sovereign state that makes its own decisions on government appointments. Canada fully respects that fact and is not suggesting any changes to the Afghan government.