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House of Commons Hansard #72 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was s-203.

Topics

Language of WorkOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière Québec

Conservative

Jacques Gourde ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

Mr. Speaker, the Canada Labour Code covers labour standards issues. Language is not a labour standards issue, although language use does seem to be referred to occasionally.

Companies that fall under federal jurisdiction are aware of the importance of French in Quebec, and they do business in French in Quebec. They work hard to use the French language.

Language of WorkOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Carole Lavallée Bloc Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, a bus driver who works for a transit company anywhere in Quebec is covered by the Charter of the French Language, unless that person works for the Société de transport de l'Outaouais. Why? Because the STO provides interprovincial transportation and is therefore governed by the Canada Labour Code. This is unfair.

Does the minister realize that every time the Conservative government imposes bilingualism, it sets French back and goes against the interests of the Quebec nation?

Language of WorkOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière Québec

Conservative

Jacques Gourde ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

Mr. Speaker, this is most odd. Quebeckers told us they wanted open federalism based on respect and cooperation, and that is exactly what we are giving them here in Ottawa, with a Conservative government.

Language of WorkOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Carole Lavallée Bloc Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, there are two types of workers in Quebec: those who are governed by the Quebec Labour Code and whose language of work is French alone, and those who are governed by the Canada Labour Code and whose language of work is not French alone.

Instead of floating trial balloons about making constitutional changes to recognize Quebec, would the minister not do better to give workers in Quebec real rights by complying with and enforcing Bill 101?

Language of WorkOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière Québec

Conservative

Jacques Gourde ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc can go on all they want about non-issues, but our government is getting real results for Quebeckers.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada is about to endorse the building of an American missile defence shield in eastern Europe. What was scheduled to be only a discussion on a potentiality turned into a green light for George Bush's plan for the system's placement in eastern Europe.

Is this the real reason opposition MPs were barred from the delegation?

The government's decision is a change in Canada's position on U.S. ballistic missile defence and must be debated in the House. Will the approval of missile defence be brought to a vote in the House of Commons?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, our government has made it clear that major foreign policy questions will be brought to votes in the House of Commons. We saw that with the question of the Afghanistan mission with two major extensions.

As for questions about the kind of defences the Europeans have in place, I hardly think that the member would argue that we should be putting those questions to a vote in this House.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, there is a bit more. Alliant Techsystems produces space weapons systems and is missing one component, a highly specialized radar imaging satellite. The missing link is a Canadian RADARSAT-2. It could become a template for all ATK satellites. ATK is heavily invested in missile defence systems.

If the government claims to have not changed Canada's position on the weaponization of space, it must immediately stop the sale of this Canadian satellite technology. Will the government do this, yes or no?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member well knows, the proposed sale is something for which the Minister of Industry has to exercise a power of decision. He will be doing that on the basis of the test that applies and that is determining what is in Canada's best interest. He will be applying that test when he makes that decision.

Human RightsOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Todd Russell Liberal Labrador, NL

Mr. Speaker, the member for Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre said:

The As are guys like me. The Bs are homosexual faggots with dirt under their fingernails who transmit diseases.

This is not an isolated incident. The Minister of Public Safety claimed that AIDS was God's warning to gays. The Secretary of State for Multiculturalism, in talking about gays, said, “--equality doesn't mean treating everybody exactly the same...there are forms of just discrimination”.

Is treating gays as B class citizens the kind of just discrimination that the Conservative Party tolerates?

Human RightsOral Questions

11:30 a.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 kinds of comments that were seen on that tape are not tolerated by this government. I do not believe they would be tolerated by anybody within this House.

Respect for people, regardless of their race, their religion, their sexual orientation is a basic value we share in this country.

I believe that the parliamentary secretary has stated well that he shares exactly that perspective and has taken full responsibility for his remarks.

Human RightsOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Todd Russell Liberal Labrador, NL

Mr. Speaker, to allow these comments to stand with no consequences to the member in question is to condone them.

The division between A class and B class citizens permeates that party's thinking in everything from immigration to gay rights. Those members can rebrand the Reform Party, but they still stand for the same things.

Is the Prime Minister refusing to fire the member because he knows he would also have to kick out other members of his caucus who also demonstrate such intolerance?

Human RightsOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, that is simply not the case. In terms of consequences, I think the parliamentary secretary spoke quite strongly to the consequences he is facing in terms of the shame that he feels, in terms of the damaged relationships that he has, and in terms of a perception that he will have to work years to correct. I think those were heartfelt, sincere and genuine comments.

Those kinds of comments that were made and captured on the tape are not appropriate and not acceptable. I think everyone in this House shares that view.

Human RightsOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, the government may not grasp the gravity of its problem.

It says no discipline is appropriate for these most recently revealed anti-gay slurs. That changes the nature of the issue. It is no longer about a single MP or a parliamentary secretary. It is now about the Prime Minister and his standards.

Does the Prime Minister not realize that if he does not act on this matter, if he does nothing, then he owns it?

Human RightsOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, it is clear that comments of this nature are not appropriate and not acceptable. This government has spoken clearly on that. In fact, so has the parliamentary secretary in question.

The fact that the comments might have been made 17 years ago in a social context provides no justification. They were inappropriate in that context as well. The parliamentary secretary has taken responsibility and apologized in a sincere, genuine and full fashion.

Human RightsOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, there are a number of government measures before this House right now which seek to confer on Conservative ministers extreme new powers: powers to be exercised in secret behind closed doors, powers to discriminate among new immigrants, powers of censorship, and powers to override democratic rights.

How can Canadians possibly trust the government to make crucial decisions behind closed doors when they have seen what these Conservatives are like behind closed doors and it goes unpunished?

Human RightsOral Questions

11:35 a.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 smear that the opposition House leader is attempting to paint here is inappropriate.

The measures with regard to the film industry were ones that were initiated under a Liberal government in legislation originally by Sheila Copps and John Manley. They are measures that were voted for by everyone in the Liberal Party over there earlier in this Parliament.

For the Liberals, at this point, to cast the kinds of aspersions they are casting right now demonstrates that there is a campaign of fear on the other side that simply has no basis in reality.

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is falsely trying to convince Quebeckers and Canadians that he will withdraw our soldiers from Afghanistan in 2011. Yesterday, at the NATO summit, he said: “... we will leave Afghanistan after accomplishing our objective, which is training the Afghan army to handle security on its own”.

The Prime Minister must be clear. Is the Prime Minister laying the groundwork for extending the mission in Kandahar beyond 2011?

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Conservative

Laurie Hawn ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has been very clear in this House. Our military mission ends in 2011.

The Prime Minister said yesterday that we went through a great deal of effort to get that resolution through the House. Anything else beyond that is strictly hypothetical and we are just not going to engage in that. It is purely hypothetical.

I want to point out that this UN-mandated, NATO-led mission is making progress in rebuilding Afghanistan. It is essential we continue this work to ensure the Afghans and their country are stable in a functioning democracy and not a haven for terrorists in the future.

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is trying to leave the door open by saying that we will leave once the Afghan army is trained. But if Canada stays in southern Afghanistan to train the Afghan army, it will be impossible to avoid combat with the Taliban, as General Hillier has pointed out.

Will the Prime Minister admit that he is leaving the door open to allow troops to stay in Afghanistan past 2011, under the pretext of training the Afghan army?

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Conservative

Laurie Hawn ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, clearly and firmly, the answer is no.

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Luc Malo Bloc Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, Jean Pierre Lefebvre, president of the Association des réalisateurs et réalisatrices du Québec, finds the proposal by the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages to have the industry provide guidelines and define the concept of “public policy” are ridiculous. No one in this field has been fooled. Everyone knows very well that the minister is making the offer simply to get out of a tight spot.

Instead of looking for lame solutions, why does the minister not simply remove the reference to public policy that could lead to censorship?

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Kootenay—Columbia B.C.

Conservative

Jim Abbott ConservativeParliamentary Secretary for Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I would really love to answer the member's question, but I do not have a clue what he is talking about. He said “these measures” without defining what he is talking about. If he could give me the topic, I will be very happy to respond.

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Luc Malo Bloc Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will put it another way for the parliamentary secretary. The Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages continues to ignore the Quebec industry, which is asking that she eliminate the reference to public policy.

By giving the industry the responsibility for providing guidelines, is the minister not attempting to shift the Conservatives' desire for censorship to industry stakeholders? Why ask them to manage a problem that does not exist, if not to make them censor themselves?

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Kootenay—Columbia B.C.

Conservative

Jim Abbott ConservativeParliamentary Secretary for Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I would point out to the member that the bill passed with his party's support. What is he saying? Is he regretting the fact that he passed it?

The bill is now before the Senate. The minister appeared before the Senate banking and trade committee on April 2. The minister has said that we are reaching out to the industry to work with us on this issue. We are trying to work cooperatively with the industry. That member is attempting to sow the seeds of discord.