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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

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Tina Keeper Liberal Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, one year ago the town of Leaf Rapids in the Churchill riding banned single-use plastic bags. This ambitious move was the first of its kind in North America. Now it is a regular part of life in this northern town that people utilize reusable bags.

Today, cities big and small are catching on, including a recent ban in San Francisco, California.

The results are clear. It is a policy that works and it is an example of how we can all contribute to a cleaner environment in Canada. Prior to the ban, plastic bags could be found on the sides of roads, stuck in trees and made up a sizeable and unnecessary portion of local landfill. Since the ban was implemented, it has been greatly reduced.

I would like to commend the environmental stewardship of the community of Leaf Rapids and encourage others to look to the north for an inspirational and progressive model toward a greener future.

CancerStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Steven Fletcher Conservative Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia, MB

Mr. Speaker, April is the Canadian Cancer Society's Daffodil Month, in recognition of the millions of Canadians touched by cancer.

In November 2006, the Prime Minister announced the creation of the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer. This organization is responsible for the implementation of the Canadian strategy for cancer control, a $260 million investment in support of a pan-Canadian cancer control across the country.

CPAC will work with governments and non-governmental partners to support the goals of the Canadian strategy for cancer control, which are to reduce the number of new cancer cases and the number of deaths, as well as to enhance the quality of life of those living with the disease. These efforts will result in state of the art information about preventing, diagnosing and treating cancer, as well as encouraging new research across the cancer control spectrum being shared across the country.

I encourage all Canadians to join in the fight against cancer.

French Language and Culture Advocacy GroupStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Bloc

Richard Nadeau Bloc Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, Impératif français has awarded its Lyse-Daniels, Gaston-Lallement and Impératif français prizes.

Lyse-Daniels prizes are awarded to individuals and organizations that have excelled in their contribution to promoting and protecting the French language and French culture.

The Gaston-Lallement next generation prize is awarded to students at secondary schools and CEGEPs who participate in Des mots pour le dire, a poetry contest.

The Impératif français prize salutes an individual who has made an exceptional contribution to the vitality of French culture. The prize was awarded to Louise Beaudoin, a former Parti Québécois minister, for her remarkable contribution to promoting la Francophonie and cultural diversity.

Congratulations to the winners, and to Impératif français, who care so deeply about our language, the French language.

International Mine Action DayStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson Conservative Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate our Prime Minister, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of National Defence for a job well done at the NATO summit this week.

Canadians are also very proud of our government's international leadership in helping to clear landmines.

Today is International Mine Action Day. More than 80 countries around the world are still affected by landmines killing and injuring innocent children at play and farmers as they work daily.

Afghanistan continues to be one of the most heavily mined countries in the world. Canada is the world's leader in deactivating and destroying landmines in Afghanistan. Working alongside the Afghan government and the United Nations Mine Action Service, Canada is making a big difference in the lives of the people of Afghanistan. This is yet another example of how Canadians are helping to rebuild Afghanistan.

With our nation's ongoing commitment to the international community, we will continue to see positive change. Our Conservative government is getting things done for Canadians and the international community.

Cancer Awareness MonthStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, April is Cancer Awareness Month, a time to reflect on the devastating effect this disease has year after year.

Who unfortunately does not know someone, perhaps a loved one, who has suffered from this terrible disease?

The statistics are distressing. Nearly 159,000 people suffered from cancer in 2007 and 72,000 died of the disease. Men, women, children, seniors are all affected and, despite our efforts and scientific advancements, the disease is still with us.

However, we must not give up the fight against this terrible affliction. That is why we must take the opportunity presented by Cancer Awareness Month to appeal to the government to increase efforts to find a cure for cancer.

I therefore ask all my colleagues to join me in sending a message of hope to all those who suffer from this disease. One day, we will find a cure.

Martin Luther King, Jr.Statements By Members

April 4th, 2008 / 11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Luc Harvey Conservative Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, today, as we commemorate the death of Martin Luther King Jr., we remember. “I have a dream”, he said.

At a time when many people prefer to focus on what sets us apart instead of what brings us together, at a time when many people are being left out in the cold not because they lack qualifications, but because they are the wrong colour or have the wrong name, we need to keep Martin Luther King's dream alive for the good of our country.

Access to work commensurate with a person's qualifications is vital to the development of our society and our country. We all have a personal responsibility to help make this happen.

Mr. Speaker, I too have a dream.

Martin Luther King, Jr.Statements By Members

11:15 a.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King. As a political leader, he formed a lesson for us all, of what it is to have a dream and to sacrifice on behalf of that dream.

During the course of his political life, Dr. King was firebombed, stabbed, threatened, harassed by his own government and eventually tragically assassinated. We must all learn to act against injustice wherever we see it. We must, as political leaders, have the courage of our convictions and fight on behalf of others, not ourselves.

King's legacy was that we all must bring our nation together and not separate it along lines of region, race or religion. To quote Dr. King:

If physical death is the price I must pay to free my white brothers and sisters from the permanent death of the spirit, then nothing could be more redemptive.

We all owe Dr. King a great honour.

IsraelStatements By Members

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, today a Canadian delegation, including constituents of mine, was the target of deliberate sniper fire while visiting Sderot, an Israeli town that I recently visited, which has endured seven years of relentless rocket attacks, targeting schools, synagogues, playgrounds and day care centres, with the objective of killing Jews because they are Jews.

Indeed, more than 1,000 rockets have been launched in the first three months of this year alone, a double war crime whereby Palestinian terrorists deliberately target Israeli civilians while shielding themselves behind Palestinian civilians in Gaza.

Sderot is the only community in the world today that is a standing target of relentless terrorist attacks. As a mother told me, a child learns “red alert”, the alarm notice, before even the words “mommy” or “daddy”. Why should anybody anywhere have to live under this terrorism and trauma?

Tragically, the international community remains indifferent and silent. Why has there not been one single condemnation by any international UN agency of these daily war crimes?

We know the surest way to ensure that evil will triumph in the world is for enough good people to do nothing. Let Parliament speak, the international community act and let this culture of impugnity end.

2009 Memorial CupStatements By Members

11:15 a.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, I join with my colleague, the Bloc Québécois candidate in the riding of Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, Claude Guimond, and all my fellow MPs in congratulating the City of Rimouski on being selected to host the 2009 Memorial Cup tournament.

Hockey is recognized the world over as Quebec's national sport. Men and women, boys and girls of all ages are involved in it and passionate about it.

We also want to congratulate the Quebec cities of Shawinigan and Saguenay for being selected as candidates to host the prestigious Memorial Cup tournament.

The Bloc Québécois wishes the City of Rimouski and all the organizers and participants good luck.

Parkinson's Awareness MonthStatements By Members

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Martha Hall Findlay Liberal Willowdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, April is Parkinson's Awareness Month, a time to join together to raise awareness and funds to help fight this debilitating disease.

Parkinson's disease affects more than 100,000 Canadians and, by association, another half million, their loved ones.

Over the next 20 years, it is projected that the number of people diagnosed with Parkinson's will increase twofold.

We must do everything in our power to better understand this terrible disease by supporting research efforts and helping those who are suffering, and those who are taking care of them, through support services and awareness campaigns.

We must also acknowledge the tireless efforts of researchers who are working so hard to determine the cause of Parkinson's and who are working toward a cure.

I encourage all members of the House and all Canadians to support their local awareness campaigns not only this month, but whenever possible, in the hopes of finding a cure for this devastating disease.

Sponsorship ProgramStatements By Members

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

Brian Storseth Conservative Westlock—St. Paul, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians will not easily forget the biggest scandal in Canada's history, the Liberal sponsorship scandal. They will not forget the money that was taken from them. Canadians elect public officials with the understanding that they will manage taxpayer money with the utmost care.

As much as the Liberals hope that this will just quietly go away, this affair is not over. This issue will not go away until those who took advantage of their position of power for their personal and partisan benefit have been held accountable for their shameful actions.

Today, the media reports that Canadian taxpayers will be getting some of their money back. Eric Lafleur, son of Jean Lafleur and a former ad man whose company received $10 million in sponsorship subcontracts, is being forced to pay back $150,000. That is good news, but this is just a small portion.

When will Canadians see the rest of the money that was taken from them? Why has the Liberal leader not encouraged those who received sponsorship money to pay it back to the taxpayers? When will we find out what happened to the $40 million.

Human RightsOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, the hateful, offensive words of the member for Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre demonstrate a prejudice that is unacceptable for an officer of the House of Commons.

Will the Prime Minister show leadership and relieve the member of his responsibility as parliamentary secretary to the government House leader?

Human RightsOral Questions

11:20 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 comments that were made on the tape 17 years ago, which came to light yesterday, were unacceptable and inappropriate. We had from the parliamentary secretary involved a very genuine, heartfelt and sincere apology yesterday and a further one just before we began members' statements today in the House.

We accept that the apology is genuine and it is sincere. It is clear that the member does not hold those views, and we believe the matter at this point is closed.

Human RightsOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, the hateful and offensive comments were unacceptable for an officer of this House.

Will the Prime Minister show some leadership and relieve the member of his responsibilities as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons?

Human RightsOral Questions

11:20 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, there is no room in our country for intolerant comments of the type that were reflected in the statement as seen on the tape. This is certainly the view of this government, that such comments are unacceptable. This is also the view of the parliamentary secretary in a very forthcoming, full and genuine apology that he has offered to the House, to members of the gay and lesbian community and to all Canadians.

We believe that the apology is sincere and genuine. We are satisfied that the member does not hold those views. As a result, we believe this matter is closed.

Human RightsOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, the member was 40 years old when he made these hateful remarks. Allowing the member to remain an officer of the House of Commons debases this institution.

Does the Prime Minister realize that his tepid response to these hateful remarks against gays and Canadians suffering from AIDS tells Canadians that hate, bigotry and prejudice are just fine in his Canada?

Human RightsOral Questions

11:20 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, quite clearly those kinds of comments are inappropriate and unacceptable, even in the social context where they occurred. Even 17 years ago they were unacceptable. That is something the parliamentary secretary himself spoke to today in his apology and indicated that this would be no justification or excuse whatsoever.

We believe they are inappropriate, and I think all members of the House share those sentiments.

Human RightsOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, when Reform whip Bob Ringma said that he believed employers should be able to fire gays and visible minorities, he was kicked out.

When Reform MP David Chatters said that gays should not be allowed to teach in schools, he was shown the door.

When Alliance MP Larry Spencer wished for a bill making homosexuality illegal, out he went.

Will the Prime Minister admit that his new party's standards are now lower than both the Reform Party and the Canadian Alliance?

Human RightsOral Questions

11:20 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 parliamentary secretary in question made a quick, complete, unequivocal apology for his remarks. He has recognized that they are unacceptable and inappropriate.

Human RightsOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, the comments by the member for Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre are not more acceptable because they were made years ago. When the Prime Minister wanted to get rid of Alan Riddell, he brought out a photo of Mr. Riddell dressed up as a Nazi officer. The photo had been taken 25 years earlier.

Will the Prime Minister acknowledge that he and his party will always be influenced by intolerance?

Human RightsOral Questions

11:25 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, I believe that the conduct of the parliamentary secretary in taking responsibility for his comments, offering a full and forthcoming apology, and demonstrating clearly that his comments were inappropriate and that he does not hold those views are a good model of behaviour. I think we should be satisfied with his genuine sincerity in that regard.

Language of WorkOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Minister of Labour claimed that French could not be designated the language of work for workers governed by the Canada Labour Code because the code does not cover language of work. That is the problem: it creates a legal void at the expense of the French language.

Will the Minister of Labour stop making excuses and do something to give Quebec workers governed by the Canada Labour Code the right to work in French like all other workers in Quebec?

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 and its leader have obviously run out of issues to justify their existence here in Ottawa. They have been in the House of Commons for over 18 years now, and they have never raised these issues. Why did they raise these issues this week, and why are they still talking about them today? It is most odd.

Language of WorkOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois has been standing up for Quebec for 18 years, while the Conservatives have been standing up for Canada at Quebec's expense for 141 years. We saw that happen yet again yesterday when the Minister of Labour tried to make us believe that it was not feasible because big corporations that fall under federal jurisdiction have head offices in various Canadian provinces.

The minister is well aware—as are the Conservatives from Quebec—that the Charter of the French Language applies to all companies in Quebec with 50 or more employees, including several multinationals with head offices throughout the world.

That is just another excuse that proves the Conservatives were not serious when they voted to recognize the Quebec nation. All they were doing was electioneering—

Language of WorkOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Labour.