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House of Commons Hansard #73 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was peoples.

Topics

The Conservative PartyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Diane Bourgeois Bloc Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, once again, the Conservatives have shown that all their talk about open federalism hides a harsh reality. The Minister of Finance and the Conservative members from Quebec are getting ready to strip Quebec of its financial powers by imposing a single, centralized securities commission, against the unanimous will of the National Assembly. What hypocrisy.

By voting against assistance for the manufacturing and forestry sectors, against assistance for unemployed workers affected by the crisis, against increased funding for our universities and against Quebec's economy and jurisdictions, the Conservative members from Quebec are proving once against that they are condemned to remain forever in opposition, forever in opposition to Quebec's interests.

Watching the Conservatives cave in whenever it comes time to defend Quebec's interests only confirms that I made the right choice when I joined the Bloc Québécois.

Outaouais Tourism AwardsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, I was very pleased to attend the 23rd Outaouais tourism awards gala last Saturday.

I would like to congratulate the winners: Ferme aux Saveurs des Monts, Aux Quatre Jeudis, Théâtre des Quatre Soeurs, Fortune Aerial Experience, the Gatineau Loppet, Edelweiss, the Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival, Camping Base Macrocarpa, Auberge du Draveur, Fairmont Le Château Montebello, Maison La Crémaillère, Cabines de la Chute, Ms. Danielle Dupont, the sommelier at the Casino du Lac-Leamy, Ms. France Boisvenue of the Château Logue, Ms. Francine Carle of the Auberge du Draveur and Ms. Andrée Dompierre, who received the 2008 tourism personality of the year award.

Kudos and sincere congratulations to all those who will represent the Outaouais at the Quebec tourism awards on May 9. Long live the Outaouais tourism association, its president, Mr. Jean Thiffault, and the entire team.

Committees of the HouseStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Dykstra Conservative St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker, on March 14 you gave clear direction to the House for what you called serial anarchy within our parliamentary committees. In particular, you noted a tyranny of the majority overriding the correct rulings of committee chairs.

Our procedure committee already had its chairman removed because he said no to a political witch hunt. The new chair was elected against his will by a tyranny of the majority.

Now at justice committee, a coalition of Liberals and separatists is threatening to remove another chairman because of his correct ruling on a motion. Again, it is tyranny of the majority.

Their own Liberal chairman made an identical ruling on this matter in another committee but they are sending in the wrecking ball to justice committee. The opposition has already shut down four justice committee meetings because they refuse to accept your ruling, Mr. Speaker.

These bully tactics must end. I ask all members to respect your ruling, get down to the business they were sent here to do, not destroy our parliamentary committees and not--

Committees of the HouseStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order. Oral questions. The hon. Leader of the Opposition.

Human RightsOral Questions

April 7th, 2008 / 2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, as much as the member for Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre had no choice but to apologize for his disgraceful comments, the Prime Minister today has no choice but to demonstrate to Canadians that his government rejects those disgraceful comments.

I will give the Prime Minister a chance to do the right thing today. Will the Prime Minister replace the member as parliamentary secretary, yes or no?

Human RightsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I understand the hon. member for Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, who, close to some two decades ago, made some completely unacceptable comments. He has given an unqualified apology and has clear, heartfelt remorse for those actions.

I believe, when such an apology and remorse is sought from an individual member, the generous and high-minded thing to do is to accept that apology.

Heritage BuildingsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, and to remove him as parliamentary secretary.

Moving on, the Quebec City armoury, home to Les Voltigeurs, the first French-Canadian regiment, and a building of national architectural significance, the greatest heritage distinction in Canada, was destroyed by fire. Everyone, led by the mayor of Quebec City, is calling on the Prime Minister to commit to rebuilding the armoury without waiting for the results of an investigation—since there is sure to be one. Everyone is calling for this, except the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

Will the Prime Minister commit to rebuilding the armoury in Quebec City as quickly as possible, yes or no?

Heritage BuildingsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the armoury, built in 1887, is one of the most important historic monuments in Quebec City. My office has already contacted the office of the mayor of Quebec City. We have indicated that we are determined to explore every possibility to rebuild this building, which is such a wonderful illustration of the proud military history of Quebec City.

Seal HuntersOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is not being asked to explore possibilities, he is being asked to commit to rebuilding the armoury.

Third subject: following the tragedy that cost the lives of four fishers from the Magdalen Islands, the bereaved families of the victims want the truth. They want to understand. The government is offering to have the Coast Guard investigate the Coast Guard.

Will the Prime Minister promise to hold a truly independent investigation or not?

Seal HuntersOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I have already said yes to the other question. The Leader of the Opposition should accept that answer.

In the meantime, the government has already indicated that there will be a number of investigations into this incident. It is an immense tragedy. These investigations will be independent and the results will be made public.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, when the Prime Minister was asked in Bucharest whether he told our allies that our military mission in Kandahar would end in 2011, he replied that they did not ask so he did not tell.

However, the motion passed by Parliament clearly states that the government must notify NATO that Canada will end its presence in Kandahar in 2011.

Why did the Prime Minister fail to tell our NATO allies in no uncertain terms that the Canadian mission in Kandahar will end in July 2011?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, because long before Bucharest our allies were made aware of the position of the Government of Canada and of Parliament on the matter in Afghanistan. They understand exactly the position of the Government of Canada. They do not need to ask.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, on the same topic, the motion approved by this House also states that this mission will change after 2009 and focus on training and reconstruction.

Has the Prime Minister unequivocally advised our NATO allies that the Canadian mission in Kandahar must change and will change?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, before the NATO summit in Bucharest, the government had already indicated to our allies that the parliamentary resolution constituted the government's policy and we will pursue that policy.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, in his report, John Manley said that the deployment of an additional U.S. 3,200 troops in southern Afghanistan was good news, but that the contribution was inadequate. Ideally, another 1,000 troops are needed, he said. The Prime Minister had made that a firm condition for extending the Canadian mission in Afghanistan beyond February 2009.

I would like the Prime Minister to confirm that, as a result of his discussions in Bucharest, there will indeed be 1,000 more troops than there are currently—let me emphasize “currently”—in southern Afghanistan.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, since the Manley report was tabled our conditions have been clear for extending the mission in Afghanistan. This obviously includes the 1,000 troops. The Americans have decided to provide an additional battalion for the long term.

It is clear. The conditions are clear and it is also clear that the conditions will be met.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the 3,200 American soldiers currently serving in southern Afghanistan will be leaving the country in October. As a result, in February 2009, they will be gone and there will be 2,200 fewer soldiers, not 1,000 more.

Can the Prime Minister explain how there could be 1,000 more soldiers if the 3,200 soldiers leave Afghanistan in October?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have clearly stated that, in the long term, we are looking for an additional battalion in partnership with another major country in Afghanistan. The Americans have decided to meet that condition, and it is clear that that condition will be met in Kandahar.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister just said he is trying to meet that condition. Obviously, this means that it has not yet been met.

All we know is that 3,200 soldiers will be leaving Afghanistan in October. Does he have a guarantee that these 3,200 soldiers will be replaced? If not, then to my way of thinking, there will not be 1,000 more soldiers, but 2,200 fewer soldiers. What sort of guarantee does he have?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I cannot put it any more clearly to the leader of the Bloc. The conditions are clear, and the conditions will be met by the Americans. There will be an additional battalion in Kandahar, and perhaps more, but it is clear that the conditions will be met.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is all well and good for the Prime Minister to say it is clear, but all we know officially—and what is clear is usually official—is that these 3,200 soldiers will be leaving the country in October. Has a clear decision been made about replacing them? I would like to have the numbers and dates, and I would like the Prime Minister to tell me—if he knows—that the 3,200 soldiers will not be leaving Afghanistan. All we know is that they will be leaving the country.

Can he deny this information, and Mr. Manley's statements, that these soldiers will be leaving Afghanistan in October? If not, he should state officially, clearly and publicly who will be replacing them.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I believe that I am being as clear as I can. The fact is that the Americans are going to be there with us in Kandahar and the French are going to send additional forces to Afghanistan.

And the fact is that the Bloc is not going to support this mission. However, this government supports the mission, and our allies are going to help us.

Human RightsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member for Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre has offered a sincere and heartfelt apology and we accept the apology for the remarks.

However, it remains true that many across the country, particularly in the gay and lesbian community, have felt hurt by the remarks and, of course, the discussion that is going on.

We really need leadership from the Prime Minister now to send a very strong signal regarding this issue and that there will be consequences when minority communities experience this kind of hurtful behaviour.

Why will the Prime Minister not, as a step, remove the member as a spokesperson for the government in his position as parliamentary secretary?

Human RightsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as I have already indicated, as others in the government have indicated and as the member himself has indicated, the remarks in question were totally unacceptable. The member has taken responsibility for those things that he said a very long time ago. His apology and his remorse were absolutely clear and heartfelt.

Once again, under such circumstances, it is my view that when such an apology is sought, such an apology should be accepted.

Human RightsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Bill Siksay NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, gay and lesbian Canadians know that Conservatives have never supported our full equality. We fear the attitude in question shows their true colours.

The Prime Minister could show leadership. He could add gender identity and expression to the Human Rights Act, overturn an organ donation policy rooted in the fears of the 1990s, adopt and promote the Montreal and Yogyakarta declarations on GLBT rights and restore the court challenges program.

More than words, what action will the Prime Minister take to show that such views are not the position of the Conservative government?