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House of Commons Hansard #93 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was nations.

Topics

An Act to establish the Specific Claims TribunalGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member will have four minutes to conclude her remarks following question period.

We will move on now to statements by members, the hon. member for Fort McMurray—Athabasca.

Birthday GreetingsStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Brian Jean Conservative Fort McMurray—Athabasca, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak today about Mrs. Charlotte Mitchell of Fort McMurray, Alberta, who celebrated her 100th birthday on May 2nd, just two weeks ago.

Speaking with Mrs. Mitchell during her birthday party, I was humbled to think of what she had experienced while living in the most progressive century of our time and in the most progressive city of our time.

One hundred years ago today, Fort McMurray was home to only a few hundred people and just beginning its transformation from a Hudson's Bay trading post into an epicentre of prosperity.

Mrs. Mitchell and her family were pioneers of the community, supporting its tremendous growth as oil exploration and production turned my small town into a vibrant city of now over 80,000 people and a pivotal force in the Canadian and global economy.

Charlotte Mitchell has built a legacy to be proud of, so today I say congratulations and happy birthday. We are all so very proud of her.

Scopus AwardStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, on Wednesday, May 14 a distinguished citizen of Winnipeg, and indeed of the world, will be honoured by the Winnipeg chapter of Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University. Dr. Frank Plummer will receive the Scopus award given to those individuals who have demonstrated real humanitarian concerns throughout their careers.

A graduate of the University of Manitoba, Dr. Plummer is currently distinguished professor at the University of Manitoba, as well as senior adviser to the Public Health Agency of Canada, among other things.

Dr. Plummer spent 16 years in Kenya researching sexually transmitted diseases and HIV-AIDS. Although the world reviewed HIV-AIDS as a homosexual disease, Dr. Plummer revealed that heterosexual women could also be infected. During his study of 500 Nairobi prostitutes, he found that two-thirds of them had HIV-AIDS. However, he discovered among them a group of women who did not contract AIDS. This discovery suggested that those women had natural immunity to the disease and that a vaccine could be developed.

Dr. Plummer has been recognized worldwide for his groundbreaking work. It is most appropriate that--

Scopus AwardStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou.

Gala des OlivierStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Yvon Lévesque Bloc Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, QC

Mr. Speaker, the 10th annual Gala des Olivier, hosted by Martin Petit, was held yesterday. The gala highlights and rewards the outstanding achievements of comedians on stage and television. The gala also promotes the comedy industry, contributes to the industry's development, and showcases the industry's artists, writers, producers and comedians.

Several Quebec comedians received awards at the gala. Martin Matte was honoured four times in the comedy show, writer—with François Avard and Benoît Pelletier—comedy DVD and most popular show of the year categories. Rachid Badouri's debut show was awarded two Olivier awards, and Louis-José Houde was named comedian of the year.

My Bloc Québécois colleagues and I are delighted to congratulate the winners, paragons of Quebec-style humour, all.

HealthStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Tony Martin NDP Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow I will be in Sault Ste. Marie to hear Sault resident Jonathan DellaVedova speak as the newly elected president of the Canadian Federation of Medical Students. Jonathan will speak on protecting public medicare and why it is a Canadian imperative to defend it.

Jonathan studies at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. He is the first student board representative with Canadian Doctors for Medicare.

His speech is timely. A local crisis continues because of too few beds and doctors. Emergency room physicians are threatening to withdraw services citing unsafe patient conditions.

The answers are clear. The NDP is calling for long term, home care and nurse practitioner programs within public health care. As Canadian Doctors for Medicare and the students say:

A public system is better for everyone because it means health care dollars are spent on patient care rather than private clinic profits, and services are provided in accountable facilities rather than ones that are not nationally regulated.

From Tommy Douglas decades ago to Jonathan DellaVedova in 2008, we vow to protect public medicare.

Team CornwallStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Guy Lauzon Conservative Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to tell the House and all Canadians about an organization I am very proud to belong to. That organization is Team Cornwall.

Team Cornwall was established to spread the good news about Cornwall's positive attributes. Team members, acting as ambassadors, use their own networks to deliver timely information about the community and its economic opportunities.

Today we can be proud of our accomplishments. By working together we have created a sales force of over 340 individuals, including the Prime Minister of Canada, who became an honorary member in August 2006. Team Cornwall members travel across the country informing Canadians of the many advantages of living and doing business in Cornwall and the surrounding area.

I encourage all Canadians looking for a community, where they can work, invest and raise a family, to visit Team Cornwall's most recent initiative online at www.choosecornwall.ca. I want to thank each and every member of Team Cornwall for the outstanding job they are doing promoting the wonderful city of Cornwall.

Pharmaceutical IndustryStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Lloyd St. Amand Liberal Brant, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada's generic pharmaceutical industry is a true success story, wonderfully reflected in the Apotex facility in my riding of Brant. The industry, however, is justifiably concerned about, and surprised by, recently published regulatory amendments.

These changes are contrary to the best interests of consumers, changes which will delay generic competition and will extend monopolies for brand name companies.

Almost all generic drugs sold in Canada are made here in Canada by 11,000 highly skilled people. The government should withdraw proposals which will harm a dynamic industry and will increase prescription drug costs for Canadians.

The message to the government is to do the right thing and withdraw these amendments.

NoradStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Laurie Hawn Conservative Edmonton Centre, AB

M. Speaker, I rise today to draw attention to the 50th anniversary of the North American Aerospace Defence Command.

Canada has a long and successful history of security and defence cooperation with our southern neighbours. As one of the longest standing military agreements between Canada and the United States, Norad remains a cornerstone of the Canada-U.S. defence relationship.

Canadians and Americans work together 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to monitor and defend the skies over both countries, including the Arctic. For half a century Norad has evolved to address emerging threats.

In May 2006 this government renewed the Norad agreement and added a maritime warning mission to help ensure the safety of North American maritime approaches and waterways.

To honour this important milestone, the Minister of National Defence will join his American counterpart and members of the armed forces of Canada and the United States for celebrations at Norad headquarters in Colorado Springs. There will also be a military parade and flypast in celebration of Norad's anniversary in Winnipeg on May 30.

I invite all members to honour the vigilance and hard work of the men and women who serve in the defence of North America.

Inter-Parliamentary Union 2010 AssemblyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, by insisting on reserving the right to refuse participants at the Inter-Parliamentary Union assembly, instead of promising to welcome everyone as required by IPU regulations, the federal government risks compromising Quebec City's chances of hosting the 1,500 parliamentarians expected to attend the event in 2010.

This intransigence could prove very costly for the Quebec City area, when we know that an international convention of this scope brings in economic spinoffs of at least $500 a day for every convention delegate. Losing the chance to host the IPU assembly could cost the Quebec City area some $4.5 million in loss of revenue for such an event.

Given the circumstances, the federal government should reverse its decision and show greater flexibility so the 2010 IPU assembly can be held in Quebec City. Conservative members from the Quebec City area must prove that they are here to serve the interests of their region, the Quebec City region.

Gasoline PricesStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member for Don Valley West, in supporting a carbon tax, says we cannot fight climate change and have cheap gas. That is easy to say for someone who had the good fortune to attend both Upper Canada College and Oxford University, someone who worked as the editor of the Financial Post, and served in the federal cabinet. But this demonstrates just how elitist and out of touch the Liberal Party has become.

The Liberal Party may believe that high gas prices are a good thing, but they eat away at the standard of living of ordinary Canadians: the trucker, the farmer, the commuter, the small business owner, all of whom depend on driving for their livelihood.

Many rural residents in my riding depend on buses to transport their children to and from school daily. Without question, this proposed Liberal tax will impact even education costs. It is an insult that the party of privilege would support a sweeping and regressive tax that would disproportionately negatively impact ordinary Canadians.

Shame.

HealthStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Raymond Simard Liberal Saint Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, this past weekend in St. Vital I participated in two extremely important events to raise funds and awareness for two very different but very devastating diseases.

The first was a community barbecue to raise money for Crohn's and colitis. This disease is particularly devastating because it hits at a very young age; mostly in the teens. It affects the digestive system and causes the intestinal tissue to become inflamed, form sores and bleed easily.

The second event was a walk for lupus at St. Vital Park. Lupus is an autoimmune disease where something goes wrong with the immune system so that it makes antibiotics attack the person's own tissues. Women develop lupus up to 10 times more than men and it occurs in women between the ages of 15 and 45.

I would like to congratulate all the wonderful volunteers who got involved to put a dent in these life altering diseases. I would also like to thank Crohn's victims Jason Brown and René DeMoissac for their insight and courageous work. It was also great walking with Kendra Gaede, a lupus victim with remarkable determination.

We can all make a difference and we should all be doing everything in our power to annihilate these crippling diseases.

Bloc QuébécoisStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Daniel Petit Conservative Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, one year ago today we might have thought that the Bloc leader finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel when he promised to return to the fold in order to “kick the PQ's butt”. He was rejected by headquarters and before he could even get to Trois-Rivières he was already back in Ottawa. The Ottawa-Quebec City return trip has never been so quick.

The leader of the Bloc decided to keep collecting his federal pay, and what did the Quebec nation get? Nothing.

For 18 years, Bloc MPs have been doing nothing but talk. They do not present legislative measures that become law. They do not draft any budgets. They do not make any investments. The Bloc struts about Quebec empty handed, simply to create division, with the sole purpose of justifying its presence in Ottawa.

Today, the permanent leader of the Bloc will rise to ask questions on an imaginary scandal, to try to tarnish this government, because the Bloc has no leadership, no consistent policy and no reason to be in Ottawa.

Arthur KroegerStatements By Members

May 12th, 2008 / 2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, today we mourn the passing of a dedicated public servant and great Canadian. Arthur Kroeger passed away last Friday surrounded by his loved ones.

In 1958, following studies at the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, Mr. Kroeger joined the Department of External Affairs, thus beginning a public service career that spanned five decades.

From 1993 until 2002, he served as the Chancellor of Carleton University, which is now home to the Arthur Kroeger College of Public Affairs; a tribute to his enduring efforts to promote the ideals of civic involvement in young Canadians.

Known as the “dean of deputies”, he always remained true to his pledge of public service.

In 2006, he wrote Hard Passage: A Mennonite Family's Long Journey from Russia to Canada , a book that helps understand the formidable strength of character that forever inhabited Arthur Kroeger.

Our country has lost an outstanding citizen.

I know all members of this House will join me in offering our sincere condolences to his family and loved ones.

Human RightsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, one thing we can agree on in this House is that anti-Semitism must be stopped because it is an attack on all Jews and it is a barometer of hatred against all minorities.

We are united in our opposition to anti-Semitism and we need to be united in our efforts to stop it.

The last thing we need is a Prime Minister who alleges anti-Semitism among members of Parliament. What we really need is leadership, the kind that addresses growing anti-Semitism in Canada, which is up 11% this year.

We need the kind of leadership shown by citizens of Israel, whose pride in their 60th anniversary and confidence in their right to exist as a state does not prevent differences of opinion about their government or the peace process.

We need the kind of leadership that governments used to build from our strength not divide on the basis of any elements that seek to destroy our society.

ChrysotileStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Bloc Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois is joining the Chrysotile Institute, the United Steelworkers and Quebec's Mouvement PROChrysotile to denounce the NDP position on banning chrysotile.

This position does not take into account recent studies on the safe use of chrysotile. The NDP does not have the necessary expertise to take the place of the expert committee set up by Health Canada. Union representatives believe that the NDP did not take into account the work of the Chrysotile Institute and the worker's movement to respect the Geneva Convention and promote the safe use of chrysotile. The NDP has simply dismissed the jobs related to this industry. The Bloc Québécois is asking the government to implement the unanimous report of the international trade subcommittee recommending that it adopt a chrysotile policy based on information, promotion and safe use.

That is another example of how only the Bloc Québécois understands and is defending the interests of hundreds of workers in the Asbestos and Thetford Mines regions.

Atlantic CanadaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister and the Minister of National Defence are in Halifax today.

Now those are two guys with a long history and a lot to answer for in Atlantic Canada.

A “culture of defeat” is the way the Prime Minister described Atlantic Canada and Atlantic Canadians.

However, Atlantic Canadians are not being defeated by the Prime Minister. Let us take the member for Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley who stood up to the Prime Minister and showed hm that Atlantic Canadians were not as easily defeated as the Prime Minister would like.

Tracy Parsons, soon to be our Liberal candidate in that riding, would agree. She is yet another former Progressive Conservative who sees nothing progressive about the Conservatives.

The governing Conservatives do not understand Atlantic Canada, as highlighted by the trashing of the Atlantic accord and the frantic cover-up, trying to convince Nova Scotians that this deal was as good as the Atlantic accord.

We want what we had: the Atlantic accord. In fact, when the next election rolls around, the words “culture of defeat” may only apply to Conservative candidates in Atlantic Canada.

Liberal Party of CanadaStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Bev Shipley Conservative Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, ON

Mr. Speaker, recently the member for Ottawa South said that his party's internal debate over biofuels was over and that the Liberals would vote in favour of Bill C-33, but then, on the same day, his colleague from Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca said that the measure should be defeated.

Canadians are mystified about the Liberals' inability to take a stand on the renewable fuels industry.

Our Conservative Party is the only party that stands for renewable fuels, even though during the last campaign everyone was for it.

Biofuels are good for farmers, good for the rural economy, good for the environment and good for Canadians. When people, such as farmers, truckers, and ordinary Canadians, are struggling with high fuel costs, the Liberals are only interested in taxing fuel another 50¢ or 60¢ a litre.

High taxes, extravagant spending and pulling its support for agriculture is the culture and the opposition's strategy but it is certainly not what Conservatives believe in.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, under previous governments, Canada invented and promoted the doctrine of the responsibility to protect at the United Nations. That doctrine holds that when a country is unable or unwilling to protect its own people, other countries have a responsibility to step in.

I have a simple question for the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Does the government still support the doctrine of the responsibility to protect and does it believe that it commits Canada to action on Burma?

Foreign AffairsOral 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, Canada has been taking a leadership role on Burma, both before the recent disaster and subsequent to the recent disaster.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs has been in touch with the United Nations Security Council to impress upon it the need for collective action by the United Nations Security Council to ensure there is access for aid workers with aid from around the world who are seeking to get into Burma to help those people who are very much in need. Canada has taken a leadership role and will continue to do so.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, I did not get an answer to my question. The question was in two parts. The question about Burma had some kind of answer but I heard no answer on the question of principle, which is whether the government continues to support the crucial principle of the responsibility to protect, which would commit Canada to specific action in Burma.

Does the government support the responsibility to protect?

Foreign AffairsOral 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 government has committed to specific action with regard to Burma in the past. We committed to specific action in the form of sanctions, the toughest sanctions in the world, on a regime that has oppressed its people and kept their freedom from them.

With regard to the current disaster, we have committed to specific actions in the form of $2 million worth of aid. DART, the disaster assistance response team, is available to enter the country. We are working together with our allies, as is the appropriate way with the United Nations and other concerned countries, to gain the access that is urgent to help out the Burmese people in this great time of need.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will take that as a no to my question of whether the government supports the responsibility to protect.

But in Burma, the military regime continues to deny entry to humanitarian experts and to hijack supplies meant for the victims. Tyranny is winning out over compassion. That is unacceptable. When a country refuses to help its own people, it is the responsibility of other countries to take action.

What is the minister doing with the UN or anyone else to demonstrate this leadership they have been talking about and to require Burma to open its borders to humanitarian aid?

Foreign AffairsOral 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, we are still urging the Burmese government to stop playing games and to let international aid workers into the country during this time.

We have committed up to $2 million in humanitarian aid. But the regime must allow the NGOs to enter the country. It must stop delaying the issuing of entry visas for international aid workers. We are asking it to allow entry to the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination team, which is waiting in Bangkok.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Martha Hall Findlay Liberal Willowdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, in Listowel, 500 jobs lost; in Ottawa, 1,100 jobs lost; and in Oshawa, 900 jobs lost. This morning the finance minister was in Toronto misleading Canadians again and claiming that the government has done such a great job with the economy.

Unfortunately, also this morning, General Motors announced the loss of another 1,400 jobs in Windsor.

Instead of pretending that the economy is rosy, when will the government wake up and smell the coffee and actually start doing something?