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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

FisheriesOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Catherine Bell NDP Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, working families who fish salmon are in crisis in B.C. First nations are rationing their catch. Commercial fishermen are in the dark. Sport fishing operators are worried about their billion dollar industry. Funding for salmon enhancement is still at 1999 levels.

We must conserve what little salmon we have by protecting fish habitat. Will the government give juvenile salmon a fighting chance by addressing the issue of open net fish farms? Will the minister stop the destruction of spawning streams from development practices?

FisheriesOral Questions

3 p.m.

St. John's South—Mount Pearl Newfoundland & Labrador

Conservative

Loyola Hearn ConservativeMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, no one is more concerned about the salmon and the effect on their area more so than the people of British Columbia. The different groups and agencies and the first nations all have come around the table and they know the crisis that we face in the fishery. They are not just sitting there complaining; they are doing something about it, and we are helping them.

There is a chance to make sure that we bring back the great salmon, but we all have to work on it collectively.

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's responses to 13 petitions.

UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous PeoplesPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

May 12th, 2008 / 3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Tina Keeper Liberal Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to present a petition to the Government of Canada to adopt the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It is signed by residents of the city of Edmonton, Alberta.

Consumer Price IndexPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table another set of petitions that arises out of my national campaign to fight for fairness for ordinary Canadians, and in particular for seniors who were shortchanged by their government as a result of an error in calculating the rate of inflation.

The government has acknowledged the mistake made by Statistics Canada but is refusing to take any remedial action.

The petitioners call upon Parliament to take full responsibility for this error which negatively impacted their incomes from 2001 to 2006, and to take the required steps to repay every Canadian who has been shortchanged by a government program because of the miscalculation of the CPI.

This set of petitions is signed by hundreds of people from my riding of Hamilton Mountain as well as from Stoney Creek, Kingston, Barrie, Toronto, Kitchener, Sault Ste. Marie, Vancouver and Coquitlam. It is a privilege to table this petition on their behalf.

Consumer Product SafetyPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to table another petition about the need to improve food and product safety in Canada. I want to take this opportunity to thank the many residents of Hamilton Mountain who are promoting this issue in our community.

The petitioners are concerned that a product of Canada need not have been grown, raised, caught or in any way begun its life in Canada. Canadian regulations only require that the last substantial transformation of the goods must have occurred in Canada and that at least 51% of the total direct cost of producing or manufacturing the goods is Canadian.

This is particularly troubling to the petitioners because they note that Canada's failed trade policy limits safety standards and sends jobs overseas. As a result, tainted imports from China and other countries have in recent months led to recalls of thousands of toys, food products and pet food products. Instead of acting to effectively deal with this trend, the federal government is proposing trade agreements with countries such as Peru and Panama that already have been cited for food safety concerns.

For all of these reasons, the petitioners call upon the Parliament of Canada to ensure that all Canadians can be assured of food and product safety by passing the motion that I had the privilege of tabling in the House, Motion No. 435.

National Monument WallPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

Inky Mark Conservative Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to table hundreds of petitions from across Canada on the topic of a national monument wall for Canada's fallen.

Most Canadians do not realize that there are 115,000 fallen and their graves are in 75 countries around the world. By law, their remains cannot be repatriated to Canada. Therefore, this country should create a national monument wall.

I want to applaud the work of Ed and Robert Forsyth in Toronto, who began this initiative over a decade ago. Anyone who is interested to know more about the national monument wall should contact his or her local Legion.

JusticePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow NDP Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to present two petitions. The first petition is signed by hundreds of Torontonians. In fact, I have 27 pages of signatures.

The petitioners join the city of Toronto in requesting Parliament to institute a federal ban on the ownership of handguns. They ask that 2,500 new police officers be hired, that Canada strengthen its witness protection program to ensure members of the community, especially young people, can more readily come forward with information about handgun crimes in their neighbourhood, that youth safety crime prevention programs get long term stable funding and that there be a summit for Canada-U.S. lawmakers and law enforcement personnel from all levels of governments, along with stakeholders, to tackle the ongoing crisis of illegal handguns being smuggled into Canada.

The petitioners signed these petitions during a benefit for John O'Keefe who was killed by a stray bullet while walking down Yonge Street on January 12. They also point out that on January 17, five days later, an innocent person, Hou Chang Mao, was killed by a stray bullet while stacking oranges outside the grocery store where he worked.

ImmigrationPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow NDP Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, the second set of petitions are with regard immigration and are signed by people from across Canada.

The petitioners are concerned that the Conservative government has introduced major damaging and dangerous changes to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, without consultation or study, which would give sweeping new powers to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to impose quotas, to dispose of and discard immigration applications and to facilitate queue jumping.

They ask the Government of Canada to abandon these changes, to increase staffing to overseas visa offices, to increase Canada's immigration target to 1% of the Canadian population and to stop the expansion of temporary foreign workers categories.

Income TrustsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present another income trust broken promise petition from my riding of Mississauga South.

The petitioners remind the Prime Minister that he promised never to tax income trusts, but he broke that promise by imposing a 31.5% punitive tax, which permanently wiped out over $25 billion of the hard-earned retirement savings of over two million Canadians, particularly seniors.

The petitioners therefore call upon the Conservative minority government to admit: first, that the decision to tax income trusts was based on flawed methodology and incorrect assumptions; second, to apologize to those who were unfairly harmed by this broken promise; and, finally, to repeal the 31.5% tax on income trusts.

Passport CanadaPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions today. The first is from the citizens of Timmins—James Bay concerning the need for a northern Ontario passport office. Passports are increasingly essential for travellers, and the residents of northern Ontario do not have access to a passport office that offers full or expedited services.

The citizens of Timmins—James Bay are therefore asking Parliament to approve a full-service passport office in the city of Timmins, Ontario, to respond to the needs of residents of northern Ontario, and to help alleviate the current Passport Canada workload and delays.

Aboriginal AffairsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, I proud to say that the second petition is from students at Glen Shields Public School in Concorde, Ontario, the grade six class that went around the school asking students to sign a petition over their absolute outrage that the government denied a school to the children of Attawapiskat.

The children took it upon themselves to go from class to class. They said that they felt it was absolutely appalling that the children of Attawapiskat had been waiting nearly 30 years to receive a new school. They point out that in 1979 a 50,000 litre diesel spill flooded J.R. Nakogee Elementary School and for 21 years students were getting sick from contamination. The frustrated parents finally pulled the children out of the school in 2000 and since then, children have been getting by in makeshift classrooms.

This community, as the students pointed out, have had three Indian affairs ministers promise that a school would be built. Finally, in December 2007, when plans were supposed to move forward, the government cancelled the plans for the school. It has cancelled all schools for first nations because it does not believe that building schools for first nations is a priority.

This is obviously something that the students of Glen Shields Public School find disgraceful. I might add, there are at least 70 other schools across Canada in which students are rising up and saying that the attitude that some children should have fewer rights than others is an appalling situation in the 21st century.

I thank the children of Glen Shields Public School and their class teachers, Mrs. Sher and Ms. Avertick, for this petition.

Post-Secondary EducationPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Simms Liberal Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

Mr. Speaker, I want to present a petition in the House from the Canadian Federation of Students. More 345,000 students have been forced to borrow from the Canada students loans program. It is interesting to point out that a share of a typical family's income is higher today, when it comes to tuition, than at any point in the last 60 years.

The petitioners call upon the House to provide a national system of needs based grants for the Canada student loans program for students, public universities and colleges.

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, if Question No. 224 could be made an order for return, this return would be tabled immediately.

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Is that agreed?

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Question No. 224Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

With respect to the Victoria-class submarine In-Service Support Contract awarded to Canadian Submarine Management Group for the refit of Victoria-class submarines: (a) what criteria were used by the government to compare the estimated costs to the government from competing bids; (b) were the transit costs of moving the submarines from Halifax to Victoria included in this cost comparison between competing bids; (c) does the government’s cost comparison include any costs required to ensure naval facilities are capable of conducting the submarine refit in both Victoria and Halifax; and (d) did the government’s awarding of the contract compare the relative economic benefits to the communities involved?

(Return tabled)

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Conservative Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all remaining questions be allowed to stand.

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Is that agreed?

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-30, An Act to establish the Specific Claims Tribunal and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, be read the third time and passed.

Specific Claims Tribunal ActGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Before question period the hon. member for Churchill had the floor and there are four minutes remaining in the time allotted for her remarks.

I therefore call upon the hon. member for Churchill.

Specific Claims Tribunal ActGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Tina Keeper Liberal Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, when I left off, I was speaking about the principle of equity and how this process and mechanism should fall within that principle of equity, which was referred to and made very clear in the Guerin case, and this is toward resolving a claim.

At the committee stage of this bill we heard recurring comments, including the lack of land as a settlement or even the recommendation of land quantum in the proposed process. The $150 million cap was a serious concern and the appointment process of judges and the denial of non-pecuniary and punitive damages. We heard these concerns over and over again from witnesses.

Another statement was the call for the government to respect its duty to consult. When appearing before the committee on April 16, the Assembly of First Nations National Chief, Phil Fontaine, stated:

It is unfortunate and regrettable that as of yet we have not been able to forge an open, ongoing, reliable, stable relationship with the current government that meaningfully reflects and respects the government-to-government relationship between first nations and the government. We see this as a missed opportunity.

The domestic front has been exposed on the international stage as well. In fact, the government tarnished Canada's reputation as a human rights champion with its staunch opposition to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Our domestic lack has been squarely framed by this international declaration.

At committee countless witnesses expressed concerns that this was extinguishment legislation. Grand Chief Morris Swan Shannacappo of the Southern Chiefs' Organization articulated his concern. He said:

As a group, our people are poor. We suffer from unemployment, poor education, and poor health. We are owed much, but we have not been allowed to partake in the bounty of this country, as originally intended by our treaties. We agreed to share; we did not agree to impoverish ourselves.

In a word, we are hungry. We are starving from the lack of justice. We suffer from a poverty of options, and our children are committing suicide or partaking in other activities that are not normal within our culture and our people.

My fear, as a leader, for my people is that we'll sell our right to the proper share of the bounty due to us in exchange for some food to limit starvation—any food today, in fact.

The grand chief's comments were in response to the government's extinguishment provisions in subclause 21(1) of the bill. MKO has maintained that this is outside the powers of Parliament, to unilaterally extinguish any of the constitutional and protected rights and lands of first nations without the consent of the rights holders, the first nations community, and that this is consistent with Canada's constitutional doctrine and practice. A membership vote may be required to ratify certain specific claims settlements, particularly if the rights of first nations are affected by the proposed settlement.

Relationships are about consistent trust and cooperative partnerships. It is real in the Churchill riding that first nations, all of which are signatories to the numbered treaties, have been alienated and marginalized from the opportunity to participate in the wealth and benefits of the land.

The lack of a non-derogation clause and the premise that this is a voluntary process and therefore requires no duty to consult on behalf of the government and the lack of its fiduciary obligation provides little encouragement that the bill and the government will honour the political accord and the proclaimed reconciliation function of the process.

Specific Claims Tribunal ActGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, could the member talk about the amounts, the limits and the amount per individual year, which seems to be insufficient?