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House of Commons Hansard #111 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was report.

Topics

Aboriginal AffairsStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Derek Lee Liberal Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

Mr. Speaker, one of the Conservative members opposite is the Prime Minister's point man on the Conservative election financing scandal and a parliamentary secretary who covers for a number of cabinet ministers.

Why then, on the national day of apology to residential school survivors, did the member engage in inexcusably hurtful and demeaning remarks toward aboriginal Canadians?

The member publicly complained about compensation to residential school survivors saying:

Some of us are starting to ask, are we really getting value for all of this money and is money really going to solve the problem?

He went on to say:

—we need to engender the values of hard work and independence and self reliance.

Aboriginal Canadians have always been independent and self-reliant for thousands of years and they could teach that member the meaning of hard work and what it is like to get his hands dirty in order to feed his family.

The member should recognize this and should apologize.

Aboriginal AffairsStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to offer a full apology to aboriginal people, to the House and to all Canadians.

Yesterday, on a day when the House and all Canadians were celebrating a new beginning, I made remarks that were hurtful and wrong.

I accept responsibility for them, and I apologize.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

June 12th, 2008 / 2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, yesterday leaders in the House formally apologized for the legacy of residential schools. We must now move forward toward truth and reconciliation.

Will the Prime Minister give his words weight by, for example, honouring his election promise to compensate the victims of schools who have been left out of the settlement, such as Île-à-la-Crosse in Saskatchewan?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as the Leader of the Opposition knows, there were a number of schools similar to Indian residential schools that were run by provincial governments. They were not covered by the settlement, which was ultimately negotiated with the Assembly of First Nations. We understand these are unresolved issues and I know the minister, I and others have spoken about the need for governments to address these issues.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Except, Mr. Speaker, that during the election the Prime Minister did not say “a government”. He said “his government” would solve this issue—

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Immediately.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Liberal Saint-Laurent—Cartierville, QC

—immediately. He must honour his words and show that he will, indeed, compensate these schools in order to show that the words yesterday will be followed by a new era for Canada in our relationship with aboriginal peoples.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, in the case of Île-à-la-Crosse, the Leader of the Opposition should know that there was a federal residential school in Île-à-la-Crosse, but in fact there are no living survivors of that school today. There was later a provincial residential school. As I indicated, we understand that remains an unresolved issue.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalLeader of the Opposition

I think there were survivors, Mr. Speaker, but we need to check to see if the Prime Minister is right. If he is wrong, I am sure he will then compensate.

I would also like to ask the Prime Minister if the words spoken yesterday by the aboriginal leaders changed his mind in any way. Is he now willing to ensure that Canada, which has always defended human rights around the world, everywhere and under any circumstances, honours its commitment regarding the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition knows that Canada has never made such a commitment—it did not even make such a commitment when his party was in power. We have made our position very clear: we are in favour of an agreement on the issue of such important rights.

However, so far, we have some concerns about that agreement. And we have proposed amendments in the House of Commons with a view to improving aboriginal rights in Canada, for example, property rights for aboriginal women. I hope we will have the support of the opposition.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Todd Russell Liberal Labrador, NL

Mr. Speaker, first, let me thank all party leaders for their words yesterday. They were words of apology and sorrow for the horror of residential schools. I honour those words and hope they are embraced by all Canadians.

However, yesterday the Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board demonstrated through his words ignorance and intolerance, the same attitudes that led to the historic wrongs that were the subject of yesterday's apology.

Will the Prime Minister denounce those words, words that smack of racism and paternalism?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl ConservativeMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians

Mr. Speaker, I think we all heard the words from the parliamentary secretary just before question period. I urge all members to consider those. They were heartfelt and I appreciated his honesty and candour.

As he said, yesterday was a new beginning for a relationship between aboriginal and first nations people. We are delighted that apology was not only here in the House, with comments from all leaders, but was so well received by the leaders on the floor, truly a historic day.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Todd Russell Liberal Labrador, NL

Mr. Speaker, I am saddened and hurt by the attitude expressed by the official spokesperson for the government. Referring to the residential school settlement, he said, “Some of us are starting to ask, are we really getting value for all of this money?” However, how do we place a value on a stolen child?

Just two hours later the Prime Minister stated, “There is no place in Canada for the attitudes that inspired the Indian residential schools system to ever again prevail”.

Will the Prime Minister stand by his words and remove his parliamentary secretary?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as all members of the House know, the parliamentary secretary has apologized for remarks that were wrong. I know he also forthwith contacted national aboriginal associations to indicate that.

I know that yesterday we had a historic event, something for which aboriginal people in our country have been waiting a very long time. I know all parties in the House were supportive of that spirit of apology. I also know the hon. member in question was very supportive of those actions of the government.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, in addition to her troubled past and many ties to organized crime, yesterday we learned that Julie Couillard lobbied members of the Minister of Public Works' inner circle to obtain a contract for the Kevlar realty company. According to Michel Juneau-Katsuya, an intelligence expert, Ms. Couillard's approach appears to be a “classic recruitment exercise”.

With all this compromising information that has come to light about Ms. Couillard, does the Prime Minister still believe that this is a private matter and does he intend to continue using this excuse to avoid testifying before the Standing Committee on Public Safety?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, with regard to the contract mentioned by the Leader of the Bloc Québécois, the truth is that no decision has been made.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, we have been told that there was an attempt, but that no decision was made. What I am saying is that the information is more than just disturbing and that it is not a question of private lives. It is a matter of public interest.

I will ask him this: will he stop hiding behind the excuse, which no one believes any longer, that this is a private matter? It is a public concern. Will he prove that he has a sense of honour and responsibility and testify before the Standing Committee on Public Safety? That is his duty.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Public Works has already exercised his responsibility in this matter. With regard to the contract, no decision has been made. The reality is that we have a competitive process that is managed by the department's officials, as it should be.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Bloc Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, the RCMP knew about Julie Couillard's shady past before her relationship with the former minister of foreign affairs. The RCMP has acknowledged that if its investigation raises concerns, it must notify the authorities.

Given all of the troubling facts that have come to light since this whole affair began, is the Prime Minister saying that the RCMP acted unprofessionally in failing to notify him?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:25 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, what we do know is the RCMP did not advise the Privy Council Office or the Prime Minister's Office of any concerns of a security nature.

We also know the Department of Foreign Affairs is conducting a review of this matter. Any important findings that it turns up will be made public.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Bloc Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, the RCMP may not have done its job, though I doubt that, but the department itself was responsible for conducting a security screening on its new minister.

Did Foreign Affairs Canada inform the Prime Minister of the former minister's questionable, dangerous relationship?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:25 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, I know the member is one of several opposition members who is very interested in conducting a lengthy inquiry into the pasts of people. I know they will do that, the legislative committee they have pursuing that.

We instead are focused on more substantive issues. That is why we have asked the Department of Foreign Affairs to look into the more serious questions arising out of this matter. We look forward to its report.

Indian AffairsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is encouraging to see members join forces for a common cause and for the common good. As Phil Fontaine said yesterday in this House, “the significance of this day is not just about what has been but, equally important, what is to come.”

Will the Prime Minister commit, from this day forward, to working with first nations as equals in order to foster true reconciliation?

Indian AffairsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, that is how the government always works with all Canadians.

The Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development has guided us ably in this matter.

Indian AffairsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am specifically asking that water and schools be put on a higher priority footing by the government. The students in Attawapiskat, for example, have been told that there are 28 schools in worse conditions. I have seen their school and that is a horrific situation. They have been told that it could take up to five years. Over 100 aboriginal communities face water crises each summer.

Will the Prime Minister, in the spirit of what happened yesterday, accelerate the commitment of development funds in those two key sectors so these issues can be resolved?