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House of Commons Hansard #114 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was region.

Topics

Tsawwassen First Nation Final Agreement ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

Tsawwassen First Nation Final Agreement ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Conservative

Rod Bruinooge ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians

Mr. Speaker, it is a great pleasure for me to stand today in relation to Bill C-34 and speak at third reading.

This is important legislation, which culminates after much time, in relation to the B.C. treaty process, the first historic modern treaty out of British Columbia. Our government is very proud to have achieved this incredible treaty.

I thank all the opposition parties for their support on the bill and we look forward to sending it to the Senate for final ratification.

Tsawwassen First Nation Final Agreement ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, I am very excited to rise today and talk about this historic agreement that has very great support in three governments.

As we know, last week a historic agreement was made. It was a day for the ages when we had an apology for first nations people.

I also remember the day when the member for LaSalle—Émard made that agreement. I remember the great tears flowing for residential schools. That apology finally came.

However, as everyone said that day, it was just the beginning. It is not the end. The next step in the process is to actually improve the lives of first nations people. The agreement last week allowed us to move forward together to solve those problems. One of the tried and true methods is a template of the agreement that we are about to approve in this Parliament today.

I want to compliment the Tsawwassen First Nation, especially Chief Kim Baird and her council, and the B.C. government, led by Gordon Campbell. It is a great day for the people of Tsawwassen and those of Delta, Richmond, Vancouver, British Columbia, and indeed all of Canada.

I congratulate those people who have been working on this since 1993, with the statement of intent to enter the treaty. There were all sorts of members of Tsawwassen First Nation, many negotiators and people from the three governments.

This is very exciting and historic because it is the first urban claim south of 60 to occur in Canada. It is a great day for the 358 Coast Salish people who make up the Tsawwassen First Nation.

The traditional territory of the Tsawwassen First Nation covered 279,000 hectares. Tsawwassen rights will be extended on that territory. These are certain rights, as occur in all the modern treaties; for particulars, fee simple land of 724 hectares, 290 from the reserve, 372 from the Crown, from B.C., and 62 that are still in the municipality of Delta.

This is also a historic agreement because it is the first to be approved under the B.C. treaty process, so its ramifications could extend far ahead of this agreement with the 358 Coast Salish people. It could have ramifications for thousands of other first nations people in British Columbia.

Another exciting element of this is of course that it was a negotiated settlement, not a litigated one. It is of course much better when governments and people come together to come to a historic agreement like this rather than fighting it out in the courts. I know that this particular government certainly prefers that way of solving issues rather than having governments legislate.

The vote on this was also exceptional, with 130 members voting for it and only 50 against, which is 69.5%, a huge majority. I do not think we have ever had a Government of Canada with that type of majority.

I will continue after question period.

Tsawwassen First Nation Final Agreement ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Royal Galipeau

There will indeed be 16 minutes left for the hon. member for Yukon. We will now have statements by members.

International Boundary Commission CentennialStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Conservative Calgary East, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have the pleasure of informing my hon. colleagues that the International Boundary Commission, the agency responsible for making, maintaining and mapping the Canada-U.S. border, is celebrating its centennial this month.

Through the IBC, Canada and the United States have collaborated for over 100 years to peacefully maintain the longest shared border in the world, 8,893 kilometres long, from the Atlantic to the Pacific to the Arctic Ocean.

The work of the IBC is fundamentally important to our national interest and to law enforcement, land administration, customs and immigration, and the management of transboundary resources.

The IBC exemplifies the close and enduring Canada-U.S. relationship.

I ask the Speaker and my fellow members of Parliament to join me in celebrating the centennial of the International Boundary Commission.

EducationStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Shawn Murphy Liberal Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to congratulate the 2008 graduating classes in my constituency on their recent and upcoming graduations.

Students from the University of Prince Edward Island, Holland College, the Culinary Institute, Colonel Gray, and Charlottetown Rural High School have already walked proudly across the stage to accept their respective degrees or diplomas or will do so soon.

These graduates have worked hard to achieve their goals. Their perseverance, determination and hard work have paid off.

For many of them, this milestone marks the beginning of exciting opportunities and options that are now available to them. Of course, they all know that their education is far from over.

This is a very significant accomplishment and a very important step in ensuring their futures. I trust that all members will join me in applauding the commitment of these students and in wishing them great success in the future.

Accueil BonneauStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Christian Ouellet Bloc Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, on June 9 Accueil Bonneau, a residence and outreach centre, commemorated the 10th anniversary of the explosion at the building housing this homelessness organization, in which three people died. There was a lot of emotion as volunteers, employees and dignitaries gathered at the memorial service.

Despite the tragedy, Accueil Bonneau has remained very present in the city. With its four residences that can house 116 former homeless people, its shelter at Saint-Gérard-Magella, and its affirmative action and social services, such as distributing meals and clothing, this organization is very important to the homeless of greater Montreal.

Accueil Bonneau has 225 volunteers, serves 320,000 meals a year, hands out 60,000 articles of clothing, and has just one motto: believe, sow, grow. The Bloc Québécois would like to honour Accueil Bonneau's 130 years of dedication.

ImmigrationStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have in my hand a letter from the immigration minister in regard to the case of Ms. Augustina Lodo and her family. She is a refugee from the Sudan who first applied for status in Canada in 2007. She left the Sudan after her husband was killed for his religious convictions and faith.

Faith groups in Smithers and across northwest British Columbia have raised their voices and have raised money in support of Ms. Lodo and her application, yet the letter from the minister rejects that application, saying that things are safe in the Sudan and that she should return with no fear of persecution.

She was beaten. She was severely persecuted. Canada's own government issues on its website a warning to all Canadians not to travel to the Sudan and not to partake of this region for fear of similar violence.

Our country's shame in dealing with the Sudan can only be recompensed and justified if we open our doors and our hearts to those still facing persecution. I urge the minister to change the content of the letter.

Impaired DrivingStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Conservative Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, QC

Mr. Speaker, on May 8, 2007, 23-year-old Karine Méthot was struck and killed by a vehicle. As if that tragedy was not bad enough, her family soon found out through the media that the driver of the vehicle had eight prior impaired driving convictions.

Despite their tragic loss, Karine's family members have worked tirelessly to collect more than 23,000 signatures in support of stricter sentences for convicted drunk drivers.

Véronique Bélanger and Karine's family want harsher sentences to honour Karine's memory and the memory of other victims like her.

I am proud to be part of a government that is working to protect innocent people from drunk drivers.

When the Tackling Violent Crime Act comes into force on July 2, 2008, a person arrested for driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol will face stiffer sentencing.

Our government will continue to do whatever it takes to keep our streets and our communities safe.

In memory of Karine.

Relay for LifeStatements By Members

June 17th, 2008 / 2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Lloyd St. Amand Liberal Brant, ON

Mr. Speaker, on Friday, June 13, over 1,000 people in my riding of Brant, including the five Campbell sisters, participated in the annual Relay for Life.

This event raises very significant funds for the Canadian Cancer Society. It is a very moving, poignant event, as the first lap of the 12 hour relay is walked by individuals who have survived a bout with cancer.

It is stirring to see them, young and old, take a celebratory walk, cheered on by hundreds of supporters. Also stirring is the sight of hundreds of luminaries: candles lit in honour and memory of family members and friends who have died of cancer.

Kudos to this year's chair, Ms. Sam Snider, the very dedicated staff at the Brant chapter of the Canadian Cancer Society, and in particular the many volunteers and participants, without whom this terrific event could not have taken place.

Carbon Tax ProposalStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Lake Conservative Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont, AB

Mr. Speaker, during his leadership run, the current Liberal leader was unequivocal in his opposition to a carbon tax.

Shortly after his win, rumours surfaced in the west that he might be rethinking his position. This prompted a visit to Edmonton, where he made his memorable though cryptic statement: “I'm not here to kill the milk cow...”. While milk cows were no doubt reassured, human beings were skeptical.

Edmonton Journal columnist Lorne Gunter wrote: “Just watch. Soon [he] will begin insisting he never promised to avoid carbon taxes”. But the Liberal leader was adamant, even writing in a letter to the editor that his plan “will not include a carbon tax”.

In October he returned to Edmonton to speak to a business crowd and promised that “there will be no carbon tax”.

Today, faced with at least $60 billion in scattered spending promises they have no idea how to pay for, the Liberals appear set to announce guess what? A carbon tax.

Meanwhile, Canadians from coast to coast will be asking the same question: “Honey, what's that guy with the green scarf doing to our milk cow?”

Public Service of CanadaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Richard Nadeau Bloc Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, June 15 to 21 is National Public Service Week. With the theme “Recognizing our history, while building our tomorrow ”, the week commemorates the importance of federal public service employees, their professionalism, their initiative and their constant efforts to provide quality service to the public and contribute to its well-being.

The week is also a chance to improve work environments and to foster communication between government institutions and crown corporations. Many public servants also play an important role in their communities, where they serve in various capacities.

My Bloc Québécois colleagues join me in acknowledging the work of all public servants and in thanking them for their valuable contribution.

Happy Public Service Week.

Carbon Tax ProposalStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Gary Schellenberger Conservative Perth—Wellington, ON

Mr. Speaker, over the weekend, the Liberal finance critic, the member for Markham—Unionville, admitted that the Liberal national carbon tax plan will actually hurt some Canadians. He said, “I cannot say to you that no Canadian will be unharmed by this”.

In fact, one group that will be hurt by this regressive carbon tax is farmers. This morning, the Liberal agriculture critic and Liberal MPs from Mississauga—Erindale and Brant voted against their leader's plan.

Burdened with a carbon tax, farmers would be forced to pay more for gas to fuel their tractors, more to run their combines and machinery, and more to export their products.

Little by little, Liberal MPs are telling the truth about the negative effects that a regressive carbon tax will have on every single Canadian.

As the Liberal leader gets set to unveil the details of his punitive tax on everything, Canadians are wondering if he will finally tell the truth and admit who exactly will be hurt by this tax trick.

Health CareStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, Winstone Zulu is a man on a mission: to educate the world about HIV and tuberculosis, both the challenge and, more importantly, the solution.

Winstone was the first Zambian to publicly acknowledge his HIV status in 1990. In 1997 he contracted TB. He was cured, but he knows first-hand the toll that it takes.

He watched four of his brothers die due to a lack of access to TB drugs, drugs that can provide a cure for about $20.

In the space of one week in 1990, his brother Erasmus, his wife, and his brother Christopher died.

Nelson Mandela said we need more advocates like Winstone. Indeed we do.

Today, Results Canada and Aeras have brought Winstone here to remind us that TB is not inevitable and does not need to be a death sentence.

Canada must do more to stop TB, to save lives, and to support heroes like Winstone Zulu, who has lived the nightmare of TB and is now working toward his dream of eradicating it.

Our fellow citizens of this planet deserve no less than that.

Carbon Tax ProposalStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Leon Benoit Conservative Vegreville—Wainwright, AB

Mr. Speaker, Liberals continue to try to spin that their leader's massive carbon tax plan will not lead to more costs for Canadians, despite statements to the contrary by the member for Markham—Unionville and the member for Halton.

The Liberal finance critic said “I cannot say...that no Canadian will be unharmed by this”. The member for Halton, the Liberal leader's senior communications adviser, said, “This added cost will find its way into oil and plastic, transportation and food. In fact, most corners of our lives”.

More experts are coming forward to acknowledge that this tax trick will indeed lead to higher costs and will hurt some Canadians. Diane Katz, head of energy and environment policy for the Fraser Institute, said, “Lower income people will be worse off because a carbon tax will increase the price of everything”.

When the Liberal leader unveils his plan tomorrow, will he finally be honest with Canadians and explain exactly who will suffer under his tax trick?

Health CareStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Susan Kadis Liberal Thornhill, ON

Mr. Speaker, health care is a top priority for Thornhill residents. From packed emergency rooms, to wait times, to locating a family doctor, they expect and deserve better results from the Conservative government.

In 2004 the federal government, provincial health ministers and aboriginal leaders signed a historic 10 year plan to strengthen health care. The plan aimed to improve areas such as catastrophic drug coverage, aboriginal health, primary health and home care.

Yet since 2006 the Conservative government has systematically neglected the accord. It is ideologically opposed to a national health care system, writing a blank cheque with little accountability and few reporting mechanisms to assess progress.

Shockingly, when asked recently about home care, the health minister responded, “We're not going to get involved”.

Health care is a shared responsibility. Canadians deserve a federal government that takes the lead on health care. Instead, we have a government and a minister that fails to act, denies responsibility and will not get involved.

Canadian Multiculturalism ActStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois recently received the support of four major Quebec unions in its efforts to get the Prime Minister to move from words to action and give tangible expression to the recognition of the Quebec nation.

Today, it is the turn of Julius Grey to support the Bloc Québécois initiative. This lawyer specializes in matters of individual freedoms and urged members of the House of Commons to vote in favour of Bill C-505, which I introduced, to amend the Canadian Multiculturalism Act and thus allow Quebec to develop unimpeded its own model of integration for immigrants to Quebec.

The vote on this bill will be held tomorrow and will be a very revealing test of the sincerity of MPs and the Conservatives. Rejection by the Conservative government of Bill C-505, to exempt Quebec from the application of the Canadian Multiculturalism Act, would send a very negative message as we approach St. Jean Baptiste Day.

Public Service of CanadaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, this week, June 15 to 21, is National Public Service Week. It is a time to commemorate the importance of our federal public service employees.

National Public Service Week was launched in 1992 to recognize the many contributions public servants make to Canadian society. Through their professionalism, resourcefulness and hard work, they contribute greatly to our Canadian way of life.

The women and men who make up the public service are one of Canada's most valuable resources, and it is important to acknowledge the work they do and the role they play within our society.

Sadly, on Sunday, former chairman of the Public Service Commission from 1965 to 1976, Mr. John Carson, passed away. Mr. Carson was instrumental in highlighting the need for bilingualism within the public service. We honour his contribution.

We are very proud of our public servants and of the fact that they are an integral part of one of the most respected public services in the world.

On behalf of all members of this House, I extend our thanks.

General MotorsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to call upon the government to act with respect to General Motors and to tell it that it broke a contract with the people of Oshawa and that it broke a contract with the people of this country. The government has to stand up against companies like that. It is unfair for companies to bargain in bad faith.

It is about time the Conservative government brought in an auto policy. Instead, it brought in a new tax on vehicles and relocated that into a small pilot program. That is not going to save our auto industry.

A hybrid truck was supposed to be manufactured at this plant and that would have provided future jobs.

It is up to the minister and the Prime Minister to step in and tell these companies to live up to their obligations and bargain in good faith as a matter of policy in Canada.

Carbon Tax ProposalStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Guy Lauzon Conservative Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry, ON

Mr. Speaker, the carbon tax being proposed by the Leader of the Opposition is going to drive Canadian farmers out of business. Canadian farmers will not be able to compete with their competitors when they are paying more to fill the fuel tanks on their tractors, paying more to run their combines and paying more to ship their goods to market.

Today the Conservative MPs at the agriculture committee voted to protect Canadian farmers from the devastating effects of a carbon tax.

The bad news for Canadian farmers is that one of the Liberal MPs voted in favour of the carbon tax. The bad news for the Leader of the Opposition is that three Liberals, his own agriculture critic, the member for Mississauga—Erindale and the member for Brant, all voted against the carbon tax. It seems the Liberal leader is having some trouble convincing his own MPs to buy into his tax trick.

All Canadians can rest assured that this Conservative government will not stand by and watch the Liberal leader get away with his carbon tax trick.

Quebec National HolidayStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Independent

Louise Thibault Independent Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, today, seven days from the Quebec national holiday, I wish to address all the people of Quebec, and particularly those in my riding.

On June 24, we shall celebrate our identity and our culture.

Yes, let us celebrate this new enriched identity, honouring everything that has given us the strength and courage to speak French, but to welcome the world's languages as well.

Let us celebrate this new culture, reinforced and enriched by our hospitality.

Let us become a single people as we celebrate 400 years of history, of openness, of shared values that are the envy of others.

My wish for us is the right to be, to welcome, to protect, to look far into the future together.

Bonne fête nationale to all Quebeckers.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada's economy is in retreat. Consumer confidence is plummeting. Two thousand jobs were lost at Air Canada today, and Canada's productivity is lower than when the current government took office.

Every economist knows that GST cuts do much less than income tax cuts for productivity, but the Prime Minister was more interested in political gimmicks than sound economics.

Will he at least take responsibility for leading Canada to its unenviable position as the only shrinking G-7 economy?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, in spite of challenges that we know exist in the economy, the reality is that we continue to have overall strong employment and income growth. Part of the reason for that is that this government has cut taxes across the board. It has cut personal taxes. It has cut consumption taxes. It has cut business taxes. Every single time we cut those taxes, every single time, the Liberal Party opposed those things.

Now the Liberal Party wants to raise taxes across the board as part of its insane environmental and economic policies. That is wrong for Canada.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, what is insane is the government's economic and environmental policies, because both of those policies will cause energy prices to rise.

Only the Liberal plan puts money back in people's pockets, especially the pockets of the most vulnerable Canadians. Only the Liberal plan will help unleash innovative market forces that will return Canada to the top of the G-7. Canadians expect this kind of sound economic and environmental leadership from their government.

Why is the government so totally missing in action on both the economy and the environment?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, if we want to see missing in action, we just have to look across the floor whenever we have a vote here.

The reality is the Liberal Party has opposed every tax cut that this government implemented, and the Liberal Party now wants a new tax to fund $60 billion in unfunded spending commitments. The people of Canada are not going to be conned.