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House of Commons Hansard #115 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was commissioner.

Topics

2 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

It being Wednesday, we will now have the singing of the national anthem led by the hon. member for Mississauga South.

[Members sang the national anthem]

Member for Roberval—Lac-Saint-JeanStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Denis Lebel Conservative Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am coming to the end of my first session here in this honourable chamber.

The welcome I have received from my colleagues has made me feel part of a vibrant and evolving community whose members, despite differences in opinions and ideologies, are all working for the betterment of the country.

Individuals and groups made different choices to protect the interests of their constituents. As part of the Conservative Party and under the leadership of the Prime Minister, and with the help of my colleagues—ministers, parliamentary secretaries and MPs—I kept a promise to advance the Quebec nation within a strong and united Canada.

Unlike my Bloc Québécois colleagues, who mistakenly claim to be the only members representing Quebec, I can say that, thanks to us, Quebec is becoming stronger within the Canadian federation.

I am reassured by how our government operates. Its approach to the nation's business does not include shell games, such as the Liberal Party's carbon tax, or the Monopoly money budgets we see every day from the Bloc.

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Brent St. Denis Liberal Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Mr. Speaker, soon, the Liberal leader and his team will unveil a new way to look at pollution and climate change. Unlike the Conservatives and the New Democrats, the Liberals are inviting Canadians to engage in an important dialogue on the future of energy use in Canada.

False reports by the Conservatives about a green tax shift underline their own lack of action and desperation.

They know, we know and Canadians know that something has to be done. Neither Canada nor the world can wait any longer.

Our plan will be comprehensive and it will be revenue neutral. Low income and middle income Canadians in particular will benefit from our green tax shift.

Canada cannot allow itself to lag behind in the green industrial revolution.

As one important aboriginal teaching says, “Our vision must be for seven generations”.

We know that Canadians want this debate and are aware of the consequences of inaction. It is sad that the Conservatives and the New Democrats do not have confidence in Canadians.

Louise ArbourStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Mr. Speaker, Louise Arbour will soon step down as United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. This brave, determined Quebecker has been one of our most illustrious representatives abroad.

The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, said that Louise Arbour never hesitated to incur the criticism of states or other parties by highlighting the victims of abuses or pointing out the inadequacies of national legal systems, and she consistently represented the highest ideals of the organization.

She criticized the United States for the treatment of detainees in Guantanamo, condemned human rights violations during the most recent war in Lebanon and stated that Israel had an obligation to protect everyone under its territorial responsibility.

Louise Arbour has done a tremendous amount of work to advance human rights, no matter what the Conservatives think. She is a model for us all.

Congratulations, Ms. Arbour.

National Aboriginal DayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, this National Aboriginal Day will see the start of an incredible journey from Vancouver to Ottawa. Gladys Radek will lead hundreds of people on the walk4justice.

Ms. Radek wants all Canadians to recognize that violence against aboriginal women is ongoing and that more women are missing than reported by the media. She wants to highlight the need for safeguards against violence against women and the need for more mechanisms of transparency and accountability for authorities.

Ms. Radek's own niece, Tamara Chipman, went missing on the “highway of tears” in March 2005. That personal connection is what prompted Ms. Radek to start this walk4justice. Tamara's son was left behind when she went missing, and Ms. Radek thinks all Canadians need to realize that a missing woman is often a mother, leaving behind children who will always wonder, “Where did my mother go?”

The walk4justice will arrive in Ottawa on September 15, only a few days after Parliament resumes sitting. I urge all members of this House to meet with Gladys Radek and the other walkers when they arrive in Ottawa.

More importantly, I urge everyone to take action now to stop violence against aboriginal women here and in our home communities.

Carbon Tax ProposalStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Cheryl Gallant Conservative Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, a carbon tax is a tax on poor, rural, working class people. Even an elitist such as the Premier of Ontario understands that it is nothing more than a yuppie fad.

The Liberal carbon tax plan is to impose punishing new regulations and taxes, a fact recognized by Dalton McGuinty. He has made it clear that he rejects a massive carbon tax grab. He has gone so far as to warn that imposing a new carbon tax on fuels and other products is a foolish way to combat climate change and will lead to massive unemployment in Ontario's manufacturing and forestry sectors.

Rural dwellers in my riding of Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke have no choice about transportation. The Liberal carbon tax will force them to give up other things, such as buying food and educating their children.

This past weekend, the Liberal environment critic was attempting to convince Ontarians and all Canadians that a punitive Liberal carbon tax plan was a good thing, something even his own brother rejects.

Rural Canadians, seniors and those living on fixed incomes will not be tricked into swallowing a new, permanent, Liberal carbon tax.

HousingStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, the city of Winnipeg has a rental housing shortage and a 1% rental vacancy rate. Families are struggling to find safe housing in stable neighbourhoods, yet in my riding approximately 126 military houses stand empty at the former Kapyong military barracks.

Despite representations by coalitions of community and church groups, the houses remain empty and have been empty for years. The houses are victim to bureaucratic and legal gymnastics, as they are the property of the defence department and awaiting transfer to the Canada Lands Company.

Inflexible government regulations prevent the community from having access to these potential homes. At last inquiry, the cost to the taxpayer of maintaining the empty houses is over $225,000 annually.

Repeated requests to the government members in Winnipeg have come up empty. Discussions with the Department of National Defence have drawn a blank.

A short term solution for the use of these houses is urgent. Winnipeg families in need of housing deserve no less.

Carbon Tax ProposalStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, Liberals across Canada are terrified of how Canadians will react to their leader's plan to impose a new carbon tax. The tax would jack up the price of gas, electricity and everything else.

Yesterday, three Liberal MPs distanced themselves from their leader when they supported a Conservative motion to protect Canadian farmers against a punitive carbon tax. These three MPs are the latest examples of senior Liberals breaking ranks with their leader over his tax trick.

Senior Liberal pollster Michael Marzolini has reportedly warned his party that “a carbon tax is a risky way to go”.

Liberal strategist Warren Kinsella has warned other Liberals that a carbon tax “is unfair to people on fixed incomes (like the elderly) and the poor”.

Yesterday, the former Liberal prime minister took great pains to avoid endorsing a carbon tax during a live television interview.

Not only is the Liberal leader failing to trick Canadians, he cannot even trick members of his own Liberal Party.

La Guerre River Basin Sustainable Agriculture CouncilStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Claude DeBellefeuille Bloc Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of all my Bloc Québécois colleagues, I congratulate the Club agroenvironnemental du bassin La Guerre, an organization dedicated to the promotion and development of sustainable agriculture in Saint-Anicet, in the riding of Beauharnois—Salaberry. It has just been awarded the Canadian Geographic 2008 Canadian Environment Award in the Environmental Learning category.

Together with the Institut de recherche et de développement en agroenvironnement and four other partners, the council helped farmers implement practices to reduce agricultural run-off towards the La Guerre River and Saint-François Lake.

The practices adopted by these farmers resulted in a significant decrease in the flow of sediment into the watershed. Mobilization and education by the council as well as the implementation of sustainable solutions by our farmers are a source of inspiration for Quebec.

I am proud of this prestigious environmental award and congratulate all those involved.

Carbon Tax ProposalStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Fabian Manning Conservative Avalon, NL

Mr. Speaker, senior Liberals are hinting that we are just one day away from the unveiling of the latest round of Liberal tax tricks.

As the big day draws near, Canadians can look forward to a non-stop barrage of excuses, half-hearted promises and phony green packaging as the Liberal leader tries yet again to fool Canadians into paying more so he can spend more.

Liberal MPs, senior Liberal strategists, commentators, members of the media, truckers, small business owners, provincial premiers, environmentalists, and working families have condemned the carbon tax as an ineffective and disastrous policy.

Prior to this massive flip-flop, the Liberal leader himself said a carbon tax was “bad policy”. Just yesterday, three Liberal MPs voted with our government in favour of protecting our farmers from a carbon tax.

Unfortunately for the Liberal leader, Canadians see right through his scheme. It is no wonder that so many Liberals are running scared about going public with the Liberal tax trick. Canadians will not be fooled this time around.

George Mackie LibraryStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Sukh Dhaliwal Liberal Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, last weekend my community celebrated the 25th anniversary of the George Mackie Library with Mr. Mackie's son John and three generations of their family. Mr. Mackie was a respected pioneer and leader.

Far from being just a storeroom of books and magazines, the George Mackie Library has been a meeting place for everyone from young to old and a hub for the entire neighbourhood.

Thousands of children have taken part in its activities over the years, including its highly successful summer reading program.

I congratulate the Delta library staff and volunteers for 25 great years and encourage everyone to visit the George Mackie Library this summer.

AgricultureStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Guy Lauzon Conservative Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry, ON

Mr. Speaker, I recently had the pleasure of making several visits to P.E.I. to meet with farmers from all across the Island.

Island farmers told me how frustrated they were with the member for Malpeque. Instead of talking about the issues important to his constituents, all the member seems to want to talk about is the Canadian Wheat Board.

Farmers in P.E.I. talked to me about potatoes, livestock and our government's strong support for supply management. Not one farmer asked me about the Canadian Wheat Board, which only exists in western Canada.

I promised these farmers that since their member of Parliament was absent on the issues important to them, I would raise the issues directly with the minister.

The people of P.E.I. need their representatives to work tirelessly in bringing their concerns to Ottawa. The residents of Malpeque deserve better. They deserve an MP who understands their priorities and brings their interests to Ottawa. In the next election, they will demand better. They will demand a Conservative member of Parliament.

Stanley KnowlesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to one of the greatest and best loved parliamentarians in Canadian history, the former member of Parliament for Winnipeg North Centre, the Hon. Stanley Knowles, who would have been 100 years old today.

First elected in 1942 in a byelection caused by the death of J.S. Woodsworth, Stanley Knowles became a fixture and then a legend in Canadian politics, serving until 1984 when a stroke made it impossible to continue.

As a token of affection and esteem and in recognition of his extraordinary expertise, former Prime Minister Trudeau made him an honourary table officer of Parliament, giving him the extraordinary privilege of sitting at the clerks table in the House of Commons for the rest of his life.

Stanley Knowles loved this place and cherished and revered the parliamentary system. We would all do well to reflect on the dignity, integrity and common decency with which he conducted himself in his long, illustrious career.

Every day that I take my seat in the House of Commons, I am acutely aware of the honour that is mine to follow in the footsteps of that great parliamentarian and to represent the good people in the riding that he served. His name still comes up--

Stanley KnowlesStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Mississauga East—Cooksville.

Veterans AffairsStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Albina Guarnieri Liberal Mississauga East—Cooksville, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government's record on veterans affairs can be summarized as frothy promises mixed with flat results.

The government broke its promise to give VIP services to all widows and, in the last two years, only added 5,000 survivors to the program. In the last two years of the Liberal government, we added 20,000 without fanfare.

The government excluded allied veterans from the VIP in three budgets while criticizing a decade-old decision to do the same thing. It announced a Veterans Bill of Rights that had no bill, no legislation and absolutely no new rights.

On agent orange, after two years of delay, about 3% of those it promised to compensate will see any money.

However, the government followed through on the New Veterans Charter passed in 2005 and opened new OSI clinics in Calgary and Fredericton, also announced that year.

I feel that veterans deserve a government that exceeds expectations the way veterans did for their government.

Quebec National HolidayStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Paule Brunelle Bloc Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, on June 24 Quebeckers will celebrate their national holiday with a “four centuries” theme: four centuries since the founding of Quebec City, birthplace of the Quebec nation, and four centuries of francophone presence in North America.

This historical thread will be enhanced by a variety of events throughout Quebec featuring the songs and poetry that define us. As the spokespeople for the national holiday, Chloé Sainte-Marie et Jacques Lacoursière, said, “Let's use this celebration to commemorate the great moments of our collective past. From that past emerged a nation with common values and its own identity and culture.”

Chantale Trottier, president of the Mouvement national des Québécoises et Québécois, invites us to raise our flag in honour of those who forged the distinctive French culture within North America.

Happy national holiday.

Conservative Party of CanadaStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Brian Murphy Liberal Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, as MPs return to their ridings this summer, Conservatives have a lot of questions to answer.

On the Couillard affair, why did the government say that it was not putting security at risk during an ongoing security breach? Why do Conservatives treat questions of national security as gossip?

On the Cadman affair, why did they try to take advantage of a dying man's love for his family by offering him a bribe in exchange for his vote?

On Mulroney-Schreiber, why did the Conservatives go out of their way to protect their political idol and favourite lobbyist, Brian Mulroney?

On the in and out scandal, why did they cheat taxpayers with their advertising money laundering scheme? How could Elections Canada, the government body that certified that Conservatives won the last election, be biased against them?

On Omar Khadr, why does Canada's government want its citizens to continue to be abused by the internationally discredited American military justice system?

The Conservatives attack anyone who asks questions in this House of Commons. Let them try that at home with their constituents this summer.

Liberal Party of CanadaStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Dykstra Conservative St. Catharines, ON

A lot of questions will be asked this summer, Mr. Speaker, but they will be for the Liberal Party to answer. I will explain.

There is an old saying that it is better to light a candle than curse the darkness, but if the Leader of the Opposition formed government and he imposed a carbon tax, our country would face a wall of darkness.

Canadians would be lighting candles, turning on light switches and cursing the Liberals. If the Liberals were to pass their permanent tax on everything, Canadians would be paying more every time they turned on the lights, and they would know exactly who to thank.

However, there is good news. The Liberals are not government.There is still one party that has always said no to higher taxes for Canadians. There is still one party that will not make seniors and Canadians on fixed incomes pay more for their heat and hydro. That is this party and this government, and that is what leadership is all about.

National SecurityOral Questions

June 18th, 2008 / 2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Liberal Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, the RCMP testified that Julie Couillard was known to it and that it would alert the PCO if a minister was involved with someone with ties to organized crime.

The PCO testified that a background review was done for the member just this past April. The PCO also testified that the RCMP did not raise red flags about the ex-minister and Ms. Couillard. This just does not add up.

Is the government at all concerned about our national security or is it just happy to cover up the facts?

National SecurityOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, unfortunately for the member for Vancouver South and the entire Liberal Party, the facts are actually clear, which is no security flags were raised in this particular matter.

We know the reason the former minister of foreign affairs offered me his resignation was because of his own actions. He left classified documents in an inappropriate and unsecured location. He offered to resign and I accepted his resignation.

National SecurityOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Liberal Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, the RCMP could not say whether it had alerted the PCO about security concerns because it could jeopardize current, past or future investigations. However, the PCO went right ahead and issued a press release stating that the RCMP had not raised any concerns. It said that it did this to clear up media speculation.

Does clearing up media speculation matter more to the government than actually looking after the national security of this country?

National SecurityOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Party wanted to know if in fact any security flags were raised. The answer it got was no.

National SecurityOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Liberal Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, that is an alarming answer. It is actually alarming that the government continues to ignore questions about national security. It is equally alarming that it did not even occur to the PCO, which takes its orders from the Prime Minister, that it should examine the possibility of organized crime infiltrating the government.

Will the government stop the cover-up, call a public inquiry to get to the bottom of these national security concerns and do so now?

National SecurityOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the only alarm are these alarming questions with ridiculous and unfounded speculation.

The fact is that when the former minister of foreign affairs brought this to my attention, I accepted his resignation and I have obviously required officials to conduct an independent and professional investigation into the facts surrounding this so we know what the facts are, and those facts will be made very clear in due course.

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives can try to run away from their responsibilities, but they will not be able to hide forever. People need not worry—just because we are heading into the summer break does not mean that the Couillard affair will be forgotten. Far from it.

Despite attempts at infiltration and allegations of influence peddling, the Prime Minister and his cabinet, with the blessing of his Quebec lieutenant and in the presence of the former minister—if you please—appointed Julie Couillard's mother to chair the Saint-Jérome board of referees. That is what we call a “conflict of interest”.

It turns out that the Prime Minister was party to the member for Beauce's schemes. Why?