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House of Commons Hansard #112 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was office.

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 Miramichi.

[Members sang the national anthem]

Aurora Barbarians Rugby Football ClubStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Lois Brown Conservative Newmarket—Aurora, ON

Mr. Speaker, on October 31, the Aurora Barbarians men's rugby team took their second Ontario Rugby Union championship in three years, beating the Oakville Crusaders 12 to 11 at Fletcher's Fields in Markham, Ontario. In addition, the men's club claimed their fourth straight Marshall Premiership League title.

It is clear that the Aurora Barbarians Rugby Football Club has become the centre of rugby excellence in Ontario and perhaps in Canada. The Barbarians organization also continues to field strong women's junior and senior teams and boasts the strongest junior men's program in the country.

The Aurora Barbarians organization is active in my community, offering youth from 10 years old the opportunity to get involved in sport and offering them opportunities to excel at the highest levels as they mature. It also provides them with a medium to meet and interact with players across the country and around the world.

I ask that my colleagues join me in congratulating the Aurora Barbarians organization on a job well done.

Peggy's Cove Post OfficeStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, Peggy's Cove is a top tourist destination, world-renowned for its spectacular beauty. I am told that it was the only place where one could get a cancellation stamp from a lighthouse. However, Canada Post closed the Peggy's Cove post office and took the stamp with it.

Why did the government let Canada Post shut down a unique part of our maritime history? Will the minister ensure that this decision is reviewed immediately and insist that Canada Post find a way to restore the Peggy's Cove post office?

Centre Alpha des Basques Literacy CentreStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Guimond Bloc Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, today I would like to highlight the 25th anniversary of the Centre d'alphabétisation des Basques in Trois-Pistoles, commonly known as Centre Alpha.

Over the years, this organization has excelled in fulfilling its mandate to organize and offer basic learning activities, and to transmit general knowledge to people who are illiterate or have little education.

Centre Alpha helps many individuals develop their academic, personal and social skills, and does a great job of promoting public awareness of the problem of illiteracy.

I would like to congratulate the founding members, whose idea for this project has become a wonderful support for the community. I would also like to thank its many dedicated and motivated volunteers for their hard work.

I wish Centre Alpha another 25 years of success.

Chelsea DonelonStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honour a truly inspirational young woman from my riding of Edmonton—Strathcona. Two years ago, at the age of 15, Chelsea Donelon, an aspiring Olympic skier, survived a catastrophic car crash that killed her mother and two grandparents and left Chelsea a paraplegic. This would have left most of us defeated, but Chelsea has a remarkable spirit.

Inspired by Chelsea, her schoolmates and teachers pulled together to raise over $26,000 to refit her home. Chelsea has remained on the honour roll at her school. Showing immense courage and determination, Chelsea has now joined the championship Strathcona High School swim team, competing against able-bodied athletes. Her dedicated swim coach, volunteer Kirby Feng, has vowed that, if she wishes, he will help her get to the Olympics.

Chelsea Donelon is a role model for all young Canadian women. I ask the House today to salute this wonderful young woman and wish her every happiness and success in her many pursuits.

Gibsons, British ColumbiaStatements By Members

November 18th, 2009 / 2:05 p.m.

Conservative

John Weston Conservative West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to congratulate the town of Gibsons for earning the coveted award as the world's most liveable town with a population under 20,000. The United Nations-backed International Awards for Liveable Communities presented the award last month in the Czech Republic.

With a population of 4,200, Gibsons is on the magnificent Sunshine Coast of the riding I represent. Gibsons won the award for best practices and leadership in creating a socially and environmentally sound community. A 40-minute ferry ride from West Vancouver, this world-leading town includes the quaint fishing village of Gibsons Landing, past home to The Beachcombers TV show, and the commercial industrial hub of Upper Gibsons on Highway 101, which connects Gibsons to Sechelt and the rest of the beautiful Sunshine Coast.

Last month's award recognizes Gibsons' ambitious development that conserves energy, water and land. Congratulations to the town of Gibsons for winning acknowledgement of the splendour about which its residents and visitors already knew.

Drug Awareness WeekStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Lise Zarac Liberal LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, this week is Drug Awareness Week in Quebec. The theme is “Where are you at?”

As in previous years, government authorities in Quebec have distributed educational materials to schools and CEGEPs to raise drug and alcohol awareness among our young people and to teach them about the risks and consequences associated with substance abuse. Making information available to people is the best way to prevent addiction.

The Conservative government's drug strategy will not have an impact on addiction, nor will it protect public health. Coercive tactics and cuts to prevention programs are not effective ways to fight addiction.

During Drug Awareness Week, the Conservative government should focus on getting better results by implementing concrete measures to fight drug addiction and substance abuse in Canada.

Halton Region Health Care WorkersStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Terence Young Conservative Oakville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to commend the health care professionals, including nurses and support personnel, of Halton Region who serve my riding of Oakville as well as the ridings of Burlington and Halton.

On October 28 they opened the first of five H1N1 vaccination clinics to priority patients, and after the first day they maintained reasonable wait times of 15 to 45 minutes. Seventy-three thousand patients were vaccinated in the first 10 days. That was a great success under challenging circumstances.

Halton physicians are now administering 25,000 doses of the vaccine to students and senior citizens.

The Government of Canada ensured timely delivery of the vaccine to our community, and Halton Region staff ensured that our citizens were vaccinated against H1N1 in an orderly, efficient and safe manner.

On behalf of my constituents, I thank them and congratulate them.

Mylène BrodeurStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Christian Ouellet Bloc Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw the attention of the House to the outstanding results achieved by a figure skater from my riding, Mylène Brodeur, from Stanbridge Station.

The ISU Grand Prix includes six figure skating competitions that Mylène and her skating partner, John Mattatall, participate in. At the Rostelecom Cup, which was held in Moscow from October 22 to 25, where they were Canada's only competitors in the pairs category, Mylène and John placed sixth with a total of 141.59 points.

Then, in early November, at the NHK Trophy in Tokyo, the pair placed fifth with a score of 150.71, which allows them to move on to the Grand Prix finals to be held in December in Tokyo.

On behalf of my Bloc Québécois colleagues, I would like to commend Mylène Brodeur and her partner, John Mattatall, on their perseverance. I wish them the best of luck in the finals.

Canada-India RelationsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Dona Cadman Conservative Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is on his way home from a very successful three-day visit to India.

Despite the long-term damage created by the Liberals to Canada's relationship with India, our government is working hard to expand Canada's economic presence in India.

Yesterday the Minister of International Trade and India's Minister of Commerce and Industry signed a memorandum of understanding toward an economic partnership agreement. Once in place, this economic partnership will help expand trade, encourage economic growth and create jobs in both Canada and India.

Our government has also advanced negotiations on an international treaty and a nuclear cooperation agreement.

This economic partnership with India is just another example to Canadians that they can count on this Conservative government and the Prime Minister to encourage economic growth and open doors for Canadian businesses.

Boris CikovicStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Borys Wrzesnewskyj Liberal Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I recently attended a candlelight vigil for Boris Cikovic who was gunned down in a local park by teen thugs trying to rob him.

The murder of Boris forever shattered the lives of his parents Vesna and Davorin and his many friends.

Soon after I was first elected, this lighthearted teen came into my office pointing out that “Borys” was misspelled on the office sign.

What is especially tragic is that the Cikovices were refugees from the horrific war in Bosnia. They escaped to the presumed safety of Canada to start a new life far from the guns and bullets of Sarajevo.

Their Canadian dream was shattered a year ago when Boris took a bullet into his very heart.

The accused killer refuses to cooperate with police and identify three others who were with him, and he is out on bail. The Cikovices struggle with the unbearable knowledge that they are possibly passing the cowardly perpetrators of this murder on the streets in their very own neighbourhood.

As legislators, let us work to ensure that the streets of our cities are free from guns and bullets.

National Day of Remembrance for Road Crash VictimsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, today marks the National Day of Remembrance for Road Crash Victims, an occasion for Canadians to remember friends or family who have lost their lives or who have been injured on our roads.

Our government is working hard to improve road safety for the protection of all Canadians. We passed strict street-racing laws, introduced legislation to crack down on drug-impaired driving, and proposed tougher standards for child car seats.

Our government, along with all provinces and territories, also adopted road safety vision 2010, a national road safety initiative with the goal of reducing fatalities by 30% by 2010, and we are seeing positive results. The number of fatal collisions in 2008 was at its lowest level in almost 60 years.

Nobody can turn back the clock, but we can work together to help continue the downward trend in road crash fatalities.

Air Passengers' Bill of RightsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Ken Young of Oshawa, Ontario, booked a flight with a Canadian carrier for his wife, Claudia, to attend the upcoming university graduation of their son, Chris, in England on December 17, 2009. Everything was confirmed and organized, with a connecting flight, until the carrier cancelled and rescheduled the flight for three hours later. The result was that the customer would miss the non-refundable connecting flight and would miss the graduation altogether.

Now the customer will only receive 50% back on his ticket and will lose the entire connector flight from London to Plymouth, England. This is no way to treat paying passengers. When Mr. Young contacted the Canadian carrier, he was told the airline could change anything it wanted to, whenever it wanted to, with absolutely no accountability to the customer.

The air passengers' bill of rights would have forced the airline to offer the Youngs full reimbursement of the ticket price.

It is unfair for airlines to gouge and take advantage of Canadians. I urge my colleagues in the House of Commons to support Canada's first—

Air Passengers' Bill of RightsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Lotbinière--Chutes-de-la-Chaudière.

IndiaStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, today, the Prime Minister began his return trip to Canada after a very productive three-day visit to India.

Despite the long-term damage the Liberals did to Canada's relations with India, our government is working very hard to increase Canada's economic presence there.

Yesterday, the Minister of International Trade and India's Minister of Commerce and Industry signed a memorandum of understanding with a view to a comprehensive economic partnership agreement.

This economic partnership will help expand trade, open doors for Canadian and Quebec exporters, encourage economic growth and create jobs both in Canada and in India.

This partnership will deliver commercial benefits across many sectors of the economy of Canada and Quebec, including forest products, nickel, aircraft, electrical machinery, fish and seafood products and agricultural products.

This comprehensive economic partnership with India is yet more proof that Canadians can count on our government to promote economic growth and create opportunities for Canadian businesses.

Hélène PedneaultStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, on Sunday, Hélène Pedneault was honoured posthumously as “patriot of the year” by the Saint Jean Baptiste society. Although she has been gone for a year now, this compassionate and articulate woman of great intellect still lives on in our memory. Until the end, Hélène Pedneault's trademark indignation continued to drive her to take up causes and fight for what was right.

She was an activist of conviction and a convincing activist who waded into many a battle. She fought for equality between men and women. She co-founded the Eau Secours organization to ensure that water remains public property and accessible to everyone. She worked tirelessly within the Bloc Québécois in Joliette and on the Conseil de la souveraineté in order to help Quebec become its own country with its own voice on the world stage.

Her literary accomplishments and her work as a journalist show that the written and spoken word can become tremendous tools for social and political change. We will remember Hélène Pedneault as a friend, an activist, a humanist and, most of all, as a patriot.

Courage CanadaStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Alan Tonks Liberal York South—Weston, ON

Mr. Speaker, on a day when we recognize the tremendous contribution of the CNIB, I rise to extend our congratulations to Courage Canada founder, Mark DeMontis.

Raised to never give up, Mark has achieved a great deal in the five years since he was diagnosed with Leber's optic neuropathy. Able to see nothing directly in front of him and only making out shadows and outlines in his periphery, he has never driven a car again or read a book, but he has still found a way to skate.

He joined one of six teams in Canada with blind players, while pursuing his education at the University of Western Ontario. Noticing that blind hockey was only available to a small group of adults, he decided to found Courage Canada to raise awareness of blind hockey.

After gruelling and difficult training, he began a journey across Canada and completed 5,000 kilometres on in-line skates. It took him three months to cross five provinces, and with the help of Lions Clubs and volunteers, he raised $60,000 to support his not-for-profit organization, Courage Canada.

I invite the House to join me in congratulating Mark DeMontis, a great Canadian.

Liberal Party of CanadaStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Dykstra Conservative St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal leader shows just how disconnected he is from the priorities of Canadians with each passing day.

While we are focused on the economy and helping Canadians, he continues his pursuit of forcing an unnecessary and unwanted election that will harm our economic recovery.

Yesterday his party stood alone in the House in voting against Canada's economic recovery, for an early election again.

The Liberals voted against the popular and recession-fighting home renovation tax credit, assistance for first-time home buyers and Canadian businesses, tax benefits for low-income workers and help for farmers in drought and flood regions.

It is the same old game with the Liberal leader, which highlights a key difference between our government and his party.

Canadians want us to fight the recession; the Liberals want to fight the recovery. Canadians want us to govern; the Liberals want an unnecessary election.

It is yet further proof that the Liberal Party members are not in it for Canadians. They are in it for themselves.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the question I have is for the Minister of State of Foreign Affairs for the Americas.

When Richard Colvin, who is a foreign service officer of great distinction, went to Kandahar in April of 2006, he said that he found the condition of Afghan detainees, and I quote from his affidavit, to be “serious, imminent and alarming”, as a result of which he wrote what he described as an “action memorandum” to his department, as well as to other departments.

I would like to ask the minister, given the fact it was an action memorandum, why did it take the government 18 months—

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. Minister of National Defence.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway

Mr. Speaker, in fact, two and a half years ago, we did action this particular file. We received concerns about conditions in Afghan prisons. As a result, we instituted a more robust system of visitation. We instituted investments to improve those conditions. We instituted a more rigorous process of assisting Afghans with respect to human rights.

We inherited an inadequate transfer arrangement that had been left in place by the previous government. We improved upon that two and a half years ago. We continue to work both with local officials and members in all departments to improve things.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Colvin went on in his affidavit to say, “I also obtained firsthand reports of torture and personally saw evidence of injuries related to torture suffered by detainees”.

No matter how much the Minister of National Defence might huff and puff, the simple fact of the matter is that there was an 18-month period, not a month, not 6 weeks, not 8 weeks, but 18 months in which the government had information and did nothing and performed no action whatsoever.

How can he explain 18 months of inaction dealing with something as serious as firsthand evidence of torture from a Canadian public official?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway

Mr. Speaker, I think we all know here in the House who is doing the huffing and puffing and hyperventilating and pontificating. It is the member opposite.

What I have already said and will repeat is that we acted upon recommendations that were coming from officials within the department from numerous sources. We improved upon regular visitations to see that conditions were in fact improving. We invested in the prison system and infrastructure itself. We improved upon the transfer arrangement.

We continue to make those investments. We are there to help the Afghan people do more for themselves and improve the human rights in Afghanistan.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

But the question remains, Mr. Speaker. The fact is that the Government of Canada took 18 months to change the conditions and respond to Mr. Colvin's affidavit, which is very clear on the subject of torture.

Can the minister explain—this is a very simple question—why it took 18 months, a year and a half, for the Government of Canada to respond to the recommendations made by its own employee, Mr. Colvin?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway

Mr. Speaker, once again, we actioned this file where the previous government had failed. In fact, it was not—