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House of Commons Hansard #113 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was report.

Topics

Canada-Jordan Free Trade ActGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Madam Speaker, Canada has a small, open economy. We depend on external trade for our prosperity and for our jobs.

That is why it is ominous that under the current Conservative government we have the first trade deficit that we have had in 30 years. To put that in plainer terms, we are buying more as a country than we are selling. That is a very bad sign for Canadians, because we do not have the robust domestic market that, for instance, the Americans have.

This has been caused by the failure of the Conservatives to defend our interests with our largest trading partner, the United States, and the failure of the Conservatives to diversify Canada's trade relations, particularly their failure to engage India and to engage China. The Prime Minister went to India this week, finally, after four years of neglecting India. In December the Prime Minister is planning to go to China, after four years of showing contempt for China. It is not good enough to show contempt for the world's fastest growing economy at a time when Canadians need jobs and opportunities, and then after four years of contempt, go on a mea culpa tour.

Specific to the Canada-Jordan FTA, we believe that there are tremendous opportunities for Canada and Jordan in this agreement. In fact, the member for Toronto Centre, as premier of Ontario, initiated discussions with Jordan on deepening trade relations between Canada's largest province and Jordan many years ago.

We need to focus on deepening our relationship with Jordan. At the same time, it is important to recognize that Jordan is a country of five million people. It is the 85th most important destination for Canadian exports. Its economy is ranked 95th in the world by GDP.

Contrast that with China. China is expected to grow by 8.7% in 2010 and about 8.4% in 2011. India is expected to grow by 6.5% in 2010 and 7.8% in 2011. At the same time, Jordan is expected to grow by 3% next year and 3.7% in 2011.

It is a good idea to diversify our trade relations, particularly when we face such protectionism in the U.S., our biggest market, particularly during a time when the U.S. economy has been hit the hardest.

At the same time, we cannot understand why the Conservative government has taken such an ideological position relative to China. It is almost as if the Prime Minister has been fighting the cold war that ended a long time ago with China at a time when other countries are engaging China to build relations and to deepen trade opportunities.

This year Canadian exports to the U.S. have plummeted by 30%. We have seen rising protectionism from the Americans. We have seen a protectionist sentiment at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.

Whether it is the western hemisphere travel initiative, the new passport requirement that came into effect in June that has reduced cross-border same-day travel by 29%, which has had a devastating impact on border cities and communities, or the country of origin labelling that is hurting Canada's livestock industry, and more recently and perhaps most important, the buy American provisions, in every single case, the Conservative government has failed to effectively engage the Obama administration and Congress to defend Canadian interests. The fact is that over their first three years in government, the Conservatives focused so much on the Bush Republicans that they completely ignored the Democrats. Now with the Democrats in charge at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, Canada is at a disadvantage.

We are too dependent on the U.S. market, and the Conservatives have failed to defend Canada's interests in that big and important market. At the same time, we have to diversify and deepen our trade relations with countries like China and India.

Perhaps the greatest advantage and opportunity we have as a country is our head start in clean conventional energy technology. In fact, it was a Liberal government that initially invested massively in CO2 sequestration research and development in places like Weyburn, Saskatchewan. Those investments led to Canada having an advantage in clean conventional energy. In fact, Canada has the best technology in the world in carbon sequestration technology.

This summer, China signed a memorandum of understanding with the Obama administration to cooperate on the research and development of CO2 sequestration technology. The question we have to ask ourselves is: Why did China go to the U.S. for CO2 sequestration technology when in fact Canada has the best CO2 sequestration technology?

There are only two answers that make any sense. It is one of two things. Either the Conservative government's contempt for China over the last four years has damaged the relationship to such a point that China does not want to come to Canada for anything, or perhaps it is that the Conservatives have refused to promote Canada's clean energy solutions to the world. Either way it is damning because the Conservatives do not recognize the important comparative advantage Canada has in the research and development and export of clean energy technologies and solutions.

Perhaps the fastest growing area of the 21st century economy is going to be in clean energy and clean energy solutions. It is an area where Canada has a natural advantage as a traditional conventional energy producer. It is an area wherein the previous Liberal government invested to develop a global advantage in the area of clean conventional energy. It is an advantage that the Conservatives are frittering away in their ideological fight with China, their naive treatment of the fastest growing economies in the world, and their absolute incompetence in managing trade relations with those important economies that provide Canadians with the opportunities and the jobs of the future.

We do believe that there are opportunities for Canada in Jordan and there are opportunities for Jordan in Canada. The opportunities for us to trade and deepen the relationship is welcome, but we have real challenges with the fact that the Conservatives have so neglected the greatest opportunities.

In 1993 Prime Minister Chrétien went to China with the Team Canada mission. He took 300 senior executives of Canadian companies and all Canadian premiers, except Lucien Bouchard, with him. They signed billions of dollars' worth of agreements with China at that time, deepening the relationship, creating jobs for Canadians.

Mr. Chrétien at that time also led trade missions to India. Again he took with him hundreds of Canadian business people and the Canadian premiers. He engaged Indian government leaders and business leaders in business, not in photo ops.

This week the Prime Minister has gone to India. In his mea culpa tour to India and China, he has a handful of Canadian business people in India, but not enough to sign the kinds of deals that were signed when Mr. Chrétien was prime minister. That is because of the fact that the Conservative Prime Minister is more interested in photo ops and his mea culpa tour than he is in developing real business opportunities and jobs for Canadians.

The Prime Minister does not recognize Canada's multicultural policy not just as a successful social policy but as an economic advantage. The Liberal Party developed the multicultural policy and believes it is not only a social advantage but an economic advantage. We should be engaging our multicultural entrepreneurs to build natural bridges to the fastest growing economies in the world, economies like India and China.

Next month when the Prime Minister goes to China, he will have a lot of explaining to do. The Prime Minister has spent four years treating China with contempt. He failed to go to the opening of the Beijing Olympics. When I was in China in September, there were meetings with Canadian business people doing business in China, meetings with Chinese officials, and in every meeting the no-show of the Conservative Prime Minister at the opening of the Beijing Olympics was raised. It is a real issue. This is not a construct. It has cost Canadian business; it has cost Canadian deals. It has shown a Prime Minister who does not understand the importance of relationships in China.

The fact is that the Conservative government and members of the Conservative Party have attacked the Liberal leader for being too worldly when they should in fact be apologizing for their leader not being worldly enough. We have a Prime Minister of Canada today who does not understand the opportunities presented to Canada by the world. Canada, the most multicultural and diverse country anywhere in the world, has tremendous opportunities as we see the emergence of economies like China and India. He is a Prime Minister who does not understand Canada's responsibility to the world, to develop and promote the clean energy solutions that the world needs.

The Prime Minister, when it came to trade relations with places like India, started on third base. Four years later, he hit a single and he thinks he is hitting a home run. The fact is he has hurt our relations with China. He has damaged our relationship with India. Four years later, he is indulging himself in a photo op tour which, at best, can repair some of the damage that his rigid ideological perspective has created for Canadian companies, business leaders and workers in those important economies.

We in the Liberal Party believe there are opportunities in a Canada-Jordan trade agreement but we also believe that the Conservative management of Canada's historically important relations with places like China and India have been an abject failure. The Conservatives' treatment of those relationships has hurt Canadian competitiveness, has damaged our capacity to protect the jobs of today and has hurt the capacity for us to create the jobs of tomorrow.

Canada-Jordan Free Trade ActGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Madam Speaker, I listened with interest to the member for Kings—Hants. I always listen to him with interest. Sometimes I agree and sometimes I profoundly disagree. I listened very attentively.

The reality is that Jordan is not Colombia and we have to look at the Jordan issue of this trade agreement on its own merits. Of course, there are concerns around human rights in Jordan, concerns around some of the actions of the Jordanian government and concerns around the rights particularly of women migrant workers who come to Jordan.

When this bill goes to committee, which I assume at some point it may, much before any other of the trade bills before the House, would the member not agree that there needs to be effective hearings? Would he agree that the committee needs to hear from women's organizations, human rights organizations, environmental organizations, labour organizations, as well as the business community, so that the committee can ascertain the real impact of this trade agreement?

Canada-Jordan Free Trade ActGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Madam Speaker, of course the Liberal Party is concerned about issues of rights. The Liberal Party has always been engaged in the defence of human rights. In fact, we believe trade, free trade and human rights go hand in hand because effective economic engagement actually strengthens the capacity to engage on rights. Pierre Trudeau was no slouch when it came to the defence of human rights. At the same time, he saw the wisdom of engaging China. He was the first Western leader to establish diplomatic relations with post-revolution China.

The disconnect we have with the NDP is that it somehow sees legitimate economic trade as being the enemy of human rights. In fact, the best thing we can do for a country that is developing its economy is to engage it economically. Then we can have an influence on them on human rights.

The Conservatives' isolationist approach to China has created a situation where we have less influence on human rights in China today than we did four years ago under a Liberal government. The fact is more economic engagement can strengthen the capacity to engage on human rights. I just wish the NDP members would be more open to the proven fact that free trade and a rules-based system can strengthen our engagement with these countries on human rights. I wish they would not be so ideologically rigid.

Canada-Jordan Free Trade ActGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Cardin Bloc Sherbrooke, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to ask the member for Kings—Hants what he thinks about the fact that today, the Conservative government put forward a free trade agreement with Jordan.

It is a small country. In general, we are in favour of trade. Not to judge the country, but given the current situation, we have to wonder whether the government will be able to structure international trade, set policies and apply them properly. The government reminds us of a child in kindergarten. The Conservatives are in their first year of international trade kindergarten, and they have been held back three times already. They seem to understand nothing about international trade. They are cutting their teeth on small countries, while major markets are opening up, which we could be investing much more energy in.

I would like to know what the member thinks about the Conservative government and the development of its international trade policy. Ideally, we should not be signing bilateral agreements; we should be focusing primarily on multilateral agreements, ensuring that the rules of the game are the same for everyone. But what is happening is that we are signing a pile of bilateral agreements with some somewhat distorted rules.

I would like to hear what my colleague thinks.

Canada-Jordan Free Trade ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Madam Speaker, I thank the member for his question.

It is clear that the Conservatives do not understand and do not support a multilateral approach. It is also clear that we must diversify our international trade relations.

I do not understand why the Conservatives always concentrate on the small markets and completely ignore the big markets like China and India. I agree with the member; multilateralism is very important for Canada. The Conservatives do not understand this system. At the same time, we must develop and diversify our international trade relations, and the Conservatives are completely incompetent when it comes to this.

Canada-Jordan Free Trade ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont Alberta

Conservative

Mike Lake ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Madam Speaker, I was riveted as I listened to the speech of the hon. member. He spoke glowingly of former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien. It struck me as a little odd. As I was listening to him I was also looking at some past issues of Hansard from 2000. I note the hon. member had this to say:

I was appalled at the recent national Liberal convention, which I attended as an observer for my party. I also was a commentator for CBC and CTV. I was there for the weekend and I felt a bit like an undercover rabbi at a PLO conference.

He went on to say:

It was an interesting experience, to say the least, but the fact is that what I learned disappointed me about the leadership of the Liberal Party at this time. Frankly, I had expected that the Prime Minister would have had a better idea of where the world was going...

The member said that when Chrétien was the prime minister. Could he could explain the change in his views since then?

Canada-Jordan Free Trade ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Madam Speaker, that reminds me of the time when John Maynard Keynes was involved in a debate and his opponents said, “Mr. Keynes, your view on monetary policy has changed dramatically over the last 20 years because 20 years ago this is what you said on monetary policy”. Keynes said, “Well, sir, the facts have changed and when the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?”

The facts are the Chrétien government and the Martin government understood the importance of China and India, as did the Mulroney government, as did the Diefenbaker government and the Trudeau government. The only government of any political stripe in Canada over the last 40 years to not understand the importance of engaging China has been the current Conservative government. It has betrayed a bipartisan commitment to engagement of China in developing Canadian jobs in China.

Canada-Jordan Free Trade ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Madam Speaker, the member was asked by my colleague, the member for Burnaby—New Westminster, about hearings at committee stage and he did not answer the question.

Is the member in favour of hearings at the committee stage so a variety of presenters can come and have their say?

Canada-Jordan Free Trade ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Absolutely, Madam Speaker. I will be looking forward to committee and to hearing from witnesses and hearing the potential impact that the agreement can have on the people of Jordan and the people of Canada in terms of the economic and social impact on both countries.

This is something we have done, for instance, at committee with the Canada-Colombia agreement. The overwhelming evidence is that the Canada-Colombia FTA will strengthen and improve the lives of Colombians, their economic opportunities and their rights and securities.

This is the kind of information we garner when we actually listen to witnesses with an open mind, as opposed to badgering them with ideological rhetoric, as has been the case with the NDP when witnesses appear.

Canada-Jordan Free Trade ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

Resuming debate. The hon. member for Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques has the floor. I just want to let him know that he can begin his remarks, but that I will have to interrupt him at 2 p.m.

Canada-Jordan Free Trade ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

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

Madam Speaker, the Bloc Québécois is the only party on Parliament Hill that truly defends the interests of Quebeckers, and it is the only party that has remained faithful to its values and principles. We are the only party with integrity.

The provisions of Bill C-57, to implement the Free Trade Agreement between Canada and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, are such that the members of the Bloc Québécois can vote in favour of the agreement.

However, we want to express some criticisms that we hope will be taken into account and will help the Conservative Party and maybe even the Liberal Party change their approach. Despite the fact that we support Bill C-57, we feel that the Conservatives are wrong to negotiate bilateral agreements at the expense of multilateral agreements.

Why do we support this bill? Despite the fact that Jordan is, quite frankly, a small trading partner, an agreement with the country is in Quebec's best interests. In this time of economic turmoil, with a forestry industry in crisis, this agreement can give private woodlot owners and the forestry industry in Quebec a leg up.

The Conservative government's refusal to help the forestry sector as much as it helped Ontario's automotive sector is doing nothing of course to improve the situation facing thousands of workers who have been hit hard by the current forestry crisis.

Considering the fact that out of the $35 million worth that Quebec exports to Jordan, $25 million comes from the pulp and paper sector, the agreement in question would allow us to maintain this situation, for one, as well as offer new opportunities to our pulp and paper producers and to our private woodlot owners, of whom there are 130,000 in Quebec. It is also important to consider the fact that our trade balance with Jordan is in Quebec's favour.

Unlike Bill C-23, which we have been discussing for quite some time now in the House, that is, the free trade agreement between Canada and the Republic of Colombia, the agriculture that goes on in Jordan does not present a threat to Quebec farmers. The proof is that the Union des producteurs agricoles du Québec, of which I was once president for my region, supports this bill. However, despite the fact that natural ground and surface waters, in their liquid, gas or solid form, are excluded from the agreement by the enabling statute, the Bloc Québécois noted that this exclusion is not written into the text of the agreement itself.

That is why the Bloc Québécois would like to ensure that Quebec's major water resources are clearly excluded from the agreement, so that control over their development remains in the hands of Quebeckers and the Quebec nation.

Considering that Canada has already entered into a trade agreement with Israel, signing a similar agreement with a neighbouring country, whose relations with Israel can be difficult, would help show a certain balance in interests in the Middle East region.

Canada-Jordan Free Trade ActGovernment Orders

2 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

I am sorry to have to interrupt the hon. member for Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques. He will have approximately fifteen and a half minutes when debate resumes on this bill.

Statements by members. The hon. member for Huron—Bruce.

Discover Canada GuideStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Ben Lobb Conservative Huron—Bruce, ON

Madam Speaker, I stand in the House today to pay tribute to Canada's new immigration study guide, launched by the hon. Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism last Thursday.

Titled “Discover Canada”, the new guide is a vast improvement over its predecessor. With its emphasis toward a greater understanding of Canada's history, values, symbols and important Canadian institutions, the new guide serves as a valuable resource, not only for prospective Canadians, but for current Canadians as well. The guide also highlights the sacrifices made by Canada's veterans and promotes a deeper understanding of Canada's identity.

This fall, Huron—Bruce was named one of the most patriotic ridings in Canada. Last week, the people of Huron—Bruce were once again proud to be Canadian with the launch of the new immigration guide.

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Madam Speaker, I stand today to again request the government to establish the infrastructure to assist in the development, domestic use and export of clean wind energy on P.E.I.

Shamefully, the Prime Minister cancelled a signed agreement of the previous government, including $32 million to fund a Northumberland Strait energy cable. However, today's reality should allow the Prime Minister to reconsider.

With the Copenhagen conference emphasizing sound environmental policy, a cable to allow the movement of surplus wind energy would blunt the criticism of the government's tragic environmental record. Better yet, the province has endorsed an energy strategy utilizing wind to create clean energy and an improved economy.

Three years have been lost. However, the opportunity still exists to partner with P.E.I. to develop clean energy for domestic and export use. I appeal to the Prime Minister to fund this excellent economic opportunity.

Marc LacroixStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Claude DeBellefeuille Bloc Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Madam Speaker, today I would like to acknowledge the ingenuity, creativity and especially the perseverance of Marc Lacroix, a new resident and young entrepreneur of the town of Huntingdon.

Mr. Lacroix is an artist and promoter who created a game that comes highly recommended in the 2010 toy guide of the Protégez-Vous magazine. This game was designed to teach children between 8 and 14 how to draw and paint using a step-by-step approach.

Fourteen students from the Châteauguay Valley Regional High School are involved in the production of this game, which is assembled at the Huntingdon factory.

Huntingdon has faced many textile plant closures and is coming through with flying colours. I must commend the dynamism of this young entrepreneur who is contributing to the economic development of the town of Huntingdon through his leadership and his commitment to his community.

Congratulations Mr. Lacroix.

PovertyStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, Food Bank Canada's HungerCount 2009 report stated that Canadians' use of food banks has swelled by almost 17%. That is 800,000 people who depend on food banks, including almost 300,000 children. This is the largest increase recorded in Canadian history and it represents a severe condemnation of the failed economic policies of the government.

Government members need to understand that the recession is not just about decreased profit margins, it is also about real families across Canada struggling to feed their children.

In my hometown of Hamilton, this increase means that over 22,000 people are now relying on food banks.

The report included recommendations to implement a national poverty prevention strategy, to improve our EI system and to increase the GIS for low income seniors.

Food banks are not the cure; they are just a temporary relief from the symptoms. The disease is poverty, and it is made worse by the inaction of the government.

Wedding Anniversary CongratulationsStatements By Members

November 19th, 2009 / 2 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Anders Conservative Calgary West, AB

Mr. Speaker, constituents, Harry and Femmy Slagter, are celebrating their 55th wedding anniversary.

They came from Holland and theirs was a case of love at first sight. Harry joined the navy but still had a year to serve. He promised Femmy he would follow her. At the age of 21, he waved goodbye to his family and set sail for Canada. A two year courtship followed.

On November 19, 1954, they began their journey together as husband and wife. In 1959, they moved their growing family to Calgary. Harry is a welder who graduated with honours. Femmy won medals in speed skating, served as a nurse and also worked for Harry Strom, the former premier of Alberta.

Harry and Femmy's children have all married and are busy raising families. The Slagter family consists of 10 children, 51 grandchildren, 27 great-grandchildren and 20 spouses of children and grandchildren for a total of 110, and growing.

Harry and Femmy Slagter attend the Bethel United Reformed Church and are blessed to know the word of the Lord.

Nelson Mandela International DayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, on the occasion of Nelson Mandela becoming an honorary citizen of Canada in an historic ceremony eight years ago today, I said in the House:

Nelson Mandela is a metaphor and message of the long march toward freedom, of the struggle against racism and hate, and of the struggle for human rights, human dignity, democracy and peace.

This honorary citizenship will have a historic and inspiring resonance for Canadians, for good relations between Canada and Africa, and for...our common humanity.

I am sure all members of this House will join me today in expressing our delight that the United Nations General Assembly has decided to mark July 18, Mandela's birthday, as Nelson Mandela International Day so that on this day, Canada, in concert with the other members of the international community and people of the world, can recognize and reaffirm the enduring contribution of this great humanitarian to the general welfare of humanity.

Danielle's Place Eating Disorder Support and Resource CentreStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Terence Young Conservative Oakville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the volunteers and staff at Danielle's Place Eating Disorder Support and Resource Centre, in Halton, who have improved the lives of hundreds of patients and families.

Danielle Mayeur lost her battle with anorexia in September 2001 at age 25 in a health care system that did not understand this complex and dangerous disease, but her vision of a place of compassionate and humane services for the sufferers of eating disorders was founded after her death by her mother, Carolyn.

Danielle's place has served over 1,500 clients, ages 10 to 65, who come from all over southern Ontario.

I especially acknowledge Dr. Randy Staab, Dr. Les Greenberg and Dr. Joanne Dolhanty at Credit Valley Hospital who use the innovative practice of emotion focused therapy. They are successfully helping patients reverse the debilitating symptoms of anorexia.

With the help of Danielle's Place and these medical pioneers, people with eating disorders need not suffer alone and now have real hope for a healthier future.

World March for Peace and NonviolenceStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Meili Faille Bloc Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, today, as part of the World March for Peace and Nonviolence, students from the Chêne-Bleu and Soulanges secondary schools in my riding of Vaudreuil-Soulanges will march two kilometres to encourage us to adhere to the charter for a world without violence.

This march is the initiative of World Without Wars, an international organization, and the humanist movement, in partnership with organizations and personalities around the world, and calls for an end to all wars, the dismantling of nuclear weapons and an end to all forms of violence. On November 11, 2009, at the summit of Nobel peace laureates in Berlin, the world march was given the title of emissary for the charter for a world without violence. The march organizers promised to disseminate this charter throughout the world.

On behalf of my Bloc Québécois colleagues, I want to congratulate the students at the Soulanges and Chêne-Bleu secondary schools for their efforts, which inspire us all to commit to a world without violence.

The EconomyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Sylvie Boucher Conservative Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, in this global economic downturn, one thing is obvious: the Canadian economy is doing better than most and we are leading the global recovery. This was confirmed today by the OECD in its economic report.

Although global recovery is fragile, Canada is one of the strongest G7 countries in terms of GDP growth for next year and we will lead the G7 for growth in 2011.

The OECD points out that our Conservative government's economic action plan is contributing to the recovery.

But we must remain focused. We need to stay the course, keep the focus on the economy and fully implement our economic action plan.

That is what the OECD recommends and it is exactly what our Conservative government is doing. We are fighting the recession while the leader of the Bloc Québécois and his party vote against economic recovery.

Ukraine Presidential ElectionStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Borys Wrzesnewskyj Liberal Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, today we welcome Mr. Yaroslav Davydovych.

Mr. Davydovych is the former chair of Ukraine's Central Electoral Commission. He was almost singularly responsible in not accepting the fraudulent second round results of the Ukrainian presidential elections in 2004. He did this at great potential danger to himself and his family.

He alone refused to sign the official tabulation of voting results that would have made the fraudulent elections official. Mr. Davydovych's principled integrity led to a constitutional impasse and a Ukrainian Supreme Court review of the elections. He alone among officials provided critical evidence during the Supreme Court case, while as many as half a million protested during those historic weeks of the Orange Revolution.

He is in Canada to warn of the need for vigilance in the upcoming January 2010 presidential elections and of the need for adequate assistance from Canada's government to ensure that the democratic free will of the Ukrainian people prevails.

I know that all colleagues will want to join me in welcoming Mr. Yaroslav Davydovych to Canada.

Middle EastStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Candice Bergen Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, since our government took power, the Liberals have continually reminded us by their inaction that it is one thing to offer supportive words to Israel when it is convenient and another to be consistent in steadfast support when it matters.

When rockets were raining down on Israel in 2006, it was our government that proudly stood with our friends in the democratic family of nations, the state of Israel. What did the Liberal leader do? He accused Israel of war crimes.

We were the first government in the world to cut funding to the Hamas-led government in Gaza, which the then Liberal foreign affairs critic, the member for Vancouver South, criticized.

Earlier this year, we led the movement in refusing to attend the Durban conference, which was blatantly anti-Israel, just like we boldly led the walkout on the Iranian president's speech at the UN.

If the Liberals want to compare records, we welcome this comparison. Our government and our Prime Minister will continue to support--

Middle EastStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Middle EastStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please. The hon. member for Windsor--Tecumseh.