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House of Commons Hansard #116 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was information.

Topics

Women and PoliticsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, for 10 years, Élaine Hémond, a former journalist, resident of the Quebec City area and founder of the Groupe Femmes, Politique et Démocratie, has been calling on women to become more involved in politics and public life. She is known in her community as a determined and passionate woman, a visionary who brings people together. It was because of the efforts of her group that a school to inform and help women who want to get into politics was founded.

We have seen clear gains in terms of the representation of women in the most recent municipal elections. Of all these victories by women, the Bloc Québécois would particularly like to mention that of one of its former fellow members, Caroline Saint-Hilaire, whose determination, passion and integrity helped her to win the office of mayor of Longueuil, the fifth largest city in Quebec.

A number of challenges await her in her mandate and my colleagues in the Bloc Québécois join me in wishing her good luck.

Congratulations also to Élaine Hémond, who in her own way has helped to ensure that more and more women run for office.

Child PornographyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Rod Bruinooge Conservative Winnipeg South, MB

Mr. Speaker, our government remains committed to protecting Canadians, particularly our children, from crimes being committed in today's technological environment.

Child pornography is an appalling crime and should not be tolerated under any circumstances.

Today, the Minister of Justice announced legislation to make it mandatory for Internet service providers to report any tips they receive regarding incidents of Internet child pornography.

While we recognize the efforts of major Internet service providers at voluntarily reporting, this legislation will strengthen our ability to protect children from sexual exploitation.

Canadians can count on the government and the Prime Minister to stand up for the rights of victims and law-abiding citizens.

Conservative Party of CanadaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives continue to negatively stereotype Atlantic Canadians and to attack the unemployed.

The Prime Minister said Atlantic Canadians have a “can't-do attitude” and “a culture of defeat”.

Then the human resources minister said she did not want to “make it lucrative for”—the unemployed—“to stay at home and get paid for it”.

Now the member for South Shore—St. Margaret's refers to “all those no-good bastards sitting on the sidewalk in Halifax that can't get work”.

Conservative Party of CanadaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please.

I do not care if it is a quote or not, but members cannot do directly what they cannot do indirectly. We can find many quotes that contain all kinds of unparliamentary expressions that cannot be used in the House. I caution the hon. member to refrain from the use of unparliamentary language.

Conservative Party of CanadaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

I agree, Mr. Speaker, it is a despicable word to use anywhere to describe Atlantic Canadians who are suffering.

There is an unemployment rate of 9.3% in Atlantic Canada. Not only is the member attacking the unemployed, but when he says “sitting on the street”, he is attacking the homeless, many of whom suffer from mental health issues, including addiction.

The ill and destitute need our compassion and our help, but this government cut literacy funding and has done nothing to help the homeless.

When will the Conservatives stop attacking the people who need help the most? When will they stop kicking people when they are down?

The EconomyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Tilly O'Neill-Gordon Conservative Miramichi, NB

Mr. Speaker, our government is focused on helping with what matters to Canadians: helping them and their families weather the global economic downturn.

Our economic action plan is working. The extra five weeks of EI is providing much needed support to over 395,000 Canadians to date. The enhanced work-sharing program is currently protecting the jobs of over 165,000 Canadians. Unprecedented investments in training are helping Canadians receive the skills they need to enter a new career.

We recently passed legislation to provide long-tenured workers five to twenty additional weeks of EI. Cheques have already started to be delivered. We also recently introduced legislation to provide access to special benefits for self-employed Canadians for the first time in history.

While the opposition talks, Canadian families can count on our Conservative government to take action.

Post-Secondary EducationStatements By Members

November 24th, 2009 / 2:10 p.m.

NDP

Niki Ashton NDP Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, at a time when young people are facing some of the most difficult economic times, we need action to support them. We need national leadership when it comes to post-secondary education.

Instead of leadership, past Liberal governments and the current Conservative government have helped place a heavier burden on students.

What can be done? We need to start by listening. Student leaders from my home province of Manitoba, Jonny Sopotiuk and Stephen Montague with the Canadian Federation of Students and leaders from across the country have made it clear: We need action.

We need a post-secondary act directing transfer payments to our provinces with the goal of making education more accessible and strengthening the work at our institutions. The NDP is continuing to call for this. Why not show leadership in our post-secondary system the way we show it in health? We need to invest in making our education more affordable and more accessible.

Canada's youth face impossible situations: war, climate change, a difficult economy. They are counting on this government for action. Let us not let them down.

JusticeStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Dona Cadman Conservative Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, after 13 years of Liberal inaction, Canadians finally have a government that is standing up for victims and law-abiding citizens. This government has made victims of crime a priority, and we have committed to making our streets and communities safer.

We are tackling organized crime with our drug bill. We are cracking down on identity theft and auto theft. We are ending credit for time served. We are eliminating the faint hope clause. We are ending house arrest for serious crimes. We are cracking down on white collar criminals. We are ending sentence discounts for multiple murderers. We are helping to protect children from Internet sexual predators.

We are standing up for victims of crime and putting the rights of law-abiding citizens ahead of those of criminals. I only hope the Liberal leader will, for once, stand up for victims in this country by ensuring these bills get passed.

Canadians can count on the Prime Minister to stand up for the rights of victims and law-abiding citizens.

Malalai JoyaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, the arrival in Montreal this week of Malalai Joya, the former Afghan parliamentarian who was expelled from Afghanistan's parliament, reveals the rampant corruption that undermines the country's entire political system.

Ms. Joya, who is only 31 years old and was elected to the Afghan parliament in 2005, was expelled from the legislative assembly with misogynous insults and threats because she dared to denounce the collusion among elected officials, war criminals and drug traffickers, some of whom are ensconced in the most senior levels of government. Since then she has constantly had to change residences and be accompanied by body guards.

The facts documented and raised by Ms. Joya are very disturbing and worrisome for all western governments and NGOs in Afghanistan. For that reason, we should pay special attention to them and they should never be simply dismissed.

Ms. Joya is a symbol of integrity and courage for all of us.

PovertyStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, today marks the anniversary of the 1989 parliamentary motion to eliminate child poverty by 2000. That goal was not reached, so where do we go from here?

Thanks to Campaign 2000 and its partners, the House adopted a new resolution today. It is missing specific targets, but it is a start. The human resources committee continues its study on a poverty reduction strategy, but the federal government has refused a recommendation from the UN Human Rights Council that Canada needs a national strategy to eliminate poverty. The government said no to that. That is not acceptable.

Other countries have successfully reduced poverty, six provinces have poverty reduction plans, and we have vehicles like the child tax benefit and GIS that are proven to reduce poverty. We just need to make them more robust.

Canada is a fortunate land, but that good fortune is far from equally shared. Poverty is not inevitable and it can be eliminated. What it requires is political will. On this day we need to recognize where we fell short, commit to a new goal, and develop a strategy to reach it.

Child PornographyStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, in a world where technology is evolving every day, our government is taking action to protect Canadians, and more specifically, our children, against computer crimes.

Child pornography is a crime that should not be tolerated under any circumstances.

Today, our Minister of Justice announced a bill that would require suppliers of Internet services to report any information they receive concerning Internet child pornography cases. This bill will help us better protect our children from sexual exploitation.

Everyone knows that, on justice issues, Liberal and Bloc members too often defend the rights of criminals over the rights of victims. What will they do about the child pornography bill?

Fortunately, Quebeckers know that they can count on our Prime Minister, our government and the Conservative members from Quebec to defend the rights of victims and honest citizens.

New MemberRoutine Proceedings

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I have the honour to inform the House that the Clerk of the House has received from the Chief Electoral Officer a certificate of the election and return of Mr. Daniel Paillé, member for the electoral district of Hochelaga.

Mr. Daniel Paillé, member for the electoral district of Hochelaga, introduced by Mr. Gilles Duceppe and Mr. Michel Guimond.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, between January 2006 and May 2007 there was a cascade of reports about torture in Afghan jails, especially from reputable Canadian officials like Richard Colvin. It defies belief that this information never reached the Prime Minister. How can anyone believe that the Prime Minister did not himself know about torture in Afghan jails and the risk that detainees transferred there would be tortured, and if that is so, how can he possibly justify his failure to act for those crucial 18 months?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, everybody knows that there are widespread allegations. The Taliban make allegations in every case. We know that. The fact of the matter is that whenever Canadian diplomats or Canadian military officials have concrete evidence, have substantial evidence of any kind of abuse, they take appropriate action. That is what they have done in these cases.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the credible allegations were made and no action was taken.

The question is whether the government will now make available to the parliamentary inquiry the documents that it needs in order to get to the bottom of this affair. Why is it, if the government is so sure that no detainee transferred by Canada was ever abused in an Afghan jail, it will not supply the documentary evidence to prove its case before a parliamentary committee?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. leader alleges there was abuse and then says he does not have the documentation to prove it. The fact of the matter is the government has and will continue to make all legally available information available. The parliamentary committee has a request of a number of people to give testimony. I hope the committee, if it is serious, will hear testimony from all who want to testify.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, we cannot have relevant testimony without documents. The government documents on torture constitute extremely important evidence. Yesterday the Minister of National Defence promised to hand them over. Today he is retreating into secrecy.

Why is the government refusing to let the parliamentary committee get to the bottom of this affair? Why is the government so afraid of what will be found in those crucial documents?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the government will make available all the documents it can. If the parliamentary committee is serious and this is not just a political game, it should hear testimony from all those who want to testify before the committee.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Liberal Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, if the Conservatives are willing to table all key documents relating to allegations of torture as far back as May 2006 and 2007, we are ready to hear at committee any witnesses who wish to come forward. They are withholding key documentary evidence. Without this evidence, the committee cannot do its job and properly question witnesses.

In keeping with the promise he made yesterday, will the Minister of National Defence table all documentary evidence in this matter in the House? After all, some of it has already been provided to third parties in redacted form.

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, as the Prime Minister has just said, all documents that are legally required will be disclosed. We have been doing that. We continue to do that.

I want to point out that the Leader of the Opposition has just said that without those documents the committee cannot hear from witnesses. We have heard from exactly two sets of witnesses and three days of testimony. There was absolutely no qualifications on that testimony previously. I am hopeful that we will see all witnesses who want to come forward have the ability to testify, and we will not see this partisan attempt to block testimony.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Liberal Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are not just withholding documentary evidence, they also sent a letter from the justice department telling 28 public officials to keep quiet or face possible consequences. The only official to defy the threats in that letter was Richard Colvin and he has been publicly smeared by the Conservatives for speaking out.

Will the Minister of Justice table this letter and any other letters sent by his department relating to this issue? Will all of his cabinet colleagues do the same? Will they now produce all their documentary evidence in the House?

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, again, all documents legally required by the government to be disclosed will be disclosed. That is what we have done and that is what we will continue to do.

I want to draw attention to the fact that it is curious the opposition members are refusing to hear from a senior member of the public service who has actually been named by another witness. They appear reluctant to have this individual give his testimony. This seems to run completely contrary to the argument that they want to get to the bottom of the matter.

This individual has gone to great lengths to be here and to make himself available. I hope those members will not block testimony from an impartial individual who has knowledge about this issue.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence made a clear promise yesterday in the House to table all the documents, memoranda and reports concerning the allegations of torture of Afghan detainees. Tomorrow, the Special Committee on the Mission in Afghanistan plans to hear important witnesses. To do their job properly, the committee members must have the documents the Minister of National Defence promised to provide.

Instead of continuing to ignore the allegations that Afghan detainees were tortured, will the Prime Minister show transparency and table all the relevant documents now, including the 18 memoranda written by Mr. Colvin?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the government has already answered that question. There are people who want to testify before the parliamentary committee. If the committee is serious, then it has a responsibility to hear these people who want to testify.