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House of Commons Hansard #119 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was drugs.

Topics

Child Protection LegislationStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Laurie Hawn Conservative Edmonton Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to be part of a government that has a proven record in protecting Canadians.

We have introduced legislation to fight gangs, organized crime and white collar crime and to curtail identity theft.

This week, the Minister of Justice introduced legislation that would make reporting online child pornography mandatory. This legislation is the next step in our government's efforts to fight the sexual exploitation of children. It would require suppliers of Internet services to report tips they receive from the public to a designated agency. At the moment, such actions are voluntary. The bill would set graduated fines for failure to comply.

A mandatory reporting regime across Canada would strengthen our ability to protect our children from sexual predators. It would help police to rescue these young victims and to prosecute the criminals responsible.

We must always remain on the offensive when it comes to keeping our children and neighbourhoods safe. I would like to thank the Minister of Justice and all members of this House who are working on this legislation and I encourage it to be passed in a timely manner.

Working together we can deliver real results for Canadians. That is why we were elected.

Official LanguagesStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Bloc

France Bonsant Bloc Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, for two days, the member for Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière has been saying he is insulted, claiming that the Bloc failed to defend the French language in committee and proclaiming his indignation and his supposed attachment to French.

But where was the member when it came time to defend the use of French in federally regulated businesses? He stood up, all right, but it was to vote against this.

Contrary to what the member thinks, francophones are not fooled by this farce. The member is clearly in no position to lecture the Bloc Québécois, a party that has always worked hard to protect the French language and that will continue to do so.

When it comes to protecting the French language, the member for Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière is quick to take offence, but slow to act.

TV5Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Sylvie Boucher Conservative Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, today, Canada is chairing the 21st conference of ministers responsible for TV5, in Ottawa.

We can be proud to host this important conference, especially in a year when TV5 Monde is celebrating its 25th anniversary and when TV5 Québec Canada is celebrating its 20th.

We can also be proud of the leadership role Canada has played in the past two years as chair of the TV5 partnership, investing $25 million over five years.

Canada has once again demonstrated its commitment not only to TV5 Québec Canada and TV5 Monde, but also to the Canadian and international Francophonie.

Phyllis GotliebStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, this past summer Canada lost one of its pioneers in science fiction writing, Phyllis Gotlieb, born Phyllis Bloom, in Toronto, in 1926.

The Sunburst Award, an award given annually to Canadian writers of speculative fiction, is named after her first novel, Sunburst, published in 1964. Thanks to our parliamentary library, I have now had the pleasure to read that novel. I am truly happy to have discovered an author who gives us great characters and an intelligent storyline. I look forward to reading more of her novels.

Some have called her the mother of Canadian science fiction; others, grandmother. Robert J. Sawyer, Canada's most successful author of the genre, settled it by calling her the grand dame of Canadian science fiction, and I concur.

I wish to extend to her husband, Calvin Gotlieb, her son, Leo, and her daughters, Margaret and Jane, our condolences, but also our gratitude for her legacy.

JusticeStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Mike Wallace Conservative Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, this government has made victims of crime a priority. We are 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, ending credit for time served and eliminating the faint hope clause. We are ending house arrest for serious crimes, cracking down on white collar criminals and ending sentencing discounts for multiple murderers. We are helping protect children from Internet sexual predators.

This government is standing up for victims of crime. We are putting the rights of law-abiding citizens ahead of the rights of criminals.

We can only hope that the Liberal leader will for once stand up for victims in this country by ensuring that our bills get passed. Canadians can expect our government and the Prime Minister to stand up for the rights of victims and law-abiding citizens.

Access to Medicines RegimeStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, night has already fallen in much of Africa. Another day has passed and another 14,000 people have died needlessly from infectious diseases for which medicine is readily available, just not for them.

It is mostly grandmothers who care for the dying and who are left to piece together the shattered lives that remain. They tell us through the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign, Canadian women devoting incredible energy in solidarity with their African sisters, that Canada's access to medicines regime, which was supposed to make more drugs available, is not working.

UNICEF, Oxfam, Canadian Crossroads International, Results Canada and the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network all agree and have called for the changes set out in my private member's Bill C-393. I urge all members to vote for this bill to ensure that we fix Canada's access to medicines regime and get Canadian drugs moving to save lives.

Official LanguagesStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, this week I witnessed something that I never expected would happen. The Bloc voted to prevent me from obtaining a document in French even though they are always going on about protecting the French language.

The Bloc obviously forgot to keep up the pretence. Its fine words disappear without a trace but the written record remains.

I am a parliamentarian and, like all Canadians, I have the right to obtain English government documents translated into French. When I raised the matter, the Bloc leader laughed at me and ridiculed me. I would like a formal apology from the Bloc.

I am not sure which Quebec the Bloc leader claims to represent, but it is certainly not my Quebec. I would go so far as to say that Quebeckers trust the Conservative government to preserve the rights of francophones.

ImmigrationStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Bloc

Thierry St-Cyr Bloc Jeanne-Le Ber, QC

Mr. Speaker, in his new guide “Discover Canada”, the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism points out that Quebec is a nation and that the majority of its population is francophone. However, there is not a word to new immigrants about Bill 101 and the requirement to send their children to a French school.

This guide also completely omits the fact that new arrivals have to learn French first in order to settle in Quebec. A unanimous motion in this Parliament clearly indicates that is the case.

Instead, the guide goes on at length about the Queen, even describing her as “the focus of citizenship, ... guardian of Constitutional freedoms, reflection of our history and an encouragement for Canadians to give their best to their country”.

How shocking. Instead of promoting an obsolete institution to which Quebeckers have no allegiance, the minister should be reminding immigrants that in Quebec we live our lives in French.

Canadian Football LeagueStatements By Members

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Bernard Patry Liberal Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, Grey Cup fever is in the air. The final match of the CFL playoffs is being held this Sunday.

The melon heads are sure to turn out in droves at Calgary's McMahon Stadium to cheer for Saskatchewan's pride and glory, the Roughriders.

To challenge them, Montreal is sending its Alouettes. While I mean no disrespect to the Roughriders, I think they will find the Alouettes not so friendly.

Last night the Alouettes quarterback, Anthony Calvillo, received the CFL outstanding player award for the second consecutive year and the third time in his career.

It will mark the 97th occasion Lord Grey's silver is at stake and as it does every year, it promises to be an epic battle.

The stakes are high. The mayors of Regina and Montreal have made their bets. The losing mayor must wear the winning team's jersey at a city council meeting and fly the winning team's flag in front of city hall.

Go, Als, go.

Liberal Party FundraisingStatements By Members

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Conservative Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, after the Liberal decade of darkness this government has invested in the Canadian armed forces because we support our troops, not because of political gain, but out of national pride. That is why it is shameful the Liberal leader would show such calculated cynicism by fundraising on the issue of detainees.

Even the Liberal member for Vancouver South, when asked if this was appropriate, said unequivocally, “No, it's not”.

When the Liberal leader fundraises on the backs of our soldiers and their sacrifices, it proves what we have been saying all along: He is in it for himself.

We will not stand idly by while the Liberal leader tries to score political points by smearing our soldiers in this House or anywhere else in this country.

There will be more questions today about our soldiers and our military leadership, but the real question now is are the Liberals asking these questions to help, or are they asking these questions to fill the Liberal leader's war chest?

AfghanistanOral Questions

November 27th, 2009 / 11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, in 2006 the United States Department of State noted a human rights report in which authorities allegedly continued to routinely torture and abuse detainees. Torture and abuse consisted of pulling out fingernails and toenails, burning with hot oil, beatings, sexual humiliation and sodomy.

A year later the United Nations Secretary-General told the Security Council that initial findings noted that ill treatment and torture had been used to force confessions.

Would the minister not at least agree that in 2006 reports of widespread abuse were available to the Government of Canada?

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, we have always been perfectly clear. When military and diplomats have been presented with credible, substantiated evidence, they have taken the appropriate action.

Canada instituted an enhanced arrangement with Afghanistan over two and a half years ago. The agreement replaced the inadequate prisoner transfer agreement that was left by the previous government. That is why we established this agreement. That is why we took action.

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, what the minister would now appear to be saying is that in 2006 there were problems, which is exactly what Mr. Colvin was saying, which is exactly what others were saying.

However, the problem is that it was not possible for Canada to investigate independently any allegations. Department of Foreign Affairs officials said “We don't investigate allegations. We record them”.

In light of that fact, could the minister explain why it took a year and a half for his government to develop the political will to finally get the evidence?

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, we have now heard testimony from three respected generals, three Canadian heroes, three of the country's highest-ranking military officers. We have heard from a senior diplomat. These generals and the diplomat have thoroughly rejected the allegations that have been made against them, that the opposition parties were just too eager to believe.

What is incredibly regretful is that the Liberal Party has tried to use this issue to raise funds in $25, $50 and $100 denominations. That is wrong. That does not serve the interests of our troops. Frankly, the Liberals should be ashamed of themselves.

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the problem with the minister's answer is very simple. The government has all the information and is refusing to give it to us. We do not have access to the documents we need to find the truth.

So far, it is clear that the government is refusing to disclose the information and also refusing to face a huge problem, which is that for more than a year, the Canadian government did not conduct an investigation, but just tried to record—

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, let us be very clear. Government officials have provided and will continue to provide all legally available information. Yesterday in committee we heard from David Mulroney, a well respected senior public servant. We heard from three Canadian heroes, Generals Hillier, Gauthier and Fraser, who have called these allegations ludicrous.

We have one single priority when it comes to our armed forces and on this issue. It is to support and protect our men and women in uniform. We will not go on a political fundraising drive by maligning our men and women in uniform. That is shameful.

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Brian Murphy Liberal Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, the government is making false claims that there is no proof that Afghans detained by the Canadian Forces were tortured.

Yet Mr. Colvin clearly stated that because of the nature of the detainee transfer system, it was not possible to make such a claim.

The Red Cross confirms what Mr. Colvin said, and yesterday, David Mulroney confirmed it as well.

When will the government finally admit that Mr. Colvin, the Red Cross and Mr. Mulroney are right?

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, two and a half years ago when we fixed the flawed, inadequate arrangement left by the government opposite, we then went about investing in and improving the Afghan justice system. Nobody has ever said there were not any problems.

Let us look at what Mr. David Mulroney had to say, not the partisan attacks, not an attempt to politicize the issue. Here is what he said: “I can say we have no evidence that any Canadian transfer of detainees was mistreated.... We never, ever transferred anyone if we thought there was a substantial risk of torture. We knew there were problems in the Afghan system, but we developed a robust monitoring system”.

Those are the words of a respected diplomat doing the work, not partisan--

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe.

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Brian Murphy Liberal Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, the minister should read all of Mr. Mulroney's remarks because he said, “Whether someone was or was not a Canadian-transferred detainee is a very important issue. We were not able to determine that”.

This is simple. If no one knew who was or was not transferred to the Afghan authorities, how can the government claim there was no proof that Afghans transferred by Canada were tortured? Is the government simply trying to cover up its approach of hear no evil, see no evil? Is the government being wilfully blind?

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, are the hon. member and opposition members trying to politicize the issue and cast political aspersions?

Let us go back to what Mr. Mulroney said: “I think there was very widespread and incredible understanding that there were a lot of problems in the Afghan justice system and Afghan prisons with Afghan police, as there were many problems throughout the Afghan” justice system. That is why we acted. He went on to say, “We talked to people who made allegations of abuse, which we reported to the authorities, but what is important to note is that these were not, to our knowledge, Canadian-transferred detainees”.

That is the crux of the issue.

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, in his testimony in committee, David Mulroney acknowledged that as early as 2006, Canadian authorities were aware of allegations of torture in Afghan prisons. He also acknowledged that Canada lost track of prisoners once they were transferred to the Afghan authorities.

In light of this information, how can the government still deny that Canada violated the Geneva convention prohibiting detainee transfers when there is a risk of torture?

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, let me be perfectly clear. When the military or Canadian diplomats have received credible substantiated evidence, they have taken the appropriate action.

Canada initiated an enhanced agreement with Afghanistan more than two and a half years ago. This agreement replaced the inadequate prisoner transfer agreement left by the previous Liberal government.

We are going to continue to treat these matters seriously. Our first priority will always be, though, the safety of our men and women in uniform.

AfghanistanOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, David Mulroney, who served as a foreign affairs advisor to the Prime Minister in 2006, stated, and I quote: “—there was very widespread understanding that there were a lot of problems in Afghan prisons with Afghan police. The possibility of mistreatment could not be ignored.”

Is it not because the Prime Minister knew as early as 2006 that Canada was violating international conventions such as the Geneva convention that he is trying to bury the affair today?