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House of Commons Hansard #123 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was report.

Topics

Human RightsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

Gerard Kennedy Liberal Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, Dhondup Wangchen, a Tibetan filmmaker, has been imprisoned since March for making a documentary about the treatment of Tibetans and their views.

Mr. Wangchen has contracted hepatitis B during his incarceration and there is a question as to whether he is receiving any medical treatment for his condition.

Thirty prominent Canadian filmmakers have signed a statement calling for his immediate release in recognition of the right to free speech.

During his current trip to China, will the Prime Minister specifically raise this issue with the Chinese government and call for Mr. Wangchen's release?

Human RightsOral Questions

3 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister was proud to meet here in his own office with His Holiness the Dalai Lama during his visit to Canada. This government was proud to sponsor the motion to recognize the Dalai Lama as an honorary Canadian citizen.

We condemned the abuse of state and police power against protests in the Tibetan region last year. We called for negotiations between China and the representatives of the Dalai Lama.

I know the Prime Minister did raise issues related to human rights in China today. Our government will continue to do so proudly.

Quebec City ArmouryOral Questions

3 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Quebec City Armoury was damaged by fire 20 months ago and the government is still at the consultation stage. First there were complaints from consultant Jean Baillargeon and Yvan Lachance of the Fondation des Voltigeurs. Now it is the turn of members of the National Assembly, who have unanimously expressed their impatience with this government and the minister responsible for the Quebec City region.

Will the Minister of National Defence tell us when he intends to rebuild the armoury, as he is being asked to do by Quebeckers and our National Assembly?

Quebec City ArmouryOral Questions

3 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for this question.

Our government will continue with the consultations. We are attempting to identify a plan for the future of the Quebec City Armoury. We are also working with the other levels of government. We have had consultations with the City of Quebec. I believe that my colleague, the minister responsible for the Quebec City region, is quite interested in this matter and has also held a number of consultations. We are still trying to determine how to proceed and to identify a solution for the Quebec City Armoury.

National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against WomenRoutine Proceedings

3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Pursuant to special order, we will proceed with statements by ministers.

I now call upon the hon. Minister of State for Status of Women.

National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against WomenRoutine Proceedings

3 p.m.

Simcoe—Grey Ontario

Conservative

Helena Guergis ConservativeMinister of State (Status of Women)

Mr. Speaker, I rise to express the sadness I share with all Canadians who will take a moment today to reflect on one of the darkest moments in the history of this nation.

On December 6, 1989, a gunman entered a classroom in Montreal's École Polytechnique. He separated the men from the women, then shot the women. Fourteen young women died, ten more were injured and four men were also shot. Every Canadian who was alive at the time has a different recollection of the events of that terrible day, however, we were all united in our horror and our grief and our unlimited sympathy for the families of the women slain.

As a young Canadian woman, I felt shocked at first and then numb and then angry, a feeling that left me determined to help to ensure that this would never happen again. These families lost the best and the brightest, their beloved daughters, sisters, nieces and cousins, young women just setting out at the start of their adult lives full of life and love, energy and enthusiasm gone forever in a few moments of violence.

While Canada thankfully has not experienced an incident of the magnitude of the Montreal massacre since 1989, we are very aware of the fact that to end the violence against women much work remains to be done.

As Minister of State for Status of Women I am proud of the steps that our government has taken to address these challenges, including delivering the Tackling Violent Crime Act, working to prevent serious criminals from serving their sentences at home and increasing the funding to grassroots women's support groups across the country to address the many forms of violence.

Progress has been made, but more work remains to be done. Ending violence against women is not something that government can do on its own. Every Canadian has a role to play, whether by offering support to a woman caught in an abusive situation or teaching young children that all forms of violence and abuse are wrong.

Our government is united in its sorrow for women who are victims of violence and united in its resolve to end violence against women. It is time for us to face it, name it and end it.

On December 6, Canadians will pause to remember and grieve for the women who died in the Montreal massacre. I believe we serve their memory best by committing to face and end violence against the women and girls who are with us today.

National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against WomenRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is with profound sadness that I stand in my place today to remember, with my colleagues, the tragic loss of 14 young women. These 14 brave and innocent women had much to live for, much to experience, much potential to realize and so much to give.

Twenty years ago this Sunday they were taken from us, wantonly, wickedly and tragically, and 20 years ago our country watched with horror and utter disbelief. How could it happen in Canada? Why were they the targets? What did they do to deserve this?

Each and every day, daughters are born and in that moment they become the repository of their parents' hopes and dreams. On that day, 20 years ago, I wept for the victims and, along with thousands of others, wept for their parents.

Many of us in the House have daughters of our own. As a mother of three daughters, I could not bear then, or now, to think of how one would have survived something happening to any one of them.

When they are young, we want to give our daughters the world. We watch them grow into vibrant young women and into confident adults. We see in them the qualities of mind, character and spirit that will make for a better world. As they grow older, we want to believe they will be spared the injustices, the hurts, the struggles, the inequities that we had to face when we were their age.

However, tragically, women are still targets, targets of violence, targets of discrimination and targets of abuse. Each year we reflect on the lives of these women who were brutally murdered only because of their gender.

On December 6, we remember the women lost at École Polytechnique. We must also remember the hundreds of missing or murdered aboriginal women and girls in our country. We must also remember the tens of thousands of women who were victims of domestic violence and those who have been targets of random acts of violence. When will the cycles of discrimination stop? When the cycles of violence stop?

As members of Parliament, we have a duty and a responsibility not only to remember but to be vigilant. We must stand up to the discrimination and the violence and do all that we can to stop it. We all want our daughters to be safe and, on December 6, let us remember and move forward to protect our present and future generations.

Let December 6, the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women in Canada, be a day on which we reflect on the enormous obligation we have to and for this generation of girls and women and those generations that will follow.

National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against WomenRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Bloc

Nicole Demers Bloc Laval, QC

Mr. Chair, the date was December 6, 1989. In a few days the fall university semester would be ending. Christmas music was already playing in the shopping centres. Office parties had begun, and children were counting the days to Christmas. And then everything was turned upside down.

On that December day, 14 women were lined up against a wall and shot point blank in the École Polytechnique at the Université de Montréal for one reason only: they were members of the second sex, they were women.

The date was December 6, 1989.

Everyone who is old enough to remember, remembers where they were, what they were doing, who they were with, on December 6, 1989.

The news that day shocked us. Fascinated by the horror of what had been done, we followed the story on television; we were dumbstruck that such a thing could happen here. “Of course not, that can’t be,” people said. In other places, maybe, but here? Violence, horror, misogyny, in Quebec?

And then the event penetrated our minds. Horror gave way to realization. In Quebec, a profound sadness settled in. And of course, out of that, people came together, and candlelight vigils where held everywhere.

And the women and men of Quebec began to drag a millstone of pain around with them. Pain, yes, and also shame.

December 6, 1989, sullied us all.

December 6, 1989, ripped out a part of our soul, and it is now our duty to restore it.

The duty to remember does not offer absolution.

The duty to remember calls for action. The memory of those young women who were stolen from us calls on us to rise up for them. It calls on us to feel that pain again, to feel the void and the shame; it calls on us to rise in anger and indignation against the continuing violence, against the tragedies that still go on, the blows, the slaps across the face, that thousands of women still endure because they are women. Yes, the duty to remember calls on us to act and take action.

The pain that we still feel, and that we must preserve, is what prompts my outrage at this government, as it lays roses with one hand and supplies guns with the other.

Because we have not forgotten, we will carry on the struggle so that violence against women can be ended once and for all, starting by doing everything in our power to maintain the gun registry.

National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against WomenRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, December 6 is a day to remind our nation that we must end violence against women. We must remember the 14 women who lost their lives for no other reason than that they were women.

I would also like to thank my colleague, the former NDP member for New Westminster—Coquitlam, Dawn Black, for ensuring that Geneviève Bergeron, Hélène Colgan, Nathalie Croteau, Barbara Daigneault, Anne-Marie Edward, Maud Haviernick, Maryse Laganiere, Anne-Marie Lemay, Sonia Pelletier, Michèle Richard, Annie St-Arneault, Maryse Leclair, Barbara Klucznik and Annie Turcotte, with 14 others who were wounded that day, are never forgotten.

Thousands of women in Canada and around the world experience violence on a daily basis, many at the hands of partners and relatives. Women, who are marginalized by society, such as aboriginal women, women in the LGBTTQQ community, immigrants, refugees and disabled women, are further marginalized by the violence and abuse they experience. Young women and girls are most at risk of physical and sexual violence. A coordinated national effort is needed to end this terrible injustice.

We must and we can do much more to prevent the violence that so many women face. Violence against women is one of the greatest violations of human rights, but one that is rarely recognized. It is now the 20th anniversary of the Montreal massacre and the situation for many women has not improved. We must continue to commemorate this anniversary and remember not only those who died that day but all those who have been killed, injured or gone missing since then.

If we look back at the last several years, it is painfully obvious that the aspirations and needs of Canadian women have been neither considered nor respected. It has been more and more challenging for women to speak out against violence and to advocate for change. Shelters have received more and more requests for services in some areas and an over 100% increase in requests for help.

We all need to work together to end violence against women. We need to ensure that women who face violence have the resources they need to escape that violence and to not live in fear: the fear of violence, the fear of poverty or the fear of death. December 6 is a day to speak out against violence against women: the physical violence of a gun or a beating, the psychological violence of abuse or the economic violence of poverty.

National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against WomenRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I invite hon. members to rise and observe a moment of silence in memory of the victims of the tragic events that took place 20 years ago at the École polytechnique de Montréal.

[A moment of silence observed ]

National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against WomenRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Simcoe—Grey Ontario

Conservative

Helena Guergis ConservativeMinister of State (Status of Women)

Mr. Speaker, there have been a number of consultations and I believe that you will find unanimous consent of the House for the following motion. I move:

That this House mark the 20th anniversary of the Montreal massacre at École Polytechnique and the adoption in 1991 of the National Day of Remembrance Act to commemorate the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against women in response to this tragedy.

National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against WomenRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Does the hon. minister of state have the unanimous consent of the House to propose this motion?

National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against WomenRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against WomenRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against WomenRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against WomenRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I declare the motion carried.

(Motion agreed to)

I wish to inform the House that, because of the ministerial statement, government orders will be extended by 13 minutes.

Procedure and House AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, there have been consultations among all parties and I believe that if you seek it, you will find unanimous consent for the House to receive the 27th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, setting out the membership for the legislative committee on Bill C-31.

Procedure and House AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Is there unanimous consent that this report be received at this time?

Procedure and House AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Procedure and House AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The report is deemed received. The report is deemed concurred in upon presentation in accordance with the Standing Orders.

Communication between Member and ConstituentPoints of OrderRoutine Proceedings

December 3rd, 2009 / 3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Volpe Liberal Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday in question period the member of Parliament for Kitchener Centre read from what he alleged was a private communication between me, an MP from Toronto, and my constituent regarding the Liberal Party's policies toward Israel.

The House does not know how he came by that letter, indeed whether it contained the quote cited, or more importantly, whether he respected the privacy issues related to a communication between two individuals, he being neither of them.

Would he do the honourable thing and provide clarity and transparency by offering to table the document in its unredacted form, so that we can verify that legal and ethical practices were followed in the acquisition of private mail by a third party?

Communication between Member and ConstituentPoints of OrderRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I might suggest the hon. member for Eglinton—Lawrence could send a note, perhaps a letter to the hon. member for Kitchener Centre asking him if he could provide that information to him. It seems to be something the hon. member might want to send by mail rather than have an oral answer provided to his question on the floor of the House, whether it be in the form of a question of privilege or a point of order, whatever it might be. We will leave it there.

The hon. member for Thunder Bay—Superior North had the floor on a question of privilege before question period, so we will hear further from him at this moment.

Content of Ten PercentersPrivilegeRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Bruce Hyer NDP Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I had just begun to raise a question of privilege regarding a mailing that went into my riding from the member for Brandon—Souris.

I have no objection to ten percenters. They can be useful if they are honest, straightforward, and shed intelligent and thoughtful perspectives on contentious issues with honest political differences. But the thing that set this mailing apart, from the other mailings that my constituents of Thunder Bay—Superior North receive, was that this mail-out contained a falsehood, purposely meant to mislead my constituents about my personal record as their member of Parliament. It has interfered significantly with my ability to represent them.

Mr. Speaker, I believe that if you look into this case of spreading falsehoods about another member of Parliament, using taxpayers' money to do so, you will find that it is an egregious breach of privilege. I will explain.

This mailing was about my record on the long gun registry. In it, the member told my constituents, “Your member of Parliament worked to support the registry and end the amnesty”. Nothing could be further from the truth. As the member for Brandon—Souris well knew and well knows, I have for many years been against repealing the long gun registry. I have never worked to support the ending of the long gun registry.

In every political campaign that I have run and in between, I have never worked to end the long gun registry, and I challenge the member to come up with any instance where I have. Of course, he will find that he cannot.

To the contrary, the hon. member for Portage—Lisgar has commended me personally, and in the media, for working across party lines on her private member's bill to get rid of the long gun registry. While I also support and congratulate the member for Portage—Lisgar and her efforts to end this program and the passage of her bill, the defamatory mailing calls into question her party's desire to actually get rid of the registry and uses it as an inflammatory tool with which to attack other parties.

Mr. Speaker, I may, a minute ago, have misspoke. What I have done repeatedly is work to end the long gun registry.

I had previously and publicly stated my support for the hon. member's private member's bill. Why punish supporters of her bill in this way? If the objective is to punish and weaken those members who have stated their support for ending the long gun registry, it really calls into question the Conservatives' sincerity and whether they are really trying to scrap the long gun registry.

The defamatory mailing also states that “Instead of working to correct previous Liberal mistakes, your member of Parliament is still trying to keep the long gun registry in place”. Again, this is completely and utterly untrue, and the member for Brandon—Souris must know it. I believe it is libellous.

I do not know if the member performed due diligence in verifying what was mailed out on behalf of his office, but certainly he has a responsibility to do so if these falsehoods were cooked up in the PMO or the Conservative research bureau and sent out in his name.

It is a sad state of affairs that our fundamental and necessary mailing privileges are twisted in such a way, but this is only the continuation of a recurring and deliberate pattern of behaviour from the members opposite, one that has been growing worse over time.

Mr. Speaker, you have already ruled on a similar breach of privilege in the case of the member for Sackville—Eastern Shore. This ten percenter sent into my riding by the member for Brandon—Souris has libelled me, sought to damage my credibility, reputation and character, lowered the quality of debate on this important issue in the House, and sought to obscure and deny the facts of the matter.

Mr. Speaker, today I seek a ruling from you as to whether this libellous and untruthful mail-out into my riding is a breach of privilege.

Content of Ten PercentersPrivilegeRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, very briefly, since the member for Brandon—Souris is not here, I would suggest that the government will be making a response to this at its earliest opportunity, if you would allow me to make that intervention at some time in the near future.

Content of Ten PercentersPrivilegeRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

That is fine. I will take the matter under consideration.