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House of Commons Hansard #31 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was judges.

Topics

Canada-EFTA Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, that was an interesting intervention especially given the fact that the NDP did not even have enough votes to vote with the Liberals at that time. Obviously the Liberals cannot even do basic counting.

The Canadian public was tired of the Liberals' behaviour with respect to the sponsorship program. That is really what is at stake here. The bluster coming from the member shows the sensitivity the Liberals have about this issue. They know that their minister at the time, David Emerson, who flip-flopped and crossed the floor to the Conservatives, was the mastermind behind it. He sold us out with the softwood lumber deal. He was the architect of and tried to sell us out with the South Korea deal, which the New Democrats have been able to stop. The heart of the matter is that this deal should be stopped right now. If the Liberals want to do something productive, they could carve out this element and correct their ways.

I would like the hon. member to comment on that.

Canada-EFTA Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Western Arctic, NT

Mr. Speaker, the fundamental problem that I see is we did not have enough seats then and we do not have enough seats now to do the right thing for Canadians. The solution of course is more seats for the New Democratic Party.

NorouzStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, with the coming of spring, millions of people around the world have observed the Persian New Year, Norouz. The people of Iran have celebrated Norouz, the first day of spring for over 3,000 years. In recognition of this occasion, and as the government liaison to the Persian and Iranian community in Canada, I am delighted to extend my warmest greetings to all those in Canada who are celebrating this new year holiday.

In Canada, this gives us an occasion to embrace our brothers and sisters of Persian background and to learn more about the proud Persian culture, history and language. We in Canada draw tremendous strength from the rich history and diverse heritage which shape our lively cultural landscape. We acknowledge the contribution to Canada of people of Persian background.

This is a celebration that makes all of us in Canada happy. To repeat those words in Farsi, Jashnay Norouz dar Canada mojebay shadiay hameeay maas. Norouz Mobarak.

SimaniStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Liberal Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize and congratulate two talented musicians from the riding of Random—Burin—St. George's: Bud Davidge and Sim Savory. Those two individuals are an impressive duo known as Simani. They have enriched Newfoundland and Labrador culture for over 30 years with their musical talent.

Mr. Davidge and Mr. Savory were recognized and awarded with the lifetime achievement award at MUSICNL, a Newfoundland and Labrador music awards show.

These two musicians played their first gig together in May 1977 in Belleoram. In 1981, after only four years of playing together, the duo had written enough material to produce an album.

In total, Simani has released thirteen albums, two books and has appeared on several TV specials. The longevity of the duo's career is proof of their success.

Newfoundland and Labrador is a big part of our culture. Today I thank and congratulate Simani on this prestigious lifetime achievement award.

Aboriginal WomenStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Meili Faille Bloc Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, since 1980, 511 aboriginal women have disappeared or been murdered in Canada, according to the Native Women's Association of Canada, the NWAC. Aboriginal women are actually five times more likely than other Canadian women to die a violent death.

Over the last few years, both Amnesty International and the United Nations have asked Canada to investigate these unexplained disappearances.

The federal government has been reprimanded many times about this, and the time has certainly come for it to take action and develop a plan to fight violence against aboriginal women, as requested by the NWAC. The government should also immediately abide by its international commitments, inquire into the deaths and disappearances of these women, and fix the problems in the law enforcement system.

Finally, it is important as well to improve the social and economic conditions of aboriginal women, as guaranteed by international treaties to which Canada is a party, in order to reach levels worthy of a Western country.

Manufacturing IndustryStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, on Saturday I was proud to join more than 2,000 Hamiltonians, including Don Frasier, Rolf Gerstenberger, Bob Bratina, Andrea Horwath, Paul Miller and the NDP MPs for Hamilton East—Stoney Creek and Hamilton Mountain who marched to show their anger and frustration with industry and government attacks on their jobs and their pensions.

Like other manufacturing employees in the Ontario heartland, steelworkers are being laid off by the thousands. The very survival of our southern Ontario communities is at risk.

But the people of Hamilton are not known for just lying down and taking it. We are fighters and we will fight for decent jobs, fight for livable pensions and fight for the well-being of our community.

In fact, just last week Hamiltonians also took to the streets to save CHCH, our local TV news station.

Here is the message that those 2,000 workers asked us to bring back to the government: Stop ignoring layoffs. Stop ignoring the unemployed. Stop allowing foreign companies to control Canada. And stop pretending that fixing our economy is somebody else's problem.

Richard RumasStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Gary Schellenberger Conservative Perth—Wellington, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is with great sadness that I rise in the House today to commemorate the passing of Richard Rumas.

Richard worked at the House of Commons for 34 years serving as a procedural clerk in several directorates. Most recently, Richard served as the Clerk of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage. I know that I speak for all members when I say that his time with our committee was far too short.

Richard will be remembered as a man who was always willing to share his knowledge with colleagues and who served all members faithfully and with distinction.

I ask all members to join me in remembering this remarkable man who served this House so well.

International Day for the Elimination of Racial DiscriminationStatements By Members

March 23rd, 2009 / 2 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, March 21 marks the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and the beginning of the “Week of Solidarity with the Peoples Struggling against Racism and Racial Discrimination”.

On this day in 1960, police opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration in Sharpeville, South Africa, against the apartheid pass laws.

The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the day in 1966 and called on the international community to redouble its efforts to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination.

Let us, therefore, remember all those who have fallen victim to acts of racism around the world and give thanks for their lives and the gifts they gave to their communities.

Let us be vigilant regarding human rights and ensure that our institutions and legislation are appropriate to punish those who discriminate, incite or perpetrate acts of violence against minorities.

Wild Rose, AlbertaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Blake Richards Conservative Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, today I invite the world to come and see why my riding of Wild Rose is the most beautiful piece of country Canada has to offer.

This large region of Alberta has attracted visitors world-wide since the Canadian Pacific Railway brought the first tourists to Banff's mineral springs.

Generations have fallen in love with our land and built our vibrant communities that rise from the rolling prairie or nestle in the Rocky Mountains.

It is a region steeped in the history of the aboriginal peoples who have lived there for millennia, and the settlers who opened the Canadian west. That frontier heritage is reflected in our many summer rodeos and festivals.

Wild Rose is a place to walk nature trails and marvel at some of the last untouched wilderness in North America. It is a playground for hikers, skiers, campers and anglers. It is a place where elk and bighorn sheep saunter the streets of our mountain towns.

Wild Rose has placed out a welcome mat for the world to come and see.

RCMP Public Complaints CommissionStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Maria Mourani Bloc Ahuntsic, QC

Mr. Speaker, we learned last week that the funding of the RCMP Public Complaints Commission may not be maintained at its current level. Less than two weeks from the cut-off date, the Minister of Public Safety has apparently still not made up his mind.

This commission plays an important role: it receives public complaints about the RCMP and can also hold inquiries, like the one on the use of tasers. Reducing the budget of this commission would greatly compromise its ability to conduct these inquiries, an ability that commission chair Kennedy considers “necessary to respond to current public expectations of police accountability”.

It is important for the minister to reassure Canadians that the commission’s funding will be maintained at current levels so that the review of public complaints does not degenerate into a real farce.

Bloc QuébécoisStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Daniel Petit Conservative Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, last week a delegation of Bloc Québécois members went to Washington.

The Bloc continues with its arrogant ways and is trying to give lessons to elected representatives of foreign countries: first it was France, now it is the United States.

However, the Bloc Québécois has not answered any of the questions being asked by Quebec voters.

Who paid for this trip to Washington? Which members of congress did they meet and what party do they belong to? What did they talk to them about? Did they merely cross paths or did they have real meetings? What kinds of documents did they give to the members of congress? Did they promote Quebec hydro electricity as green power, as did the Prime Minister when President Obama visited?

Everyone knows that this is unilateral. The Bloc members returned from their spring trip to the American capital empty-handed as usual.

Richard RumasStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, today I rise in tribute to our friend and parliamentary associate, Richard Rumas, who passed away suddenly at the young age of 58. He was foremost a family man who was very proud of his three children, Richard Jr., Jennifer and Allan.

In addition to his voluntary community service, he also had a passion for history, politics, gardening, golf and baseball.

His 34 years of distinguished service to Parliament included many leadership roles, most recently as clerk of the heritage and ethics standing committees. His knowledge, experience and expertise were evident to all who worked with him. We will miss his mentorship, his subtle humour and, of course, his favourite brown fedora.

We remember the day when he administered the oath to Karlheinz Schreiber with dignity and professionalism. That opening event set the tone for those difficult hearings and was reflective of how well he discharged his duties each and every day.

Richard Rumas was an honourable man who was well liked and highly respected; a very successful life by any measure.

We wish his family peace at this difficult time. We will all remember him.

Canadian ForcesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, 116 Canadian soldiers have died fighting the Taliban and al-Qaeda in one of the most dangerous places on Earth. They do it in response to the terrorist assault of 9/11 on our best friends and closest neighbours. Most Americans are thankful. However, a few mouthpieces sitting in the safety of their Fox studio are not.

Last Tuesday, they suggested that our soldiers want a break from fighting to enjoy manicures and pedicures. If these talk-show generals think the work of our soldiers is so easy, perhaps they should sweep for mines and exchange gunfire with terrorists. If they cannot stand behind our troops, maybe they should stand in front of them.

Freedom of speech is one of the rights our soldiers have died defending. Unfortunately, this right sometimes extends to even the most brain-dead imbeciles. Now is the time for them to express their freedom of speech again by giving an apology to our soldiers.

Scott Francis VernelliStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Tony Martin NDP Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Mr. Speaker, as the bodies of the four soldiers arrive home at this very hour, a wave of sadness grips my community of Sault Ste. Marie.

I rise to pay tribute to Sault native, Master Corporal Scott Francis Vernelli.

In a community like the Sault, his death is personal news for everyone. His White Pines school, sports and military commitment made him so close to so many.

The tributes pouring in for Scott honour him: a dedicated leader, his winning smile, a soldier's soldier. He had volunteered for his third tour serving his country in the Royal Canadian Regiment. He was a proud soldier. He was also the proud father of a his six-month-old baby girl, Olivia.

For my constituents, I offer condolences and prayers for his wife, Marcie, his parents, Chuck and Ruth, and his brother, Sean.

Like his comrades, Scott wanted nothing more than to bring peace and stability to a land ravaged by war. We shall remember their sacrifice. His family--

Scott Francis VernelliStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please. The hon. member's time has expired.

The hon. member for Joliette.

Fernand LindsayStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise here today to pay tribute to Father Fernand Lindsay, a great man from Lanaudière, who died last Tuesday at age 80.

Visionary, teacher, musician and a caring and active man, Father Lindsay made an outstanding contribution to Quebec's musical culture. Among other things, he was instrumental in founding the International Festival of Lanaudière, one of North America's largest music festivals, the Joliette cultural centre and Jeunesses musicales de Joliette, as well as the Lanaudière music camp and the Grands Choeurs de Lanaudière.

He leaves behind an extraordinary body of work, renowned both in Canada and around the world, a legacy for our community and for future generations.

His funeral will be held on Wednesday at the cathedral in Joliette. On behalf of my Bloc Québécois colleagues, I would like to extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends and his community, the Clerics of St. Viator.

Thank you, Father Lindsay.

Canadian ForcesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Norlock Conservative Northumberland—Quinte West, ON

Mr. Speaker, a clip from Red eye, a late night time filler on the 24-hour Fox news channel, is circulating on the Internet. The host, Greg Gutfeld, ridicules Canadians Forces troops serving in Afghanistan the same week as brave young Canadians gave their lives for the freedom and safety of the Afghan civilians.

The clip mocks the courageous efforts of Canada's brave men and women in Afghanistan and is particularly hurtful as Canada mourns the loss of four more soldiers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Greg Gutfeld's comments are ignorant and disgraceful. It is an insult to the 116 forces members, one diplomat and development workers who have died in Afghanistan.

Mr. Gutfeld should get his facts straight and apologize to the families of these brave Canadians and their families.

Doug FrithStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, this House lost a distinguished son on the weekend and so did the city of Sudbury.

Doug Frith was the MP for Sudbury from 1980 to 1988 and he was a man of singular talent and energy.

Born in Brampton, Doug went to Sudbury High and was educated as a pharmacist at the University of Toronto.

His charm and his gift for service soon took him to Sudbury City Council. He became chairman of the Sudbury Region and then a member of Parliament where he served as parliamentary secretary and, briefly, as minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development.

After leaving here, Doug went on to serve as president of the Canadian Motion Picture Distributors Association and, later, as the vice-chairman of Global Public Affairs.

He was well-known across this country as a vital and caring man who loved public policy and his country.

We are all shocked by his sudden passing.

The EconomyStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Wallace Conservative Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government is taking unprecedented action to stimulate the Canadian economy and combat the global recession through our economic action plan. However, someone really does not believe in that.

The Conservative government even began preparing for this global recession by stimulating the economy years ago when we reduced the GST from 7% to 6% to 5%. Someone is opposed to that.

The Conservative government knows that one of the best ways to stimulate the economy is to cut taxes while putting money into shovel ready projects. However, someone wants to bring a burdensome carbon tax that would kill jobs and have a negative impact on the Canadian economy, while at the same time this someone wants to slow down the process of putting shovels in the ground and getting infrastructure projects started.

The leader of the Liberal Party is that someone.

Canadian ForcesOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, on Friday four Canadian soldiers lost their lives in Afghanistan. Master Corporal Scott Vernelli, Corporal Tyler Crooks, Trooper Jack Bouthillier and Trooper Corey Joseph Hayes were killed as they fought to create the conditions in which Afghanistan can hold free elections, free of terror and violence.

All members of this House and all Canadians mourn their loss and honour their valour. Will the Prime Minister join me in expressing the sorrow of this House?

Canadian ForcesOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I thank the Leader of the Opposition for the opportunity to respond to that statement. You will know, Mr. Speaker, that on Saturday I made very clear that we convey all of our heartfelt condolences to the friends, family and comrades of these fallen soldiers.

Successive governments have had us involved in Afghanistan, in a mission that is important not only for the international community and the Afghan people but, of course, for our own interests. I am always amazed by the fact that we have young men and women who are willing to put their lives on the line in this way for their country and for their fellow human beings. We will always be in awe and eternal remembrance for their sacrifice.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has said repeatedly that the Canadian economy will only turn around if President Obama's stimulus plan works in the United States. In public he has been full of praise of the president, but in a private speech to his Conservative friends on March 12, the Prime Minister only had criticism for President Obama's plan for the U.S. economy.

How can Canadians take the Prime Minister at his word when he says one thing in public and the opposite behind closed doors?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

First, Mr. Speaker, let me correct the preamble to the question. I said that the most important thing the United States must actually do is, of course, fix the financial system and be part of the solution to fixing the global financial system. Without a fix to the global financial system, it will be very difficult and in fact very unlikely that we will see a change in the recessionary conditions across the globe. The United States has announced some additional measures today.

I think what the hon. Leader of the Opposition was referring to was my opposition to raising taxes in any way to deal with this recession. I know that may be the position of the Liberal Party but that is not our position.

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, privately, the Prime Minister has nothing good to say about President Obama's economic renewal plan. Publicly, however, he says that economic recovery depends on the president's success.

How can we trust him when what he says depends on whom he is saying it to?

The EconomyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada is just repeating what others have said, but he criticizes tax hikes. The Liberal Party knows that our party opposes tax hikes for sound economic reasons. That is the Liberal Party's policy, and that is why the Liberal Party always has to speak in favour of tax hikes, but that will never be this Conservative government's policy.