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House of Commons Hansard #36 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was regions.

Topics

Marine Liability ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

Liberal

Keith Martin Liberal Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague, who comes from the east coast, and we are bookends in our country, has a deep interest in fisheries. I would like to ask him a simple question.

We know that the oceans are dying, that a third of all mammal species are dying, and that overfishing has taken 17 of the major fisheries in the world. They have all been fished to overcapacity.

I would like to ask my hon. colleague, does he not think that this situation is so urgent and pressing that the federal government needs to bring together provincial counterparts to develop an integrated fisheries strategy that would deal with fisheries on the west coast, in the Arctic and on the east coast, so we will arrest the death of our fisheries, which has a huge impact upon foodstuffs, the environment, and all the other species that feed other fish? One example is the Arctic cod. They are small fish essential to the health of the Arctic Ocean.

The Finns are going to fish this particular species with no restriction, no barriers, no guidelines, and no oversight whatsoever. If this bill goes through, it would have a profound impact upon the health of the species in the north and the Inuit who live there.

Would my hon. colleague suggest that the government needs to be urgently seized with this issue and start to take responsibility for its role as the federal Government of Canada in dealing with this pressing problem?

Marine Liability ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

Liberal

Shawn Murphy Liberal Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, I am afraid I will not have enough time to answer this question. This is a very important and complex question.

The member is quite correct. There are real problems going on in our oceans. He talked about the federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans convening a meeting with the provincial ministers. Yes, definitely, that is a good idea. She should do it as soon as possible but equally important is need for a stronger mandate in the international fora dealing with all the countries that go into these areas that are outside the 200 mile zone, rape the seabeds and catch everything in their midst. That is causing a negative cycle in the whole ecosystem.

As the member has indicated, many of the species that previously existed in the seabeds are gone. Once they are gone, they are not coming back. This is an important issue that requires national attention, the state of the fishery, the methodology used by the fishery and the environmental degradation, but it also requires extensive international co-operation and legislation dealing with the overfishing that is taking place in every ocean of the world.

Marine Liability ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Volpe Liberal Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, my compliments to my colleague from Prince Edward Island on raising matters relative to the Marine Liabilities Act. He raised two issues that I would like him to address in greater detail.

One of them is of course the economic impact on the shipping industry, not only as a carrier of cargo and people but in fact as an economic stimulus for those maritime provinces, in particular not only his own but Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

In addition to that, he did raise the economic viability of these carriers and the issue of ensuring both cargo and the protocols associated with being able to protect the environment against the failure of the carriers themselves to deliver their cargo safely and efficiently to a port without damaging the environment.

Because of his background as a lawyer, who has dealt a great deal both with insurance and with the commerce of transporting product that can have a deleterious effect to the environment, I wonder whether he has thought through the possibility of the insurance as a component of the cost of doing business and weighing that against the needs of society for an environment and an ecosystem that needs to be protected.

I noted he made reference to both in his speech, but I wonder if he would elaborate on that for us, because he did indicate that he wanted the committee to focus much more attention on it and to fine-tune this bill.

Being a member of that committee, I wonder if he would share with this House, and with me in particular, the ideas that he would like us to proceed with and to follow, so that the legislation does fit with the intent of what I think is a very thoughtful presentation on his part.

Marine Liability ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Liberal

Shawn Murphy Liberal Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, on the first point, my friend, the member for Eglinton—Lawrence, talked about the economic impact. In one word, it is a mess.

He talked about the maritime regions and of course it is important for Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, as well as British Columbia, but I would suggest it is equally important for Quebec, Ontario and the prairie provinces because a lot of what we produce, whether it is lumber, minerals or grain, moves by sea. That is the most economic and environmental way to move product. A lot of it that comes into the country too comes by sea.

We are a large country. We are a country surrounded by three oceans so it is extremely important and vital. That is why we need a very vibrant marine industry, one that is competitive and one that does not discourage new entrants.

On his second issue, again I come back to the issue of balance. We have to balance the interests of the company and the interests of society to have a vibrant marine industry, but also the interest to protect the public.

If we did not have legislation like this, I believe it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for a new entrant ever to get into the market. There would be all kinds of problems just legislating or dealing with this situation. With vessels from other countries and flags of convenience that come into our ports, what insurance do they have? Can they withstand a cull if there is an environmental problem?

This act seeks to create a balance so that there are international conventions that are respected, that there are both domestic and international funds, and so that things can move by sea. There is a similar process in the airline industry. It works well in that industry and certainly it has served us well in the marine industry.

As to the amendments, as previous speakers have already indicated, there is an issue around some of the tourist products that are exempt, and the committee may want to have another look at that particular issue.

Marine Liability ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Liberal

Keith Martin Liberal Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, in Bill C-10, the government made a change. It attached changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act to that bill which had nothing to do with the budget whatsoever.

The right of Canadians and indeed all people to have access to navigable waters has really been protected in law at the federal level. It goes way back to the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215, but these changes are going to severely compromise the ability of Canadians to have access to navigable waters.

These changes that the government has put forward are potentially going to allow the government, by the minister's fiat, to remove whole sections of navigable waters and put them into private hands without any proper environmental assessment or any proper consultation whatsoever.

I would like to ask my friend this. Does he not think that the right thing for the government to do would be to go back, take those elements of Bill C-10 that dealt with the Navigable Waters Protection Act, send it to committee and address the Navigable Waters Protection Act in an open and transparent fashion to ensure that all Canadians from coast to coast can have access to the tributaries that we have always had access to up until now?

Marine Liability ActGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Shawn Murphy Liberal Charlottetown, PE

Yes, Mr. Speaker, I agree with the premise of that question, that the elimination of the Navigable Waters Protection Act provisions that were included in the budget had nothing to do with the finances of Canada. It was not a budgetary matter. Why was it in that particular legislation? Canadians are just shaking their heads. They do not agree with that at all. It is the wrong way to go.

I understand that improvements perhaps should have been made. There are jurisdictional issues sometimes between the provincial legislation dealing with waterways and the federal legislation, but that could have been improved upon instead of just eliminating it altogether.

What should be done? Nothing has been done. As the previous speaker, the member for Mississauga South indicated, this is an issue of whether or not we just throw the whole thing out then suspend the House for six months and let it go through. There is nothing that has been done that cannot be redone by a new government. That is perhaps what Canada needs at this point in time, a new government.

Marine Liability ActGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Keith Martin Liberal Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to speak to this bill. Three areas of my riding of Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca are surrounded by the beautiful Pacific Ocean. The Straits of Juan de Fuca curve around the southwestern part of my riding. It is truly a gorgeous part of the world and I invite everybody to come down and visit.

This bill is particularly important, not only to my riding but also to Canadians from coast to coast to coast. It does have some good parts to it but I will outline some of the flaws, the neglect and the disinterest that the government has applied to our oceans and waterways since it came into power. I also will provide the government with solutions that will enable it to do the right thing and make changes that are reflective of the public interest with respect to the management of our oceans and of our navigable waters.

We know that our oceans provide life. Ninety-seven percent of the world's water is in our oceans, made up of 3% of salt, and 1.35 billion cubic kilometers of water exists in our oceans. From the phytoplankton that provides the cornerstone and the basis of the food pyramid to the larger mammal species, it is truly a remarkable thing to behold.

The oceans are also critically important to our lives. I will go through a number of things that will outline the problems and solutions that affect our oceans that only urgent action will address.

Before I go on, I want to deal with the changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act because they are extremely important to all Canadians. As I said before, navigable waters are designed, if one can navigate through it, it is determined to be a Crown property and therefore subject to federal regulation. To arrest that, the government, in parts of Bill C-10 that it put forward, eliminated environmental assessments with few exceptions for development products on Canadian waterways. Second, it allowed Canadian rivers to be separated into those that were deemed to be worthy of being protected from those that were not deemed to be worthy of being protected. These classifications would be made not in a public forum, but in cabinet, in-House with no public assessment and no public input, in secret. Fourth, these decisions could be made on political expediency without any effort to apply science, research and environmental protection.

In my view we need to, first, restore the existing environmental assessment requirements; second, remove the minister's discretion on major construction projects as listed in the legislation, specifically dams, causeways, bridges and booms; and third, remove the power of government to arbitrarily divide Canada's rivers into those it considers worthy versus those it somehow considers less valuable.

The free passage of Canadians on our waterways goes as far back in history to the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215. However, in Bill C-10, the government ripped up that arrangement between the people of our country and their rights to the navigable waters of our nation. This will be a big issue in the next election. The government is now put on notice that it must make the changes or it will pay the price in the next election.

I want to speak to the issue of boats. In many of our ridings, people dump their boats into the ocean and walk away. There is no repercussion whatsoever for individuals who dump their boats into the ocean. These boats are an environmental hazard and a human hazard. In fact, a person in my riding was climbing into one of these boats and died as a result of it.

What the municipalities are finding is that the federal government will not take responsibility for the boats, nor will the individuals, and the province washes its hands. The municipalities now have an environmental problem with no ability to deal with it.

I call upon the government to deal with this issue and develop a process whereby the owners of these boats will be held responsible for removing them and, if they are not removed, the owners will be prosecuted. In my riding of Sooke, British Columbia, we have more than 20 boats that need to be removed because they are a hazard.

The largest boondoggle in Canadian history is about to take place in Victoria. It is a $2 billion sewage treatment plant that is not necessary at all and the science does not support it.

In British Columbia right now we have what is equivalent to secondary sewage treatment. The secondary sewage treatment happens as a result of the natural ebb and flow that exists within the Straits of Juan de Fuca. Contrary to the knowledge of some, sewage goes through, ends in an outfall and is sieved all the way through. Nothing larger than something that is six millimetres in diameter is actually released.

The problem that Victoria has, from an environmental perspective, is that its storm drainage system is fractured and it has become the source of the environmental hazards that we have now. It is a $2 billion infrastructure project of which the public will not get the gains that governments believe they will have. It will not remove the persistent organic pollutants, heavy metals, toxins, pathogens and pharmaceuticals that we want to get out.

How do we deal with that? We invest in a storm drainage system and have better source control than what we have, and, for heaven's sake, do not pursue this $2 billion boondoggle that is about to happen in Victoria.

It is not by accident that I have on our side of those who are against this, six chief medical officers in the greater Victoria area who think this is a boondoggle. Eight of the top ocean scientists at the University of Victoria think this is a boondoggle. The responsible sewage treatment group is made up of six chief medical officers and more than ten top ocean scientists.

The government should listen to the science and to listen to the chief medical officers. They are the ones who know. They have the science. This current project is not following the science. I warn the government that it will run into a very serious problem of a $2 billion boondoggle that it will wear unless it deals with the science, listen to the facts and work together with the groups that can put forth the effective infrastructure projects that will deal with the problems that the government and those of us who live in Victoria are deeply concerned about. However, this is not the way to go.

On the issue of the Coast Guard, the government put forth a Coast Guard assessment for Victoria. I must say that the Straits of Juan de Fuca is one of the busiest shipping zones in the entire world. However, what is shocking is that Victoria has no close-by ability to respond with its Coast Guard to a crisis that will occur in and around Victoria. This is a problem that needs to be rectified.

The Coast Guard did an assessment. There are solutions that have been sitting there for years. A 40-plus foot boat is sitting in Sidney doing absolutely nothing. I urge the government to move that boat to Victoria to provide the rapid response that is needed for crises that can and will occur in the Straits of Juan de Fuca.

Ocean traffic is a very big concern for those of us who live on Vancouver Island. All of us know that if a tanker runs aground in the area we will have a catastrophic oil spill. We have had some misinformation and a lack of clarity on this particular issue. I strongly recommend that the government provide clarity on the use of double hulled ships in the straits and to provide an effective conduit for tankers so they will not go through areas that are narrow and where the threat of a tanker to run aground is very high.

That route needs to be established, clarified and communicated to the people of British Columbia. and it should be done as soon as possible.

The Arctic is a serious challenge. We know the government, justifiably, has a new interest in this, which we commend and applaud. However, there are aspects in the Arctic that need to be addressed. One of the central keystone species in the Arctic is a small Arctic cod. That Arctic cod is going to be fished by countries like Finland and that will have catastrophic impacts upon the other species that live in the region.

I will put this into context. This means that one-third of all sea mammal species are threatened or on the brink of extinction. This needs to be addressed because as these species are tied into the web of biodiversity that we have in our world, they are part of the chain of life. If we take out a part of that chain, then the rest of the chain can be negatively affected. We are a part of that food chain. I strongly recommend that the government deal with this.

The next point I want to make is on the issue of forestry practices. People in my province are cutting down trees right to the edge of salmon bearing streams. There is a severe lack of oversight and accountability and the impact is what we are seeing right now and one of the contributing factors of the collapse of our salmon species on the west coast. We do not want to see our fishermen in British Columbia fall to the same fate that happened on the east coast with the collapse of the cod fishery. We need to do things today to prevent the collapse of the salmon fishery on the west coast from happening so we can have a sustainable fishery within Canada on the west coast. I strongly urge the federal government to work with the provincial government to establish enforced forestry practices codes that do not allow companies to deforest right down to the water's edge.

In official development, we have an opportunity to deal with taking the forests of the world and indulge in something called REDD. REDD is a program that pays for critical habitats and forests to not be cut down. This could be part of Copenhagen, part of Kyoto 2. The minister could link up human development with environmental protection. There are solutions to that missing link and we will get to that, I am sure, after question period.

Marine Liability ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I regret cutting the member for Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca off but he will be able to proceed with his speech after question period. There will be almost eight minutes left in the time allotted for his remarks when this debate resumes.

Visa RequirementStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Bob Dechert Conservative Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday I was proud to join the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism to deliver some long-awaited good news to the Croatian Canadian community. The minister announced that our Conservative government was lifting the visa requirement on Croatia. This new change means that Croatians wanting to visit their family in Canada for birthdays and weddings, for business meetings, or as tourists will be able to do so without needing to apply for a visa. This will facilitate travel for Croatian citizens to Canada and will help improve ties between our two great countries.

Yesterday's announcement is another example of how, after years of Liberal neglect, our Conservative government is delivering real results for Canada's cultural communities. In fact, at yesterday's event, a Croatian community leader summed things up well when he said, “The Liberals never delivered for us and always expected us to deliver for them”.

Because of the actions of our Conservative government and the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, the Croatian Canadian community and all of Canada's cultural communities now know which party they can count on to deliver results. It is the Conservative Party.

Alison YoungmanStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Martha Hall Findlay Liberal Willowdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, Alison Youngman died peacefully at home on the morning of International Women's Day after a short but brutal battle with cancer.

Ms. Youngman was an award-winning senior partner at national law firm Stikeman Elliott, a strong advocate for Canadian women, and a champion of women's leadership.

A tireless contributor to her community, Alison served as chair of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, was an active volunteer at Out of the Cold, and was Canadian president of the International Women's Forum.

Alison was also a trailblazer and a champion of women in Canada's corporate community. She headed her firm's internationally recognized technology law group and spearheaded one of Bay Street's first maternity policies.

Sandra Martin of the The Globe and Mail described Alison as follows:

Adopted as a baby and raised as an only child, Alison Youngman created a family out of friends and colleagues. Known as the maestro of multitasking, she was a high-profile lawyer, an indefatigable volunteer for breast cancer research, a director of the International Women's Foundation, a mentor for other women and a devoted mother. In naming her a woman of distinction in 2004, the YWCA of Toronto lauded her for breaking “new ground for women in the legal profession” and for being “an influential and inspiring role model”.

Ms. Youngman is survived by her two sons, Chris and Phil, two brothers, a sister, and many, many friends.

French at the 2010 Winter GamesStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, a number of recent incidents involving this government are reinforcing our concerns about the future of the French language in this country. First there were the cuts to international cooperation in five francophone African countries. Then the government's refusal to support the CBC forced the crown corporation to sacrifice some of the high quality services it provides for francophones. And now, before the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games have even begun, the Olympic committee has made a serious blunder at the expense of the Canadian francophone population. There were no francophone artists at an official event to begin the countdown in February 2009.

How is it that in this supposedly bilingual country we have to remind the Canadian Olympic Committee that Rule 24.1 of the Olympic Charter stipulates that, “The official languages of the IOC are French and English”?

The Bloc Québécois is calling on the Vancouver Olympic Committee, and by the same token, we also call on this government, to do whatever it takes to ensure that French is given the respect it deserves.

Manitoba Flood PreparationsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the many volunteers who are helping out with sandbagging in various communities and properties in Manitoba and my riding of Elmwood—Transcona.

The anticipated high water levels present challenges to all Manitobans, but especially in the communities along the Red River and other major rivers and streams throughout the province.

While the city of Winnipeg has the protection of the Winnipeg floodway, for which significant upgrading has just been completed, there are still some properties within the city limits that require additional protection.

While at home this weekend, I dropped by one such sandbagging effort behind the historic La Salle Hotel in my riding. The efforts of all the volunteers were obvious, but significant work is still needed to protect against the anticipated flood crest.

While I am on my feet, I would like to offer congratulations to Bill Blaikie, who won a byelection last Tuesday to become the new member of the legislature for Elmwood in Winnipeg. Bill was a member of this House for 29 years and Deputy Speaker in the last Parliament.

On behalf of all members, I would like to wish Bill well in his new career.

Women of Excellence AwardsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Holder Conservative London West, ON

Mr. Speaker, London, Ontario has produced many notable Canadians over time and the tradition continues.

This year the YMCA of Western Ontario is honouring several remarkable Londoners with Women of Excellence Awards. Each of these women has given of herself for the betterment of others in our London community in specific fields.

They include: Joy Warkentin for education, training and development; Karen Pincombe for arts, culture and heritage; Marlene McGrath for business professions and trades; Jean Wright for community, volunteerism and humanity; Sandra Cooper-Ryder for sport, fitness and recreation; and Dr. Sugantha Ganapathy for health, science and technology. Nicole Seymour was recognized as a young woman of excellence and Joan Francolini was awarded a lifetime achievement award.

These women make a positive difference in the lives of thousands of Londoners every day. To these women, on behalf of all Londoners whose lives they have touched and from the House of Commons, I sincerely thank them and congratulate them on their achievements. I thank them for caring.

Minister of Veterans Affairs CommendationStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to inform the hon. House of an award received by a remarkable woman in my riding. Joyce Samms of Port aux Basques has been presented with the Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation award.

Mrs. Samms served in the women's Royal naval service in England during the second world war. She moved with her family to Newfoundland in 1952 and a few years later became a member of the Royal Canadian Legion. She was the only female member at Branch 11 at the time.

Mrs. Samms served in a variety of roles for many years, including president, secretary, chair of the poppy campaign, and honours and awards chair. She is currently membership chair. Mrs. Samms was the first woman to be elected as district commander and 10 years later became the first woman in Canada to be elected provincial president.

Mrs. Samms has received the Meritorious Service Medal and the Palm Leaf, the legion's highest honour. She is a life member of the legion and a recipient of the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal.

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to tell you about such an outstanding woman from the riding of Random—Burin—St. George's.

Top Cadet MusicianStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Mayes Conservative Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Army Cadet League of Canada has named the top cadet musician in Canada to be Cadet Master Warrant Officer Blythe Heywood of the 1705 British Columbia Dragoons Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps of Vernon for her accomplishments on the violin and the French horn.

Originally a member of the Enderby Cadets, Heywood later joined the Vernon squadron where she has performed in numerous band competitions. She was 1 out of 1,600 cadet musicians from cadet bands in 70 B.C. communities to join the 50-member group.

Heywood trained at the Vernon army camp for three summers and has spent two years in Quebec playing in the advanced band at the Eastern Region Cadet School of Music. She will be presented the Lieutenant General J.W. Quinn award at a later date. In addition to the trophy, there is a $250 cash award and a $500 award toward her cadet corps' music program.

On behalf of the constituents of Okanagan—Shuswap and my colleagues in the House, I congratulate Cadet Master Warrant Officer Heywood.

Joannie RochetteStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Guy André Bloc Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to Quebecker Joannie Rochette, who won the silver medal in the women's singles event at the world figure skating championships in Los Angeles. This is a great achievement by this young woman from Île Dupas, a municipality in the riding of Berthier—Maskinongé.

Her prowess and success are an inspiration and an example. Thank you to her parents, her family, her friends and the local businesses that have always supported and encouraged her in her career.

My Bloc Québécois colleagues join me in congratulating Ms. Rochette on doing Quebec proud on the international sports scene with her determination, her discipline and her great talent.

DalitsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Conservative Calgary East, AB

Mr. Speaker, recently the issue of the treatment of the Dalit people of India was raised in the House. Untouchability has been a social evil for centuries in India. However, since independence, India has seen its leaders make great progress in fighting this evil.

Last week on Parliament Hill, there was a celebration of the 632nd birth anniversary of Shri Guru Ravidas, the religious leader who fought for Dalit rights.

Today, India has taken affirmative action that reserves seats for Dalits in all government institutions, including parliament. A Dalit has occupied the highest office of the president of India. The present chief justice of India is a Dalit. Finally, it is a criminal offence to discriminate against Dalits.

Although great progress has been made worldwide in confronting discrimination, still there is much to be accomplished.

Carson MarcouxStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Jean-Claude D'Amours Liberal Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday I had the honour of participating in a fundraising activity for an Olympic hopeful in my riding. Carson Marcoux, 17 years old, of Balmoral, is attempting to qualify as a member of the national fencing team for the 2012 London Olympic Games.

A resident of a town with a population of approximately 1,800 located in northern New Brunswick, Carson has decided to live with his family in his region while competing around the world.

Carson is also a pianist and devoted to his community. He has proven to everyone that although he lives in a rural area where fencing is not the sport of choice, it is possible to be one of the best.

Carson was one of two young Canadians who participated in the Beijing 2008 Olympic Youth Camp. Madawaska—Restigouche supports he has in himself his Olympic dream and we are proud of the faith you have in yourself.

We thank you to the village of Balmoral, the volunteer firefighters and especially to his family, who is behind him all the way in his search for an Olympic dream.

Marcel AubutStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, as chair of the Quebec Conservative caucus and on behalf of my colleagues, I would like to congratulate Marcel Aubut on being named president of the Canadian Olympic Committee. He is the first Quebecker to hold that position, and we are very proud of him.

Mr. Aubut, a lawyer and skilled businessman, dedicated much of his time and energy to supporting and developing sport at both professional and amateur levels. Who could forget the extraordinary saga of the Quebec Nordiques, with which he was closely associated? His work and dedication breathed new life into amateur sport and enabled athletes to benefit from the resources they need to succeed.

We believe that he will continue to dedicate himself passionately to athletes. It is therefore my great pleasure today to wish Mr. Aubut the best of luck in his new role as president of the Canadian Olympic Committee.

Carmelita SidecoStatements By Members

March 30th, 2009 / 2:10 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House to pay a heartfelt personal tribute to a dear friend of many years, Mrs. Carmelita Sideco, or Tita Lita to the community. The wife of Dr. Edgardo Sideco and mother of four exceptional sons, Eric, Ian, Neil and Arne, she will be sadly missed by all of her friends and family, and those of us who have had the privilege to work with her over the years.

The many notices and articles that have been written in both the press of the Philippine community, of which she was such a beloved leader, and in the national media speak of her role as teacher, volunteer, patron of the arts and activist, but that would not in and of itself explain the overflowing crowd at the Annunciation of Our Lady Church who were there to say goodbye.

There was a unique quality about Carmelita. She never got angry no matter how difficult the issue. She always used her skill and experience to bring people together, not to divide. She was a true peacemaker and she will be truly missed.

Salamat po, Tita Lita.

Automotive IndustryStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Greg Rickford Conservative Kenora, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada's auto industry directly employs over 150,000 Canadians and another 340,000 indirectly. It is our largest industry within the manufacturing sector. It represents 14% of our manufacturing output and 23% of our manufactured exports. In fact, half a million Canadians and their families depend on the health and viability of this industry and are looking to their leaders to ensure that Canada remains a strong part of the North American automotive industry through these economic times.

That is why it is absolutely shameful the Leader of the Opposition has turned up his nose to auto sector workers by saying, “No voter in B.C. wants to throw money into the auto sector and neither do I”. I wonder if he would repeat the same sentiment at a town hall meeting in Ontario. I am sure he has more savvy than that. He has shown time and time again that he is more than willing to flip-flop on the content of his message to suit whatever audience he is speaking to, whether it be in Saanich, St. Catharines or at his home in Harvard.

Jutra AwardsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Roger Pomerleau Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, the 11th Jutra awards ceremony, a celebration of Quebec cinema, was held yesterday.

The winners included Borderline, a film by Lyne Charlebois, which won for best production. Benoît Pilon's The Necessities of Life won for best screenplay and film of the year. I would also like to congratulate Isabelle Blais and Natar Ungalaaq, chosen the year's best actors.

I would mention in passing the remarks by Patricio Henriquez, who won the award for best documentary for Under the Hood, a Voyage into the World of Torture. He criticized Ottawa's obscurantism, saying that Quebec culture was threatened and that a sort of war had been declared on it. He said the federal government today opposes everything that Quebec represents as a progressive society.

It is hard to ignore such statements in the present context of this government's attempt to gag cultural workers by making cuts to culture and, now, denying the CBC an advance on funding.

Jutra and Juno AwardsStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, last evening, the Jutra awards gala celebrated the incredible diversity and boundless talent of our creative craftspeople in Quebec. In Vancouver, music was in the spotlight at the Juno awards. The harvest in both was abundant, celebrating the beauty and diversity of Quebec cinema and Canadian song.

One of the evening's most honoured films, The Necessities of Life, was recognized for its powerful illustration of the cultural differences between the Inuit of Nunavik and the rest of Quebec society. In addition, Luc Picard has delighted Quebeckers by taking the tales of Fred Pellerin to the big screen.

At the other end of the country, it was Nickelback's night, as the rockers from Alberta stole the show at the Juno awards, while Ariane Moffatt took the honours for francophone album of the year.

Congratulations to all the artists honoured yesterday.

Automotive IndustryStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Lois Brown Conservative Newmarket—Aurora, ON

Mr. Speaker, with the government's announcement today that we are putting further pressure on GM and Chrysler to effectively restructure while providing conditional interim loans and working effectively with our provincial and American counterparts, it is clearer than ever that we are getting the job done for Canada's manufacturing sector.

On January 24 the Guelph Mercury reported that according to the Liberal leader, his party cut the auto critic position because “the goal of the auto critic position had essentially been completed with [the] industry minister's announcement of loans to automakers”.

The Liberals fired their auto critic because we are getting the job done. The only remaining question is, how long will it take the Liberal leader to fire his justice, finance, trade, industry, foreign affairs and environment critics?

The Liberal leader is realizing what Canadians know, that strong leadership and decisive vision mean that we are better off with this Prime Minister. Even the Liberal leader cannot deny that we are getting the job done.

Automotive IndustryOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, President Obama's announcement about the U.S. auto sector leaves Canadians wondering who is defending the Canadian industry.

The minister says he supports the American plan, but where is the coordinated strategy to save the North American industry as a whole? This crisis has been gathering for years.

Why has the government waited for three years, so that Washington can decide the fate of our workers and our industry?