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House of Commons Hansard #24 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was workers.

Topics

Status of WomenStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, women and men around the world are recognizing International Women's Day as a time to celebrate women's social, political and economic achievements.

Sadly, women across the world still suffer extreme poverty, violence and violations of their basic human rights. In Canada, lack of attention to women's rights by successive governments has left equality rights in tatters.

The government has cut funds to Status of Women Canada and removed the word “equality” from its mandate; eliminated the court challenges program; failed to make investments in child care; failed to invest in affordable housing; failed to make employment insurance accessible to more women; failed to improve the lives of aboriginal women; and failed to address violence against women.

Disturbingly, the Conservative government is now revoking pay equity laws in Canada and removing pay equity protection under the Canadian Human Rights Act for federal employees. New Democrats will continue to fight for equality and oppose the government's agenda to turn back the clock on women's rights.

We invite all Canadians to join us in celebrating International Women's Day and to speak out on the issues that matter to all women.

Dutton & District Lions ClubStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Joe Preston Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Speaker, our communities are better places because of them; projects are planned, buildings are built, parks are designed, youth are assisted and seniors are housed through them. Yes, I am speaking of service clubs.

I had the pleasure of participating in a wonderful event, the grand opening, a house warming so to speak, of Caledonia Two, a beautiful seniors housing project in friendly Dutton, Ontario. The stars of the show? Members of the Dutton & District Lions Club. With their help, this project succeeded through tough times. It was led by Clare Oldham, whose vision and drive would not let the project fail, and the committee, led by Bob Purcell, which kept the fundraising on track.

This lions club, even while working on this major project, continued its other great work in the community. At every event in the western part of Elgin, people will find hard-working lions club members on fundraising duty. I will admit to eating the occasional great burger prepared by them.

I salute the Dutton & District Lions Club. Our community is better because the lions club is part of it.

Special Olympics World Winter GamesStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Liberal Cardigan, PE

Mr. Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I rise in this chamber today to pay tribute to an outstanding Prince Edward Island athlete.

Stratford native Michael Morris, who lives in my riding with his mother, Judy, has just returned home from participating in the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games, which were held in Boise, Idaho in February, winning two bronze and a silver medal.

Michael has been skiing since he was a youngster and his list of accomplishments over the last few years would make any Olympian proud. He became involved in Special Olympics not for the competition, but for the friendship with other intellectually disabled athletes.

Michael is an inspiration to us all. I know he is proud to be a Canadian and I know how proud he is to carry the Canadian flag at the games.

Once again, I would like to pass my congratulations on to Michael Morris for his triple medal finish at the Special Olympics World Winter Games in Boise, Idaho.

Canada PostStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Maurice Vellacott Conservative Saskatoon—Wanuskewin, SK

Mr. Speaker, I rise to celebrate the hard work of the 137 Canada Post employees at the postal plant on 51st Street in Saskatoon, across from my MP office. Those good workers contribute to making Canada Post one of the most trusted federal institutions in the eyes of the Canadian public. I congratulate them on their achievement over many years in making adjustments to transform and enhance the quality of service delivery.

Every day millions of Canadians rely upon Canada Post workers to help them communicate, send and receive payments, advertise and ship their products. We commend Canada Post for directly investing in the future of its employees. A new state of the art mail processing plant has been announced for the Winnipeg International Airport.

I also commend the contribution of Canada Post employees, customers and suppliers in my riding for helping the newly formed Canada Post Foundation for Mental Health reach its 2008 $1 million fundraising goal.

It has been a long and brutal winter and so, for our postal carriers, especially my postal carrier Robert Winslow, we look forward to warmer and sunnier spring days to do their important work in connecting us across the country and around the world.

Ayaan Hirsi AliStatements By Members

March 5th, 2009 / 2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Lavallée Bloc Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, Ayaan Hirsi Ali is the Somali woman who became a Dutch citizen and, following the assassination of director Theo Van Gogh, a member of the Dutch Parliament. She wrote the screenplay for the late director's film entitled Submission, which denounced the harm done to a woman in the name of religion. A fatwa was then issued against Ms. Hirsi Ali's life.

While in Montreal this week, she gave a lecture on multiculturalism, which has been official policy in Canada since 1982, but not in Quebec, which chose interculturalism instead. Ms. Hirsi Ali criticized multiculturalism harshly, saying that the policy exempted minorities from obligations that everyone else has. She stated that Quebec's interculturalism, which calls on immigrants to undertake a moral engagement with the Government of Quebec, is more appropriate because immigrants can acquire a better understanding of the host society's values, such as secularism and gender equality.

This government could learn a lot from Ayaan Hirsi Ali's perspective on Canadian multiculturalism.

John LundriganStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Tilly O'Neill-Gordon Conservative Miramichi, NB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to a former member of the House, John Lundrigan, who recently passed away at the age of 70.

John served in the House for the riding of Gander—Twillingate from 1968 to 1974. He would later go on to serve in Newfoundland and Labrador's House of Assembly for the electoral district of Grand Falls—Buchans, serving as a cabinet minister in the government.

One notable story of John's time in the House has become legendary. In February 1971 John was speaking in this chamber when the then prime minister, Pierre Trudeau, made, in John's and many other's opinions, a rather unparliamentary remark. Of course Trudeau would argue he never said such naughty language, and so the fuddle duddle scandal was born.

On behalf of all of us, we give our condolences to John's family and friends. He will certainly be missed.

International Women's DayStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Maria Minna Liberal Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, International Women's Day is Sunday, March 8. It is a time to celebrate the political, social and economic achievements of women past, present and future.

Indeed, women have made great strides in the past century, but as we celebrate today, we still have a fight before us. Only 21% of members of this chamber are women, women still earn only 70¢ on the dollar of what men earn for work of equal value and 80% of unpaid caregiving in our country is done by women who are continuously in and out of the work force to care for sick loved ones and to care for their children. Women are the victims of time poverty.

We have watched as the government removed equality from the mandate of the women's program, closed 12 of 16 regional offices for Status of Women and cut off at the knees funding for research and advocacy. More recent, the government launched its ideological attack on women's human rights by removing their right to pay equity.

Women have a long history of coming together to fight injustices and I stand with those women here today to strive for a better future for women, for true equality.

Leader of the Liberal Party of CanadaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Daryl Kramp Conservative Prince Edward—Hastings, ON

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the Liberal Party says this about expelling Newfoundland separatist-leaning Senator George Baker from caucus: “That's too ridiculous to discuss”.

What is ridiculous is the fact that the leader of the Liberal Party opposite is apparently okay with a member of his caucus, the longest-serving Liberal parliamentarian, talking about forming his separatist political party and potentially seeking its leadership.

To me, as a proud nationalist, this is not only a question of leadership, but a question of principle. The Liberal leader has come back to Canada and he either cannot or will not answer a pretty basic question about whether it is appropriate for someone who condones the creation of a separatist party to be in the Liberal Party.

Will he show his true patriot love today by tossing that senator out of the Liberal Party?

Benjamin MiguelStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise to honour and pay homage to a special person who recently passed away in my riding. Mr. Benjamin Miguel was a respected and much loved leader in the Filipino community. He met his end as he lived his life: with strength, courage and dignity.

As the New Democrat spokesperson for multiculturalism, Mr. Miguel's life allows us to reflect on the outstanding contributions of the Filipino community to Canadian society. This community is filled with hardworking and proud men and women, people who celebrate life and create culture.

Their courage, fortitude and dreams of building better lives for their families are an inspiration to us all. From the monthly birthday celebrations of the New Era Society to the community development of the Circulo Ilonggo Association to the charity work of Alpha Phi Omega, the Filipino community in British Columbia is active, creative and vibrant.

In Canada's multicultural fabric, the Filipino threads are woven deeply. I would like to convey our deepest sympathies to Mr. Miguel's family. May his life inspire the sons and daughters of the Filipino community and indeed all of us to honour his legacy and make him proud.

Opposition PartiesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Shelly Glover Conservative Saint Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the opposition members on the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage voted against a motion condemning groups that promote violence and racism. The Liberal-NDP-Bloc coalition is still very much in effect and is protecting such groups.

The Liberals and New Democrats preferred to keep the status quo in this new coalition of intolerance, a coalition whose survival depends once again on a partner whose main objective is not to build a stronger, safer Canada. The Liberals are demonstrating that they do not care much about national unity. I would remind this House that 80% of the advertising revenue of the newspaper Le Québécois comes from the Bloc Québécois.

I am disappointed that the opposition members on this committee are unable to oppose these extremists and unable to defend Canada.

Status of WomenStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

France Bonsant Bloc Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, the slogan chosen this year by the Regroupement des centres de femmes du Québec for International Women's Day is “United, mobilized and moving forward”, but unfortunately, in many parts of our society, women's progress is at a standstill and vigilance is still required if we are to maintain our gains.

We are still under-represented in positions of power and we hold only 13% of the positions available in the corporate boardrooms of Canada's largest 500 companies. In 2006, women earned on average $15,000 less than men. In 2008, 58.9% of people working for minimum wage were women.

Internationally, the UN continues to criticize Canada when it comes to respect for women's rights, poverty and violence, especially against women, and aboriginal women in particular.

None of this squares very well with the policies of the Conservative government.

The Bloc Québécois would like to wish all women an International Women's Day full of promise.

Status of WomenStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, March 8 is International Women's Day.

The majority of the world's poor are women. On average, women earn 40% less than men for the same work.

Throughout the world, the current economic downturn will make things worse for women because the hospitality and retail sectors, which employ primarily women, will be especially affected.

Next week I will be attending a reception held by Black Women's Civic Engagement Network to salute black women in Canada whose leadership, influence and accomplishments have paved the way to success for future generations.

As elected members of a democratic country, we have the moral obligation to achieve true gender equality throughout Canada.

Leader of the Liberal Party of CanadaStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Laurie Hawn Conservative Edmonton Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, I understand the Liberal leader will be launching a book called True Patriot Love. I would like to know if true patriot love includes having someone who supports the creation of the Bloc Newfoundland and Labrador in the Liberal Party.

Senator Baker is even taking shots at the previous Liberal government, saying the creation of his Bloc is partly the result of Paul Martin's dealings with the province.

Now some of us like to take shots at former prime ministers, but taking shots at Canadian unity cannot be tolerated, but tolerating is exactly what the Liberal leader is doing.

On issue after issue, the Liberal leader is demonstrating a profound lack of leadership. First, he was for a carbon tax, now he claims to be against. First he signed his name to the coalition. Now he claims to be against it.

Will he stand up, show some leadership and actually take a stand on an issue as important as the unity of the country?

Leader of the Liberal Party of CanadaStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order. I invite hon. members who wish to offer their sympathies to the family of former Speaker Gilbert Parent to sign the book of condolences in room 216 until 5 p.m. today.

Government ExpendituresOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, in the 2007 budget Parliament approved $4.6 billion in infrastructure investment for this fiscal year ending in a matter of weeks, but we have discovered that less than $1 billion has actually flowed.

If the Prime Minister already has $3 billion approved and ready to go, why has he not invested? Will he get the money out the door or is he just trying to hide the size of his deficit?

Government ExpendituresOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Certainly, Mr. Speaker, the government is not trying to hide the state of the deficit.

The fact of the matter is, as I have said before, these are funds that we want to make available for the new programs that are coming on line. They will come on line over the next three months.

There will be all kinds of announcements across the country. The public will be of course informed as quickly as possible. I know the hon. members opposite want to pass this money and let us go on with making those positive announcements for the Canadian public.

Government ExpendituresOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, we are talking about money that will lapse if he does not spend it shortly.

There are 1,500 workers in Hamilton who have lost their jobs because the steel works are closing down. I spoke to the mayor of Hamilton this morning and he told me, “The need for speed is critical”. Hamilton has a multi-million dollar water infrastructure project that is ready to go.

The Prime Minister has $3 billion at his disposal. Why can he not give Hamilton the help it needs right now?

Government ExpendituresOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the government is in the process of approving projects with other levels of government.

As I mentioned before, last year alone we spent three times more on infrastructure than the previous Liberal government. That amount was going to double this year even without the additional funds we are planning to spend. That is why we need passage of those funds.

The hon. member cannot have it both ways. He cannot say spend faster, but please do not let the spending get passed. Get on, pass the spending, let it happen. That is what Canadians want.

Government ExpendituresOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, they have announced the spending, but they have not actually spent the money.

The Prime Minister has more than $3 billion at his disposal. This $3 billion was approved in the 2007 budget and he could be using it at this very moment to invest in infrastructure.

Can he tell us, once again, why he is not using this $3 billion? Is he making Canadians wait so he can hide the size of the deficit?

Government ExpendituresOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we will spend more than just the money announced in past budgets. That is why we are looking for support.

I hate to use this expression, but the Leader of the Opposition really is engaged, on this entire budgetary business, in the biggest exercise of suck and blow I have ever seen in Canadian history.

He really has to make up his mind whether he is going to help us pass it quicker or try to block it. The right thing to do is obviously pass it and let it happen.

JusticeOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Liberal Saint-Laurent—Cartierville, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Federal Court told the government that it must take all reasonable steps to stop the execution of a Canadian citizen facing the death penalty in Montana. The court said that the government's refusal to support this Canadian citizen was a breach of duty, unlawful and invalid.

Will the Minister of Justice assure Canadians that he will not appeal this ruling and that the Conservative government will finally stop picking and choosing which Canadians to defend and which rights it stands up for?

JusticeOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent ConservativeMinister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas)

Mr. Speaker, before I answer my hon. colleague's question, I would like to remind him of the two young aboriginal men whose lives were brutally cut short by Ronald Allen Smith who marched them into a Montana forest and shot them execution style.

That said, we are currently reviewing the court's decision and it would be inappropriate to comment further.

JusticeOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Liberal Saint-Laurent—Cartierville, QC

Mr. Speaker, tragically, no capital punishment will bring these lives back.

My question is for the Minister of Justice. Will the government, yes or no, comply with the court's decision and uphold, in Montana as in the rest of the world and for all Canadians, the principle that society does not have the right to take away what it did not give, that being life, and which sees the death penalty as vengeance purporting to be justice?

JusticeOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent ConservativeMinister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas)

Mr. Speaker, it would be nice if the opposition members showed as much compassion and concern for the lives of victims and their families as they do for those of criminals.

That said, I repeat, we are currently reviewing the court's decision and it would be inappropriate to comment further.

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, women's groups are at the United Nations today, protesting against the government's record on the status of women. They are there to call attention to the fact that the government's pay equity bill, which the Liberals supported, restricts women's right to receive the same pay as men for the same work.

Instead of sending his Minister of State for the Status of Women to boast about a bill everyone condemns, would the Prime Minister not do better to take a step back and introduce real pay equity legislation, modelled on Quebec's legislation?