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House of Commons Hansard #38 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was human.

Topics

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

It being Wednesday, we will now have the singing of the national anthem led by the hon. member for Don Valley East.

[Members sang the national anthem]

Canadian Association of Fire ChiefsStatements By Members

April 1st, 2009 / 2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Terence Young Conservative Oakville, ON

Mr. Speaker, today, on Parliament Hill, we are honoured by the presence of the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs from across Canada, the national voice for fire services. Many of them have travelled great distances to inform members of Parliament of the successes and challenges of the courageous men and women who, when called upon, put their lives on the line to protect our homes and businesses and save lives.

Firefighters increasingly face new dangers, such as new building materials that burn hotter and faster, grow ops with hydro bypasses and meth labs.

Of 108,000 firefighters in Canada, 80,000 in smaller, rural and remote communities are unpaid volunteers. Firefighters demonstrate the pioneer spirit of community that allowed our settlers to battle the dangers of isolation and extreme weather to build this nation.

We salute all of the brave men and women who fight fires from Labrador to Oakville, Ontario, British Columbia and Yukon for their dedication in the greatest tradition of public service and sacrifice.

The EconomyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Navdeep Bains Liberal Mississauga—Brampton South, ON

Mr. Speaker, with all that is happening in our communities, I am concerned that the Conservative government has failed to act while so many of our constituents are suffering.

In Mississauga—Brampton South, we have already felt the effects of a declining housing market, crumbling infrastructure and a collapsing auto sector. The economic crisis, which continues to worsen under the Conservatives, has made life very tough for my constituents.

Seniors worry if they have enough money to get through the month. Families are having to cut their budgets and young people wonder what the future has in store for them.

Fortunately, there is hope. Canadians everywhere see the Liberal opposition as a compassionate alternative to the cold indifference of the Conservative Party.

We were elected to work for our constituents and build a better country for all. Let us put Canada first and get through these tough times together.

First Nations Education SystemStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Marc Lemay Bloc Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is time for the federal government to review its policy, which puts a 2% limit on the indexing of financing for first nations post-secondary education programs.

Furthermore, not only is post-secondary education under funded, but so is the entire first nations education system. Primary and secondary level programs are also suffering, because their respective funding is not being indexed to the cost of living. The fact that the number of students has increased since 1996 is not helping the situation. This has resulted in the loss of several million dollars over 13 years and the situation cannot continue.

I will be presenting a petition today on behalf of Quebec first nation people who are calling on the government to take action on this. The first nations education system is facing a crisis. It is time for the government to do something about it.

Status of WomenStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, who among us was not horrified by the revelations brought to the House by the member for New Westminster—Coquitlam about the Karzai Afghan regime's plans to subordinate and subjugate women? Not only is this deeply disturbing in terms of human rights but also in terms of the lost potential it represents.

By all accounts, when women are empowered, communities can overcome even the worst conditions. As has been said, the rising of the women is the rising of the human race.

I saw this firsthand in Bangladesh on a trip sponsored by Results Canada. I saw with my own eyes how a few dollars in aid can empower women to lift themselves and their families up out of enormous poverty. I saw women at the heart of the microcredit movement building sustainable economic futures.

I thank Chris Dendys and Katy Kydd Wright with Results Canada for leading us on this journey and showing us that poverty can be solved one step at a time when women are empowered to tackle basic issues like clean water, sanitation and TB prevention.

I also thank the member for New Westminster—Coquitlam for her tireless work in this place, empowering women and fighting for a sustainable, peaceful future. I wish her well on her new journey.

Royal Canadian Air ForceStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Brian Storseth Conservative Westlock—St. Paul, AB

Mr. Speaker, 85 years ago today, a royal proclamation gave birth to the Royal Canadian Air Force. In its history of excellence, the men, women and machines of the RCAF have chased the wailing winds and topped the sun swept summits with easy grace in the cause of freedom and justice.

Whether in the swirling skies over London, the dark deadly nights over Berlin, the training airfields of the prairies, the hostile skies of Korea, facing off against the Warsaw Pact in Europe, intercepting potential intruders near North American skies or while dazzling millions of fans with the Snowbirds, our Air Force has been on the job, around the clock, around the world for 85 years.

I am proud to represent an integral part of that history in the fighter squadrons and support organizations of 4 Wing Cold Lake and Edmonton Garrison's 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron.

Today I salute the dedication of the men and women of today's Canadian Air Force and the courage and sacrifice of those who preceded them. They have truly taken Canada Per ardua ad astra, through adversity to the stars.

Patro Le PrévostStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Justin Trudeau Liberal Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Patro Le Prévost, a community organization located in the heart of my riding of Papineau, is celebrating this year its 100th anniversary.

Over the year, numerous activities will be held to celebrate this momentous occasion. For example, starting on April 15, the citizens and friends of Papineau will be invited to take part in the 2009 cultural exhibition “Art over the years”.

The Patro is continuing a long tradition, guided by history and compassion. It welcomes on average nearly 1,000 people per day from all generations and all social and cultural backgrounds.

I want to congratulate the Patro and acknowledge its 100th anniversary. More than just a pool, a library and a series of gymnasiums, the Patro is the epicentre of our community.

An organization like the Patro Le Prévost cannot be successful without the outstanding support of its volunteers, whose efforts and encouragement I salute today.

To the volunteers and to the Patro, we say thanks and happy 100th anniversary.

Parkinson's Awareness MonthStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Patrick Brown Conservative Barrie, ON

Mr. Speaker, today marks the launch of Parkinson's Awareness Month across Canada. Over 100,000 Canadians are living with Parkinson's disease today. It is chronic, progressive and results in increasing disability that dramatically impacts individuals, families and communities everywhere in Canada.

Parkinson Society Canada works to educate parliamentarians and policymakers about the needs of Canadians living with brain conditions like Parkinson's. The organization is committed to positioning the brain as a priority health, social and economic issue in Canada, one that warrants increased research and policy investments.

As we launch Parkinson's Awareness Month, I encourage every member of Parliament to think about their constituents living with Parkinson's. This insidious disease affects men and women of every age and they are relying on our leadership to help them live with the highest quality and most productive lives they can.

Finally, I want to pay special tribute to Greg McGinnis of the Barrie Parkinson's Association who has done so much in my region to raise funds and awareness for this important cause.

Women in AfghanistanStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Nicole Demers Bloc Laval, QC

Mr. Speaker, a controversial new law in Afghanistan would allow men to rape their wives. This law, which was passed to please the Shia minority, would also prevent women from leaving the house without their husband's permission and would do away with their right to have custody of their children in the event of a separation or divorce. This practice has been condemned since 1993 by the UN High Commission for Human Rights, and this new legislation has been criticized by Afghan women parliamentarians and a UN agency for women.

The Conservative government likes to boast that Canada is in Afghanistan to defend women's right to equality and education. It is inconceivable that the government should do nothing to condemn and correct this injustice. This is a serious setback for women in Afghanistan.

The Conservative government should have the courage to stand up in this House and condemn this aberration and send a strong message to the Afghan government that this law violates its obligations regarding women's rights.

Royal Netherlands ArmyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Dykstra Conservative St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker, today I rise to honour Mr. Albert Hartkamp and retired major, Frans Rondel, of the Royal Netherlands Army from the Thank You Canada and Allied Forces group.

The group helps to ensure that the legacy of Canadian and allied forces in the liberation of the Netherlands never fades and that those who lost their lives are never forgotten.

As the son of two immigrants from the Netherlands who both lived through the second world war, it is an honour to recognize these men.

Along with their yearly commemorative events, they are also organizing a special 65th anniversary ceremony for 2010. This special event will incorporate veterans and dignitaries and will be attended by thousands of Canadian students.

The Thank You Canada and Allied Forces group is ensuring that Canadian and Dutch youth will know the shared experiences of sacrifices made.

So, as they organize a big “thank you” to all Canadian veterans, I call on all members of the House to recognize the great work they do in organizing their tribute to remember those who gave their lives for our democracy.

PauktuutitStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, today marks the 25th anniversary of Pauktuutit, the Inuit Women's Association.

Pauktuutit has worked tirelessly to address a broad range of health and social issues of concern to women in the north. Issues include the elimination of violence and abuse against Inuit women and children, housing, education, and economic development. It is to be congratulated for its success in advocating for Inuit women.

However, today also is the 10th anniversary of Nunavut.

Nunavut, which means “our land” in Inuktitut, has much to offer the world, with its panoramic landscapes, beautiful people and strong cultural traditions.

However, it is a community that continues to face many social challenges. These challenges must be addressed and the federal government must be there to ensure that the people of Nunavut have every opportunity for success.

NunavutStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Merv Tweed Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to stand before the House today to commemorate the creation of a new territory.

Today we celebrate the 10th anniversary of Nunavut. This is an occasion to reflect on the hard work and dedication of many people, on the many accomplishments that have been made and the many more that will follow.

Nunavut is vast in size, rich with resources, and has grown rapidly in the last 10 years. Our government and this Prime Minister are committed to ensuring the growth and success of Nunavut and the north.

This government recognizes the importance of the north like no other government has done before. Nunavut is well represented through the hard work of the Minister of Health, and this government has committed over $200 million over two years to social housing, $87 million toward a high-Arctic research station, continued growth in federal health transfers, and much more.

Nunavummiut and all Canadians should be proud of a territory that so perfectly represents the true north strong and free.

B.C. EconomyStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Alex Atamanenko NDP British Columbia Southern Interior, BC

Mr. Speaker, the policies of the B.C. government have had a devastating impact on my province over the past eight years. Hospitals have been closed, emergency room service reduced and ambulance service cut back.

Rural communities have been especially hit hard. Seniors have been shifted around from community to community, often with tragic consequences. Our medical services plan is contracted out to an American corporation, and a once-profitable BC Rail has been sold off to the private sector.

According to Rafe Mair, a former Socred cabinet minister, the Campbell energy plan will mean the end of BC Hydro and the end of hundreds of rivers.

I call the last eight years in B.C. “an experiment”: less government, privatization and deregulation, all part of the global corporate agenda.

Rafe Mair has given his support to Carole James and the NDP in the upcoming provincial election. I urge all citizens of B.C., regardless of political stripe, who wish to stop the systematic devastation of our province to vote NDP on May 12.

Yes, we can.

The Conservative GovernmentStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, we have confidence in Quebeckers. Our government is working for the future of all Quebeckers no matter where they live in the province. We hear from them daily that at least the Conservatives deliver the goods and they urge us to continue doing so.

While the Bloc Québécois is busy voting against everything in Ottawa, our government is working to develop Quebec and build its future. Unlike the Bloc, our government does not feel the need to scare Quebec, to divide it in order to better control it, to mislead it or tell it lies morning, noon and night. Our government is working on building, not tearing down. We are looking to the future, not to the past.

Yes, we, the Quebec Conservatives, have confidence in Quebeckers. We are truly there to serve them. On behalf of the Quebec Conservatives, I have a clear message for the Bloc: recess is over.

Royal 22nd RegimentStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Royal 22nd Regiment is on its way to Afghanistan. It will take over from the Royal Canadian Regiment, which has completed its tour. I had the honour and privilege of training with its members in 2001, then accompanying them to Bosnia. I would like to commend these troops on their professionalism and skill. Quebec can be proud of this regiment. These men and women are completely committed to their mission. Their work and dedication are beyond reproach.

While the Bloc opposes prolonging this mission, it has never doubted these soldiers' bravery. I know that this deployment is hard on their friends and family members, but the cause is noble. I would like to join my Bloc Québécois colleagues and the family and friends of these courageous soldiers in wishing them good luck in their mission.

We admire them. Our hearts are with them. See them soon.

New Brunswick Varsity RedsStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Brian Murphy Liberal Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds, who this past weekend captured their second University Cup in three years, with a 4-2 win over the University of Western Ontario Mustangs.

It was the third-year forward, Lachlan MacIntosh of Perth-Andover, New Brunswick, who scored a hat trick to solidify the win in the gold-medal final of the 2009 CIS men's hockey championship, Sunday afternoon, at Fort William Gardens in Thunder Bay.

UNB is the seventh team to participate in three consecutive Canadian Interuniversity Sport finals. The Varsity Reds, who won their first title in 1998, lost to Alberta by a score of three to two in last year's final. In 2007, UNB beat our local team, the University of Moncton Blue Eagles, and won the gold medal.

Hats off to UNB and to all the teams that played, from across this great country, in the national championships for the university hockey title.

Liberal Party of CanadaStatements By Members

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson Conservative Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, in British Columbia, the Liberal Party plan is to not help the auto industry, but in Ontario the Liberals have a different plan. One day the Liberal Party plan is to champion the job-killing carbon tax, claiming it must be implemented immediately. The next day the Liberal plan is to distance itself from the tax.

The Liberal Party pretends to defend the seal hunt, yet at the same time the Liberals' plan is to introduce a bill that would ban the seal hunt.

While the Liberal Party pretends to appeal to forestry workers in one province, the Liberal plan is to now call the industry a “basement” industry in another province.

It is clear that the Liberal plan is no plan at all. In these times, Canadians need real leadership with a real plan. They need the Conservative government's economic action plan.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, while the Prime Minister is urging other countries to do more, here at home the OECD says that another half million Canadians are going to lose their jobs. People in places like Markham and Whitby will be deprived of employment insurance simply because they do not live in some other riding.

When Mark Carney says today that Canada is in its worst recession in 50 years, is it not obvious that the time has come for a national standard for employment insurance eligibility?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Souris—Moose Mountain Saskatchewan

Conservative

Ed Komarnicki ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned yesterday to the hon. member, when the EI system was put in place in 1997 with variable entrance requirements, the unemployment rate was higher than it is today.

We have extended the benefits in a series of ways by adding five weeks to the program, ensuring that there is work sharing, ensuring that a number of people will maintain their jobs, and for those who are not able to qualify for EI, we ensure they can take training. We have invested significant dollars to ensure that happens.

G20Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, 10 years ago, Paul Martin, the father of the G20, pushed for the creation of an international bank monitoring system. That is what the G20 will be talking about this week. Yet before George Bush hosted the G20 meeting, this Prime Minister had no time for the group, saying that the G20's objective was to keep the United States in check.

Will the Prime Minister admit that from the beginning, he was wrong and Paul Martin was right?

G20Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I do not think you would ever hear a Conservative admit that.

Our Prime Minister and our finance minister are participating in the G20 meetings. We have other ministers at G8 meetings simultaneously. This Conservative government is actually putting us back on the international stage and showing leadership, leadership that we have not seen for many years coming out of Canada.

In fact, we co-chair with India the most important committee in the G20. We are leading all around the world.

International Monetary FundOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, if the Conservatives were honest, they would admit the obvious. The IMF is the banker of last resort to the world's poorer countries, but the IMF is running out of money. While Europe and the United States want to double or triple IMF resources, the Conservatives say it is simply not a priority.

Is it not shameful that Canada, one of the richest countries in the world, stands alone in committing nothing to help less fortunate countries get through this crisis?

International Monetary FundOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I suppose that would have been part of the plan in the prebudget consultations that the Liberals actually never delivered to the finance minister, how they plan to help people in other countries less fortunate than ours.

As I said in this House yesterday, we continue to support countries that are less fortunate than we are. We continue on our track to double aid to Africa.

We have developed programs in South America with our partners down there, not only in promoting trade with those countries but in development projects there and around the world.

Air CanadaOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, Air Canada could be on the verge of bankruptcy. An analyst has estimated that it has a 50/50 chance of surviving. Restructuring Air Canada would mean thousands of layoffs, in the midst of the economic recession. The last time Air Canada underwent restructuring, 3,000 people lost their jobs.

What is the minister doing to protect the jobs of Canadians who work for Air Canada?

Air CanadaOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, we are obviously very concerned when any Canadian company is losing more than $1 billion, as was reported most recently with respect to Air Canada.

Yesterday I met with one of the biggest unions of the employees there and indicated my active engagement with the file. I have also offered to meet with the new executive team at Air Canada. We are very concerned and will certainly keep a watchful eye.

Obviously our concern is jobs, the economy and economic growth. There are many issues in dealing with this problem and we are working on all of them.