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House of Commons Hansard #58 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was nations.

Topics

Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Vancouver Island North B.C.

Conservative

John Duncan ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Madam Speaker, the member talked about consultation. There was considerable consultation on the bill, with 103 different meetings and multi-millions of dollars spent. A lot of work was done with the Native Women's Association of Canada, the Assembly of First Nations and with other organizations. Bill C-8 would address a big vacuum in the law, and everyone knows that.

Is the member aware that in 2008 a submission was made by the Canadian Feminist Alliance to the report of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women? It said that despite some disagreement in the aboriginal women's community about how to deal quickly with this bill, this was a straightforward issue and should be dealt with immediately.

Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Madam Speaker, I think there is consensus in the fact that all first nations women's groups are opposed to the bill. Moreover, the bill does not meet the requirements of the UN declaration, which the government did not sign. The Conservative government was one of only four governments not to sign the declaration, and that number is now down to three.

The bill also does not meet our Constitution.

Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Brian Murphy Liberal Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Madam Speaker, I would like to ask the hon. member for Etobicoke North one simple question. To her knowledge, is it true that first nations groups are working on the panoply of rights they want for their own communities?

The right of self-determination is very clear in the United Nations declaration for aboriginal peoples. The Indian Act is something entirely different, which puts a fiduciary duty on the Government of Canada. I am speaking of rights with respect to making their own laws, not only with respect to matrimonial property, but with respect to access, with respect to child and family services and with respect to the best interests of the child as we know it.

First nations groups are working on these rights. The Conservative government seems to be in a drive-by legislation mode, whereby it drives a big truck through a community and throws a piece of piecemeal legislation off the back. The Conservatives take this approach with justice issues and aboriginal issues.

Are first nations not offended by this approach because they are working on solutions to their own problems in their own way and in their own time, as they are guaranteed to do by law?

Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Madam Speaker, Bill C-8 is inconsistent with first nations right to self-determination, which is recognized in our Constitution. It is contrary to first nations jurisdiction over family law, which was recognized by the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples.

I would like to stress that it is up to first nations to identify gaps in laws and address them as they see fit in their own law-making initiatives.

Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

John Duncan Conservative Vancouver Island North, BC

Madam Speaker, the Liberal critic put forward a hoist amendment, and that is what we are debating. If the amendment is adopted, that would be tantamount to defeating the bill by postponing its consideration. Consequently, the bill would disappear from the order paper and could not be introduced again, even after the postponement period had elapsed.

How could there be a further consultative period if the bill is gone?

Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Madam Speaker, it is up to first nations to identify gaps in laws. This bill would take away from the grassroots action, which is happening now.

Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Yvon Lévesque Bloc Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, QC

Madam Speaker, allow me to point out that this morning we had the opportunity to meet with a first nations community which, for the first time since I was elected, underscored the fact that the negotiations between the government and their nation are being conducted in good faith. You had to see the satisfaction of these people and how pleased they were to accept this agreement. They do not think it is perfect; however, they were consulted and they contributed to the agreement. With this agreement, good faith and collaboration with the government they will achieve autonomy.

I am certain that we are seeing this approach for the first time. Unfortunately, it has already fallen by the wayside. We see this from studying the bill before us this morning. In this bill, the government has gone back to its old habits. It is developing something for the first nations that they do not want. They want to collaborate, to be consulted and to contribute to this agreement.

With Bill C-8, the government is making the same mistakes it made in the past. In January 2004, we debated Bill C-44, the forerunner to Bill C-21. Although it wanted section 67 of the Canadian Human Rights Act to be repealed, the Bloc Québécois declared that it felt that the government had not sufficiently consulted the first nations about the impact of the repeal on the communities.

The Bloc was supported by the Assembly of First Nations and the Native Women's Association of Canada.

Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

I regret to have to interrupt the hon. member.

He will have the floor for approximately 17 minutes when the debate resumes.

March for LifeStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Rod Bruinooge Conservative Winnipeg South, MB

Madam Speaker, today an estimated 10,000 Canadians from across the country have gathered on Parliament Hill. These individuals will participate in the Hill's largest annual issue-driven rally. This rally attracts people from all nationalities, ethnicities and political stripes. Despite differences in age, religious beliefs and world views, this group is united by one common belief: that all life has value, including the life of an unborn child.

The March for Life is an annual event that works to increase the understanding and demonstrate widespread support for all life. As chair of the multi-party pro-life caucus, I would like to thank the March for Life organizers and welcome everyone who is travelling to Ottawa for this important event. Keep up the good work.

Sri LankaStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Madam Speaker, the Liberal opposition continues to demand action by the Canadian government to address the humanitarian crisis in Sri Lanka. The escalating violence has resulted in the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians.

The Liberal Party is calling for the creation of a humanitarian corridor for the delivery of aid and the safe evacuation of the affected population, as well as fast-tracking new and existing visa applications for those wishing to escape the violence and join their immediate family members in Canada.

Canada must insist that the government of Sri Lanka commit to an immediate and permanent ceasefire.

Citizen AdvocacyStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Diane Bourgeois Bloc Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to pay tribute to a citizen advocacy organization that is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Parrainage civique Basses-Laurentides is part of a Quebec-wide citizen advocacy coalition that has been in existence since 1985. Its main mission is social integration.

In the lower Laurentians region, this organization provides a support program by twinning a volunteer and a person who has been marginalized because he or she is different. The goal is to return them to a normal life and get them more involved socially.

The numerous services provided are aimed at helping the individual develop his full potential, learn new skills and connect with others in the community, thereby demystifying intellectual disability.

My thanks to the staff and volunteers of Parrainage civique Basses-Laurentides for all they do with and for the young people of Terrebonne—Blainville. Happy anniversary.

Government of ManitobaStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Madam Speaker, 2009 marks the 40th anniversary of the election of the first NDP government in the province of Manitoba. The NDP has been the most successful and progressive social democratic government in all of North America.

Manitoba was the first government in North America to introduce public auto insurance and the guaranteed annual income. It was the first government to have a province-wide pharmacare program. It was the first province to eliminate medical premiums. It was the first province to become North America's leading hydroelectric power.

Our party was based on the principle that our society must change from one based on competition to one based on co-operation. In that vein, I would like to recognize and pay tribute to the first NDP Premier of Manitoba, the Hon. Ed Schreyer, followed by the Hon. Howard Pawley. We now are pleased to announce the third majority victory for the current Premier of Manitoba, the Hon. Gary Doer, who is leading the province with the lowest unemployment rate in the country and zero small business tax. Hydro dams are now being built with full ownership by aboriginal—

Government of ManitobaStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Brant.

Brantford Golden EaglesStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Phil McColeman Conservative Brant, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would ask members of Parliament to join me in congratulating the Brantford Golden Eagles.

Twelve days ago, this hard-working hockey team of high-flying Eagles swooped to victory over the Stoney Creek Warriors, eliminating the team 4-1 in games, capturing the Sutherland Cup as Ontario Junior B Champions.

Hanging in the dressing room at the Brantford Civic Centre are these words: “The will to win is worthless if you do not have the will to prepare”, and prepare they did. These young men played their hearts out and have brought pride to our community. The players, coaches, owners and support staff did it: Well done.

Fisheries and OceansStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Gerry Byrne Liberal Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte, NL

Mr. Speaker, Liberals took it upon themselves today to do what the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans refuses to do herself.

Today in Ottawa, at the request of this side of the House, we met with industry leaders and heads of organizations from Atlantic Canadian fishing industry interests. Last week, the FFAW, the Maritime Fishermen's Union, the PEIFA, and Regroupement des pêcheurs professionnels du sud de la Gaspésie, among others, called for an emergency meeting with the federal fisheries minister to discuss the crisis in the fishing industry, in particular the lobster industry.

So far, the minister has refused. She has refused to show leadership. She has refused to do her job. She has refused to stand up for this $1 billion industry. Lobster prices are at all-time lows, markets are marginalized and thousands of families are without income and facing bleak prospects in the future.

Will the minister meet with those fishing organizations and will she do it now?

Fisheries and OceansStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I would remind the hon. member for Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte of my statements about personal attacks in Standing Order 31 statements and I would urge him to have a look at that before he makes his next statement.

The hon. member for Burlington.

Burlington Citizen of the YearStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Wallace Conservative Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, Burlington's Civic Recognition Awards will take place this evening. The awards bring recognition to Burlington residents who, through devoted and energetic volunteer service, help make Burlington a great community.

I would like to extend congratulations to Mina Wahidi, who is the recipient of Burlington's most prestigious award, Citizen of the Year. Mrs. Wahidi is being recognized for her determination in making a difference in our community.

As a true champion of the needy, she helped start an agency, the Compassion Society. The Compassion Society actually had very humble beginnings. It started in 2001 when Mina offered clothing from her basement to those in need. She had one rack of clothing and one volunteer. Although the society has grown, one thing has not changed and that is Mina and her dream of helping others in need.

I congratulate Mina Wahidi, Burlington's Citizen of the Year.

Tax HavensStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Carrier Bloc Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, while a number of states are experiencing chronic deficits, the world's richest citizens are siphoning off their profits to places where they can stash them away and shelter them from taxes. This increases the tax burden on the middle class and low wage earners. There are more than 72 places where this tax evasion is possible: the Caribbean, Jersey, Ghana, to name but a few. As a result states are being deprived of large amounts of revenue which could have been invested to improve the well-being of their population.

While $11,000 billion is safely tucked away in these tax havens, the UN is calling for $50 billion over five years to eradicate world poverty. That amount is the equivalent of a scant 0.5% of those hidden billions. This special treatment of the most fortunate must stop. It is high time that this government followed the example of the Obama administration and passed legislation to effectively deal with the use of tax havens.

PakistanStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Tim Uppal Conservative Edmonton—Sherwood Park, AB

Mr. Speaker, the heavy clashes in northwestern Pakistan between security forces and Taliban militants have forced up to 360,000 people to flee their homes. A further one million people could be displaced in the coming months as the military offensive continues.

Minorities, including Christians, Sikhs and Hindus, have been discriminated against and persecuted by the Taliban. Recently, a Sikh community in the Swat Valley had to flee and about 2,000 have taken refuge in a Sikh temple, Gurdwara Panja Sahib, in Hasan Abdal. Sikhs in the nearby Orakzai province have also fled after Taliban militants demanded they pay a poll tax imposed on all non-Muslims. Many of their houses have been destroyed by the Taliban in response to the non-payment of the protection money tax.

While Canada is closely monitoring the situation and we remain concerned about all civilians in the conflict affected areas, we call upon the government of Pakistan to ensure the security and safety of all its citizens, including religious minorities.

Vimala Sadashiv DhavaleStatements By Members

May 14th, 2009 / 2:05 p.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured today to pay tribute to Mrs. Vimala Sadashiv Dhavale, a respected member of my community of Ottawa South, who passed away on January 14, 2009.

Mrs. Dhavale was born in Wardha in the Maharashtra state in India on October 10, 1920. Vimala was a good student who excelled in academic life. Inspired by this love of learning, she attained a post-secondary degree in education, and became a teacher. For over two decades in India she taught senior high school students English, history and math.

During her tenure as a teacher, Mrs. Dhavale also developed a devotion to the daily practice of therapeutic yoga after finding it had cured her of chronic asthma. She committed herself to a lifelong advocacy of the benefits of yoga, becoming a yoga teacher, giving seminars and authoring several books on the practice.

After retiring from teaching, she immigrated to Canada in 1978, obtained her nursing degree from Algonquin College and worked at Glebe Centre. There she brought her love of yoga to Ottawa's seniors community, offering classes across the city. Her dedication to seniors continued over decades. Mrs. Dhavale continued her good works until just weeks before her passing.

On behalf of the House of Commons, I offer our condolences to her sons, Vijay, Vishwas and Vivek Dhavale. Through her devotion to her family, her students, her patients and her community, she made them exceptionally proud.

Parliamentarian of the YearStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

James Rajotte Conservative Edmonton—Leduc, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday we gathered for Maclean's annual Parliamentarians of the Year awards.

Winners and runners-up were drawn from all parties and I congratulate all of them. However, the most coveted prize, Parliamentarian of the Year, was awarded to a Conservative, the member for Calgary Southeast, our own Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism.

Since being elected in 1997, the minister has devoted his energies and his passion to advancing Canada's role as a champion of human dignity, human rights, equality of opportunity and the rule of law. He has also promoted Parliament as a forum for a clash of values and ideas about how the country should be governed. He has also shown throughout his career that no matter what their party allegiances, parliamentarians can disagree without being disagreeable.

The minister is well known for his work ethic, his love of debate and of politics for its own sake, his sense of humour, his laugh that can be heard throughout this chamber, as well as his belief that friendships can and must cross party lines.

I congratulate the minister on this achievement.

Create Your CanadaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate my hon. colleague from Windsor on winning the Most Knowledgeable MP in the House award for the second year running, which is very nice.

Last night three New Democrat bills were passed and sent to committee, two of which would help protect consumers and one which would stop the unfair clawbacks on the pensions of our military and police officers.

On June 1 I will be hosting four young Canadians from the northwest of British Columbia who are the first winners of my contest called, “Create Your Canada”.

New Democrats believe that no one has a lock on the solutions that we need for the future and that we must show in action our commitment to our youth.

I ask the Minister of Transport and the Minister of Natural Resources to meet with these young people and listen to their hopes for future generations.

New Democrats support the aspirations of our youth. Let us hope the government is willing to do the same.

City of LévisStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, during this time of economic uncertainty, we have to be able to count on solid, serious partners who will make infrastructure investments with us, partners like Quebec municipalities.

Today, I would like to talk about our exceptional partnership with the City of Lévis, whose representatives are here in the House. They helped build the Centre de congrès et d’expositions de Lévis, and they supported the reopening of the Davie shipyard and the water treatment plant. With partners like the City of Lévis and its whole team, including the mayor, Quebec and Canada will achieve even more.

Abortion RightsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Johanne Deschamps Bloc Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, May 14, 2009, marks an important victory in the fight for women's rights. It is the 40th anniversary of the amendment of section 251 of the Criminal Code, which made abortion a crime.

On May 14, 1969, women won the right, the freedom, the choice to have an abortion. Forty years later, despite these amendments to the Criminal Code, women must still fight for their rights. Since that historic day, some right-wing, anti-choice groups and some members of Parliament have tried repeatedly to take that right away.

Today, we are telling them, loud and clear, that a woman's uterus belongs neither to the church, nor to members of Parliament, nor to their sexual partners. This often difficult choice is theirs, and theirs alone, to make. With them and for them, we will take a stand and continue to oppose any bill that could threaten this most basic of women's rights.

ImmigrationStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Navdeep Bains Liberal Mississauga—Brampton South, ON

Mr. Speaker, 1.5 million Canadians are unemployed, 130,000 Canadians have declared bankruptcy within the last 12 months, and 342,000 Canadians have lost their jobs since October. The only response from the Conservative Prime Minister is personal attack ads.

The Prime Minister suggests in these ads that anyone who has spent a portion of their life outside Canada is less committed to this country. This shows his ignorance of what Canada represents.

Canada is a nation of immigrants. Within the next decade all of our net growth will come from immigration.

Is the Prime Minister saying that these new Canadians who have spent part of their lives outside Canada do not really love this country or are less Canadian than others?

These personal attack ads are not just an attack on the Leader of the Opposition but are an attack on all Canadians. The Conservatives should be ashamed of what they have done.