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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

BurmaOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, Nobel Prize winner, democracy activist and Canadian citizen Aung San Suu Kyi is facing five years in prison after an American swam to her house, violating her house arrest conditions. She should not be under house arrest at all, let alone in jail.

Could the government tell us what representations, if any, it has made to the Burmese junta to insist upon her immediate release?

Can the government tell us, here in this House, now, what steps have been taken to defend the rights of Aung San Suu Kyi?

BurmaOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent ConservativeMinister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas)

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member asked a relevant question.

Our government is alarmed by the new charges laid against Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. We have called for her immediate release, along with all political prisoners in Burma.

We strongly urge the Burmese authorities to provide appropriate medical care for Aung San Suu Kyi and for all inmates held unjustly in Burma's prisons.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Prime Minister clearly misled Canadians on EI. Worse than that, he threatened an election on the backs of the unemployed.

The truth is this: One third of men and 40% of women do not have permanent full-time jobs. Most of them fall through the cracks of the EI system. Government research shows that 66% of part-timers and the majority of young workers who pay premiums do not qualify to get the benefits after a layoff, because they have not worked enough hours.

Instead of bullying, threatening and misleading, why will--

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. Minister of Industry.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, here is the reality: As a result of our economic action plan, we added an extra five weeks to EI, we froze premium rates, and we provided extra work-sharing. Another 100,000 Canadians are protected as a result of our efforts, which that member's party voted against.

We see what is happening here. The coalition is alive and well. The coalition is working together on this issue. They want extra payroll taxes for Canadian businesses and workers. That is their issue. We will not allow that to happen.

Pension PlansOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, after accepting early retirement incentives, AbitibiBowater pensioners are being left with nothing.

These people followed the rules and contributed to the system, but are losing their pension.

How can a company like AbitibiBowater be allowed to shirk its responsibilities towards its pensioners, when the former executive chairman, John Weaver, was given a severance package of $17.5 million?

Why does the government still refuse to protect retirees, but continue to help—

Pension PlansOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Pension PlansOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the reality is that Canada has a very generous employment insurance system. We improved that system through Canada's economic action plan and budget 2009. Here on this side of the House, we are saying that coalitions like the one formed in December must be stopped. Such a coalition cannot be allowed because it is not in the best interest of workers or businesses.

We will not allow that coalition. They do not represent the people of Canada. This is merely another coalition.

Sri LankaOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the government concerning the worsening humanitarian crisis in Sri Lanka.

Yesterday, reports indicated that a hospital had been bombed causing the death of 50 people. Today, we learned that the hospital may have been abandoned, leaving 400 injured people without care.

I would like to ask the government a very simple question. What will it do to ensure that this humanitarian crisis does not become a total disaster?

Sri LankaOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, I think everyone in the House and across Canada are seriously concerned about the civilian victims in Sri Lanka and that is why our government has called for a ceasefire. We support the UN and other countries' call for a ceasefire and unhindered access for humanitarian workers.

We have put forward $7.5 million in aid and we are willing to meet with the Tamil Canadian community.

Sri LankaOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is now clear that the calls from the Security Council have been ignored by the government of Sri Lanka. The foreign minister today is quoted as saying that they simply will not listen to those requests for a ceasefire.

We have at least, according to the UN estimates, 50,000 people who are trapped in a space of roughly two square miles. They cannot get out because the government and the Tamil Tigers will not let them get out.

What will the government now do when faced with this situation? It is not enough to give speeches. The government needs to tell us what action it will take.

Sri LankaOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member knows, the entire world is very concerned, which is why we are working with other countries and the United Nations. We will continue to work with those countries, with the Security Council and the other United Nations agencies.

Initially, we are trying to get the immediate needed aid there and we will continue to have dialogue. If the United Nations comes forward with any further action, we will proceed.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

May 14th, 2009 / 2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the House, the government dodges questions by saying that the Abdelrazik case is before the courts, but in the courts, the government argues that the court does not have jurisdiction. Meanwhile, Mr. Abdelrazik is stranded in Sudan.

How long will the government repeat these irrelevant and misleading lines instead of protecting his rights and bringing Mr. Abdelrazik home to Canada?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Calgary East Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Abdelrazik's case is a very complex matter that began under the watch of the previous Liberal government, the government under which the hon. member was the minister of justice. The reason the Liberals could not do anything was because Mr. Abdelrazik was on the al-Qaeda Taliban no-fly list.

I do not know why the hon. member promotes this case as Mr. Abdelrazik is still on that list.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, if the present government can treat Mr. Abdelrazik as it does, it can happen to any Canadian.

Parliament deserves an answer. Does the government have a policy of ignoring the rights of any Canadian simply because there may be a terrorist allegation, when our own security services say that it is unfounded and the charter mandates him coming back to Canada now?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Calgary East Alberta

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the UN 1267 al-Qaeda and Taliban sanctions committee was established for the purpose of overseeing the implementation of sanctions imposed on people who are associated with terrorists, such as Osama bin Laden.

Mr. Abdelrazik is on this list and he was on this list when the hon. member was the minister of justice and he could not do anything at that time. Mr. Abdelrazik is still on that same list.

As far as we are concerned, we are meeting our international obligations.

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Paule Brunelle Bloc Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, here is what a government representative had to say to the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology:

—I can now confirm that, in our opinion, the new program known as the operating line of credit guarantee does not contravene the obligations included in international trade agreements.

Do the Conservative members agree with this statement?

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, it is important to state that all government measures respect our agreements such as that with the World Trade Organization. Naturally, if there are challenges or problems, we must analyze the situation and respond.

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Paule Brunelle Bloc Trois-Rivières, QC

This is the opinion of Ms. Métivier, Executive Vice President of BDC, who confirmed in writing that these guarantees are legal under international agreements.

What is the Conservative government waiting for to provide forestry companies with loans and loan guarantees equivalent to those provided to the Ontario automotive sector?

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn ConservativeMinister of National Revenue and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, our softwood lumber agreement spells out certain obligations. We cannot give Canadian companies an advantage over American companies. If we provide any advantage, we will be going against the softwood lumber agreement and customs tariffs may be imposed. That is the reality. Export Development Canada can provide support but not an advantage.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Bouchard Bloc Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, in response to a question I asked about the closure of the Bagotville base and possible disbanding of 439 Squadron, the Prime Minister said, “We have no intention of making such a decision”. However, an intention is not a firm commitment and we have the right to know the truth.

I am asking a clear question that demands a clear response this time: Will the government reject the hypothesis of disbanding Bagotville's 439 Squadron, yes or no?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Conservative

Laurie Hawn ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence receives advice, briefing notes and decks all the time, as does every other minister, but it is advice only. It is the government that makes decisions, not the bureaucracy. No decisions have been made with respect to the location of existing assets or aircraft required in the future.

No decisions have been made concerning the location of existing operational training units or future aircraft procurements.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Bouchard Bloc Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, a simple yes or no should be easy. Once again, as has been the case all week, we have not received any clear answers that would lead us to believe that Bagotville will be protected. The same ambiguity abounds and the government refuses to make a firm commitment.

Is this not proof that the Conservatives are once again about to break one of their election promises, and that the disbanding of Bagotville's 439 Squadron is no longer a hypothesis, but is becoming a reality?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Conservative

Laurie Hawn ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the only thing that member is losing is his sense of reality.

The Minister of National Defence gets advice all the time, as does every other minister, but it is the government that will make the decisions. When we make a decision, it will be in the best interests of the Canadian Forces, in the best interests of the people the Canadian Forces serves, in the best interests of the people of Canada and in the best interests of, first and foremost, the people who look after us. We need to look after them. We are not like the group across the way that plunged the Canadian Forces into a decade of darkness and sucked the lifeblood out of them for 10 years.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, the government does not seem to want to let the human resources minister stand and answer any questions today. Perhaps that is because yesterday the Minister of Human Resources failed to tell the truth when she claimed that creating a universal 360-hour eligibility standard for EI would “mean that a Canadian could work for 45 days and collect EI for a year”. That is completely false.

Will the minister admit to misleading the House and, for once, tell the truth? Do unemployed Canadians not deserve at least that?