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House of Commons Hansard #81 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was spam.

Topics

Fighting Internet and Wireless Spam ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

Liberal

Mario Silva Liberal Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, all of us recognize that we are faced with a very serious issue. It is not about getting an email that is a nuisance. Many times it is about criminals taking advantage of individuals in our society.

I agree with the hon. member. There is no question that people need to be more aware about the problem. We need to ensure the government is doing everything possible to get the message out to individuals not just with tough laws but also through the enforcement of the laws. Someone on the Liberal Party's task force said that resources are also needed. We need the resources to be able to deal with this issue effectively. Law enforcement needs the resources not just from the legislative perspective but also the financial perspective, to deal with this very troubling menace that is causing havoc in our society.

Fighting Internet and Wireless Spam ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, the issue of communications purporting to be from financial institutions and bearing their logos I see as a problem. I have received many of those. I have provided the bank with copies of what I have received. I do not know if the member has experienced this but the banks have said that they see them all the time and there is not much that they can do.

That is where clause 61 of the bill comes in. We are dealing with something that originates offshore. A lot of the spam originates offshore and that is the problem. If there is no integration of laws between Canada and foreign jurisdictions, then our laws are not going to be worth very much in terms of dealing with the real threats to personal information and security of information.

I wonder if the member believes that the bill is sufficiently robust with regard to pursuing international agreements to ensure compatibility of the laws and the purpose of the laws.

Fighting Internet and Wireless Spam ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

Liberal

Mario Silva Liberal Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate the hon. member for Mississauga South. He has spoken quite eloquently to this issue a number of times and to the importance of this legislation and getting it right.

He is absolutely right that it is not just a question of acting locally. We also have to act globally to bring all players and international partners onside. In many ways an international law is needed as well to combat this growing problem.

It comes down to whether there is political will. Will the government go beyond this bill and raise these issues at a global forum, the G8, the G20, or the UN? We need to take whatever action we can to get concrete global action to deal with the issue of spam. It is a serious problem. Criminals use it to attack vulnerable people. We have to see it as a criminal act and we cannot do that, as the member said, because a lot of the activity takes place offshore. We need to have our partners onside. We need global action, but we also need political will from the government in order to do that.

Fighting Internet and Wireless Spam ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to Bill C-28, the electronic commerce protection act. The purpose of the bill is to deal with the issue of spam. The act would prohibit the sending of commercial electronic messages, spam, without prior consent of the recipients.

Spam represents about 60% to 80% of Internet traffic worldwide. It is a serious problem for Canadians and Canadian businesses. In recognition of the seriousness, the Liberal government in 2004-05 established an anti-spam task force that came up with the following recommendations.

The Liberal recommendation called for the government to introduce legislation that would do the following: prohibit the sending of spam without the prior consent of recipients; prohibit the use of false or misleading statements that disguise the origins or the true intent of the email; prohibit the installation of unauthorized programs; and prohibit the unauthorized collection of personal information or email addresses.

I am pleased to see that the Conservative government, through Bill C-28, is enacting all of those recommendations.

Twenty years ago a computer was not essential in carrying out our daily duties. However, now it is important to everyone, be it businesses, individuals, corporations, non-profit groups, hospitals, students or seniors. Our parents and grandparents use it. It is a mode of operation. It facilitates and eases transactions. People like to do their banking and bill paying on the Internet.

However, the ease of using computers and sharing information creates another problem of its own: the unwanted advertising, misinformation and potential threats. We all know too well the consequences of spam because it brings with it viruses and worms. In 2003, Canadian consumers and businesses spent approximately $27 billion to develop a phishing program that would detect fraud and shield businesses from attacks. This is a critical issue and the problem has grown worse since 2003. I am sure we have all had first-hand experience with spam.

I was looking at my own email and noticed that someone had sent me an SOS notice. I wondered who the notice was from. It saw that it was from a constituent of mine. I could not imagine that a constituent's email had been compromised. There was a note asking for help as the constituent was stuck in some foreign land. I had to wonder how a person was able to access a personal email and then send me an SOS note.

The good thing is, if we know our constituents, we can verify who they are. However, for unsuspecting people, if somebody were to send an SOS notice and ask for funds, they might think they know the person and send it. They may not know that person's email has been compromised.

This is a huge problem for all of us. It is important that as a collective we address the issue. Sometimes we think we have secure accounts but we often get unsolicited and junk mail. As I mentioned, I am sure no one can attest to the fact that they have never received junk or spam mail. The junk mail on its own may not be risky if one knows what to do with it and assign it to a junk folder, but there are people who do not know what to do with it and respond to it.

A classic example is when we are told that our Internet has been compromised and that we need download a program. We download the program and our computer is frozen because of a virus. The people who sent the program now want payment for a service that was not needed in the first place. There are a lot of problems going on.

The worms and viruses that can enter a system are problematic for Canadian businesses, Canadians, banks and just about everyone. We just heard that people tend to receive emails that appear to be from their banking institution, financial institution or insurance company asking them to verify information. If people are naive enough to respond to the email, they are now giving information to the person who is trying to hack their system, which can cause people a lot of problems.

Therefore, to address this issue in 2005, the Liberals released a report entitled, ”Stopping Spam: Creating a Stronger, Safer Internet”. As was mentioned earlier, the task force made many recommendations. Among those were the prohibition of sending unsolicited email or the use of misleading statements, funny titles, products, et cetera These are important changes and I do not think anyone in the House would object to what Bill C-28 proposes.

I am sure that, like me, many members of the House have received numerous complaints from their constituents on the issue of spam. The issue has compounded because of things that are now delegated to outside of Canada. When people are contracting their telephone services or banking services outside of Canada there is no control over it.

The government's ability to control or combat spam is not just about introducing legislation but also about working with world governments and organizations to develop an international strategy for reducing this ongoing burden of spam.

Internet policing is difficult as the traffic is humongous. We know that 60% to 80% of the Internet traffic is spam. This sheer volume of messages challenges the capacity of Internet providing services or legitimate business to do their business. They have to put in all sorts of firewalls, et cetera.

If the government is serious about introducing legislation and the Industry Canada's committee will be reviewing this legislation, it is important that we move quickly to enforce the legislation. Industry Canada cannot do it on its own without having the necessary resources. I would like know what resources the government will give Industry Canada to ensure an effective corrective solution.

It is extremely important for people everywhere in Canada to have confidence that the legislation provided by the government will be effective and that the sanctions are there. I believe that any legislation brought forward must ensure that we have proper resources and effective coordination.

The more rapid a response to correct this problem would ensure that those who see an opportunity for Canada as a target will find another place. However, we do not want them to find another place because that other place is where we do our business as well, in banking, financial services and whatever we do. It is a global place and we do our business globally.

I hope we will work with the international community to ensure we have a reduction in spam. I hope all members will support the bill, that it will be sent to committee for further review and that it will provide fast relief for Canadians.

Fighting Internet and Wireless Spam ActGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Simms Liberal Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

Mr. Speaker, I have a quick question for my hon. colleague who gave us some great illustrations. We have received many great illustrations today from people with examples of just exactly what it is we are dealing with. I would like to ask the member about the idea of enforcement and how we can get involved.

One of the issues the member talked about was the foreign influence and the offshore influence for many of our young people and our seniors who are the most vulnerable in society. Would the member be the one to encourage our nation, once this is adopted and regulations are put in place, and that we should engage the rest of the world on this? How do we go about doing this? Being the last country of the G8, what are some of the countries that should be brought into this discussion and engaged in the matter of spam emails?

Fighting Internet and Wireless Spam ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, the world is getting smaller. It is becoming an island. We are connected through the Internet. We can actually go on the Internet and speak to someone in China, India and other faraway lands.

It is important that we take the lead. We in Canada have the resources, the intelligence, the educated staff and people like RIM, for example. We need to take on that role.

Which countries should we engage? Another hon. colleague whispered Nigeria. We need to get countries like China and India onboard because those are the countries where our subcontractors are going.

I hope we do take the lead and that we move forward very quickly on international cohesion.

Fighting Internet and Wireless Spam ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, when we think about what we are trying to achieve here, certainly the international requirements make it problematic. I wish I had all of the legislation from the other G8 countries and the comparatives to find out whether or not we have covered them all.

I still think that one of the most important progressive things that we could to is to promote the public education part of the equation. I do not know how many members here have ever read the licensing agreement when they install or download a piece of software and fully appreciate it. It is like reading an insurance document with the small letters.

This seems so fundamental to me and yet I do not see, in terms of the government's approach, that commitment to a public education mandate for the Privacy Commissioner so that we as Canadians can be part of the solution to protect our privacy.

The member may want to comment.

Fighting Internet and Wireless Spam ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, when we looked at the financial crisis, for example, we realized that the problem was financial illiteracy. In a similar way, the Internet has been given to us and everybody accesses it without reading the licences. It becomes too cumbersome and we think nobody is taking us for a ride. However, it is in the fine print that we have a problem.

It brings in a very important point. We should have Internet usage literacy which would allow us to understand what we are downloading, The government should implement that education when the committee is looking at the issues around literacy.

Fighting Internet and Wireless Spam ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Bloc

Christian Ouellet Bloc Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be speaking about Bill C-28, Fighting Internet and Wireless Spam Act. The word “wireless” is important, as we will see later on, given that there are important developments in that area, particularly with 3G, which is becoming more significant.

The Bloc Québécois is in favour of the principle of Bill C-28, which was previously Bill C-27 but died on the Order Paper at prorogation. It is important to note that the government is dragging its heels on this file and is taking as long as possible to deal with this problem. However, this new legislation, with a few small amendments, specifically targets unsolicited commercial electronic messages. This bill has been needed and requested by society as a whole for a long time now. Governments, Internet service providers—which I will refer to later as ISPs—network operators and consumers are all affected by the problem of spam.

In this type of bill, it is important to define the terms. What is meant by the term “spam”? Spam can be defined as a commercial electronic message sent without the express consent of the recipient. It can be any text, audio, voice or visual message sent by any means of telecommunication, including email, cellular phone text messaging or instant messaging, whose content is such that it is reasonable to conclude that the purpose of the message is to encourage participation in commercial activity. Any electronic message that offers to purchase, sell, barter or lease a product, goods, services, land or an interest or right in land, or a business, investment or gaming opportunity is considered spam for our purposes.

Note that the following types of commercial messages are not considered as spam: messages sent by an individual to another individual with whom they have a personal or family relationship; messages sent to a person who is engaged in a commercial activity and consist solely of an inquiry or application related to that activity; messages that are, in whole or in part, an interactive two-way voice communication between individuals; and messages that are sent by means of a facsimile to a telephone account. This bill does not include them, but we know that faxes can also be a form of spam. Messages that are voice recordings sent to a telephone account are not spam. Earlier, I mentioned 3G technology, which goes through cell phone towers and is becoming increasingly significant.

We must create safeguards for legitimate electronic commerce. It is now essential to our economy. Not only are commercial emails sent with the prior and ongoing consent of the recipient important to electronic commerce, but they are also essential to the development of the online economy. It is quite clear that our commerce is heading in that direction.

The Bloc Québécois is pleased to see that Bill C-28 takes into account most of the recommendations in the final report of the task force on spam.

I would remind this House that the task force on spam was made up of people from government, industry and consumer advocacy groups. So it was a very broad task force whose members reached a consensus after a few months of work. They tabled their report in 2005. This bill has been on the table for a long time. In 2005, the multipartite task force tabled the bill that the government more or less adopted as its own. It was the task force that essentially came up with this bill.

We are very upset that the legislative process has taken so long. The legislation was tabled in 2005, and it is now 2010. Parliament may have been prorogued, but we are not sure the government really intends to deal with this bill quickly. It is quite likely that the bill will be delayed further, because it is hard to know whose interests will be served, so the government does not want to rush this bill through.

The committee study will be an opportunity for many industry stakeholders to come back and update it and for consumer advocacy groups to have their say about the new Electronic Commerce Protection Act. It is a question of updating it—

Fighting Internet and Wireless Spam ActGovernment Orders

2 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

I am sorry, but I have to interrupt the hon. member. He will have 13 minutes remaining when the House resumes consideration of this bill.

Statements by members. The hon. member for Abbotsford.

Small Business EntrepreneurStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, as today marks the first day of Small Business Week in Canada, I wish to recognize an outstanding Canadian from Abbotsford.

Barb Mowat is president and owner of Impact Communications and the founder of other successful enterprises. She is an international leader in the development of small businesses with a special emphasis on women entrepreneurs. Her work has helped business owners throughout Canada and around the world, including Afghanistan.

Barb is a member of a number of influential boards, including the Canadian Council for Small Business and Entrepreneurship and the Treasury Board of Canada's joint forum on small business. She is also a member of the Cherie Blair foundation's global membership circle.

Mr. Speaker, you should therefore not be surprised that today Barb Mowat received the Governor General's award in commemoration of the famous Persons Case.

Barb is joined today by her children, Brittany, Paula and Brent, and her sons-in-law, Jason and Alex. On behalf of myself and all the residents of Abbotsford, I would like to congratulate Barb on her remarkable achievements.

Todd HardyStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, I rise in tribute to a great Yukon leader, Todd Hardy, who was taken from us at too young an age, yet he accomplished so much to improve the lives of Yukoners.

He stood steadfast to help the poor, the sick and the downtrodden. He was a tireless leader of the Yukon New Democratic Party right to the end, even courageously fighting the last election from his hospital bed.

When a problem confronted the Yukon, he would search the country for a solution and bring it home to make the Yukon a better place.

He sacrificed so much of his time as a community volunteer, in the labour movement and for karate, Habitat for Humanity, Buddhism and many other causes.

But Todd's number one priority was always his family. We express our deepest sympathies to his mother, Gladys; his wife, former M.P. Louise Hardy; his children, Janelle, Tytus, Tess and Lymond; and his precious granddaughter Ellazora. He was so proud of them all.

Todd always asked, “What are people saying?” Today they are saying that they have lost a champion, a friend and a wonderful human being.

Ahuntsic BravesStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Maria Mourani Bloc Ahuntsic, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to bring to the attention of the House the victory of the Ahuntsic Braves U14 AAA men's soccer team at the Canadian soccer championship, held on October 11 in Moncton. This was the fifth time that a team from Quebec won that tournament since its creation in 1984.

Our Braves won the boys final by a score of 1-0 against the NSD Soccer Club, from the riding of Calgary Southeast, to whose member of Parliament I extend cordial greetings. This tightly contested match does honour to the hard work all the players taking part in the tournament have put in over the years. Also noteworthy is the outstanding, ongoing support of volunteers from all the organizations involved and especially that of the parents of these young players, whose perseverance, determination and skill are a source of inspiration.

Long live our champions and three cheers for the Ahuntsic Braves!

Chilean MinersStatements by Members

October 18th, 2010 / 2 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, as a former miner and mining rescue worker, I anxiously followed the rescue of the 33 miners trapped underground for over two months in the San José mine in Chile. Together they courageously survived the difficult conditions of their ordeal. I would also like to commend the excellent work of the rescue workers, engineers, doctors and everyone who worked together to free these men.

This experience serves to remind us of the dangers facing miners every day around the world. Only a few days after the Chilean miners were rescued, an explosion in a mine in China took the lives of 21 miners and buried 16 others underground. And in Ecuador four miners were trapped underground when a tunnel collapsed. Rescuers found three of the miners dead, while the fourth is still missing.

I hope this House will do everything it can to ensure the safety and security of all workers, here and around the globe, and to promote corporate social responsibility.

Stratford Shakespeare FestivalStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Gary Schellenberger Conservative Perth—Wellington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to inform my colleagues of a wonderful event that took place on October 4. “Shakespeare on the Hill” gave the Stratford Shakespeare Festival from my riding of Perth—Wellington the opportunity to share its musical and theatrical gifts with the members of the House.

“Shakespeare on the Hill” included performances of songs from West Side Story by actors Chilina Kennedy and Paul Nolan and a special preview from Chilina of next year's production of Jesus Christ Superstar.

The Stratford Shakespeare Festival came to Ottawa to thank our government for its investment of $6 million over the past two years through the marquee tourism events program. These funds boosted the theatre's advertising budget and allowed it to increase its promotional activities in the United States. The marketing campaign was successful and resulted in an increase in U.S. ticket sales, which stimulated our economy and helped the festival weather the storm of the recession.

I hope every member of the House will come to the Stratford Shakespeare Festival next summer.

Small Business WeekStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Navdeep Bains Liberal Mississauga—Brampton South, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is Small Business Week in Canada, but it seems there is not a lot to celebrate.

A recent study from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business shows confidence among owners of small businesses has declined for the fourth month in a row.

Last week I travelled to Winnipeg, Calgary and Yellowknife, meeting with chambers and owners of small businesses. I heard that many were struggling to find and retain employees, gain access to credit and deal with bureaucratic red tape.

I also heard strong criticism for how the government's decisions had hurt small businesses. For example, in the Prime Minister's adopted home of Calgary, business leaders complained that the cuts to the long form census would hurt their ability to plan and grow.

The Liberal Party has a different approach. We have a plan to help small businesses expand, attract investment and create jobs. SMEs account for 98% of all businesses in Canada and create 80% of new jobs. We are putting small businesses at the core of our economic vision. It is too bad the Conservatives do not think the same way.

Terry FoxStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Holder Conservative London West, ON

Mr. Speaker, this year is the 30th anniversary of Terry Fox's Marathon of Hope.

This year the Government of Canada has taken significant steps to commemorate this important and historic milestone. A memorial park will be constructed at Mile 0 in St. John's, Newfoundland with a statue of Terry. A nationwide appeal to our youth is now under way for help with the inscription and design. Thirty years later, Terry connects with our youth in ways he could not even have imagined.

Now the national Terry Fox centre project aims to capture his incredible legacy for future generations. The centre, to be located in Vancouver, will be a home where people will experience Terry's values of courage, determination and humility, values that define us all as Canadians. It will document and celebrate Terry's life and the Marathon of Hope. It will have artifacts and memorabilia and include displays and lab space to inform the public about cancer research in Canada.

Once this remarkable facility is completed, I encourage every Canadian to undertake his or her own marathon of hope, visit the centre and honour Terry's legacy.

Louise VandelacStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, Louise Vandelac has just won the Jacques Rousseau award from ACFAS for her scientific achievements and the innovative bridges she has built between various disciplines.

Ms. Vandelac is currently a professor in UQAM's sociology department and is director of the institute of environmental science there. In addition to her academic activities, she has sat on the National Council on Bioethics in Human Research, the Royal Commission on Reproductive Technologies and Quebec's Conseil supérieur de l'éducation.

For more than two decades, Louise Vandelac's research has focused on one fundamental theme: the societal and technical transformation of our lives. Her research delves into philosophical, political, economic, social and ecological issues.

I would like to congratulate Louise Vandelac on her remarkable intellectual accomplishments.

Employment InsuranceStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Nina Grewal Conservative Fleetwood—Port Kells, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal, Bloc and NDP coalition, headed by the Liberal leader, is at it again. It will try yet again with its relentless pursuit to push its irresponsible and costly EI plans when NDP Bill C-280 is debated this Friday.

Our Conservative government does not support the bill or any other expensive coalition EI bills. The idea of getting a year's worth of EI after only having worked 45 days is offensive to hard-working Canadians. The coalition's EI plans would cost workers and job-creating small businesses $7 billion per year and result in a permanent 35% increase in payroll premiums.

It is our Conservative government that will stand up for hard-working Canadians and fight against the Liberal leader's coalition plans to increase taxes on workers and job-creating small businesses.

Brother AndréStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Massimo Pacetti Liberal Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, QC

Mr. Speaker, as we saw yesterday morning, the canonization of Brother André is a very joyous and proud occasion for the Catholic community in Quebec and Canada and also for the world's many pilgrims.

His legacy, which is not only physical but also human, is reflected in the magnificent monument that is St. Joseph's Oratory.

He personifies faith and perseverance, and he showed the importance of his charitable work with the poorest and most vulnerable members of society.

Yesterday in Rome, Brother André received the highest recognition the Catholic church can bestow on one of its own. His work and his dedication to others serve as a model of compassion, strength and humility.

We would like to draw members' attention to the recognition of Brother André as a saint and his important contribution to Canadian society and to his religious heritage.

Co-operative weekStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Bernard Généreux Conservative Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, Co-operative Week is being held from October 17 to 23. This is a good opportunity to acknowledge the significant contribution that co-operatives make to economic and social development in Canada and around the world.

In recognition of this contribution, the United Nations General Assembly has adopted a resolution on the role of co-operatives in social development. This resolution urges governments to create a supportive environment for the development of co-operatives and proclaims 2012 the International Year of Co-operatives.

Our government fully recognizes the importance of co-operatives and their contribution to Canadian society. The co-operative model represents a valuable tool for urban and rural development. This model has long proven its effectiveness in responding to a host of personal and community needs, particularly in rural and remote communities where co-operatives create jobs and provide the goods and services that are essential for improving quality of life.

The Government of Canada intends to work together with the Canadian co-operative movement in preparation for the International Year of Co-operatives.

Status of WomenStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, today marks the 81st anniversary of a landmark achievement in the battle for women's equality, the day that women were recognized as persons under Canadian law.

Our Famous Five were dedicated to women's equality and fought for the right of Canadian women to have a voice in Parliament. These women led the way for the appointment of Cairine Wilson to the Senate in 1930. Senator Wilson is honoured with a statue in the Senate lobby.

I would like to express my profound gratitude for the hard work and dedication of my fellow sisters, who are being recognized with the Governor General's Persons Award today: Marie Louise Fish, Lucille Harper, Kerline Joseph, Anne Michaud and Barbara Mowat. They have sought to make a difference in the lives of women.

Shamefully, women still make up only 22% of the members of the Canadian House of Commons. Governments across our nation must make the equal representation of women in places of power, influence and decision making a priority. Our failure to do so fails women's right to equality.

Eliminating Entitlements for PrisonersStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Dave MacKenzie Conservative Oxford, ON

Mr. Speaker, our Conservative government believes that convicted criminals serving time in prison should not be receiving taxpayer-funded old age security benefits that are meant for law-abiding seniors. Canadians already foot the bill for prisoners' expenses and it is grossly unfair for them to be paying for incarcerated criminals twice.

That is why we introduced Bill C-31, the eliminating entitlements for prisoners act. Bill C-31, once passed, will ensure that mass murderers like Clifford Olson, Paul Bernardo, Robert Pickton and Russell Williams do not receive these taxpayer-funded benefits.

My constituents in the riding of Oxford have made their opinions loud and clear, as have Canadians all across the country. They want this bill passed. I implore the opposition to work with our Conservative government to get this bill passed quickly. It is the fair and right thing to do.

Omar KhadrStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Josée Beaudin Bloc Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, on Wednesday evening, You don't like the truth—4 days inside Guantánamo, a documentary on the detention of child soldier Omar Khadr, directed by Luc Côté and Patricio Henriquez, will be screened on Parliament Hill.

Omar Khadr has been imprisoned at Guantanamo since 2002, and is the only westerner still being held there. When he was arrested by the American authorities, he was 15 years old, which makes Khadr a child soldier. He was completely abandoned by the Canadian government, and could plead guilty to the charges against him, as part of negotiations allegedly being held between his lawyers and lawyers for the American authorities. The Conservative government must immediately recognize its obligations to this young man, whose rights are being violated, and demand his immediate repatriation, as recommended by the Federal Court, the Federal Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.

I invite all my colleagues, as well as the public, to come out to see the screening of this documentary.

Status of WomenStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Michelle Simson Liberal Scarborough Southwest, ON

Mr. Speaker, 81 years ago today, the judicial committee of the Privy Council officially declared that Canadian women were legally defined as persons, thanks to the hard work and tenacity of five extraordinary women: Emily Murphy, Nellie McClung, Irene Parlby, Henrietta Muir Edwards and Louise McKinney, the Famous Five.

The historic precedent set by the Persons case established that women could hold any political office and marked a milestone achievement for women's rights in Canada. Despite the advances that have been made in women's equality since the success of the Persons case, there is still much work to be done.

The Liberal Party of Canada is leading the way in the fight for women's equality. This past May, despite government opposition, the House of Commons voted in favour of a Liberal private member's bill on pay equity.

Today, on Persons Day, I salute those fearless women who came before us and reaffirm the Liberal Party's commitment to equality for all Canadians.