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House of Commons Hansard #77 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was victims.

Topics

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, yesterday at the MPCC we learned of a report stating that one in five Canadian detainees reported abuse at the hands of Afghan authorities. Yet Major General Laroche testified that he needed hard evidence of abuse before halting transfers.

According to international law, it works the other way around. We need to be satisfied that the transferred detainees would not be risking torture or abuse.

Can the Minister of National Defence tell us what advice on torture was provided to Major General Laroche and why his government continued to authorize the transfer of detainees?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Forces and our government officials take their responsibilities regarding transferring Taliban prisoners very seriously. We expect the same of the Afghans.

As proof fo that, we have improved the transfer arrangement that goes back to 2007. We are ensuring that Canadian officials have access to Afghan detention facilities. We have invested in those facilities. We have invested in training.

Day after day, year after year, progress is being made, whether it is in education, infrastructure, or any of the other efforts that we make to improve this country.

I wish the hon. member would take a little broader view and put aside for a moment his fixation on the health and well-being of the Taliban prisoners.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, we have a DFAIT report of June 2007 released under access to information that says three of the four detainees it interviewed said they had been whipped with cables, shocked with electricity, or otherwise hurt while in NDS custody.

Any reasonable person would consider this a pattern of abuse. Yet Canada transferred 96 detainees that year and did not stop until November when they saw the cables themselves.

Canadians have a right to know the truth. Why will the government not call a public inquiry?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, they are getting the truth. There are many venues in which the truth has come out. The truth is out there.

In fact, the commander on the ground that he has referred to is the person in the best place to make the decisions on transfers. And that is exactly what happened in this instance. The decision was based on the facts presented to the commander, who had input from various government departments that he works closely with, like Foreign Affairs and the Correctional Service of Canada.

I would suggest to the hon. member that he take a broader view. I invite him to look at all of the situations we are dealing with on the ground in Afghanistan, to look at the progress being made with children and in health care.

International TradeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Laforest Bloc Saint-Maurice—Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of International Trade is trying to mislead people by saying that the Bloc Québécois is against all free trade agreements. We supported NAFTA, the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement, the agreement with the European Free Trade Association, and most recently, the agreement with Jordan.

How can the minister defend an agreement with Panama, a tax haven that appears on the OECD's list of 11 states that do not respect their commitment to share tax information?

International TradeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeMinister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, the government of Panama has made a commitment to follow the OECD requirements for transparency and tax information sharing. We encourage that and we are there to help them do it.

However, it is important for us to create opportunities for Canadian workers and Canadian companies to succeed by trading everywhere but especially in the Americas where we are carving out a special role with free trade agreements with Colombia, which the hon. member's party did not support, Peru, Mexico, Costa Rica and further negotiations under way.

We are delivering jobs and prosperity for Canadian workers and businesses.

International TradeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Laforest Bloc Saint-Maurice—Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister says he wrote to his counterpart in Panama, “asking that it undertake its obligations” regarding the sharing of tax information between Canada and Panama. That is not good enough.

Why does the minister refuse to demand an agreement on fiscal transparency before ratifying the Canada-Panama free trade agreement?

International TradeOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeMinister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, as I already said, the government of Panama has already agreed to respect the OECD requirements.

It has agreed to take on those obligations.

Our priority is to deliver jobs and prosperity for Canadians and we are entering into these agreements in order to do that. Greater free trade means greater jobs, greater opportunity and greater prosperity for Canadians. In fact, by bringing Panama more and more into that system, we are doing, what so many other countries, including those in the European Union are doing, we are delivering results for Canadian workers.

CensusOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, sadly, Canadians have learned that the government's obsession with secrecy has condoned illegal political interference in access to information.

Documents have revealed that the government's reason for cancelling the mandatory long form census, thousands of complaints daily, is blatantly untrue. CBC found only 22 such complaints.

When will the government tell Canadians the truth, do the right thing and restore the mandatory long form census?

CensusOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, we are doing the right thing. We found a fair and reasonable approach that balances the need for data by some businesses and organizations with the idea of protecting the privacy rights of Canadians.

As I have said many times before, if people have been the subject of coercive tactics by a government organization, the last place they will complain about it is to a government organization. They will complain to their MP or other organizations, just like the Liberal member for Richmond Hill did when he wrote to the minister of the day and complained about his constituents getting the--

CensusOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Laval--Les Îles.

CensusOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Liberal Laval—Les Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the 13 years I have been a member of this House, I have never received a complaint from my constituents. The Conservatives said they received thousands of complaints every day concerning the 2006 census, but when Industry Canada tried to find those thousands of complaints, it found that only about 25 or 30 had been received for both the long and short form census for the entire year. This is another perfect example of the Conservative culture of deceit. The Conservatives say 1,000 a day; the facts show between 25 and 30 a year.

What makes them think they can invent bogus stories any time the facts contradict their ideology?

CensusOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I have an actual letter from the Liberal member of Parliament for Richmond Hill addressed to the minister of the day dated June 3, 2006. It states:

Dear Minister....

I have received a few letters of complaint from constituents concerning the length and detail of the 2006 census.

They are primarily concerned with the great detail of personal information they are required to fill out and therefore potential invasion of privacy.

I share this constituent's concern.....

I am sorry it took us four years but we have acted on the complaint of the Liberal MP for Richmond Hill.

International TradeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, taking advantage of what is essentially a post office box in Delaware, AbitibiBowater is invoking chapter 11 of NAFTA to threaten this government, which is giving in to the blackmail and paying out $130 million in cash. This $130 million could be used to bring one-fifth of our seniors out of poverty. Now, this government wants to blackmail the provinces. It is saying that in the future, they will also have to cough up the cash.

Why is this government making the provinces suffer the consequences of its own incompetence?

International TradeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeMinister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, we believe it makes sense for governments in Canada to actually be responsible for the actions they undertake.

When we undertake international trade agreements on behalf of all Canadians, that also includes actions for the provinces. We have to defend them in the World Trade Organization. However, when those are provincial policies, we believe the provincial government should have responsibility for the policies it undertakes.

That is something we are trying to work together on. That is the way Canada should work. The provincial governments, territorial governments and the federal government should work together responsibly to ensure our trade agreements are sound.

International TradeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canada does not work when we have the federal government imposing irresponsible sellouts on provinces right across the country, which is exactly what the Americans have done in the United States.

The pretensions of the government are absolutely ridiculous. AbitibiBowater is a Canadian company. Its NAFTA claim from a mail box had no chance of succeeding and yet the government capitulated, gave in to the shakedown and sold out Canadian interests once again. Everyone remembers the softwood lumber sellout.

It is very simple. Why did the government not uphold the public interest? Why did it not fight this bogus claim? Why did it not save $130 million that could be put to better use?

International TradeOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeMinister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, this complaint that was raised by the company as a result of an action by the Newfoundland and Labrador government was settled in the best interests of Canadian taxpayers. Our responsibility is to look out for the bottom line best interests of Canadian taxpayers and ensure that we keep in place a trade agreement that has resulted in tremendous benefits to Canada.

There has been a significant increase in our trade with the United States, which has almost doubled, and our trade with Mexico has gone up almost five times. What does that mean? It means that we have millions of Canadians working together as a result of that trade agreement. We want to defend it, keep it in place and protect its benefits for all Canadians.

JusticeOral Questions

October 5th, 2010 / 2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, today, the Minister of Justice introduced a bill to end volume discounts for multiple murderers. Under the current system, criminals convicted of multiple murders serve their sentences concurrently, meaning that they are eligible to apply for parole in some cases after just 10 years and in other cases after just 25 years in prison.

Would the Minister of Justice please update the House on the important piece of legislation that was tabled today?

JusticeOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for chairing the justice committee and for all his efforts in fighting crime in this country. It is much appreciated.

This is exactly what this country needs. The idea that one can commit multiple murders in this country and there is no additional punishment is ridiculous and wrong. This is why I call on all members of the House to do the right thing and let us get this bill passed.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Rob Oliphant Liberal Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadian Muslims are hurt, disappointed and feel betrayed by the Minister of National Defence. Perhaps the minister did not know that Islamic history month is the key project of the Canadian Islamic Congress, or that Dr. Delic is a thoughtful, respected imam, or that the congress completely disavowed itself from hateful remarks made six years ago. It is too late to include him in yesterday's event but it is never too late to apologize.

Will the minister apologize to Dr. Delic and to Canadian Muslims?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I have a news flash for the hon. member. The Department of National Defence certainly did know about Islamic heritage month and that is why it planned an event. It was a positive internal event that was held at national defence headquarters yesterday. It was done to recognize the many positive contributions made by Muslim Canadians within the Canadian Forces and, in fact, the event went forward as planned.

What we did not do was include an organization that has made inflammatory statements in the past and has embraced extremist views that espouse violence. What we wanted to do was focus on the informative and accurate portrayal of what Muslims bring to our country and the Canadian Forces.

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, some 6,000 people signed the petition that I tabled in this House calling on the government to amend the veterans charter to restore the lifetime monthly pension for injured soldiers as compensation.

Instead of remaining unmoved by this injustice against injured soldiers, will the Conservatives finally listen to the calls from 6,000 people, from the veterans' ombudsman and from veteran's associations, and restore the lifetime monthly pension?

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn ConservativeMinister of Veterans Affairs and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, the new veterans charter, adopted in this House and unanimously accepted by the member and her party, ensures that the focus is now on the rehabilitation of our injured veterans so that they can return to civilian life, continue to achieve their potential, and of course, find jobs. That is the direction we are taking. Furthermore, last week, we announced nearly $2 billion in additional funding to help our veterans and to fix the problems in the new charter that was adopted four years ago.

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow NDP Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, we have all heard of newcomers with Ph.D.s driving taxis. This is fast becoming the norm. The government's indifference is costing Canada $5 billion in lost productivity each year, but there are solutions: more pre-departure recognition, loan programs for newcomers to obtain recognition services and expanding mentorship, bridging and internship programs.

New Democrats have provided a road map for action. The all party immigration committee even agrees. Why will the minister not act?

Citizenship and ImmigrationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, we share the concern, I believe, of all parties and all Canadians about the challenges that newcomers have with successful integration, which is why our government has acted.

We tripled the investment in settlement services to help improve language skills and job skills for newcomers. We created overseas pre-arrival orientation for newcomers. We created the Foreign Credentials Referral Office and invested tens of millions in helping to streamline and speed up the process of credential recognition.

Just today, I announced a new program for expanding the internship opportunities for newcomers in the federal public service. We are acting.