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House of Commons Hansard #109 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was columbia.

Topics

PolandStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Andrew Kania Liberal Brampton West, ON

Mr. Speaker, on November 11, 2010, Poles everywhere celebrated the 92nd anniversary of the independence of Poland.

Poland and its people are used to enduring hardship. In the 18th century, Poland was one of the largest and most powerful countries in Europe. However, Poland collapsed in 1795 and its territory was then partitioned. Thus, for 123 years, Poland was erased from the world maps.

However, the Polish people, language and culture persevered, and in 1918, the Second Polish Republic was created. However, Poland's suffering continued with its subsequent invasion by Nazi Germany in 1939, which led to the deaths of more than six million of its citizens.

Even with Poland's liberation from Nazi Germany, its suffering continued under communism until the efforts of Polish Pope the Venerable John Paul II and the Solidarity trade union eventually led to the collapse of communism not only in Poland, but in the Soviet Union itself and all of eastern Europe.

This resulted in the creation of the Third Republic of Poland, a free and democratic country, part of both NATO and the European Union.

As a proud first-generation Polish Canadian, I understand the significance of this celebration, and I wish to express my best wishes to Poles everywhere.

International Day for the Abolition of SlaveryStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

John Weston Conservative West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to rise in the House today to mark the important International Day for the Abolition of Slavery.

In his statement today, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon noted that slavery continues through:

serfdom, debt bondage and forced and bonded labor; trafficking in women and children, domestic slavery and forced prostitution...; sexual slavery, forced marriage and the sale of wives; child labour and child servitude

I would like to take this opportunity to recognize one crusader against slavery within this House, our own member for Kildonan—St. Paul.

Earlier today, Brian McConaghy of Ratanak International, an organization devoted to helping to free people in Cambodia from slavery, presented the member for Kildonan—St. Paul with an award for her efforts to raise awareness about the continuing problem of slavery in Canada.

I hope all in this House can join me in standing to congratulate the member for Kildonan—St. Paul on her efforts to eradicate slavery on this important day.

Marc CéréStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Claude DeBellefeuille Bloc Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of all of my Bloc Québécois colleagues, I would like to congratulate Marc Céré, a firefighter and the head of the fire prevention division at the Salaberry-de-Valleyfield fire station. He won the Fleur de Lys award at the 45th annual symposium of the Association des techniciens en prévention-incendie du Québec. Mr. Céré has distinguished himself through his quality work and his commitment to fire prevention.

I am proud to pay tribute to him for his exemplary work ethic and the passion he brings to his work in my riding. Mr. Céré's strength of character, courage and experience make him an example to others.

I encourage him to continue his invaluable service. Mr. Céré and his team work to raise public awareness of the material and psychological damage caused by fire. He encourages people to always act responsibly in order to significantly reduce the number of fires.

Well done, Mr. Céré. You have every reason to be proud of your excellent work.

National DefenceStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Laurie Hawn Conservative Edmonton Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to call attention to a program that will bring Canada's air force into the next generation of fighter capability and Canada's aerospace industry into the next generation of high technology.

Along with that will come tens of thousands of high-tech, high-paying jobs for Canadians with the overall positive impact on the economy that will benefit all Canadians.

Unfortunately, the Liberals do not want to know the truth and they are so determined to remain ignorant of the facts that they scuttled an approved defence committee trip to Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth to get a close-up look at the aircraft and the program.

The truth is that the Liberals do not want to know the truth, because the truth would belie their irresponsible efforts to rewrite history, rob the Canadian Forces of a critical capability for the next 40 years and rob Canadians of the jobs they need.

The Liberals need to stop their wilful irresponsibility on this issue. We have seen this B-grade movie once already with the Sea King. The implications are even more serious with the F-35 program, and the Liberals simply need to stop their nonsense and get with the program for the good of Canadians and the good of our country.

Edmundston Fire DepartmentStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Jean-Claude D'Amours Liberal Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, on November 26, I attended an appreciation night for the Edmundston fire department.

The Liberal Party of Canada and I recognize that firefighters and volunteer firefighters are very important to our communities. Thanks to their work, people can have the security and peace of mind that they would not have without the presence and dedication of firefighters.

That evening, several firefighters were recognized for their years of service with the Edmundston fire department: Marc Doiron, 20 years; Donald Lebel, 25 years; Mario Rossignol, 25 years; Réginal Pelletier, 25 years; and André Grandmaison, 25 years with the Municipality of Edmundston.

I would like to sincerely congratulate all of you for the work you have done for so many years. Your courage and determination are an inspiration to us all.

On behalf of all of the people of Madawaska—Restigouche, thank you for what you do for our community.

Once again, congratulations, and keep up the good work.

Partners For Youth Inc.Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Gerald Keddy Conservative South Shore—St. Margaret's, NS

Mr. Speaker, the roles and responsibility of men are crucial to end violence against women. Involving men and boys is fundamental and we should reach out to them at a younger age.

Partners For Youth Inc. is a New Brunswick project funded by Status of Women Canada. It involves 12 male and female student leaders, to engage in a venture that will create community action plans to help achieve a zero tolerance environment for dating violence. Participants will acquire skills and facilitation and will be empowered to become educators and role models for their peers. This initiative aims to help young people exhibit healthy dating attitudes while acting as leaders in their communities.

Partners for Youth Inc. is another example of how to involve men in ending violence against women. Working together, we can protect the safety and security of women and girls.

Violence Against WomenStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to join with my colleagues as we remember the tragic events of December 6, 1989, at École Polytechnique. Since that time, policy makers have put forward legislative initiatives, educational campaigns, statistical gathering efforts and funding programs to combat violence against women.

This work is to be commended, but the Government of Canada must do more. All Canadian women have the right to live in safe communities without the fear or threat of violence. We know aboriginal women in Canada face staggering levels of violence. We therefore have an obligation to stop that violence through prevention.

It is time to move from mourning to action. Ending violence against women requires leadership at the federal level with protection for women who report abuse, strong gun control, access to affordable housing and support for survivors.

Violence against women is an obstacle to the achievement of equality. Today, while we mourn the loss of our sisters, we also resolve to do all that we can to ensure that all women can live in safety.

Defence of Hong KongStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Greg Kerr Conservative West Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, this year marks the 69th anniversary of the defence of Hong Kong. It was in December 1941 that nearly 2,000 Canadians found themselves unexpectedly in a devastating conflict. Many of those who survived were taken as prisoners of war. Despite the incredible courage and perseverance of these men and women, in the end, more than 1,000 Canadians were either killed or injured.

Although this loss was devastating and claimed many lives, it also displayed the great Canadian spirit. These men and women were not victorious in defeating the enemy but were certainly victorious in proudly showing the Canadian grit and determination to the world.

We must always remember not only their sacrifices, but also the pride with which they represented our nation. We honour their legacy by caring for the World War II veterans who are still with us and all those who came after them.

Our government is here for veterans and here for Canada.

Firearms RegistryStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Nicole Demers Bloc Laval, QC

Mr. Speaker, on December 5, it will be 15 years since Bill C-68, An Act respecting firearms and other weapons, received royal assent. Unfortunately it took the death of 14 young female students in Quebec for the federal government to pass tougher gun control legislation.

This legislation allowed for the creation of the firearms registry, a vital tool in fighting violence against women. A number of people and organizations, including victims' parents, various police forces and women's groups, have demonstrated to us that the registry is useful and necessary for public safety. Over the years, it has been proven that the registry is indispensable to law enforcement both in finding weapons and in preventing violent crime.

It is unfortunate that the Conservatives are trying to abolish the registry at all costs. The firearms registry is working, and it is important to maintain it.

Firearms RegistryStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Maria Minna Liberal Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, this Sunday marks the 15th anniversary of Canada's premier gun control legislation, the Firearms Act, created and implemented by the previous Liberal government on December 5, 1995. Since its creation, everyone but this ideological government agrees that it is needed in this country.

Despite the government's repeated attempts to dismiss the positive effects of the firearms registry during its campaign to abolish the registry against the will of the police, victims, women's groups and in fact the majority of Canadians, the facts speak for themselves.

The newest Conservative member, the member for Vaughan, the former OPP Commissioner, has said that keeping the registry, as the majority of parliamentarians have decided, is a “done deal”.

Perhaps the member will encourage his new boss to listen to him and move on.

Prison FarmsStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Russ Hiebert Conservative South Surrey—White Rock—Cloverdale, BC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Liberal public safety critic took some time away from debating Canada's fragile economic recovery to instead advocate for the rights of criminals. We could not disagree more with the misguided priorities of the Liberal Party.

While we share Canadians' focus on jobs and the economy, the Liberals focus on programs for prisoners. Less than 1% of the released offenders who participated in the program eventually found employment in a related sector, yet the member for Ajax—Pickering continually refers to the program as one of the most effective rehabilitation programs in the country.

One per cent may be good enough for the Liberal public safety critic, but not for us. It is time that the Liberal Party started paying some attention to jobs and the economy, the priorities of law-abiding Canadians.

PensionsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, in October the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development wrote a long memo promoting her cuts to the guaranteed income supplement. When the Liberal MP for Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte blew the whistle, the minister put her cuts under review. However, yesterday the Prime Minister contradicted the minister. In full damage control, he claimed GIS cuts were cancelled.

Is there any review? Have all GIS cuts been fully cancelled, retroactively? Why was the minister still promoting her hare-brained scheme just a few days ago?

PensionsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, it will not come as any surprise to the member for Wascana or anyone else that I do not share his characterization in the run-up to his question.

The Prime Minister spoke very clearly yesterday that we would continue to support seniors and that the initiative was cancelled.

PensionsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, under the Conservative government, poverty among senior citizens has jumped by 25%. Veterans are forced to hold protest rallies to fight for their pensions. Conservative senators right now are killing the pensions of Nortel workers who suffer from Parkinson's disease and other long-term disabilities, and those members over there laugh. In 30 days those pensioners will be destitute.

Why such carnage wreaked on the elderly and disabled, while Conservatives lavish billions of dollars on the richest corporations and stealth aircraft?

PensionsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the global economic downturn has had real consequences for every country in the world, not just Canada. Canada was the last country to go into those uncertain economic times. We are very proud we are the first country to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

We have seen the creation of a substantial number of jobs, more than 420,000 net new jobs. We are pleased with that.

We are always concerned about seniors. This is why every budget we have brought forward supports seniors. We have done an incredibly important job. One of the most important issues for seniors is health care. This government has increased funding by 30%, where the previous government cut it by $25 billion.

PensionsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government increased funding for health care by $43 billion.

The Conservatives broke their promise never to tax income trusts, but they did that in their first budget, thus swiping $25 billion from the retirement savings of two million innocent seniors. They have delivered nothing to fix the public pension system, so two-thirds of Canadians still have no significant retirement savings.

However, Conservatives spend 30% more on a bloated Prime Minister's Office and some ministers are bloating themselves with 200% increases in expenditures. Why so self-indulgent?

PensionsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I remember a lot of very strong words and strong speeches from the Liberal member for Toronto Centre back in the early 1990s, when the Liberal government of the day gutted the public health care system. I believed the hon. member for Toronto Centre then and I believe him now when I look back at those great words.

Our government has really led by example. We have reduced spending in the offices of ministers. We made an incredible cut in the use of military aircraft for political actors. We have also cut polling. We have also cut spending on hospitality and travel. We have a good record in that regard.

Government PrioritiesOral Questions

December 2nd, 2010 / 2:20 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister needs an intervention. His cabinet ministers are consumed with power struggles, costing Canadians millions of dollars. He is wasting billions of dollars on whims like untendered military contracts and opulent three day summits. The Prime Minister is so incredibly out of touch he has lost count of his own government's financial scandals. Meanwhile, he calls our affordable family care plan reckless, a plan that would better the lives of over 650,000 Canadian families.

When will the government wake up?

Government PrioritiesOral 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, we certainly sympathize with and support Canadians who care for family members such as an elderly parent or an ill child. That is why we have taken significant action to help them. For the first time in history, 2.6 million self-employed Canadians have access to compassionate care benefits. We have also extended the number of different family members and others who can access compassionate care benefits.

We are taking specific action with respect to this area.

Government PrioritiesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, this government is out of touch with the values and priorities of Canadians. It wants to award a $16 billion contract without any public tendering process, without any price guarantee and without any job guarantees, when the competition is proposing 100% regional economic spinoffs. In the meantime, struggling families are being told that their demands for family care are too much.

Who does this Conservative government work for? Who?

Government PrioritiesOral 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, we have taken specific action in various ways to help families, particularly those that have been hardest hit by the current recession. In fact, we have done a number of tax reductions that have allowed an average family of four to have $3,000 more in their pockets.

We have done things, whereas the Liberal Party and the member made promises from time to time but never delivered anything that can be seen.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the media have revealed that an elite unit of the Canadian army is suspected of having committed war crimes in Afghanistan. These allegations have been the subject of internal investigations at the Department of National Defence for several months.

Was the Minister of National Defence informed by his department that investigations were under way regarding allegations of war crimes committed by members of the elite JTF2 commando unit in Afghanistan?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I want to be very clear. Members of the Canadian Forces, including the special forces, do very difficult and demanding jobs and they are doing so with the firm knowledge of their obligation under the laws of armed conflict. They do so with the greatest of integrity, with the greatest Canadian pressure that they recognize fully those obligations.

In fact, there were allegations, allegations that have now been investigated, one of which has been deemed to result in no charges. A second investigation continues. With respect to that investigation, we have to preserve evidence, comply with the independence of the process, and we will await the results.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, what is troubling is that these investigations have been going on for months, the minister was aware and did not inform anyone, and the defence committee had no idea.

Is the government not deliberately hiding information in order to protect some individuals in the Canadian Forces who are tarnishing the image of all soldiers, who deserve our full respect?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, as I just mentioned, there were in fact allegations that stemmed from a Canadian Forces member himself. The original investigation resulted in no charges.

The second investigation, which is ongoing as part of the National Investigation Service, will respect the rules of evidence. These investigations are very complex. They often involve many witnesses. They involve respect for the rule of law.

The board of inquiry, an administrative review of these matters, is also ongoing.

I think the member opposite would be the first to get on his feet to complain if there were any involvement by a minister.