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House of Commons Hansard #7 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was women.

Topics

Ukrainian VoiceStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, this month we celebrate the 100th anniversary of Ukrainian Voice, the oldest Ukrainian language newspaper in Canada.

In 1909, Ukrainian public school teachers in Manitoba saw the need for an independent weekly paper to reflect the common experience of the growing number of Ukrainians immigrating to Canada. They formed a publishing company and on March 16, 1910, the first issue of Ukrainian Voice hit the streets. It quickly became the glue holding the fast-growing community together. It became not only a news carrier but a voice for the pride of Ukrainian immigrants who brought their strong work ethic and other cultural values to the harsh task of Canadian nation-building.

Ukrainian Voice has maintained that critical role now for 100 years and continues to play a vital role in the dynamic Ukrainian community of the 21st century. Let us today celebrate this great contribution to Canada's cultural heritage.

[Member spoke in Ukrainian]

TaxationStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Jeff Watson Conservative Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, mere days before Christmas 1995, Canadian retirees collecting U.S. social security got a massive 70% tax hike from the Liberal government, devastating their retirements. Thousands banded together to fight, led by the now late Olive Smith of Essex, forming Canadians Asking for Social Security Equality. Sadly, the Liberal government did not right its wrong. It fought these seniors for a decade hoping they would lose heart, or worse, that it would outlast these seniors and their outrage.

Budget 2010, thanks to this government, restores tax fairness to these retired Canadian seniors.

I extend congratulations to CASSE. I extend thanks to Bill Thrasher and other seniors who never gave up, to the member for Calgary Southeast who, before me, led this fight for seven years in this House, to our finance minister and our Prime Minister.

Olive Smith and her fellow seniors departed can finally rest in peace.

VolunteerismStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Alan Tonks Liberal York South—Weston, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to extend congratulations to Mr. George Katsarov, a resident of York South—Weston and a volunteer with Canadian Executive Service Organization. Mr. Katsarov completed an assignment to Sevastopol, Ukraine to address the recycling of domestic and industrial waste. The city of Yalta was also experiencing a lack of local waste disposal sites. Mr. Katsarov was asked to advise on ways to minimize environmental pollution and reduce the cost of transporting and recycling waste.

Since 1967, highly skilled volunteers like Mr. Katsarov have been using their professional expertise and experience to help others achieve their goals. Thanks to Canadian Executive Service Organization, volunteers like Mr. Katsarov have put a human face on Canada through their assignments abroad.

I invite the members of the House to join me in congratulating Mr. Katsarov and Canadian Executive Service Organization for volunteerism and a job well done.

Delta Community LeaderStatements By Members

March 11th, 2010 / 2:05 p.m.

Conservative

John Cummins Conservative Delta—Richmond East, BC

Mr. Speaker, recently the Delta Chamber of Commerce celebrated its 100th anniversary. Edgar Dunning was in attendance at the gala. A friend chatted with Edgar after the event, then noted that Edgar jumped in his car and drove home. Nothing unusual about that, except that Edgar was 100 years old on January 7.

Edgar's mother published the Delta Optimist and some of his fondest memories are of that early newsroom. He spent his working life at the paper as a reporter, editor, photographer and publisher. He still writes a weekly column for the Optimist.

I look forward to Edgar's company at community events as much for his interesting recollections as for his insightful comments about current events and his great sense of humour.

Throughout his long life, Edgar has served his community, his province and his country. He is a recipient of the Queen's Golden Jubilee medal, the Order of British Columbia, the Delta Chamber of Commerce Good Citizen of the Year award and others too numerous to mention. Truly it can be said that it is community leaders like Edgar Dunning who make our country great.

Jasey-Jay AndersonStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Johanne Deschamps Bloc Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebec athletes distinguished themselves through their magnificent performances at the Olympic games in Vancouver.

Today I would like to salute Jasey-Jay Anderson, who is from Val-Morin. He is a fantastic athlete who topped off his career by winning the gold medal in the parallel giant slalom snowboarding.

A four-time world champion and winner of innumerable victories and podium finishes, this young family man should be proud of his truly memorable performance.

Throughout his career, Mr. Anderson has demonstrated determination, perseverance and tenacity. He never lost sight of his dream of reaching the highest step on the podium and saw his efforts crowned with a gold medal.

This snowboarder is a model of dedication and motivation for all young Quebeckers.

I join with my colleagues in the Bloc Québécois in congratulating Jasey-Jay Anderson and wishing him all the best in the future.

The BudgetStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Daniel Petit Conservative Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the opposition voted against the economic recovery. Canadians, however, have made it very clear to us that the economy is their priority. Our budget focuses on jobs and economic growth and will also help us head in the direction of a balanced budget.

Our government tabled a budget containing a number of measures that will benefit the people of Quebec and Canada. In addition, we were very clear: we will not raise taxes and we will not cut the main transfer payments to individuals and the provinces.

Yesterday, the Bloc opposed this budget. The Bloc claims to be here in Ottawa to defend the interests of Quebeckers, but it voted instead to defend and promote its own interests.

We, the 11 Conservative members from Quebec, will never let the people of Quebec down, as the Bloc did. We will always work hard on the things that are important to them.

Collège Jean-Eudes Football TeamStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, on November 13, 2009, in Trois-Rivières, the Collège Jean-Eudes football team, the Aigles, defeated the Vert & Or of the Séminaire Saint-Joseph by a score of 55-32, winning the AA cadet league Bol d'or.

With three consecutive touchdowns, the Aigles took control of the match in the first quarter and had an impressive lead. The defence managed a number of interceptions and its ability to brilliantly contain the running game of the Vert & Or was a big help.

As the member for Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel and as a football fan, I want to extend my congratulations on an exceptional season to the young Aigles, their head coach Olivier Baillargeon, his assistants Guillaume St-Armand, Derek Kalinauskas, Patrick Mechaka, David Michaud, François Bougie, Jeffrey Pierre and Charles Truchon and football coordinator Alain Cloutier.

What excellent teamwork!

The BudgetStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Larry Miller Conservative Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, ON

Mr. Speaker, last night the opposition coalition voted yet again against Canada's economic recovery. Our government's budget is based on hundreds of consultations with Canadian workers, businesses and families from coast to coast to coast. We heard one message loud and clear: Canadians remain concerned about jobs and the economy.

In keeping with these priorities the budget completes our economic action plan. It contains stimulus measures to create jobs now, additional steps to protect existing jobs and looks ahead to secure Canada's long-term growth. We made it clear in the budget that our government will not raise taxes or cut major transfers to key programs like health care or to other levels of government. No wonder the Liberals voted against it. Our jobs and growth budget continues a plan that is working.

Canadians can count on this government to continue to focus on what matters to them. We will not let them down.

Persons with DisabilitiesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Maurice Vellacott Conservative Saskatoon—Wanuskewin, SK

Mr. Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I inform the House today that our Conservative government has ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This convention promotes the full inclusion of persons with disabilities around the world.

We know that Canadians with disabilities make significant contributions to our communities and to our economy. That is why our Conservative government has made important investments to create opportunities and support their full inclusion.

For example, the registered disability savings plan is giving Canadian families peace of mind by helping them save for the long-term financial security of a loved one with a disability.

Today all Canadians can truly be proud. The ratification of this historic convention is yet another step to ensuring Canadians with disabilities have opportunities to contribute to our great country.

EarthquakesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

John Rafferty NDP Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to join my New Democrat colleagues and all of my friends in this place in paying our respects and offering our shared concern and sympathy for people who are enduring immense suffering in the wake of massive natural disasters.

The immense loss of life, of physical and social structure in Haiti has been gut wrenching to witness for all Canadians, but especially those who have come from Haiti to Canada or have friends, family members and loved ones living and working in that country.

In response to this disaster the people of Canada showed through words and deeds that we stand with the strong people of Haiti and are committed to the long-term recovery of that country with whom we have a special relationship.

Let us also take a moment today to remember the plight of the people of Chile and Turkey who have experienced similar upheaval recently due to powerful earthquakes. Thankfully the people of these countries were spared the immense human toll paid by the people of Haiti, but there was still significant loss of life, physical infrastructure and economic stability.

We offer our deepest condolences to the families of Canadians who lost their lives and to the people of Haiti, Turkey and Chile and re-commit to helping them recover and rebuild.

EarthquakesStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Maria Mourani Bloc Ahuntsic, QC

Mr. Speaker, we were horrified on January 12 to hear about the 7.0 Richter scale earthquake that struck Haiti. There are no words to describe the magnitude of this tragedy that indiscriminately struck a people already suffering. The number of victims is staggering, with many Quebeckers among them.

Quebec, where almost 90% of Canada's Haitian community lives, mobilized quickly and donations quickly materialized in an outpouring of unprecedented generosity.

We are also saddened by the disaster in Chile, which was struck by an earthquake measuring 8.8 on the Richter scale on February 27, unleashing a tsunami and killing more than 500 people. Turkey was also rocked by an earthquake measuring 6.0 on the Richter scale three days ago, leaving 50 victims in its wake.

The Bloc Québécois wants to assure the Chilean, Haitian and Turkish communities of its support during these difficult times. We are sure that, like the phoenix, these countries will rise from their ashes.

HaitiStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, on January 12, catastrophe struck Haiti. Family ties and compassion have created a deep bond between our countries.

Canadians followed their hearts and showed true generosity in helping a country that has had more than its fair share of catastrophes. It is still difficult to comprehend the scope of the disaster. The grief felt at the loss of family, diplomats, humanitarian workers and Canadian police officers working with the UN in Haiti is still raw.

We will not forget those who were lost, especially Serge Marcil, who was our colleague and our friend.

We promise to follow their example of solidarity with Haiti and its people. The Canadians who were lost represented the best of ourselves.

EarthquakesStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada's government stands in solidarity with the people of Chile and Haiti after the disastrous earthquakes that so profoundly damaged both countries.

Given the unprecedented damage to Haiti, the Prime Minister set in motion ambitious and rapid assistance measures.

A revitalized military made this action possible. Large numbers of Chilean and Haitian Canadians also reacted out of concern for family and loved ones.

We pay tribute to the millions of Canadians, especially our soldiers and aid workers, who sacrificed to help friends they may never meet in their hour of need. But that is the Canadian way: quiet generosity, determined action, concrete results.

Today we honour those who were lost and pledge solidarity with those who remain.

Earthquake VictimsStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please. Following discussions among the representatives of all parties in the House, I believe there is agreement to observe a moment of silence in memory of the earthquake victims in Haiti and Chile.

I invite hon. members to rise.

[A moment of silence observed.]

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the detainee issue is about fundamental issues regarding Canadian democracy. It is about the respect for human rights, our international obligations under the Geneva Convention, and ministerial responsibility to fulfill those obligations.

We on this side of the House have called for months for a full public inquiry about the Afghan mission, going right back to the beginning in 2001, and no new information will change this party's position on that issue.

I ask the Prime Minister once again. Will he do the right thing and allow Justice Iacobucci to lead a full public inquiry?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the opposition has inferred that somehow Canadian public servants are withholding information that would support the kind of unfounded allegations that it has made. These decisions are made by respected public servants.

We have asked Justice Iacobucci, who is a very respected Canadian, to review that work and ensure that all information is indeed available. I think that information continues to show that all personnel of the Canadian government have acted with regard to their obligations at all times.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the core of this issue is, and always has been, the conduct of the government and the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister has done everything to prevent Canadians from getting to the bottom of this matter. The government boycotted the Afghanistan committee, censored documents, intimidated public servants, smeared Richard Colvin, shut down Parliament, and now is using Justice Iacobucci to buy some time. None of it has worked.

The question that Canadians want to know is this. What are the Prime Minister's specific grounds for refusing a public inquiry?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the government's position has been clear. Canadian officials have at all times conducted themselves in a most exemplary manner. The record is clear on that. Whenever problems have arisen, they have acted to address those problems.

Not only did we conclude a new transfer agreement some three years ago, but let me read what a former Liberal chief of staff had to say about this government's work: “The [Conservative] government improved the agreement. The concerns that Ms. Olexiuk had raised and the provisions that she apparently at that time had argued for, were indeed put in the agreement by the [Conservative] government. And kudos to them for doing so”.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, that does not change anything. The Prime Minister did everything in his power to hide the truth regarding Afghan detainees. He abused his power.

He shut down Parliament in order to avoid crucial questions on this matter. Now he is hiding behind Justice Iacobucci.

Why does he refuse to call a public inquiry? Why does he refuse to tell Canadians the truth?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it is the Leader of the Opposition who refuses to face the facts. The fact is that Canadian soldiers and public servants have conducted themselves in an exemplary manner at all times.

There is no evidence to support the allegations concocted by the opposition. We are very proud of the work of our soldiers and public servants in Afghanistan.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, last Friday in an improvised announcement, the government claimed Mr. Iacobucci would examine some documents. We still have no terms of reference, no idea when he will report to Canadians, and even no idea when he will begin his work. As we have always said, any inquiry, any examination, should go back to documents relating as far back as 2001.

Could the minister now make public the terms of reference for this inquiry and could he tell the House of Commons when we could expect a report from Mr. Iacobucci?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I want to correct something the Leader of the Opposition said. He implied that the government was in the business of releasing or not releasing these documents. The government has been very cooperative, and any redactions, any advice that we have had was given by non-partisan, independent public servants.

However, we are going beyond that. We will have Mr. Justice Iacobucci undertake an independent, comprehensive and proper review of all the documents, and this should have the complete support of the official opposition.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, the minister sounds like he is trying to negotiate a plea bargain, but Canadians know that he is guilty of cover-up and delay in this inquiry.

My questions for the Minister of Justice are very simple, but the government refuses to answer them. So I will ask them again.

What exactly is Mr. Iacobucci's mandate?

When will he begin his inquiry?

When will he present his findings to Canadians?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the Hon. Frank Iacobucci will undertake a complete, independent, comprehensive and proper review of all the documents. We want that work to proceed as expeditiously as possible, and again, the hon. member should be applauding these steps by the government.

Government SpendingOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, while the Prime Minister preaches fiscal restraint, new revelations have come to light about this government's excessive spending.

After announcing the abolition of positions that were already vacant, after paying thousands of dollars to replace lights and doorbells in federal buildings, now we learn that the budget for the Prime Minister's Office will increase by nearly 22% in 2010-11.

Has the Prime Minister become a proponent of “Do as I say, not as I do”?