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House of Commons Hansard #19 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was agreements.

Topics

Canada-Jordan Free Trade ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

An hon. member

Or the year after.

Canada-Jordan Free Trade ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Or the year after, Mr. Speaker. He may be here longer than he wants to be. I certainly appreciate his contribution to the House, as all members do. I appreciate his raising this question today.

The reality is that the first part of my speech was where I criticized the government about the lack of follow-through—

Canada-Jordan Free Trade ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

Jim Abbott Conservative Kootenay—Columbia, BC

I'm sorry I missed it.

Canada-Jordan Free Trade ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Yes, I am sorry the member missed it as well, Mr. Speaker.

The government simply does not walk the talk on trade issues. It does not provide the kind of export promotion support that all our major competitors do. It does not provide the internal protection for key strategic industries that all industrial economies do.

I criticized the government. I did say we were in favour of getting this bill to committee because we want to have a fulsome airing of this agreement. We want to hear from human rights activities, from women's rights activists and from labour activists as well. We want to get the bill to committee, but we want to see some major changes to this agreement as well.

Canada-Jordan Free Trade ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member has raised in the House a number of issues on the Colombia deal, and I sense that he has some similar concerns with regard to the Jordan situation vis-à-vis human rights.

Last week the government seemed amenable to an amendment to Bill C-2, which in the record says:

there must be a prior written agreement between the governments of Canada and Colombia, where each country provides annual reports to their respective parliaments on the impact of this FTA on human rights in both Canada and Colombia.

I had to read the amendment again and I am still reading it, and I do not yet clearly understand what it means. If it does mean something and it would be helpful in terms of getting us over this hurdle of human rights concerns, I am wondering whether a similar provision in the Jordan trade deal might be applicable or appropriate in the circumstances. I am not sure. I do not think so, but maybe the member has some comments.

Canada-Jordan Free Trade ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, I want to state at the outset that Jordan is not Colombia. Colombia has one of the most appalling human rights records on the planet, the worst record on the entire planet for the massacring of labour activists, the worst record on the entire planet for the forced and violent theft of land of rural Colombians. Colombia is a horrible case study of what happens when there is no concern for human rights.

In Jordan there have been some improvements. For that reason, we want to see a fulsome vetting of the agreement at the committee stage.

However the member is absolutely right. He has a long experience in the House, and he knows that trade agreements, trade bills, are amendable by the House of Commons. We have been saying this for some time. It would have meant that we could have addressed some of the most egregious aspects of the softwood sellout or the shipbuilding sellout, but the reality is that the House has the right to amend these agreements. Now I think for every trade agreement that comes forward, the trade committee and the House will have to be seized by those amendments and by those changes. That is very important.

However, any assessment has to be independent. It cannot be the Colombian government evaluating itself. It cannot be the Jordanian government evaluating itself. It has to be an independent and impartial human rights assessment by one of the many organizations that actually specialize in ensuring that evaluation.

Canada-Jordan Free Trade ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Cardin Bloc Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, apparently there is controversial legislation in Jordan having to do with freedom of association. The government has the power to dissolve any association. As far as we know, this is primarily aimed at radical Islamic groups, but it could also affect the right to unionize.

How could this legislation be combined with the labour standards set out in the agreement?

Canada-Jordan Free Trade ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question from the hon. member for Sherbrooke with whom I do enjoy working.

That is precisely the problem. The committee will have to address a host of difficulties. In addition to the ones mentioned by the hon. member, there are questions about women's rights. Divorced women who remarry lose custody of their children. If a child is born outside marriage, the same thing happens. Children are removed from women's care.

Even though Jordanian men can give Jordanian nationality to their wives and their children, Jordanian women do not have the same right. In Jordan, there is gender inequality and we have to address that and all the other concerns with this agreement raised by the Bloc and the NDP.

Canada-Jordan Free Trade ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate the member for a terrific speech as usual.

In response to a question that he just provided to the Conservative member, I sense that he was just on the verge of letting that member know that he was, in fact, quoting in terms of human rights abuses from the U.S. Department of State 2008 human rights report when he was outlining that, while things are nowhere near as bad in Jordan as they are in Colombia, he does have concerns about human rights abuses in Jordan as well.

I would like to ask the member, then, whether he could give us a better idea as to why he feels the Jordan agreement is substantially different than what the Canada-Colombia deal is all about.

Canada-Jordan Free Trade ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, Jordan is not Colombia. Thank goodness. Colombia's appalling connection with the regime, with the paramilitary, the widespread killings by the Colombia military, the theft of land, which is all tied in this murky soup around the Colombia trade deal, is not present in the Jordanian agreement.

There is no doubt that the Jordanian agreement is weak on human rights. That may be something we could bolster with suggestions from human rights advocates, labour activists and women's rights activists. We may be able to make some changes. We will have to see.

However, the two situations are completely different.

Colombia has the worst human rights record on the planet when it comes to forced theft of land and killings of labour activists. Jordan has made some clear improvements. As I pointed in my speech, we are talking about two killings, both prosecuted in Jordan by authorities. In Colombia we are talking about hundreds of killings and virtual impunity. That alone should make the Conservatives take a step back and ask themselves what they are doing, trying to ram through this bad deal with Colombia when there are so many circumstances and so many Canadian values being repudiated by this pressure.

That is why I think the trade committee will be happy to take the Jordan agreement and pull it apart to see what the impacts are and try to put it back together. It is a far less egregious situation than the appalling situation in Colombia.

Parkinson's Awareness MonthStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Patrick Brown Conservative Barrie, ON

Mr. Speaker, April is Parkinson's Awareness Month in Canada. It is one of the most common brain conditions affecting over 100,000 Canadians today. Parkinson's is chronic, progressive and results in increasing disability that dramatically impacts individuals, families and communities across Canada, including in my riding of Barrie, where Greg McGuinnes has continued his hard work to combat this condition in our community with his annual fundraiser and events that raise awareness.

Integrated care and services, income security, protection from genetic discrimination and caregiver support are just a few of the key issues that impact daily life for people with Parkinson's and their families.

As we enter Parkinson's Awareness Month, I would like to encourage every member of Parliament to think about their constituents living with Parkinson's. This insidious disease affects men and women of every age, and they are relying on our leadership to help them live the highest quality and most productive lives possible.

12th Jutra Awards GalaStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Liberal Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the 12th Jutra awards gala, a not to be missed celebration of the Quebec cinema, was held yesterday.

I want to congratulate all the winners and mention the huge success of the films J'ai tué ma mère/I Killed my Mother and Polytechnique. These two movies reflect the new generation of Quebec creators, who are inspired by the province's rich cinematographic heritage, while also showing daring, humanism and sensitivity. Because of this, they have earned tremendous recognition, both at home and abroad.

With their ambition and ability to succeed at the international level, without compromising the quality of their art, they are to a credit to Quebec's creators, artists and artisans. When Quebec shines at the world level, all of Canada also shines with it.

On behalf of the Liberal Party, I want to reiterate our support to Quebec artists, and to congratulate all the winners and nominees at the 12th Jutra awards gala.

I am going to conclude by asking the Conservative government to pay greater attention to Quebec culture. It is a hotbed of innovation and deserves the government's support.

Saguenay FjordStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Bouchard Bloc Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean and Upper North Shore regions can boast about an absolutely spectacular natural site, namely the Saguenay fjord. This old glacial valley has historic value and an amazing variety of wildlife that make the locals very proud.

I asked Dr. Jules Dufour, professor emeritus at UQAC, to assess the possibility of getting the Saguenay fjord on UNESCO's world heritage list. He came to the conclusion that the Saguenay fjord has everything it needs to obtain international recognition at UNESCO.

The hon. member for Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord and myself are going to do all we can to convince the Canadian government to put that site on its 2014 indicative list. The recognition of the Saguenay fjord by UNESCO is an ambitious and promising project.

Organized CrimeStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, western provinces are taking action to fight organized crime. Alberta and Manitoba have just introduced legislation to prohibit body armour. In Manitoba's case, it also includes controls on fortified vehicles that have had armour and other security features added to make them more difficult for police to deal with. The controls being proposed allow legitimate use for security officials. In another move, Manitoba is amending legislation to allow justice officials to take civil action against gang properties and businesses in order to deny the criminals the incentive of income derived from crime.

While that is a civil law approach to challenging gang activity, the question being asked is why the federal Conservative government, with its supposedly tough on crime attitude, is not co-operating with the provinces to make the body armour and fortified vehicles restriction a Canada-wide effort under the Criminal Code.

Why does the Conservative government not take steps to take away profits from organized crime?

Bob MathesonStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

James Rajotte Conservative Edmonton—Leduc, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to commemorate the life of Mr. Bob Matheson, who passed away in November, just shy of his 90th birthday.

Bob led a truly extraordinary life, a life which he completely devoted to others: his family, his community and his country.

Mr. Matheson served in World War II with the Royal Canadian Air Force and he remained dedicated to our men and women in uniform for the rest of his life.

Bob was instrumental in helping to shape the city of Edmonton as an alderman from 1974 to 1977. He practised law for 50 years and served as president of the Edmonton Law Society.

Mr. Matheson was a leader in our community in making it safer. He helped establish the Edmonton Crime Stoppers program, for which he received the Order of Canada in 1989, and was given the distinguished lifetime member designation of the Edmonton Police Service. As a conscientious taxpayer, he helped form and served as the president of the Alberta and the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

Bob Matheson's life and achievements made our community a better place to live. I ask all parliamentarians to join me in recognizing this truly great Canadian.

Retirement CongratulationsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, every night at 6 p.m. for nearly four decades, the people of eastern Ontario and western Quebec tuned in to the trusted local newscasts of Max Keeping. Their loyalty to him as a CJOH TV news anchor has only been surpassed by his loyalty to them as citizens of his beloved community.

And make no mistake, Max Keeping knew his community intimately, not just because of his 51 years as a local journalist, but because he made it his mission to give as much of himself to that community as humanly possible. It is estimated that Max has participated in the collection of more that $100 million in charitable donations in the Ottawa area. He participated in about 200 community events and still does each year and every year.

On a personal note, I fondly recall Max's participation early one chilly December morning during the annual Media's Big Food Drive to help needy families.

I congratulate Max on his retirement as news anchor after 37 years. We will miss seeing his face on TV every night, but I know we will continue to see him at the community centres, the charity halls, the food banks, the hospitals and anywhere else he is needed.

Brandon UniversityStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Merv Tweed Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, on Friday, March 19, I had the pleasure of welcoming the Prime Minister of Canada to Brandon, Manitoba. The Prime Minister announced our government's financial commitment for a new Brandon University healthy living centre. The centre will host gymnasiums and indoor track, training and treatment services, as well as a facility for fitness classes. Highly efficient, the building will use sustainable and recycled materials earning it “Certified LEED Silver” and both students and residents will have access to the health centre.

The announcement fulfills the dreams of so many who have poured countless time, effort and donations into this new facility and will now permit them to accomplish their goal in realizing a healthy living centre for Brandon University and all of western Manitoba.

We are fortunate to have a Prime Minister and a government that understands that strong communities mean strong provinces and a strong country. For that, I thank the Prime Minister on behalf of the people of Brandon—Souris. For Brandon University, I say, “Let's get it done. Go Bobcats”.

Canadian Freestyle Ski ChampionshipsStatements By Members

March 29th, 2010 / 2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Pascal-Pierre Paillé Bloc Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday there was a Quebec sweep in the women’s dual moguls at the Canadian Freestyle Ski Championships.

By the end of the event, the Dufour-Lapointe sisters from Montreal had taken all three places on the podium.

While the youngest, Justine, took the bronze medal and the eldest, Maxime, took the silver, the gold went to the middle sister, Chloé. It was her first-ever national seniors title.

Chloé had already proved her worth at the Olympic Games in Vancouver, taking fifth place in the moguls. She was also eighth in the final standings of the moguls World Cup.

It was a remarkable achievement for the Dufour-Lapointe sisters. My colleagues in the Bloc Québécois join with me in saluting their impressive performance and wishing them further success and happiness in their sport.

Vimy Ridge DayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Greg Kerr Conservative West Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, Canada's contribution to the first world war helped define us as a nation and shaped the country in which we live today.

That is why on April 9, Vimy Ridge Day, Canadians will stand united in remembrance of and gratitude to those who authored one of the most important chapters in our nation's history.

In addition to the national commemorative ceremony in Ottawa on April 9, there will be international ceremonies as well as activities in our provincial and territorial capitals to recognize all those who served Canada during the first world war.

We are also providing the opportunity for the public to pay their respects by signing special books of reflection, which will be on display at various locations across the country and overseas. These books of reflection will also be available online at the Veterans Affairs Canada website.

Project HeroStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Rob Oliphant Liberal Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate the efforts of Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel Kevin Reed for his tremendous exercise in citizenship in the establishment of Project Hero.

In honouring the sacrifice of Canadian men and women killed in military service, Project Hero not only remembers the past, but looks to the future. By providing scholarships to children of fallen soldiers, Project Hero ensures their legacy will not only be captured in stone memorials and solemn commemorations, but will be a living legacy to the opportunities afforded their children by receiving higher education.

Mr. Reed and the colleges and universities that have joined in this fitting tribute deserve commendation from every Canadian who reaps the benefits of safety, democracy, human rights and dignity, those things the parents of these young adults fought to establish and preserve.

To the recent critics of the program, quite simply, they are wrong. To the founders of the program, we thank them for honouring our soldiers and recognizing the critical importance of higher education for the success of a nation.

Liberal Party ConferenceStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Andrew Saxton Conservative North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, jobs and the economy are our government's top priorities because they are the top priorities of Canadians. In year two of our economic action plan, we have protected the jobs of today while laying the groundwork to create the jobs of tomorrow. We have done so by keeping taxes low because we know that higher taxes kill jobs.

Yet, at the Liberal spenders conference held this weekend, every tax hike imaginable was discussed. On Friday, the Liberals called for the GST to be raised. On Saturday, the Liberals rallied once again around their job-killing carbon tax on everything. On Sunday, the Liberal leader announced that he would raise job-killing business taxes to pay for his reckless spending promises.

We know the Liberal leader is a self-described tax and spend Liberal, but raising taxes would kill jobs and stop our recovery dead in its tracks. This proves yet again that he is not in it for Canadians, he is only in it for himself.

Union and Community ActivistStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Tony Martin NDP Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Mr. Speaker, this weekend in Ottawa, a full house of admirers toasted longtime union and community activist Clarence Dungey on his 75th birthday. For most of his life, Clarence has been a champion of all things fair and just, including his time as Sault Ste. Marie labour council president.

He has touched a lot of people, including my own family. For many years, a virtual picture of Clarence held a prominent place above our devout Catholic family's kitchen table, alongside a picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. That is because, among other things, my parents lived for the last 25 years of their lives on the pension Clarence negotiated for them.

Clarence knew the power of community working together for the common good. We should all be concerned today as we see unions come under attack in places like Sudbury and as governments look for ways to lower wages for workers and taxes for corporations.

Today I salute Clarence and all others like him across the country who support the right of workers to organize and fight for the dignity of all.

Liberal Party ConferenceStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Conservative Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, QC

Mr. Speaker, the conference of Liberal Party big spenders is over. We naturally want to know what great, innovative ideas were hatched this weekend. Over three days, they suggested raising the GST to 7%, an idea that the Liberal leader did not reject. They proposed a carbon tax, an idea that the Liberal leader was the first to defend during his failed leadership race. They also suggested increasing business taxes in order to fund their grandiose spending programs.

This is only one more step in the Liberals’ plans to raise fees and taxes. After 34 years out of Canada, the Liberal Party leader has returned with an ill-considered plan for tax increases. Tax increases will kill jobs, dampen our economic recovery, and be a backward step for Canadians.

The Liberal Party leader does not care about the Canadian taxpayer; all he cares about is himself.

12th Jutra Awards GalaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Lavallée Bloc Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, all of Quebec honoured Quebec film at the Jutra awards ceremony, which I had the pleasure of attending at the TOHU in Montreal. Once again, we were blown away by the talent and creativity of the artists, as well as by the diversity and quality of the films.

It was obvious at this gala that a new generation of actors, producers and film professionals are re-energizing and renewing the creativity of the Quebec nation.

On behalf of the Bloc Québécois, I wish to extend sincere congratulations to the recipients. Thank you, Anne Dorval, Sébastien Ricard, Pierre Gill, Denis Villeneuve and Xavier Dolan. Thanks to all of you for the beautiful emotions.

I would like to repeat the message of the lifetime achievement award recipient, René Malo, who said that film funding has not increased in the past 10 years although budgets have doubled. He added that piracy is the cancer of our film industry and warrants a solid copyright law.

The support we give to the Quebec film industry must be equal to its talent.

Liberal Party ConferenceStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, in the past few months, thousands of Canadians participated in a national conversation on the Canada we want to see in 2017, on our 150th birthday.

This weekend, thousands of others participated in the “Canada at 150: Rising to the Challenge” conference.

In the last three days, we had more than 70 events across the country and more than 25,000 people participated via the Internet. Our panellists in Montreal took questions from Glace Bay, Fredericton, Whitehorse and all points in between. This was an exciting step forward for public policy, for citizen engagement, and for Canadian democracy.

I want to thank those who worked and took part this weekend. I invite all Canadians, including members of the House, to join us as we continue to make public policy in public. I also wish to thank my co-chairs, Dominique Anglade, Randy Boissonnault and Dr. Martha Piper, for their wonderful contribution.