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House of Commons Hansard #25 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was international.

Topics

2 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

It being Wednesday, we will now have the singing of the national anthem led by the hon. member for St. John's South—Mount Pearl.

[Members sang the national anthem]

FirefightersStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Garry Breitkreuz Conservative Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, I hope we can take a moment today to pay tribute to Canada's firefighters.

During a recent meeting with the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs, I was shocked to hear that the vast majority of volunteer fire departments are having trouble recruiting and maintaining their memberships.

The Canadian fire services include 3,492 fire departments and more than 90% of them are volunteer departments. In fact, of Canada's 108,000 firefighters, some 85,000 are volunteers.

I believe that this government will keep Canada's emergency service personnel vibrant and well equipped.

The Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs presented our government with the 2010 agenda for action and I hope we will support this agenda to an extent that is practical during these difficult economic times.

Our government recognizes the excellent services Canadians receive from our firefighters. We owe it to them to carefully examine the 2010 agenda for action to protect ourselves and future generations.

Earthquake in ChinaStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Bryon Wilfert Liberal Richmond Hill, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to join the people of China in mourning the deaths of hundreds who have been killed by the devastating effects of the earthquake that has hit Qinghai province.

The quake, measuring at least 6.9 in magnitude, struck the mountainous region injuring about 10,000 people, collapsing schools, office buildings and thousands of homes. Many more people remain trapped and the toll is expected to rise.

My thoughts and condolences go out to the people of China who have been affected by this tragedy and to Canadians who have family and friends living in the province of Qinghai.

In the hours and days ahead Canada and the international community may be called upon to commit resources and assist in the rescue efforts. Our prayers and thoughts are with those people.

Le Trou du Diable MicrobreweryStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, I was very pleased to learn that Le Trou du Diable, a Shawinigan microbrewery, won the silver award for its seasonal beer, La Grivoise de Noël, at the prestigious World Beer Cup competition, which was held in Chicago the weekend of April 10.

I am extremely proud of this innovative regional company, in particular because it is the first small Quebec brewery to win an award at this competition, which experts refer to as the Olympic games for beer. This year, 3,330 beers were presented by 642 breweries from 44 different countries.

This outstanding recognition shows just how impressive our regional products are, and how important it is to support their production. The artisans at Le Trou du Diable promote these products, as well as buying local, for which I am very grateful. Congratulations to Isaac Tremblay and André Trudel; your work is inspiring.

MulticulturalismStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Tony Martin NDP Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Mr. Speaker, two recent events in Sault Ste. Marie highlight the growing multicultural diversity of our community. The Algoma Multicultural Centre hosted a successful dinner featuring food, music and dancing from several traditions and the ever growing 4th Annual Passport To Unity drew over 3,000 people for its celebration of traditional food and art.

For years, the Labour Council and steelworkers have held an anti-racism day promoting this diversity with a very clear message of understanding and tolerance. The Baha'i Faith has taken a leadership role in promoting interfaith celebration and dialogue.

All of this has helped Algoma University evolve as a centre of cultural and international exchange. New organizations are working to make Sault Ste. Marie a welcoming place where we appreciate the richness of each nationality, our customs and their talents. Sault Ste. Marie is experiencing an influx of new citizens from many different parts of the world.

It is all about community. We want to celebrate and connect the many faces of Canada within our community.

World Curling ChampionshipStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Greg Rickford Conservative Kenora, ON

Mr. Speaker, it has been another great year for Canada's curling teams at the Olympics and our recent success at the World Curling Championship in Italy.

Spring is in the air, but the curling season is not over yet. This weekend it is time to rally behind our Canadian seniors men and women teams who are heading to the 2010 World Senior Curling Championship in Russia.

I want to make special mention of the fact that Andrea Ronnebeck from Kenora is one of the team managers.

Our government is committed to building a stronger Canada by encouraging seniors to be role models and to be active contributors to society, including competitive sports. The World Senior Curling Championship organizing committee and the Government of Canada share a common interest in the well-being of seniors.

On behalf of the Government of Canada, please join me in sending best wishes for the teams, coaches, managers and volunteers for proudly representing Canada, and proudly representing Canadian seniors on sports world stage.

BullyingStatements By Members

April 14th, 2010 / 2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Lise Zarac Liberal LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, today is Canada's Anti-Bullying Day, also known as Pink Shirt Day. The tradition of wearing pink shirts to protest bullying originally started in 2007, when students at a Nova Scotia high school took a firm stand against bullying.

On his first day of school, a grade 9 boy was bullied and harassed simply for wearing a pink shirt.

On the very next day, following the leadership of grade twelvers, hundreds of students from that high school started wearing pink shirts to symbolize their stand against bullying.

This story is proof that intimidation and bullying can be overcome. It is proof that little tyrants can be defeated when people of goodwill take up a cause. Intimidation has no place in our society, whether it comes from adults or children.

By standing together, we can defeat bullies.

National Engineering MonthStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Lemieux Conservative Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, as a mechanical engineer who served for 20 years in the Canadian Armed Forces Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Branch, I would like to acknowledge the contribution that engineers are making today to Canadian society and will continue to make in the future.

Last month was National Engineering Month. This year's theme of “Designing the Future” is very timely as we look forward to creating the jobs of the future. This annual celebration of Canadian engineering excellence promotes engineering as an important career choice for youth. As engineers, they will discover that they can shape the way Canadians live, work and play.

I invite my colleagues to recognize the valuable role that engineers play in protecting the safety and quality of life of all Canadians, and to encourage our youth to consider engineering as part of their future.

Gilles DenisStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

France Bonsant Bloc Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, on January 27, I had the opportunity to participate in the official opening of Cookshire's new IGA. This IGA, which emphasizes buying local, is the first to be LEED-certified for the sustainable management of its facilities. It is also the first to use a green refrigeration system, the Eco2-System.

The owner, Gilles Denis, was recognized by Quebec's National Assembly for his exceptional volunteerism. He has organized many music concerts and promoted numerous beautification projects. He also helps out with the Haut-Saint-François RCM employee appreciation evening as well as Loisirs Cookshire.

On behalf of the Cookshire and Compton—Stanstead community, I would like to wholeheartedly thank and congratulate Gilles Denis. His legendary involvement and extraordinary generosity have made him not only an exceptional volunteer, but also an exceptional person.

Railway Crossing SafetyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Allen Conservative Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Mr. Speaker, every day, thousands of Canadians, including the good people of my riding of Tobique—Mactaquac, drive across rail tracks on their way to work, to visit family or to drop kids off at school.

Today, our government is investing in their safety.

This morning, we announced $11 million to upgrade 155 high priority rail grade crossings right across Canada, including near St. André and Grand Sault.

This is yet another example of how Canada's economic action plan is helping Canadians and making a difference in their communities. This investment is already producing a positive effect. In 2009, there were 36% fewer deaths and serious injuries than in the previous year in Canada.

One accident is too many, but our government is taking concrete steps to keep Canadians safe.

VaisakhiStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Sukh Dhaliwal Liberal Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, today Canadians from across the country are celebrating Vaisakhi and the birth of Khalsa.

Today is one of the most holy days for the followers of the Sikh faith as it commemorates the creation of Khalsa and the Sikh Nation by Guru Gobind Singh Ji in 1699, when Sikhs were given a clear identity and a code of conduct to live by.

On April 17 Dashmesh Darbar Gurdwara will host North America's largest Khalsa Day Parade in Surrey, where over 100,000 people of all faiths and backgrounds will come together to celebrate our diversity.

I ask all members of this House to join me in wishing a very Happy Vaisakhi and a Happy Khalsa Day to all.

Leader of the Bloc QuébécoisStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the latest Olympic Games made Quebeckers prouder than ever to be Canadian, but the Bloc Québécois leader is doing his best to ensure that their pride does not have lasting consequences for federalism in Quebec.

The Bloc leader's cross-Canada tour, which is wrapping up this week in Vancouver, is proof of that. One wonders whether he plans to ask the province that hosted the latest Olympic Games to separate from Canada, just as he invited Newfoundland and Labrador to separate during his recent visit to that province.

The Bloc leader should heed advice from the founding father of the Bloc Québécois, the former premier of Quebec, Lucien Bouchard, and concentrate on Quebec's true priorities, which include the economy.

That is what Quebec needs, and that is exactly what the Conservative government has delivered with its economic action plan.

Day of PinkStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Bill Siksay NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, today is the Day of Pink, the international day against bullying, discrimination and homophobia. It calls for an end to bullying of all kinds, and the end to discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and transsexual youth. It is a celebration of diversity in our schools and communities.

This day originated after an incident at a Cambridge, Nova Scotia school where a student was bullied for wearing a pink shirt. The next day many students wore pink in solidarity with him.

This important initiative is now spearheaded by Jer's Vision, an organization that works with thousands of youth through over 40 programs and which today celebrates its fifth anniversary.

GLBTT youth often face persecution, bullying and violence, which causes some to drop out of school, suffer serious depression or attempt suicide. We must act against homophobic, lesbophobic, transphobic and misogynistic bullying and discrimination and stand in solidarity with GLBTT youth and their friends, families and allies on this important day and in this important struggle.

Liberal Party of CanadaStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Conservative Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, now that it has been a year since the Liberal leader said, “We will have to raise taxes”, it is no wonder that there are unhappy Liberals.

We know that the Liberal leader had MPs ignore his divisive motion in the House. We know that Liberals meet in Ottawa restaurants to talk about removing their leader, but the most recent example takes the cake.

Yesterday, the Liberal MP for St. Paul's gave a slide show presentation to an audience in Chicago, Illinois that suggested she was a minister of state. That same presentation was on her parliamentary website as of this morning. We do not know if it was meant to be a job application or a slip of the mind to the days of the Liberal sponsorship scandal, but the member is clearly unhappy.

Either way, we know one thing for sure. If the Liberal leader continues his year-long endeavour to raise taxes and kill Canadians' jobs, the slide show of the MP for St. Paul's will never be accurate again.

EthicsStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Nicole Demers Bloc Laval, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government refuses to come clean about why it demoted the former minister for the status of women and expelled her from caucus.

The Conservatives will only say that the matter is being investigated; they refuse to say what the member for Simcoe—Grey is alleged to have done. This is a far cry from the transparency they promised. Instead, the Conservatives are trying to cover up the matter, hoping that voters will forget about the scandal, just as they have done with the Afghan detainee file. They are washing their hands of it and turning the matter over to another authority. By doing so, they are leaving the door open to widespread speculation.

Furthermore, the Prime Minister should have used this opportunity to appoint a new minister for the status of women and show some willingness to make progress on women's issues, particularly pay equity and assistance to women's advocacy groups. But the idea likely did not even cross his mind. This shows once again not only his lack of transparency, but also his complete indifference regarding the concerns of women.

PolandStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Andrew Kania Liberal Brampton West, ON

Mr. Speaker, this past Saturday, Poland lost its political, military and church elite, including President Lech Kaczynski and his wife Maria, whom I had met. They had been flying to a memorial to remember the Katyn massacre, an event not well known in world history, but one that they rightly did not want forgotten given the brutal murders of over 20,000 Polish officers and elite by Soviet forces in 1940.

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk has called this plane crash the most tragic event of Poland's post World War II history and the Archbishop of Warsaw has stated that “words are too poor and weak” to capture the loss. As a first generation Polish Canadian, I can say that they are both correct and that the Polish community in Canada, known as Polonia, is in shock and mourning.

On behalf of my entire family, the residents of Brampton West and Polonia, I wish the survivors of the deceased and the people of Poland our sincere condolences on this terrible tragedy.

TaxationStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Andrew Saxton Conservative North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, one year ago today, while our government was delivering economic results for Canadians, the Liberal leader laid an important plank in his platform. He clearly stated, “We will have to raise taxes”. Of course, he is the same Liberal leader who is on the record stating, “I am not going to take a GST hike off the table”. But why would he? He is a self-proclaimed tax-and-spend Liberal.

The Liberal leader was among the first Liberals to call for the carbon tax that Canadians rejected in the last election. Let us not forget that to end his spenders' conference, the Liberal leader proposed job-killing business taxes.

One year ago the Liberal leader set out to raise Canadian taxes and he has stayed true to his tired message, but Canadians know higher taxes kill jobs. It is as true today as it was a year ago.

EthicsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, for more than seven months the Prime Minister has stood by and watched while Mr. and Mrs. Jaffer attached their tentacles to the neck of the government and slowly dragged it down. The question now is not about Mr. and Mrs. Jaffer, it is about the Prime Minister.

Will he finally explain why he called in the police? Will he finally admit that in the confidence he placed in this couple, he displayed a poor lack of judgment?

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as members know, the minister offered to resign and I accepted her resignation.

I have also made it very clear that I had received information concerning some serious allegations of which I have no direct knowledge, but I did the appropriate thing and forwarded those to the authorities for them to take what action is appropriate.

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, by letting the rumours swirl, the cloud over the government continues.

There is a pattern here. When Parliament gets in the Prime Minister's way, he shuts it down. When MPs ask for documents, they are blacked out. When ordinary citizens ask for access to information, they are turned down. When Parliament asks a simple question, why did he fire a minister, he will not even deign to answer.

There is a pattern of arrogance here. When will it stop?

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as I have said, we received information which is obviously of serious concern. I have no direct knowledge to add to this information. The appropriate thing to do was to turn that over to the authorities.

The consistent pattern here is the government does what is the appropriate thing to do under the circumstances.

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, there is a consistent pattern of obstruction with this government. Ministerial staff block requests for access to information. Entire pages of information and documents on torture are censored.

Now the Prime Minister is refusing to tell us why he called in the police against his minister.

All of this amounts to contempt for the institutions involved and for Canadians.

When will the Prime Minister tell us why he trusted the minister last week, but no longer trusts her this week?

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I reject the statements made by the Leader of the Opposition.

In this case, the minister tendered her resignation. I received information about her conduct. I have no direct knowledge of the allegations made. It was appropriate to forward these allegations to the authorities and that is what I did.

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, when Rahim Jaffer met with some of his more questionable clients, he said, “I have access to a green fund”. It was no idle boast.

The Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities delegated authority to review projects for the billion dollar green fund to his parliamentary secretary, a parliamentary secretary who now confirms he did meet with Mr. Jaffer and his partner last June for government cash for three specific projects.

What are the details of these projects? Which of Mr. Jaffer's clients were involved? Why were these unregistered lobbyists not reported to the lobbyist commissioner?

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary did have meetings with Mr. Jaffer and no funding was recommended to any of the projects that were discussed. That has been very clearly stated by the parliamentary secretary.