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House of Commons Hansard #30 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was veterans.

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 Winnipeg North.

[Members sang the national anthem]

Kickballs for KidsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, Chris Thompson of Stonewall, Manitoba is an example of what young Canadians can do to improve the lives of others.

After a 14-year career with his local soccer team, Stonewall United, Chris decided to bring the joy of playing soccer to children in the poorest regions of Africa. Last year he started his own charity called Kickballs for Kids, which donates soccer balls to kids in African countries who cannot afford them. He is completing a tour of several African nations where he has distributed the soccer balls paid for from funds he has raised.

While a $10 soccer ball might not seem like a big investment for the average Canadian, it is a luxury for many in the developing world. Chris has sent home countless stories of the joy experienced by children and their communities started by a game of soccer made possible with one of his soccer balls.

Chris Thompson has demonstrated what a young Canadian can do to help those in need. More importantly, he has shown that the joy of sport can bring a community together, whether one lives on the Manitoba prairie or on the African savannah.

I encourage all Canadians to help Chris in this endeavour. They can find out more by visiting Kickballs for Kids on Facebook. I congratulate Chris.

Administrative ProfessionalsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Alexandra Mendes Liberal Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, it would be inappropriate if not outright dishonest if this House did not underline the fact that today is international Administrative Professionals Day.

Too often, secretaries and administrative assistants are overlooked and their important work taken for granted. As I am sure all my colleagues know, administrative professionals often form the backbone of an office, literally holding it together. Without them, most organizations would simply not function.

Administrative Professionals Day provides the House of Commons with the opportunity to acknowledge the vital support provided by these employees to MPs and also to society in general.

In the contemporary economy, where services are omnipresent and information evolves rapidly, administrative professionals are vital to the proper functioning of society.

It is therefore appropriate to acknowledge their work, which all too often is still taken for granted. A very big thank you to the administrative professionals of Canada.

Victims of CrimeStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

France Bonsant Bloc Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, to no one's surprise, the Conservative government has announced that it will vote against Bill C-343, which provides real, tangible financial assistance to the families of victims of crime.

The government, which loudly proclaims that it defends victims and their families, is instead creating a diversion by holding Victims of Crime Awareness Week. We cannot oppose virtue. However, this gesture is simply a smokescreen for the Conservatives' inaction and indifference towards the financial needs of victims' families. The truth is that it is the awareness of this government's members that needs to be raised.

If the Conservatives truly were concerned by the fate of victims and their families, they would vote for Bill C-343on April 28.

Aboriginal AffairsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise to pay tribute to two outstanding women who have contributed immensely to British Columbia and Canada.

Madeleine Dion Stout has been a towering presence in the area of health care for decades. She has served as president of the Aboriginal Nurses Association of Canada and is an inaugural board member of the Mental Health Commission of Canada. She helped build the PHSA indigenous cultural competency program and the B.C. Women's Hospital's aboriginal health program. She is a director of the Women's Health Research Institute and just joined the First Nations Health Society as a board member.

Ms. Stout has just won a 2010 National Aboriginal Achievement Award for her outstanding contributions to aboriginal health and a strong public health system, an award she justly deserves.

Gladys Radek is a woman who is a passionate and tenacious voice for the missing and murdered women of Vancouver's Downtown Eastside and across British Colombia. She has organized marches, raised funds and is a powerful advocate for the need to remember these women and obtain justice for each and every one of them. Her work has been so effective that this government recognized the group, Sisters in Spirit, in its throne speech.

I ask all members to join me in honouring these incredible women.

MS WalkStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, on April 25, the 5th annual MS Walk in Chaudière—Appalaches will be held in Lévis. The purpose of this walk is to raise money for research to find a cure for multiple sclerosis.

Multiple sclerosis is the most predominant neurological disease in young adults in our country and it has an impact on families, friends and the community. It is unpredictable and affects vision, hearing, memory, balance and mobility. Its physical, emotional and financial effects last a lifetime.

Every day, three new cases are diagnosed in Canada and women are three times more likely than men to develop this insidious disease in the prime of their lives.

I encourage each and every one of us to take part in one of the 160 walks being held across the country and I invite everyone here to join us this Sunday at 10 a.m. at the congress centre in Lévis.

Together we can beat multiple sclerosis.

AfghanistanStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, let us consider accountability on the Afghan detainee issue.

When allegations were made, the government attacked those who gave evidence. Is that the reaction we would expect from someone who has nothing to hide?

When parliamentarians raised concerns, they were accused of being unpatriotic. Does that mean we must ignore our international obligations in order to be patriotic?

When documents were requested by Parliament, the government hired a former judge to do a study instead of finding a solution compatible with the powers of Parliament.

Delay, denial and deception are incompatible with accountability. It is time for the government to be accountable by agreeing to a resolution which ensures both compliance with international law and full protection of our military. Now, that is patriotic.

The EconomyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, today the IMF forecasted that Canada will lead the G7 in growth this year and next. This follows an OECD report which also said that Canada will lead the G7 in growth. What is more, since July 2009 Canada has created almost 180,000 new jobs. All of this is proof that Canada's economic action plan is working.

However, the global economic recovery remains fragile and our top priority must be to stay the course.

What is the Liberals' top priority? It is to kill jobs with a GST hike, a new carbon tax and increase business taxes. In case the Liberals' agenda was unclear, the Liberal finance critic cleared up any confusion when he said, “The era of tax cuts is over”.

While the Liberals plot new tax hikes, our Conservative government will continue to lower taxes and create jobs.

Use of Wood in Federal BuildingsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Gérard Asselin Bloc Manicouagan, QC

Mr. Speaker, today, members of the House of Commons will be voting on Bill C-429 on the use of wood in the construction and renovation of federal buildings.

A number of countries such as France, Norway and Sweden have implemented similar measures to promote the use of wood in public buildings. Quebec and British Columbia also have policies to that effect. Yesterday, the National Assembly unanimously adopted a motion in support of Bill C-429.

A number of Quebec and Canadian associations representing thousands of groups have also expressed their support for the bill, including the Forest Products Association of Canada, the Quebec Wood Export Bureau and the Québec Forest Industry Council.

We have the means to move forward with this type of measure. That is why I hope we can count on the support of all hon. members in this House.

National Volunteer WeekStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today in celebration of National Volunteer Week. I would particularly like to highlight the invaluable contribution of young volunteers in Quebec and across Canada.

Every year, more than 12 million Canadians collectively volunteer more than 2 billion hours to make their communities and our country a better place to live.

What is remarkable is that young people, aged 15 to 24, have the highest rate of volunteerism. The Conservative government is very appreciative of the contribution of young volunteers. That is why Canada's economic action plan includes grants for the YMCA and other organizations, to place youth in internships with not-for-profit organizations. We also decided to create the Prime Minister's award for volunteerism.

Whether these young people are teaching computer basics to seniors, coaching kids' sports or planting trees in our communities, Canadians and Quebeckers appreciate their contribution.

We thank everyone who volunteers their time.

Aboriginal AffairsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, today a group of representatives from the Algonquin Anishinabeg Nation have come to the Hill in the hope of meeting with the Prime Minister or the Minister of Indian Affairs , who have refused to meet with them in the past.

The Algonquin Anishinabeg Nation is located principally in western Quebec and eastern Ontario. Members of that nation were the first inhabitants of the land on which we built our national Parliament, the very land on which we stand today.

Over the years, we have learned to live together on this earth, and it is simply unacceptable that the government is refusing to even listen to what these aboriginal representatives have to say. It will therefore be up to parliamentarians to meet with them and give them the opportunity to be heard that they are entitled to expect.

These people legitimately represent our constituents, and the Conservatives' behaviour is quite simply disrespectful.

Liberal Party of CanadaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, guess who is at it again, calling for higher taxes? That is right, it is the Liberal leader and his right-hand man, the member for Markham—Unionville. Yesterday he told the media he wanted to end tax cuts. Translation: If people and their families want less money in their pockets and want to pay higher and higher taxes, the Liberal leader is their man.

Whether it is touting a carbon tax, GST hikes or job-killing business taxes, the Liberal leader and his party have never met a tax they did not like. He even wants to tax iPods.

While Conservatives work to deliver lower taxes for Canadians, the Liberal leader continues to find new ways to increase taxes.

Canadians know that higher taxes kill jobs. Once again, the Liberal leader is not in it for Canadians. He is just in it for himself.

Earthquake in ChinaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Alice Wong Conservative Richmond, BC

Mr. Speaker, on April 14, an earthquake of 7.1 magnitude struck Yushu, a town in the Qinghai province of China. As of today, the death toll has climbed to 2,183 and 84 people are still missing. A week after the devastating quake, the Chinese government has designated today a national day of mourning for earthquake victims.

On behalf of Richmond, I express my deepest condolences to the victims and their families during this difficult time. China is a strong nation and has responded to this disaster quickly and effectively. The country's relief efforts have demonstrated its fine tradition of offering help to those in need.

We sincerely hope that those affected by the earthquake can overcome the tragedy quickly and rebuild their hometowns. Our officials in Beijing continue to contact appropriate Chinese authorities to assess the assistance that is required.

ArmeniaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDP Outremont, QC

Mr. Speaker, 95 years ago, the world remained silent as over 1.5 million Armenian men, women and children were murdered. Just a few years ago, the House passed a motion clearly stating the truth and condemning this act as a crime against humanity.

The New Democrats stand in solidarity with the Armenian community in its desire to acknowledge and commemorate one of the most terrible chapters in world history. Hitler's infamous words, "Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?" remind us of our duty to remember and to insist that these historic realities be recognized for what they were; otherwise, these horrors could be repeated elsewhere.

We also acknowledge the relentless courage of the Armenian people which, generations later, finally led to the creation of a free and democratic country. This country works with its neighbours to create a future of peace and reconciliation.

ArmeniaStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Nicole Demers Bloc Laval, QC

Mr. Speaker, 95 years ago the Armenian people were victims of the first genocide of the 20th century. More than a million people were murdered.

Even though many countries have recognized the facts, the descendants of victims of this tragic event are still waiting for all nations to acknowledge this act of evil.

As we have seen numerous times over the years, Armenians must continue to fight and defend themselves against false accusations which are perpetuated in order to avoid accepting the truth about this genocide.

That is why we, the Bloc Québécois, continue to stand by them in their quest for justice.

[Member spoke in Armenian.]

ArmeniaStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is a poignant time, a time to remember, to commemorate and to bear witness.

On the 95th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, which the House has recognized, scholars have documented and the anguished testimony of survivors has affirmed, the whole reminding us of the dangers of indifference and inaction in the face of incitement and mass atrocity, of the dangers of a culture of impunity and of the dangers of revisionism and denial that led Hitler to remark, as he embarked on the Nazi genocide, “who today remembers the Armenians?”.

We remember, we bear witness and, as we say on occasions such as these, jamais plus, never again.

Never again for the Armenians and never again for anyone.

ArmeniaStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today as chair of the Canada-Armenia Parliamentary Friendship Group to remember the Armenian genocide of 1915.

It is important not only to honour the memory of those who died or simply to acknowledge what has passed but also to understand that the recognition of these tragic events can be a starting point to move forward and improve relationships and understanding between present day Turkey and Armenia.

The Armenian genocide was recognized by the Senate in 2002, by this House in 2004 and first commemorated by the Government of Canada in 2006.

The Armenian Canadian community has contributed greatly to Canada's culture and economy. I applaud its efforts to acknowledge its past while looking forward to the future to build bridges based on mutual respect.

By recognizing and remembering the Armenian genocide, we should all be motivated to do everything in our power to ensure that such a terrible tragedy never happens again.

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

April 21st, 2010 / 2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, one of the Prime Minister's members of Parliament insulted police chiefs across Canada. He called them a cult and he accused them of corruption all because they support a gun registry that we believe is a vital tool to keep our communities safe and our police officers safe.

Will the Prime Minister now rise in this place and apologize to police chiefs on behalf of the government and will he condemn those disgraceful remarks?

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the member of Parliament in question immediately said that those remarks were not acceptable. He apologized for them and, in fact, the staffer in question has actually resigned.

The truth of the matter and the real problem here is that the Leader of the Opposition is trying to change his own position. He is the one who said:

No sensible Canadian thinks the problem is the shotgun on the barn door. No sensible Canadian thinks the problem is the target shooter or the legitimate licensed gun owner.

I liked him when he was a sensible Canadian.

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has not given an answer to my question. I asked him whether he would stand in this place on behalf of the government and condemn remarks which every member of Parliament must regard as disgraceful. Will he condemn them and apologize, yes or no?

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, he has already apologized. Of course we all agree with that apology and we accept that apology.

What we do not accept is the leader of the Liberal Party trying to force a policy on members of this House that he knows is wrong and that he has flip-flopped on. The long gun registry is wasteful and ineffective and we will work to get it abolished.

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I will ask the question again in the other official language. I did not hear the Prime Minister or his government apologize to the police chiefs of Canada. I am still waiting to hear a simple, humble apology.

Will he apologize, yes or no?

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the member apologized very clearly yesterday, and this reflects the position of all Conservative members. All Conservatives are in favour of laws that punish criminals, and not law-abiding Canadians.

Military Police Complaints CommissionOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, another example of the Conservative culture of deceit that has enveloped this House is the way in which the Minister of Justice comes into this House and tells the House that he is such a strong supporter of the work that is going on at the Military Police Complaints Commission, while at the same time as he says that in this House as part of the Conservative culture of deceit, the people who are in that commission are making it very difficult for the commission to do its work.

How does the minister explain this Conservative culture of deceit?

Military Police Complaints CommissionOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, that is a very irresponsible comment by the hon. member.

Officials continue to work with the MPCC to provide all relevant documents. Again, the MPCC is doing its work under the mandate that was given to it by that member's former government.

I say that we should let the commission do its work. That is in everybody's best interest.