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House of Commons Hansard #33 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was refugees.

Topics

InfrastructureStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Dean Allison Conservative Niagara West—Glanbrook, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to highlight a recent investment that our government has made in my riding of Niagara West—Glanbrook. In co-operation with the government of Ontario and the YMCA of Niagara, a total investment of $12 million is paving the way for a brand new YMCA in the town of Grimsby.

I was very pleased to attend the groundbreaking ceremony on Saturday and I am look forward to seeing the results and the benefits for our community that this new facility will bring. Continuing in the fine tradition of the Y, I am certain that this new complex will be an important hub for Niagara West—Glanbrook in developing strong kids, strong families and strong communities. Over 80 person years of employment will be generated through its construction and once it is open, it will employ nearly 100 people in full and part-time capacities.

I am proud to be part of a government that is providing funding for projects across the country that are getting shovels in the ground, creating jobs and enabling organizations like the YMCA of Niagara to grow and prosper.

Competition for Disabled AthletesStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Pascal-Pierre Paillé Bloc Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, the 27th edition of the Défi sportif will be held this year from April 27 to May 2. With a slogan this year of “Choose to win”, this international sporting event brings together elite athletes with all types of disabilities. More than 3,200 athletes from over 20 countries will face each other with one goal in mind: winning.

There is one major difference this year: for the first time, the Défi will host the World Hockey Championship for Amputee Athletes. Five teams will compete for the gold medal in this tournament. Good luck to all the hockey players and to all the athletes at the Défi sportif, particularly those from Quebec.

I have no doubt that the spokesperson for the event, Chantal Petitclerc, a 14-time gold medallist at the Paralympic Games, will be an inspiration to all of the participants.

We will see them from April 27 to May 2 at the Défi sportif.

Canada-IndiaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Conservative Calgary East, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canada-India ties continue to strengthen following the very successful visit to India by a strong delegation led by the Prime Minister last November. Canada is home to a large Indo Canadian community. Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists and Jains all contribute immensely to further this relationship.

India is the world's largest multicultural democracy. It also has a well established legal process. India today is an example of the fruits that co-operation between communities bring. The Government of Canada and Canadians stand strongly behind efforts to strengthen our relationship and in no way will accept, support or encourage any efforts that undermine a strong, united and multicultural India.

This government strongly condemns the recent threats of violence made by extremists within the Canadian Sikh community. This is unacceptable.

Canada-VietnamStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Bryon Wilfert Liberal Richmond Hill, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to give recognition to the special delegation of the citizens' complaints committee of the National Assembly of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, which is here today on Parliament Hill.

The purpose of its visit is to enhance its understanding about the role of members of Parliament, communications with the constituency and how to resolve citizens' complaints. This occasion also provides parliamentarians with an opportunity to share information, discuss issues of mutual concern and strengthen our bilateral relations.

The Canada-Vietnam Parliamentary Friendship Group continues to play an important role in the development of parliamentary relations and I am pleased that many of my colleagues have attended a number of meetings and discussions. They have learned that “complaints” is a very negative term. We like to use the word “concerns” of constituents. I think it was very useful in the deliberations we have had over the last few days.

Quebec’s Forest EconomiesStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, this morning my colleague, the Minister of State for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec announced the establishment of the temporary initiative for the strengthening of Quebec’s forest economies.

This three-year, $100 million measure is intended to support communities affected by the forestry crisis in their efforts to expand and diversify their economic activity.

The initiative will make it possible to assist the industry and its workers by providing funding for local projects that improve the performance of enterprises in communities hit by the crisis in the forest sector.

The Government of Canada is well aware of the magnitude of the forestry crisis in Quebec and of the pressure it is placing on the communities whose economies rely heavily on the industry.

Our government is acting in the interests of local workers and their communities by strengthening the economy in these regions. This is yet another example of a tailored response to the specific problems facing those populations struggling with the crisis in this industry.

Lake Avenue Elementary SchoolStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Wayne Marston NDP Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, this past Saturday in my riding of Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, my wife and I had the great pleasure of attending a fundraising spaghetti dinner for the Lake Avenue Elementary School's band.

This senior band had just taken home the gold in a local competition. Now the band gets to travel to Ottawa and participate in our capital city's renowned MusicFest competition on May 21.

These young people's achievement is all the more impressive, when we realize the catchment area for Lake Avenue Elementary School is in one of the poorest areas of Hamilton and indeed in the country. Not only that, but when we also know that English is the second language for 85% of this school's student body, that adds other challenges.

My heartfelt congratulations go out to music teacher Matthew Skinner and his very talented students for their wonderful achievement. They have made us all so very proud.

Firearms RegistryStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

David Anderson Conservative Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Mr. Speaker, since the Liberal leader announced his plans to force his MPs to keep the wasteful and ineffective long gun registry, the Liberal member for Avalon has been awfully silent.

The member for Avalon has not said whether he will represent his constituents and oppose the wasteful long gun registry, or if he will ignore his constituents and instead be forced by his Liberal leader to keep the registry.

Even worse, by his silence, the Liberal member for Avalon is condoning the actions of the Liberal leader whose MPs attempted to hijack the public safety committee to prevent Canadians, including officers and police chiefs who are opposed to the long gun registry, from coming forward to speak out.

It is time for the Liberal member for Avalon to come clean. He either listens to his constituents and votes to scrap the long gun registry or he falls in behind his leader and votes to keep the long gun registry. There is no in between on this issue. It is that simple.

Status of WomenStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Nicole Demers Bloc Laval, QC

Mr. Speaker, April 25 was the 70th anniversary of women's suffrage in Quebec. This event should prompt us to reflect on true gender equality.

We have indeed come a long way, but we still have work to do to ensure gender equality in society and politics. Currently, women occupy only 29% of the seats in the National Assembly, 14% of elected positions at the municipal level and 20% of the seats in the House. The mission spearheaded by women like Marie Gérin-Lajoie, Thérèse Casgrain and Claire Kirkland is still in progress.

I urge all women and men to reject the stereotype that women are not interested in politics. We must accept that they have a place here and that they do things differently. To carry out the mission started by these pioneering female politicians, we should nominate women for seats that they have a good chance of winning.

As Élaine Hémond of Groupe Femmes, Politique et Démocratie said, we have to look beyond reassuring projections—

Status of WomenStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Etobicoke Centre.

David FreimanStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Borys Wrzesnewskyj Liberal Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of David Freiman. Born in what is now Sambir, Ukraine, his story traces a history of both tragedy and triumph.

A lumber foreman before the war, Mr. Freiman's life was overtaken by the horror of the Nazi Holocaust. Of a pre-war population of some 10,000, Mr. Freiman along with Esther, the woman who was to become his wife, were among the less than one hundred miraculous survivors of the murderous evil brought upon Sambir's Jewish community. He lost everything: parents, brothers, sisters, a toddler son. What he never lost was his will to live, to succeed for the future of his new family and of the Jewish people.

That drive brought him to Canada where, through hard work, intelligence and a sterling reputation for ethical conduct, he became a leader in business circles and a stalwart pillar of the Jewish community.

David Freiman's family is here to mark this special day and to honour his exemplary life.

[Member spoke in Hebrew as follows:]

T'he nishmata tsrura bi'tsror ha'chayim.

[English]

Leader of the Liberal Party of CanadaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Gord Brown Conservative Leeds—Grenville, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week, pollster Frank Graves advised the Liberals they should start a culture war against rural Canadians and it appears the Liberal leader is taking this advice. He has insisted on forcing his rural MPs to keep the wasteful and ineffective long gun registry.

His own MPs rejected his party's cynical motion to hijack an important initiative to save the lives of women and children in the developing world, and he supports an NDP bill that would shut out many brilliant legal minds in the francophone, anglophone, first nations and new Canadian communities from serving their country on the Supreme Court.

Our Conservative government, that helped unite a country following Liberal abuse of our tax dollars, our values and our trust, will stand with Canadians against the Liberal leader's plans to divide Canadians.

Dividing Canadians against one another is further proof that the Liberal leader is not in it for Canadians, he is just in it for himself.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, according to U.S. military officials, major new combat operations are planned for Kandahar in the coming weeks. The New York Times even talked about the decisive battle for Kandahar, yet our government will not tell us anything.

I have two questions. Are the Canadian Forces taking part in these operations? Why is the government keeping Canadians in the dark?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Conservative

Laurie Hawn ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the fact is we work with all of our allies. The Americans are our principal ally in Afghanistan. Operations are planned with them. We participate at a level that is commensurate with our obligations in Afghanistan and to the Afghan people.

I cannot comment on that particular operation. It would be premature at this time.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, if we take part with the Americans and they are willing to talk about it openly to their people, why can the government not do the same with ours?

The issue here is that U.S. officials say that a decisive combat operation will be initiated in Kandahar in the coming weeks. The Conservative government has said nothing to the Canadian people about this important matter.

Again I ask the question, what will be Canada's involvement in these operations? Why can the government not tell Canadians the truth about it?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Conservative

Laurie Hawn ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, as the Government of Canada we ensure that we protect our soldiers, we protect the security of our operations, and we protect the important relationships we have with our allies, whether it be the Americans or the Afghan people. If there is information that needs to be shared that does not violate the safety and security of our troops, it will be shared.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the government refuses to answer the most basic questions about these issues even when Canadian lives are at stake.

Today we learned that there are new reports of a government-wide ban on transparency, ordered by the Prime Minister's Office. Officials talk about it, and call it unprecedented, draconian and Orwellian. The Prime Minister's obsession with secrecy means that Canadians have to read in American newspapers about what Canadian troops are doing in Afghanistan.

Why this Conservative culture of deceit?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I do not know where the Leader of the Opposition has been for the last four years, but let me say that Canadian troops, our men and women in uniform, have been playing a decisive role in Afghanistan for many years.

We welcome the increased presence of American soldiers. We welcome the increased presence of the French and others. Step by step we are making substantial commitments in Afghanistan.

We are working hard and we are getting the job done, thanks to our men and women in uniform.

EthicsOral Questions

April 26th, 2010 / 2:15 p.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, on Friday afternoon the environment minister stood in this House and disclosed that his political director of regional affairs met with Mr. Jaffer last year.

While he made it seem like this was new information, he in fact knew last Tuesday. It seems he did not want anyone to know about this when Mr. Jaffer testified at committee the very next day. It is time to end the Conservative culture of deceit.

Will the minister confirm that his political director of regional affairs, who is from Calgary, actually met with Mr. Jaffer here in Ottawa in the former Status of Women minister's office?

EthicsOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the facts related to Mr. Jaffer's activities in April 2009 were brought to my attention on Tuesday of last week. The documents relating to those matters were collected on Wednesday. The information was assembled and provided to the Commissioner of Lobbying on Thursday. On Friday I advised the House and also at that time provided the information to the Ethics Commissioner.

The appropriate authorities have been informed, as has this House. My understanding is that the meeting in question did in fact happen in that particular office.

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, because he wanted to conceal the facts and delay disclosing them, the minister's mea culpa only raises new questions.

Why did he want to hide the meeting from Canadians for so long? Why would he not admit that the meeting took place in the former minister's Ottawa office? Instead of sinking deeper into this Conservative culture of deceit, will the minister finally agree to hand over all the documents related to this matter and that meeting? It is a question of honesty.

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, having learned of these facts on Tuesday of last week, I did what I felt was my obligation to this House and to its committees. I collected together the documents on Wednesday. I assured myself that they were the documents in question. They were then delivered to the commissioner of lobbying and the ethics commissioner. Of course, they will be provided to the parliamentary committee.

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, the opposition has been questioning the government about the former minister of the status of women and her husband, Rahim Jaffer, for two weeks now, but it was not until last Friday that the Minister of the Environment announced that Rahim Jaffer did indeed lobby the minister's constituency staff.

Why did the Minister of the Environment wait so long to disclose more evidence that Mr. Jaffer did indeed act as a lobbyist and why did the minister do so on the sly on a Friday afternoon?

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Jaffer's activities of April 2009 were brought to my attention last Tuesday. The documents relating to those matters were collected on Wednesday. The information was provided to the Commissioner of Lobbying on Thursday. On Friday morning, I advised the House, and on Friday afternoon the information was provided to the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner. The appropriate authorities have been informed, as has this House.

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister told us that Mr. Jaffer did not do any lobbying because he did not receive any government contracts. Now, following the Minister of State for Science and Technology and for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario and the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, it is the Minister of the Environment's turn to admit that his staff was approached by Rahim Jaffer or his associate.

What is the Prime Minister waiting for to release the list of his ministers who were contacted by Rahim Jaffer?

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Centre-North Alberta

Conservative

Jim Prentice ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the company Mr. Jaffer represented has never received government funding.