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House of Commons Hansard #34 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-3.

Topics

Yukon Mine AccidentStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, with tomorrow being the annual day of mourning for workers killed on the job, I rise on the sad occasion of a cave-in at the Wolverine zinc mine in Yukon that killed one miner and left two injured.

Our deepest sympathies are expressed from all of Parliament to the family and friends of William Fisher who died in the tragic accident, and our sincerest wishes are extended for the speedy recovery of the injured.

Since the time of the gold rush, thousands of Yukoners, to support their families, have risked their lives in the biggest industry in Yukon. Our hats go off again to all these courageous builders of our nation, to which a stone carving is dedicated in the foyer of this very House of Commons.

Perhaps the greatest heroes of all are those who, to the ecstatic jubilation of their families, escaped the original disaster and then courageously re-entered the mine to try to rescue their trapped comrades. This type of heroism by miners is constantly quietly occurring in Yukon, across Canada and around the world.

For all these unsung heroes and to the families of all those who died trying to save the lives of others, all parliamentarians extend their deep appreciation and admiration.

Leader of the Liberal Party of CanadaStatements By Members

April 27th, 2010 / 2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Phil McColeman Conservative Brant, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week pollster Frank Graves advised the Liberals to divide Canadians through a culture war.

We know the Liberal leader is taking the advice, but at every turn he is not just dividing Canadians, he is dividing his caucus. His plan to force Liberal MPs to vote to keep the ineffective Liberal long gun registry has left his eight rural members scrambling to explain why.

In addition, he supports shutting out many brilliant minds in the francophone, anglophone, first nations and new Canadian communities from serving their country on the Supreme Court; a move the Liberal member of Parliament for Vancouver Centre thinks is a bad idea.

Furthermore, 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.

Dividing Canadians against one another is something we expect from the Liberal leader, but his willingness to divide his own party is further proof that the Liberal leader is not in it for Canadians, he is in it for himself.

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the government announced a reversal of Canada's abortion policy, which has been a position of consensus for 25 years in Canada.

Does this mean that the Prime Minister will exclude countries where abortion is legal, like Haiti, from his maternal health plan?

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the answer is, no.

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives have broken a 25-year-old Canadian consensus. They have broken the consensus with Canada's G8 partners. They are destroying Canada's credibility on maternal health.

Why is the Prime Minister so determined to deny that maternal health must include access to safe, legal abortions in Canada and abroad?

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it was the Liberal leader who insisted on having a vote in the House.

The government's decisions respect the vote in the House and World Health Organization definitions. There are a number of ways in which we can help and save the lives of women, mothers and children around the world.

We can focus on things that unite the people of Canada, not on things that divide them.

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, this is a curious position for a government to take that has defied parliamentary resolutions time and time again.

The government is reversing a 25-year-old position of consensus in Canada on this question. One simply cannot promote reproductive health for women unless one respects a woman's right to choose and unless one includes access to safe and legal abortion.

How is it acceptable to have one policy at home for Canada and another abroad?

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it was the leader of the Liberal Party who decided to force a vote on this issue. He divided his own caucus and he got the opposite answer from the one he was seeking.

The government's policy respects not just the will of the House. It respects definitions of organizations, like the World Health Organization.

I think the lesson to the leader of the Liberal Party should be clear. He may think a culture war is a good idea but the fact is that Canadians want to see their foreign aid money used for things that will help save the lives of women and children in ways that unite the Canadian people rather than divide them.

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am trying to understand the government's position a little more clearly.

The House will know that 15 and 16-year-old women in Congo have been raped in the thousands and that rape is a tool of abuse and brutality that is a matter of fact in many parts of the world, including Africa, which this government has abandoned.

Could the minister tell us if it is the policy of the Government of Canada that those young women will not have access to abortions after they have been raped? Is that now the position of the Government of Canada?

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the position of the Government of Canada is very straightforward. We are sponsoring an initiative to help save the lives of mothers and children around the world. There is a range of initiatives that can be funded in that regard by various G8 countries. We are clear what initiatives we are funding and, believe me, there is more than enough to do in those areas to save the lives of women and children.

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, this is another example of the Conservative culture of deceit. As we speak, a pregnant woman, Sayon Camara Sow, is being deported by the Conservative government after four years in Canada.

I have a question for the government. Where is the focus on maternal health in such a decision?

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I understand that individual's lawyer has filed an application with the federal court and I understand that the court has granted a stay.

The CBSA carries out the orders of the tribunals and the court so that the rule of law is upheld.

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the matter involving the former status of women minister and her husband, Rahim Jaffer, the Prime Minister has repeated on several occasions that it did not involve the government. New revelations prove otherwise. The Prime Minister has instructed his ministers to report their meetings with Rahim Jaffer.

Will the Prime Minister admit that his defence of the first few weeks has been shattered and that there are ties between his ministers—the ministers of his government—and Rahim Jaffer?

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, it is clear that this does not pertain to government business. No government contracts are involved.

If Mr. Jaffer or someone else was engaged in illegal lobbying, our government will take steps to ensure that they are held responsible.

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of the Environment has hidden many things. First of all, that a member of his riding staff met with Rahim Jaffer and, second, that this meeting took place in the office of the former status of women minister in Ottawa. According to the Prime Minister's reasoning, which he just repeated, Mr. Jaffer did not lobby members of his government because he did not obtain any contracts. That is twisted logic.

If that is true, why is the Prime Minister demanding a list of ministers who met with Rahim Jaffer?

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Jaffer's actions came to light for one reason: the Minister of the Environment and other ministers exercised transparency. They reported these activities to the authorities and we are determined to hold people responsible when they do not comply with the laws passed by our government.

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Freeman Bloc Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Chronicle Herald is reporting that Rahim Jaffer and the former minister for the status of women took advantage of a government trip to take a side trip to a resort in Belize, against the advice of officials, for some unofficial business of their own.

Can the Prime Minister tell us whether his ex-minister took advantage of a government trip to Belize to deal with personal interests?

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, let us be very clear. It was this government that brought in the Federal Accountability Act and increased accountability in Ottawa. We put in place an independent Lobbying Commissioner to make these types of determinations. We now have an independent Ethics Commissioner who can make these types of determinations.

If my colleague in the Bloc has any evidence that any laws were broken, she should forward that evidence to the relevant authorities immediately and follow the example of the Prime Minister.

EthicsOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Freeman Bloc Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, in July 2008, Rahim Jaffer took part in a government trip to Belize with his wife, the former minister for the status of women. According to a private detective, the Conservative couple allegedly had dummy companies registered for them during that trip in order to avoid paying taxes to Revenue Canada.

Has the Prime Minister verified whether Rahim Jaffer had private meetings to promote the financial interests of the Conservative couple outside his wife's official activities in Belize?

EthicsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I want to say this for the member opposite. When serious allegations were brought forward to the Prime Minister's attention he acted immediately and acted ethically. He forwarded all of that information over to the independent Ethics Commissioner and to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police so they could make a determination as to the facts. That was the ethical thing to do and an important thing to do.

If the member opposite has any evidence with respect to any unethical behaviour, she should follow the example of the government and do the right thing and forward it.

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the maternal and child health initiative would be laudable except for one thing. Improving women's health, yes; reducing mortality of children, absolutely. The problem here is that we see the imposition of the Conservative morality agenda, and we say no way to that.

Despite the assurances of the Prime Minister to the contrary, through the voice of the parliamentary secretary in this House just yesterday, the Conservatives decided to reopen the debate on abortion.

Why is the Prime Minister trying to reopen the debate on abortion?

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, once again, it was the opposition that decided to have Parliament vote on this issue and Parliament's decision was clear. The government's policy respects, not just the decision of Parliament but also the definitions used by the World Health Organization and many other countries in the G8 and around the world.

We understand that other governments and other taxpayers may do something different but we want to ensure our funds are used to save the lives of women and children and are used on the many things that are available to us that, frankly, do not divide the Canadian population.

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, exhibiting stubbornness to fund safe and legal abortions overseas is a major step backward and it puts us on a very dangerous path, because it puts ideology to the forefront.

George Bush's Mexico City policy, for example, known as the gag rule, not only barred abortions but also resulted in funding being cut to important global NGOs like Planned Parenthood that saved the lives of women and children.

Is this the track we will see next? Will we see the cutting of funding by the government to organization that do this kind of good work internationally?

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of International Cooperation has been very clear. The government has a wide range of initiatives that it will be funding under its maternal and child health initiative. Frankly, there is not enough money to do all the things we want to do, even in those areas. We will concentrate our efforts on areas where the Canadian people are united and want to see progress.

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have another example of Conservative hypocrisy.

Even as they cut funding for abortion in Africa for ideological reasons, now they are preparing to deport a pregnant, diabetic Guinean woman against the advice of her doctors.

Why does the government want to deport Sayon Camara, the wife of a Canadian citizen, during her high-risk pregnancy?

Is that what it means to protect maternal health?