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House of Commons Hansard #65 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was prorogation.

Topics

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2010-11Government Orders

8 p.m.

Conservative

Stockwell Day Conservative Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

moved that the bill be read the third time and passed.

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2010-11Government Orders

8 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2010-11Government Orders

8 p.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Conservative Carleton—Mississippi Mills, ON

Mr. Speaker, if you seek it, you will find agreement to apply the votes from the previous motion to the current motion.

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2010-11Government Orders

8 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Is it agreed?

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2010-11Government Orders

8 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Vote #86

Supplementary Estimates (A), 2010-11Government Orders

8 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I declare the motion carried.

(Bill read the third time and passed)

Business of the HouseGovernment Orders

June 17th, 2010 / 8 p.m.

Prince George—Peace River B.C.

Conservative

Jay Hill ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I think if you seek it, you may find unanimous consent for the following motion. I move:

That, notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practice of the House, when the House adjourns today, it shall stand adjourned until Monday, September 20, 2010, provided that, for the purposes of Standing Order 28, it shall be deemed to have sat on Friday, June 18, Monday, June 21, Tuesday, June 22, and Wednesday, June 23, 2010.

Mr. Speaker, if the House accepts this, I would wish all hon. members a pleasant summer. Hopefully, we will not have to return to pass back-to-work legislation in the Jazz Air labour dispute.

Business of the HouseGovernment Orders

8 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Does the hon. government House leader have the unanimous consent of the House to propose this motion?

Business of the HouseGovernment Orders

8 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Business of the HouseGovernment Orders

8 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Business of the HouseGovernment Orders

8 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Business of the HouseGovernment Orders

8 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I declare the motion carried and I join the House leader in wishing all hon. members the very best for a pleasant summer.

(Motion agreed to)

A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.

8:05 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Madam Speaker, the Conservatives were elected in 2006 on a platform of accountability and transparency. However, once the election was over, the Conservatives' true colours shone through: they traded in transparency and respect for deceit and intimidation.

On April 22, I asked the Conservative government why it has systematically attacked senior officials who were trying to do their job.

As usual, the Conservatives resorted to smart remarks instead of the truth. A number of watchdogs have been victims of intimidation or have been dismissed because they dared to do their job. I have some examples.

Jean-Pierre Kingsley, the former Chief Electoral Officer of Canada. The Liberals had asked the Conservatives to come clean once and for all on election financing and to shed light on some serious allegations. The Conservative Party had allegedly broken the law by exceeding the legal limit allowed during the last election campaign by more than $1 million. There was also a dispute on the issue of political contributions received during the 2005 national convention.

As a result of these disputes with Elections Canada, Jean-Pierre Kingsley tendered his resignation after 17 years of good service. I blame the Conservative government for the resignation and the loss of this senior official who was highly respected by all, here and abroad.

Bernard Shapiro, Ethics Commissioner. The Conservatives appointed a new ethics commissioner after Mr. Shapiro held an inquiry into whether the Prime Minister employed improper means to persuade the former member for Vancouver Kingsway and Liberal minister of international trade, David Emerson, to switch parties.

Yet the Conservatives did not object to his appointment. Mr. Shapiro had a brilliant background. He was the rector and vice-chancellor of McGill University, a professor of public policy at the University of Toronto, and a deputy minister in four Ontario government ministries.

Linda Keen, chair of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. The Liberals called for an independent review of Ms. Keen's dismissal because the Prime Minister completely ignored the law when he fired her. But that criticism was motivated primarily by petty politics.

It seems that the only interests protected by that decision were the Prime Minister's political interests. He found a scapegoat. He even silenced Ms. Keen in the middle of the night, just hours before she was to appear before the House of Commons committee. The Conservatives shut Ms. Keen up instead of letting her tell the truth. What will the Conservatives do next? We are starting to see a real trend here.

Robert Marleau was Information Commissioner. After serving the House of Commons for 31 years, Robert Marleau was appointed Information Commissioner in January 2007. In June 2009, he resigned for personal reasons.

Robert Marleau had the nerve to criticize the Conservative government's lack of transparency. In his annual report, he stated that Canada had “to regain its status as a leader in the area of access to information”.

Instead of changing its corporate culture, this government relied even more heavily on secrecy to prevent access to information.

The Conservatives have created a climate of fear and intimidation throughout the public service.

8:10 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question, but I noticed that he forgot to mention the importance of our economy now that we are in a period of global uncertainty. The Prime Minister introduced an economic action plan that has created at least 300,000 jobs. We are making it easier for Canadians to save more money. We are investing in projects that create jobs in communities across Canada. Our government has the lowest deficit in the G7, in terms of our economy and our population.

These are the real issues that our constituents care about, and I invite the hon. member to also show an interest in them, to stop making personal attacks, because personal attacks like the one this member just made have never created jobs and have never created hope for Canadians. The member should be working with us to help advance our economic action plan in order to encourage hope, jobs and prosperity.

8:10 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Madam Speaker, the member is mistaken. I did not make personal accusations. The Conservatives were the ones who got rid of those senior officials. I will continue.

What about Paul Kennedy, head of the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP? After four years of loyal service, the Prime Minister announced last November that he would not be renewing his contract. Why? Because in his report, Mr. Kennedy concluded that in many cases, the complaints procedures were faulty, lacking both consistency and transparency.

Who did the Conservatives appoint to take his place? A Conservative donor with no experience in criminal law or policing.

What about Peter Tinsley, chair of the Military Police Complaints Commission? The government refused to extend his mandate when the commission was right in the middle of an inquiry into the transfer of Afghan detainees who may have been tortured by local authorities. Why? Because he was critical of the potential for abuse.

The Conservatives muzzled top officials at several independent government agencies. Why?

8:10 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Nepean—Carleton, ON

Madam Speaker, ours is a government that is transparent, open and accountable to Canadians.

The hon. member forgot to address the real issue in his question, which is that his leader has committed to raising taxes if he takes office. He said, “We will have to raise taxes”. On April 14, 2009, he said, “I will not take the GST hike off the table”.

He was the founder of the Liberal carbon tax proposal. On this side we believe in lower taxes. It is an honest debate and I hope that we will carry it out into the future.

8:15 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Madam Speaker, I am standing to speak to a question I raised in the House concerning the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. I know the government had indicated in the throne speech that it would take the next steps in support of the UN declaration and yet we have not seen any action.

I will begin reading a statement out of the preamble from the United Nations declaration. It states:

Convinced that the recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples in this Declaration will enhance harmonious and cooperative relations between the State and indigenous peoples, based on principles of justice, democracy, respect for human rights, non-discrimination and good faith.

It would seem that kind of statement is an important reason for Canada to sign on to this declaration.

In a letter to the Prime Minister dated June 9, 2010, signed by a number of organizations, including the Union of BC Indian Chiefs and the First Nations Summit from British Columbia, it outlines a number of concerns and reasons why the declaration should be signed. The letter reads:

The government announced in the Speech from the Throne that it will take steps to endorse the Declaration “in a manner that is fully consistent with Canada’s Constitution and laws”. Over 100 experts and scholars have concluded that the Declaration is fully consistent with the Canadian Constitution and Charter of Rights and Freedoms and it is a vital tool for their interpretation and implementation. Asserting that international human rights standards should be constrained by domestic law, contrary to the principles of international law, would detract from the value of the endorsement.

The Declaration includes provisions that explicitly state that any interpretation is to be balanced with other human rights protections and principles of justice and equality. Canadian officials, with Indigenous representatives, played a central role in drafting these provisions. There is no need to assert conditions or qualifications on support for the Declaration.

A central objective of any international human rights instrument is to encourage States to reform laws, policies and practices so that human rights are respected. International human rights standards cannot merely condone or sustain existing State practices. To limit UN declarations in this way would defeat the purpose of having international standards.

Canada has never before placed blanket qualifications on its support for international human rights instruments. To impose such limitation on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples would constitute a discriminatory double standard.

We respectfully remind the government that the Declaration, like all human rights declarations adopted by the General Assembly, is universally applicable to all States. For endorsement to be meaningful, it must be made in good faith with a commitment to work with Indigenous Peoples and civil society to ensure Canada lives up to the Declaration’s standards.

Canadian courts are free to rely on the UN Declaration and other international instruments in interpreting Indigenous peoples’ human rights. The government’s endorsement of the Declaration is not necessary for it to be applicable in Canada.

In a recent brief to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, the Attorney General of Canada argued: “Canada’s position on the Declaration has not changed. Consequently the Declaration should be given no weight as an interpretive source of law.” This argument is not supportable or sustainable. If the federal government is not prepared to apply the Declaration as a source of interpretation of its obligations, any endorsement will be hollow and will achieve a negative response from inside and outside Canada.

There is more in this letter but they conclude by saying:

In its preamble, the Declaration is described as “a standard of achievement to be pursued in a spirit of partnership and mutual respect”.

The question still becomes: When will the government endorse the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples?

8:15 p.m.

Vancouver Island North B.C.

Conservative

John Duncan ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Madam Speaker, Canada is a strong supporter of the various UN mechanisms devoted to indigenous issues, such as the United Nations permanent forum on indigenous issues.

This year, during the half-day session on North America, Canada was pleased to speak to what we were doing concretely to improve the situation of aboriginal peoples. The Speech from the Throne and budget 2010 contain significant commitments. We have been active in moving ahead in implementing these commitments, including our legislation on matrimonial real property, water standards and gender equity improvements with the Indian Act.

Regarding the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the government made a commitment to take steps to endorse the aspirational document in a manner consistent with Canada's Constitution and laws. The government is currently looking at how and when to best formalize its endorsement.

A growing number of states have given a commitment to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We listened with interest at the ninth session of the United Nations permanent forum on indigenous issues when New Zealand delivered its statement endorsing the declaration and the United States announced that it was reviewing its position.

We have engaged in dialogue with national aboriginal organizations, provinces and territories and our international partners in order to recognize this document within the context of the Constitution and our legal framework.

In keeping with our strong tradition of taking concrete action in support of indigenous peoples, we remain committed to endorsing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in a timely manner. It will be a moment of pride for all Canadians.

8:20 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Madam Speaker, there still is not an answer to my question that I raised originally about what the formal date is for Canada to adopt the UN charter or the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

In the letter to the Prime Minister on June 9, one of the issues that is raised by the various signatories, including the First Nations Summit and the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, is the fact that the federal government has been seeking support for endorsement of its strategy from provincial and territorial governments but no consultations with indigenous peoples have been carried out. Such actions unjustly treat indigenous people as adversaries and fail to uphold the honour of the crown.

Despite what the government says about moving forward, the first nations in this country are saying that they are not being included. When will they be included and when will Canada sign on?

8:20 p.m.

Conservative

John Duncan Conservative Vancouver Island North, BC

Madam Speaker, because something is said does not make it true. Our country has a strong record of supporting and advancing aboriginal rights at home and abroad and we take these commitments very seriously.

Our government supports the principles behind the declaration and believes it should be endorsed as an aspirational document. We have promised to endorse the declaration and will do so. We are committed to a process of reconciliation in our relationship with aboriginal people in Canada, and I think we saw that very clearly. Once again, it was demonstrated this week in Winnipeg.

This government continues to demonstrate leadership by advancing the cause of indigenous rights around the world and creating opportunities for a better future for aboriginal peoples in Canada.

8:20 p.m.

NDP

The Acting Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

The motion to adjourn the House is now deemed to have been adopted. Accordingly, the House stands adjourned until Monday, September 20, 2010, at 11 a.m. pursuant to order made earlier today and Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 8:22 p.m.)