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House of Commons Hansard #49 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was grain.

Topics

Child PovertyStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Madam Speaker, November 20 is Universal Children's Day, commemorating the UN's adoption of the Declaration of the Rights of the Child in 1959, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989.

That same year this House voted unanimously to end child poverty. The motion was put forward by our former leader, Ed Broadbent.

Sadly, on this Universal Children's Day, Canadians are realizing that more and more children are slipping into poverty as their families suffer during the economic crisis.

That is why I want to echo the call of UNICEF and the Canadian Association of Social Workers who are celebrating today by calling once again for an independent children's commissioner.

The lack of movement on appointing a children's commissioner, first suggested in 2003, was highlighted by the Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children in its report to the UN on Canada's progress.

A commissioner would be able to investigate government policies that discriminate against vulnerable groups, like aboriginal children, and measure the impact on children's rights of new legislation. In addition, a commissioner could tell us why, after 22 years, Canada still has made no progress on reducing child poverty.

National Child DayStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Kellie Leitch Conservative Simcoe—Grey, ON

Madam Speaker, I am rising today to bring attention to National Child Day, which will take place on Sunday, November 20.

We all have a role to play in ensuring that children reach their full potential as the future of our country.

Unlike the Liberals, the Conservative government has delivered real results to ensure that we are supporting Canadian children and families. In fact, we have made the largest investments in Canadian history.

This year alone, we will provide over $6 billion in early childhood development and child care funding. We have also introduced the universal child care benefit, giving $2.6 billion annually to 1.5 million families. We have implemented tax measures that have put more than $3,000 back into the pockets of every Canadian family. This makes a real difference for Canadians in these tough economic times.

Our government values the important contribution that families make to our country to improve its well-being.

I encourage all Canadians to participate in National Child Day on November 20.

Transgender Day of RemembranceStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Madam Speaker, I stand today to recognize November 20, the Transgender Day of Remembrance. This is a day when people in communities across Canada and around the world gather to remember the victims of transphobic violence and to dedicate themselves to working to end all forms of discrimination against transgender and transsexual people.

The House will have an opportunity to take an important step toward ensuring full equality by including gender identity and gender expression as prohibited grounds of discrimination in the Canadian Human Rights Act when my private member's bill comes forward in the new year.

Other actions are needed to help end discrimination in the workplace, in housing, in health care, in the justice system, and in the provision of identity documents.

Let us remember that transgender and transsexual Canadians are members of our families. They are our neighbours. They are our co-workers. They are our friends. Canada is richer for their life experience and the many ways they contribute to our communities. On the Transgender Day of Remembrance, they also help us to understand our own humanity and the full meaning of equality.

New Democrats are honoured to stand in solidarity with transgender Canadians on this important day.

National Flag of CanadaStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

John Carmichael Conservative Don Valley West, ON

Madam Speaker, I rise today because later this afternoon we will be debating my private member's Bill C-288, the national flag of Canada act.

The bill is important because too many Canadians have been forced to take down their flag when they have been trying to show support and pride for this great country and the values in which we believe, Canadians like Mr. Vachon, the Cassidys, the Wittemans, and so many others like them. Later today I will be telling their stories.

These Canadians and so many more have stood up for our flag, our flag which represents freedom, democracy, courage and justice.

It is also time that we as members of Parliament stood up for our flag and all it represents by supporting these Canadians and so many more who have been treated unfairly for far too long.

I would ask all MPs in the House to join me and support Bill C-288.

Official LanguagesStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Madam Speaker, 25 years ago today, Ontario's legislative assembly passed the French Language Services Act, known in French as Loi 8. It guarantees an individual's right to receive services in French from Government of Ontario ministries and agencies in 25 designated areas throughout the province.

It would be impossible to mention this important anniversary without paying tribute to the work of Bernard Grandmaître, a good friend of mine, who was the Ontario government's minister responsible for francophone affairs at the time.

We should be thankful for the Peterson government's leadership and the influence this event had on other parts of the country with francophone minorities. In fact, since that time, other provinces such as Nova Scotia and Manitoba have passed laws or adopted policies similar to Ontario's French Language Services Act.

Today we are celebrating this turning point in our country's francophone history. The French Language Services Act was a very important step in the positive evolution of Canada's linguistic duality.

Coptic ChristiansStatements By Members

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

Ted Opitz Conservative Etobicoke Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, it has been confirmed that 29 Coptic Christians fell victim to acts of violence in Egypt yesterday while attempting to commemorate their brethren who fell as a result of violence during a peaceful demonstration on October 9.

Our government finds this violence in Egypt to be completely unacceptable. We passed a motion unanimously in the House calling for a transparent investigation into the violence and for those responsible to be held accountable.

We hear loud and clear the cries for support from Coptic Christians here and in Egypt.

On behalf of all Canadians, I offer our condolences to the families of the victims and to those whom they were commemorating.

Freedom of religion is a fundamental human right and a vital building block for healthy democracies. People of faith must be able to practise and worship in peace and security.

Once again in the House we will make it clear that discrimination and violence against the Coptic community must stop.

Pay EquityStatements By Members

11:15 a.m.

NDP

Alexandrine Latendresse NDP Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Madam Speaker, yesterday, female Canada Post workers won the battle for their fundamental right to pay equity. The government had been denying them that right for 28 years, spending millions of dollars on court costs to oppose women's rights. With the Liberals' help, in budget 2008, the Conservatives took away the hard-earned gains that had been made in the area of pay equity. They should be ashamed of themselves.

Despite the Conservatives' attempt to suppress the rights of female workers, Canada is moving forward, thanks largely to the contribution made by one of the members of this House. Today the entire NDP team would like to recognize the efforts of the leader of the official opposition and hon. member for Hull—Aylmer.

Despite constant attacks by the Conservatives, she worked tirelessly with PSAC to improve women's equality in Canada. Despite desperate attacks by the Conservatives, she will continue to fight for women's rights and the rights of all Canadian workers. Now that is Canadian leadership. The united NDP team and our party leader are building a better Canada together.

Firearms RegistryStatements By Members

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

Mark Strahl Conservative Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon, BC

Madam Speaker, this week, committee hearings began on the ending the long gun registry act. Rather than inviting law-abiding hunters, farmers and sports shooters to talk about how the long gun registry affects them personally, unsurprisingly, the NDP chose to invite its big union buddies, the Canadian Labour Congress, as its first witness. That is the same party that robbed residents of two northern Ontario ridings of their voice in this place by placing a gag order on MPs who dared to vote the wishes of their constituents.

While Canadians find this sort of behaviour upsetting, it should come as no surprise. After all, it is always special interests first and constituents last with the NDP.

Our government will continue to respect Canadian voters who gave us a strong mandate to end the wasteful and ineffective long gun registry once and for all. Giving the stage to big union bosses and silencing ordinary rural and northern Canadians is yet another worrying example that the disunited NDP is unfit to govern.

JusticeOral Questions

November 18th, 2011 / 11:15 a.m.

NDP

Hélène Laverdière NDP Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Madam Speaker, yesterday, the Conservatives finally decided to compromise a little and allow members of Parliament to do their work and examine the provisions of Bill C-10. The Minister of Justice even demonstrated flexibility by indicating to the Government of Quebec that it might be possible to reintroduce the amendments proposed by his Quebec counterpart.

Can the government confirm that it is prepared to amend its bill in order to focus on rehabilitation and social reintegration?

JusticeOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Madam Speaker, Canadians, including Quebeckers, want this government to take action to protect the people of Canada from criminals. That is why we introduced Bill C-10.

If the opposition parties have amendments to propose that will provide Canadians with stronger protection against criminals, the government will consider them. However, we are asking the NDP why it has voted against every bill designed to protect Canadians from criminals.

JusticeOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

NDP

Hélène Laverdière NDP Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Until now, the government's approach has not been very constructive. Yesterday, all of a sudden, they saw the light. It seems that there is now a small opening.

Since statistics show that Canada's crime rate is declining, will the government commit to taking the necessary time to examine the bill? Are the Conservatives prepared to consider amendments in order to help communities invest in front-line police services rather than forcing the provinces to hire prison guards?

JusticeOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Madam Speaker, we have already added resources to hire more RCMP officers and provincial and municipal police officers. We have already invested more in community crime prevention programs.

In fact, 77% of Quebeckers expect Parliament to adopt stricter laws and tougher penalties for criminals, and that is what the government is doing.

JusticeOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

NDP

Hélène Laverdière NDP Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Madam Speaker, we can all agree that the government's heavy-handed approach has not helped to elevate public discourse and certainly has not helped to make Parliament work.

The Conservatives have used closure seven times in 25 sitting days and countless times at committees.

Shutting down debate is no way to operate for a government rejected by 60% of Canadian voters.

Will the Conservatives put an end to the repeated use of closures and let MPs do their work?

JusticeOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Madam Speaker, by the same strange math, over 80% of Canadians voted against the NDP. They voted against the soft-on-crime, high-tax, job-killing agenda of the NDP. They voted for a government that will focus on job creation and safe communities. That is what we are delivering through our platform commitments.

We, of course, are committed to debate. These two bills, the budget implementation act and the crime omnibus bill, have received 48 hours of debate in this place and 152 speeches. Many of these items have been debated repeatedly in different sessions of this Parliament.

We are committed to debate but we are also committed to acting and keeping our platform commitments.

JusticeOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Madam Speaker, yesterday, the government finally agreed to delay ramming Bill C-10 through committee to allow at least some debate, which is a good sign, but now the government must take the next step.

Will the government agree, not only to stop ramming this behemoth of a crime bill through, but to allow a meaningful debate and agree to reasonable amendments, like the ones suggested by groups such as the Canadian Bar Association, legal experts and the provinces?

JusticeOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Delta—Richmond East B.C.

Conservative

Kerry-Lynne Findlay ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice

Madam Speaker, Canadians are concerned about crime, which is why they gave our government a strong mandate to keep our streets and communities safe. We need to keep that focus.

The opposition wants to punish law-abiding duck hunters and farmers but oppose tougher sentences for pedophiles and drug dealers.

The fact is that Parliament has already seen and debated the measures contained in Bill C-10. Over the course of the past four years, the justice committee has had 67 days, which was 139 hours of discussions, 95 hours of debate, 261 speeches and 363 witness appearances.

JusticeOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Madam Speaker, the Conservatives used to complain about Liberal arrogance but the behaviour of the Conservative government makes Liberal arrogance look like humility.

The government can do things differently. New Democrats are reasonable people. We have constructive amendments to bring forward based on what we heard at committee, including those proposed by the province of Quebec.

What was not reasonable was to shut down debate, limit time and refuse to work with others. It is not what Canadians want.

Will the Conservatives agree to listen to Canadians and change their ill-advised, prison-based crime agenda?

JusticeOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Delta—Richmond East B.C.

Conservative

Kerry-Lynne Findlay ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice

Madam Speaker, the time for talk is over. The time for action is now. By moving quickly to reintroduce these measures to make our streets and communities safer, we are taking action, as we committed to do. Our focus is to meet the promises we made and to stand up for all law-abiding Canadians.

I was in those same meetings yesterday and the hon. member was the one who moved the amendment to agree to time allocation to get this done by Wednesday at midnight, and we appreciate his co-operation.

DemocracyOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Madam Speaker, as we all know, ever since Parliament opened in September, this government has not stopped showing its contempt for parliamentary democracy, either by constantly trying to limit debate on bills or by using secrecy and intimidation tactics in committee. Having a majority does not entitle the government to abuse its power.

When is this government going to change?

DemocracyOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Madam Speaker, on the contrary, on two important bills—one on the budget and the other on crime—we had 152 hours of debate and 48 speeches. During previous sessions in the past few Parliaments, there have been many debates on a number of bills. At the end of the day, the government has a mandate from Canadians, who expect the government and Parliament to get moving on implementing our economic action plan and our bills to protect communities from crime. That is what we are going to do.

DemocracyOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Madam Speaker, being in power also means working with the provinces. Over the past week we have seen this government's attitude toward Quebec. We have seen how the Conservatives are dealing with Bill C-10 and jeopardizing Quebec's approach to rehabilitation. We saw how this government dealt with Minister Dutil, who was told that the firearms registry database will not be available.

Working in our country, within this confederation, also requires working with the provinces. When are they going to do that?

DemocracyOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Madam Speaker, this government has an extraordinary record when it comes to federal-provincial relations. That is why we have seen an extraordinary decline in support for separation in Quebec. Quebec has received a 60% increase in its federal transfers. Quebeckers expect Parliament to legislate harsher sentences for criminals. In fact, 77% of Quebeckers expect that and we are going to deliver. We are going to deliver a fairer justice system for Quebeckers and Canadians.

DemocracyOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Madam Speaker, the arrogance of the government knows absolutely no bounds. It is limiting debate and pig-headedly refusing to work with the provinces. This week, one minister from Quebec said that this was not a government that was tough on crime, that this was a government that was tough on democracy.

Yesterday, in committee, a Conservative member told people that police representatives were misrepresenting the truth.

When will the Conservatives stop acting like bullies and act in a responsible manner in this democratic country?

DemocracyOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

The real question, Madam Speaker, is when will the Liberal Party finally learn the lesson of the last election. Canadians want parliamentarians to stand up for victims of crime rather than criminals. When will the Liberals understand that 77% of Quebeckers say that there should be more serious penal sentences for criminals? When will the Liberal Party understand that it is unacceptable to Canadians that too many repeat and even violent criminals end up with house arrest or go through the revolving door of bail?

Canadians believe that serious criminals should do serious time. We agree with Canadians and we will act to ensure that happens.

Pension PlansOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Rosane Doré Lefebvre NDP Alfred-Pellan, QC

Madam Speaker, more and more Canadians are wondering if they will be able to retire one day. For example, I know of a retired nurse in my riding who has a pension of only $520 per month. She cannot even afford her diabetes medication or her mortgage and she is racking up debt.

With the Conservatives' new plan, retired Canadians would be risking their savings by putting them in a flawed program, without any guarantee of seeing their money again.

Instead, why not improve government pension plans such as the CPP and QPP, which are affordable and safe?