Debates of Nov. 25th, 2011
House of Commons Hansard #54 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was french.
- Question Period
- Business of Supply
- Citizenship and Immigration
- Aerospace Industry
- Natural Resources
- Global Buy Nothing Day
- Grey Cup
- Religious Freedom
- Grey Cup
- Violence Against Women
- Tadoussac Song Festival
- Tim Hortons in Kandahar
- A Hare in the Elephant's Trunk
- G8 Summit
- New Democratic Party of Canada
- Canada-U.S. Relations
- Employment Insurance
- Aboriginal Affairs
- National Defence
- Official Languages
- International Co-operation
- Government Expenditures
- Dairy Industry
- Marine Atlantic Inc.
- Lapierre Island
- The Environment
- Language of Work in Quebec
- Protecting Canadians Abroad Act
- Canadian Football Act
- Committees of the House
- Questions on the Order Paper
- Business of Supply
- Canada Labour Code
Ralph Goodale Wascana, SK
Mr. Speaker, as we recall the Holodomor genocide in Ukraine nearly 80 years ago, we are also concerned about the fragile state of Ukrainian democracy today. Interference in the legal system is used to stifle free political activity and now some mysterious illness seems to have befallen the leader of the opposition.
Will the Canadian government press Ukrainian authorities to allow Ms. Tymoshenko independent medical treatment? Will Canada offer to provide that treatment if necessary and will Ukraine be warned that anything untoward happening to Ms. Tymoshenko would severely affect relations with Canada?
John Baird Minister of Foreign Affairs
Mr. Speaker, I want to say to the member for Wascana that is probably the best question we have had all day. I completely agree with him that we are tremendously concerned about the political prosecution of the former leader of the opposition there. We are tremendously concerned about her well-being. I will certainly endeavour to follow up to ensure that Canada speaks strongly, that she get the medical care that she needs. If necessary, we would certainly be prepared to offer her support here in Canada.
Alain Giguère Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC
Mr. Speaker, Environment Canada determined that the real market value of Île Lapierre was $14 million. A year earlier, the value of the island was estimated at $400,000. This island is essentially a dump. It has no ecological value. All of the officials who have worked on this file have said that it has no value. Yet businessman Alfonso Argento received $14 million in tax credits for this island. Fourteen million dollars for him, and $15 million for 85,000 volunteer firefighters. It is clear that the Conservative Party's friends are more important than volunteer firefighters.
Ted Menzies Minister of State (Finance)
Mr. Speaker, I did hear something about tax credits for volunteer firefighters, and that gives me the opportunity to remind all members in the House that it was only this side of the House that actually voted for that measure the other night. The NDP, and in fact all of the opposition, voted against it.
There are a lot of things wrong in the world. What we can do is help Canadians right now. We have offered Canadians incentives to get people back to work and tax credits to help them, but every time we do, those members vote against it.
John Weston West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, BC
Mr. Speaker, our government's international focus continues to be deepening our trade relationships. Increased trade creates economic growth and jobs here in Canada. With one in five Canadian jobs generated by trade, this is a no-brainer. Despite these clear benefits, the NDP continues to lobby against the creation of Canadian jobs.
Could the parliamentary secretary please explain to the House how the NDP views trade?
South Shore—St. Margaret's
Gerald Keddy Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade
Mr. Speaker, the reality is that the NDP pretends to be mainstream, but its anti-trade agenda has no credibility.
Here is how the NDP views trade: exports means sending NDP MPs abroad to lobby against Canadian jobs; imports means flying socialists to Canada to criticize Canadians working in our oil sands.
The NDP's anti-trade, anti-Canadian jobs agenda is proof that the NDP is unfit to be the official opposition.
November 25th, 2011 / noon
Kennedy Stewart Burnaby—Douglas, BC
Mr. Speaker, we have seen what happens when the government and industry do not consult on major projects like the northern gateway.
The coastal first nations have made clear their opposition to the project and process. Now Kinder Morgan is proposing to double the Trans Mountain pipeline that would run through at least 15 first nation reserves and 30 traditional territories. Failure to negotiate in good faith has left a cloudy picture of rights and title in British Columbia.
When will the minister commit to government-to-government talks with the affected first nations?
Joe Oliver Minister of Natural Resources
Mr. Speaker, the Minister of the Environment has referred the northern gateway pipeline project to a joint review. It is the highest level of scrutiny possible. The review is an open and independent process whereby interested parties, including aboriginal groups, can freely express their views.
Our government, as the member knows, supports the diversification of our exports; however, we are committed to ensuring that any project is environmentally sustainable.
Language of Work in Quebec
André Bellavance Richmond—Arthabaska, QC
Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government was doing magic tricks yesterday to try to get people to forget its recent appointments of unilingual anglophones. By launching a consultative committee whose mandate and composition are not yet known—nor is it known whether this committee will report to Parliament—the government is embarking on useless consultations, since the problem is well known. I have a very simple suggestion that will save the government time and money: pass the only bill that the Bloc Québécois has ever introduced in this House, which makes employees of federally regulated businesses in Quebec subject to Bill 101. It is important to point this out.
Will the government stop waffling and really protect French as the language of work in Quebec?
Language of Work in Quebec
Maxime Bernier Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism)
Mr. Speaker, we will continue promoting and protecting the French language, not just in Quebec, but also in Canada. The government announced that it will launch a consultative committee that will work on the ground to speak with Canadians and ensure that employees of federally regulated businesses in Quebec are fully able to work in French. We will examine the facts and take action if necessary.
Protecting Canadians Abroad Act
Irwin Cotler Mount Royal, QC
moved for leave to introduce Bill C-359, An Act to Protect Canadian Citizens Abroad.
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to introduce a bill to protect Canadian citizens abroad in support of the foundational principle that all Canadian citizens, without discrimination, who are detained, stranded or captured, or who have disappeared abroad, deserve the protection of the Government of Canada.
There are a number of high profile cases, including those of Maher Arar, Omar Khadr and Abousfian Abdelrazik, and those who were the subject of the Iacobucci commission report, Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad Abou-Elmaati and Muayyed Nureddin, as well as the related jurisprudence, that have underscored the need for legislation. This legislation would set forth both the rights of Canadian citizens as well as the threshold obligations of the Government of Canada and its consular services.
Accordingly, this legislation, the first ever of its kind in Canada, would affirm these rights and obligations, including rights to consular access, consular visits and repatriation; reporting requirements for Canadian officials when they suspect a Canadian detained or captured abroad has been or may be tortured; and requiring that the government request the repatriation of a Canadian detained abroad in situations where there are reasonable grounds to believe that the Canadian has been or may be tortured, is being subjected to conditions constituting cruel or unusual punishment, or is being arbitrarily detained.
I would like to thank the member for Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel for seconding the bill. I trust it will be supported by all members in the House.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)
Canadian Football Act
Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC
moved for leave to introduce Bill C-360, An Act to support Canadian professional football.
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House to present a bill, an act to support Canadian professional football.
From coast to coast to coast, Canadians' eyes will be riveted on Vancouver this weekend for the 99th Grey Cup, where the BC Lions will take on the Winnipeg Blue Bombers from eastern Canada.
I know there are Blue Bombers fans in the House. Of course, I am a BC Lions fan, and last weekend I was pleased to see, in BC Place stadium, a sea of orange, of supporters coming out for the BC Lions. Of course, I am mighty partial to orange, and waves of orange. It was great to see that many people in BC Place stadium.
What the Canadian Football League does is very important. It has the right balance. It is not multi-millionaires playing, but mainly guys who have worked all their lives, often with other jobs, but through their love of football, continue to push forward and to represent their communities. On behalf of football fans across the country, I am presenting this bill that would allow the Canadian Football League to continue to prosper right across the country for future generations.
Long live the Canadian Football League!
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)
Committees of the House
Gordon O'Connor Minister of State and Chief Government Whip
Mr. Speaker, there have been consultations on this following motion for travel. I move:
That, in relation to its study on the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with the European Union, six members of the Standing Committee on International Trade be authorized to travel to Brussels, Belgium and Paris, France in the fall of 2011 and that the necessary staff accompany the Committee.
(Motion agreed to)
Pat Martin Winnipeg Centre, MB
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to table today a petition signed by literally thousands of Canadians from all across Canada who call upon Parliament to take note that asbestos is the greatest industrial killer the world has ever known. In fact, they point out that more Canadians now die from asbestos than all other industrial or occupational causes combined. Yet Canada remains one of the largest producers and exporters of asbestos in the world, spending millions of dollars subsidizing the asbestos industry and blocking international efforts to curb its use.
Therefore, these petitioners call upon the Government of Canada to ban asbestos in all of its forms, institute a just transition program for asbestos workers and the communities they live in and end all government subsidies of asbestos, both in Canada and abroad. They call upon the Government of Canada to stop blocking international health and safety conventions designed to protect workers from asbestos, such as the Rotterdam convention.
Preventing Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada's Immigration System Act
Stephen Woodworth Kitchener Centre, ON
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present a petition to this House from some of my constituents in Kitchener Centre regarding Bill C-4 on human smuggling. I do so not because I necessarily agree with the petition but because I think everyone has a right to have his or her voice heard in this House.
These constituents believe that Bill C-4 would place refugees in detention only because they are seeking safety in Canada, and they do not see any other reason. Therefore, the petitioners think that would be arbitrary. They believe that Bill C-4 would place accepted refugees in limbo for five years, preventing them from seeing family members, travelling outside of Canada or integrating into Canadian society because they are not permanent residents. They believe that this measure is intended to punish refugees and they see no other reason for it.
The petitioners also believe that smuggling is already punishable by life imprisonment or by a fine of up to $1 million under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. For that reason, they call on the government to withdraw BillC-4.