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House of Commons Hansard #66 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was provinces.

Topics

Fair Representation ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity even if it is for only three minutes.

Fair Representation ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Time.

Fair Representation ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I hear my good friends across the way wishing it were less time than that already. I have not even said a full sentence and members are already shouting me down.

I have enough time to make one point and it is this. While we are supportive of the seats going to the provinces that need them, we believe that a golden opportunity has been missed to continue to build Canada, to nation build. Remember that we are still a work in progress. We still have a province that has not signed on. We still have a strong sovereignist movement within our country. We need to address these things. We have been very successful over the last couple of decades in turning the tide. The new official opposition is proof of that.

We believe that this was a great opportunity to lock in the historic vote that happened on November 27, 2006, when an overwhelming majority, almost unanimous, but an overwhelming majority of the House endorsed a resolution to recognize the Québécois as a nation within a united Canada. That was a significant historical moment in this place. It sent a very strong message to Quebec that its future is safe from assimilation here in Canada and by virtue of that, it is safe within all of North America.

We believe that principle which we endorsed here in 2006 should find its way into this bill and further reduce the effect of the sovereignist appeal in Quebec, and also build the kind of regime in this place and across Canada that sends the message that all Canadians are important. We do that through a number of seats where there are guarantees in place. We all point to P.E.I. in terms of what it was offered to bring it into the family of Canada and the respect we have for that. We believe that extending that same kind of respect now to the province of Quebec and most importantly to the Québécois people is the right way to build the nation of Canada for today and for our grandchildren. We stand by that.

Fair Representation ActGovernment Orders

2 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

The hon. member for Hamilton Centre will have seventeen and a half minutes remaining for his speech and another ten minutes for questions and comments when the House returns to debate on this motion.

Statements by members, the hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands.

Kyoto ProtocolStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is with enormous sadness I rise today to mark what was done yesterday by the government in signalling legal withdrawal from the Kyoto protocol.

I urge that members here recognize that this is not a partisan issue. We should at this moment, and at every moment when we examine whether we can protect the world for our children, set aside partisanship and recognize that there was environmental leadership from the government of Brian Mulroney, and that in the world today there is environmental leadership from the conservative governments of David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy.

This is not an issue of the left, right, or centre. This is a survival of our children issue, and it should cut across all partisanship.

I hope I am wrong. I hope that Canada's reputation in the world will not be tarnished forever by a decision to renege on a treaty that was legally ratified here, but I fear that our reputation will be damaged and I fear that the future of our children will be damaged.

I ask all hon. members to reconsider. We have one year to recommit. Let us not lose that opportunity.

Chilliwack Salvation Army Food BankStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Strahl Conservative Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon, BC

Mr. Speaker, last Monday Chilliwack's firefighters and other emergency service personnel had an unusually busy night. They went up and down the streets of town in their gear with their lights flashing, going door to door.

Fortunately, they were not responding to a fire. Instead they were responding, as they do every year, to the Salvation Army food bank's request for help in soliciting donations. In one night, they collected over 20,000 food items.

Our local firefighters and emergency service personnel put their lives on the line to protect the health and safety of our citizens and their property whenever they are called into duty. They not only volunteer to fight fires, but they volunteer to make our community a better place to live, work and raise a family.

On behalf of the people of Chilliwack, I want to thank all of the firefighters and other emergency service personnel who participated in the event, and everyone who made a donation, for making this Christmas season a little brighter for those less fortunate in our community.

Criminal CodeStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Kennedy Stewart NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, on February 28, 2005, Helen Sonja Francis, a nurse and resident of Burnaby—Douglas, was tragically struck and killed while cycling in northern British Columbia. Evidence suggests the driver of the car was impaired.

Section 256 of the Criminal Code states that a warrant must be issued within four hours to obtain blood samples from people involved in an accident who are suspected of being impaired. However, in this case the warrant was signed 13 minutes too late because of the remote location and a local power outage. This delay meant the driver who killed Helen was not charged with driving under the influence.

For six long years Helen's brother, George Sojka, and her daughter Sarah have asked the government to extend the time limit for these types of warrants. Such a change would better ensure that impaired drivers who cause injury and death would be brought to justice and would give at least some peace to affected families.

I ask the government to immediately review this section of the Criminal Code and extend the time limit for warrants.

Canadian Bankers AssociationStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

James Rajotte Conservative Edmonton—Leduc, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the Canadian Bankers Association as it celebrates its 120th anniversary this week. Formed in 1891, the CBA is one of Canada's oldest business associations.

Today the CBA represents 52 member banks, both domestic and foreign, that operate in Canada. With its expertise in banking operations, the CBA plays an effective role in helping government and parliamentarians develop public policies that contribute to Canada's sound and successful banking system.

Indeed, earlier this fall, for the fourth year in a row Canada was again ranked as having the soundest banks and soundest system in the world by the World Economic Forum.

The Canadian Bankers Association also promotes financial literacy to help Canadians make informed financial decisions, and it works with banks and law enforcement to help protect customers against financial crime and promote fraud awareness.

On behalf of the Government of Canada, I wish the CBA the very best as it marks this milestone in its long history.

Human TraffickingStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, a short time ago I attended an event hosted by the Young Nak Presbyterian Church in Toronto. The event, themed “Give me Hope”, was working to raise awareness and resources to assist with the growing problem of stolen Vietnamese children.

The sex trade has flourished in places like Cambodia and consequently has caused countless innocent children to be abducted, exploited and even murdered as fuel for this horrific industry.

These children are abducted from their parents, taken from the streets or simply attracted by promises of money, food, shelter and drugs in return for turning their young bodies into a commodity for sale to the highest bidder.

These children, some as young as three years of age, have their childhood, their basic human rights and their dignity stolen, and we must do more to help.

All Canadians are outraged by this atrocity, and I would call upon the government and all parliamentarians to work aggressively with our international partners to protect these young victims of the sex trade.

Human TraffickingStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Anders Conservative Calgary West, AB

Mr. Speaker, the holidays are approaching. Most of us will be spending time with family and friends. Unfortunately, there are some who will not have this opportunity. There are those out there who will be forced to spend this holiday far away from those they truly love.

Miss Hunter, whose mother, Lisa, lives in my riding, has paid a heavy price. At 16, she was drugged, and people paid to sexually abuse her. This year she turned 18; in May was found with a man three times her age, overdosed with Valium. Paramedics were called more than four hours after she stopped breathing. They determined she had been lying dead next to her john for five hours by the time they arrived.

Human trafficking takes a tremendous toll both inside and outside our borders. The Salvation Army states that 700,000 to 4,000,000 people are trafficked annually worldwide. That is why I encourage all parliamentarians to support Bill C-310, put forward by the member for Parliament for Kildonan—St. Paul to punish human trafficking.

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Western Arctic, NT

Mr. Speaker, last week I was in South Africa representing Canada's north at two international climate change conferences. At the first conference, organized by GLOBE International, I learned first-hand just how appalled the rest of the world is with Canada's position on climate change. At that conference, one after another, representatives from other countries rose to attack Canada. The worst came from the former deputy prime minister of the United Kingdom, who likened Canada's attempt to sabotage international co-operation on climate change as a conspiracy against the poor.

When I got to Durban for the UN conference, I learned why Canada was held in such low esteem. Other than to disrupt any agreement, this country was missing in action. Anyone other than the minister and his spin doctors was unwelcome in the Canadian delegation. No scientists or opposition MPs were allowed.

It is unfortunate that the government's blind pro-big-business ideology and lack of willingness to face the facts about the environment and climate change have so damaged our international reputation.

Battle of Hong KongStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Chong Conservative Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

Mr. Speaker, hundreds of thousands of Canadians came to Canada from Hong Kong, and 70 years ago this month many of them lived through the Battle of Hong Kong, my father being one of them. It was in that battle that the Royal Rifles of Canada and the Winnipeg Grenadiers defended the Crown Colony from an attack by the Japanese in the first combat engagement of Canadian troops in the Second World War.

Seventeen days of battle ended on Christmas Day, 1941. There were 290 Canadians killed, and 493 were wounded. There were 1,600 Canadians captured; in the three and a half years that followed, they lived in appalling conditions in prisoner of war camps. Hundreds died in that captivity.

Years later my father moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba, home of the Winnipeg Grenadiers. Years later I met one of those Hong Kong veterans, Mr. George MacDonnell, who was taken prisoner of war in that battle. He survived and worked as vice-president at General Electric after the war and later as a deputy minister in the Government of Ontario. He currently lives in Toronto.

That truly was the greatest generation. Mr. MacDonnell and his comrades sacrificed so that my family and I could live. My family and I will never ever forget.

Democratic Protest in RussiaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Ted Opitz Conservative Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, last Saturday we witnessed great public discontent throughout Russia. In Moscow, approximately 40,000 people protested amid reports of widespread voter fraud during Russia's parliamentary elections.

The heart of this democratic movement is Alexey Navalny, an impressive young man whose activism against fraud, corruption and the creative use of social media have inspired a flourish of democratic activity that Russia has not seen since the fall of Communism. For organizing this and other peaceful protests, Alexey was arrested on December 5 and sentenced to 15 days for obstructing traffic. This laughable charge did not discourage him from pressing on to ensure that Russia does not slide back into the dark authoritarianism that punished her people and terrorized her neighbours for most of the 20th century.

The resolve of the protestors had an impact. On Sunday, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev announced that he will order an official inquiry into the handling of the elections. While many Russians are skeptical, I am relieved that Mr. Navalny will be there to monitor the process when he is released from prison. This cannot happen soon enough.

Sister Gisèle FoucreaultStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Djaouida Sellah NDP Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, today I wish to acknowledge the work of Sister Gisèle Foucreault, a nun with roots in Saint-Bruno.

Sister Gisèle entered the order in 1957 and has been a missionary in Lesotho since 1963. She has been involved in dozens of projects that have helped improve everyday life for hundreds of people. From improving access to drinking water and housing, to working on building local infrastructure such as schools, libraries, bakeries and farmers' co-operatives, Sister Gisèle has made life better for hundreds of families.

Sister Gisèle's work has also made the youth in Saint-Bruno more aware of the needs and reality of young people elsewhere in the world through their involvement in the Minta Saint-Bruno organization.

Congratulations to Sister Gisèle on her involvement and her work and thank you to Minta Saint-Bruno and the youth of Saint-Bruno for their contributions.

Birthday of His Highness the Aga KhanStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Royal Galipeau Conservative Ottawa—Orléans, ON

Mr. Speaker, December 13 is an important day for the Ismaili community around the world. His Highness the Aga Khan, a descendant of the prophet Muhammad, was born in Geneva on this day in 1936.

In May 2010, this wise imam was given honorary Canadian citizenship by the Prime Minister of Canada.

In 1957, Her Majesty the Queen had granted him the title “His Highness”. The spiritual leader of 15 million Ismailis across 25 countries, His Highness the Aga Khan has emphasized the view of his faith, a faith that teaches compassion and tolerance, true Canadian values.

The well-being of his fellow Muslims has always been important to His Highness.

On behalf of all Canadians, I wish His Highness the Aga Khan a happy 75th birthday. May he enjoy peace, health, joy and my favourite, serenity.

Head InjuriesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Glenn Thibeault NDP Sudbury, ON

Mr. Speaker, not a day goes by without the media reporting on the impact of concussions in professional sport.

Yesterday Sidney Crosby announced he will again find himself sidelined by concussion-like symptoms. NHL points leader Claude Giroux also is sitting out with a concussion. Last week, news broke that the brain of deceased NHL player Derek Boogaard showed signs of CTE as a result of numerous concussions and head shots, yet the government is ignoring the fact that this concussion epidemic is affecting our young athletes.

We have great initiatives in Canada, such as Dr. Paul Echlin's online library and Impakt helmet sensors, but the government is missing in action on this file.

My bill, Bill C-319, would address this epidemic by creating a sports injury data collection system, concussion guidelines, and training and educational standards for coaches, and it would provide incentivized funding to assist amateur sport organizations implementing these protocols.

Concussions are a public health issue. It is time for the government to take action by fast-tracking Bill C-319 to give parents and coaches the tools they need to reduce concussions among our young athletes.

Special Olympics Development GamesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Ryan Leef Conservative Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, this past weekend I was proud to be invited to the Yukon's fourth annual Developmental Games for the Special Olympics.

The games were designed to increase interest and participation in various sports and to provide an opportunity for the athletes to showcase their skills in front of a local crowd.

I wish to thank Serge Michaud and congratulate all of the organizers, the coaches, the dedicated volunteers and the athletes for their work in putting these games together.

In the spirit of the Special Olympics, I call upon all members of the House to take any opportunity that they have to attend Special Olympic events or games, as these tremendous athletes teach us how we can compete against one another and at the same time be respectful, encouraging, enthusiastic friends.

TributesStatements By Members

December 13th, 2011 / 2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise to pay tribute to two remarkable women in my Mount Royal riding.

Bracha Chetrit-Tritt was born in Jerusalem and came to Canada in 1962. She was a teacher for 35 years. Bracha has been an exemplary community volunteer, was involved in both federal and provincial politics for 30 years and was a founding member of the Group of 35 in the struggle for Soviet Jewry.

To a proud mother and grandmother, a happy 80th birthday.

Grunia Slutzky-Kohn was born in Belarus in 1928, fled the Nazis during the Shoah, and came to Canada in 1972. She became a prolific and gifted poet and writer about the Holocaust, children and peace, and is about to publish her tenth book as a tribute to her beloved Canada, in three languages.

Happy 83rd birthday, Grunia.

Ad mea ve'esrim. To 120 to both of them. We wish you all the best.

Green EnergyStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, what do the Liberals and NDP mean by “green energy”? Ontario's Auditor General's report told us this week, saying that the Liberal Green Energy Act will drive up electricity bills by at least $8 billion a year.

That would be a hike of 46%, or $360 a year on the average household energy bill. While wealthy insiders would make big bucks trading green contracts, small businesses would have to lay people off to pay the $6,000-a-year electricity hike, which would be a real job-killer.

Federally, the liberal NDP would do likewise, with green taxes and higher gas prices.

As Margaret Thatcher said and as Europe is now proving, “The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money”.

On this side of the House, we know that a dollar in the hands of the person who earned it is always better spent than in the hands of the politician who taxed it.

EthicsStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, the lobbying commissioner has found that once again Tory insiders are breaking the rules and flying under the radar of the Lobbying Act. The latest is her report on Tory insider, Rahim Jaffer, and failed Tory candidate, Patrick Glémaud, who tried to use the back door to get their hands on $178 million in contracts.

With this damning report, we will see that the Conservative government will do nothing. How many prosecutions have there been for illegal lobbying? Zero.

This is how it goes down. If the commissioner finds questionable conduct with lobbying, she has to suspend her investigation and call in the RCMP. What does the RCMP do? Nothing. It gives a “Get Out of Jail Free” card every time. When the lobbying commissioner suggests that the RCMP come to the ethics committee to explain this extreme lassitude, the Conservatives put up roadblocks.

What do the Conservatives have to hide? Under the government, we all know how its does business. It is who one knows in the PMO.

PolandStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Wladyslaw Lizon Conservative Mississauga East—Cooksville, ON

Mr. Speaker, 30 years ago today, the communist government of the People's Republic of Poland imposed martial law on its citizens in an attempt to crush the Solidarity trade union and political opposition. Tanks filled the streets, borders were sealed, hospitals, power stations and coal mines were placed under military control.

I was living in Poland at that time and as a young mining engineer, I joined my workers to strike at the Silesia coal mine. Confrontations with riot police resulted in over 100 deaths, mainly during protests in Gdansk the Wujek coal mines. Polish people were bent but not broken. Their determination and perseverance changed Poland and all Soviet controlled countries in Europe.

Now Poland is free, democratic and highly recognized in the international community. Today we pay tribute and remember those who sacrificed so much to fight for democracy and freedom.

As Canadians, we should always show support for seekers of liberty, human rights and democracy.

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

NDP

Nycole Turmel NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives' insistence on destroying the data in the firearms registry is completely illogical. The police are saying it and the bar associations are saying it. Now, the Government of Quebec is taking legal action against the Conservative government to save the registry data.

Will the Prime Minister avoid unnecessary legal fees, listen to Quebec and share the data with the provinces that are prepared to take over the registry to protect the public?

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, our platform commitment is clear. We do not support a long gun registry. Our position has been clear for a long time. The provinces have the right to pursue their own policies, but this government will not help them to maintain the registry through the back door.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

NDP

Nycole Turmel NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has had every opportunity to help the provinces by simply transferring the data. It would not cost anything.

Yesterday was another dark day for Canada when it became the first country to withdraw from the Kyoto protocol. This is a very dark oil stain on Canada's international reputation. Canada is being criticized by France and even China. The rest of the world is moving forward but Canada is putting on the brakes. Canada is isolating itself and turning its back on the rest of the world.

Why is the Prime Minister capitulating to climate change?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, once again, the government's position is clear with regard to the registry. We do not intend to attack farmers and duck hunters. We are attacking criminals. That is our position.

As for the Kyoto protocol, our position has been clear on this issue for a long time. We support an international protocol that will include all major emitters. The Kyoto protocol clearly does not meet those criteria. That is why it is not effective.