This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #132 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was fednor.

Topics

2 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

It being Wednesday, we will now have the singing of the national anthem, led by the Hon. member for Sackville—Eastern Shore.

[Members sang the national anthem]

Black History MonthStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Dykstra Conservative St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker, February marks Black History Month in my riding of St. Catharines.

At the Parkway hotel, I had the opportunity to recognize the achievements of Fergie Jenkins and celebrate the launch of the official Fergie Jenkins stamp.

As we mark Black History Month and the launch of the Fergie Jenkins and Carrie Best commemorative stamps, I was not three kilometres from the Salem Chapel on Geneva Street, a stop on the Underground Railroad, where the legendary and courageous Harriet Tubman led American slaves to freedom here in Canada.

In honouring Fergie Jenkins and journalist Carrie Best, Canada Post is recognizing the valuable contributions they have made to our country. Whether we celebrate a black Canadian athlete in the Hall of Fame or a journalist who stood up on behalf of the black community and said what was right and what we needed to do, those are two people who made a difference in the lives of others and in our country.

Employment InsuranceStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Liberal Cardigan, PE

Mr. Speaker, in Atlantic Canada, the economy is made up of a large number of seasonal industries and in the off season workers rely on employment insurance benefits until the next season. Workers who have been laid off are having difficulty getting employment insurance claims processed in a timely manner.

In my area, the claims processing centre is reducing a number of CR-3 individuals. My constituency office gets daily calls from individuals in the riding who have to wait long periods of time to receive their benefits while their bills are piling up. This is unfair to the people who are out of work and unfair to the remaining staff who are left to deal with the growing demand of service. Cutting services on the backs of individuals is certainly not what the rural areas of this country deserve.

I ask the government to stop cutting services to rural Canadians and reinstate the much-needed CR-3 positions.

Honorius ThériaultStatements By Members

February 16th, 2011 / 2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Guy André Bloc Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to pay tribute to the commitment of an extraordinary volunteer: Honorius Thériault, from the famous little town of Saint-Élie-de-Caxton. Mr. Thériault, who will turn 80 on March 8, is and has been involved in fundraising for many charitable causes, including the Red Cross, childhood diseases, multiple sclerosis, the Canadian Cancer Society, Opération Enfant Soleil, Operation Red Nose and Noël du pauvre. This big-hearted man has put all of his energy into generously and willingly helping his neighbours.

This tireless volunteer was also the founder of the Saint-Élie-de-Caxton optimist club, the first rural optimist club in the movement. Mr. Thériault is also dedicated to the sovereignist cause. He has been involved in the Quebec nation's quest for freedom since the founding of the RIN.

Mr. Thériault, you are a role model and an exceptional man, which is rare these days, and I admire that. You should be proud.

Search and RescueStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, search and rescue is an important role for our military. It is important in the Arctic, on the west coast, the Great Lakes, in the Maritimes, off the coasts of Newfoundland and Labrador and on the great land mass of Canada. SAR service responds to over 6,000 incidents a year, saving thousands of lives, but why do we lag behind the rest of the world on response times?

In Norway, its air force gets rescue choppers in the air in 15 minutes around the clock. In Australia and in the United States, the response time is 30 minutes around the clock, seven days a week. Canada has a response standard of 30 minutes but only from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays when less than 20% of incidents occur. Otherwise, it is two hours. Lives are lost.

The defence committee heard from a survivor of a sunken fishing vessel who watched two others drown 15 minutes before a Canadian Forces helicopter arrived, which had left one hour and twenty minutes after being tasked. This must change. We can do better. We deserve better.

Leader of the Liberal Party of CanadaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, for some time, Canadians have wondered about the Liberal secret agenda on fighting crime. This week, the its real agenda was revealed.

The Liberal leader shocked Canadians by announcing that his MPs would not support our bill to impose tough new prison terms on serious drug traffickers and gangsters. He followed that up by obstructing our efforts to abolish a law that had allowed serious white-collar criminals to apply for day parole after serving only one-sixth of their sentences.

Earlier, the Liberal justice critic promised that a future Liberal government would overturn our decision to eliminate the faint hope clause under which murderers had been able to apply for parole after only 15 years in prison.

Time and time again the Liberal leader has promised to protect Canadians against crime, only to flip-flop and abandon victims and law-abiding citizens.

Now that the Liberal agenda on crime is out, we know that the Liberal leader is not in it for Canadians. He is just in it for himself.

We Welcome the World CentresStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Ruby Dhalla Liberal Brampton—Springdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, thousands of residents in my riding of Brampton—Springdale will be left to suffer due to the decision by the Conservative government to cut $53 million in essential funding for programs and services to help new immigrants, this despite the fact that Brampton is home to some of the largest numbers of immigrants in Canada. The Conservative government has cut $53 million in funding for language, counselling, training and mentorship programs to integrate new Canadians.

One organization in particular that has been impacted is the We Welcome the World Centres which operates in schools in conjunction with the Peel District School Board. This centre has helped over 4,400 families in its first 18 months of opening. Despite it helping new Canadians, it has lost almost half of its operating budget.

On behalf of all Bramptonians and my constituents in Brampton—Springdale, we urge the Conservative government to reverse these cuts because Brampton families want to have families as a priority, not prisons, planes and photo ops.

TaxationStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Royal Galipeau Conservative Ottawa—Orléans, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am privileged to rise today on behalf of the people of Ottawa—Orléans, people who are paying $3,000 less tax in 2011 thanks to the work of this government over the past five years.

We cut the GST twice from 7% to 6% to 5%. We introduced pension income splitting. We established the tax free savings account and the first-time homebuyer's tax credit. The average tax burden is now lighter by $3,000.

This government has consistently stood on the side of the people of Ottawa–Orléans and all Canadians. We remain committed to helping them keep more of their hard-earned money.

Recently I hosted seven tax seminars led by specialists from the Canada Revenue Agency. Hundreds of people came to find out how they could get all that they have earned when filling out their tax return.

I thank the CRA staff for its dedication and professionalism.

Medal of BraveryStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, on February 8, at the Citadel in Quebec City, two people from my riding, Daisy Flamand of Manawan and Marjorie Jean-Baptiste of Saint-Charles-Borromée, received the Medal of Bravery, which is awarded every year by the Governor General to individuals who have risked their lives to save or protect another person.

Daisy Flamand did not hesitate to rush into a burning house to save her grandmother, niece and baby, even though thick smoke made it difficult to breathe. The police had to restrain her from re-entering the burning house to help two other family members, who unfortunately did not survive.

Marjorie Jean-Baptiste risked her life to save seven children from the fire that engulfed their house in Rivière-des-Prairies. Despite thick black smoke that was building up, Marjorie kept calm and gathered her children in her bedroom, then broke the window and dropped them one at a time into the snow.

I congratulate the two recipients on their courage and determination.

The EconomyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Jeff Watson Conservative Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, while our Conservative government delivered jobs and economic recovery for Windsor, the NDP MPs for Windsor West and Windsor—Tecumseh vote against jobs and prosperity.

When our government helped save 500,000 auto jobs and Windsor's largest employer, Chrysler, the NDP MPs voted against it.

When our government invested the highest per capita infrastructure stimulus to create jobs and reposition Windsor's economy during the recession, the two NDP MPs voted against it.

When our government invested millions to start a new aerospace MRO industry and up to 700 jobs, the two NDP MPs voted against it.

When we budgeted for the new DRIC bridge and the Windsor-Essex Parkway in 2006 and 2007, and the 30,000 jobs that go with it, those NDP MPs voted no.

The NDP MPs for Windsor West and Windsor—Tecumseh have voted against thousands of jobs and economic recovery for Windsor.

It is time Windsorites vote Conservative not NDP.

JudiciaryStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is a basic principle of Canadian democracy and a foundational principle of our Charter of Rights and Freedoms that citizens have a right to petition government for redress of grievance, that they are allowed to criticize their government without fear of reprisal and that the independence and integrity of the courts warrant respect from us all.

Yet, these past few days we have witnessed a minister impugning the decision-making of the federal judiciary, and the member for Oak Ridges—Markham attacking a University of Ottawa law professor, Amir Attaran, for exercising his rights under law, for making representations to the court and for using the democratic process.

This conduct of targeting a person who has otherwise critiqued government policy, who exercises his free speech rights and due process rights, can have a chilling effect on free speech, let alone the undue interference in matters before the courts.

This is not the way a democracy should work. This is not the way to respect the independence of the judiciary and to respect the integrity of processes before the courts.

Arthur MeighenStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Gary Schellenberger Conservative Perth—Wellington, ON

Mr. Speaker, today I am honoured to pay tribute to Canada's ninth prime minister, the Right Hon. Arthur Meighen.

Born after Confederation in the village of Anderson, near St. Marys, Ontario, Arthur Meighen would go on to serve our country on two separate occasions as prime minister.

During his political career, Meighen served as solicitor general, minister of the interior and secretary of state of Canada. While he spent 10 years in the Senate, it was in this very chamber that Mr. Meighen, representing a riding in Manitoba, distinguished himself as the greatest orator of his generation.

Today, 51 years after his death, Prime Minister Meighen's portrait will be officially unveiled.

Perth—Wellington is proud to have Arthur Meighen as its son. I know all hon. members will join me in paying tribute to this great Canadian.

Status of WomenStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, on this Monday, Valentine's Day, men and women took to the streets of Edmonton for the sixth annual Memorial March for all the Missing and Murdered Women. The march was led by aboriginal drummers. Families carried pictures of the loved ones they had lost.

Danielle Boudreau organized the Edmonton march following the murder of two friends, Rachel Quinney and Ellie May Meyer, whose bodies were found on the outskirts of our city.

Project KARE, a joint task force of the RCMP and Edmonton Police Service, continues to investigate more than 20 cases of Edmonton women killed or missing since 1983. As in other Canadian cities, a disproportionate number of the missing and murdered women are from our aboriginal community.

As National Chief Shawn Atleo has said, “It is time to raise a national action plan that will address the seriousness and scope of violence and discrimination facing indigenous women in a coordinated, effective fashion”.

If we make communities safe for our most vulnerable, they are made safe for all of us.

TaxesStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Conservative Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Party leader's plan is clear: he wants to raise taxes. He has clearly and concisely said that he wants to increase taxes by $6 billion. He is not talking about freezing taxes, but increasing them.

The Liberal Party leader wants higher taxes to be included in the next budget. If we do not increase taxes, he will vote against the budget and force an election. This is an irresponsible demand that will slow down the economic recovery, which is currently on the right track, and it will also hurt job creation in all regions of Quebec. No one is surprised that he calls himself a tax and spend Liberal.

Border CrossingsStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Claude DeBellefeuille Bloc Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebec municipal officials and local stakeholders are here on the Hill today. They are joining with the Bloc Québécois to denounce the Conservative government's announcement that services will be reduced at certain border crossings and customs offices, and they are calling on the government to reverse its decision.

I met with the president of the Canada Border Services Agency about this on February 8. He seemed very interested in our proposed solutions, but his hands are tied.

Bill Owens, a congressman for the state of New York, supports our position and is proposing effective solutions such as sharing infrastructure at the Churubusco crossing. That proposal is being backed by Canada's Customs and Immigration Union.

There is no reason for the Conservative government not to listen to us and consider our proposed solutions, particularly since it is secretly negotiating a common security perimeter with the United States. Our solutions are reasonable and are widely supported.

Canada-U.S. BorderStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Alexandra Mendes Liberal Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, elected officials south of the border are becoming increasingly concerned about what was once a source of pride for Canadians.

It used to be said that Canada and the United States shared the longest undefended border in the world. It seemed like the friendship and trust that characterized our border relations with the United States were permanent and unchangeable. However, today, our neighbours seem to sometimes confuse their northern and southern borders.

Rather than devoting their energy to correcting perceptions and setting the record straight, the Conservatives are grovelling in Washington. They are negotiating a secret perimeter security deal that will put Canadian sovereignty at risk in areas such as privacy, immigration, and commercial and environmental standards, just to name a few.

At the same time, these same Conservatives are preparing, in secret, to close border crossings that serve small border communities. These closures will mean lost commercial development opportunities and longer wait times at other border crossings, and they will certainly not help to improve border surveillance.

Canada first!

Opposition CoalitionStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Anders Conservative Calgary West, AB

Mr. Speaker, the coalition continues its scheming. On Saturday, at its general council meeting, the Bloc added a phrase to its election platform stating, “The Bloc Québécois reserves the possibility to enter a coalition of parties” in the event of another minority government.

While our Conservative government is focused on jobs and the economy at this time of global economic uncertainty, the separatist Bloc is plotting to create a coalition with the Liberals and the NDP.

In 2008 the NDP was willing to make the Bloc the driving force in the coalition. The NDP did this in spite of the Bloc leader calling Canada “ruinous”.

The Liberal-NDP-Bloc coalition plan is back out in the open.

In 2008 Canadians were overwhelmingly opposed to a reckless Liberal-led coalition. They still are, and we agree with them. Canadians do not want to hand a veto to the party that wants to break up the country.

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, yesterday in the House the Prime Minister basically said, “I don't care whether my minister doctored documents. I don't care whether she misled the House. I don't care whether she told the truth. I just don't care”. This kind of disrespect for democracy just has to stop.

When will the Prime Minister start showing respect for the House, respect for the people who put us here and fire that minister?

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I do not accept the premise of that question. The minister took a decision. The minister made clear that the decision was contrary to recommendations she received from unelected officials. In a democracy it is the elected officials who make decisions on how to spend taxpayer money.

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the premise of the question has to do with respect for democracy. What part does the Prime Minister not understand? I will say it again. The Prime Minister's disrespect regarding this issue illustrates his values, his disrespect for democracy, his disrespect for this House and his disrespect for Canadians.

When will he call for the minister's resignation?

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, once again, the reality is that the minister took a decision that was contrary to the recommendations of her officials. In a democracy, the elected ministers are the ones who make decisions. That is what democracy means.

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, they say a fish rots from the head and the rot has stopped at the top. We have a Prime Minister who lets a minister deceive the House of Commons, falsify a document and instead of reprimanding or dismissing her, gets up in the House and actually applauds her.

This is bad for Canadian democracy. When will he stand up, take his responsibilities and fire that minister?

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, so much for raising the tone of debate around here.

The fact is the minister took a decision. She has been clear about that. It has been clear in the House. It was clear before committee.

In terms of the use of taxpayer money, we want to ensure that foreign aid dollars are used for foreign aid. They are not entitlements to Canadian organizations. They are not decisions made by officials. They are decisions made by elected ministers, and the minister has made the correct decision.

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister. What is worse: a minister who leaves some cabinet documents at his flavour-of-the-month girlfriend's house, or a minister who doctors and falsifies ministerial documents and who knowingly misleads the House? The Prime Minister did not hesitate to destroy the political career of the member for Simcoe—Grey based on false allegations. Now we are talking about facts.

Why is that minister still in cabinet? Is it because he asked her to do it?

International Co-operationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, let us talk about facts. The minister in question has always been very clear that she alone had made the decision not to fund the grant to this organization. She said that all along. She said it 10 times in committee and she said it in the House of Commons.

The minister made a courageous decision, she made the correct decision and should be applauded.