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House of Commons Hansard #144 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was child.

Topics

Health CareStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week doctors from across the country descended on the Hill to make a house call on parliamentarians.

Dr. Jeffrey Turnbull, the president of the Canadian Medical Association, hosted a breakfast for over 100 MPs, senators, members of the media and health care stakeholders. He brought with him an important call to action.

Today Canadians are saying that health care is as big a concern as the economy and they want action now.

I hope that the government will be inspired by this vision of the future of health care and that it will enthusiastically embrace the CMA's initiative to transform health care rather than pursuing its plans for prisons, fighter jets and tax breaks for businesses.

Imagine, that $30 billion for untendered fighter jets is equivalent to the total annual federal contribution to health care.

The doctors and nurses of Canada deserve better.

St. Patrick's DayStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Bloc

France Bonsant Bloc Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, next week we will celebrate St. Patrick's Day, the national day of the Irish people.

Quebeckers of Irish descent make up the second-largest cultural community, after those of French descent. It is estimated that up to 40% of Quebeckers have Irish ancestors. The first Irish arrived in North America in the 16th century, but the majority immigrated in the 19th century, during the potato famine.

The oldest St. Patrick's Day parade in North America takes place each year in Montreal, Quebec. Year after year, hundreds of thousands of people join in the fun.

On behalf of the Bloc Québécois, as someone of Irish ancestry on my mother's side, I would like to wish all Quebeckers of Irish descent a happy St. Patrick's Day.

JapanStatements By Members

11 a.m.

NDP

John Rafferty NDP Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

Mr. Speaker, like all Canadians, New Democrats were shocked and saddened this morning to hear of the devastating earthquake that hit Japan overnight. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Japan and to Canadians who are still trying to reach their loved ones.

As the tsunami makes its way across the Pacific, our thoughts are also on the safety of those living along coastal areas, including Canada's Pacific coast.

It will be days before we understand the full effects of this disaster, but we know Canadians stand ready and willing to help in the days ahead.

New Democrats will strongly support efforts by the government to provide aid and relief to those affected and do what we can to help people in their great time of need.

On behalf of all New Democrats, we send heartfelt condolences to the people of Japan and all those who have lost loved ones in this tragedy.

Religious FreedomStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Conservative

David Sweet Conservative Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, the world became a more dangerous place on March 2 when Pakistan's minister for minorities, Shahbaz Bhatti, was brutally gunned down in his country's capital. Others in the House have risen to condemn the extremist assassins and our Prime Minister, on behalf of all Canadians, has expressed deep shock and sadness.

It is alarming enough that Minister Bhatti was the only Christian minister in Pakistan's government, but the ruthless ambush and murder is made all the more outrageous because he was killed for standing up for religious freedoms, standing up for those of all faiths in his country where, unlike our own, such freedoms can never be taken for granted.

Too often Pakistan's blasphemy laws are abused to restrict freedom of religion and expression. They have been used disproportionately to target religious minorities. Canada and the international community have called upon Pakistan for this to stop. After last Wednesday, the world is now watching more closely than ever.

Let us be mindful of Shahbaz Bhatti's great legacy. May his example strengthen our own resolve to challenge extremism wherever and whenever we may find it.

Evening of la FrancophonieStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Lise Zarac Liberal LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, next Wednesday, March 16, the Club Richelieu LaSalle will present its fifth annual Soirée de la Francophonie, in co-operation with the borough of LaSalle.

This event has been gaining popularity since it began. It is always held as part of the Semaine de la Francophonie, with the goal of celebrating the French language and culture. The Club Richelieu LaSalle takes advantage of the opportunity to crown its “francophone personality of the year” and hand out awards to students in public speaking, dictation and poetry competitions.

I would like to take a moment to commend the magnificent work done by Gilles Dubien, chair of the organizing committee, who, for over five years now, has worked diligently to make each edition of the Soirée de la Francophonie a tremendous success.

On behalf of my constituents, I would like to sincerely congratulate him on this remarkable initiative, which helps to promote our beautiful French language.

SeniorsStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Conservative Calgary East, AB

Mr. Speaker, I stand in the House today to salute senior citizens not only in my riding of Calgary East but all across Canada.

Our seniors have made countless and invaluable contributions that have shaped our great nation and moulded us into what we are today. That is why our government is committed to enhancing the well-being of Canada's seniors during the retirement they have earned.

Since 2006, our government has introduced tax relief measures specifically for seniors, such as pension income splitting, twice increasing the age credit amount and increasing GIS benefits. We have introduced legislation to make our streets and communities safer so that seniors feel safe in their own homes and communities. We have created a dedicated Minister of State for Seniors, bringing seniors issues directly to the cabinet table. Finally, we have established October 1 as National Seniors Day.

We owe our seniors a debt of gratitude. Our government will continue to stand up for seniors across Canada.

Quebec Film IndustryStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Bloc

Carole Lavallée Bloc Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, at the Genie Awards, the Quebec film industry was once again at the forefront. Denis Villeneuve's film Incendies, which had already been nominated for an Oscar, cleaned up. It won eight Genie Awards, the most prestigious of which were best director, best picture, best actress for Lubna Azabal and best adapted screenplay. The artists of two other Quebec movies filmed in Montreal, Barney's Version and The Trotsky, also received their share of recognition.

A celebration of Quebec cinema, the Jutra awards, will take place Sunday evening. The films 10½, Les amours imaginaires, Incendies, Les signes vitaux and Curling will compete for best picture. Denis Villeneuve—Incendies, Podz—10½, Xavier Dolan—Les amours imaginaires, Kim Nguyen—La cité and Denis Côté—Curling will compete for best director. The Jutra-Hommage tribute will be awarded to Jean Lapointe.

Through its quality and creativity, the Quebec film industry has made a name for itself by obtaining its fair share of nominations and awards at these film industry celebrations.

Public Transit OperatorsStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Brent Rathgeber Conservative Edmonton—St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday I had the privilege of introducing my first private member's bill, Bill C-637, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (public transit operators), also known as Bregg's law. If passed, this legislation would amend the Criminal Code to make the fact that a public transit operator was the victim of an assault an aggravating circumstance for the purposes of sentencing.

Almost 40% of Canadian transit workers have reported that they have been physically assaulted over the course of their career. Attacks range from a push or a shove to spitting, verbal assaults, or sometimes a serious aggravated assault. These types of assaults endanger not only the life and safety of the public transit operator, but also the lives and safety of passengers and anybody who happens to be in the vehicle's vicinity. Accordingly, this legislation would give added protected to public transit operators, the passengers they serve and the public generally.

The bill would be known as Bregg's law, in honour of one of my constituents, Mr. Tom Bregg, an Edmonton transit bus driver who was the victim of a violent attack resulting in serious permanent injuries. I would like to thank Mr. Bregg for his courage in sharing his story, which serves as the inspiration for the Public Transit Operators Protection Act. I would ask all hon. members to support private member's Bill C-637.

Outstanding Cape BretonerStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Mark Eyking Liberal Sydney—Victoria, NS

Mr. Speaker, Cape Breton has a rich history of many stories yet to be told, but much of our history would have been lost had it not been for the work of Ron Caplan.

Mr. Caplan was born in Pennsylvania and came to Cape Breton in the 1970s. He heard the great stories of Cape Breton and saw the need for them to be documented. Tape recorder and camera in tow, he collected a rich oral history.

The founder of Cape Breton's Magazine, Ron's work can be found online today. He also founded Breton Books which enabled other writers to publish many fine works. His documentation of our history and culture is unprecedented.

In December 2010, Mr. Caplan was appointed to the Order of Canada for his contributions to the protection of Cape Breton Island's history and culture as a writer, editor and publisher.

As a fitting tribute to a great Canadian and Cape Bretoner, I ask the House to stand and applaud him.

Paralympic AthletesStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Andrew Saxton Conservative North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, one year ago, we were united as a nation as the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games began in Vancouver and Whistler. Our Paralympic athletes would go on to provide tremendous performances over the following days.

Lauren Woolstencroft of my riding of North Vancouver, Brian McKeever, and many others broke records while providing excitement that kept us on the edge of our seats. In the end, Canada had its best ever performance at a Paralympic Games, with 19 medals including 10 golds.

Since the conclusion of the games, our government has not ceased its support of the Paralympic movement. In fact, our support for the Canadian Paralympic Committee is at its highest level ever, enabling it to provide more equipment and training for athletes at all levels.

Our Paralympic athletes continue to make us so proud. They prove themselves against the best in the world time and time again.

Automotive IndustryStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

NDP

Malcolm Allen NDP Welland, ON

Mr. Speaker, recently my riding of Welland took another devastating blow when Henniges Automotive announced it would close its Welland plant by the end of the year, leaving over 300 hard-working people in my community without well-paying jobs.

The company was taken over by a private equity firm whose only interest was to make a quick buck no matter how many people it put out of work or how many communities it destroyed. This is yet another example of how the Conservative government has deserted Canadian workers by allowing another plant to leave Ontario without a fight.

The Conservatives' attitude that it does not matter how hard people work or how profitable they make a company, the Conservatives will simply cast them off without a second thought, is wrong and shameful.

The people of Niagara have watched plant after plant close around them with no support in sight from the government. As Welland mayor Barry Sharpe said, “This is another very dark day, another major setback the city can't afford and one we didn't deserve”. He is right. That is why I and the New Democrats stand with workers in their fight for good jobs and the fair treatment they deserve in Niagara and right across the country.

Aerospace IndustryStatements By Members

March 11th, 2011 / 11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Sylvie Boucher Conservative Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois has done an about-face and now has joined the Liberal Party and the NDP in withdrawing its support for the purchase of the F-35 fighter jets. The Bloc is abandoning this important sector in the Quebec economy and the tens of thousands of workers and their families who are counting on these jobs during the economic recovery. Only the Conservative government is defending the interests of the workers in Quebec's aerospace industry.

The aerospace industry is a jewel in the crown of Quebec's economy, and we are proud to contribute to the development of this industry and to the creation of jobs in Quebec. We will continue to support job creation in Quebec. On this side of the House, we will once again stand firm to save jobs in Quebec.

JapanStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Bloc

Luc Malo Bloc Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, a disaster of unimaginable proportions struck Japan last night. An earthquake registering 8.9 on the Richter scale hit that country, triggering a tsunami with 10-metre high waves. Aftershocks were also felt, some measuring 6 or 7 on the scale. This is the most powerful earthquake on record in Japan and the fifth largest since earthquake data collection began. Reports are just starting to come in, but these events are causing consternation. The next few hours will certainly be critical for the victims.

My colleagues in the Bloc Québécois join me in expressing our solidarity and our empathy for the people of Japan, and anyone else who might be affected by the consequences of this earthquake. We will continue to monitor the situation closely in order to ensure that the government takes all the necessary measures to provide support and aid to the people in need. Our thoughts are with the people of Japan.

Genie AwardsStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Justin Trudeau Liberal Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, the 31st annual Genie Awards paid tribute to artists in the Canadian film industry, and it was certainly one of the most anticipated celebrations of the year. Artists and fans alike came to the national capital for a spectacular evening.

Leading with 11 nominations was Barney's Version, Mordecai Richler's beloved story set in Montreal. It took seven Genies, including Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role for Paul Giamatti's depiction of Barney, and Achievement in Art Direction/Production Design for Claude Paré and Élise De Blois.

But the winner of this glamorous evening, broadcast live on CBC, was Montreal's own Denis Villeneuve. His acclaimed film Incendies won eight awards, including Achievement in Direction for Villeneuve and the prestigious prize of Best Motion Picture.

This has clearly been a spectacular year of achievement in French and English Canadian film.

On behalf of the Liberal Party and my cherished city of Montreal, we congratulate all of the Canadian filmmakers who have created some real masterpieces for the Canadian film industry.

Political FinancingStatements By Members

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Conservative Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, we are all now well aware of the infamous ethics breach by the member for Charlottetown when he advertised that he was selling Liberal Party memberships out of his taxpayer funded office.

The hypocrisy of this ran high when just this past weekend the same member told the Charlottetown Guardian that, “Parliamentary materials are never allowed to be used for political gain, especially to drum up donations for political parties”.

Of course, this was right before he said that constituency offices are all political anyway. Perhaps his more than most is, since a local reporter called to see about buying a membership there and the response from the staffer was, “No, we are not doing that”--and here is the operative word--“anymore”.

Today in an interview with the CBC the same member claimed he did not even know about the ad. He said, “This ad was not prepared by me or my office. It certainly was not paid for by us”.

Now we must wonder, who paid for the logo? Who paid for the ad that prominently features the Liberal logo? Can the Liberal leader tell us that neither he nor his staff have their fingerprints all over this messy situation? I would like to know the answer to that question.

JapanOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, a savage earthquake caused huge damage and many deaths this morning in Japan. The entire Pacific Rim, including the west coast of Canada, is threatened with a tsunami.

Our deepest condolences go to all of those who have suffered loss and we remain concerned about those still in harm's way.

Can the government inform the House about the latest situation including the impact on Canadians in Japan or elsewhere, the tsunami risk to British Columbia, and the steps Canada will take to help all of those anywhere who are suffering as a consequence of this disaster?

JapanOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, our thoughts are with all of those affected by this terrible earthquake, the strongest in Japan's history, that has caused widespread infrastructure damage as well as fatalities.

This morning, the Prime Minister spoke with Japan's ambassador to Canada. He obviously offered our assistance and let him know that our thoughts are with those who have been affected by this terrible tragedy.

I would also like to reassure the members of this House that our officials at the Canadian embassy in Tokyo are working closely with colleagues at—

JapanOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Wascana.

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, the coming week will be a week of shame for the Conservatives. In a courtroom in Ottawa, four of the Prime Minister's closest advisers will be charged with election fraud, phony invoices, illegal spending, illegal rebates, tampering with democracy.

A few blocks away, on Parliament Hill, a Conservative minister will face contempt proceedings about a falsified document, serial failures to tell the truth, again tampering with democracy.

Is such abuse of power considered normal by the Conservatives? “You win some, you lose some”, is that it?

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, it will not come as any surprise to the House or to the hon. member opposite that I completely reject the premise of his question.

Let me tell the House what will be happening next week. This government will be working hard and will remain focused on the economy and creating jobs.

We were very pleased with the 15,000 net new jobs that were created last month. While those members of the Liberal Party in opposition were scandal-mongering, were seeking to try to provoke an early election to get new jobs for themselves, this government was hard at work trying to create jobs for Canadians.

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, Canadians believe we do not have to sacrifice democracy. The abuse continues.

In another parliamentary hearing next week, the Conservatives will stand accused by you, Mr. Speaker, of wrongfully hiding the truth about their extra corporate tax cuts, $6 billion; about their mega-jails, $13 billion; about their new war planes, where the cost has now doubled to $30 billion. It is no wonder the Prime Minister runs from a debate about his numbers and that leaves his budget a vacuous fraud.

When will the Conservatives stop thumbing their noses at Canadians and finally tell the truth?

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Party is once again trying to distract Canadians from the real issues.

I find it regrettable that the Liberal Party is now in a position where it wants our men and women in uniform to be flying 40-, 50- and 60-year-old airplanes in the future. They are not war planes. It is equipment that our men and women in uniform need to do the job that we have asked them to do.

These men and women in uniform are prepared to pay the ultimate price to keep Canadians safe, to keep Canada sovereign, and the least they can expect is that the government provide them with the tools they need to do their jobs.

VeteransOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Bernard Patry Liberal Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are in such a hurry to buy fighter jets that they only did half the calculations to determine the cost.

I would love to see them show as much urgency when it comes to helping our veterans who, because of their participation in the Afghan mission, will forever be scarred, both physically and mentally.

How many of them could count on better support upon their return if the Conservatives made the effort to save billions of dollars on the purchase of the F-35s by using a tendering process?

VeteransOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn ConservativeMinister of Veterans Affairs and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, the member has raised two points in his question. He is talking about veterans as well as the F-35s.

As for veterans, I would like to tell the member that today in this House we will be voting on Bill C-55, which will ensure that our modern-day veterans receive more financial help if, unfortunately, they come back wounded from Afghanistan or any other mission. There are three different benefits that will be amended in order to help our modern-day veterans.

National DefenceOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Bernard Patry Liberal Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, according to the parliamentary budget officer, these 65 fighter jets would cost at least $30 billion. Even our Bloc colleagues have joined the Liberals in opposing this hasty and unreasonable purchase. Furthermore, the Conservatives have rushed through this contract so quickly that they obtained only crumbs for Quebec's aerospace industry.

Now that the majority of this House is opposed to the purchase, what are the Conservatives waiting for to launch a bidding process?