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 #137 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was military.

Topics

Child PornographyPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Conservative

Bruce Stanton Conservative Simcoe North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition signed by just over 200 constituents from my riding. They bring particular attention to the House of Commons about their concerns with regard to the use of the Internet for the exploitation of children and the continuing dissemination of child pornography.

They are requesting that Parliament speedily enact legislation that would strengthen sentences and do everything it can to protect children and deter pedophilia.

Foreign AidPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

Frank Valeriote Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to present two petitions on behalf of many hundreds of constituents from my riding of Guelph.

The first petition draws to the attention of the Government of Canada the fact that the current CIDA website does not provide sufficient information respecting the effectiveness and efficient use of Canada's annual foreign aid funding. As a democratic country, our government institutions are accountable to its citizens and must fully disclose information to its citizens if we are to strengthen public trust in government, something currently lacking.

For this reason, the petitioners are calling upon the Government of Canada to implement five key recommendations that will further strengthen accountability, creativity, and transparency to funding commitments through CIDA.

Animal WelfarePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

Frank Valeriote Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, the second petition is again on behalf of several hundred constituents in the riding of Guelph and elsewhere.

It is calling on the federal government to bring forward and adopt Bill C-544. I and the petition signatories draw to the attention of the members of the House the fact that Canadian horsemeat products currently being sold for human consumption in domestic and international markets commonly contain drugs that are strictly prohibited from being used in all other food-producing animals destined for the human food supply chain.

Thus, for the security of our food supply and to protect the health and safety of humans, the petitioners are calling on the House to adopt Bill C-544, An Act to amend the Health of Animals Act and the Meat Inspection Act (slaughter of horses for human consumption), to prohibit the importation or exportation of horses, as well as horsemeat products from their slaughter for human consumption.

AsbestosPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise today to introduce a petition from thousands of Canadians from all across the prairie region, and even Ottawa, Ontario.

The petitioners call upon the House of Commons to take note that asbestos is the greatest industrial killer that the world has never known. They also point out that Canada remains one of the largest producers and exporters of asbestos in the world, dumping nearly 200,000 tonnes of asbestos into third world and developing nations.

They also point out that more Canadians now die from asbestos than all other industrial causes combined and that Canada spends millions of dollars subsidizing the asbestos industry by sending teams of Department of Justice lawyers gallivanting around the world like globe-trotting propagandists for the industry, blocking international efforts to curb its use, such as the Rotterdam convention.

These petitioners are calling on the Government of Canada to ban asbestos in all of its forms and institute a just transition program for asbestos workers and the communities they live in, to end all government subsidies of asbestos, both in Canada and abroad, and to stop blocking international health and safety conventions designed to protect workers from asbestos, such as the Rotterdam convention.

Illegal MigrantsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Anders Conservative Calgary West, AB

Mr. Speaker, I stand on behalf of constituents in Calgary West today who have brought forward a petition regarding the current policy surrounding the arrival of illegal migrants and that it does not reflect the severity of the crime and the wishes of Canadians.

Therefore, the petitioners call upon the House to adopt legislation providing that vessels containing illegal migrants be turned away at Canadian jurisdictions. Furthermore, that illegal migrants who enter Canadian jurisdiction be deported.

I believe the petitioners were watching what Australia did and want to see us act similarly.

Air CanadaPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is with pleasure that I bring forward a petition from individuals who have expressed a great deal of concern in regard to the Air Canada Public Participation Act.

The petitioners are asking the government to recognize that the intent of the act was to ensure that the overall centres of maintenance in Winnipeg, Mississauga and Montreal will, in fact, be maintained and under ownership of Air Canada. That was the intent of the Air Canada Public Participation Act. It appears to be very clear that this is not the case today.

The people who signed these petitions are calling upon the government and asking the Prime Minister to do the right thing and enforce the law. Let us get Air Canada to obey what was passed by this chamber.

The petitioners look to the government to do the right thing and protect these most valuable aerospace jobs, somewhere in the neighbourhood of 3,000-plus jobs, not only in Winnipeg but other areas of Canada. They ask that the government to do the responsible thing and make sure that Air Canada adheres to the law.

AfghanistanPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, my petition is signed by dozens of Canadians and calls on the Government of Canada to end Canada's military involvement in Afghanistan.

Effective May 2008, Parliament passed a resolution to withdraw our forces by July 2011. The Prime Minister, with help from the Liberal Party, broke his promise to honour the parliamentary motion and furthermore refuses to put it to a parliamentary vote in the House.

Committing 1,000 soldiers to training missions still presents a danger to our troops. It is also an unnecessary expense when our country is faced with a $56 billion deficit. The military mission has cost Canadians more than $18 billion so far, and that is on the conservative side. This is money that could have been used to improve health care and seniors pensions right here in Canada.

In fact, polls show that a clear majority of Canadians do not want Canada's military presence to continue after the scheduled removal date of July 2011.

Therefore, the petitioners call upon the Prime Minister to honour the will of Parliament and bring the troops home now.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Motions for PapersRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all notices of motions for the production of papers be allowed to stand.

Motions for PapersRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Is that agreed?

Motions for PapersRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

LibyaRequest for Emergency DebateRoutine Proceedings

March 2nd, 2011 / 3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Jim Karygiannis Liberal Scarborough—Agincourt, ON

Mr. Speaker, with the situation in Libya in a state of emergency and flux, some areas have been freed from the Gadhafi regime while the city of Tripoli has become a killing field.

Although the Canadian government attempted to get Canadians out of Libya, there are still Canadians stuck there and they are facing uncertainty and danger.

The Canadian government has committed to a plan of action with respect to Libya and has committed military personnel and equipment. However, the Canadian people, through their elected representatives, want to have their voices heard.

As we move to assist the region in building democracies, we must be engaged here in Canada. Discussion among ourselves as well as with our constituents must start and that is why I am asking for an emergency debate on the situation in Libya.

Speaker's RulingRequest for Emergency DebateRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member made this request on Monday and I denied it at that time indicating that I thought we would await further developments. I am going to do the same today, await further developments.

I know the member will probably make another application tomorrow or the next day, and I will certainly consider it.

I note that tomorrow is an opposition day, so we will see what the subject matter of the debate will end up being. I am sure we will hear further on this issue, which is ongoing.

I am not sure that the request meets the demands of the Standing Order at this particular time.

Main EstimatesPrivilegeRoutine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

Stockwell Day ConservativePresident of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the hon. member for Windsor—Tecumseh raised a question of privilege concerning the premature publication of information contained in the main estimates that was prior to their transmission to this House via message from His Excellency the Governor General.

I want to thank the member for Windsor—Tecumseh for bringing this matter to the House's attention. Upon review, it appears that some of the information was indeed out in the public domain approximately an hour before I actually tabled the official documentation.

Obviously, any pre-publication of the material in question is not proper and not in keeping with past procedures and practices of this House.

I would also indicate to you, Mr. Speaker, as President of the Treasury Board any inappropriate or untimely release of documents is always taken seriously and steps to prevent that type of thing will continue to be pursued most diligently.

I would also note that on the specific procedural issue of an alleged prima facie case of privilege, I would like to draw your attention to the statements on page 894 of House of Commons Procedure and Practice concerning such matters. This reference points out that in the past similar matters have been treated not as a matter of privilege but rather as a matter of parliamentary convention.

However, as I said earlier, any pre-publication of information of this nature before it was tabled in the House is not proper.

Main EstimatesPrivilegeRoutine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I am sure the member will appreciate the minister's comments on this matter.

The House resumed from February 7 consideration of the motion that Bill C-55, An Act to amend the Canadian Forces Members and Veterans Re-establishment and Compensation Act and the Pension Act, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Enhanced New Veterans Charter ActGovernment Orders

3:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

When this matter was last before the House, the hon. member for Winnipeg North had the floor. I believe there are 15 minutes left in the time allotted for his remarks. I therefore call upon the hon. member for Winnipeg North.

Enhanced New Veterans Charter ActGovernment Orders

3:35 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is with pleasure that I stand today to conclude my remarks on Bill C-55. To be clear on the issue, the Liberal Party recognizes the great value of the legislation.

At every opportunity in the veterans affairs committee reference has been made to Bill C-55. It is in good part due to the fact that we want to ensure we do everything possible to see the bill in committee. I get the sense there is a willingness in the chamber to see this bill move forward. Members of the committee, including me, are anxious to see the bill come before us. I suspect it is only a question of time before it does.

Bill C-55 would address income loss, base salaries and lump sum payments. These are all important issues to our veterans and we owe it to them to do our work as quickly and as diligently as we can.

Some members in debate have nudged others to move forward on the legislation. One of the things I would share with the House is the fact that the Liberal Party does not require any nudging on the bill. We see its value. We have an immense amount of respect for our veterans and we ultimately want to see it pass.

I have had opportunities in the past, as I am sure my colleagues have, to deal with veterans. A number of years ago veterans actually sat right behind us in the Manitoba legislature. I thought it was appropriate. I remember sitting in the chamber, being able to reach back and touch one of the veterans, thinking we were able to have that debate because of our veterans.

We recognize the valuable contributions that our veterans have made to who we are today as a free nation. We need to do whatever we can to extend adequate compensation to them for the sacrifices they have made.

Being on veterans affairs committee, I recognize it is important for us to go even further than what the legislation proposes to do. Compensation is critical, and I cannot emphasize how important it is that we get that compensation to our veterans. However, there are other things which the government should seriously look at doing.

I did not know, and I suspect a good number of members of Parliament would not be aware of this either, that we have in excess of 750,000 veterans in Canada, which is an amazing number. They participate in our society in so many ways. We have to think beyond even what we will pass today.

Bill C-55 would allow for income loss and other forms of compensation so our veterans would be more properly and adequately taken care of, and that is great. However, much like other issues, we need to do more in preventing some of the illnesses and injuries that occur.

We had a psychiatrist, who is a colonel in Australia, on video conference the other day. I was really impressed with what Australia has put into place to assist future veterans so their dependency on compensation, on disability, will not be as high, especially in the area of mental illness.

I will highlight a couple of those points.

Australia is prepared to put in the necessary resources to ensure there are minimal compensation packages after someone leaves the service. That is a direction in which we should move. We should be putting more emphasis on that in our Parliament.

To give members a sense of what Australia does, it looks at the complications and the mind games that take place in today's forces. It has a psychological training component incorporated within its boot camp system for everyone who enters the forces.

Recognizing that not everyone, even from within the boot camp, might be engaged in a situation like Afghanistan or other countries of that nature, where there are all sorts of turmoil, Australia also has developed what it calls a pre-deployment course. Once someone has been deployed to Afghanistan, for example, another training session takes place and there is a psychological component to that training. That, again, is the way to go.

Taking it even a step further, Australia has after-disengagement training. After they have served in a country like Afghanistan and they come back, there is a post-course provided that will assist them in dealing with the issues they had to face while they were in a foreign country.

Equally important, Australia also has a transition course component. When people leave the forces and they go back into civilian life, they are afforded the opportunity to have that course which will, in essence, assist them in better adapting into civilian life.

This is the type of progressive thinking that is necessary in order to meet the needs of future Canadians who make the decision to serve our country. Ultimately, I would encourage the government to seriously look at this.

I posed a question about cost. There should be no doubt. There will be an additional upfront cost in ensuring that we have the right complement of psychiatry and other potential professions within the regular forces so we have those courses and give legitimacy to them.

However, by investing at that end, we are assisting individuals going forward so when they decide to sign on the dotted line, enter our forces and maybe serve in a country like Afghanistan or in another country, come back and ultimately end up back in the civilian life, they will be better able to adjust.

I believe if it is handled appropriately or if there is a plan for investment upfront, then we will prevent many illnesses from occurring in the first place or we will be able to minimize the psychological impact of someone being in a war-torn country where there is civilian unrest and all kinds of horrors that our military personnel often confront.

Ultimately we would have a better equipped force, and this is why it is to relevant to the bill we are passing today. By doing this, future compensation requirements will not be as high. That should be the goal. Minimizing the amount of money that we would ultimately have to pay would not be the primary reason. That would be the secondary reason.

The primary reason will be the impact that it has our soldiers, once they get back into the force and once they are in full retirement. That is the real value and the primary reason why we need to move in that direction.

The secondary reason would be one of finances. I ultimately argue that there would be additional costs upfront, but at the end of the day we would save money in compensation, in terms of the potential income loss that goes up significantly because of the passage of the bill, and justifiably so, and in terms of issues such as the base salaries or the lump sum payments. That is stating the obvious.

There are so many other expenses that governments, and not only the federal government but also provincial governments, have to incur as a direct result of individuals who have been in the forces and once retired become veterans. After all, it is the individual provinces that ultimately deliver our health care services. A part of those health care services is mental health, among other things. Ottawa itself invests billions of dollars annually in public health.

When we are talking about compensation, the type of compensation we are talking about within this bill is fairly specific, but there are many other forms of compensation as well. It is not as easy to say that we have a bill, Bill C-55, and by passing it, all the issues veterans face in terms of overall compensation will be resolved.

I trust and hope that no one here would try to imply that this would be the case. This bill, from my perspective and I believe from the perspective of the Liberal Party, is but a first step in recognizing the value of our veterans and the importance of the House of Commons to adequately and properly compensate those men and women who have sacrificed a portion of their life in order to ensure we have what we have today.

We can do more. I encourage the government, the Minister of Veterans Affairs, the Minister of National Defence, the Prime Minister and others, cabinet and all members, opposition included, to do more to support our vets. It is not just this bill. This bill is a very good first step and we look forward to seeing it in committee, but that is what it is, a first step.

Enhanced New Veterans Charter ActGovernment Orders

3:50 p.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate the member on his presentation on Bill C-55.

The government has made some improvements over the previous Liberal government, but these improvements took a long time coming. As a matter of fact, it was only through the efforts of people like our critic, the member for Sackville—Eastern Shore who basically lives and breathes these issues and fights constantly on behalf of the veterans of this country, that we get improvements from the government.

My concern is that it was a big mistake for us to adopt any form of lump sum payment. The government likes the lump sum because it thinks it can walk away from the liability. We are dealing with a lot of young people who get injured, are under a lot of stress and it is attractive for them to opt for a lump sum. However, when the money is gone, and there are lots of examples of how the money disappeared very quickly, the problem still remains and the government would have to come back at some future point to take care of the problem.

Does the member agree that lump sum payment issues should not be part of this process?

Enhanced New Veterans Charter ActGovernment Orders

3:50 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I do know that the lump sum payment is an issue. There are individuals who would argue that they should be afforded the choice.

Should someone have the opportunity to say that at a certain point in their life they would rather take the lump sum, or is it more appropriate for the government, as opposed to giving a lump sum, give a monthly amount for a number of years?

I think there is a valid argument for both. I look forward to the bill going to committee. The nice thing about being open-minded in committee is that I trust we will see some amendments brought forward and be able to evaluate them.

I assure the member for Elmwood—Transcona that there was no nudging. This is not a competition between political parties. The Liberal Party is just as strong an advocate as any other political party in this chamber for our veterans.

Enhanced New Veterans Charter ActGovernment Orders

3:55 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Vincent Bloc Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, my colleague talks about prevention, but I do not see how we can do effective prevention before our Canadian Forces troops get to a theatre of operations. We can train them all we like, but how can we prepare them for a bomb that explodes next to them and kills two of their best friends? How do we prepare them to be taken prisoner and be tortured? How do we prepare them for such things and ensure that treatment is available for them when they return home? How can we understand them?

He mentioned Australia. I was at the committee meeting and I did not see how Australia was doing more than Canada, which is doing nothing at all. There is no follow-up support for veterans. When people leave the army, there is no follow-up. No one knows where they are or what state of health they are in.

I would like to know what my colleague thinks of these statements and what he would propose so we can ensure more consistent follow-up for veterans.

Enhanced New Veterans Charter ActGovernment Orders

3:55 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I believe we can learn from individuals who have gone through those experiences in a foreign country. We have the capability and many able-minded individuals within the profession of psychiatry, and more, who are able to develop programs that better enable a person to adapt.

Australia has invested time, energy and resources to pre-deployment courses. There is no statistical evidence because it is still somewhat new, but at least the government in Australia has recognized the value of providing pre-deployment courses. I would like to see more of that done for our troops.

I believe that we can benefit if we equip our people physically and mentally when they go into war-torn countries where there is civil unrest.

Enhanced New Veterans Charter ActGovernment Orders

3:55 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, this bill is extremely important and I am looking forward to a significant representation at committee of stakeholder groups to deal with these issues. It is very difficult for us here to appreciate the situations that people are in and I encourage the committee to do that.

One issue that comes up from time to time is the type of disabilities we are talking about. Neurological diseases seem to be orphans in this regard. To the extent that a veteran develops ALS, MS or even battle fatigue syndrome, which could very well be a permanent impairment, these are situations that Canadians would like us to look at and address in a fashion which is sensitive to the realities that these people were protecting Canadians' rights.

Does the member think that we need to be open to more suggestions from those involved on how to properly and sensitively address the issue of disabled veterans?