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House of Commons Hansard #145 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was libya.

Topics

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

Liberal

Jean-Claude D'Amours Liberal Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Newfoundland and Labrador for his comment and question.

Indeed, that is exactly the way things are. It has now become clear that the Conservatives are masters in the art of complicating the uncomplicated, when all Canadians want is results. And yet there are no results. As I mentioned, this could have been resolved in September. It probably could have been addressed in June, had there been the political will to do so, when my colleague from the Toronto region introduced his private member's bill. The matter could have been settled expeditiously on June 16. It was an important issue, but the Conservatives are masters in the art of complication. All the while, it is Canadians who pay the price and end up being not as well protected. It is not difficult to see where Liberal and Conservative Party members differ, and this is all the more evident when it comes to the Conservative government, which has a knack for making life complicated for itself and, ultimately, for Canadians.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Volpe Liberal Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, I could not let this pass without thanking my colleague from Madawaska—Restigouche for giving me such credit. I will return the compliment by complimenting his constituents on having such a great member of Parliament.

My colleague has pointed to a very important issue in this bill. There are three grave shortcomings in the legislation. First, Mr. Chen and others like him were victims of a criminal act. Second, they became victims of the law and the way it was applied. Third, they became victims of government indifference at their own cost in order to rectify an unjust situation.

Knowing that my colleague has been at the forefront of a movement in this place to bring to account both the government and its agents of Parliament, some of them have become agents of the government rather than agents of Parliament, and because he is familiar with hush money put aside for one particular individual, I wonder if he thinks that this might not be yet another case where the government, instead of putting forward hush money, it actually contributed to the cost of having had Mr. Chen proceed through the courts in order to establish the principle of a citizen's arrest under reasonable grounds.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

Liberal

Jean-Claude D'Amours Liberal Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, I would once again like to thank my Liberal colleague. Quite clearly, had the Conservative government got its priorities straight, rather than negotiating a half-million dollars in severance pay for the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner, it could have focused on coming up with solutions regarding Mr. Chen and his specific situation.

My colleague is right. Mr. Chen was battling a criminal. He then had to battle a particular piece of legislation and ultimately—and this is the worst part—contend with a government that deliberately threw a monkey wrench into the works with the aim of making the process grind to a halt, only to ultimately devise pretexts to get the ball rolling again.

However, as I said, instead of hammering out a half-million-dollar deal with the former Public Sector Integrity Commissioner, why did the government not instead focus on coming up with solutions for individuals like Mr. Chen?

Why did the government not choose to back my colleague, the member for Eglinton—Lawrence, to advance his cause? That would have benefited all Canadians, even though it was perhaps not advantageous for the Conservatives at the time.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Cardin Bloc Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am obviously pleased to be speaking today. This may be the last time we see each other before the upcoming election.

Bill C-60, as it is called by the government, has to do with self-defence and citizen's arrest. These are fundamental aspects of our everyday lives, but they can also involve diverse and extreme situations. How do we interpret legislation like this? How do we determine how far people can go in defending themselves and making arrests?

To give you a little background, the legislative summary of Bill C-60 states the following:

This enactment amends the Criminal Code to enable a person who owns or has lawful possession of property, or persons authorized by them, to arrest within a reasonable time a person whom they find committing a criminal offence on or in relation to that property. It also amends the Criminal Code to simplify the provisions relating to the defences of property and persons.

The bill significantly broadens the notion of self-defence and slightly broadens that of citizen's arrest. As I said earlier, the question revolves around the scope of these two notions, how this can be interpreted or how far people can go. Should we be setting the stage for abuse that is not prescribed and certainly not desired: abuse of the ability to defend oneself or abuse of the ability to make a citizen's arrest? Regardless, every person in our society should expect to have the full use of their property without having someone try to steal from them. That is obvious. Every person in our society should also expect to be able to move freely without worrying about being attacked and put in danger.

If someone tries to rob you, that is one thing. If someone tries to physically attack you, that is another thing. In these two cases, there are also elements that dictate how far we can go. That is why the Bloc would like to examine Bill C-60 in committee. It has to do with self-defence, which is a very sensitive and important subject.

For the Bloc Québécois, people have a basic right to defend themselves and their property within reasonable limits. This is already the case under the current legislation, but it is too restrictive. We are therefore in favour of a statutory amendment to allow honest citizens to defend themselves and their property or defend other people. However, we do not want to see an increase in the amount of violence in our societies. Quebec must not become the far west of old. Everybody would lose.

Some provisions are disturbing and could result sooner or later in situations that no one wants to see. We are therefore eager to study this bill in committee.

I am not a lawyer. I am not an expert in crime and certainly not a criminologist, but when this bill refers to defence of property or self-defence, certain things come to mind. For example, it was said that people could not use excessive force, or more force than necessary, to defend themselves or their property.

I have also heard it said that people could be prosecuted and sentenced for failing to assist someone in danger. When we speak about defending others, the following questions arise. What is excessive force when I am protecting my property? What is the extent of my responsibility to assist others in danger? There is my responsibility, but there is also my ability to do something. The context is important and must be specified, if we want to avoid excesses in either direction.

On February 17, the government introduced a bill broadening the concepts of self-defence and citizen’s arrest, especially to protect one’s property. This bill was in reaction to an incident that occurred in Toronto, where a shopkeeper was arrested and charged for having captured and detained a man who had stolen from him. The public was outraged by this arrest of an honest citizen, who had requested police help several times without always receiving it. In Toronto, and in Quebec as well, many people have the feeling—it is just a feeling, but it is an important factor nonetheless—that criminals are mollycoddled and the law does more to protect them than to protect honest citizens.

It is not surprising that the hon. members for Trinity—Spadina and Eglinton—Lawrence introduced bills to broaden the concept of citizen's arrest. However, these two bills only slightly broadened the notion of citizen's arrest whereas Bill C-60 substantially broadens the notion of self-defence.

As for citizen's arrest, Bill C-60 would amend the law to allow a property owner to make an arrest. Basically, a property owner would be given the right to arrest, within a reasonable time, a criminal who committed an offence, if the property owner has reasonable grounds to believe that it would not be possible for a peace officer to make an arrest under the circumstances.

Bill C-60 does not make many changes with regard to citizen's arrest, even though that is the pretext for the bill, but it makes sweeping changes with regard to self-defence. It takes away the requirement of necessity—the requirement of not killing an attacker unless absolutely necessary—and adds the possibility to defend oneself in reaction to a threat without defining what type of threat is likely to lead to legal violence. That is why I referred to determining the amount of force that can be used for self-defence and to the ability to defend oneself. Either way, we need to evaluate the ability to defend oneself as well as the force that can be used in these kinds of circumstances.

One potential concern about citizen's arrests is that the amendment could be misunderstood and things could get out of hand. In fact, Halifax's deputy chief of police has suggested that the federal government urge caution in the use of citizen's arrest. This is not only to ensure that a well-intentioned person does not commit a crime, but also to remind people that an arrest involves risks and that an ordinary person is not as likely as a police officer to be able to get control of someone who has committed a crime.

I would like to use the minute I have left to repeat what I said earlier, which is that everyone has the right to possess property without the fear of having it stolen from them by other people, and everyone should be able to live freely and without fear in our society. For this to happen, we need a responsible government that can ensure prevention, information and rehabilitation. This comes by integrating people socially and economically into society.

It was surprising that people did not resort to looting in Japan, which has suffered such terrible catastrophes, although that is often what happens here in North American society.

Thus, this happens through education, prevention and rehabilitation.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, during the debate a lot of concerns have been expressed about the concept of what constitutes reasonable time and reasonable force.

These elements tend to beg the question of how an ordinary citizen is supposed to understand the concepts involved, and there is a possibility that what we may in fact be doing is opening up a situation where people will simply understand that they can arrest someone without knowing or being able to make that judgment. When these incidents occur, they are usually instantaneous opportunities.

I wonder if the member has heard any of these concerns and the need for clarification of reasonable time and reasonable force in the legislation.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Cardin Bloc Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, the very essence of my speech was clearly about our concerns regarding the fact that the use of force is open to interpretation and regarding the reasonable time. I find it hard to imagine someone who is robbed, or the victim of an attempted robbery, spending the rest of his days trying to track down and arrest the robber, and physically defending himself under all kinds of pretexts.

We must be very careful about how this bill is implemented. Above all, the public must clearly understand that these interventions have time limits, of course, but also limits in terms of the amount of force that can be used, whether during a theft or a physical assault, very simply.

The Bloc has said so again and again: we want this bill to be examined in committee to measure its impact and the potential that the public could misinterpret what it is allowed to do.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Volpe Liberal Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the member for Sherbrooke because, just like the members for Richmond—Arthabaska and Saint-Jean, he got right into the details. They have shown the courage and the will to resolve the problem with the principle of this bill.

I want to ask my colleague from Sherbrooke a different question if I can. In this instance we have at least one individual who was engaged in court action to defend his person and property against the very court system that was put in place to defend him. All the while the government knew that he had a very solid position, as evidenced by the court in the month of October.

In fact, the Minister of Justice stood here in front of all his colleagues and said that in the fall of 2009 he had already reached an agreement with the attorneys general of all the provinces, including the province where Monsieur Chen had found himself before the court, that they would change the law in the same way that my colleague from Trinity—Spadina and I had already proposed.

Does he not think there should be a political willingness to do justice and to help the victim by reimbursing him for the thousands of dollars he had to spend?

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Cardin Bloc Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, obviously when a citizen is wronged and this results in significant expenses, everyone tends to think that they should receive some compensation. I would like to come back to the idea of necessary force, whether in the event of a theft or personal and physical attack.

Will we go so far as to consider someone innocent if they shoot a thief over a bag of chips? There are limits. We must create very specific limits. The use of force to protect property or to defend oneself against a physical attack remains a grey area and it must be clarified.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Shawn Murphy Liberal Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to stand in the House this afternoon to say a few words in this debate.

It is an interesting debate that I have been following very closely. It really blends in the issues that have been around a long time. First is the issue of self-defence. In other words, a resident of Canada has the basic right to protect his or her person, family or property and use whatever reasonable force is necessary, depending on the circumstances.

It follows in the continuum to the next issue of the right of someone to make a citizen's arrest. Generally, the law has been that a citizen's arrest is made during the commission of an offence. If we move along the continuum, we get into the whole issue of vigilantism, where someone or a group of people takes the law into its own hands. Of course, that principle is not supported in a free and democratic society.

This legislation arose from the case of Mr. Chen in Toronto. Certainly, no Canadian I have ever spoken to or heard from has expressed anything but support for Mr. Chen and the circumstances he found himself in. He obviously is a small business person who works hard, plays by the rules, pays his taxes and was the victim of a crime.

Unfortunately, he was not able to effect a citizen's arrest but did identify the victim. Lo and behold, a day or two after the commission of the original offence, the offender reappeared at Mr. Chen's place of business and the latter then effected a citizen's arrest. Unfortunately, at one point it looked as though he would be subject to sanctions from the authorities. Certainly every Canadian did not agree with that position, which was unfortunate, and the response has been overwhelming.

Since then, there have been a number of private members' bills and Bill C-60. This legislation would change the statute, but not substantially. Rather, it would broaden the statute and add the concept of a citizen's arrest being made not only on the commission of the offence but also on a reasonable time thereafter. Of course, that begs the question, which other members have spoken to, of what is a reasonable time.

At first blush, I believe most members of Parliament support this legislation, and I support it and its referral to committee. It is important to get this legislation to committee so that committee members can hear from some police officers, criminologists and experts who deal with this issue on a day-to-day basis.

It will be a very interesting debate in the committee and perhaps the committee will decide at the end of the day after hearing witnesses that the law does not require any changes, but it would appear now that there seems to be a fairly broad level of support for this particular initiative. I support it very cautiously, and I certainly will be deferring to others who are more knowledgeable in this area than I am and will be following the debate in committee very closely.

We get into this whole issue of what is reasonable. Do not forget that if anyone is ever charged with the offence of unlawful arrest, the Crown would have to be in a position to prove that offence beyond a reasonable doubt, which is an extremely high threshold. We could envisage all sorts of circumstances where a person or child was offended, assaulted or whatever, and then two weeks, three months or six months later, he or she decides to make an arrest without the powers, authority and respect that peace officers have.

That would lead to the next question of whether the person making the so-called citizen's arrest is entitled to use whatever reasonable force is necessary in the circumstances. Is he or she allowed to enter a private dwelling? Is he or she allowed to go to the person's workplace? There are some issues that will be given a full airing when the matter goes before the committee.

Again, it is extremely interesting. It is an issue that members should proceed cautiously on and whether the law requires tweaking or amendment, I believe, should be considered after the committee has had a good, long, hard look at this particular legislation.

As I said before, I will be voting for this legislation when it comes up for a vote at second reading and I will be following the issue extremely carefully before committee.

That basically concludes my remarks. I have summarized where I stand on the particular issue. It is an interesting issue that requires a little more discussion, review and analysis when it does go before committee.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Volpe Liberal Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate and respect the erudite position put forward by my colleague, who is steeped in law and has great courtroom experience. However, I want to take him to the other issue that has arisen as a result of Bill C-60.

He has followed the debate. He knows that the government did not act, as it promised, back in 2009. Then we found out in this debate that the Minister of Justice had actually struck an agreement with his provincial counterparts, including the one in the province where the David Chen case arose. The minister knew then that the case would not be decided negatively and waited while Mr. Chen ran up legal bills in the tens of thousands of dollars to protect his person and property. He knew that and wanted to ensure that the courts reinforced the decision that all the attorneys general had already struck.

I would like the member from Charlottetown to give his perspective on how expenses should be dealt with in all fairness when a private citizen is subject to the courts so that the government can accomplish its objective of testing something that it should already have done on its own and on which it already knew what the result would be. What is his view on that?

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Shawn Murphy Liberal Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, as the member for Eglinton—Lawrence indicated, this is an unusual set of circumstances. The member is quite right that this was apparently discussed by the Attorney General and his provincial counterparts previously and that there was an agreement made to do nothing. Then the incident with Mr. Chen arose and, of course, there was an overwhelming national outcry about his being sanctioned. It makes one wonder why the police officers or the crown prosecutors did not have the wisdom to see where this would lead and head it off at the pass. That, unfortunately, did not matter.

The member's question deals with restitution. I will leave that to the committee as it is a complicated area. It gets into whose responsibility is it. Is it Ottawa's or the provinces? We do not know all of the facts now, but I know Mr. Chen incurred substantial bills. The Canadian public certainly sympathizes with him and I believe it wants to see him get restitution, but we should leave that to the committee and let it have a full hearing on this very interesting and important issue.

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

There will be two minutes remaining for questions and comments after question period. We will now move on to statements by members.

Democratic DevelopmentStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Liberal Laval—Les Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, on March 20, the whole world celebrated La Francophonie. Today we mark the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Unfortunately, the Conservative government has ignored these two events.

Canada has cut funding for Canadian organizations that work to promote democracy, and has abandoned the project that was to create an agency to promote democracy abroad.

In the current international context, African countries, including some that belong to La Francophonie, are most in need of help with creating and strengthening their democracies.

The government's lack of action suggests a withdrawal from the international Francophonie and a policy that discriminates against Africa, made worse by the removal of many African countries from the international priority list for assistance.

I am asking the Conservatives to stop this discriminatory policy and to free up the money required to respect the commitments that have already been made to democratic development.

Jean NeveuStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Daniel Paillé Bloc Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, he was “a force of nature, as if he came out of a Gilles Vigneault song.” He was a great citizen who was remarkably generous and tremendously approachable. He was a Quebecker who loved his country. That is how the president and CEO of Quebecor, Pierre-Karl Péladeau, described Jean Neveu, one of the builders of the company.

Jean Neveu was strong-willed, brave, genuine and sometimes even shy and uncertain. This is how people perceived this man who was so well loved and respected. I knew and worked with this great man.

He passed away quietly and suddenly but his passing caused a shock wave among his family, friends, colleagues and employees. Let us honour him in the House and let Doris, her children and grandchildren know how much we care.

Good-bye Jean. Say hello to Mr. P. for me.

Women of VisionStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, for the last 16 years, Edmonton's Global Television network has showcased local women of vision whose vision and leadership enrich our lives and community. One of the 2010 honoured women of vision is Edmonton—Strathcona resident and acclaimed writer, poet, and teacher, Shirley Serviss.

Shirley is a very special kind of poet. Not content with publishing award-winning poetry, she is Canada's first literary artist of Artist on the Wards, a unique arts therapy program. Over the past decade, the poetry lady, as she is dubbed, has pushed her cart and supplies through the wards engaging patients in the University of Alberta hospital in writing to ease the stress of their illness. Shirley writes poems on demand and encourages patients to write their own. Her third collection of poetry, Hitchhiking in the Hospital, was inspired by her work on the wards.

Shirley's efforts for others do not end there. She is leading Artists Urban Village, the Edmonton chapter of a national initiative for affordable housing and workspace to support the careers of low-income and aging artists. She is just one of the many extraordinary women of Edmonton.

CurlingStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, a week ago Sunday, four outstanding curlers competed to win the National Men's Curling Championship held in London, Ontario. The win is a victory for all Canadians but particularly for those who hail from their home province of Manitoba.

Though a tough match, Jeff Stoughton led his team of Jonathan Mead, Reid Carruthers and Steve Gould to an 8-6 victory over Ontario's Glenn Howard. The Stoughton foursome shot 96% in the Brier final, the highest team percentage in the history of the championship game and the second highest in the history of the entire event. They made all Manitobans proud by making every big shot out there, giving Manitoba its record 27th Brier, the most of any province.

All Canadians can be proud of their efforts and those of all provincial teams who competed in this truly Canadian event.

I ask all members of Parliament to join me in congratulating Team Stoughton for a fantastic Brier win and to wish them success as they represent Canada at the World Men's Curling Championship in Regina from April 2 to 10.

NowruzStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Martha Hall Findlay Liberal Willowdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to wish all Canadians who are celebrating Nowruz all the best in the year ahead.

The passing of the vernal equinox is a sign of rebirth and awakening of nature, a moment of renewal that celebrates life. As we celebrate this time, we are given the opportunity to reflect and give thanks for past blessings and look forward to the hard work that we as members of Parliament will continue to do to help build a society that is inclusive of all its members.

At this time of renewal, I wish everyone a year filled with happiness and success. As members of Parliament, we should do everything we can to ensure that this new year provides opportunities for everyone.

I ask my colleagues in the House to join me in wishing everyone health, happiness and success for the new year.

[Member spoke in Farsi]

[English]

Ontario Expropriations ActStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Conservative Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington, ON

Mr. Speaker, under Ontario's Expropriations Act, if the province takes away people's land it must pay them full, just and timely compensation. The province must pay the market value of the land, plus moving costs, et cetera.

However, if the government places restrictions on the use of people's land or requires them to make large expenditures to continue using their land as they always have, they get no compensation, even if compliance with the new rules financially ruins them. That is why MPP Randy Hillier and I have introduced identical resolutions in the Commons and at Queen's Park to extend these compensation rules to all actions of the Ontario government that devalue property by depriving landowners of the full use and enjoyment of their land.

If passed in both places, this resolution would add property rights for Ontarians to Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms and it would ensure that the costs of new rules intended for the benefit of all would be borne by all Ontario taxpayers and not just by the unfortunate landowners whose rights to use or enjoy their property have been restricted.

Aboriginal AffairsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Yvon Lévesque Bloc Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, QC

Mr. Speaker, given that this is nutrition month, it is shocking to learn that the government insists upon implementing the Nutrition North Canada program, which is at the root of the food crisis currently affecting isolated communities. The purpose of the program is to help give families access to healthy food. However, it has done the opposite by driving up prices.

The Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and the Minister of Health, who is an Inuk herself, have been blindly obeying their leader, while their colleague from Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean has been making a mess of things because he knows absolutely nothing about this issue.

The government led us to believe that it had got the message but it was all a sham. The government demonstrated its cynicism by restoring the items to the list of foods that will be subsidized until fall 2012, which only puts off the problem.

This government signed the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and yet it lacks consideration for Canada's northern communities. It is sad and, above all, shameful.

JapanStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Nina Grewal Conservative Fleetwood—Port Kells, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is with sadness that I offer my condolences to those who have lost friends and relatives in the Japan earthquake, its aftershocks and the tsunami. My thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by this terrible disaster.

I was born in Japan and spent my early childhood living there. My father worked in Japan for many years. The news of the earthquake, loss of life and destruction have left both of us heartbroken as we think of those many Japanese friends and their wonderful country.

Japan has been struck by this tragedy greatly and needs all the support it can get. I know that Canadians are very compassionate and are willing to help whenever possible. Already, the Government of Canada is doing its part but everyday citizens can also assist. The best way for Canadians to help is to donate money. I ask everyone to please do so now and to please be generous.

LibyaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Bryon Wilfert Liberal Richmond Hill, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week, the international community spoke with a united voice to take action to protect the Libyan people from the Gadhafi regime. Despite the UN resolution, Gadhafi has continued to kill his own people.

The Liberal Party of Canada has been calling for a no-fly zone since the Libyan crisis began as a means to live up to our responsibility to protect. It is a shame that Canada is not a member of the Security Council, as we could have then cast a vote in favour of this historic resolution.

In keeping with the Security Council resolution, the Liberal Party supports Canada's participation in this operation. However, Parliament must also have a say in this and other combat operations. We expect the government to consult Parliament on this decision. We also want the government's commitment to obtain Parliament's approval if it plans to extend this deployment beyond three months.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the brave members of our Canadian Forces as they embark on a dangerous mission in the defence of the people of Libya.

International Day of La FrancophonieStatements By Members

March 21st, 2011 / 2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Sylvie Boucher Conservative Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, 41 years ago, in 1970, in Niamey, Niger, Canada played an active role in the founding of La Francophonie. In honour of that occasion, yesterday, on Sunday, March 20, Canada and the other members of La Francophonie celebrated International Day of La Francophonie.

French is spoken by more than 9.5 million Canadians and has played an important role in our history, our identity and our daily lives. As our Prime Minister often reminds us, Canada was founded in the language of Molière—in French.

French is still spoken in many communities in our country, from Acadians in the Maritimes, to Ontario and Saskatchewan. Of course, our language remains a strong symbol of our identity in all regions of Quebec, as in my riding, Beauport—Limoilou.

Salaries of CEOsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Jim Maloway NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, according to Maclean's magazine, in the 12 year period between 1995 and 2007 there has been a 444% salary increase for the highest paid CEOs in Canada.

The following are just a few examples of how profits of millions of Canadian shareholders were spent. In 1995, the CEO for the Royal Bank received $2.2 million and in 2007, it was over $44 million. In 1995, the CEO for Petro-Canada received $1.3 million and in 2007, it was $17 million. In 1995, the CEO of Air Canada received under $2 million and in 2007, the CEO for ACE Aviation, which owned Air Canada, made $43 million.

It is time that the millions of ordinary Canadian shareholders are protected from such outrageous executive compensation and that CEO compensation be approved directly by a two-thirds vote of the shareholders who own the companies.

Liberal Party of CanadaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, last week, the Liberals revealed that they have not dropped their plan to impose a carbon tax. Their spokesperson, the member for Kings—Hants, said:

A carbon tax is not a left-wing or a right-wing policy, it’s simply a sensible, pragmatic, courageous [policy].

We should make no mistake. The Liberal leader has a plan to raise taxes. He is openly calling for a $6 billion tax hike. He is demanding that this tax hike be included in the next budget or he will force an expensive and completely unnecessary election.

Now, he is bringing back the Liberal carbon tax on everything. However, Canadians should not be surprised. After all, the Liberal leader has been called the “father” of the carbon tax.

Sadly, the Liberal leader's high tax agenda will stall our recovery, kill jobs and hurt ordinary, hard-working Canadians.

In contrast, our government continues to focus on completing Canada's economic recovery and implementing our low tax plan for Canadian families.

JapanStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Jean Dorion Bloc Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebeckers, like all Canadians, share in the pain of the Japanese people as our friends in that nation have faced challenges over the past 10 days.

Since I have personal and family ties to this country, where I had the privilege of living for six years, on behalf of the Bloc Québécois—but I think this also reflects the sentiment of the House—I would like to offer our sympathies to the people of Japan and also express our admiration for their dignity and discipline in the face of these catastrophes. Japan has once again displayed its distinctive characteristics: solidarity, discipline and integrity.

To the people of Japan, its diplomatic representatives and to our citizens of Japanese descent, instead of wishing you good luck or wishing you well, I would like to share a saying in Japanese that reflects the importance of work in this country's culture: Ganbatte kudasai, or do your best.