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House of Commons Hansard #146 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-12.

Topics

Democratic Representation ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Keith Martin Liberal Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask my friend and all Bloc members through him, if he thinks that a much larger problem is not the redistribution or the increase in numbers in this House, but empowering members of Parliament to be able to represent their constituents and to deal with the democratic deficit that has been around for a few decades but worsening over the last few years?

Does the member think that empowering members of Parliament would enable us to invigorate our public, to get them engaged in the public process, to improve public engagement on the development of policy? Does the member not think that is a much more fundamental challenge to the democracy of our country than changing the number of seats we have in this House?

Democratic Representation ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, I think that is another debate. My colleague is partly right. We need only look at how the Conservative Party is making changes to parliamentary democracy. That would be worthy of a debate.

However, one thing is certain: Quebeckers, represented by the Bloc Québécois and the Quebec National Assembly—which passed a unanimous motion calling on the government to not change electoral representation in Canada—deserve to have all parties in this House respect the will of the Quebec National Assembly, which is asking the government not to tamper with Quebec's representation in this House.

Democratic Representation ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Brome—Missisquoi has the floor for a very quick question or comment.

Democratic Representation ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Christian Ouellet Bloc Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would just like to ask my colleague from Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel if he thinks this bill is only about the numbers. Is this democracy based on numbers, as in the United States, rather than on values, nations and communities, as in Europe?

Democratic Representation ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, my colleague is right, especially given that Quebec's representation has not always been based on its population. I mentioned years in which Quebec had a far larger population than its number of seats in this House reflected, and we accepted that. Now, it is time that the rest of Canada respected Quebec, as Quebec has always respected Canada. We are asking the members of the other parties in this House to respect Quebeckers and not reduce their political clout.

HockeyvilleStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Gord Brown Conservative Leeds—Grenville, ON

Mr. Speaker, for months now communities across Canada have been competing for the coveted title of Hockeyville 2011. The preliminary votes are in and on Saturday night, during Hockey Night in Canada, we learned that Wolfe Island in the riding of Kingston and the Islands is among the final five.

Krafty, the Hockeyville wolf and some 300 islanders gathered in the Wolfe Island volunteer fire department hall this past Saturday to watch the results come in. The hall burst into cheers of joy and excitement when they heard that Wolfe Island received the third most votes in the country to become the national finalist from Ontario. With over 265,000 votes, Wolfe Island is proving that it is a strong contender for this year's Hockeyville title.

Finally, I would like to congratulate the Wolfe Island Kraft Hockeyville committee which is busy planning for a celebration on April 2 when the winner of the 2011 Hockeyville will be announced.

Wolfe Island for Kraft Hockeyville, the puck stops here.

Jewish RefugeesStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, today I rise to acknowledge an issue that has not been discussed much in this House or by the current government: the plight of Jewish refugees from Arab lands, not only the forgotten exodus but also the forced exodus.

Following the United Nations partition resolution of November 29, 1947, and over the following decades, approximately 850,000 Jews were uprooted and displaced from Arab countries.

In 1945, there were around 900,000 Jews living in the Arab world. Today, there are fewer than 8,000.

It has been documented that state-sanctioned repression and persecution in Arab countries targeted Jewish populations and led to the anti-Jewish pogroms. This is a story that must be acknowledged and must be repeated.

As my colleague from Mount Royal has said:

Where there is no remembrance, there is no truth; where there is no truth, there will be no justice; where there is no justice, there will be no reconciliation; and where there is no reconciliation, there will be no peace - which we all seek.

Jean-Luc LabrecqueStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Diane Bourgeois Bloc Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to Jean-Luc Labrecque, a city councillor in Terrebonne and the president of the Association québécoise du transport intermunicipal et municipal. For over 20 years, Mr. Labrecque has been devoting himself to promoting sustainable development and the use of public transit.

Mr. Labrecque's exemplary commitment has been recognized by Transport 2000 Québec, which awarded him the Guy Chartrand prize in the “outstanding individual in public transit” category. Created in 2005, this honour recognizes the achievements and contribution of individuals who play a role in the creation and implementation of a sustainable transportation policy for Quebec.

On behalf of my Bloc Québécois colleagues, I wish to congratulate Mr. Labrecque and thank him for his commitment to our community. We are privileged to be able to count on someone of his stature and we appreciate his efforts to move the Quebec nation towards a greener future.

The BudgetStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

John Rafferty NDP Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

Mr. Speaker, the contents of the federal budget are secret for good reason. Knowing where $300 billion of public money is being spent is valuable information.

A reporter once leaked details of the federal budget and was charged with possession of stolen goods.

Recently, a Conservative staffer was caught red-handed shopping around budget information to lobbyists for his own financial gain.

Just three days ago, someone from the office of the science and technology minister contacted the newsroom at the Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal directly and released specific details of budget items.

It gets worse.

Local Conservative candidates, with no security clearance and no accountability, also leaked budget details this week and have tried to use this information for electoral gain.

Who else knows the contents of the budget? Conservative donors? Lobbyists? And are the Conservatives giving this information away or are they selling it?

Should these leaks be proven true, I will be asking the RCMP to investigate this Conservative government, once again.

The EconomyStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Andrew Saxton Conservative North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, members of the government have said repeatedly that we do not want an unnecessary election. We want to focus on the economy. We want Canadians to keep their jobs and we want the fruits of their labour to stay in their pockets.

Canadians, including those in my riding of North Vancouver, have been clear. They have said plainly that they want their government to focus on creating jobs and protecting the economy, not wasting millions on an unnecessary and costly election.

Will the opposition stop playing their partisan and political games, and do the right thing: stand up for Canadians, support the budget, and help get Canadians back to work?

World Water DayStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, today is World Water Day, a day to reflect on a resource we too often take for granted, a day to reaffirm our commitment to water as a public good.

There are over one billion people in the world without access to safe drinking water. Over 2.5 billion lack access to proper sanitation. Contaminated water kills over two million people annually, the majority of them children. One-half of the world's hospital beds are occupied by patients suffering from water-borne diseases.

In Canada, too many first nations must cope with having to boil their water before drinking it.

We need to pay more attention to our domestic freshwater supplies. For example, whether the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence River, or Lake Winnipeg, the federal government has not focused enough on these world-renowned water bodies.

The responsible stewardship of this fundamental resource requires that we prevent water from becoming a private good.

Water is vital to human health, to the integrity of our ecosystems, and to the strength of our economy. We need federal leadership on the issue of water. We need a true national water vision.

The EconomyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Greg Rickford Conservative Kenora, ON

Mr. Speaker, communities across northern Ontario are telling us they are benefiting from Canada's economic action plan.

It appears that NDP MPs in northern Ontario agree. In a recent mailout, the MP for Thunder Bay—Superior North said:

Not only is it creating jobs and stimulating our economy, the funding is retraining workers, improving water quality, supporting our artists and fixing our roads.

Imagine that.

In a recent letter to the editor of the Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal, a constituent questioned her MP taking credit for this government's work. It is perplexing.

The NDP have consistently voted against Canada's economic action plan and strategically against other important legislation like repealing the long gun registry.

I am confident the next phase of Canada's economic action plan will continue to benefit the people of northern Ontario in a number of key areas. It is time their MPs put the interests of northern Ontario first and support the next phase of Canada's economic action plan.

Luc PicardStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, Luc Picard has been named the Richelieu LaSalle Club's Francophonie personality of the year for 2011.

This honour was bestowed on him in recognition of the role he plays in promoting French language and culture and for his commitment to Quebec's young people. In honour of this occasion, a donation will also be made to the Regroupement des Maisons de jeunes du Québec, a group sponsored by Luc Picard.

Without a doubt, his prolific career and his social commitment make this actor a well-rounded and unique human being. He has appeared on television, on stage and in film and is also a director and writer. His first television role in the series Omertà, la loi du silence quickly made him known and loved by the Quebec public. He has been an outstanding personality in the arts world ever since. He is socially involved, supporting the Regroupement des Maisons de jeunes du Québec. He is a staunch sovereignist and was a spokesperson for Development and Peace.

The Bloc Québécois is proud to acknowledge this honour and wants to congratulate Luc Picard.

Global Transportation HubStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Andrew Scheer Conservative Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

Mr. Speaker, last week the Government of Canada delivered support for Regina's newest transportation facility. The funds went to help aggressively market the global transportation hub to attract new investments in Saskatchewan.

Increased trade and investment with emerging economies in the Asia-Pacific region means there are growing opportunities for the global transportation hub in Regina since it combines rail, truck, and air cargo facilities.

The federal government's contribution will enable the transportation hub to brand itself as an attractive destination for international business and investment.

The project will also highlight the Regina area as an important transportation hub along major North American shipping routes and as a link into the Asia-Pacific region.

It is estimated that this project will help the global transportation hub authority attract up to $300 million in new investments to Saskatchewan and create up to 500 jobs.

I have been proud to work with municipal leaders, the business community in southern Saskatchewan, and the provincial government on this important project.

Thanks to this kind of forward-thinking from Saskatchewan entrepreneurs and community leaders, we have a new economic engine that is already bringing jobs to Regina.

Chinese CanadiansStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Liberal Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am very proud of the work SFU's David Lam Centre, named after the much admired late Lieutenant Governor of B.C., David Lam, has done to educate and celebrate the many ways in which Chinese Canadians have enriched our country.

A group led by Dr. Paul Crowe of the David Lam Centre and David Choi of the SFU Chinese-Canadian Heritage Fund has produced a commemorative and educational chronology of Chinese Canadian history entitled “From Segregation to Integration” in English, French and Chinese.

This chronology, digitized by SFU and UBC, will be launched in Toronto on April 15 and will be available to the public.

Chinese Canadians have made Canada their home for the last 223 years. It is their story, our story, that will be captured and exhibited by this project, bringing to life the early Chinese settlers, including railway workers and veterans, and their struggles, sacrifices and contributions to nation building in Canada.

We are all very proud of the contributions of Chinese Canadians to the building of this country.

The EconomyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Earl Dreeshen Conservative Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, while the global economic recovery is still fragile and our trading partners are still struggling, our Conservative government is focused on Canadians' top priority: jobs and the economy.

Our Conservative government is fighting for hard-working Canadians and their families. The next phase of Canada's economic action plan is critically important to Canada's economic recovery.

A low tax plan is of critical importance to the financial security of Canadian families. Our Conservative government is focused on completing Canada's economic recovery and implementing our low tax plan for Canadian families.

Meanwhile, the Liberals, and the NDP and Bloc coalition partners are putting their political ambitions ahead of Canadians' financial security. The reckless political opportunism will force an unnecessary election, Canada's fourth in just seven years.

Our Conservative government's focus remains on hard-working Canadians and their families notwithstanding the political opportunism of the Liberal leader and his coalition partners.

Government AccountabilityStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Wayne Marston NDP Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government and the Prime Minister must remember that under our parliamentary system the Prime Minister is not all-powerful.

The Prime Minister is like the CEO of a company with Parliament as its board of directors. As with any company, it is the job of Parliament to protect the interests of the shareholders, who, in this case, are the Canadian people.

Mr. Speaker, you have ruled against the Conservative government on four separate occasions. Just yesterday, a House committee released a report declaring that the government should be found in contempt of Parliament for withholding important information concerning the cost of its programs.

Were Canada a company and the CEO tried to withhold from the board of directors important information of the organization's operating costs, the CEO would soon find himself threatened with his job.

Shortly, Canadians may well be going to the polls and I believe they will show this Prime Minister who the boss really is.

Regional DevelopmentStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, our Conservative government has made massive investments in all regions of Quebec. Whether it is $7.6 billion in equalization payments, more than $42 billion in tax reductions for Quebec taxpayers, $2.1 billion for our universities, or $3 billion for Quebec infrastructure, we deliver the goods. However, the Liberal-Bloc coalition opposes all these measures and votes against Quebec.

This afternoon, the Minister of Finance will table the second phase of our economic action plan. Will the Bloc members continue to sit on their hands? Will the Bloc members again abandon Quebeckers? Will the Bloc members abandon our youth, seniors and workers?

Fortunately, instead of the Bloc's blackmail, Quebeckers can count on the Conservative members to rise and say yes for Quebec.

Government AdvertisingStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Vincent Bloc Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, during the meeting of the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates that was held just before the break, we learned from witnesses from the Treasury Board Secretariat and Public Works and Government Services Canada that no one in these departments had any say about the content of the government advertising.

I find it unbelievable that all these communications specialists were unable to do their jobs—everything was decided by the ministers, led by the Prime Minister, and then approved by the Privy Council Office if necessary.

We know that the development of these government advertisements had to support the Conservatives' priorities. This partisan exercise in self-promotion denounced by all the opposition parties cost taxpayers a mere $136.3 million in 2009-10, and that is not counting the contract with Cossette Communication Group, which is, of course, a secret.

It is time to put an end to the Conservatives' all-you-can-eat buffet approach to spending public funds.

The EconomyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Massimo Pacetti Liberal Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, QC

Mr. Speaker, as the finance minister tables his budget today I would like to remind the opposition parties and all Canadians of how history has proven over and over again that one cannot trust anything he says.

Since the time when he was the Ontario finance minister for the Harris government, he has done nothing but make false statements about how he left the province deficit free. However, when the Liberal government took power, it discovered an exorbitant deficit of $5.6 billion.

In 2007 he said there would be no recession. A few months later, Canada was hit with one of the worst economic downturns in history.

He said there would be no deficit. But then he plunged Canada into a deficit even before the recession began. All this led us to a historic $100 billion deficit.

He talks about austerity in spending, meanwhile his wastefulness and poor fiscal management has driven up government spending by 18%.

He therefore made his government the biggest spending government in history.

Why would anyone believe a word the finance minister says?

Wolseley BarracksStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Holder Conservative London West, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada is privileged to have the best trained and most professional soldiers in the world.

My city of London, Ontario is home to Wolseley Barracks, where the Royal Canadian Regiment has produced an incredibly strong reserve unit. These soldiers undergo the same rigorous training as full-time soldiers, which is critical when they are asked to contribute to Canada's sovereignty and Canadian interests throughout the world.

We are proud of London and Canada's reservists for their commitment and we honour their service. A soldier is a soldier, whether full time or balancing both a commitment to their country and another career.

Someone once told me, “A soldier is someone who, at one point in his or her life, writes a cheque, leaves the date open, makes it payable to Canada” and under the dollar amount writes “up to and including my life”. Today we stand to honour them.

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

March 22nd, 2011 / 2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the government is facing a cascade of scandals, accusations of election fraud, influence peddling and contempt of Parliament, but the issue here is the Prime Minister's own responsibility. He appointed Mr. Carson to a position of trust. He appointed two senators now accused of election fraud. He put his trust in these individuals. Will he now take some personal responsibility for their miserable conduct?

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, once again, as has been pointed out many times, to our knowledge this has nothing to do with any government contracts, any government money. The fact is this government has instituted strong rules. This government ensures those rules are respected and enforced.

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, they are not taking any responsibility. The government refuses to tell Parliament the real price of the fighter jets, the American-style megaprisons and the corporate gifts. But that is exactly why it is being brought before Parliament for contempt.

How can the Prime Minister think that we will support a budget when he is hiding the truth about his wasteful spending from Canadians?

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, this information is absolutely available. It is the duty of this Parliament to focus on the real priorities of Canadians. This country's economy is our government's priority.