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House of Commons Hansard #141 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was conservative.

Topics

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Nicole Demers Bloc Laval, QC

Mr. Speaker, in response to a question that I asked last Friday about changes in terminology within his department, the Minister of Foreign Affairs had the nerve to insult the members of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women, saying that our work was not serious. Once again, instead of being accountable, a Conservative minister chose to denigrate the work of parliamentarians.

If he wants to protect women's interests, how can the minister say that the work done by the Standing Committee on the Status of Women is not serious?

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I do not intend to dredge up that debate on semantics.

This is about gender rights and equality between women and men.

Overall, the committee generally does excellent work. I dared suggest that the committee study the action plan that we tabled concerning UN resolution 1325, which aims to protect women in conflict zones around the world.

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

France Bonsant Bloc Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Foreign Affairs' sneak attack on the members of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women is symptomatic of the government's attitude in general. In recent years, the Conservatives have slashed Status of Women Canada's budget, cut funding to numerous women's rights organizations and abolished the court challenges program. As a female Conservative senator said, with the Conservatives, women had best shut up.

When will this government stop attacking those who promote women's rights?

Status of WomenOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose ConservativeMinister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, that is entirely false. In fact, our government has increased funding to Status of Women to its highest level ever in the history of our country. We are supporting projects in every province and territory across the country. In fact, we are oversubscribed.

We are doing work with organizations everywhere, including in Montreal where we are now funding a program in which 85 community workers and trainers in charge of immigration integration are going to receive training in gender-based analysis as well as leadership and women's rights in Canada.

PovertyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, today faith leaders from across Canada are meeting in Ottawa, talking to politicians about poverty and discussing the human resources committee report on poverty that was tabled in the fall.

Under the government, poverty is rising dramatically, by 25% in fact, and the government refuses to address it. The minister snuck her response to the poverty report into Parliament without so much as a word. Why not? It is an insult to Canadians who live in poverty, just as she insulted people on EI and Canadians who used child care.

If the Conservatives refuse to listen to Parliament, the UN, or all the social advocates, what do they say to Canada's churches that want action on poverty?

PovertyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, our government has taken several steps to reduce poverty levels in Canada, including introducing and then increasing the working income tax benefit, reducing taxes and creating jobs. We believe that lower taxes create jobs.

However, let us see what the Liberal colleague says:

We cannot increase corporate taxes without losing corporate investment. If we lose corporate investment, we have a less productive economy...That means fewer jobs. That means more poverty.

That is the member for Kings—Hants.

PovertyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, it is International Women's Day. Women, including single moms and elderly single women, suffer from poverty and it is getting worse under the government.

How can the minister justify $6 billion for corporate tax cuts and billions of dollars for jets? By the way, spending billions of dollars on megaprisons is not a national housing strategy. A fraction of that money could lift so many women and families out of poverty.

Canada's faith leaders are part of the call for action. The minister's choices are hurting Canadians. Did she even read that poverty report? Does anybody over there care about Canada's poor?

PovertyOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, it is our government that voted for pension income splitting, that increased the age credit to help seniors and that raised the age for RSP. We brought in the new horizons for seniors program and a financial abuse awareness program to help defend seniors.

We voted for those things because we brought them in to help seniors and to help keep them out of poverty. Unfortunately, that member and the Liberals voted against every one of those things.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Niki Ashton NDP Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Sayisi Dene of northern Manitoba are in Ottawa today seeking nothing more than justice.

In 1956 the Government of Canada forced the people to relocate. This relocation caused trauma, suicide and a dark history that this first nation struggles with today. While the government has apologized to others, this first nation still waits. Today is about a chance for leadership and a new beginning.

Will the Minister of Indian Affairs agree to meet with the Sayisi Dene? Will the Government of Canada truly commit to a path of reconciliation?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Vancouver Island North B.C.

Conservative

John Duncan ConservativeMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, in 2009 Dr. Jeremiah Bartram was engaged to explore the prospect of a negotiated settlement with the first nation. Dr. Bartram has submitted his final report and it is currently under review to determine the best way forward.

We recognize the Sayisi Dene First Nation's difficult history. Addressing historical grievances is a complex process that requires significant time and care in order to ensure they are resolved in a manner that will satisfy all parties and stand the test of time.

Correctional Service CanadaOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is hard to believe that under Canada's correctional services management protocol, women are kept in solitary confinement for years at a time.

Thirty per cent of women in prisons are aboriginal and currently all the women on the management protocol are aboriginal, a fact for which the correctional investigator has expressed deep concern. There is no equivalent system in the men's correctional system.

Would the minister admit that the management protocol is cruel and inhumane and agree to drop the practice?

Correctional Service CanadaOral Questions

3 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, segregation is a disciplinary tool used only in the most serious circumstances to ensure the protection of correctional officers as well as other inmates.

Rather than continually putting the rights of the worst offenders first, I would call upon the member to work with us to ensure that not only are rights protected inside the prisons, but that victims rights outside the prisons are also protected.

International Co-operationOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Braid Conservative Kitchener—Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada was one of the first countries to take action with respect to the tragic situation in Libya. Our swift response to secure the safety of Canadians has been well-documented and we continue to work closely with our international partners.

Last week the Prime Minister announced that Canada would assist the people of Libya on the humanitarian front.

Could the Minister of International Cooperation please update the House on our progress?

International Co-operationOral Questions

3 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, Canada is providing humanitarian aid to those fleeing the conflict in Libya.

Today I am pleased to tell Canadians about our most recent efforts that will provide nutritious food for over one million displaced persons. We will help supply tents, blankets and bedding for 90,000 people and provide the much needed water, food and sanitation services they lack as they await repatriation to their homelands.

Our government not only makes empty promises, we are telling Canadians what their humanitarian aid is delivering.

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

March 8th, 2011 / 3 p.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, on January 19, 2009, former minister Jim Prentice said that the Mackenzie Valley pipeline was a key part of the government's northern strategy and that the government was prepared to contribute to infrastructure and pre-construction costs as well as sharing of risks and returns.

The National Energy Board made its decision in support of the pipeline on December 16, 2010 and northerners were anxiously expecting cabinet approval last December.

If this project, which is of national interest, is a priority of that regime, why has there been nothing but delay since the NEB decision?

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

3 p.m.

Vancouver Island North B.C.

Conservative

John Duncan ConservativeMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, there is a normal process involved in getting to the order in council. It is in process. The member can expect an announcement in the coming weeks.

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

3 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

It being 3:03 p.m., pursuant to order made Monday, March 7 the House will now proceed to statements by ministers.

I recognize the hon. Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women.

International Women's DayRoutine Proceedings

3 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose ConservativeMinister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, today I would ask my hon. colleagues to join me in celebrating the 100th year of International Women's Day.

Over the last century, women and girls have made great strides and we can take this opportunity to reflect on the successes, challenges and aspirations of women and girls in Canada and around the world.

As Minister for Status of Women, I have had many wonderful opportunities to meet with women and girls in Canada and around the world. In February, I attended the 55th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. The enthusiasm and energy at that session was contagious.

One of the groups I had the opportunity to meet with was Plan International and Girls Delegation. During this meeting I listened to the stories of 13 girls from around the world. They spoke eloquently about the importance of girls showing leadership to achieve equality, end abuse, overcome barriers to go to school, and soar to new heights.

This year Canada's theme for International Women's Day is “Girls' Rights Matter” because girls face incredible barriers around the world that need to be overcome.

A girl who enjoys equality has a greater likelihood of being self-confident and aware of her potential and of being empowered to access education and job opportunities that will contribute to her success.

Today I am pleased to be announcing Canada's intent to support a United Nations resolution to establish an international day of the girl later in the fall. This is a great opportunity and one for which I would ask the support of all parties as we move forward.

Today I am pleased to be announcing Canada's intent to support the establishment of an international day of the girl by the UN later in the fall.

We believe that when girls have a solid foundation from which to spring, with the right tools and conditions they can truly soar to new heights.

A day of the girl will awaken more ideas, support and enthusiasm around the world, and will help raise awareness about violence, abuse, inequality, lack of nutrition, health care requirements and the right to education and training.

Girls play a key role in a nation's prosperity and can become excellent leaders if they are given the opportunity.

It is why at Status of Women Canada we have doubled funding in support of community organizations that want to empower Canadian women and girls in three areas: putting an end to violence and abuse, fostering greater leadership, and promoting greater economic prosperity.

Lastly, this morning, at an event with women business leaders, I announced funding for the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance to provide mentorship for young women who aspire to success in the technology field.

Today, on International Women's Day, let us take the opportunity to reflect on the progress that has been made, but more importantly, let us look forward and realize the incredible potential we have to help the next generation soar to new heights.

International Women's DayRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I thank the Minister for Status of Women for her statement and for the opportunity to offer some words of my own on behalf of the Liberal Party.

2011 marks the 100th year of International Women's Day, an event that is being marked in communities and in schools across Canada.

Women in Canada and around the world have gained much over the last 100 years, the right to vote, to work, to equal participation in government.

It is a testament to the women who came before, in civil society, this House and in the Senate, that I rise today to reply to a statement by a female cabinet member responsible for the status of women.

International Women's Day is an opportunity to celebrate these achievements, but also to reflect on how far we have to go and must go to achieve full gender equality and eradicate gender discrimination in its entirety.

Here in Parliament, less than 25% of members are women. Increasing women's participation in this important role would have an impact on how young women perceive themselves as well as on their country and the world.

Women in Canada also continue to earn, on average, less than men. Despite high educational attainment, this wage gap remains a reminder that we must provide the range of supports necessary so that women can enjoy full participation in our political and economic life.

While I share the minister's enthusiasm for the great potential of our young women and girls, I believe that this potential will never be fully realized and the wage gap never fully closed if these supports do not exist. The need for affordable, accessible child care remains great, and Canada has yet to adequately meet this challenge. The need for a national housing strategy is also urgent.

I would encourage the government to respond to the unanimous will of this House and implement a national violence against women prevention strategy. There is also an urgent need for a national action plan on human trafficking so that Canada's efforts in this area are comprehensive, coordinated and effective.

I recently attended the 55th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women. While there I heard a vision of a world “where women and men have equal rights and opportunities, and the principles of gender equality and women's empowerment are firmly integrated into the development, human rights, and peace and security agendas”.

We have already done much in Canada to promote these rights and provide these opportunities for women at home and abroad, but much remains to be done.

We in this House have both the mandate and the enormous responsibility to ensure that gender equality and equality of opportunity are real, so that women's potential and women's creativity can be fully embraced for a better future for all of us.

International Women's DayRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Bloc

Nicole Demers Bloc Laval, QC

Mr. Speaker, yet another International Women's Day. It is the 100th anniversary. It is beginning to become repetitive to have to examine, every year, how women are doing, as if no other problems existed.

What? In 100 years, did they not obtain the right to vote? Now they can go to work. They can decide whether they want children and when. They now have the pill. They can choose—whether the pro-life caucus in this House likes it or not—whether or not to have an abortion. What more do women want? At some point could we stop celebrating this International Women's Day?

We agree that having International Women's Day for the hundredth time is becoming repetitive. But whether those who are bored by women's demands like it or not, everything is not rosy. According to the World Health Organization, between 100 and 140 million women have been subjected to genital mutilation. Somewhere in the world, a woman dies every minute because of complications arising during pregnancy or childbirth. Even today, women are stoned as punishment for adultery. In countries ravaged by war, such as the Congo, Ivory Coast or Sudan, rape is used as a weapon of war. This is the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day, and we are still at this point.

In 2007, Quebec women earned 84.25% of what men earned on average; in Canada, women earned just over 70%. According to the OECD, the wage gap between men and women in Canada is the fifth highest of 22 industrialized countries.

In 1996, Quebec passed a proactive pay equity law. In 2009, Canada made pay equity a negotiable right, which was nothing less than a step backwards.

Quebec has implemented a preventive withdrawal program for pregnant women, which allows them to receive 90% of their salary. Canada pays only 55% of their salary to women under its jurisdiction, and for only 15 weeks.

The National Assembly unanimously voted to support a motion to highlight the consensus on women's freedom of choice with regard to abortion. The debate continues to rage in Ottawa.

We are celebrating the 100th International Women's Day, and so much more remains to be done. I do not know how many more years it will take, but I do know that the fight for equality is not over. And I also know that the women in this House and around the world are patient and determined and that, in the end, we will be victorious.

International Women's DayRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, today women and men around the world are celebrating the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day.

We recognize the efforts of women and girls in challenging stereotypes and breaking down barriers to their full equality. However, as far as we believe we have come, there is still much work to be done.

Globally, women and girls continue to face violations of their basic human rights. In many nations, women and girls face unacceptably high rates of maternal mortality because they cannot gain access to safe and legal abortions and often lack access to information on family planning.

In too many parts of the world girls are prevented from going to school. As we well know, women and girls are the backbone of societies and helping them to obtain an education is key to improving the social and economic conditions in their communities.

Although Canada's current government may claim that girls' rights matter, its systematic cuts to Canada's international development programs and partners threaten the progress of the world's most vulnerable women and girls. Cuts to honourable organizations such as KAIROS, Match International and the Canadian Teachers' Federation dishonour women in every part of the world. These organizations were doing important work on gender equality issues in developing nations, at least until the government decided that their programming no longer fit the Conservative vision of gender equality.

Not only has the Conservative government cut funding, but it has also deliberately dampened the gravity of language used by Canada internationally to describe the horrific impunity that exists for crimes of sexual violence in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo.

At home in Canada, things are not much better. The government continues to systematically attack women's equality rights through its cuts to the operating budget of Status of Women Canada, de-funding of organizations like Sisters in Spirit and groups that help newcomers, neglecting lost Canadians, failing to make investments in child care and affordable housing, ignoring pay equity rights, failing to fully address violence against aboriginal women and girls, and the list goes on. It is blatantly obvious that the government does not care about the inequality women still face in Canada.

New Democrats will continue to fight for equality and confront the government's agenda, because it erodes the rights of women and girls. We invite all Canadians to join with us in celebrating International Women's Day and to speak out on the issues that matter to all women.

International Women's DayRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I wish to inform the House that because of the ministerial statement, government orders will be extended by 13 minutes.

Oral QuestionsPoints of Order

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Siobhan Coady Liberal St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. In response to a question that I asked the President of the Treasury Board, he referenced a legal opinion that he had regarding the integrity commissioner. He referenced the actual opinion, and I would ask that the minister table that referenced document.

Oral QuestionsPoints of Order

3:15 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I will certainly look into this, as I indicated to my colleague opposite, to see what can be released in terms of whatever legal agreement was reached.

I also want to clarify the record. I was asked a question today in relation to any meeting with the previous commissioner. The question was posed in light of these difficulties. I have never met with her or talked with her in light of any of these issues.

My scheduling assistant just informed me that there was a meeting about a year ago, last May I believe it was. I just want to correct the record. I do not want to have said anything that could be misconstrued in any way, so I just want to correct that.

I will get back to my colleague on whether we can release the legal advice that we were given.

Rebranding of Government of Canada's NamePoints of Order

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, my point of order arises out of the point of order raised yesterday by my colleague from Westmount—Ville-Marie. I am worried that maybe the House does not get the seriousness of the point of order, and I want to add to it.

The member's point was that members' names cannot be used in the House, and we understand the reason for that. However, the Prime Minister has changed the branding of the name of the Government of Canada to something other than the Government of Canada.

Since December this new name has been showing up more and more in government documents. I personally see the new name as an affront to Canadians because they believe the government is not for one man, but that government is by the people for the people.

I as a member will not be able to quote that name in the House because of the rules. Let me give you an example, Mr. Speaker, and I expect you will cut me off and I understand why. I have a release from the Canada Revenue Agency which outlines an announcement in Sault Ste. Marie. The headline of the release is, “Harper government standing up”.

Mr. Speaker, as I indicated, I know you are standing to cut me off.