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House of Commons Hansard #8 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was mission.

Topics

LibyaGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Liberal

Ted Hsu Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Calgary East said that Canada was in Libya to promote Canadian values such as democracy and the rule of law.

Then I just heard the member opposite say that Libya is not ours to reconstruct.

I wonder if the member has any opinions going forward, if a new government takes control of Libya, to what extent is Canada willing to guide, forcibly or otherwise, that new government so that democracy and rule of law are present in the new Libya?

LibyaGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Conservative

Bob Dechert Conservative Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Mr. Speaker, as the member knows, Canada has supported and continues to support, many countries around the world with the development of democratic institutions. We will continue to work with all the international partners, the United Nations and the regional partners in that region of the world to support the development of democracy in Libya. When it becomes clear what the situation is following the cessation of hostilities, Canada will certainly be supporting the development of democratic institutions.

LibyaGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the parliamentary secretary for his enlightened speech. I think everyone here understands that we are extending the mission to protect civilians in Libya. We know that the military assets that are being used by Colonel Gadhafi have been used against his own people. If we want to bring about the change and the aid that is so desperately needed, we ought to make sure that we provide that type of security. That is really what it is all about.

I would ask the parliamentary secretary to expand upon Canada's role, that we have announced just today, in expanding humanitarian aid. Also, could he explain what we would do to construct the required institutions to support democracy and ensure that the infrastructure is in place to support the transition away from what has been there to hopefully what we would see as a new democracy in Libya?

LibyaGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Conservative

Bob Dechert Conservative Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Mr. Speaker, as the member would know, earlier today the hon. Minister of International Cooperation announced an additional $2 million in aid. That is in addition to the $8 million that has already been provided to the International Committee of the Red Cross and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, which provide support and assistance to victims of gender-based violence.

We will continue to do these sorts of things and our military will continue to protect those who are providing humanitarian assistance to the people who need it in Libya.

LibyaGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am rising in the House today to support the UN mission in Libya and Canada's participation in it. I join with those who believe that this mission is justified and that it should be extended because of Moammar Gadhafi's actions towards the Libyan people. The sad reality of the situation in Libya is that the real victims of Colonel Gadhafi's lust for power are the civilians. Make no mistake about it, Libya's civilians are not just collateral damage from a conflict between two factions. They are being directly targeted by Colonel Gadhafi and his armed forces.

And this is not coming from marginal sources with questionable information. It is coming from organizations such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the International Criminal Court. As a result of an investigation, the International Criminal Court prosecutor concluded that Gadhafi personally ordered attacks on unarmed civilians, that he authorized the use of aircraft to attack protesters, that his troops attacked Libyan civilians in their homes and in public areas, that he posted snipers outside mosques to kill people leaving after prayer and that he used heavy artillery to fire on funeral processions.

This is not the only source of evidence. A mission by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to Tripoli and rebel-held areas found evidence that Gadhafi's troops had attacked civilians, workers and medical units. For its part, Human Right Watch has documented serious violations of the laws of war by Libyan forces, including indiscriminate attacks in residential areas in Misrata and in the villages of the Nafusa mountains. In February, Amnesty International also found overwhelming evidence of the use of lethal force against protestors who posed no threat and were directly targeted.

This evidence clearly shows that Colonel Gadhafi's actions do not respect the laws of war and that some of these actions could be condemned as war crimes. These violent attacks against the population justify the intervention of the international community because history has shown that action must be taken in such situations and that prompt action is vital.

When I was a member of the Canadian Forces, a number of colleagues spoke to me about their experiences in countries ravaged by civil war. Whether it was Rwanda or Yugoslavia, they talked about horrible situations in which no child should be involved.

The quick adoption of resolution 1973 and the rapid deployment of international forces to put in place a no-fly zone must be applauded. However, history shows us that it is also important to act with a clearly defined mandate. For that reason it is vital to clearly define the mandate of the troops deployed, to establish a specific time frame, and to target interventions based on clearly-defined objectives, those set out by the UN resolution. We must put a stop to attacks against civilians. Libyan military and paramilitary forces must return to their bases, and humanitarian aid must be accessible to all those in need.

The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has investigated and has drawn conclusion of the following allegations of war crimes.

The evidence shows that Moammar Gadhafi personally ordered attacks on unarmed Libyan civilians, including the use of aircraft to attack protesters. His forces attacked Libyan civilians in their homes and in public space, repressed demonstrations with live ammunition, used heavy artillery against participants in funeral processions and placed snipers to kill those leaving mosques after the prayers. Gadhafi forces have lists with the names of alleged dissidents. They are being arrested, put into prisons in Tripoli, tortured and made to disappear.

The UN Human Rights Council's mission to Tripoli and rebel-held areas in late April found evidence of war crimes by Gadhafi's forces, including attacks on civilians, aid workers and medical units. Aircraft, tanks, artillery grad rockets and snipers were used. It also found some evidence of crimes by opposition armed forces, including the arbitrary detention and torture of suspected Gadhafi supporters. The commission did not find evidence that the opposition armed forces were part of any widespread or systematic attacks against the civilian population.

Human Rights Watch has documented serious violations of the laws of war by Libyan government forces, including repeat indiscriminate attacks into residential neighbourhoods in Misrata and towns in the western Nafusa Mountains.

Amnesty International has also found clear evidence of the use of lethal force against protestors in February and, more worrying still, that in many cases protesters who posed no threat were deliberately killed.

The International Criminal Court is also investigating allegations that Gadhafi ordered his troops to commit the systematic rape of women in rebel-held areas, based on information that Gadhafi himself authorized the rapes and provided drugs to enhance the ability of his force to rape women. Due to the social stigma associated with reporting rape and the displacement of civilians, it is difficult to know how widespread the use of rape as a weapon of war is, but the ICC has received information that there are several hundred victims in some areas.

As far as humanitarian aid is concerned, the situation in Libya is alarming. It is estimated that between 10,000 and 15,000 people have been killed in the past four months of combat; close to half a million civilians have left their homes and fled the country since the crisis started; another 330,000 people in the country have had to leave their homes to seek shelter elsewhere in Libya. These people have to live with very little and face shortages of food and water. They have almost no access to medicines and are unable to travel because of fuel shortages.

The situation is even worse at the border with Tunisia, where Tunisian authorities are struggling to receive thousands of Libyan refugees who want to flee their country. The United Nations estimates that as many as 3.6 million people could be in need of humanitarian assistance and that is where our government can and must do more. So far, only half the United Nations' requests for aid have been met.

If we talk about people being killed, an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 people have been killed on both sides in four months of fighting in Libya. Almost 500,000 people have left the country since the crisis began, while about 330,000 people have been internally displaced. It is estimated by the UN that at least 1,000 people, mainly men, have been kidnapped or have disappeared in Misrata since the conflict began in February.

The UN refugee agency reports that tens of thousands of people on both sides of the battle lines in Libya are facing a critical shortage of essential goods, including food, medicine and fuel.

The situation on the Tunisian border is increasingly strained as Tunisian authorities struggle to absorb the tens of thousands of Libyans fleeing the conflict. Under the United Nations' worst-case scenario, as many as 3.6 million people in the country could eventually require humanitarian assistance.

This is why we have to support those people. We need to be there to support all the women and all the people living in Libya.

There are probably people in Canada of Libyan origin and I sincerely believe they would be proud that we are supporting them. I would not want to have to inform any of them that their family members back in Libya had been killed or raped. I believe we must support them out of respect for human rights. These people have the right to feel safe in their homes.

LibyaGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

The hon. member will have 10 minutes remaining for questions and comments when the House continues the debate on the motion.

Canada PostStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Maria Mourani Bloc Ahuntsic, QC

Mr. Speaker, in its 2009 annual report, Canada Post confirmed its profitability for the 15th year in a row. It had consolidated net income of $281 million on revenues of $7.3 billion.

Canada Post's enabling legislation provides that this public service must be financially self-sufficient, not that it must seek to obtain profit at any cost or at the expense of providing equitable service everywhere, particularly in small communities.

The federal government must give clear instructions to Canada Post's management to make postal workers an offer that respects the spirit of the Canada Post Corporation Act. The government's current inaction regarding this labour dispute must not lead to the possibility of imposing special legislation that is unfair to those who helped build this crown corporation.

Don Valley EastStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Joe Daniel Conservative Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, I happily stand in this House for the first time, being sent here by the constituents of Don Valley East. I thank them for their trust and confidence in electing me as their federal representative.

I am pleased to report that Don Valley East has already benefited from our economic action plan. In collaboration with the province and the city, there has been investment in major projects in our community such as upgrades to Victoria Park, trail and path rehabilitation of Anewan Greenbelt and Rowena Park, and marquee tourism events, just to name a few.

My constituents have expressed their support for our economic action plan and the recently tabled budget that promises to invest in our communities, businesses and social programs.

I thank all those who worked tirelessly for me on my campaign and continue to support me. I especially thank my wife, Lan, who has been by my side throughout this journey.

Laurentides—LabelleStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Marc-André Morin NDP Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is my maiden speech in the House, and I would like to thank the people of Laurentides—Labelle for their clear confidence in me.

I would particularly like to congratulate the participants and organizers of the fourth Mont-Laurier Relay for Life, who helped make the June 10 event a huge success. Three hundred teams walked all night in a relay around the track behind the Saint-Joseph composite school to raise money for the fight against cancer. The 1,200 participants raised over $264,000.

I had the honour to address the participants, volunteers and organizers who have set an example for this House. They expect us to work constructively towards the common good, despite our differences.

Parliamentary Outdoors CaucusStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Garry Breitkreuz Conservative Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to inform my colleagues, both new and experienced, about the Parliamentary Outdoors Caucus, a non-partisan group which represents the Canadian heritage activities of hunting, fishing, sport shooting and trapping.

As the largest federal all-party caucus during the last Parliament, our goal is to preserve and promote these pursuits, protect them in law, and encourage the public to accept them as traditional outdoor heritage activities.

Millions of rural and urban Canadians of all political affiliations, backgrounds, ages and abilities contribute over $10 billion annually to the national economy, and support over 100,000 jobs through fishing and hunting activities.

I cordially invite all MPs and senators from all parties to read the information that has been sent to their offices about the Outdoors Caucus and join us as we ensure that these activities, our collective heritage, remain available to all Canadians.

Baie-d'UrféStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, this year marks the centennial of the town of Baie-d'Urfé in my riding of Lac-Saint-Louis.

On May 9, I attended a meeting of the Baie-d'Urfé junior council that re-enacted two of the town's earliest council meetings held on July 18 and September 16, 1911, respectively.

The junior council was created in 2008 under the leadership of Mayor Maria Tutino as a vehicle to allow Baie-d'Urfé's youth to get involved in decisions affecting their quality of life and as a way for them to learn about democratic government.

The junior council has already exerted its influence over a number of decisions, including installing fountains, building a safety fence at Allan's Hill and purchasing basketball nets for Picardy Park.

On May 12 the junior council elected its first cabinet with portfolios ranging from treasurer to security, environment, recreational activities and intercity relations.

I invite all of the hon. members to spread the news of Baie-d'Urfé's junior council in the cities and towns in their ridings.

Manitoba FloodsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Rod Bruinooge Conservative Winnipeg South, MB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the constituents of Winnipeg South for allowing me to humbly stand before you again in this House.

I would also like to thank my wife Chantale for her constant support and advice through the years, as well as the support from our children Luke and Sarah.

During the recent campaign we experienced significant flooding in my province and in my riding. I would like to thank the campaign volunteers who put down their brochures and picked up sandbags to help the many residents who were at risk of flooding.

I am sure all parliamentarians will join me in expressing our sympathy for flood victims who are dealing with the devastating flooding that has gripped so many in our country.

I would like to express thanks to all the municipal leaders, emergency measures staff, and countless volunteers and military for all the help that they have given us.

I would also like to thank the Prime Minister for his commitments to this flood fight and for the significant investment that was made in the Manitoba floodway which once again saved my riding as it has many times in the past. While we cannot prevent these natural disasters, we can work with other levels of government to mitigate these disasters in the future.

I would also like to make mention of my Liberal opponent who also set aside his campaign to help the flood fight.

Youth Charitable ProgramStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Dykstra Conservative St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to recognize Canadian Tire Jumpstart Day held on May 28.

Canadian Tire Jumpstart is a community-based charitable program that helps financially disadvantaged youth participate in organized sports and recreation by covering registration fees, equipment and transportation costs. Of the customer donations to Canadian Tire Jumpstart, 100% is reinvested in the local community.

One in three Canadian families struggle to include their children in sport and recreation activities due to financial barriers. This year Canadian Tire Jumpstart reached its goal of $3 million raised and is well on its way to helping 30,000 children this summer.

The Government of Canada has been a major supporter of Canadian Tire Jumpstart and since the program's inception in 2005, it has helped more than 300,000 children.

I would like to congratulate it on its success and ask each member of the legislature to join me in recognizing the great work Canadian Tire Jumpstart is doing for families across our country.

Grand ValleyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

David Tilson Conservative Dufferin—Caledon, ON

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to rise in the House today to recognize the 150th anniversary of the town of Grand Valley.

First settled by the Joyce family in 1855, Grand Valley was originally known as Joyce's Corners. The first municipal council was formed in 1860 led by Reeve George Todd, some of whose descendants maintain their residence in Grand Valley to this very day.

From 1860 to 1886, the village was called Luther Village, at which point it was named Grand Valley for the beautiful Grand River which meanders through the downtown.

Today, Grand Valley is home to several community organizations, including the Lion's Club, the horticultural society, and the Grand Valley historical society.

On the weekend of July 1, Grand Valley's current mayor, John Oosterhof, will join with residents and visitors to celebrate the town's 150th anniversary.

I ask that the House join me in congratulating the residents of Grand Valley as they mark this milestone.

Trois-RivièresStatements By Members

June 14th, 2011 / 2:05 p.m.

NDP

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am both moved and proud to be speaking for the first time in this House on behalf of the people of Trois-Rivières.

The people of Trois-Rivières who provided me with this opportunity come from all political parties, and I wish to thank them for their support.

Many of them heard and believed in the NDP's message about working together to find solutions to the issues affecting them.

I still have hope that the government will be open, given that many Canadians did not put their trust in the Conservatives. Canadians still expect their voices to be heard.

At a time when then the government is preparing to revisit representation here in the House, why not give real weight to each citizen's vote by implementing a system of proportional representation? And why not give Quebec the status it deserves as a founding nation and as a distinct society?

LibyaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Brian Storseth Conservative Westlock—St. Paul, AB

Mr. Speaker, on May 2 Canadians gave this government a strong mandate to represent Canada's interests and values at home and abroad.

Since coming to office, our Conservative government has implemented a principled foreign policy, as in Libya where Colonel Gadhafi has been waging war against innocent civilians, the very people he claims to represent. According to reports, his despicable actions include the torture of children and the use of rape as a weapon of war.

Our Conservative government has not and will not ignore the plight of the Libyan people. It is why we recognize the national transitional council as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people. It is why we have pledged more humanitarian funding, including funds to help victims of sexual violence.

Today, we seek the unanimous consent of the House of Commons to extend the Canadian aspect of the NATO effort in Libya. We cannot sit idly by as Gadhafi's thirst for power continues to oppress the Libyan people and claim innocent lives.

I urge all members of this House to stand today and vote for the Libyan people.

International TradeStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Russ Hiebert Conservative South Surrey—White Rock—Cloverdale, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canadians chose a strong, stable majority Conservative government that will deliver on improving the financial security of Canadian families. We intend to do just that.

This weekend, the members of the NDP will be discussing many issues at their party convention. Before they discuss any trade resolutions, I urge them to think about jobs for hard-working families. The NDP cannot claim to be concerned with creating new jobs while putting forward resolutions calling for a complete withdrawal from free trade agreements.

International trade is a kitchen table issue. It creates jobs, increases prosperity, and accounts for almost 60% of our annual GDP.

The NDP has opposed every single free trade deal that our government has put forward since 2006. Its platform does not mention free trade even once. This is a stark policy difference between this Conservative government and the NDP.

We call on the NDP to stand up for jobs and to stand up for free trade.

Holocaust Remembrance DayStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, within an hour we will be commemorating national Holocaust Remembrance Day.

We will be remembering horrors too terrible to be believed but not too terrible to have happened, with universal lessons: the dangers of state-sanctioned incitement of genocide where, as the courts have put it, the Holocaust did not begin in the gas chambers, it began with words; the danger of the oldest and most enduring of hatreds, anti-Semitism, reminding us that while it may begin with Jews it does not end with Jews; the danger of indifference and inaction in the face of evil, as with the genocides in Rwanda and Darfur, reminding us that nobody could say we did not know, we knew but did not act; and the danger of a culture of impunity, which only encourages and abets further atrocity.

We will be remembering the rescuers, the righteous among the nations, who demonstrated that one person, as in the case of Raoul Wallenberg, who is an honorary citizen of Canada, can stand up against evil, prevail and transform history.

Finally, we will be remembering the heroes among us today, the survivors and their families who endured the worst of humanity--

Holocaust Remembrance DayStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Laval.

Social IssuesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

José Nunez-Melo NDP Laval, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to once again congratulate all the newly elected and re-elected members who are here with us. I would also like to thank the voters of Laval who have given me the privilege of representing them in this House.

Our community also faces the challenges we spoke about during the course of the last election. We all know people who lie awake at night worrying about their retirement income or seniors who are unable to make ends meet. I spoke with people in my riding who are unable to find a family doctor, who have to wait for months to see a specialist and who are wondering if the health insurance system will still be in place for their children.

LibyaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Chris Alexander Conservative Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, on May 2, Canadians gave our government a solid mandate to represent the interests and values of Canada at home and abroad.

Since taking power, our Conservative government has implemented a foreign policy based on these principles. It is no longer a matter of blindly following others for the sake of harmonious relations.

In Libya, Colonel Moammar Gadhafi is waging war on innocent civilians. There are reports of vile acts such as the torture of children and the use of rape as a weapon of war. Today, we are requesting the unanimous consent of the House to extend the mission by Canada and NATO to protect Libyans from the Gadhafi regime.

That is why we have committed more funding for humanitarian purposes. Some funds will go to help the victims of sexual violence. That is also why we now recognize the national transitional council as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people. We encourage the other parties to support our efforts. We cannot stand by as Gadhafi continues to oppress the people of Libya and take innocent lives.

Bill HusseyStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Dan Harris NDP Scarborough Southwest, ON

Mr. Speaker, the people of Scarborough Southwest lost a true hero last week with the passing of World War II veteran, Bill Hussey.

Mr. Hussey volunteered for many years, helping first and second graders learn to read at Courcelette Public School. Every student who attended the school over the last 30 years knew Mr. Hussey and were so fond of him that they dedicated a playground to him at the school in 2004.

Every year on Remembrance Day, Mr. Hussey would proudly wear his medals and his poppy and help the children pay tribute to Canada's veterans and fallen heroes. He served in the special forces in World War II, once parachuting behind enemy lines in Italy. He would often share his memories of the war with the children and staff at the school.

Mr. Hussey was a kind, caring and gentle man who everyone knew as “Smiley”. Mostly he was a legend to the staff and students of Courcelette Public School, and we in Scarborough Southwest will truly miss our hero.

Social IssuesStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Francine Raynault NDP Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, on May 2, voters in the riding of Joliette decided to vote for change, and it is an honour for me to represent them.

I wish to extend a special thank you to my husband for his help. He has stood as an NDP candidate on six occasions. I would like to thank all my team members for their support and also the many volunteers who worked on my behalf.

In the riding of Joliette, there are families and seniors who have trouble making ends meet at the end of the month. This situation is unacceptable. I have been working for more than 30 years for a better society, for the betterment of women and families, and I will continue to do so.

I do not understand how anyone can vote against the NDP amendment to improve the living conditions of Canadians, to lift seniors out of poverty, to help low-income families and, finally, to stop—

Social IssuesStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order. The hon. member for Souris—Moose Mountain.

The BudgetStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Komarnicki Conservative Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, Canada's economic action plan has overseen more than 560,000 net new jobs created since July 2009.

We are on the right track with our recovery, but there is still work to be done to ensure that growth continues. We need to move to the next phase of Canada's economic action plan by ensuring quick passage of the budget before Parliament rises next week. The quick passage of our budget legislation will ensure that job creation continues.

This is a budget that contains numerous initiatives in support of Canada's forestry, mining, manufacturing, agriculture and aerospace sectors. This is a budget that the Canadian Chamber of Commerce said “—will continue to support the economic recovery and help Canadian businesses prosper and compete”.

This is a budget that opposition members should get behind. We urge all opposition members to fully support budget 2011 and Canada's economic recovery.