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House of Commons Hansard #74 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was firearms.

Topics

Diamond JubileeOral Questions

3 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, this anniversary is truly a unique opportunity for all Canadians to be proud of this institution that does so much to help define who we are as Canadians.

Her Majesty's diamond jubilee reminds us of the important role the crown has played in the evolution of our country. This anniversary is an opportunity for all Canadians to be proud of this institution that has helped define who we are as Canadians.

Child CareOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, there are 165,000 families looking for child care spaces today, and across Canada parents are desperate for quality, affordable child care so they can work or finish school. Provinces, local governments and community organizations are struggling to find the money for early childhood education.

An enhanced child tax benefit would better support hard-working Canadian families. When will the minister admit her plan has failed to improve child care choices for Canadian families? They just did not get the job done.

Child CareOral Questions

3 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, over here we recognize that there is a difference in what different parents need in terms of child care to raise their children. Some prefer to stay at home. That is fine. Some prefer to have formal daycare. That is fine too. That is why we gave them the choice six years ago with the universal child care benefit. We also gave funding to the provinces to create over 100,000 new child care spaces.

When it comes to enhancing the child tax benefit, we did that too. Sadly, guess what, the NDP voted against every single one of those things we did to help Canadian parents.

JusticeOral Questions

3 p.m.

Bloc

Maria Mourani Bloc Ahuntsic, QC

Mr. Speaker, last Wednesday a Conservative senator talked about reopening the debate on the death penalty. Today, a Conservative member is asking that the debate on abortion be reopened by presenting a motion to redefine the concept of a human being.

Is this government doing indirectly what it claims it does not wish to do directly, that is, reopen the debates on the death penalty and abortion?

JusticeOral Questions

3 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, no, we are not reopening the debates on either of those subjects.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I would like to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of the Hon. Darrell Pasloski, Premier of Yukon; the Hon. Brad Cathers, Government House Leader and Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources of Yukon; the Hon. Currie Dixon, Minister of Economic Development and Minister of Environment of Yukon; the Hon. Mike Nixon, Minister of Justice and Minister of Tourism and Culture of Yukon; and the Hon. Doug Griffiths, Minister of Municipal Affairs for Alberta.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Václav HavelRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, I rise to mourn the death of one of the great heroes of the 20th century, a great hero of human dignity, the late Václav Havel. Through his words, Havel proved that the dignity and moral worth of the individual could outshine and eventually outlast the vast and oppressive apparatus of totalitarian rule.

As he wrote to Alexander Dubcek, the recently displaced reform-minded president of the Czech Communist Party in 1969, “Even a purely moral act that has no hope of any immediate and visible political effect can gradually and indirectly, over time, gain in political significance”.

These words proved prophetic in terms of Václav Havel's own life. With his strong and vocal opposition to the Soviet Union's invasion of his homeland in 1968, his artistic protests against physical and psychological hardship under the heavy hand of communism and his participation in drafting Charter 77, Havel's life was a series of moral words and teachings followed by virtuous and courageous actions.

In addition, as foreshadowed in his words to Dubcek, Havel's moral acts, which initially had no hope of any immediate political effect, gradually gained in significance and eventually carried him to the presidency of a free Czechoslovakia. By insisting on raising a moral, human voice in defiance of a soulless and inhuman ideology, this unlikely politician became one of the 20th century's great statesmen.

We were honoured to receive then former president Havel in the chamber during a joint session of Parliament. In the same year, he was also honoured as a Companion of the Order of Canada. I will forever remember being deeply moved by his testimony before us. He brought us back to first principles in saying:

Human liberties constitute a higher value than State sovereignty... the provisions that protect the unique human being should take precedence over the provisions that protect the State.

In word and deed, Havel gave practical expression to these noble principles. As the Prime Minister said upon his passing in December of last year:

The world owes a great debt to Václav Havel. In helping to free his own people he helped spread freedom across an entire continent, and showed us all that even an evil dictatorship can be no match for the power of the human spirit.

On behalf of the government and, indeed, all Canadians, we pray that this great champion of human dignity and freedom rests in peace.

Václav HavelRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Hélène Laverdière NDP Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, it truly is a great honour for me to rise today to pay tribute to one of the great figures of our era, Václav Havel.

Václav Havel is not only a key personality in modern history, but also a man who, throughout his life, was the incarnation of the spirit of justice and resilience.

As the founder of Charter 77, Václav Havel was at the centre of the fight against the injustices committed by the communist regime. He fought inequality and defended the ideals of civil society. Repeatedly accused of subversion, he spent nearly five years in prison, and his writings were banned. Nevertheless, his voice was heard, and his writing about nonviolent resistance played a decisive role in the Velvet Revolution, an extraordinary revolution that took place without a bloodbath.

His prominent role paved the way for him to be chosen, even by his enemies, as the first president of Czechoslovakia, a position that he had not sought—Václav Havel was not after power.

As president, he stood up for the rights of the Roma, fought against corruption and defended the most underprivileged in society. For Havel, as he remarked in his maiden speech as president, “politics can be not just the art of the possible, ... it can even be the art of the impossible, namely the art of improving ourselves and world in which we live”.

When we think of Václav Havel, we often think about his achievements as a political leader, but it must not be forgotten that he was also an artist. A man of the theatre, a poet, and essayist; all of his achievements demonstrate his great humanity.

Václav Havel inspired millions of people. As we remember him today, let us consider his most famous words, which practically became a slogan, “Love and truth must triumph over hate and lies.”

On behalf of all NDP members, I would like to express my sincere condolences to the family of Václav Havel, and to the Czech people. He will be sorely missed.

Václav HavelRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the House for giving us the opportunity to take this moment to celebrate the life of Václav Havel and to recognize the significance of his passing.

The end of the 20th century saw dramatic changes. Most of us growing up through the latter half of the 20th century would not have believed they could have happened in the way in which they happened.

The first was the end of apartheid. We associate this with the name of Nelson Mandela who is still with us. His remarkable leadership stands out as a real triumph of the human spirit and of the capacity of one person to make a dramatic difference in the life not only of a people, but indeed in the life of the whole world.

The second is the collapse of communism. This did not happen on its own, nor did it only happen because of the power and force of those of us who lived in freedom in the west. It happened because the system was simply unsustainable economically, but more and more it became clear to people that it was unsustainable from a moral perspective.

There is no other person who has demonstrated better than Havel that communism was, first and foremost, not only a system of oppression and dictatorship, but also one of lies, and one that was systematically founded on the biggest falsehoods of our era.

It was primarily the great artists of the 20th century, the great writers and thinkers, those that had the courage to fight for their ideas, who did the most to bring about complete change in that monstrous systems.

It was said of Václav Havel that his greatest work of art was his life. In many other societies he would not have lived as a political man. In many other societies, he would have been quite happy to work in the theatre, which he loved, creating great plays and great works of art, writing poetry and plays. Perhaps he would have become a teacher or a professor. In other societies, that would have been allowed. However, he grew up in a society where that was not permitted. He was not permitted to write what he wanted to write. He was not permitted to think what he wanted to think. He was not permitted to say what he wanted to say. He was forced to live a life that became deeply political and that had as much to do with transforming our whole sense of what indeed is politically possible.

As the minister so rightly said, Václav Havel stood for a very simple principle: the values of freedom, liberty and democracy are not culturally relative values. They speak to something universal in the human spirit. States, systems and governments which do not recognize, or which flaunt or oppress, those rights and those abilities to speak eventually must fall. We cannot predict the circumstances in which they will fall or change, but fall they must. This great growth of this spirit of freedom and the spirit of liberty and the spirit in our time, which is that people have a right to speak, is a spirit which is alive today. It is alive in Burma, it is alive in Syria, and yes, it is alive in China. It is alive in all parts of the world where people cannot speak their minds, where people are told what to think and where the government lies to them, not on occasion and not by mistake, but systematically. That is how those systems keep going.

Therefore, to those people who are living in oppression in societies throughout the world, the life of Václav Havel is a life not only worthy of study but worthy of honour. It is right and appropriate that the House take just a moment to reflect on the importance of this great man and this great life.

Václav HavelRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to add a few more words to the wonderful tributes that have poured out from our hearts here in the House today at the loss of Václav Havel. I have only one--

Václav HavelRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Does the hon. member for Saanich--Gulf Islands have the unanimous consent of the House to respond to the ministerial statement?

Václav HavelRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

No

Václav HavelRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

There is no consent.

Public AccountsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

February 6th, 2012 / 3:15 p.m.

NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the second report of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts in relation to its study of Chapter 4, Programs for First Nations on Reserves of the 2011 Status Report of the Auditor General of Canada.

Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.

Canadian HeritageCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Moore Conservative Fundy Royal, NB

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present in both official languages, the second report of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage in relation to Bill C-288, An Act respecting the National Flag of Canada. The committee has studied the bill and has decided to report the bill back to the House with amendments.

Pay Equity Task Force Recommendations ActRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Françoise Boivin NDP Gatineau, QC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-389, An Act to implement the recommendations of the Pay Equity Task Force.

Mr. Speaker, I am very honoured to rise in the House today to introduce this bill, although I do so with great sadness. It is an honour because it is always a pleasure to introduce something that will advance the status of women in Canada. However, I am also greatly saddened by the fact that these recommendations were published and tabled in the House back in 2004, but they have yet to become law. Instead, they were offhandedly pushed aside, even though so many women remain underprivileged.

I would like to thank my hon. colleague from Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel for her support and my hon. colleague from London—Fanshawe, my predecessor as NDP critic for status of women, for her tireless efforts.

The sole purpose of this bill is to implement the recommendations made in 2004 by the task force created in 2001. That was over 10 years ago. I know things do not happen quickly in this House, but it would be good if we could do something in less than 10 years to help all Canadian women, who still earn only 73¢ for every dollar that men earn.

Pay equity is a fundamental principle of law.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Health of Animals ActPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Alex Atamanenko NDP British Columbia Southern Interior, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition with over a thousand names in support of my bill, Bill C-322, which basically says that horses are originally kept and treated as sport and companion animals and are not raised as food-producing animals but hey are commonly administered drugs that are strictly prohibited from being used at any time in all other food producing animals destined for the human food supply.

As the Canadian horsemeat products that are currently being sold for human consumption in domestic and international markets are likely to contain prohibited substances, the petitioners call upon the House of Commons to bring forward and adopt into legislation Bill C-322, An Act to amend the Health of Animals Act and the Meat Inspection Act, thus prohibiting the importation or exportation of horses for slaughter for human consumption, as well as horsemeat products for human consumption.

The EnvironmentPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present this petition on climate change, our most pressing environmental issue and perhaps the defining issue of our generation. It will profoundly affect our economy, health, lifestyles and social well-being. It requires moral and intergenerational responsibility and how we respond will define the world in which our children and their descendants grow up.

Canadians know about climate change. We have had our climate change wake-up calls: the 1998 ice storm and Saguenay flood,

The petitioners call for national responsibility on climate change, a binding international agreement that keeps warming to 2°C and climate justice.

The EnvironmentPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Denise Savoie NDP Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am please to present two petitions. The first one is on climate change. While this petition was created in the context of the Durban negotiations, my constituents continue to demand that the government do three things.

The first one is to set more ambitious targets to reduce CO2 emissions to ensure that temperatures stay below 2°C, increased from pre-industrial levels.

The second part of the petition is asking the government to develop a renewable energy policy for the sustainability of our economy.

The third is to demonstrate international responsibility in designing the green climate plan for climate change mitigation and adaptation in the developing world.

Suicide PreventionPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Denise Savoie NDP Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to present the second petition on behalf of about 260 of my constituents who are working very hard in support of the creation of a national suicide prevention strategy.

Over 3,500 Canadians die by suicide each year and my constituents feel that increasing stresses in our society have taken a toll on Canadians.

As the Kirby report made it clear, more attention is needed to address this painful issue, especially for those who face higher risk, like youth, isolated seniors, first nations and people in remote communities.

My constituents argue that a national suicide prevention strategy is an essential part of fulfilling our collective responsibility to prevent suicide and promote well-being among Canadians. They ask the federal government to take some leadership on this file.

The EnvironmentPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Ted Hsu Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present a petition from the Religious Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame in my riding of Kingston and the Islands and their friends and supporters.

The petitioners would like to tell the House that climate change is a moral issue that affects the poor of the world and the people who have the least to do with causing the problem in the first place, and that this is unjust. They wish to tell us that the lack of attention to sustainability and to climate change that we have shown in this country is a symptom of unchecked greed. In the face of this, Canada must lead by example. The federal government has not, whereas the provinces and other jurisdictions around the world have.

The petitioners call upon Canada to sign and implement a binding international agreement to replace the Kyoto accord that will keep the rise in global temperatures to under 2°C, as suggested by scientists. They ask for national targets and a national policy to achieve those targets. They call upon Canada to contribute to and support the green climate fund to help poor countries adapt to the effects of climate change.

Telecommunications IndustryPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

NDP

Andrew Cash NDP Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition signed by the good folks of my riding of Davenport in Toronto. This petition deals with what we call lawful access legislation that the government attempted to introduce in the last Parliament and which we expect it will introduce in this Parliament.

The petitioners state that this legislation would require all telecommunications companies to collect and store personal information about their users and hand that information over to law enforcement at their own request without a warrant. They state that Internet and phone providers would pass the cost of this spying program on to consumers. They state that Canadian authorities have not yet provided the public with evidence that they cannot do their duties without this expanded flexibility. They also state that the Canadian Privacy Commissioner has stated that the legislation would substantially diminish the privacy rights of Canadians.

Therefore, the petitioners in my riding, who have joined over 75,000 others who have signed the “stop the online spying” petition, call upon the Government of Canada to respect the privacy rights of Canadians by maintaining the need for law enforcement to secure judicial warrants before receiving personal information from telecommunications providers.

Wine IndustryPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am rising today with two petitions.

I would like to make special mention and commend the hon. member for Okanagan—Coquihalla who has a private member's bill on the same subject matter as my first petition. It is legislation that should have seen the dustbin of history some time ago. It is the 1928 federal Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act which prohibits Canadian wineries in the 21st century from selling a case of wine to someone from Ontario who is visiting us in British Columbia.

It is about time we decide to allow people in this country to buy wine in one part of the country and bring it to another part. The shipment of wine across provincial boundaries is required to be legalized and freed by this group of very stalwart supporters in my riding and beyond.

The EnvironmentPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, the second petition is from many members of my riding and beyond my riding, but particularly from the Gulf Islands. It concerns Enbridge's supertanker scheme to bring a twin pipeline from Alberta to Kitimat that would ship bitumen crude in waters that have been protected from oil tanker traffic since 1972. It is quite shocking to most residents of British Columbia's coastline to imagine that this could be pushed through.

The petitioners call upon the government to stop being promoters of this project, to step back and wait for the evidence at the hearings, to stop pressing that these hearings on environmental review are taking too long, to respect first nations' rights and to stop promoting a pipeline and disastrous tanker proposal from Enbridge.