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House of Commons Hansard #89 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was literacy.

Topics

Opposition Motion—Veterans AffairsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, the note I would like to end this on is to also think about the families of veterans. I think about 10 days ago, when I stood on the docks when the HMCS Vancouver came back. I think of 200 or 300 family members who were there and who had also made sacrifices while their loved ones were away risking their lives in the service of Canada.

When we talk about cutting benefits to veterans, we are also talking about cutting benefits to their families, most often their spouses, and denying some of the things to which those spouses are entitled in their golden years.

Therefore, I would ask us to think more broadly about veterans and veterans' families when we come to the cutbacks in Veterans Affairs.

Opposition Motion—Veterans AffairsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, as a former member of the armed forces, I am very pleased to have the opportunity to speak to this motion. I have wonderful memories of various evenings spent at the Royal Canadian Legion. We always had a very pleasant time. It is an honour for me to speak to this motion.

Since 2007, the government's strategic review has focused on cutting various federal programs and services. These cuts have affected all departments, including Veterans Affairs. The goal of this exercise is to cut 10% from each department. In the case of Veterans Affairs, 90% of the budget is spent on programs and benefits for veterans, and 70% of the staff deliver services directly to veterans. There is not much room for cuts.

In this situation, the math is simple: if the government wants to cut Veterans Affairs Canada's budget, it will have to cut the services and benefits that go directly to veterans. Budget and staffing cuts will inevitably compromise the department's ability to deliver services to the country's veterans.

Our veterans already have trouble accessing some of those services, and many of them have noticed that the quality of services has suffered over the years. In particular, there have been problems with case processing. It is getting harder to reach an agent by phone because there are fewer call centres. If this keeps up, veterans will find it easier to speak to someone at their ISP's customer service centre in India than to a Veterans Affairs Canada agent in our own country.

The agents now have less time in which to make decisions about veterans' needs. In contrast, once the decision has been made, it takes just as long as ever for veterans to receive psychological care and services. The cuts are already being felt. Agents have to work faster, work overtime and make decisions more quickly. This means that they may not be able to take the time required to do their work properly.

Currently, a number of organizations are speaking out against the cuts to Veterans Affairs. Among others, the Royal Canadian Legion and the Veterans Ombudsman have shed light on the problems these cuts will cause and the problems encountered as a result of the staffing cuts. Veterans returning from Afghanistan, just like current soldiers, need and deserve services.

I am a nurse by training and when I talk to soldiers returning from military operations, I know the consequences that these operations can have on a person. I am talking about physical and mental health problems and post traumatic stress disorder. These are all serious consequences that require immediate care, and aftercare as well.

Roughly 20% to 30% of the soldiers who went to Afghanistan have mental health problems or have post traumatic stress disorder, not to mention physical injuries. These are not problems that can be left unaddressed for two years before something is done. We are talking about serious health situations that require immediate care and assistance.

Since 2001, 40,000 members of our Canadian Forces have been deployed to Afghanistan. Some are still in active service, of course, but some have become veterans. An average of 25%—roughly 10,000 veterans—have health problems. They compromised their health to serve our country. These huge numbers come from the Department of National Defence. They show the critical importance of taking services for veterans seriously.

I am talking about veterans, but we should also talk about their families. Soldiers return home at the end of their mission; unfortunately, some do not. In both cases, the families need assistance. It is very difficult to support someone who is living with post traumatic stress disorder.

Consequently, the families also need help. The children of these soldiers need help supporting their mother or father who has experienced these problems and who may be injured.

When we talk about veterans, we are not just talking about soldiers, veterans and former members of the RCMP, but also about the families of these people. We must never forget that.

Today, we are asking that the Department of Veterans Affairs be exempt from cuts in the 2012-13 budget. This budget is vital to maintaining a certain level of service and the quality of the programs and benefits to which members of the military are entitled. We must take into account that there are already some problems with this program. It is not a program that works seamlessly. There are already problems and budget cuts would only add to them. At this time I believe that our request to exempt Veterans Affairs Canada from budget cuts is reasonable.

Every day in this House, between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m., I hear the Associate Minister of National Defence or the Minister of National Defence repeatedly say that I do not support our troops when I ask for explanations and answers that the opposition and Canadians are entitled to regarding what is happening with the F-35 program. When we talk about the men and women in uniform who return from a mission, people who have given many years of service to this country, who have risked their lives, who have been lucky enough to come home, and who often need psychological, financial and professional support, we are met with budget cuts.

The government can afford jets that are not yet operational, at a cost that is increasing astronomically and with a delivery date that keeps being postponed, but it cannot provide financial support for our veterans who come home after serving their country. This makes absolutely no sense to me. It makes you wonder who in this House is really supporting our troops.

When that party was the official opposition, it said that it would extend the veterans independence program to widows of World War II and Korean War veterans, but it did not.

In 2005, that party, which is now in office, called for a public inquiry into Agent Orange and full compensation for veterans and civilians who were exposed to it, but it has not followed through.

In 2007, the government committed to take action to address the unfair nature of the service income security insurance plan and long-term disability benefits for members of the Canadian Forces who are medically released, but it did not do so.

In 2005, that party committed to reforming the Veterans Review and Appeal Board and replacing it with a board made up of qualified members with a medical or military background, but it did not do so.

I am wondering what it really means to support our troops. I think that asking this government not to make cuts to Veterans Affairs Canada is a much better way to show our support.

The NDP has asked the government many times not to make cuts to services for veterans, but without success. The NDP has proposed many measures to improve services for veterans, including health care centres of excellence for modern-day veterans, improved access to veterans' hospitals, reforms to the new veterans' charter, an increase in funeral expenses, and concrete action to combat homelessness among veterans.

The NDP's proposals show what it means to support our troops.

In addition, the NDP continues to ask the government to stop clawing back the pensions of retired and disabled Canadian Forces and RCMP personnel; to extend the veterans independence program, which also applies to former members of the RCMP; to eliminate restrictions on pensions and health benefits for spouses in the case of marriage after 60; to provide better care for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder; to reduce waiting lists for disability benefits; to fairly calculate annual leave entitlements for retired members of the Canadian Forces who want to join the public service; and to eliminate or reform the Veterans Review and Appeal Board. We are thus calling for a number of measures. Again, this is what I call supporting our troops.

In order to support our troops, it is essential that the government not cut Veterans Affairs Canada's budget. This is really the only reasonable attitude that this government can take toward our veterans.

Opposition Motion—Veterans AffairsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Ajax—Pickering Ontario

Conservative

Chris Alexander ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I have two very simple questions for the hon. member from Abitibi—Témiscamingue. Does she believe that a more efficient bureaucracy can save money while maintaining the benefits our veterans receive? Like her, I have worked in the public service. It is always possible to find more efficient ways to deliver the goods, and that applies in this case too.

She wants to maintain a large bureaucracy at Veterans Affairs, but her party voted against our plan to replace Canadian Forces equipment with new planes, new armoured vehicles and new ships. How does she reconcile these two completely contradictory positions?

Opposition Motion—Veterans AffairsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, as I said at the beginning of my speech, 90% of Veterans Affairs Canada's budget goes directly to benefits and services for veterans. I do not think the department has a bloated bureaucracy. The fact is that nearly all of the money is for benefits and services. Still, there are some problems with service delivery. I do not believe that bureaucracy is a problem at Veterans Affairs Canada. The problem is lack of funding, which interferes with access to services. Public servants work overtime, and they have trouble getting their work done.

I do not think that the department's problems have anything to do with bureaucracy. That is why its budget should not be cut. I do not think that bureaucratic inefficiency is a problem there.

Opposition Motion—Veterans AffairsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Sean Casey Liberal Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, the minister keeps saying that the services provided to veterans will not be affected, but he has not said that the budget will be kept at its current level. Is it possible to offer an acceptable level of service despite the cuts that are planned in the upcoming budget?

Opposition Motion—Veterans AffairsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would invite the members to do a simple math exercise. We know that 90% of the Veterans Affairs budget goes directly to benefits and services. The Conservatives plan to cut the budget by 10%. That means they want to get rid of all public servants. To achieve this without cutting any benefits or services, they need to eliminate 10% of the rest of the budget. This means that Veterans Affairs would no longer have any staff; no more offices and no more calls. My colleagues just have to do a quick calculation and they will see that this makes no sense.

Opposition Motion—Veterans AffairsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Pierre Nantel NDP Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate my hon. colleague on her very enlightened and relevant speech. Her deep respect for the Canadian Forces is evident. I wonder if she could talk a bit about the despair that veterans sometimes feel, because they think no one cares about their needs.

Opposition Motion—Veterans AffairsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, feelings of despair often come from the lack of logic veterans perceive. Soldiers are used to reacting quickly. They are asked to react immediately in extreme situations, but when they have health problems or are facing crisis situations, they are being asked to wait for weeks on end for health care. I think that is what causes feelings of despair. Their whole lives, these people have been taught to react very quickly in certain situations, but when they have to deal with the system, decisions take forever and there is no concrete action. This makes absolutely no sense compared to the instructions they are accustomed to when they are the ones providing a service.

Opposition Motion—Veterans AffairsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

Chris Warkentin Conservative Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is indeed a pleasure for me to join this debate in the House of Commons on the quality of care for Canada's veterans. Some misinformation has been put out in the House today with regard to cuts or possible cuts to veterans' services and benefits. Many of my colleagues, including the minister, have corrected this misinformation in question period a number of times. Once again, I am pleased to set the record straight.

As the Minister of Veterans Affairs just mentioned in his speech, our government will always ensure that there are the necessary funds to provide Canadian Forces members, veterans and their families with the care and the support that they need. It is true that the number of traditional war service veterans served by the Department of Veterans Affairs is decreasing. While there are younger veterans entering the system at Veterans Affairs, the overall number of veterans served by the department is decreasing.

Their needs must be addressed. If we look at this government's record over the last six years, members will see that the benefits provided have actually expanded. I would like to point out all of the programs to which veterans are entitled are quasi-statutory. Many people will ask what exactly this means. There may be some uncertainty on the other side of the House. What it means is that the Government of Canada must provide these funds to administer those programs.

I will say that one more time for clarity. The Government of Canada must provide the funds to administer those programs. Veterans have the right to various programs and services that they need. The Treasury Board sets aside whatever money is necessary each year to make sure that the department can continue to provide those benefits.

The member presenting the motion is either misinformed or trying to misinform. The fact is the Minister of Veterans Affairs has said it very nicely. He has clearly summarized that the improvements our government has made over the last six years have been in the name of veterans. We know that the needs of veterans are changing and the care of veterans is evolving. It stands to reason that the way veterans access and receive those benefits should change as well.

Our government recognizes this. It has chosen to invest in new programs and initiatives and not just maintain the status quo. Veterans Affairs Canada is creating a more responsive environment for veterans to make sure that they have faster and easier access to the benefits that they deserve with as little stress as possible.

I am splitting my time with the member for Huron—Bruce.

The department serves close to 215,000 modern-day veterans, war service veterans, members of the Canadian Forces, members and former members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and their families. All of these people in these groups have their own individual needs. It is our job to ensure that these needs are met effectively and efficiently.

How are we achieving this? A lot has changed. The minister announced two weeks ago that he is cutting red tape for veterans' initiatives. Most of these changes enhance front line services and reduce processing times. The minister launched the cutting red tape for veterans' initiatives, which will provide our veterans with the hassle-free service they have asked for without bureaucratic roadblocks. There were resounding responses from veterans saying this is exactly what they have been asking for.

We have also taken action in the following areas. We are communicating with veterans in plain language. Information provided to our veterans, whether it be decision letters or brochures on benefits and services, will be written in a language that is easy to understand.

We have invested in technology which allows the department to make greater use of digital imaging and electronic records.

We have supported the helmets to hardhats program, which helps veterans who are trying to find high paying opportunities to see those opportunities in trades and areas where their skills are needed. We have implemented directed deposits for some VIP payments or reimbursements for treatment benefits.

We have also reduced by one-third the time it takes for a veteran to receive a decision on applications for disability benefits. We have cut in half the time that it takes for a veteran to receive a decision on applications for rehabilitation programs. We have established an Afghanistan and serious injury unit to fast-track the benefits for Canadian Forces members and veterans who have become seriously injured or ill while serving in Afghanistan or elsewhere.

We have added case managers to areas of high demand across this country to deliver one-on-one service for veterans. They have been given more authority to approve vocational rehabilitation plans and work with the veterans to resolve complex challenges. We have reduced the amount of paperwork for veterans when they apply for veterans independence programs which now help 107,000 veterans, survivors and their caregivers remain independent in their homes for as long as possible.

That is an impressive list of accomplishments. Long overdue some would say. Nevertheless, real progress has been made by the department to update the care for Canada's veterans.

I know that the work is far from done. In fact, the Minister of Veterans Affairs has stated very publicly that he intends to lead by example. He wants his department to be one of the most efficient and responsive in all of government. After all, Canada's veterans deserve nothing less.

As the minister stated in his remarks, Canada's veterans have done far more than their fair share to build our great country, to defend our shared values and to make Canada's red maple leaf an enduring symbol of peace and freedom around the world. This government is doing its fair share in ensuring that they are well looked after.

The motion of the member--

Opposition Motion—Veterans AffairsBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

2 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

Order. Unfortunately, I must interrupt the member as the time for government orders has expired. When the House returns to this matter, the hon. member for Peace River will have two minutes remaining in his speech.

Don Valley WestStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

John Carmichael Conservative Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to the world-class health care facilities and neighbourhood service agencies of which I am so very proud in Don Valley West. My riding is blessed with excellence in health care through the staff and researchers at: Sunnybrook Hospital and K Wing, the largest veterans' centre in Canada; Lyndhurst Centre, a place of excellence providing the best in spinal cord research and rehabilitation therapy services; the Canadian National Institute for the Blind; Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, serving children with disabilities; and Bob Rumball Centre for the Deaf, serving the needs of hearing disabled in the GTA.

For community services, I mention with pride Flemingdon and Thorncliffe Neighbourhood organizations, New Circles, Afghan Women's Organization, March of Dimes and Flemingdon Community Legal Services. All of these great organizations are geared to assisting the residents of Don Valley West.

Veterans AffairsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Dan Harris NDP Scarborough Southwest, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to start by thanking my esteemed colleague from Sackville—Eastern Shore for his unparalleled support of veterans during his time in the House.

Today, the New Democratic Party is calling on the government to shield Veterans Affairs from budget cutbacks. Tomorrow, we are calling for all-party support to ensure that programs and services to all military and RCMP veterans are protected. It would be an affront to ask them to give more.

My family has had a long and proud record of service to Canada, starting with my great-grandfather, Harold Riley, who served in both world wars. Veterans services kept my grandmother in her home with dignity until she passed away in 2010. I will not accept that the same services would not be there for future veterans. I will proudly vote yes to this motion to honour their memories and service to Canada. I call on the government to do the same.

Canadian Armed ForcesStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Corneliu Chisu Conservative Pickering—Scarborough East, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize that the City of Pickering in the great riding of Pickering—Scarborough East has unanimously passed a motion thanking and honouring the service of the men and women of the Canadian armed forces and the many civilians in supporting roles who served in the combat mission in Afghanistan that ended in July 2011. Many of those who served were from Durham region. I thank City Councillor David Pickles and Deputy Mayor Doug Dickerson who brought this motion to city council.

Canada's armed forces have made a significant contribution to the stability and rebuilding of Afghanistan over the last decade. One hundred and fifty-eight Canadian soldiers made the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan. Pickering residents and Royal Canadian Legion Branch 606 members crowded bridges and honoured these men and women as they passed through the city of Pickering on the Highway of Heroes.

Lest we forget, lest we forget.

Jim GreenStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Alas, Mr. Speaker, last week Vancouver lost an inspiring advocate for my community. On February 28, former councillor and two-time mayoral candidate Jim Green lost his fight with cancer.

Jim was a well-known progressive force in municipal politics and a key architect of solutions to improve the city. He was a passionate doer, with a fountain of ideas which he implemented in one of Canada's poorest neighbourhoods, the Downtown Eastside. Jim founded BladeRunners, an internationally recognized employment program that provides life skills training for at-risk youth. He founded United We Can, a charity that offers residents of East Hastings jobs to clean the streets of their neighbourhood. The Portland Hotel Society, which provides supported living space for the hardest to house people, owes its existence to Jim, among others.

Less than a week before he died, Jim was awarded Vancouver's highest honour, the Freedom of the City award, for his exemplary citizenship, service and leadership. Jim lived according to the idea that one can actually change the world for the better and enjoy it at the same time. On behalf of the citizens of Vancouver Quadra and Vancouver, I offer my deepest condolences to Jim's family and all those he touched.

2012 Scotties Tournament of HeartsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Earl Dreeshen Conservative Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, Red Deer was proud to host the 2012 Scotties Tournament of Hearts. Women's curling teams from all across this great nation vied for the Canadian championship. What a show these teams put on. Excellent shot making, thrilling games and heart-stopping action ensured that curling enthusiasts were treated to the best women's curling on the planet.

Host committee chair Sherri Ryckman and her crew of 528 enthusiastic volunteers did a wonderful job of welcoming curling teams and fans to Red Deer. From the unique opening banquet at the Sheraton Hotel, to the great entertainment at the HeartStop Lounge, right through to the final ceremonies at the Westerner's ENMAX Centrium, curling fans were treated to one of the best Scotties ever.

We will now cheer on Team Canada's Heather Nedohin and her Alberta teammates as they compete for the world championship in Lethbridge.

Provincial Powerchair Football TournamentStatements By Members

March 5th, 2012 / 2:05 p.m.

NDP

Raymond Côté NDP Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, on Saturday, February 25, the second annual provincial powerchair football tournament was held in Quebec City at the Centre communautaire des Chutes in the Beauport area. The local team, the Éclairs du Pivot, hosted the following three teams in a tight competition: the Saint-Jérôme Pitbulls—this year's champions—the Montreal Juni-Sport and the Dragonniers from the Madelaine-Bergeron school in Quebec City.

Powerchair football is soccer for people who use power wheelchairs. The event gave the athletes in attendance the opportunity to excel and compete against participants with disabilities from across Quebec and thereby build mutual respect.

Véronique Denis, honorary chair of the tournament, uses a wheelchair and is a member of the Pivot board of directors. She said, “I believe that all the athletes and organizations like Le Pivot are proving to society that people with disabilities have a place and that it is possible to achieve great things together”.

Ms. Denis, I wholeheartedly agree.

University of ReginaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

David Anderson Conservative Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Mr. Speaker, as an alumnus of the University of Regina, I was very disappointed to hear that my alma mater was experiencing anti-Semitic activities.

Recently, the University of Regina students union passed a one-sided resolution to join the boycott divest and sanction movement against Israel. The motion was passed at the end of the annual meeting when, as the student newspaper reports, “by the time the motion to boycott Israel came up, a lot of people had left and the remaining crowd members were anxious to join them”.

We have the ironic situation where a student organization, while proclaiming its support for political freedom and democratic discussion, did just the opposite.

Calling Israel an apartheid state is abhorrent and insulting to all Israeli citizens, Jewish, Christian and Muslim.

The University of Regina's administration needs to disavow any support for this offensive motion. I do not believe the U of R now supports the suppression of all Israeli academics, that it endorses anti-Semitism or that it sees Israel as an apartheid state. To counter this resolution, President Timmons needs to say so.

Joseph StalinStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Ted Opitz Conservative Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, today is the 59th anniversary of the death of the left-wing dictator, Joseph Stalin. During a 30-year reign of terror, show trials, purges, war and religious persecution, Stalin oversaw the death of tens of millions.

Even a partial death toll is almost incomprehensible: 15 million shipped to the Gulag, including my own father; millions of ethnic minorities killed during forced relocations; hundreds of thousands of priests, monks and nuns killed and more than 50,000 churches destroyed; an estimated 10 million Ukrainians starved to death during the Holodomor; millions of Poles sent to labour camps during World War II; and 20,000 Polish prisoners of war massacred at Katyn, all part of a decades-long litany of crimes against the Polish people.

This horror, during a time when Pierre Trudeau sympathetically claimed that the Soviet Union was making “tremendous strides”, reminds us that the beginning of Statism is the end of freedom and that the moral perversions of Marxist theory can only be put into practice at gunpoint.

We must never forget the evil that Stalin represented.

Members of the New Democratic PartyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, today I would like to highlight the citizen engagement of 160 people in my riding and more than 14,000 others in Quebec. I sincerely thank all these people for taking action to move this country forward. They refused to be intimidated, they accepted the risks associated with taking a stand and, proud of their ideals, they became official members of the New Democratic Party.

They are showing the way for thousands of others who support us, but who have told me that they are afraid that their organizations will suffer if they publicly support a party other than the one holding the purse strings. This is indicative of the unease caused by the Conservatives' style of governing, which appears to favour friends of the government.

Nevertheless, the movement is afoot and, day after day, we will continue to show all Canadians that the NDP is the only party that puts the interests of the people before those of big business. Our party truly listens to all Canadians. It will be 2015 before we know it and, together with all Canadians, we will once again have every reason to be proud to be a part of Canada.

LibyaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Laurie Hawn Conservative Edmonton Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, I was appalled to learn today that in Libya the graves of Commonwealth troops, including at least one Canadian who fought in Libya during the second world war, were smashed to pieces in the Benghazi war cemetery.

Just a few short months ago, we saw the brave men and women of the Royal Canadian Air Force successfully participating in a UN-mandated, NATO-led mission to protect civilians from the former Gadhafi regime, and today we see the graves of Canadian airmen destroyed by a group of extremists.

I would like to commend the Libyan National Transitional Council for its promise to pursue those who are responsible for destroying the graves of the brave individuals who fought against those who would oppress their fellow man during the second world war.

Most important, I commemorate the great sacrifice of the Canadians who laid down their lives in the defence of freedom and democracy and pay tribute to those who continue to serve around the world to defend these important values today.

We owe them so much and Libya owes them so much. We must never lose our appreciation of service and sacrifice.

Aboriginal AffairsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, the preservation of language is an essential aspect of cultural heritage. More than 60 first nations languages are spoken from coast to coast to coast in Canada. This unique and fundamental part of Canada's cultural mosaic must be preserved.

What is encouraging is the growing number of young aboriginal activists stepping forward to preserve these languages, working tirelessly across the country to sustain a unique cultural identity. I would like to praise the work of FirstVoices and first nations activists who are leading the way to the revival of first nations cultural heritage. On this side of the House, we salute their efforts.

The full contribution of the first nations, Inuit and Métis people to building Canada has never been fully recognized and honoured. New Democrats are committed to a new partnership to address long-standing neglect and injustice. We are committed to building together a Canada where aboriginal languages, knowledge and culture are respected and reinforced and where first nations communities across the country can stand with hope and pride.

41st General ElectionStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Armstrong Conservative Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

Mr. Speaker, last week, West Nova was mysteriously added to the list of alleged calls by Gord MacPherson, the campaign manager for Liberal candidate, Robert Thibault, who said that he had no memory of anyone complaining about calls during an election.

The media quoted Mr. Thibeault himself for remembering the incident. He said, “I had one person call saying that he got repeated calls at odd hours from a caller saying he represented the Liberal Party”.

There it is. The Liberals paid millions of dollars making hundreds of thousands of phone calls in these ridings and they now claim to have received these calls from the opposition.

The opposition's exaggerated allegations demean the millions of voters who cast their votes in the last election.

University BasketballStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to pay tribute today to St. Francis Xavier University basketball coach Steve Konchalski.

Already the “winningest” coach in Canadian university sport history, he reached a new milestone on January 7 with his 800th victory.

As a player, he led Acadia University to a national title in 1965 and was chosen tournament MVP.

Coach K has led the St. FX X-Men to three national championship victories so far, and he has taken Canada's national team to three Olympic games. He has served as assistant coach of the Canadian team for 16 years, and as head coach for four.

He has been inducted into the Acadia Sports Hall of Fame, the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame and the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame.

He is known as a class act, a man of intelligence and humility, but perhaps the greatest tribute to Steve Konchalski comes from his players who say that he always demanded a lot from them, both in the classroom and on the court.

I invite all members to join me in recognizing Coach Steve Konchalski on his 800 victories.

James Q. WilsonStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Conservative Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, James Q. Wilson, who died last Friday, was one of the quiet giants of our age whose rigorous common sense was an antidote to the intellectual poison of so much of the 25th century academic philosophy.

Wilson will be best remembered for his “broken windows” theory of policing, which held that the failure to police supposedly minor breaches of the social order, such as vandalism, defacement art and graffiti, as well as drug use, undermines a community's sense of security and mutual trust, leading to more broken windows in crime. This insight ran counter to the soft on crime ideology of the sociologists and criminologists of the day. However, whenever policy-makers enacted Wilson's ideas, such as in New York, crime went down and the intellectual bankruptcy of his opponents was exposed.

However, Wilson's legacy is much broader. At a time when moral philosophers were denying the very possibility of truth, Wilson tested their claims against the reality of lived experience and showed them to be hollow.

As an enlightenment empiricist, he reintroduced the moral sense of Aristotle and Adam Smith to a new generation of policy-makers and reminded us that an ounce of--

James Q. WilsonStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please. The hon. member for London--Fanshawe.