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House of Commons Hansard #110 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was inequality.

Topics

2 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

It being Wednesday, we will have the singing of the national anthem today led by the hon. member for Yukon.

[Members sang the national anthem]

2015 Canada Winter GamesStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Dick Harris Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Speaker, the city of Prince George, B.C. will be hosting the 2015 Canada Winter Games, and what Games they will be.

Last week the Minister of State for Sport and I had the pleasure of announcing our government's $11 million support for this event. Our government is the single largest contributor to sport in Canada and supports participation and excellence from playground to podium.

The Canada Games are the country's largest domestic, multi-sport event and are the pinnacle of interprovincial and territorial sport competition. The Games are held at two-year intervals, alternating between winter and summer. They bring together participants from across the country to share the spirit of competition and demonstrate sporting excellence and cultural diversity.

The 2015 Winter Games will be a great time for the city of Prince George, the central interior of B.C., and indeed, all of Canada.

NovelisStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Claude Patry NDP Jonquière—Alma, QC

Mr. Speaker, Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean has received more bad news: a large primary aluminum processing plant, Novelis, has announced that it will be closing its doors on August 1. As a result, 160 good jobs with good salaries will be lost.

Yet the Novelis plant is doing well and generating profits. The plant's relocation is the unfortunate result of market globalization and U.S. protectionism. The Conservative government has not shown any political will to improve the situation or negotiate with large corporations in the interest of workers.

I object to the complicit silence of the Conservatives—particularly the Minister of Industry and the Minister of Transport, who, to add insult to injury, are not even bothering to return the many calls that we have made to their offices.

I am saddened for the workers and their families, but we, the people of Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean, are strong. We will roll up our sleeves and continue to look for solutions, with or without the help of the Conservative government.

ArmeniaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today as chair of the Canada-Armenia Parliamentary Friendship Group to commemorate a solemn anniversary. Almost 100 years ago a policy of systematic extermination resulted in the deaths of between a million and a million and a half Armenians.

In recent years, both houses of Parliament have adopted resolutions referring to these events as “the first genocide of the twentieth century”, but I draw faith from the Armenian people. To visit Armenia today is to enjoy a country that has grown and recovered and today, enjoys democracy.

Today, our Armenian Canadian communities celebrate their culture in healthy communities from Montreal to Vancouver, including in my own home area of Waterloo region.

We remember this today, not to look back to 1915, but to learn from the lessons of history and to recommit ourselves to ensuring that such a tragedy never happens again.

World Malaria DayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Eyking Liberal Sydney—Victoria, NS

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to recognize World Malaria Day. Many may not know that malaria was one of the biggest causes of death during the construction of the Rideau Canal. It was widespread in the southern regions of Ontario up until the late 1800s.

Today, malaria affects millions of people in over 100 countries. However, the spread of malaria is something we can control for very little cost. We in Canada have an ongoing responsibility to ensure that underdeveloped countries have access to control resources. One way is through specialized nets. In 2010, 145 million nets were distributed in Africa, up from 88.5 million the year before.

The World Health Organization's 2011 report states that there were 216 million cases of malaria in 2010, causing 655,000 deaths, and 86% of the victims were children.

Even though the report also shows progress in the fight against malaria, it is not over yet. I ask members, if they can, to please buy a net.

National Victims of Crime Awareness WeekStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson Conservative Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, this week is the seventh anniversary of National Victims of Crime Awareness Week.

All members know of a family in their riding who has fallen victim to a crime. Our heart goes out to the victims and survivors. During Victims of Crime Week, Canadians consider how our society can help victims of crime move forward.

This week across Canada, we salute and thank the countless professionals and volunteers who respond to the call to help victims of crime move forward. Canadians can visit www.victimsweek.gc.ca to access these services. In the hours following a dreadful tragic crime, these Canadians help those suffering through their darkest hours. These brave and compassionate Canadians show up to stand with the victims.

Our Conservative government is proud to support and stand with those who work with victims of crime and try to maintain hope for the future and the rebuilding of lives in the aftermath of criminal acts.

Co-operative MovementStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Nycole Turmel NDP Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative budget has a new victim: the co-operative movement. We have learned that Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, which experienced $254 million in cuts in the last budget, has done away with the only federal program for co-operatives—the co-operative development initiative.

These cuts come as we are celebrating the International Year of Co-operatives, which Canada supported at the United Nations in 2009. Some 9,000 Canadian co-operatives employ 155,000 workers, contribute to business innovation and help rural economic development.

In the Outaouais, the Quartiers en santé co-operative will no longer be able to provide health services to aboriginal people in northern Quebec. The Place du marché co-operative in Ripon will also be affected by these cuts.

It is time that this government reviewed its priorities and reinvested in development, in our co-operatives.

Suicide PreventionStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

David Sweet Conservative Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, according to Statistics Canada, the suicide rate in this country was almost double that of the death rate from car crashes in 2007, the most recent year measured. Youth suicides are particularly disconcerting. That year, 421 youth between the ages of 15 and 24 took their own life. That is 421 too many.

Thousands of family members and friends are impacted. As a parent, the anguish they have felt is unthinkable to me. That is why I will be very pleased to stand in this House next month in support of Bill C-300 from the member for Kitchener—Conestoga to establish a federal framework on suicide prevention.

I am confident that the bill will encourage the many outstanding efforts taking place across this country, such as the Jack Project at Kids Help Phone. This project is a legacy of Jack Windeler, a Queen's University student who died by suicide in March 2010. The project's school-based outreach program is now being piloted for a full rollout next school year. We wish them much success.

National Victims of Crime Awareness WeekStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Joy Smith Conservative Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, this week is the seventh annual National Victims of Crime Awareness Week which raises awareness about victims' issues and the program, services and laws in place to help victims of crime and their families.

With my extensive involvement in combatting modern-day slavery, I am particularly pleased about a new program our government has announced to provide financial support to parents of missing and murdered youth. Having met many parents whose children have been tragically taken or lured from them, I know these parents face challenging financial strains in addition to significant emotional and mental burdens.

This important initiative adds to our government's ongoing actions to support victims of crime, including $5.25 million for the creation and enhancement of child advocacy centres across our country and the development of a national action plan to combat human trafficking.

Working together, we must fight to end the sexual exploitation of women and youth across our nation.

Earth DayStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Denise Savoie NDP Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate and thank the organizers of three fabulous Earth Day events: Victoria's Earth Walk, the Creatively United for the Planet Festival and Oak Bay's walk and picnic. Thousands of Victorians and some first nations came together to celebrate the environment. They also shared their concern about the proposed Enbridge pipeline to the west coast that would cross 1,000 streams and rivers in first nations territory.

To them, the inherent dangers of supertankers carrying raw bitumen through B.C.'s pristine coastal waters to China is unacceptable. A spill would destroy whale and fish habitat and could cause the collapse of the wild salmon fishery. British Columbians and first nations say that it is not worth the risk and they demand to be fully consulted about this project. I commend them for standing up for us all.

World Malaria DayStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Patrick Brown Conservative Barrie, ON

Mr. Speaker, today is World Malaria Day. According to the most recent statistics in the World Health Organization's World Malaria Report 2011, an estimated 655,000 victims died from malaria in 2010. That means 75 people an hour die and even more tragic is that 64 of them are children under the age of five.

I have been honoured to co-chair the All-Party Parliamentary Caucus on Ending Malaria. I encourage all members to spread the word in their communities about raising malaria awareness.

Our government is focusing efforts internationally to ensure that treatment is available to the most vulnerable. CIDA has invested $105 million since 2007 to the Catalytic Initiative to Save a Million Lives. There were 48,000 Canadian-trained health workers who distributed more than 4.6 million insecticide-treated mosquito nets and administered anti-malarial treatments to more than 600,000 children.

On World Malaria Day, I am proud of the actions Canada has taken around the world.

Status of WomenStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe NDP Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, on April 15, more than 50 women gathered in Pierrefonds-Dollard at a women's event to take part in a discussion the theme of which was “Women, Diversity and Community Engagement”.

First, seven inspiring guests—Homa Appanah, Ranjana Jha, Marie-Bernadette Julien, Amita Khanna, Isabelle Sayed, Jasbir Kaur Seyan and Monika Spolia—spoke about their leadership roles, various projects, organizational strategies and ethical issues. The participants then asked questions, initiated discussions, spoke about the various challenges that they have in common and had the opportunity to network according to their needs and common interests.

At the end of the discussion, attendees were invited to enjoy an authentic meal and snacks prepared by the Hindu-Mandir Temple and Projet Communautaire de Pierrefonds.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the organizers and participants who took part in this event. I was impressed to meet so many exceptional women from my constituency and I am proud to represent such a dynamic and engaged community.

Battle of Vimy RidgeStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Dykstra Conservative St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker, two weeks ago, the Minister of Veterans Affairs led a delegation representing Canada at the 95th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.

In addition, 5,000 Canadian youth travelled to Vimy. These outstanding youth have made it their duty to keep the torch of remembrance lit.

The bravery and perseverance shown by the young Canadians who fought during the Battle of Vimy Ridge is mirrored in a new generation. These young Canadians know the sacrifices made at Vimy Ridge and will move forward and shape the future of our great country with the same courage, determination and pride as those who fought 95 years ago.

The presence of these youth at Vimy gives me confidence that in the years to come Canada will be in good hands, that these young Canadians will ensure the sacrifices made by past generations will be remembered and the Canadian values they fought for will be preserved and upheld.

Search and RescueStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Liberal Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, I rise on behalf of all Canadians who may be nervous about spending time on the ocean surrounding Newfoundland and Labrador after today.

As the diligent staff at the maritime rescue sub-centre in St. John's spend their last day protecting the lives of mariners as usual and all who travel along the longest coastline in Canada, flags throughout Newfoundland and Labrador fly at half-mast.

This morning in Ottawa, at the meeting of Transport Canada's standing committee on fishing vessel safety, all members of the committee observed a moment of silence in support of the maritime rescue sub-centre and in fear for the lives that may be lost as a result of the closure.

On average, this centre has overseen the response to 500 calls a year, many of them distress calls, resulting in approximately 600 lives saved annually. The intimate knowledge the employees have of Newfoundland and Labrador's coastline undoubtedly was a key factor in these rescues from the unforgiving elements of the north Atlantic.

I ask all members to join me in recognizing the critical and exemplary service provided by the employees of the MRSC in St. John's and trust that all who travel at sea, especially those who spend months at sea to earn a living for their families, will remain safe.

Grave of Private Jonathan CouturierStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Conservative Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, QC

Mr. Speaker, I was deeply saddened to learn today that the grave of Private Jonathan Couturier was senselessly vandalized in a cemetery in Loretteville, Quebec.

Private Couturier lost his life in 2009 when an improvised explosive device went off near his vehicle in Afghanistan. It is really appalling that the final resting place of this young man who gave his life for our country has been disturbed. It is truly important to remember those who died in combat for Canada. Cruel acts of vandalism against the memory of our fallen heroes are simply unacceptable.

I sincerely hope that the vandals will be held accountable for their actions. I also hope that the generosity of the men and women who lost their lives for our country will live on in our memories and that their sacrifices will be commemorated.

Mr. Speaker, we will remember them.

PensionsStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, since Nortel entered bankruptcy in 2009, its workers have seen their pension plans devastated, their disability income lost and their health benefits vanish.

Now, the predatory vulture investors who bought Nortel shares for 12¢ on the dollar are trying to claim the full dollar value with interest, draining funds needed to pay for the benefits of former Nortel employees.

How is this possible? It is because the Conservatives, like the Liberals before them, have refused to amend our bankruptcy laws to protect employees from predatory investors.

This situation is shameful. It is wrong to put these speculators chasing a quick buck ahead of the hard-working Nortel employees who spent a lifetime building the company.

Nortel pensioners want the government to amend the bankruptcy laws and move pensioners and disability recipients to the front of the line.

Is anyone over there listening? Will anyone from the government stand up and do the right thing for Nortel pensioners?

New Democratic Party of CanadaStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Greg Rickford Conservative Kenora, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is no wonder the NDP advocates for a private member's bill that would restrict the ability of members of Parliament to represent their constituents' issues in the way they best see fit. Just a while back, the member for Saint-Maurice—Champlain decided that the NDP was not the party she expected it would be and found a home elsewhere in the opposition benches.

This week, the muzzled member for Thunder Bay—Superior North broke his silence. After being muzzled and silenced again by the NDP leader, the northwestern Ontario member crossed the floor to sit as an independent. I hope he continues to stand for the interests of rural and northern voters like he did when he stood with our government in his support to end the wasteful and ineffective long gun registry.

Now we see why the NDP supports a ban on floor crossing, as it clearly sees it has no support to gain, just members to lose.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Outremont Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, this is what the Prime Minister said in 2009: “The military mission in Afghanistan will end in 2011. I have said it here and I have said it across the country. In fact, I think I said it recently in the White House.”

Now it is 2012 and our soldiers are still in Afghanistan.

Has Canada received a request from the United States to keep our soldiers in Afghanistan beyond 2014?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this House will make its own determination about the presence of our troops in Afghanistan. Our troops are there to train the Afghan forces to assume greater responsibility for their own security. Afghanistan's security is in our national interest and in the interest of the international community.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Outremont Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, that is interesting because in the past the Prime Minister was perfectly willing to discuss with the House what the White House had told him to do.

Lawrence Cannon, minister of foreign affairs at the time, said in 2010, “We might be pressured obviously, but I think the prime minister has made this perfectly clear. March of 2014 is when we will be leaving”. We have heard those words before. We were supposed to be out before.

Are we being pressured again to keep soldiers in Afghanistan beyond 2014?

AfghanistanOral Questions

April 25th, 2012 / 2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I have been told that we have not had that specific request from the United States. Whether it comes or not, I will be very clear, Canada will make its own determination in this regard. We have our forces there now to help train the Afghan security forces because it is in the interests of our country that Afghanistan does not become once again a safe haven for terrorism and also in our interest that, in order to prevent that, the Afghans themselves assume greater responsibility for their own security.

Our government will make any decisions it makes with the best interests of our own country and the world community in mind.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Outremont Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, that was artful, “that specific request”. We will see what that means.

Canadians do not want yet another Conservative extension of the mission in Afghanistan and the NDP will not support one.

Canadians have been perfectly clear. They want our troops home. They want this mission to end. It was supposed to end in 2006. It was supposed to end in 2009. It was supposed to end in 2011. It is supposed to end in 2014. When will it finally end?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it is not a remarkable statement that the NDP will not support the mission. The NDP could not even make up its mind to support the World War II mission.

Canada has been involved in Afghanistan with the support of most of the parties in the House for some years. Our plan at the current time is, obviously, for the mission that goes to 2014, but, as we approach that date, we will examine all options and we will take the decision that is in the best interests of this country and in the best interests of our security objectives for the globe, and not an ideological knee-jerk response like the NDP.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Outremont Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are taking note. They will not deny it.

In 2006, the Conservative platform pledged that Parliament would vote on the “commitment of Canadian forces to foreign operations”. By 2010, that had been artfully amended to “combat” missions.

Will there be another amendment now? Will Parliament only review the missions that the Prime Minister feels like discussing?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, all of the military missions committed to under this government have come before the House: the mission in Libya, which the House approved; we did not begin the mission to Afghanistan but the extensions of that mission. Certainly, should there be any other significant military missions, we are committed to getting the consent of Parliament before we act. That has been our action and that is what we will do in the future.