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House of Commons Hansard #123 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was copyright.

Topics

International CooperationOral Questions

3 p.m.

Durham Ontario

Conservative

Bev Oda ConservativeMinister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, Canada is fortunate to have many organizations helping those living in developing countries. As a government agency, we want to ensure that our public funds support effective, sustainable, long-term development results. We are helping governments and medical institutions learn their own way and have their own means to develop nurse training in-country so that it can last for years and years to the benefit of those countries.

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, the sweeping changes in the Conservative's budget would negatively impact the lives of Canadians. One of the many disturbing changes would allow the Minister of Health to ignore current regulations and authorize the sale of products that contain harmful substances.

After gutting the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and reducing the number of food inspectors, why is the government blatantly refusing to follow regulations that are essential to keeping Canadians and our food safe?

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

3 p.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster Saskatchewan

Conservative

Gerry Ritz ConservativeMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, I can assure the member opposite and all Canadians that their food is safe. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency continues to play a major role inspecting imported foods as well as what we produce here domestically. There is still a growing number of inspectors out there on the front lines. We had put $100 million into last year's budget. We have put $51 million into this year's budget, which, of course, the NDP voted against.

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

May 14th, 2012 / 3 p.m.

Conservative

Joe Daniel Conservative Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the no-development party is continuing his attack on the resource sector. We know that Canadians are not listening. Instead, they are taking advantage of the jobs that the resource development sector creates with the largest two-month job growth in decades.

The opposition leader is alienating Canadian workers and pitting one region of the country against the other. Could the parliamentary secretary please tell this House what the western premiers are saying about the NDP policies?

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Cypress Hills—Grasslands Saskatchewan

Conservative

David Anderson ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for his hard work on the natural resources file.

Instead of supporting good Canadian jobs in western Canada, the leader of the no-development party calls these jobs a “disease”. Western premiers are fighting back.

Premier Wall of Saskatchewan said that the NDP leader's comments are divisive and bad economics.

Premier Redford of Alberta said that the NDP leader might want to inform himself before he opens his mouth.

Premier Clark of B.C. said that the NDP leader's backward thinking has been discredited for a long time.

New leader, same old policies. New leader, same missed opportunities. New leader, same disastrous results.

Transport CanadaOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Sana Hassainia NDP Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, almost two years ago, the City of Verchères asked Transport Canada to install a safety barrier at the railroad crossing at Montée Calixa-Lavallée.

The City was told that the funds were not available, and now the project is gathering dust on the Minister of Transport's desk. Several accidents have happened at that crossing over the past few years.

When will the government show some concern for people's safety? Why is the minister waiting for tragedy to strike before taking action?

Transport CanadaOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia Manitoba

Conservative

Steven Fletcher ConservativeMinister of State (Transport)

Mr. Speaker, of course, railway safety is a priority. We take great measures and make investments to improve the rail throughout the country and we will continue to do so. We want all Canadians to be safe. However, I will point out that walking along the rail is very dangerous. It is amazing how many people are unnecessarily killed or maimed by walking on a railway. We also need to work on railway education.

JusticeOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Bloc

Maria Mourani Bloc Ahuntsic, QC

Mr. Speaker, because of Bill C-10, the justice bill, an average of 1,000 more prisoners will be sent to Quebec's 18 prisons every day. These prisons are already at capacity.

In addition to the ongoing $80 million expense, Quebec will have to spend $750 million to build new cells, even though it has the lowest crime rate in North America.

Who does the government want to take money away from in order to build prisons: families, the ill, young children? Who?

JusticeOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, as members know, Bill C-10 zeroes in on drug traffickers and those who molest children. An estimate that this is going to add 1,000 new prisoners to provincial facilities in the province of Quebec would be 365,000 a year, just the provincial ones and not the federal one. I reject the idea that half a million people in the province of Quebec would be convicted every year of drug trafficking or child molestation. I reject that and I think most people would agree with me.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I draw the attention of hon. members to the presence in the gallery of the Honourable Alistair Burt, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I hope this is properly put as a point of order. I noted earlier in question period, in debate, that the Conservative members of Parliament made note of the long speech of the hon. member for Burnaby—New Westminster and claimed that it had prevented people from speaking to the elements of Bill C-38.

I merely wish to point out that long after the member for Burnaby—New Westminster ceased speaking, Bill C-38 was introduced two weeks later.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

That would not be a point of order.

The hon. member for Rivière-du-Nord on a point of order.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Pierre Dionne Labelle NDP Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Foreign Affairs seems to be enjoying a privilege denied other members of this House.

I watched him while the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism was answering the question. He went and stood next to his whip and stayed there for about a minute, watching the chamber. Is that a parliamentary attitude?

Can we allow people to wander about the House like that? I would like you to call him to order, because if 200 or 300 of us were to adopt his attitude, it would look like Grand Central station. And that is not right. In the House, we should have decorum.

When a minister is answering a question, I think the minister should remain in his place and not stand beside the whip and remain there for 60 seconds, observing the chamber as if he were the master of the House.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I make no apologies for discussing important issues with my fellow colleagues on both sides of the House of Commons at any time.

I would encourage you, Mr. Speaker, to rightfully say that was not a point of order but rather a silly excuse for an intervention.

Oral QuestionsPoints of OrderOral Questions

3:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I do not think the Speaker wants to get into a position where he has to monitor every member's comings and goings. I will point out that if a member's movements are causing disruption, if at the time a member wants to bring it to my attention, I can certainly have a word with the member who is causing the disruption.

We will maybe see how it progresses after the member has raised the point.

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to two petitions.

Canadian Chinese CommunityRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Calgary Southeast Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney ConservativeMinister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to commemorate an important anniversary in the history of our Parliament and of the pioneers of Canada's Chinese community.

Sixty-five years ago today, Parliament repealed the Chinese Immigration Act, also known as the Chinese Exclusion Act. In doing so, it brought an end to generations of unjust discrimination against people of Chinese origin.

In 1923, the Chinese Exclusion Act was introduced by the government of William Lyon Mackenzie King after $23 million in head tax revenues from Chinese immigrants to Canada had been collected in the proceeding 50 years. This unjust law prevented anyone from China from emigrating to Canada.

Chinese men, who had already faced two decades of stigma, remained separated from their families and were denied the rights of subjects of the Crown. This was unworthy of our country, considering particularly that many of these men had helped to unite the Dominion in building one of the most dangerous sections of the Canadian Pacific Railroad through the Rocky Mountains.

Despite these injustices, the Chinese remained steadfastly loyal to Canada. During the Second World War, a patriotic generation of Chinese Canadians volunteered for the Canadian military. Serving bravely, they were generally not put into action until late in the war when the British recruited them into the special operations executive. They served with honour overseas in defending the freedom and defeating fascism and Japanese imperialism.

Douglas Jung was one of the most distinguished volunteers. The dedicated service of men like Jung forced the government to put an end to its unfair policies on May 24, 1947, when Parliament repealed the Chinese Immigration Act.

Today marks the 65th anniversary of that historic moment. On June 22, 2006, our government helped draw to a close this sombre chapter in our history when the Prime Minister issued a formal apology for the head tax and expressed his deepest regrets.

Since then, the government has issued ex gratia symbolic payments to living head tax payers and widows of head tax payers.

Through the community historical recognition program, our government has also approved some $4.5 million of projects that are intended to recognize the injustice that Chinese Canadians faced through the head tax and the Chinese Exclusion Act.

In June 1957, Douglas Jung became the first Canadian member of Parliament of Asian and Chinese origin. He subsequently represented Canada at the United Nations. We pay tribute today to his spirit and to the spirits of all those who rose up with dignity and overcame decades of unjust discrimination against people of Chinese and Asian origin. A federal building in Vancouver was named the Douglas Jung Building in 2007 to commemorate their struggle for equality before the law.

In his maiden speech in this place, Douglas Jung said:

While those of us in the Conservative party will take particular pleasure in my election, which election will refute any argument that this party has been discriminatory to certain groups in the past, I am sure that hon. members on both sides will rejoice that we in this country have a system of government that does not extol its virtues by fanfare, but by expressing our belief in our principles by deeds and not words.

On this day, the 65th anniversary, let us all call to mind those who overcame adversity to help build a Canada that is an example to the world of freedom, democracy and equality for all.

Canadian Chinese CommunityRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Jinny Sims NDP Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, today I join my hon. colleague in marking the 65th anniversary of the repeal of Canada's discriminatory Chinese Exclusion Act when Chinese immigrants were finally granted the right to become Canadian citizens.

As the official opposition, we recognize the important struggles the Chinese community has had to confront in becoming Canadian citizens and we must say thanks to the early Chinese Canadian pioneers who helped build this nation despite the hardships they were forced to face, such as the Chinese head tax and the Chinese Exclusion Act.

The Chinese Exclusion Act prohibited Chinese immigration for more than a generation. Only a handful of Chinese were allowed to enter Canada during this period, which spanned the Great Depression and the Second World War. The sons and daughters of the head tax payers were also directly affected by this legislation and experienced poverty, racism, family separation and lost educational opportunities.

On June 22, 2006, after years of advocacy from the Chinese Canadian community, the Government of Canada finally offered a formal apology for the head tax and expressed deep regret for the injustice and discrimination it represented.

I want to take this opportunity to thank a couple of people whose tireless advocacy helped make this historic apology a reality. The first is my hon. colleague from Trinity—Spadina. In the early 1980s, as an assistant to NDP MP Dan Heap, she helped to launch the campaign to seek an apology and compensation from the federal government on the shameful anti-immigrant Chinese head tax and Chinese Exclusion Act and she continues to be a powerful advocate in the House for Chinese Canadians.

I also want to acknowledge the role our late leader, the hon. Jack Layton, played in advocating for an apology and redress for this tremendous injustice. A statement from the Chinese Canadian National Council stated:

As a City Councillor and Member of Parliament, Mr. Layton tirelessly supported numerous social justice issues. In particular, he...supported...the Chinese Canadian community in our decades long campaign for redress of the Chinese head tax and Chinese Exclusion Act at its most challenging moments.

Mr. Layton told the House on that occasion, “This is important not just for the head tax survivors, but for all Canadians, who will now see that justice has been done”.

As most members know, New Democrats had pushed for an apology and redress for over 20 years since the current member for Vancouver East and former MPs, Margaret Mitchell of Vancouver and Dan Heap, demanded justice and reconciliation on behalf of head tax payers in their ridings and across this country. Since that time, tragically, before an apology could be issued, most of the head tax payers died.

The redress offered to head tax payers was not as comprehensive as we would have liked since the children have not been directly compensated. Children were greatly harmed. In many cases, children were separated from their fathers for decades. The effects emotionally, socially, culturally, economically and personally are incalculable. New Democrats continue to call for a more comprehensive refund for victims of the head tax.

It is important that by remembering our past we commit not to repeat our mistakes. Sixty-five years ago we ended a sad chapter of discrimination. We finally acknowledged that it was wrong to exploit foreign labour and deny citizenship in this cruel way. Today, we bring in thousands of temporary foreign workers who will be allowed to make 15% less than Canadian workers. They will be denied family reunification and the right to stay in Canada.

As the official opposition, New Democrats believe that, much like the Chinese who came to build our railroads and unite our country, if one is good enough to work here one is good enough to stay.

I am thankful for the opportunity to join with members across the House to mark the end of this sad chapter in our history and to commit to fight the injustices of today.

Canadian Chinese CommunityRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Liberal Party of Canada, I would like to put this into a context.

During the early 1880s, about 15,000 labourers were brought from China. They were used to build the Canadian Pacific Railway. In 1878, the B.C. government passed a law that attempted to prevent Chinese people from immigrating. It was ruled illegal. However, a few years later, our first Prime Minister, John A. Macdonald, passed the Chinese Immigration Act of 1885. That was the law that created the Chinese head tax, which almost accomplished what the B.C. government and many labour leaders at the time were wanting to see happen, which was to prevent Chinese people from immigrating to Canada. This all led to the Government of Canada, back in 1923, passing in Parliament what is best known as the Chinese Exclusion Act. The new law replaced the head tax and stayed in place until the Mackenzie King government repealed the law on May 14, 1947.

The head tax of 1885 was wrong. The Chinese Exclusion Act was wrong. We all need to reflect on how those decisions made back then hurt us as a people and as a nation today.

Here, in celebration of the 65th anniversary, we need to recognize that Canada's Chinese community has contributed in every way to our social and economic development. From coast to coast to coast and from urban settings to rural, we see that the Chinese community is second to no other community in terms of the way of life and the lifestyle that we have and celebrate today. It is with those comments we stand in recognition of the 65th anniversary.

Canadian Chinese CommunityRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I request unanimous consent to be able to speak to this issue on behalf of the party I represent.

Canadian Chinese CommunityRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Is there unanimous consent?

Canadian Chinese CommunityRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yes.

No.

Canadian Chinese CommunityRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

There is no consent.

The hon. member for Richmond—Arthabaska has the floor.

Canadian Chinese CommunityRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Bloc Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, I strongly disagree with the decision that was just made. I heard Conservative members refuse to allow the Leader of the Green Party to speak, even though she is from British Columbia where there is a large Asian and Chinese community.

Any member of a political party in this House should be allowed to speak, especially since the minister said that, in the past, his party had been unfairly accused of not being open to immigration.

I do not understand why everyone cannot pay tribute to this 65th anniversary. In Quebec, especially Montreal, there is a large Chinese community that makes a big—