House of Commons Hansard #37 of the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was honduras.

Topics

2 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

It being Wednesday, we will now have the singing of the national anthem led by the hon. member for Abitibi—Témiscamingue.

[Members sang the national anthem]

Francine LalondeStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Louis Plamondon Bloc Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet—Bécancour, QC

Mr. Speaker, our colleague Francine Lalonde passed away during the night of January 16. Francine leaves behind an impressive political and social legacy. She was the first woman to serve as vice-president of the CSN, and she was the minister of status of women in René Lévesque's cabinet in 1985.

A Bloc Québécois MP from 1993 to 2011, Francine left her mark as foreign affairs critic, serving as a dedicated and respected ambassador for Quebec. She was also an ardent defender of the need for Quebec sovereignty.

There are those individuals who strive to make a difference in society and who leave their mark everywhere they go. Francine was one of those people. A woman of values, conviction and courage, she was one of the first people to initiate the social debate on the right to die with dignity, which will soon become law in Quebec.

The great French author Alexandre Dumas once said that those whom we have loved and lost are no longer where they were, but they are still everywhere we are.

My deepest sympathies go out to her spouse, Guy, and her three children. Farewell, Francine.

JusticeStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Anders Conservative Calgary West, AB

Mr. Speaker, rape is a crime like no other. It is a violation of the spirit as well as the body. It is an assault on trust, privacy and control. It can leave the victim with a sense of bruising, shame and guilt, and it happens to a woman in Canada every 17 minutes. These are women who are teachers, nurses and judges. They are women whose husbands may be doctors or lawyers.

Thirty years ago, rape was folded along with indecent assault into a new crime called “sexual assault”. It covered everything from unwanted touching to any form of penetration, including offences involving a weapon or bodily harm.

Getting rid of the term “rape” did not stop it. Many argue that it negatively changed the justice system and resulted in lighter not tougher sentencing. The average jail sentence for sexual assault offenders is two years.

Today, I will be introducing a private member's bill that would help to change this. The bill would establish much tougher mandatory minimum sentences for sexual assaults that fall within the definition of rape, and those sentences would be served consecutively. The bill would help keep offenders behind bars longer and help keep Canadians and their families safe.

Northwest Territories Devolution ActStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Western Arctic, NT

Mr. Speaker, on Monday, the aboriginal affairs committee held hearings in Yellowknife on Bill C-15, which combines devolution with the elimination of regional land and water boards.

A clear message from the hearings was that there is a strong opposition to the Conservative plan to shut down these regional boards.

These boards give a local voice to development decisions, which is a system that works. They were created through constitutionally protected land claims agreements. Even the chamber of mines said they have a good working relationship with the local boards.

The aboriginal governments of the Gwich'in, Sahtu and Tlicho have pledged that they will use every avenue available to fight these changes, meaning greater delays for future development.

“Canada has returned to the old colonial ways of thinking they know what is best for us. They are silencing our voice. This is not the constitutional promise made in the Tlicho agreement,” said Tlicho Grand Chief Eddie Erasmus.

MompreneursStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Eve Adams Conservative Mississauga—Brampton South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to praise Mompreneurs.

Mompreneurs are a dynamic group of moms who are also leading business owners, experts and innovators within their respective fields.

On Monday, I had the pleasure of hosting a pre-budget consultation with GTA Mompreneurs from Oakville, Burlington, Mississauga, Brampton and Hamilton. The working moms shared suggestions, offered concrete policy advice and were grateful for the opportunity to be heard.

I was pleased to hear that many initiatives in our government's economic action plan, such as the children's arts and fitness tax credit, the small business hiring tax credit and improvements at CRA are helping make everyday life more affordable for these working families.

As I wrap up this year's pre-budget consultations, I am proud to stand up for my local community in Ottawa to advocate for my neighbours' priorities and to deliver exceptionally constructive feedback to our great Minister of Finance.

The women at Mompreneurs are smart and hard-working, and they are a testament to the business spirit and entrepreneurship that is alive and well in Canada.

John Ross MathesonStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Ted Hsu Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Hon. John Ross Matheson, who passed away in Kingston last month, served his country in World War II, in this House as the Liberal member for Leeds, in the Ontario courts as a judge, and in many other roles. He did much of the background work that led to the creation of the Order of Canada. He himself became an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1993.

John Matheson was the co-designer and an advocate in Parliament for the adoption of our Maple Leaf flag. To change the most important symbol of a country, to leave behind the old and journey ahead with the new, required a deep faith in Canada's potential, Canada's future and Canada's place in the world.

To his family, I offer, on behalf of this House, our sincerest condolences.

John was true to the very motto he proposed for the Order of Canada. John Matheson desired a better country, and his faith in what kind of better Canada could be built led him to devote his life to it.

We thank him.

School Workers in Nova ScotiaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Armstrong Conservative Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

Mr. Speaker, at the end of January literally thousands of students across Nova Scotia write exams.

It is a difficult time in Canada, as we have inclement winter weather and many times school is cancelled. This causes increased stress, not only among the students writing exams, but their families who are trying to get them to school on time.

Thank goodness we have the bus drivers and the custodians and the maintenance workers that we do in our school system, who get our students to school on time so they can write their exams and enjoy their school day.

This is a terrible time of year for a job action or strike that prevents students from going to school, particularly those who live in the rural areas of the province. We need our bus drivers, custodians and maintenance workers at school so our students can write their exams during this difficult and stressful time of year.

That is why I want to congratulate both the school board and the union for coming together, putting students first, agreeing to mediation and stopping the strike after only a few hours. For once, we saw great collaboration by the adults who are involved in the school system in making sure that students are put first.

Show of Solidarity in Portneuf—Jacques-CartierStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Élaine Michaud NDP Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, on the night of January 3, a devastating fire broke out downtown in Old Donnacona, in my riding of Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier. It destroyed four businesses and left six families homeless.

In response to the disaster, the people of my riding have shown absolutely remarkable solidarity and generosity. In just three weeks, $61,500 has been raised to help the victims of the fire. A significant quantity of non-perishable food items have also been collected.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the generous donors for helping those who have lost everything start a new life.

With less than a year before the town celebrates its 100th anniversary, the mayor of Donnacona, Sylvain Germain, is calling on the various levels of government to help rebuild the nearly 100-year-old buildings in the downtown area, which represent a significant portion of Donnacona's heritage buildings.

I urge the government to show its support and heed the mayor's call so that we can proudly celebrate Donnacona's 100th anniversary in 2015.

Governor General's Medal of BraveryStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Keith Ashfield Conservative Fredericton, NB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize and honour four outstanding members of the Fredericton Police Force who were recently presented with a Medal of Bravery from His Excellency the Governor General of Canada.

On January 8, 2012, Corporal Dwight Doyle, and Constables Shawn Fraser, Samantha McInnis and Jeff Smiley, who was also awarded the Star of Courage, rescued an elderly woman from a vehicle submerged in the Saint John River, in Fredericton, New Brunswick. The courageous police officers ventured on to the unstable ice to reach the car of the unconscious victim. Constable Smiley jumped into the frigid water to bring the woman to the edge of the ice where the other officers resuscitated her and brought her to safety.

On behalf of all Canadians, I wish to sincerely thank those officers and every one of their comrades in uniform for their bravery and dedication to duty. These men and women are truly deserving of the honour that was bestowed upon them for their courageous and selfless act.

Founders Cup ChampionsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Phil McColeman Conservative Brant, ON

Mr. Speaker, my riding of Brant is home to an iconic sporting legacy, and I am not talking about hockey.

Today I rise to pay tribute to an emerging legacy of sporting excellence and sheer dominance in the game of lacrosse on the Six Nations of the Grand River.

In 1996, a new lacrosse dynasty was born during the inaugural season of the Six Nations Jr B Rebels. The Rebels have earned a reputation for their high octane offence, which simply overwhelms opponents.

Last summer, they shattered the record books to become the first franchise to win three consecutive and six total national Founders Cup championships. They posted an astounding 37 and 1 record on the season.

Thanks to the leadership of their coaches and GM Wray Maracle, the Rebels are changing the way the game is played and blazing a new trail of unprecedented success.

I can assure the House that their sights are already set on another national championship next August.

Go Rebels!

Natural ResourcesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the joint review panel studying the northern gateway pipeline spent millions of dollars and years hearing from experts, hundreds of first nations, B.C. municipalities, the B.C. government and tens of thousands of British Columbians who were virtually unanimously opposed to this project. They faithfully participated in public hearings to have their voices heard by the Conservative government.

Yet, in the face of Enbridge's dismal track record and total lack of social licence in British Columbia, the decision from the JRP tells us that they, like Conservatives, could hear just one voice in this country, that of the oil lobby.

Barely a month after the panel's decision, the results are as predicted. Ten lawsuits have been filed finding fundamental flaws in the panel's environmental review, and a total lack of proper consultation with first nations. It is the result of Conservative neglect for the environment and first nations, and disdain for anyone who has the audacity to criticize the government's proposal.

Northern gateway pipeline has been a test of beliefs and values in British Columbia. We will stand with British Columbians and oppose this project.

AbortionStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Laurin Liu NDP Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, on January 28, 1988, the Supreme Court decriminalized abortion in Canada by striking down section 251 of the Criminal Code. Part of the ruling reads as follows:

Forcing a woman, by threat of criminal sanction, to carry a foetus to term unless she meets certain criteria unrelated to her own priorities and aspirations, is a profound interference with a woman's body and thus an infringement of security of the person.

The right of Canadian women to decide whether or not to carry a pregnancy to term is not a done deal. The Conservatives have introduced three bills as well as Motion No. 312 to eliminate that right. In addition, young Canadian women are facing more and more economic and social uncertainty because the Conservatives are behind the times when it comes to gender equality.

The NDP believes it is time to take action.

Veterans AffairsStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Blake Richards Conservative Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, November 11 is an important day of remembrance. It is one where we set aside our differences and remember our veterans for their sacrifices. That is except for, of course, the senior Liberal veterans spokesman who went on national television on November 11 and slammed Canadian veterans, suggesting that providing money to them is like hanging a case of beer in front of a drunk.

It is incredibly sad that 79 days later the leader of the Liberal party continues to stand by the member and his reprehensible and false comments. I call on the leader of the Liberal Party to reject this overtly partisan behaviour of his senior veterans spokesman and find someone else who has his facts right.

Fernand LeducStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, today I want to pay tribute to the life and legacy of Quebec painter Fernand Leduc, who died yesterday at the age of 97.

Mr. Leduc was born in Viauville, in the east end of Montreal, in 1916. He was educated by the Frères maristes from 1927 to 1939 and graduated from the Montreal School of Fine Arts in 1943. He was an important figure in the Automatiste movement. He moved his art from the non-figurative to the abstract. In 1987, he said: “As an artist, I see myself as working in an Impressionist tradition of 'painters of light'”.

I invite all my colleagues to visit the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec to see the exhibit of 30 or so of his works. The exhibit opens on February 20. Without question, Canada has lost one of the greatest painters and artists in its history.

James SchroderStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Frank Valeriote Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, just before Christmas, Guelph and Canada lost a great man, one for whom humility, compassion and care for his community and his country were lifelong tenets. On December 13, former Guelph MP Jim Schroder passed away at the age of 95.

Jim preceded me in the House, serving his country and his community from 1980 to 1984, first as the parliamentary secretary to the minister of the environment and then as the parliamentary secretary to the minister of health where he worked diligently on the Canada Health Act. He was a giant in the community, a devoted husband to Elizabeth, who predeceased him, and father to Elizabeth, Anne, James and Don. He was a beloved veterinarian and professor at the Ontario Veterinary College and a dedicated volunteer, serving as the inaugural chair of the Guelph-Wellington District Health Council and working with organizations like 2nd Chance employment.

Jim was a model for so many in Guelph, and I valued his counsel dearly. We are better for his service and we will all miss him profoundly.

Canal ClassicStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Dykstra Conservative St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker, hockey's place in Canadian culture is more than a simple sporting pastime. It is a unifying force that brings the whole country together, regardless of age, gender, language or political affiliation. That being said, I would like to invite everyone to come down to the Rideau Canal tomorrow morning to watch the first annual Canadian Tire/Sport Chek Canal Classic. It is a hockey game between parliamentarians, NHL and Olympic alumni, representatives from the media and the team at Canadian Tire and Sport Chek in support of Jumpstart Charities.

Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities is a national charity that helps kids from financially disadvantaged families participate in organized sport and recreational programs by covering the costs of registration, equipment and transportation, thus helping more Canadian kids get physically active through sport and recreation opportunities. With the Sochi Winter Olympics just a week away, what better way to celebrate Team Canada than to strap on a pair of skates and play Canada's official winter sport, even if it is against the opposition?

Veterans AffairsStatements By Members

2:20 p.m.

NDP

John Rafferty NDP Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives have cut vital services that veterans rely on. They have called veterans “NDP hacks” when they complain. Now the minister has held a so-called round table. Why? Apparently it was so he could insult veterans to their faces.

In Thunder Bay, the Conservative government has betrayed local veterans and is closing our Veterans Affairs office on Friday. Second World War veteran Roy Lamore said it is “a disgrace”. This office was helping to support veterans when they were at their most vulnerable.

Our military personnel and veterans are facing a crisis. There have been eight suicides in just two months. Sadly, the Conservatives have been more focused on using the military to boost their brand than listening to veterans.

These brave men and women serve Canada with courage and distinction. Our duty is to be there for them in their moment of need, not abandon them to budget and service cuts. Members should make no mistake. New Democrats have always stood, and will continue to stand, shoulder to shoulder with our veterans.

CyberbullyingStatements By Members

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Gerald Keddy Conservative South Shore—St. Margaret's, NS

Mr. Speaker, earlier this year the ministers of justice and public safety launched our government's anti-cyberbullying public awareness campaign: Stop Hating Online. The campaign raises awareness of the impact of cyberbullying and makes sure youth know that this behaviour often amounts to criminal activity. Our government took concrete action by introducing the protecting Canadians from online crime act, which would create a new criminal offence to prohibit the non-consensual distribution of intimate images. This bill would give police the tools they need to do their job.

We have also launched a Stop Hating Online website as a comprehensive resource for parents and youth, with the information and tools they need to prevent and stop cyberbullying.

I am pleased that our government is taking strong steps to help protect our children and youth from cyberbullying. They deserve it.

VeteransOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Outremont Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of Veterans Affairs was disrespectful of the people he is supposed to be serving. Some of the veterans were in tears.

The Prime Minister must apologize and fire his Minister of Veterans Affairs. What is he waiting for?

VeteransOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the minister has already apologized for yesterday's events.

The record of this government and this minister is clear. Our government has increased services for veterans without precedent and we will continue to do so.

VeteransOral Questions

January 29th, 2014 / 2:20 p.m.

Outremont Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, when the veterans complained that the minister had missed their meeting, he said he was not going to stand there and listen to that, and he stormed out. How is that acceptable to the Prime Minister?

Will the Prime Minister do the right thing, apologize himself and fire that incompetent?

VeteransOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the minister has apologized for the events of yesterday, but the fact of the matter is that this government and this minister have increased services for our veterans without precedent.

It is an important priority for our government—it always has been—to protect those who wear the uniform and who once wore the uniform, which is why we have overwhelming support for veterans and we will continue to serve them.

VeteransOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Outremont Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

Overwhelming support for veterans, Mr. Speaker; let us look at that.

Can the Prime Minister of overwhelming support explain why the Conservative government wrote to the family of a veteran who took her own life on Christmas Day, demanding that it repay her benefits because she died before the end of the month? How could this happen?

VeteransOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I am glad that the Leader of the Opposition raises that question because of course it is unacceptable.

As soon as the minister heard about that, he immediately said it was unacceptable and ordered a change. That is the kind of work we get from this minister.

VeteransOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Outremont Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, that is what we get from that minister after that minister has asked the family to repay the benefits. The first thing that comes to the mind of the Conservatives is to ask for the money back, not help the veterans.

On Friday they will close eight more veterans offices. One is in Charlottetown, P.E.I., where they have just doubled the ministerial staff.

Why is it more important for them to find budgets for their ministerial staff than to help Canadian veterans who risked their lives for our country?