House of Commons Hansard #130 of the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was parks.


Nááts’ihch’oh National Park Reserve ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.


Carol Hughes NDP Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Mr. Speaker, before I start my speech, I would like to do what many of my other colleagues have done, which is to acknowledge and extend our thoughts and prayers to the families and colleagues of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and Corporal Nathan Cirillo, on behalf of Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing. We also extend our thanks to the members of security on the Hill, especially Constable Son and Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers, for their quick action.

That brings me to the debate that is before us, which is on Bill S-5, an act to amend the Canada National Parks Act with respect to the Nááts’ihch’oh national park reserve of Canada.

This is a park that has been long awaited. It is adjacent to and north of the Nahanni National Park Reserve. The area for the Nááts’ihch’oh national park reserve has long been recommended for the conservation and land use process by the Sahtu Dene and Metis, the aboriginal people of the area.

We know that the consultation process, when it comes to first nations communities and indigenous populations, is not something the government has been good at doing. Therefore, when we are looking at this piece of preservation, such conservation would also align with the Government of Canada's commitment to conserve the greater Nahanni ecosystem, which is what it was supposed to do, and the ecological integrity of the area. The problem is that the government has chosen the smallest option, which leaves great concern about the development that would occur around that park and the impacts it would have on the wildlife.

Once the reserve was created, Parks Canada and the Sahtu Dene and Metis would be working with other land managers and resource users in the area to meet conservation objectives while respecting other land use in the area and existing third party interests, such as existing mineral claims and land leases. During the conversation we heard concerns with respect to the preservation of the park and surrounding developments around the park.

With respect to the World Wildlife Fund's announcement on Parks Canada receiving the WWF Gift to the Earth award, Chief Frank Andrew stated:

Water is important to life and it is important to us to save our water. The South Nahanni River watershed will be well protected through Nááts’ihch’oh and that will be a very good inheritance to leave for future generations.

However, we have to give some thought to the fact that he was talking about the water situation as well as the possible impacts with respect to mining in the area. That is why they were hoping to have a much bigger piece of the pie.

I talked about consultation a while ago. There is contention surrounding the size of the park. During the consultation process on the establishment of the national park, set out in section 12(1) of the Canada National Parks Act, Parks Canada presented three options for the park's boundaries.

Option one was a total of 6,450 square kilometres to be developed to best protect conservation values while providing an open area around the existing mineral interests. We heard over and over again that option one was one of the most preferred choices. In a public consultation with 1,600 participants, 92.3% indicated a preference for option one.

Option two was a total of 5,770 square kilometres. That would diminish the achievement of the conservation goals and allow more mineral potential to be available.

Option three is the one the government decided on, which was the smallest proposal, with a total area of 4,840 square kilometres. That took advantage of the mineral potential within the proposed park reserve while providing “some” protection to key values.

If we look at the protection, the concern we have is with the size of the park, because it omits vital caribou breeding grounds and lacks protection for source waters for the Nahanni River. Again, we know how sacred water is, and without good drinking water or a good base for our water, it is very problematic. We know first nations consider water very sacred, as should all of us.

With little overt opposition to the size of the park from the local people, there is little political capital here, but we know it is quite important to look at that. Option one was the option we would have preferred the government choose, and so did most of the people here. However, it went with option three.

Section 16 of the Sahtu Dene and Métis land claim final agreement sets out the terms and conditions for the establishment of the national park in the Sahtu settlement area. Included in the terms and conditions are several clauses for review of the plans for the park after a period of not more than 10 years. It certainly would have been to everyone's best advantage to go with option one because it gave a lot more options for economic viability in the area, as well as for the protection of the wildlife in that area.

The NDP supports the creation of national parks in Canada's north, as well as the creation of the national parks network in Canada, including this particular park.

While we are talking about parks, we need to take into account that this is the government that has cut a lot at Parks Canada. It has had an impact, even on heritage lighthouses, and the process is going forward. I know the government has taken a lot of those resources and put them toward the Franklin expedition as well, so there has been much of a slowdown there.

The creation of the Nááts’ihch’oh national park reserve is the result of seven years of consultation and negotiation with the aboriginal people of the region. Again, the concern is that the government went with the smaller piece of it.

While the terms and conditions of the constitutionally protected Sahtu land claim agreement have been met, including the creation of an impact benefit plan and a management committee, we remain concerned about the government's commitment to the park. I will reiterate, because this is the biggest piece of it, that the larger park was actually the preferable option and it could be expanded in the future.

The government can create all the parks it wants, but without funding and careful protection of the ecological integrity of this and all the national parks, the designation is relatively meaningless in terms of conservation.

With that, I will leave it to questions and answers.

I thank everyone for their patience and understanding today on the situations we faced yesterday.

Nááts’ihch’oh National Park Reserve ActGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.


Claude Gravelle NDP Nickel Belt, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing for her fine speech.

Out of the three options the government had for the park, why does my colleague think it chose the third option rather than the first, which was the best?

Nááts’ihch’oh National Park Reserve ActGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.


Carol Hughes NDP Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question from my colleague from Nickel Belt. I know that he often works on natural resources and he knows his portfolio well. I think he will understand my answer.

When it comes to this park, the government seemed more concerned with the interests of the mining companies. An NDP government would provide enough support and the necessary resources to properly ensure the conservation of this park.

Nááts’ihch’oh National Park Reserve ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.


Jasbir Sandhu NDP Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today on behalf of my constituents from Surrey North to speak to Bill S-5, an act to amend the Canada National Parks Act. I will be sharing my time with another member.

It has long been a recommendation by the Sahtu Dene and Métis that Nááts’ihch’oh national park reserve be used for conservation in the land use process and I am happy to see that this recommendation is finally coming to fruition. This proposed national park reserve is located in the Northwest Territories, in the northern one-sixth of the South Nahanni River watershed in the Northwest Territories.

My NDP colleagues and I support the creation of this national park and the contributions that our national parks make toward conservation of key ecosystems and habitats in Canada. However, I am concerned that this proposed site of the park will omit certain key ecosystems and habitats. Unfortunately this proposed 4,840-square-kilometre park will not include vital caribou breeding grounds, nor will it include protection for waters for the Nahanni River.

Governing is all about choices. Every day when we arrive in the House we are forced to make choices. At committee we are forced to make choices also. It is one of the responsibilities of this job. Our constituents elect us to make these choices on their behalf. The decisions that we make in the House and at committee will not always be in the best interests of every interested party. With this bill, the Conservative government is demonstrating yet again that it values the interests of corporations more than the interests of local communities.

This is a trend that I have seen from the government. I have spoken on numerous pieces of legislation over the last three years where the same theme emerges in every single bill. The Conservatives have shown their unwillingness to consider expert opinions, expert testimony and the suggestions that the experts present. In this bill, the Conservatives are demonstrating that they value the interests of the mining industry more than the opinions of the people in the region where the park will be established.

During the consultation process for the establishment of this national park, Parks Canada presented three options for the park's boundaries. Option one included a total area of 6,450 square kilometres and was developed to best protect conservation values, while providing an open area around the existing mineral interests. This option was the overall preferred choice, being picked by 92% of those who indicated a preference. Option two was incrementally smaller with a total area of 5,770 square kilometres. Option three was the smallest proposal, with a total area of 4,840 square kilometres.

Despite the overwhelming preference for option one, which was the bigger park, the government has proceeded with option three. Despite my concerns with the size of the park, after seven years of consultation and negotiations with the aboriginal people of the region, it is at least a step forward, a small step in the right direction toward the creation of the Nááts’ihch’oh national park reserve. However, I wonder if the government will be able to provide the funding and support needed for this national park to meet its conservation targets. We can create all the national parks we want, but this is truly an empty gesture without the funding necessary to maintain them.

What is the government's track record on funding for national parks?

Unfortunately, it is not very good. It is not good at all. For example, in December 2013, the Toronto Star reported that there is an almost $3 billion backlog in deferred maintenance at Parks Canada. This does not inspire confidence that our government will be able to maintain a new park in the Northwest Territories.

Furthermore, the commissioner for the environment identified a “wide and persistent gap between what the government commits to do and what it is achieving”. This gives us no reason to believe that the new park reserve would be any different. In fact, the commitment the government made in its 2013-14 budget announcement regarding the spending on infrastructure in the parks is laughable. The budget announcement was $391 million over five years to deal with crumbling roads, buildings, and dams. This comes nowhere close to covering the backlog that I mentioned, which is over $3 billion.

On top of that, the short-term spending projections are also very ridiculous. According to the government, this year, in 2014, it will spend $1 million. In 2015, it will spend $4 million. What about the remainder of the money that the government has committed? Out of the $391 million, $386 million will come after the election. How convenient is that?

However, the current government will not continue in government in year three because this sort of accounting does not wash well with Canadians. They expect better from the government. They expect the government to deliver on the promises that were made during the election about the protection of our environment that needs to take place in this country. To sum up, the creation of national parks and national park reserves should be a priority for the Canadian government. Empty promises are not the way forward.

An NDP government, in 2015, would provide adequate support to meet conservation targets, preserve biodiversity, and help local communities realize the economic and tourism potential our national parks can provide. Based upon the current government's track record, I do not think it is committed to doing the same.

In fact, we have heard from previous speakers that the the Premier of the Northwest Territories and other leaders are on record as to how the government has gone out of its way to keep very vital habitat for the caribou or the preservation of the river out of the park area. If we are thinking about preserving and enhancing the environment, we should be rejigging the boundaries in order to make national parks truly national parks rather than trying to cut corners where the effect of preserving and enhancing the environment and habitats is not taken into account.

Again, this is a very small step in the right direction. My colleagues on this side support the bill, at this point. We look forward to maybe some amendments and to listening to some of the concerns that the locals present. I hope the government will take the opportunity at committee to provide that forum so that we can look at the bill in detail.

Nááts’ihch’oh National Park Reserve ActGovernment Orders

2 p.m.


The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

The time for government orders has expired. Consequently, questions and comments for the member for Surrey North will take place after question period.

Youth PreventionStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Maria Mourani Independent Ahuntsic, QC

Mr. Speaker, the recent attacks on soldiers and the attack on Parliament yesterday raise many questions.

Investigations are under way, of course. However, we already know that the perpetrators were known to the authorities. Their passports had even been taken away to prevent them from fighting abroad with jihadist groups.

While our intelligence agencies and our police forces are equipped to deal with well-organized terrorist groups, they cannot deal with this kind of terrorism alone. Evil is striking our country and the western world: youths with no direction who are being brainwashed by jihadist propaganda every day. This kind of terrorism attacks the conscience of vulnerable young people.

We must therefore put in place prevention programs, with specific budgets, that address the violent radicalization of young people and make it possible to intervene when tips on those young people are received.

Canadian Armed ForcesStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Laurie Hawn Conservative Edmonton Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, first let me say I am proud to see the House remains unshaken and steadfast throughout the recent attack on our institution.

This resolve, strength and perseverance is what makes our Canadian Forces who they are. Those of us who have served in the Canadian Forces deal with sudden death all the time. As a fighter pilot, I have had several dozen friends who have died suddenly. Anybody who was in combat has seen friends and comrades die suddenly. Whether it is in combat or whether it is in training, it is part of the job. It is what we expect to happen.

What we do not expect to happen is to be run down in a parking lot. What we do not expect to happen is to be shot point blank when standing on guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Those kinds of things are not part of the business, are not acceptable and should imbue us with sadness and some anger at the same point.

I want to pay tribute to people like Warrant Officer Vincent and Corporal Cirillo who paid a price that they should not have had to pay in the way that they did. I want to salute all soldiers, sailors, airmen and airwomen for their complete dedication to defending Canada's values that we hold so dear. I want to thank all those folks. God bless them all and God bless Canada.

Democratic ValuesStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Hélène LeBlanc NDP LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, may we be instruments of peace. Where there is hate, may we bring love. Where there is despair, may we find hope.

Today, my thoughts go out to the mothers who are suffering in silence and whose pain cannot easily be soothed.

We are fortunate to live in a country where peace and freedom reign. May we never take those privileges for granted, and may we protect them against any harm.

As members of Parliament, we are privileged to sit in a place where democracy prevails and where harmony does too—sometimes, though not always. Let us strive to be in agreement more often. We all share these values. Let us make Canada a voice for peace, compassion and solidarity.

Canadian Armed ForcesStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Cheryl Gallant Conservative Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, as the member of Parliament for Base Petawawa, I rise today to express sympathy for the family of Corporal Nathan Cirillo, a true Canadian hero who died in service to his country. Our military family is a tight-knit community. We feel the pain and the loss of Corporal Cirillo's family.

The day before this week's tragic event on Parliament Hill, I had the privilege of greeting the grade 5 class from Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School in Petawawa. As we stood in the Peace Tower above the Hall of Honour, a young boy of a serving soldier asked me if his dad's name was in the Book of Remembrance. Thankfully, I could tell him no.

My thoughts on Wednesday immediately went to the children of the serving soldiers of Base Petawawa, like the grade 5 class and the grade 10 civics class from Bishop Smith Catholic High School, which was on Parliament Hill the same day, and to all the children who are victims of senseless violence.

We must never forget the risk every man and woman takes when they put on the uniform of a Canadian soldier, and the loved ones at home who keep the home fires burning.

Corporal Nathan Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrice VincentStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Joyce Murray Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, today I rise to pay honour to Corporal Nathan Frank Cirillo, a young reservist, and to Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, a 28-year veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces; both tragically killed in service to their country.

Nathan Cirillo was the victim of a callous act of murder yesterday while performing his duties standing guard before one of the key symbols of our fight for freedom, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Patrice died just outside the facility where he provided support services to active members and veterans of our armed forces.

These deaths remind us all that living in freedom sometimes comes at a very high price, and it is the ultimate price that these two brave soldiers have paid. It engraves in our hearts our appreciation for the service of Canadian Armed Forces members.

The legacy of these two heart-wrenching deaths must be that Canada and all Canadians will not be deterred by those who seek to harm us, but will continue to vigorously defend our freedoms and our values.

Operation ImpactStatements By Members

October 23rd, 2014 / 2:05 p.m.


Brian Storseth Conservative Westlock—St. Paul, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the dedication of over 600 Canadian Forces personnel who departed from 4 Wing Cold Lake in my riding to join our allies in Operation Impact.

The timing of this deployment could not be more significant. On Monday, Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, who had served with the Canadian military for 28 years, was struck down in Montreal by a homegrown terrorist. Now, in the wake of yesterday's act of terror on Parliament Hill, we are still grappling with the gutless murder of Corporal Nathan Cirillo.

Those set on doing harm to Canada and its people should make no mistake: these senseless acts of violence will only strengthen the resolve of all Canadians.

Our servicemen and women carry the memory of their fallen comrades with them on their mission. To the families of those Canadian Forces personnel who said goodbye to their loved ones this week, we sincerely appreciate the sacrifices they make and thank them for their service to our country.

United, our country remains strong against those who threaten freedom and democracy, both at home and abroad.

Dalai LamaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to rise in the House today to welcome back a friend and honorary citizen of Canada, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. In his long struggle for the Tibetan people, the Dalai Lama has consistently opposed the use of violence and teaches that all life is precious. That is an especially poignant message to Canadians today.

I stand to reaffirm Canada's support of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's unwavering commitment to non-violence and peace. I look forward to meeting him in Vancouver tomorrow with my colleagues from the Parliamentary Friends of Tibet, of which I am vice-chair.

I call on the government to continue to urge the Chinese government to re-enter into negotiations with the Dalai Lama's envoys and consider his request to make a pilgrimage to Wutai Shan in China.

Today I join with members of the House and all Canadians in wishing a heartfelt welcome to His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Canadian Armed ForcesStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Larry Maguire Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to the men and women of our Canadian Armed Forces. This week's tragic events provide yet again another reminder of the sacrifice and courage of our brave men and women in uniform.

As the member for Brandon—Souris, it gives me great pride to have CFB Shilo as part of our southwestern Manitoba community. Not only are we proud of the great work our service members do abroad, but we are also grateful for the work they do at home. They are mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters. They are our friends and neighbours. Most of all, they are our fellow Canadians.

Today, we honour Corporal Nathan Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent. We will remember them, and we will remember all of their fallen comrades who served on behalf of our grateful country of Canada.

As always, we will pull through this together, with the same resolve that has seen our country through many challenges. May God bless all of our members of the Canadian Armed Forces and continue to keep our land glorious and free.

Canadian Armed ForcesStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Erin O'Toole Conservative Durham, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada's heart and soul were attacked yesterday, but I rise today in the House to assure Canadians that both are still intact.

Parliament represents Canada's soul, heart, and democracy. Our National War Memorial represents our soul. The freedoms debated and confirmed in the House were secured by the sacrifice of tens of thousands of Canadians who died defending our values and freedoms.

Canada's deepest loss is not the innocence of our capital, but the loss of two Canadians who embodied the best of Canada. Corporal Cirillo was killed standing guard over our soul and now joins the ranks of the fallen that he was honouring. This is the same week that we lost Warrant Officer Vincent to a similarly despicable attack.

Our men and women of the Canadian Forces volunteer to serve our country, and they do so with pride. Corporal Cirillo and Warrant Officer Vincent were not attacked because of who they were, but because of the values that their Canadian Armed Forces uniform represents.

Canada's heart and soul remains strong despite these attacks. All of Parliament stands with the families of the fallen, and we stand firmly beside the Canadian Armed Forces.

DiwaliStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Jinny Sims NDP Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, Diwali is always an opportunity for all of us to reflect on the past year, to look ahead, and to plan for the future with renewed optimism. For me personally, never has the reason for this celebration hit closer to my heart than now.

Yesterday many people in my riding of Newton—North Delta and all over the world gathered with family and friends to give thanks, to reflect, and to celebrate the victory of goodness in all of us. Ultimately, it is the goodness of the human spirit that triumphed in Ottawa. Hundreds put themselves in harm's way to protect, comfort, and help those who needed help and people they had never even met. We thank them.

Every Canadian can share in hope for the future. Around the world, our multicultural nation is a beacon of hope. We pride ourselves on our openness and we strive to build an inclusive society.

One day late, and on behalf of my NDP colleagues, I wish everyone a very happy Diwali. Happy Deepawali. Aur naya saal mubarak.

Next Wednesday, the member for York South—Weston will be hosting our first Diwali on the Hill.

Canadian DeterminationStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


John Williamson Conservative New Brunswick Southwest, NB

Mr. Speaker, the attack in Ottawa yesterday morning was an evil attempt to hurt and kill innocent, unsuspecting Canadians, men and women living their daily lives, working and even visiting our nation's capital.

Our first thoughts must be with our fallen heroes this week, Corporal Nathan Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, and also with those in hospital recovering from their injuries. They and their families are in our prayers, as are all our Canadian Forces members, including those in and near my riding at CFB Gagetown.

Yesterday's act of terror signified more than just an attack on innocent people. It was an attempt to strike at our democracy and instill fear and doubt in our minds. That was the outrage we all shared yesterday.

The fact that we gather here today in Parliament, determined to continue our work and not be cowed by ISIL-inspired terrorism, demonstrates that this attack failed. It is also a sign that any attempt to intimidate Canada or threaten our democratic way of life will fail.

God bless Canada. We remain strong and free.

Canadian DeterminationStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Jasbir Sandhu NDP Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, in light of yesterday's events, I would like to express my sincere condolences to the family and loved ones of Corporal Nathan Cirillo for his selfless sacrifice and service to our country.

Tragedies like this remind us that the brave men and women of our law enforcement agencies, our security services, and our Canadian Forces risk their lives every day to keep us safe. I am immensely grateful for their quick and courageous response.

We come together on Parliament Hill with different backgrounds and ideas but with the common goal to make Canada a better place. Today is no different. After yesterday's events we must continue to rely on our values and remain united as Canadians.

In solidarity, I stand to continue my service to this great nation and to work hard for my constituents in Surrey North. With love, hope, and optimism, we will persevere and we will prevail.

Canadian Armed ForcesStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.


Rick Norlock Conservative Northumberland—Quinte West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take a moment to thank the brave men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces. I am proud to call my riding the home of 8 Wing at Canadian Forces Base Trenton.

Amid yesterday's chaos, it is important to remember the efforts of those who serve our country. Through the tragedy of yesterday's events, Canadians are coming together more strongly than ever. Party lines have been blurred as we go forward in unity to ensure a safe, democratic country.

Most importantly, our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Corporal Nathan Cirillo. Corporal Cirillo was killed as he provided a ceremonial honour guard at Canada's National War Memorial, that sacred place that pays tribute to those who gave their lives so that we can live in a free, democratic, and safe society.

It is often easy to go about our lives without much thought of those who have sacrificed their lives and of those who continue to sacrifice to defend our values. However, it is only at our most vulnerable times that we can truly come together and appreciate those brave men and women, what they have done for their country, and what they continue to do today.

Protection ServicesStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.


Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, I am rising to pay tribute to the brave members of Parliament's security services, the RCMP, the Ottawa Police Service and all of the police and military services that reacted to yesterday's events with courage, discipline and strength.

Our first responders have always protected us, but yesterday many of us witnessed remarkable women and men doing their jobs bravely in the face of uncertainty and danger.

Our Sergeant-at-Arms, Kevin Vickers, inspired all Canadians with his leadership and courage. I would like to tell my friend Kevin how grateful we are.

Our Sergeant-at-Arms, Kevin Vickers, has a long and distinguished career in public safety and public service. Yesterday my fellow New Brunswicker inspired Canadians by his courage and his discipline, and we are all forever grateful to him and the women and men who work with him for our safety in this place.

Canadian Armed ForcesStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.


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

Mr. Speaker, it is with emotion and gratitude that I speak today to recognize the strength, courage and unwavering commitment of all the men and women in the Canadian Armed Forces.

These individuals are dedicated to protecting the welfare and safety of our country, and they serve with honour around the clock. No obstacle or threat prevents them from responding to the call. Faith in and love for our country, Canada, abides in them and guides them always.

In my part of the country, we are fortunate to always be able to count on the Valcartier military base, whose soldiers protect and defend us.

More than ever, we realize that by being united, by working together, we as a society are able to enjoy the freedom and democracy to which we are entitled.

Once again, I would like to thank the men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces and all the military bases across the country.

Corporal Nathan CirilloStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.


Wayne Marston NDP Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is with a heavy heart that I rise today to salute Corporal Nathan Cirillo, a constituent in my riding and a member of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, a storied regiment of the reserve forces based in Hamilton. This soldier was an example of the finest of men and women who stand between Canadians and those who would seek to destroy our way of life.

A single father of a young son, Corporal Cirillo earned the honour of standing on ceremonial guard at our National War Memorial. On such duty, soldiers are not issued live ammunition. Our service personnel are prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice, but who would have believed that on what probably was the proudest day of this man's life, he would lose it. Corporal Cirillo was murdered in the most cowardly fashion.

Today, as members of the House resume our duties on behalf of Canadians, I know all in this esteemed House will join me in offering our sincerest condolences to this family.

Corporal Nathan CirilloStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Protective ServicesStatements By Members

2:20 p.m.


Ryan Leef Conservative Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, yesterday's tragic events show unequivocally the bravery, organization, and commitment of the House of Commons and Senate security staff, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and the Ottawa Police Service. Without hesitation, they put themselves in harm's way to protect all of us here: members of Parliament, senators, our staff, and the support staff and visitors who find themselves here on Parliament Hill. Yesterday we knew they were there.

Our calm was a measure of the confidence we have in the men and women who greet us here every morning, every day. They demonstrated professionalism, efficiency, and courage. This is Canada's House, and they are the keepers of Canada's House. The brave men and women of our police and security first responder units are people we need to personally thank. Across this broad nation, every Canadian thanks them.

As the sun rose on our flag today, they were there. We know that as the sun sets, they are still vigilant, prepared, and courageously standing on guard for thee.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Outremont Québec


Thomas Mulcair NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, today we are here. Today we carry on.

Can the Prime Minister please update Canadians and the members of this House on the horrific events of yesterday? Can he tell us what immediate measures are being taken to ensure the security not only of Parliament but of all Canadians?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta


Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, while obviously I am briefed on a regular basis, I will leave public comment on certain events to the police authorities as they conduct their investigations.

Obviously, we have been, as I indicated earlier today in the House, looking at our various laws and options under the law to strengthen the ability to survey, detain, and arrest individuals who are threats to us.

At the same time, I know individual security agencies will also be looking very carefully at the events of yesterday to determine what else has to be done. As you know, Mr. Speaker, the security agencies of Parliament themselves do not report to the government; they report to the Speakers and to the Boards of Internal Economy of the two Houses. I know that the RCMP, City of Ottawa police, and others will be working with them.