House of Commons Hansard #89 of the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was justice.

Topics

Extension of Sitting HoursGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, in the spirit of not wasting time I will not devote much time to that long intervention by the NDP, except to repeat that for purposes of carrying out our work, we in the Liberal Party do support this motion.

Extension of Sitting HoursGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault NDP Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, I think the Liberals are showing their true colours. They do not really care about the work of Parliament. No one from their party will be speaking to this motion and they do not seem to mind that no one will be speaking on their behalf. What is more, they complain that we spend too much time talking in the House.

In reality, they are just like the Conservatives and want nothing to happen in Parliament. They talk as though they were in a bubble, as though the work we do here serves no purpose and no one is listening. They think this work is meaningless. We are seeing the true colours of the Liberals, who see no point in parliamentary work. Actually, I should not be so surprised to hear this coming from the Liberals.

What does my colleague think about the specific aspect of the motion that gives ministers, and ministers only, the right to move a motion after 6:30 p.m.? What does he think of that specific aspect of the motion on the right reserved for ministers to move motions after 6:30 p.m.?

Extension of Sitting HoursGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is a bit odd that the member is saying that the Liberals are not speaking in the House. I think I opened my mouth and am therefore speaking and I am a Liberal.

I did not speak for long because it would take too long to say what needs to be said. That is what the NDP does. What we are saying is that we need to take the necessary time to debate the nation's business in the House. If we spend hours debating issues that are not important to Canadians, then it is a waste of time. That is why I am limiting what I have to say about this.

Extension of Sitting HoursGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, to understand the Liberal Party position, it is that anything the Conservatives want, they get. I think that explains a lot.

The poorest question period attendance in the country by any opposition leader in history is from the current member for Papineau. We have the current member for Papineau not showing up for question period. We have the Liberals saying that they will not speak on matters in the House Commons and that the Conservatives can do whatever they want. Is this the new Liberal Party, a sort of Liberal-Conservative alliance in which the Liberals say that the Conservatives can do whatever they want because the Liberals will not scrutinize, check anything out, or even read the motion?

The member could not even make reference to paragraph (h), which for any opposition member should be a matter of concern. No, he said that it does not matter and he did not read it, but that is fine; the Conservatives get what they want. Has the Liberal Party really gone down to that?

Extension of Sitting HoursGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I actually have read it. At least I said which way we are voting on the motion as a whole, which is more than can be said for the NDP.

In terms of members not speaking much in the House, does he not know our member for Winnipeg North? I think he speaks more than all the New Democrats put together.

With regard to our leader, any moment that he is not in the House, he is out connecting with Canadians and reaching out to them. I have no doubt the NDP would be much happier if our leader was in the House all the time rather than reaching out to Canadians and presumably taking a good number of votes away from the NDP, which is certainly not at risk for the Liberal Party when the NDP House leader goes on ad nauseam about nothing.

Extension of Sitting HoursGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Ted Hsu Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, I wanted to say something on behalf of what I would say my constituents in Kingston and the Islands are thinking, which is this: when we are here considering a government motion, why is it that all we are doing is spending time defending the Liberal Party from attacks by the NDP?

Surely the NDP can find something better to do with our valuable time than attack the Liberals on some sort of motion about who talks the most or who has the best arguments for how we should spend our extended hours here in the House of Commons. I think the people of Kingston and the Islands would like to see the NDP focus more on keeping the government to account.

Extension of Sitting HoursGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is a breath of fresh air to hear from a Liberal. Under current circumstances, I would not even mind hearing from a Conservative, given this deluge from the NDP.

My colleague reminds me of inside baseball. We are not just talking in a bubble; We are talking in a bubble that is in a bubble that is in a bubble. We are a country mile away from anything of concern to Canadians.

My suggestion is that we get this over with quickly and move on to the real business of the House. That business is of some interest to Canadians across the country.

Extension of Sitting HoursGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise with a number of comments about the motion at hand because it is a motion that we have seen before. It is a motion about how the House of Commons will be run.

With some passing comments to my friend from the Liberals in the corner there that somehow the way Parliament—

Extension of Sitting HoursGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson Conservative Crowfoot, AB

Careful.

Extension of Sitting HoursGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

I will be very careful, Mr. Speaker, because as my friend across the way knows, one must be delicate when talking to our friends across the way.

It is important to know that the way the House conducts itself, the way the House performs its function on behalf of Canadians, the way we study legislation and vote on legislation seems incredibly unimportant to my Liberal colleagues right now. I express this with some concern and sadness, because the function of Canada's Parliament should matter to all of us, regardless of our political persuasion.

The motion in front of us directs how the House of Commons will operate over the next four weeks. Specifically, it proposes to extend the hours. It would also give the government unilateral control over how the House would conduct itself past a certain time of day. Only those sitting in the Conservative cabinet would be allowed the basic tools and the basic rules that govern this place. Not even my friends on the Conservative backbench would be allowed the basic tools under the motion. Those rules would be given over exclusively to the Conservative cabinet.

To my friends in the Liberal Party who attempted to belittle the conversation going on here today, it is only going to last so long. I would remind them that the motion would guide the House not on just this one moment but on what will happen over the next four weeks, including a number of important pieces of legislation on which the opposition and my Conservative colleagues in the back would be prohibited from exercising their democratic values and rights.

The Liberals can make fun and talk about bubbles in bubbles, but the constituents that I represent care about our fundamental democratic values. I do not know about Kingston and the Islands or about Markham—Unionville or all the rest, but my constituents care about our fundamental democratic values. The place where that happens the most is right here.

If the Conservatives introduce draconian motions that extend hours and limit the power of MPs to debate pieces of legislation and those measures are not important to my Liberal friends, then so be it. That is fine. That is a decision they can make. We stand opposed to this motion specifically because it would prevent members of Parliament—

Extension of Sitting HoursGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

An hon. member

It will only take an hour.

Extension of Sitting HoursGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Simms Liberal Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

Will the real House leader please stand up.

Extension of Sitting HoursGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is amazing how easily shocked the Liberals are to see New Democrats stand up and oppose anti-democratic measures.

They talk about a breath of fresh air. What that means is that when we are pushed by a bully, the real reaction and the proper democratic reaction is to stand up and resist that bully, rather than roll over and pretend that it is not important. I say to my Liberal friends that if we want to correct the abusive behaviour by Conservatives in the House, we must stand up to that abusive behaviour from time to time. That means being here. That means asking questions. That means debating legislation.

At least we can agree with my Liberal friends on this next point, and I will end on this point and then turn my attention to the motion.

The Conservatives put forward absolutely atrocious pieces of legislation, often under time allocation. That technique limits the amount of debate that is allowed to take place on any bill, and those bills were so fundamentally flawed that when they attempted to enact those bills into law in Canada, they not only caused Canadians millions of dollars in real terms but also hundreds of hours of grief.

The laws are designed very badly, yet they are rushed through this process. The Liberals can belittle all they want, but the fact of the matter remains that the Conservative government has used time allocation and closure, which are techniques to limit and shut down debate in Canada's House of Commons, more often than any government in Canadian history.

Let us rest on that moment for a second. Let us rest on that fact just in passing. No government under any other circumstances—times of war, times of peace, depressions, recessions, all of those things—has shut down debate in Parliament more often and with such latitude as the present Conservative government has.

What strikes me as passing strange is that when in opposition, the Conservatives, many of whom are now sitting in cabinet, used to hate when the Liberals did this very same thing. We have all the quotes from the Minister of Foreign Affairs, from the Prime Minister, from the government House leader showing that when the Liberals had a majority government and used these same techniques, it was the Conservatives who were holding up democratic rights and showing some flame for the hopes and aspirations of all Canadians when they look at our Parliament. It was Conservatives, along with New Democrats, who said it was wrong.

However, what they actually took from those days in opposition were the wrong lessons.

They said they were going to use the techniques that the Liberals were using when they were in a majority government and that they were going to expand on them. They were going to put them on steroids and shut down debate more often. As a result, on average, we see two members out of the whole Conservative caucus stand up and speak to any government bill.

One could say that they do not have a lot to say about these pieces of legislation. That is worrisome, because some of them are incredibly complicated and affect the lives of millions of Canadians in some cases. We find Conservatives simply uninterested in speaking and representing.

Liberals may say that nothing that happens here matters, and the Conservatives may join them. One would then question why they ran for office in the first place, if they did not want to speak in the House of Commons or did not think that what happens in this place matters. I join my New Democratic colleagues and say that what takes place here does matter, that our words do matter, and that our words should effect change for the positive.

Hopefully, when we all signed our nomination forms way back when and decided to run for the various political parties here, there was some hope in that exercise. Hopefully there was some belief that we were going to stand in this place and speak on behalf of others, because when we take this place to its fundamental principles, that is all it is. The design of Canada's Parliament is simply to hold the government to account on spending and legislation. That is not solely the responsibility of those of us in opposition, as we are as New Democrats right now; it is also the responsibility of all of those not in cabinet. That includes the majority of my Conservative colleagues across the way.

How are we doing on that account? Conservatives and, I suppose, Liberals support the actions by the government House leader in Motion No. 10. The motion will unilaterally offer all of the tools of Canada's House of Commons, but exclusively to those in cabinet. It will then again extend sitting hours, which is fine. If we look at the attendance records and those who speak to motions at 10 o'clock, 11 o'clock, or 12 o'clock at night, we will see that New Democrats are taking the majority of those opportunities to address the legislation before us. That is because we believe in the process.

I am sorry to offend any of the real-world sensibilities of my friends across the way, and now of my Liberal friends as well, by pointing out that New Democrats are so naive that they believe that contributing to the debate in the House of Commons means something. We are naive enough to believe that our best ideas, our best hopes, and our best research should mean something to legislation before Parliament.

Heaven forbid that the job of MPs should not just be to say whatever the Prime Minister's Office tells them to say but to speak on behalf of our constituents with our best guided intelligence and the best information that we have. Heaven forbid that the House of Commons should be that place once more in Canada's life.

We all know that there is a lot of reason for cynicism and despair on behalf of the Canadian people. They look at the unfair elections act, to take one example of one bad piece of legislation. The government seems to be unable to find one expert witness anywhere to defend its act. At any point in this conversation about our democracy and the way in which Canadians will vote, the government was unable to find anyone who would support it outside of the Conservative Party of Canada. Despite that, it rammed this bill through as well. It rammed this act through that will make it easier to cheat and harder to vote.

Conservatives stand up day after day and suggest that they are the holders of all wisdom when it comes to voting. They suggest that all the experts, such as the head of Elections Canada, the former head of Elections Canada, and the former head of Elections B.C., whom the Conservatives hired to give them advice on how to run elections, are all wrong. Sheila Fraser is wrong. She must be partisan, biased, or ill-informed. Conservatives understand how elections should work.

Maybe they do for Conservatives, but not for Canadians. Unfortunately for us, the Conservatives too often offer those Canadians who are losing faith and hope in our democracy even more reason to become cynical and even more reasons to turn away from the ballot box. What does that say to young Canadians in particular? All parties have talked about encouraging young people, or at least New Democrats have. I cannot speak for the others in terms of their efforts to get young Canadians out to vote. Young Canadians in particular are watching the actions of a government that has completely lost its moral compass.

I believe that Reformers and Conservatives used to believe in things aside from just power, but now power is their exclusive view on the way things should work, and we see it again here in Motion No. 10.

It says that the government is not content to just use time allocation, closure, and all of the different tools to shut down debate, and I love what the government House leader said earlier today. For those colleagues of mine who missed it, he said that it was the economy that made them do it. In terms of becoming fundamentally undemocratic, it was the crisis in Europe that forced the Conservatives to shut down debate in Canada's House of Commons.

This is the same Conservative Party that, as the world was entering into the great recession, introduced an austerity budget. The Conservatives said that the solution to caving financial markets was to bring in a budget that would severely cut government spending. As Europe, the United States, and the entire G20 all moved in the opposite direction, the sages in the Conservative Party said that they knew better. On these global recessionary talks that are going on, I remember one Conservative pundit in this place saying that these rumours of a financial crisis are overblown and what we need to do is bring in austerity.

If we set the record straight and clear, it was only when the Prime Minister's own job was threatened—not the jobs of hundreds of thousands of Canadians that were on the line—and his own government was on the line and he feared for the loss of that government, did the Conservatives flip and suddenly introduce a new budget and go all “Keynesian”. As the finance minister said at the time, “We're all Keynesians now”. That was when they actually believed in the role of government in having some sort of influence over what happens within a country's economy.

The Conservatives introduced a stimulus budget, and they were dragged kicking and screaming into the conversation. It was only that near-death experience for the Conservative Party that opened them up to the idea that there could be an actual reason and role for government.

This is a government that, in its legislation, has decided that omnibus bills are the new answer to governing in Canada; that is, hundreds and hundreds of pages of legislation rammed into one bill. The debate around that legislation is completely shut down. When the opposition introduces amendments based on what we hear from experts who actually know what they are talking about—not from my friends across the way—the government refuses and rejects all of them. I do not mean most of them, I mean all of them. They are rejected from those government omnibus bills.

Then, the mistakes show up. The Supreme Court and other such important bodies show the legislation to be unconstitutional. What does the government do? It introduces another omnibus bill to fix the mistakes from the last omnibus bill, and the Conservatives say that this is good governance. Well, it is atrocious, and we see it here again.

The government wants to introduce a motion to extend hours to which government members will not show up, will not speak to the bills that they say are so important, that Canadians need to have and have yesterday. Then they introduce a set of rules that would allow them, and exclusively them, to alter what happens in the place just for cabinet members, as if they were better.

This is going to be opposed by New Democrats. It should be opposed by all right-thinking members in this place. We will stand proudly for Canadians.

Extension of Sitting HoursGovernment Orders

2 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

Order. The time for government orders has expired. The hon. member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley will have seven minutes remaining when this matter returns before the House.

JusticeStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Joy Smith Conservative Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, with forthcoming legislation on prostitution, Canada must tackle this issue with the clear understanding that prostituted individuals are not criminals. More of them are young women and children. Canada's goal should be to end the violent institution of prostitution in Canada, and not to legalize it.

Front-line Canadian organizations that have worked with trafficked victims have requested a made-in-Canada response that targets pimps and johns with stiff criminal sanctions, and provides rehabilitation and assistance instead of arrest for prostituted women.

Last week, former U.S. president Carter, having recently written a book about the global epidemic of violence against women and girls, wrote to Canadian parliamentarians, urging Canada to recognize the violence that prostitution causes to women, and to take this opportunity to ensure that Canada's future laws focus on preserving human rights.

I am confident that our government will do exactly that.

International Cup Kids Playing for KidsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe NDP Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, the International Cup Kids Playing for Kids is an event that was born in 2006 of an idea of the passion and hard work of a few volunteers. Since then, they have demonstrated leadership, making this tournament larger year by year.

This year, we will be able to rely on close to 120 volunteers and 1,800 soccer players to gather funds for a good cause. All profits are given to the Sainte-Justine Hospital and the Montreal Children's Hospital foundations.

This tournament is an opportunity for kids to play their sport outside the regular season. It also gets kids and coaches involved in a major fundraising campaign for sick kids. This year alone, the organizers expect to raise over $50,000. Good luck.

As this year's honorary chair, I thank everyone who is participating and I congratulate the organizing committee for undertaking this major project.

National Conservation PlanStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Robert Sopuck Conservative Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette, MB

Mr. Speaker, our government's new national conservation plan has been welcomed by farmers, landowners, hunters, anglers, and conservation groups.

The Canadian Wildlife Federation said, “The Federal Government's [...] investment in conservation is a positive step forward [...]”.

The Canadian Federation of Agriculture is pleased to see $50 million allocated to stewardship activity and wetland restoration.

The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters said that the NCP is a “robust commitment to enhancing conservation efforts across Canada”.

The national conservation plan is a $252-million program that will deliver real on-the-ground results for conservation. The NCP will mobilize action across all regions and sectors for stewardship and conservation in our urban and natural areas as well as working landscapes. The NCP targets the protection of ecologically sensitive lands, restoring wetlands, voluntary stewardship of species and habits, and strengthening marine and coastal conservation.

The NCP builds on the actions and efforts of Canadians who have a record of conservation results in Canada, including hunters, anglers, farmers, stream keepers, and Canada's youth.

Maternal, Newborn, and Child HealthStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, 6.6 million young children die of preventable causes, and nearly 300,000 women die from preventable complications related to pregnancy and childbirth each year. These unacceptable deaths must be avoided, by ensuring all women and children get the prevention, treatment, and care they need. They must have access to family planning, vaccines, proper nutrition, and prevention of and treatment for diarrhea, HIV-AIDS, malaria, pneumonia, and tuberculosis.

Together let us all ask what action the government is taking to support improving health and nutrition outcomes for women, newborns, and children in the post-2015 agenda. Is the government undertaking Muskoka two, and will it increase funding beyond 2015 to specifically target the hardest to reach? Will it make a signature Canadian contribution to the post-2015 development agenda?

Every woman and child lost is a tragedy to the family, community, and country, and a reminder that we still have work to do.

Abbotsford International AirshowStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Laurie Hawn Conservative Edmonton Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to call attention to an event that has been thrilling crowds in B.C.'s beautiful Lower Mainland since 1962. The Abbotsford International Airshow is acknowledged as one of the top 10 air shows in the entire world, and it will take place this year on August 8, 9, and 10.

Hundreds of flight crews and hundreds of thousands of spectators converge on Abbotsford every year to witness fantastic acts of aerial daring, and to attend the Aerospace, Defence and Security Expo, which serves as a platform to highlight the fifth-largest aerospace industry in the world. Over 700 companies from every province employ 170,000 Canadians while annually generating $42 billion in revenues and contributing $27 billion to Canada's GDP.

The aerospace industry is a priority sector under our government's global markets action plan, which is supporting Canadian businesses as they compete and succeed in the global marketplace.

I have had the pleasure of joining in the fun many times over the years, as both a performer and spectator, and I urge all of my colleagues to visit Abbotsford in August for the international air show and the adjoining Aerospace, Defence and Security Expo.

HealthStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Chris Charlton NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, before the expiry of the Canada health accord this spring, I organized a public meeting on Hamilton Mountain about the future of our health care system. The room was packed. We were joined by my colleague, the NDP health critic, as well as Drs. Gordon Guyatt and Tim O'Shea, and nursing professor Leanne Siracusa. Together, the four panellists inspired us to fight for reforms that ensure all Canadians have access to sustainable, affordable, and high-quality public health care.

Unfortunately, that goal is not shared by the Conservative government here in Ottawa. On the contrary, the Prime Minister has always wanted to replace public health care with an American-style, for-profit system. However, here is the thing. He knows that 94% of Canadians support national public health care. That is why he is trying to sabotage the system quietly by cutting $36 billion over 10 years and breaking the health accord.

New Democrats are not going to stand idly by as the Conservatives deliver nothing but longer wait times, reduced front-line services, and lack of access to home and long-term care. Canadians have been telling us that public health care is a top priority for them. It is time that we had a government in Ottawa that made health care its priority too.

Freedom of ReligionStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Mayes Conservative Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Bill of Rights was enacted by Parliament on August 10, 1960. At the time, prime minister John Diefenbaker, upon signing the bill, stated:

I am a Canadian, a free Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship God in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.

The Canadian Bill of Rights states “freedom of religion”, not “freedom from religion”. I am concerned that there is evidence that this freedom for Canadian citizens of Christian faith is being compromised by institutions that should be protecting their religious freedom. The Ontario government's attack on the independence of the Catholic educational institutions in its Education Act, The Law Society of Upper Canada and the Nova Scotia Barristers' Society's recent attack on Trinity Western University's student faith covenant, and the consistent marginalizing of Christian views by human rights commissions are evidence that my concerns are justified.

As former prime minister John Diefenbaker confirmed, I also pledge to uphold Canada's—

Freedom of ReligionStatements By Members

May 26th, 2014 / 2:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Edmonton—Leduc.

Edmonton Oil KingsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

James Rajotte Conservative Edmonton—Leduc, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate the Edmonton Oil Kings on their victory as the 2014 Memorial Cup champions, the third national championship in franchise history. This team defined courage, strength, and resilience, as it overcame adversity all season, and especially through the playoffs.

In the Memorial Cup tournament, it played two monumental games against Val-d'Or, losing the first in double overtime and then winning the second in triple overtime to advance to the final. This set up a matchup against the powerful Guelph Storm, a team that had a record-setting year in the Ontario Hockey League. The Oil Kings were down a goal at the end of the first period, but their resilience showed once again, as they skated, checked, and scored to a decisive 6-3 win over their OHL counterparts.

At the end of the game, the players hoisted the cup, but also the sweater of their friend and teammate Kristians Pelss, who passed away following last season. The emotions were evident as each player celebrated his victory but mourned the loss of the teammate to whom the team dedicated this year and this title.

Congratulations to all of the players, their coaches, and the entire Edmonton Oil Kings organization on an inspirational season and an amazing Memorial Cup victory.

Russell John CollierStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in the House to pay tribute to the life of Russell John Collier, artist and poet, awarding-winning academic, farmer, environmentalist, and a loyal and loving friend, father, and husband.

Russell was one of British Columbia's foremost aboriginal land use planners, a cultural translator between his ancient Gitxsan heritage and his knowledge of modern science. His writings on language and the land are internationally recognized.

Russell was a kind and loving man, whose respect for life and nature permeated his every action with the people and the world around him. He dedicated himself to building a more sustainable, loving, and respecting world. His wife Lori, and children Khyrin Alexander and Nicholas Aubrey, will continue to make these dreams a reality.

Russell passed away suddenly as he was dancing, and his last words were “Give my love to my family and friends. I had a great time tonight”. Russell made bright the lives of those he touched. It is now our turn to carry on his work and his hope, to leave the world a better place than we found it.

Greek Day on the HillStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Costas Menegakis Conservative Richmond Hill, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to let the House know that we are hosting leaders from the Hellenic-Canadian community from Quebec for a “Greek Day on the Hill”.

Greek Day on the Hill is a chance to listen to the concerns and aspirations of these dynamic Canadians and to thank them for their community's contribution to the political, economic, and social development of our country. We will also be enjoying the musical rendition of Time for Flowers, Time for Snow, to be performed by 80 children from four Montreal schools, under the supervision of two beloved artists, Dimitris Ilias and Maria Diamantis. These important Greek Canadian leaders have not only contributed to Canada's continued economic growth, but have also had a tremendous impact on Canada's cultural growth.

Today I am thankful to pay tribute to the Hellenic-Canadian community, who, like many other immigrant communities, has worked hard to help shape this great country that we call Canada. As a member of the community myself, it is truly an honour to recognize my community for all that it has accomplished.