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House of Commons Hansard #119 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was cuba.

Topics

Opposition Motion — CubaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, we have been very clear about promoting strategic engagement that reflects our values. Indeed, that is the history of the Conservative record when it comes to Cuba. What the member just did is the same thing the Prime Minister did in his statement, which is to feed Cuban propaganda. It is to say positive things about the mode of government that exists in Cuba. He praised the low crime rate of a country that kills innocent people. He praised an education system that does not permit freedom of thought. He praised the health care system that is well known to be replete with limitations in medications and all of those claims are based on data that comes out of the Cuban government.

I do not object to the government engaging with Cuba. I object to us being the useful idiots of the Cuban regime. Could the minister stand and clarify that the way Cuba governs itself, that the information he cited is simply not correct, that it is not based on real facts?

Opposition Motion — CubaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Liberal

Stéphane Dion Liberal Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, you can see why Canadians want to have a diplomacy that makes sense and that helps the world to progress instead of antagonizing, instead of belligerence, it is completely sterile for what we intend to do. Of course, there are huge problems in Cuba regarding human rights. Of course it was a dictatorship with Fidel Castro, we do not dispute that. Now the goal is to see how the reforms may lead Cuba toward democracy and where universal human rights will be respected. The fact that Canada engaged Cuba despite disagreement with the regime is the key way by which our Prime Minister, our government, and the whole of Canada will be able to be an asset for this endeavour in this journey toward freedom and democracy.

Opposition Motion — CubaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Conservative

Pat Kelly Conservative Calgary Rocky Ridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to share my time today with the member for Parry Sound—Muskoka.

One can tell much about a regime by the direction the rafts are travelling. In the decades following Cuba's revolution, 20% of Cuba's population, over one million people, fled the country, often taking the small boats in an attempt to cross the Straits of Florida to reach the United States. Castro subjected those who remained to a brutal regime of repression, terror, and poverty.

Over the nearly 60 years of this revolutionary regime, Castro executed at least 5,600 Cubans by firing squad, murdered over 1,200 in extrajudicial killings, despatched tens of thousands to forced labour camps, and exiled over 1.2 million. Fidel passed away apparently peacefully in his bed last Friday night, a fate far kinder than that of his many victims.

My purpose in this speech is not to criticize Cuba nor its long-suffering people, nor is it to call for sanctions or embargoes. Far from it. I believe that Canada can play a productive role in facilitating freedom and human rights in Cuba, partly due to our history of relations with the island.

Some of our companies do business in Cuba. Some of our citizens vacation on Cuba's beaches. Canada retained diplomatic relations with Cuba throughout Castro's long reign, and a succession of our governments kept communication channels open. Under the previous Prime Minister, Canada even facilitated discussions between the United States and Cuba, discussions that led to a degree of rapprochement and re-establishment of relations between those two countries. However, offering goodwill and an outstretched hand does not require whitewashing a history of oppression.

It is generally unfair to criticize a son for the acts and attitudes of his father, but in his recent eulogy for Fidel Castro, the Prime Minister highlighted the close relations of himself and his family with the Castro family and had so invited comment. Friendship with the Castros was part of a pattern of admiration for dictatorship in the Trudeau family from Havana to Beijing. Lest we forget, Pierre Trudeau praised the genius of Mao in his book, Two Innocents in Red China, a glowing report of China in 1960, without mention of the tens of millions of Chinese starved or executed by Mao's regime during its so-called “great leap forward”.

It was Pierre Trudeau who went on to establish this family friendship with Castro, among other brutal dictators of the left, such as Erich Honecker and Nicolae Ceausescu. In 2006, the Prime Minister's brother wrote a special for the Toronto Star, in which he said of Castro:

His intellect is one of the most broad and complete that can be found.... Combined with a Herculean physique and extraordinary personal courage, this monumental intellect makes Fidel the giant that he is. He is something of a superman.

As recently as November 2013, the Prime Minister himself expressed in his own words, “There's a level of admiration I actually have for China. Their basic dictatorship is actually allowing them to turn their economy around on a dime.”

Just this past May, the Prime Minister continued his disturbing affinity for dictatorial regimes by attending a Liberal Party fundraiser, of all things, also attended by a Chinese Communist Party official and claimed right here in this House last week that he was doing so to attract investment in Canada, the only evidence of which was a generous donation to his family foundation and the promise of a statue for his father.

Last Saturday morning the Prime Minister made the shameful public statement that is the subject of this motion. Now that he is Prime Minister, the member for Papineau does not speak merely as a private citizen, consoling personal friends, but as the Prime Minister of Canada, responsible for upholding our nation's principles and prestige on the international stage.

I would not begrudge him a private letter to the family of a personal friend, dubious as I consider that particular friendship to be, but I must object to him publicly praising a dictator on behalf of all Canadians. Diplomacy may require acknowledgement of the death of a former head of state, and such courtesies should be observed, but the Prime Minister must do so with an eye to history, to posterity, and to Canada's reputation, not just his family's friendships and his own personal feelings on the subject.

Instead of a measured acknowledgement, keeping strictly within the bounds of protocol, the Prime Minister issued a now infamous eulogy which has been mocked around the world and has diminished Canada's prestige as a serious country with clear eyes on foreign affairs and clear commitments to human rights.

News of the eulogy spread quickly with The New York Times, CNN, The Guardian, and other international news sources reporting on the widespread scorn for these remarks.

In response to the opposition demanding an explanation and apology from the Prime Minister in question period earlier this week, the Minister of Foreign Affairs replied that other heads of state “chose to say something positive” about the late Fidel Castro because “the intention was not to revive old antagonisms” and that we should not “agonize” over the facts. Really?

It was as if the Minister of Foreign Affairs was saying to our side of the House, “You would bring up the murders, the torture, the repression, and the exiles. Why can't we just forget about all of these unpleasant things? We wouldn't want to hurt anyone's feelings by mentioning these things and the fact that they happened, would we?” Glossing over the atrocities of the past will not help the Cuban people build a brighter future.

As South Africa's truth and reconciliation program has demonstrated, acknowledging injustice is the first step for a nation to heal from oppression. I am deeply concerned for Canada when our foreign affairs establishment actually perceives dictators in such naive and hopeful terms. Indeed, it sends a dangerous signal of woolly-headed weakness when the Prime Minister publicly praises a murderous dictator and minimizes his bloody history by calling him merely a “controversial figure”.

When the Prime Minister elevates the trivial by putting his personal feelings above Canada's reputation, it shows others that we can be trifled with. It shows our allies that our leaders can be taken in by cults of personality and charismatic despots. It shows others that our leaders are swayed more by personal feelings than national principle or perceive the world through dangerously naive rose-coloured glasses. It shows those around the world who draw inspiration from Canada as a defender of human rights that such devotion can be set aside if those abusing human rights appeal to our leaders personally.

When the Prime Minister opened his statement referring to Cuba's longest-serving president without even acknowledging that Castro's Cuba never held a free multi-party election, employed a vicious security apparatus that suppressed dissent, and banned all opposition, it destroys the Prime Minister's credibility as an advocate for democracy at home and abroad. When the Prime Minister says of a man who executed thousands of his citizens that he was merely a “polarizing figure”, but praises him for his “deep and lasting impact on the Cuban people” and speaks of warm friendship with him, he shows which pole he gravitates toward.

The Prime Minister's fawning eulogy, his subsequent remarks justifying it, and the doubling down by the Minister of Foreign Affairs all minimize the suffering of Cuban exiles, those whose families and friends were tortured, murdered, sent to gulags, or drowned while trying to flee. Brushing aside crimes, and just merely referring to concerns about human rights, goes beyond diplomatic courtesy into the realm of outright denial of reality.

The fact that the Prime Minister issued the eulogy while in Madagascar, lecturing la Francophonie about the importance of protecting human rights, of respecting racial, religious, and sexual minorities, and of upholding the rule of law, adds bitter overtones of hypocrisy to this embarrassment. How can the Prime Minister reconcile his friendship with a man who persecuted minorities, eschewed the rule of law, and stripped his subjects of human rights with his duty to uphold Canadian principles on the international stage?

On behalf of myself and Canadians like me who believe that human rights and devotion to the rule of law may not be abandoned for personal friendship, who believe that Canada's reputation is at stake whenever the Prime Minister speaks, and who believe that diplomatic courtesies do not demand denial of crimes against humanity, I urge the House to recognize the atrocities suffered by the Cuban people and reject the comments made by the Prime Minister on November 26, 2016, and, instead, remember the victims.

Opposition Motion — CubaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I am quite disappointed in the members of the official opposition. There is no way they could justify or explain to me how this motion is in the best interests of the people of Cuba.

The Conservatives have chosen a rather peculiar issue on which to actually spend a day of debate. My question for the member is very specific. It is regarding the former prime minister, Stephen Harper, when he issued a statement back on January 22, 2015, on the passing of a king. The statement said:

On behalf of all Canadians, Laureen and I offer our sincere condolences to the family of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz and the people of Saudi Arabia.

King Abdullah was recognized as a strong proponent of peace in the Middle East. He also undertook a range of important economic, social, education, health, and infrastructure initiatives in his country.

I had the pleasure of meeting King Abdullah in Toronto when Canada hosted the G-20 and found him to be passionate about his country, development and the global economy.

We join the people of Saudi Arabia in mourning his passing.

No Liberals stood up criticizing the prime minister at the time, and the king was a dictator. It seems to be a double standard. Why do the Conservatives not care about the people of Cuba?

Opposition Motion — CubaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

Pat Kelly Conservative Calgary Rocky Ridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member who perhaps would have made a great member of Castro's team for his ability to stand up in the House and always be able to defend his own government, no matter what the government has said.

The member for Winnipeg North asked what the motion does to help the Cuban people. The answer to that question is that, by not whitewashing over the past, not ignoring the facts, and not ignoring the history, we are going to help the Cuban people overcome a legacy of repression.

Opposition Motion — CubaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault NDP Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.

I did not hear many potential solutions for improving Cuba's political system. It seems that the only proposal, the only approach considered by the Conservatives on files related to international relations, is isolation. They want to try to isolate that country as much as possible. There must be more constructive solutions than simply ganging up on those countries, shutting them out, and sending them off to a corner, thinking that this will improve their situation and that human rights will improve by adopting a policy of isolation.

Does my colleague think that is really the correct attitude and the best approach to helping those countries, to helping other people obtain more rights and respect from their leaders?

Opposition Motion — CubaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

Pat Kelly Conservative Calgary Rocky Ridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, time does not allow me to read my speech all over again, because I believe my hon. friend missed most of it.

I did mention in my speech that we are not debating Canada's decades long history of relations with Cuba. In fact we support it, and I very much support these past policies.

We are not talking about many of the broader issues that were the subject of his question. We are talking about the statement that the Prime Minister made. That statement is a national embarrassment and ought to be retracted. Of course we support democracy and freedom for the Cuban people, and support delivering them from the grinding poverty that is the reality for most Cuban citizens. We absolutely believe in engagement with Cuba. We wish the best for the Cuban people.

The Prime Minister's statement made no reference to any of the victims of that regime, and it provided no solutions either. The subject of the motion is the Prime Minister's statement and the shame it brought on Canada.

Opposition Motion — CubaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

I want to remind hon. members in the House that we are proceeding with debate, and if they are having a discussion, it is nice to see people talk among themselves, but there are people trying to make a point, and we owe them the respect to listen to what they have to say.

Resuming debate, the hon. member for Parry Sound—Muskoka. I want to remind the hon. member that he has five minutes, and then we will continue after, for another five minutes, once the debate resumes.

Opposition Motion — CubaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Tony Clement Conservative Parry Sound—Muskoka, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am sure you will make sure that I stay within the bounds of the decorum of this place and the rules of this place.

May I say that it is always good to be in the House at the same time as a fellow northern Ontarian like you? I know that we try to represent the common values of northern Ontarians in this place, and outside it. That is why I am standing here today. Cuba may seem far away for many of my constituents, although some of them do frequent it on occasion, in the winter months; but of course, Canadian principles are not expendable just because we get a nice, cheap vacation. I know my constituents feel that way, and I am sure many Canadians across the country feel that way.

I will be splitting my time with the member for Calgary Rocky Ridge—I guess I have already made that clear.

What I want to do in the first couple of minutes is just talk a bit about the iron-fisted rule of Fidel Castro over the last nearly half century.

This was not an accident. This was the actual cultivation of a repressive communist dictatorship that punished all forms of dissent. It did not matter whether people were marginalized because of their sexual orientation or because of their political beliefs or because of their religious beliefs; Fidel Castro was an equal opportunity, dictatorial, authoritarian thug. That is the person who received the eulogy of the Prime Minister.

Thousands of Cubans have been incarcerated in deplorable prisons, thousands more were sent to Gulag-inspired labour camps, and countless others have suffered from harassment and intimidation at the hands of Mr. Castro and his cronies.

This is not just something that happened at the beginning of the revolution or at the end of the revolution. This was the course of conduct over decades. He denied entire generations of Cubans basic political freedoms. He left thousands upon thousands to live in poverty, while he lived like an emperor. That is the reality of life in Cuba.

Let us remember that the revolutionary forces took over the island on January 1, 1959. Fidel, his brother Raúl, who was there at the conception, and Che Guevara, himself, as soon as the revolution took hold, unleashed a wave of terror, including executions by firing squad, designed to reduce the population into submission.

I believe my time is up. I will be happy to resume debate after question period.

Opposition Motion — CubaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

The hon. member for Parry Sound—Muskoka will have seven minutes remaining when we come back from question period.

Democratic ReformStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

News flash: Mr. Speaker, a parliamentary committee has found as fact that first past the post is inappropriate in any democracy with more then two parties contesting elections. That is actually not a news flash. That was the finding of the first parliamentary committee in 1921.

I admit there has been something of an interregnum between 1921 and now, and in that time there have been many other studies done across Canada, provincial studies, citizens assemblies, and a study by the law commission. No group of Canadians that has studied the first past the post voting system has ever concluded we should keep it. It is flawed. It distorts voters' intent.

Our parliamentary committee has found that the Prime Minister is right. The election in 2015 should be the last election held under first past the post.

Whitney Pier Youth ClubStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Eyking Liberal Sydney—Victoria, NS

Mr. Speaker, on Monday November 21st, the Whitney Pier Youth Club re-opened its doors following $800,000 in renovations.

Whitney Pier is a strong, proud, and resilient community in my riding. Its is descendants of people who came from all over the world to work in the former steel plant.

The club has an expanded kitchen, recording studio, computer lab, and many activities available for the youth in the surrounding community. The club is home to more than 100 children each day. It has a total membership of 230. This is a tremendous asset to the community and has been serving the youth since 1989.

I rise today to recognize the Whitney Pier Youth Club, devoted club director Chester Borden, and the surrounding community for their commitment and determination to make this new club a reality.

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Bradley Trost Conservative Saskatoon—University, SK

Mr. Speaker, this week the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment listed 84 municipalities and reservations that are under drinking water advisories or boil water orders.

It is unacceptable that in 2016, many families in Saskatchewan and across Canada do not have reliable access to clean drinking water. Yet, despite this deplorable situation, the government spends millions of dollars in pursuit of an abstract climate change policy that has no foundation in real science.

The people of Saskatchewan and all Canadians need and deserve an environmental policy that focuses on real problems, such as providing access to clean drinking water. Instead, Canadians are being threatened with a tax on carbon dioxide. This carbon dioxide tax will kill jobs, but more importantly, it will drive up the cost of living for everyone in Canada, especially middle class and low-income families, the people who can least afford it.

The people of Saskatchewan want the Liberal government to end its war on Canadian oil, gas, and coal and instead focus on delivering clean air and clean water.

Newmarket—Aurora Sports Halls of FameStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Kyle Peterson Liberal Newmarket—Aurora, ON

Mr. Speaker, sports play an important role in all communities across Canada. My riding of Newmarket—Aurora is no exception. We are blessed to have not one but two sports halls of fame in my community.

Recently, the Aurora Sports Hall of Fame moved into its new location at the Stronach Aurora Recreation Centre and inducted four new members: Olympian Karen Stemmle, NHLers Michael Murphy and Mike Kitchen, and figure skating coach Sheldon W. Galbraith.

The Newmarket Sports Hall of Fame, located at the Magna Centre, also recently inducted three new members: Stingrays swim coach Alan Swanston, international handball champion Harold McClean, and Newmarket's 1950s Gorman Smoke Rings hockey team.

I was proud to attend the induction ceremony and to celebrate the rich history of sports excellence in our riding.

I would like to thank the volunteers at both halls of fame and thank them for helping make our community the great place it is.

HIV/AIDSStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, on World AIDS Day we remember the loved ones we have lost; we recognize the victories won through the dedicated efforts of patients, caregivers, advocates, and researchers; and we recommit to building a world where no one has to know the isolation, stigmatization, and pain brought by HIV and AIDS.

While the Prime Minister has rightly asserted that Canada should be a leader in the fight against HIV/AIDS on the global stage, domestically his government has been denying assistance to many HIV/AIDS organizations in Canada, many who have received support for decades. If this is not reversed, there will be serious gaps in critical services in communities across our nation.

Today, New Democrats call on the government to immediately reverse these funding cuts and expand the federal initiative on HIV/AIDS.

Now more than ever, we must provide support and compassion to every Canadian living with these conditions. Working together, we can reduce new infections, increase access to care, improve health outcomes, and ultimately, forge a future without HIV/AlDS.

World AIDS DayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Doug Eyolfson Liberal Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia—Headingley, MB

Mr. Speaker, I too rise today on World AIDS Day to salute the efforts of the many organizations working to rid the world of HIV/AIDS, and to bring attention to the often overlooked issue of TB-HIV co-infection.

Tuberculosis is the number one killer of people with HIV. In fact, for people living with HIV, contracting TB doubles their risk of dying. Last year alone, TB took the lives of 400,000 people living with HIV; that is 35% of all AIDS-related deaths.

Therefore, as we work toward creating a world free of HIV/AIDS, let us ensure we also work to prevent further loss of life. That means taking action on tuberculosis and ensuring we do better for people living with HIV. By supporting initiatives that improve prevention and treatment of TB, we can create the conditions necessary for people living with HIV to survive and thrive.

Bo CooperStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

David Yurdiga Conservative Fort McMurray—Cold Lake, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honour a local hero, Bo Cooper, a firefighter in my riding of Fort McMurray—Cold Lake. A little over three weeks ago, Bo lost his life to leukemia.

Bo Cooper, who became known as Unbreakable Bo, battled hard against this disease since 2011. Twice Bo went into remission, and twice the cancer came back, but that did not stop him from fighting this disease, and inspiring people across the country.

Bo was only 27 when he passed, but despite being young, he touched the lives of so many. As a local firefighter in Fort McMurray, and a former mixed martial arts fighter, Bo was never one to back down from a challenge.

The people of Fort McMurray rallied around Bo, helping to raise money for his treatments. Bo's passing is deeply felt in our community, but he leaves behind an inspiring message: Never give up and never back down.

Bo will be sorely missed.

BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDSStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Liberal Vancouver Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, when the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS opened in 1992, one British Columbian a day was dying from AIDS. Today, the centre for excellence, headed by Dr. Julio Montaner, is at the forefront of the pandemic, focused on health and social determinants, prevention, and new antiretroviral treatments. It is lauded by the World Health Organization for its major advances in antiretroviral therapy, adopted by many nations globally.

The B.C. government made “treatment as prevention” universal a few years ago, and coupled with social programs like harm reduction and Insite, B.C. now has the lowest number of new HIV cases in North America. Yet HIV/AIDS continues to rise alarmingly in other parts of Canada. Globally, there are still 2 million new cases a year.

I am proud my new government embraces evidence-based HIV/AIDS health policies focused on most-at-risk populations. I am proud we have committed to the WHO 90-90-90 target here and internationally.

Today, my friend Dr. Julio Montaner is on the Hill—

BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDSStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

The hon. member for Acadie—Bathurst.

Island Fishermen Cooperative AssociationStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Serge Cormier Liberal Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, last week the Island Fishermen Cooperative Association in my riding of Acadie—Bathurst was awarded the 2016 Business of the Year award by the Conseil économique du Nouveau-Brunswick.

The business was founded in 1943 by a coalition of co-operatives that wanted to build a cold storage facility in Lamèque in order to process cod.

Today the co-operative plays a critical role in the economy of the Acadian peninsula. It employs over 450 people and has one of the largest northern shrimp processing plants in Atlantic Canada. The plant also processes snow crab, rock crab, herring roe, and lobster, and it develops innovative products to identify new markets.

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the management and employees of this business, which is a source of pride for the riding of Acadie—Bathurst.

Pacific Autism Family NetworkStatements By Members

December 1st, 2016 / 2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Alice Wong Conservative Richmond Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure today to rise and congratulate the Pacific Autism Family Network that has just opened its new family hub in my riding of Richmond Centre.

With family-friendly spaces created specifically to foster a calm and collaborative environment, the family hub will provide a network of support for individuals with autism spectrum disorder and their families. This organization has been working extremely hard to raise the necessary funds to open the centre, which will serve families across B.C. I was so pleased to join in recently at its ribbon-cutting celebration. I look forward to seeing the success of this facility in our community.

I congratulate all involved.

NORAD Santa TrackerStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Seamus O'Regan Liberal St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

Mr. Speaker, everyone in the House knows that Canada's north is the home of Santa Claus, and that the North American Aerospace Defense Command was created to track his whereabouts on Christmas Eve.

I grew up in Goose Bay, Labrador, which is located in Canada's north, and is the home of an air force base that is part of NORAD. Because of this and because of my long-standing, long distance but nonetheless heartfelt relationship with Mr. Claus, I want to advise my colleagues that NORAD has begun tracking Santa's sleigh.

I want to encourage all boys and girls in the House, in my riding of St. John's South—Mount Pearl, and all across the country to visit the online Santa tracker at www.noradsanta.org to track his journey or download the app to follow him in real time.

Happy holidays, everyone.

World AIDS DayStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Kamal Khera Liberal Brampton West, ON

Mr. Speaker, today marks World AIDS Day, a day dedicated to show support for individuals living with and affected by HIV, and to remember those who have lost their lives to HIV and AIDS.

In Canada, one in five people living with HIV is unaware of his or her infection. Many Canadians who have never been tested or may not consider themselves at risk could benefit from a test.

Earlier today, the Minister of Health, the Minister of Justice, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, National Chief Perry Bellegarde, and I received a rapid HIV test. Within minutes, we were able to know our HIV status. Knowing our HIV status is a critical first step in accessing life-saving treatment and care, if needed.

Let us lead the conversation with our fellow Canadians on the importance of getting tested for HIV, knowing our status, and ending the stigma, so we can all make Canada and the world HIV and AIDS free.

National DefenceStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal plan to replace Canada's CF-18 fighter jets is an incoherent mess.

The Liberals say there is a capability gap which requires urgent action, but their plan is anything but urgent. They announce that next year they will enter into discussions with Boeing to buy 18 Super Hornets, but they have no idea what the price tag is or when new planes can be delivered.

If the need is so urgent that we must sole-source an interim fleet, why can that not happen immediately? Procurement rules are clear that non-competitive tenders are only allowed in actual or imminent life-threatening situations. If that is what the government truly thinks, then why is it delaying any decision on replacing our CF-18s for years to come?

The answer of course is that is politics, pure and simple. The Prime Minister made a contradictory promise based on his own whims rather than the advice of defence experts. Sadly, all Canadians will soon pay for the Prime Minister's mistakes, his lack of experience, and his arrogance.

Global Skills StrategyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Gagan Sikand Liberal Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

Mr. Speaker, when immigration and innovation align, it makes for one great announcement.

Yesterday I welcomed the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship and the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development to my riding. The two ministers announced our government's global skills strategy at one of the many great companies, Therapure Biopharma, a fast growing biopharmaceutical company.

To be implemented in 2017, the global skills strategy will establish a two-week standard for processing visas and work permits for companies in Canada, create a dedicated service channel for companies looking to make large job-creating investments, and will also eliminate the work permit requirement for very short-term work.

I would like to commend the ministers for their work on this project. I look forward to working with them to implement our global skills strategy.