House of Commons Hansard #413 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was peoples.

Topics

Commissioner of Official LanguagesRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I have the honour, pursuant to section 66 of the Official Languages Act, to lay upon the table the annual report of the Commissioner of Official Languages, covering the period from April 1, 2018, to March 31, 2019.

Pursuant to Standing Order 108(3)(f), this report is deemed to have been permanently referred to the Standing Committee on Official Languages.

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

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

Procedure and House AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Pursuant to Standing Orders 104 and 114, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 93rd report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs regarding the membership of committees of the House, and I would like to move concurrence in the report now.

Procedure and House AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House to move the motion?

Procedure and House AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Procedure and House AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Procedure and House AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Procedure and House AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

(Motion agreed to)

Children's WelfarePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to present, on behalf of Elizabeth Fry Society activists across the country, a petition with several hundred names from New Brunswick.

The petitioners, joining thousands of other Canadians, request that the Government of Canada recognize the barriers that exist within their own direct payment system. The federal government currently discriminates against children who are in irregular family situations, irregular meaning their parents may be homeless or incarcerated. They may be being raised by extended members of the family.

The petitioners from Elizabeth Fry Society request, which celebrates its anniversary this week, that discrimination end when it comes to the Canada child benefit and all special allowances for all children.

As my colleagues know, the Elizabeth Fry Society does good work across the country. I am very happy to present this petition that would end discrimination against children in all its forms in federal government services.

Trans Mountain PipelinePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise this morning with a petition signed by residents throughout Saanich—Gulf Islands.

The petitioners call on the Government of Canada to halt any plans to purchase the Trans Mountain pipeline, and I know we do not speak to the substance. Clearly, this petition speaks to an issue that has been resolved. I can imagine the petitioners would hope that we do not proceed with any expansion.

Human RightsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal Humber River—Black Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition today outlining that Iranian authorities have been condemned for the arbitrary arrest, detention, torture and murder of Iranian Canadians, including imprisoning web developer Saeed Malekpour, in violation of international human rights law, which expressly prohibits arbitrary arrest and detention, as mandated by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The petitioners call upon the Government of Canada to, jointly with the Prime Minister, personally and publicly call for the release of Saeed Malekpour, a permanent resident of Canada, who is in his 10th year of unjust imprisonment for his courage and determination to make technology more accessible and promote freedom of expression and democratic values.:

AgriculturePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

Robert Gordon Kitchen Conservative Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, I rise today with a petition to save our seed.

The petitioners call upon Parliament to enshrine in legislation the inalienable rights of farmers and other Canadians to freely save, reuse, select, exchange and sell seeds. In addition, they call upon the Government of Canada to refrain from making any regulations under the Plant Breeders' Rights Act that would further erode farmers' rights and/or add to farmers' costs by restricting or eliminating the farmers' privilege..

Children's WelfarePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Richard Cannings NDP South Okanagan—West Kootenay, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today with a petition from the Elizabeth Fry Society.

The petitioners call on the Government of Canada to end discrimination in the supports the federal government provides to children so they are not discriminated against for the situation they are being raised in and to ensure that all children have access to the Canada child benefit, the children's special allowances and any other programs like these.

The EnvironmentPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

Denis Paradis Liberal Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources has granted permit approval to expand the landfill managed by the New England Waste Services of Vermont in Coventry, Vermont. Right next door, Lake Memphremagog supplies drinking water to 175,000 Canadians.

In this first petition, the people of Brome—Missisquoi are calling on the Minister of Foreign Affairs to ask the International Joint Commission to conduct an environmental impact assessment of the plan to expand the landfill in Coventry, Vermont by 51 acres.

The EnvironmentPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Denis Paradis Liberal Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the second petition, the people of Brome—Missisquoi are calling on the Minister of Foreign Affairs to begin the process of amending the Boundary Waters Treaty concluded between Canada and the United States in 1990 to include environmental standards to protect the waters in both countries. I introduced a bill to that effect last week.

Children's WelfarePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to introduce a petition initiated by the Elizabeth Fry Society of Canada, which does fantastic work on behalf of women and children across the country.

The petitioners points out that many children are excluded from receiving the Canada child benefit and children's special allowances, as they are in informal care arrangements and their caregivers are ineligible to claim the tax deduction for children. They therefore cannot establish entitlement. Many children whose parents are incarcerated, homeless or suffer from addiction are not receiving the funds they ought to. In many cases, ironically, these are some of the most needy children in Canada.

The petitioners call on the government to ensure that all children receive all benefits they are entitled to from all government programs, without discrimination based on their family arrangement.

Children's WelfarePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

May 9th, 2019 / 10:10 a.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to present a petition from the Elizabeth Fry Society on children's rights in Canada. Canada is a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which prohibits all forms of discrimination against children, regardless of their family situation.

Unfortunately, Canada is not currently abiding by the convention. Sometimes the help provided by the Canada child benefit and other federal government programs does not get to the children who so desperately need it because of their family situation. The Elizabeth Fry Society is calling on us to remedy that.

Children's WelfarePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise to present a petition from Elizabeth Fry Society advocates, who support the call to ensure that all children benefit from special protection measures and assistance in ensuring the rights of highly mobile children, recognizing Canada's obligation as a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Many children are excluded from receiving the Canada child benefit and the children's special allowances.

The petitioners therefore call on the government to ensure that all children receive, without discrimination in any form, benefit from special protection measures and assistance.

I want to thank the Elizabeth Fry for its good work and for drawing the attention of the House to this petition.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Motion No. 167—Instruction to the Standing Committee on Public SafetyPoints of OrderRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

Shannon Stubbs Conservative Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today on a point of order related to my private member's motion, Motion No. 167. As you will recall, this motion instructed the public safety committee to conduct a thorough assessment into all the factors of the rising rates of rural crime in Canada, so action could be taken expeditiously to address and combat this public safety emergency.

The House of Commons passed this motion unanimously, with 287 yes votes and zero no votes, on May 30, 2018. Clearly, this motion has the strong support of this whole House and rural Canadians who are increasingly concerned about their personal safety.

The final line of Motion No. 167 reads, “that the Committee report its findings to the House within six months of the adoption of this motion.”

Sadly, I rise today because six months from the adoption of Motion No. 167 would have been November 30, 2018. Therefore, it is now five months past the deadline.

The committee, from what I understand, considered a draft report on December 4, 2018. According to the minutes of the committee, the next meeting to consider a draft report was March 20. No report was approved at that time. The committee did approve its agenda for the next several weeks on Monday, April 29, with no mention of Motion No. 167.

In chapter 20 of House of Commons Procedure and Practice, third edition, 2017, under the heading “Procedural Framework for Committee Activities”, it states:

First, committees are free to organize their proceedings as they see fit provided that their studies and the motions and reports they adopt comply with the orders of reference and instructions issued by the House. Second, committees may adopt procedural rules to govern their proceedings, but only to the extent the House does not prescribe anything specific. At all times, directives from procedural sources higher than parliamentary committees (the Constitution, statutes, orders of reference and instructions of the House, Standing Orders of the House of Commons, and rulings by the Speaker) take precedence over any rules a committee may adopt.

Therefore, I would submit that the House did direct the committee to conduct that assessment within six months, yet it has not provided the report within that timeline. This order originating from the House takes precedence over the other matters before the committee.

The committee has conducted 17 meetings, which happened between December 4 and April 5, 11 of those meetings being the committee's current study on cybersecurity. I mention this to highlight that the committee has not been focused on items such as legislation, which traditionally could take precedence for committee consideration, and only the last two meetings have dealt with Bill C-93.

Further, in chapter 20, under the heading of “Studies Conducted by Committees, Subject Matter Studies”, it states:

From time to time the House refers to its committees the consideration of specific matters for more in-depth study. These orders of reference may include an obligation to report and the imposition of time limits within which the committees must complete the study or report.

Therefore, I would submit that the House providing a six-month deadline for the committee to report is a limit established by the House and the committee has failed to uphold the instruction of the House.

I will close now by quickly by noting that 17 MPs did jointly second this motion. Over 200 towns, municipalities and communities endorse this motion, including thousands of Canadians across at least seven provinces.

Statistics Canada reported last week that the rural crime rate was 23% higher than in urban Canada. This remains a growing epidemic and crisis for rural families, businesses and communities across the country.

Therefore, I would request your consideration as Speaker to consider following up with this committee. I hope you will undertake to ensure that the very clear instruction of the House, through Motion No. 167, is carried out by this committee as soon as possible.

Motion No. 167—Instruction to the Standing Committee on Public SafetyPoints of OrderRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I thank the hon. member for Lakeland for raising her point of order. I will take it under advisement and come back to the House in due course.

The House resumed from May 2 consideration of the motion that Bill C-91, An Act respecting Indigenous languages, be read the third time and passed.

Indigenous Languages ActGovernment Orders

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

Robert-Falcon Ouellette Liberal Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I will begin by saying hello to my friends, my relations. It is good to see everyone today.

Let us start with a hard truth: we have had our languages taken from us. Canadians must be generous people and not allow these languages to die.

We have been walking a long pathway, and that pathway can lead to a Canada of great hope and promise. This proposed law is about hope: hope for the future, hope for the present and hope for our children.

In this great structure of Parliament, we have power and resources. In the beginning, we were told that our work was for all Canadians. We must all work collectively together, since Canada has written the promises in how processes unfold. We made a covenant, an agreement, together. We are related. If things have not happened right, we will change things to help respect one another.

Treaties are about respect and brotherhood. Indigenous peoples have always had treaties. The Cree and the Blackfoot made treaties using common sense. For example, there was to be no fighting in the winter, as it was too cold and not good to move children, women and the aged from their homes to different locations at that time. If one tribe made war, it sought out the other chief and explained the reason it was making war. Quite often, it was that the young warriors had too much energy, and they were bothering the whole camp. The old people knew that the best way to do things was to send them off to war against the enemy they knew. The two chiefs would talk and one would be given time to move the women, children and old people, and it worked for them. Later, in peacetime, they would talk about it.

The creation stories we tell about Wesakechak are about treaty. These world treaties are about water, earth, air, fire, and of course, the Great Spirit. For instance, when a child is born, the mother's water breaks and this signals that the child is to be born. He then gets his first breath of precious sacred air, and he is a living human being. He is then wrapped in the warm hide and fur of an animal and joins the warmth of the fire and the life-giving milk of his mother. Soon he is playing with the other children outside on their own land, which happens to be Canada.

When the Creator finished creating the land, sea and air creatures, he called everyone forward and told them to ask for gifts they wanted to have for themselves. Thus, he made treaties with all life on earth. Many asked to serve mankind. They were warned about mankind and what he would be like as the best and worst of all creation. They accepted and understood his warnings. For their understanding and sacrifices, they were granted a place in the hereafter. They would and should be honoured by men, women and children in ceremonies, which indigenous people still do to this day.

It is from these teachings that we respect air, fire and water in a spiritual way. They are included in all our prayers and ceremonies. It is a good way to live.

We all have our own languages, understandings and ceremonies. As indigenous people, we respect the earth and all the children of the feathered, furred, scaled, two-legged, four-legged and winged citizens.

Mankind is the only creation that breaks treaties continually. The others have never broken their sacred treaties with us.

From our own common sense, we must pray for the earth and all who dwell here. For over 100 years, we have signed treaties between our different peoples and countries. The original idea was not about subservience but about respect.

Languages must be used to be useful. They must be used by our children in school, in the home and in the rest of society. Our languages must be on TV so that people can see and understand why, where and when and can see what is happening in our Parliament. It is important to have our languages.

I saw a written sign at the entrance to a graveyard in Lac la Ronge, in northern Saskatchewan. It said, "If we could not as brothers live, let us here as brothers lie".

Man is represented by fire. Interestingly, women are represented by water. With just a single word or a single glance, she can elevate or destroy us. Personally, I would rather be a good brother to my fellow man than perish in a dirty flood of prejudice, jealousy, anger or fear.

Language can convey respect and meaning. It represents culture, and it defines who we are, our self-identity. It is about learning, education and knowledge.

Elder Dr. Winston Wuttunee asked me to talk about how our language is important and related to our belief structure. There are four elements: water, air, land and fire. Language is related to these four elements. When we take a word in Cree and break it down, there are additional meanings within that word.

Let us take water as an example. Water is women, life and connection to all of creation. It is beauty itself.

Let us look at air. There is fresh air and dirty air. It all has an impact on how healthy we are. It is life. It is breath. Animals fly in air. We need good air to be healthy.

Let us look at land. We live and we die. When we die, we become the land and the land is our relatives. It feeds the grasses. It feeds the bison. It feeds us. It is us.

Think about fire. Fire is also life. It keeps us warm. It lets us cook and survive. It cleans the land. It is also men. It works best with water.

Let us take one word in the Cree language, nikamoun, which means “to sing”. Nika means “in front”, and moun means “to eat”. Nikamoun, therefore, means "to be fed song". If we break it down further, it could mean "to be fed food by the one in front". This could also be the Creator. To take it a bit further, it means "whoever is in front is feeding us". This is where the greed for money becomes our sustenance. This has quickly become a starvation diet for us all, nature and mankind too. Do we have the responsibility and the ability to respond and learn to save ourselves, our children, mankind, and our world?

Without language, who are we as individuals? We become without a past, unable to understand the thoughts of the past and unable to understand our ancestors in ceremony. They, in turn, are unable to understand us when we cannot communicate in our language.

Our modern Parliament has a role to play in helping indigenous peoples. We can add to the scale of justice by ensuring that our Canadian languages, our indigenous languages, do not become museum pieces relegated to the back of anthropological shelves on linguistics but instead are living, alive, and adapted to a modern world while remaining spiritually connected to the past.

I have dreamed of this moment when the Canadian state, which has for far too long tried to ignore and terminate these languages, would be part of the process in Parliament of breathing life into our common languages.

I thank my colleagues, the House leader and Canadians. I thank our ancestors, who never stopped living. I thank the unborn, who will soon carry the spirit bundle of language into the future. I thank them very much.