November 29, 2006

LIB

Peter Milliken

Liberal

The Speaker

It being Wednesday, we will now have the singing of the national anthem led by the hon. member for Kitchener Centre.

[Members sang the national anthem]

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LIB

Larry Bagnell

Liberal

Hon. Larry Bagnell (Yukon, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, Burma, also known as Myanmar, is a small country nestled among Thailand, China and India. It is ruled by one of the most brutal military juntas in the world, with forced labour, sexual violence, child soldiering and numerous political imprisonments, including its own democratically elected leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Aung San Suu Chee. Burma is one of the leading heroin suppliers to Canada and faces constant environmental degradation.

In September of this year, the United Nations finally put the crisis in Burma on its agenda. It is essential that Canada play a leading role in taking action against this brutal military regime.

I am proud to announce that we have created the group, Parliamentary Friends of Burma, and will be holding our first meeting on Monday, December 4. We will ensure the importance of keeping the pressure on the international community.

To date we have 10 MPs and senators signed up, and I would like to see many more. I encourage all members to join Parliamentary Friends of Burma and their government in exile.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Burma
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CPC

Ted Menzies

Conservative

Mr. Ted Menzies (Macleod, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise today to recognize the championship season for the football team from Willow Creek Composite High School in Claresholm, Alberta.

This past Saturday, the Willow Creek Cobras took on the number one ranked Sexsmith Sabres in freezing cold conditions in the provincial high school championship game. It was a thrilling game with the Cobras scoring the winning point with just 30 seconds left on the clock for a final score of 28-27.

I would like to congratulate the Cobras on their efforts this past weekend. The 38 young men on the Cobras have made Claresholm proud. I would like to extend special congratulations to Brady Egger of Claresholm, who was named the game's MVP.

None of this would have been possible without Cobras head coach Tim Bryson, who worked hard and dedicated himself to the team as an example for our youth. Congratulations to coaching staff Kelly Starling, Rob Charchun and Todd Lybbert.

On behalf of the community of Claresholm, I ask members in the House to please join me in congratulating the Willow Creek Cobras, Alberta's provincial football champions.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Willow Creek Cobras
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BQ

Pauline Picard

Bloc Québécois

Ms. Pauline Picard (Drummond, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, tuning into the television program Soirée canadienne, hosted by Mr. Louis Bilodeau from 7 to 8 p.m., was a Saturday-night ritual for thousands of viewers. Mr. Bilodeau passed away last Saturday.

Soirée canadienne has not been broadcast for 20 years but was one of the most popular shows in Quebec. It was on the air for over two decades and Louis Bilodeau hosted 985 instalments. Every Saturday evening, notable individuals, from the mayor to the priest, from many Quebec municipalities would star on this celebration of Quebec folklore. Call and response songs, square dancing and fiddling were featured on the program. This show brought Quebec folklore, a mixed heritage inspired by old French songs, the Irish jig and Scottish music, into our homes every Saturday evening.

My Bloc Québécois colleagues and I offer our most sincere condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Mr. Bilodeau.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Louis Bilodeau
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CPC

Steven Blaney

Conservative

Mr. Steven Blaney (Lévis—Bellechasse, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, last week the Forum québécois des partenaires des pêches was held in Quebec City. At the invitation of the Quebec minister of fisheries, our Minister of Fisheries and Oceans co-chaired this gathering.

The presence of both ministers is an indication that the willingness to bring together all stakeholders and to work in a spirit of inclusiveness is central to this forum.

In the wake of the meetings held in Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island, this forum was an opportunity to discuss the priority issues and to work together to define the steps needed for a viable commercial fishery in Quebec, serving the interests of maritime communities.

It was agreed that solutions would be devised in order to make the 2007 fishing season more profitable.

An interim report will be submitted to the two ministers in February 2007 to deal with the issue of the catch in advance of the next season. The final report on the three issues will be presented on March 31, 2007.

The time has come to take action and our new government is determined to deal with this matter together with our Quebec partners.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Fisheries
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LIB

Michael Savage

Liberal

Mr. Michael Savage (Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, next Friday, the Team Work Cooperative and Work-Bridge Association will celebrate the first anniversary of their partnership in Halifax. This important partnership brings together two organizations to offer a wide range of services, including career counselling and an on-site resource facility to assist individuals in their search for work.

Nova Scotia has the largest per capita population of persons with disabilities. Some 180,000 of us have a disability. That is one out of every five Nova Scotians. Persons with disabilities are an untapped component of our labour force. It is organizations like these that make a true difference in the community.

By encouraging companies to hire persons with disabilities, we offer them the opportunity to explore their own abilities, to gain more independence, to reduce poverty levels and to provide them an opportunity to make a contribution to their community.

I congratulate Janice Ainsworth, executive director of Team Work and Judy Turner, executive director of Work-Bridge, for their hard work and that of their staff and volunteers for the wonderful and vital work they do in the community.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Persons with Disabilities
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NDP

Alexa McDonough

New Democratic Party

Ms. Alexa McDonough (Halifax, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, December 5 marks International Volunteer Day. Hundreds of thousands of Canadians are engaged in the battle to create justice, equality and peace in our world. Volunteers working in developing countries return with a deeper understanding of our role in the world, a commitment to greater international cooperation and a deep devotion to real change. Here at home tens of thousands more are engaged in that battle.

On the eve of International AIDS Day, by way of example, let us celebrate the explosion of activity in the grandmothers supporting grandmothers movement, launched at the International AIDS Conference in Toronto this summer. In 127 communities already, such groups are energetically raising awareness and funds and mobilizing support for a generation of grandmothers in Africa who play a central role in raising 13 million HIV-AIDS orphans.

This army of volunteers and NGOs supporting such initiatives are doing more than their fair share. On International Volunteer Day, let the government match that volunteer commitment.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Volunteerism
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CPC

Deepak Obhrai

Conservative

Mr. Deepak Obhrai (Calgary East, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, as outlined in the 2006 Annual Report on Children and Armed Conflict issued by the UN Secretary General, the severity of continued acts of violence against children, particularly in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in violation of human rights and international humanitarian law, cannot be ignored.

This is why Canada welcomes the decision of the International Criminal Court to try Thomas Lubanga, the former DRC militia leader charged with recruiting children. I welcome this important step in combatting impunity and congratulate the DRC for the prosecution of Jean Pierre Biyoyo, a former forces commander, as the first national level prosecution for recruitment of child soldiers.

During an open debate at the UN Security Council this week, Canada called on the international community to support the work of the ICC and national courts as they bring to justice those who perpetrate serious international crimes, including those committed against children.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Human Rights
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BQ

Christiane Gagnon

Bloc Québécois

Ms. Christiane Gagnon (Québec, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, Friday, December 1, 2006 is World AIDS Day, when we remember the sad reality that is the global AIDS epidemic. According to the latest figures released by UNAIDS, the disease is estimated to affect 39.5 million people and has claimed 25 million lives to date, including 2.9 million in 2006 alone.

In Quebec, it is estimated that 17,000 people are living with HIV, and that 1,000 Quebeckers contract the virus every year. These figures, like the figures for Canada, are disturbing, because they are on the rise.

“Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise.”, this year's theme, focuses on responsibility and asks leaders to keep their promises and honour their commitments to provide funding, health programs and access to treatment.

The Bloc Québécois reminds this government that it must take action and make the announcements that have been put off since the 16th international AIDS conference, held in Toronto in August.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   World AIDS Day
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LIB

Andy Scott

Liberal

Hon. Andy Scott (Fredericton, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan tried to put aside the tragic deaths of their comrades for a few hours yesterday as musicians from across the country entertained them.

Two eminent artists from the greater Fredericton region, Canadian Idol contestant Casey LeBlanc and Matchstick Mike Bidlake, performed at the three hour concert.

This event provided an important reprieve, and I am pleased Casey and Mike joined so many other entertainers to support the troops. They will undoubtedly return to Canada and spread the word about the great work done by our soldiers.

Before the concert, they paused to remember Chief Warrant Officer Bobby Girouard of Bathurst, his battalion's regimental sergeant-major, and Corporal Albert Storm, who were killed Monday in a suicide bomb attack.

We cannot thank them enough for their lives of bravery and honour. We offer our condolences to their families and to their communities.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Bobby Girouard and Albert Storm
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CPC

Dave Batters

Conservative

Mr. Dave Batters (Palliser, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, on the eve of the Liberal convention, Canadians are once again reminded of why they voted out a tired and wasteful Liberal government last January 23.

Yesterday's Auditor General's report highlights many examples of Liberal waste and mismanagement.

That is why this government's very first piece of legislation is the federal accountability act, the toughest anti-corruption law in Canadian history. What has been the response from Liberal leadership candidates? Deafening silence. Not a single Liberal leadership candidate has had the guts to talk about cleaning up the Liberal legacy of corruption, scandal and malfeasance.

While Liberal leadership candidates duck and dodge from accountability, their unelected Liberal senators continue their delay tactics, delaying the accountability act now for almost six months.

Canadians are tired of this anti-democratic and unaccountable behaviour from the Liberals. Thankfully, Canada's new government is here cleaning up the mess of 13 long years of Liberal corruption.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Liberal Party of Canada
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NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis

New Democratic Party

Ms. Judy Wasylycia-Leis (Winnipeg North, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, no one can dispute the importance of helping low income Canadians to acquire the tools they need to move out of poverty. For women, increased financial knowledge and skills building rank high among those tools.

In Winnipeg's north end, the women and money project has been providing these tools to women since 2000, from basics such as getting identification papers and navigating through financial forms, to training in job skills and valuable work experience. The women and money project has been a great success, or it had been until the Conservatives cut off its funding, part of the government's offensive against any measure that empowers women.

Winnipeg North just celebrated the opening of the Community Financial Services Centre, a groundbreaking initiative and the first of its kind in Canada that will provide access to financial services, counselling and micro-loans to those abandoned by big banks and left to the mercy of payday lenders. This is a testament to the power of a community to rise above all odds in the face of big money interests.

We cannot allow the women and money project to die. The government must reinstate its funding.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Women and Money Project
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LIB

Gerry Byrne

Liberal

Hon. Gerry Byrne (Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, on the issue of literacy and the recent federal funding cuts, the Progressive Conservative minister of education in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador had this to say about her fellow federal cousins. In a press release issued just two days ago, the minister said:

It is unfortunate that the federal government has decided to reduce funding to local literacy projects and I have been actively lobbying both the minister responsible for literacy...to reinstate the funding that has been cut. And I will continue to do so. I am not prepared for the federal government to walk away from their responsibilities.

If the government will not listen to grassroots literacy organizations or to literacy learners, will it at least listen to the concerns being raised by provincial governments?

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Literacy
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BQ

Johanne Deschamps

Bloc Québécois

Ms. Johanne Deschamps (Laurentides—Labelle, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, today is the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, which marks the adoption by the United Nations of the 1947 resolution providing for the creation of a Jewish state and an Arab state within Palestine. It is an excellent opportunity to remind ourselves that the Palestinian question still has not been resolved.

The Bloc Québécois is very concerned that this government is increasingly moving away from its traditional role as a mediator, a peace broker and a defender of international law in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Recently, Canada has elected to oppose or abstain from voting on certain UN resolutions on the Israeli-Palestinian question, even though it has always endorsed them in the past. This about-face by Canada could increasingly undermine its ability to act as a credible, impartial, accepted mediator in this conflict. Canada can continue playing a role as a facilitator only if it is impartial.

We must not forget that Canada has an international responsibility to help resolve this conflict.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People
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LIB

Karen Redman

Liberal

Hon. Karen Redman (Kitchener Centre, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw the attention of this House to the ongoing human rights abuses in Iran.

Many citizens of Iran dream of the opportunity to enjoy the freedoms that we in Canada take for granted every day. Despite international diplomatic efforts and United Nations resolutions, the abuse continues on a daily basis.

I call upon this House to join the voices of my constituents in Kitchener Centre in calling for an end to the crimes again humanity and the injustice in Iran. The promotion of peace, international cooperation, social justice and human rights are fundamental Canadian values.

I implore this Parliament to work with the international community to raise our collective voices in opposition to the human rights abuses in Iran.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Iran
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CPC

Bev Shipley

Conservative

Mr. Bev Shipley (Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, yet again we have the Auditor General's report that highlights the years of Liberal waste and mismanagement.

We learned that former football star and correctional investigator, Ron Stewart, wracked up at least $325,000 of improper payments. What was the Liberals' response? The member for Malpeque congratulated him for doing such a good job, calling him “committed, engaged and accessible”. I guess that is what passes for Liberal accountability.

This is unacceptable behaviour and that is why we have asked the RCMP to launch a criminal investigation into the missing money. We will not ignore the Auditor General's report. We will tackle the Auditor General's concerns and make real and lasting changes with a plan of action.

Thank goodness for a new government in town that is committed to bringing true accountability to Ottawa. It is time for the Liberal MPs to take a stand against corruption and tell the unelected Liberal senators to pass the accountability act today.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Auditor General's Report
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LIB

Ralph Goodale

Liberal

Hon. Ralph Goodale (Wascana, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, after months of serious work, last year the previous Parliament enacted Canada's first legislation to protect legitimate whistleblowers in the public service. It was passed by both Houses of Parliament and given royal assent on November 25, 2005, over a year ago.

Section 60 of that act empowers the government to bring it into force at any time by order in council but the minority Conservative government has failed to do so after 10 long months.

Why has this, ready to go, whistleblower protection been deliberately delayed?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act
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CPC

John Baird

Conservative

Hon. John Baird (President of the Treasury Board, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, for one simple reason. It was too weak and too ineffective. Public servants want to have a strong, independent watchdog to assist them so they will have confidence that when they come forward with concerns about wrongdoing they will be taken seriously and they will be protected.

Far too often, under the previous Liberal government, if people spoke up they were out the door. That will not happen under this government.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act
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LIB

Ralph Goodale

Liberal

Hon. Ralph Goodale (Wascana, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, the Information Commissioner; Democracy Watch; the most experienced public servant, Arthur Kroeger; Conservatives like Perrin Beatty and Derek Burney; and every serious legal expert in the country, all say that the government's draft of Bill C-2 was a mess.

The Prime Minister gave the Senate a big job to do, which was to fix it. He also entrusted the huge Department of Public Works to the unelected Senate. When he had to go to the media to explain his definition of Québécois, whom did he send? He sent an unelected senator.

Are those the reasons the President of the Treasury Board moved the motion last night to give the Senate $53 million?

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Government Accountability
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CPC

John Baird

Conservative

Hon. John Baird (President of the Treasury Board, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, we made it the top priority of the government and this Parliament to deal with anti-corruption legislation. We presented a piece of legislation designed to clean up the ethical mess that was left to us by the previous Liberal government.

All we have seen is, first, sober second thought from the Senate, then it was foot-dragging and now it is anti-democratic obstructionism. Canadians want the federal accountability act. Maybe Liberal leadership candidates should speak up against this outrageous delay tactic.

Topic:   Oral Questions
Subtopic:   Government Accountability
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November 29, 2006