TORSNEY, The Hon. Paddy, P.C., B.Comm.

Personal Data

Burlington (Ontario)
Birth Date
December 19, 1962

Parliamentary Career

October 25, 1993 - April 27, 1997
  Burlington (Ontario)
June 2, 1997 - October 22, 2000
  Burlington (Ontario)
  • Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment (July 16, 1998 - August 31, 2000)
November 27, 2000 - May 23, 2004
  Burlington (Ontario)
June 28, 2004 - November 29, 2005
  Burlington (Ontario)
  • Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for International Cooperation (July 20, 2004 - February 5, 2006)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 4 of 86)

May 17, 2005

Hon. Paddy Torsney (Burlington, Lib.)

Madam Speaker, many of us take our hearing and ability to speak for granted. Whether we are talking to others directly, on the phone or in this chamber, our ability to speak and hear is vital to our everyday activities.

For one in ten Canadians, speech, language and hearing problems are a daily challenge in their work, school and recreational activities. For the thousands of Canadians of all ages who have communication disorders, we will never know the isolation and frustration they face.

May is Speech and Hearing Awareness Month. The Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists and their 4,800 members across the country are working together throughout this month to raise public awareness concerning their professions and the many issues surrounding communication disorders.

I encourage all members of the House and all Canadians to join me in supporting the association and encouraging others to understand what these issues relate to.

I wish to thank CASLPA members. Their professional contributions to the health of our communities and our country enriches everybody. They allow Canadians to learn, succeed and enjoy their lives. We celebrate their many achievements.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Speech and Hearing Awareness
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May 17, 2005

Hon. Paddy Torsney

Madam Speaker, I have worked with hon. members from the Bloc Québécois, the hon. member for Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques and the hon. member for Verchères—Les Patriotes, on the WTO situation.

There is a group of members who want to have rules and a new system. We have worked together to change the rules in order to ensure that the voice and aspirations of people in our ridings are respected in the world. The hon. member needs to think a little bit about the situation in Canada. There are places here where we must work harder to improve the situation for people without employment. Nonetheless, this government has worked very hard for everyone in every riding and every province.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Budget Implementation Act, 2005
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May 4, 2005

Hon. Paddy Torsney (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1) I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian Group of the Inter-Parliamentary Union respecting its participation at the meeting of the steering committee of the Twelve Plus Group of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, held in Brussels, on March 11, 2005.

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1), I also have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian delegation of the Canadian group of the Inter-Parliamentary Union respecting its participation at the one day parliamentary meeting on the occasion of the 49th session of the Commission on the Status of Women, Beijing +10 at the United Nations in New York on March 3.

There was representation from each political party. The Canadian delegation did a fantastic job at the Beijing +10 meeting in New York. This is an important document. I encourage all members to look at how we can encourage more women to be represented in this House, and maybe question period would be a little more civil.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Interparliamentary Delegations
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May 3, 2005

Hon. Paddy Torsney (Burlington, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable and at times debilitating disease of the central nervous system which affects Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

Canada has one of the highest rates of MS in the world. Usually diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 40, for unknown reasons women develop the disease more than twice as often as men.

May is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month. Tomorrow I will be pleased to be kicking off the 29th annual MS carnation campaign. Tomorrow volunteers from the MS Society and I will pin carnations on all MPs as they enter this place to raise awareness of the MS campaign.

This weekend volunteers in over 280 communities across Canada will be selling carnations to raise money for MS research and for services for people with MS. Last year we raised over $1.4 million.

I encourage all hon. members of the House and all Canadians to join me in supporting the MS Society to help make a difference for individuals living with this disease and their families. Tomorrow everyone in the House will be wearing a carnation and raising awareness.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Multiple Sclerosis
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March 24, 2005

Hon. Paddy Torsney (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation, Lib.)

Madam Speaker, as a country, Canada represents a coming together of many peoples. As such, we have learned over time to respect and mutually accept each other. It is this fact that separates us from others and puts Canada on the world stage.

We have established a legal foundation, enshrined in our Constitution, that is aimed at ensuring Canadians are protected from racism and discrimination. We will continue, as a government, to work on these issues so that all Canadians have the opportunity to participate to their fullest potential. In fact, that is what this House has been debating all week.

At the same time, we are working to strengthen the bonds of shared citizenship to ensure the continuance of the strong and cohesive Canadian society that we have today.

The Government of Canada recognizes there have been dark moments in the history of this country. We have recognized that presenting a complete history is important in understanding who we are as Canadians, even if the history we have to tell includes times when we have strayed from our shared commitment to human justice.

The internment of Ukrainian Canadians and other Europeans during the first world war is one of those chapters in Canadian history that we as a people, as Canadians, are not proud of, even though the actions of the government of that day were legal at that time.

Our commitment as a government is to strengthen the fabric of Canada's multicultural society. We are committed to learning from the past. We are committed to acknowledging and commemorating the significant contributions to Canada made by our rich and various ethnoracial and ethnocultural groups, including of course Ukrainians.

The Department of Canadian Heritage and the cultural agencies in the Canadian Heritage portfolio have made considerable efforts to ensure that the story of Ukrainians in Canada is known to all Canadians.

For example, Parks Canada, as one of the members opposite mentioned, while working under the heritage portfolio, worked closely with national and local Ukrainian Canadian groups to develop interpretive exhibits at Banff National Park, an exhibit I have seen, and at Yoho National Park and Mount Revelstoke National Park. The exhibits help visitors and all Canadians understand the experiences, hardships and contributions of Ukrainian internees.

The Department of Canadian Heritage is providing funding to Ukrainian Canadian organizations to assist in documenting the experiences of Ukrainian internees and to underline the contribution of the Ukrainian community to our country.

Since the 1890s, when waves of Ukrainians helped to settle this vast land, Ukrainians have played an important role in Canada. An incredible number of Canadians of Ukrainian heritage have made extraordinary contributions to Canada, contributions of which all Canadians are very proud.

Wayne Gretzky, of course, is a star and international sports hero. Ed Werenich is a world champion in curling.

In the cultural sphere, all of us have adored artist William Kurelek's paintings and the work of violinist Steven Staryk.

In public life, Ramon Hnatyshyn and Roy Romanow have made us all proud.

Canada's first woman in space is Roberta Bondar. I was saying to one of my colleagues that I did not know she was of Ukrainian heritage.

To think of Ukrainian Canadians is also to recall Canada's war hero, Peter Dmytruk, who died for all of us on the battlefields of France in World War II.

As Canadians, we are proud to live in a country that recognizes the importance of diversity.

In the October 2004 Speech from the Throne, the government pledged to pursue its objectives, “in a manner that recognizes Canada's diversity as a source of strength and innovation”. We pledged “to be a steadfast advocate of inclusion” and “to demand equality of opportunity so that prosperity can be shared by all Canadians”.

In line with these commitments, the government is now advancing a number of multicultural and anti-racism initiatives designed to cultivate an even more equitable and inclusive society. Bills like Bill C-38.

In our recent budget, we provided $5 million per year to the multiculturalism program to enhance its contributions to equality for all.

A comprehensive and effective multiculturalism program is important in our increasingly diverse country where by the year 2016 the proportion of visible minorities is expected to reach 20%.

In the October 2004 Speech from the Throne, the government said that it would “strengthen Canada's ability to combat racism, hate speech and hate crimes”.

We will achieve that plan by investing $56 million over the next fives years to implement Canada's action plan against racism. Canada's action plan, which the government announced on March 21, the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, a day that all of us celebrated, will reinforce the government's ongoing commitment to eliminating racist behaviours and attitudes. It will strengthen partnerships between the Government of Canada and community organizations to combat racism and will advance our international and domestic objectives.

A society looking to its future cannot do so without acknowledging troubling events from Canada's past. Budget 2005 provided $25 million over the next three years for commemorative and educational initiatives to highlight the contributions that Ukrainians and other ethnocultural groups have made to our Canadian society and to help build a better understanding among all Canadians of the strength of Canadian diversity.

With this funding the government is responding to demands from the community in a way that respects both the concerns of the communities and the government's 1994 policy on this issue.

Bill C-331 looks to the past for a solution. As a government we are looking to the future for all Canadians.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Ukrainian Canadian Restitution Act
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