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Results: 1 - 15 of 3077
View Irwin Cotler Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Irwin Cotler Profile
2015-06-19 11:03 [p.15341]
Mr. Speaker, Iran tragically executes more people per capita than any other country in the world. Moreover, Iran is engaged in a horrific execution binge that has resulted in 120 executions in May alone, while this month has seen an unparalleled wave of executions, with one execution every two hours.
All this is occurring while Iran is otherwise engaged in massive domestic repression, including the criminalization of dissent, the persecution and prosecution of ethnic and religious minorities, violations of women's rights, and the imprisoning of over 1,000 political prisoners.
Regrettably, the nuclear negotiations have not only overshadowed but sanitized this massive domestic repression, as witnessed by the deafening international silence surrounding it. The fact that a country is massively violating the rights of its own people, and lying about it, raises serious questions about the validity and veracity of its nuclear undertakings.
As negotiators seek a legal framework for the nuclear issue, the Iranian regime is in standing violation of its human rights obligations under international law.
It is time to sound the alarm and to hold the regime to account on both the nuclear and human rights concerns, to the benefit of both the international community and the Iranian people themselves.
View Lise St-Denis Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Lise St-Denis Profile
2015-06-19 11:38 [p.15348]
Mr. Speaker, the unemployment rate in rural parts of the Mauricie region is 2% higher than in Trois-Rivières and the surrounding area. We believe that the government's lack of action on job creation and restrictive employment insurance measures are devastating to rural communities.
Are government members aware of the adverse effects of employment insurance restrictions on seasonal work in the regions?
View Irwin Cotler Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Irwin Cotler Profile
2015-06-19 12:05 [p.15353]
moved for leave to introduce Bill C-701, An Act to establish the Office of the Commissioner for Children and Young Persons in Canada.
He said: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to introduce this bill to establish the office of the commissioner for children and young persons. This legislation is inspired by a bill previously introduced by the member for Westmount—Ville-Marie. I thank him for the excellent work he has done to promote the well-being of children and youth in Canada and around the world.
Indeed, the true measure of a nation's standing is how well it cares for its children. Especially after the recent report by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission into the experiences of the survivors of Indian residential schools, we understand now more than ever the dire consequences of failing children.
Accordingly, a children's commissioner would advocate for children and examine law and policy with a view to ensuring children's rights and welfare, including their health, their education and simply their sense of being loved.
The legislation is inspired as well by my daughter, who when she was a child herself told me, “Daddy, if you want to know what the real test of human rights is, always ask yourself, at any time, in any situation, in any part of the world: Is what is happening good for children? That's the real test of human rights.”
View Irwin Cotler Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Irwin Cotler Profile
2015-06-19 12:10 [p.15354]
Mr. Speaker, this Parliament has admirably adopted a number of religious and cultural heritage months. Therefore, there have been consultations among the parties and I trust that there will be consent for the following motion: That the House recognize the month of November as Jewish heritage month in recognition of the important contributions of Jewish Canadians to the settlement, development and growth of Canada; the cultural diversity of the Canadian Jewish community; the present significance of the Canadian Jewish community to this country; and the importance of creating opportunities for Canadians to learn more about each other in order to foster greater awareness, cohesion and mutual respect.
View Irwin Cotler Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Irwin Cotler Profile
2015-06-18 10:24 [p.15258]
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to present three separate petitions today.
The first is a petition on behalf of Canadians who are calling on the Government of Canada and members of Parliament to take note of the human rights violations perpetrated in Venezuela by the government of President Nicolás Maduro, including the criminalization of dissent, the shuttering of independent media and the imprisonment of opposition leaders.
The petitioners call upon the Government of Canada to further study the human rights situation in Venezuela, including a mission to conduct first-hand evaluations of the situation there.
This is a particularly timely petition as opposition leader Leopoldo López and former San Cristobal mayor Daniel Ceballos have embarked upon a hunger strike to protest their imprisonment and that of other opponents of the regime.
View Irwin Cotler Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, the second petition is on behalf of Canadians who wish the government to apologize to Dr. David Shugar for the human and civil rights violations he suffered, including serious damage to his reputation and loss of employment as a result of false accusations that he was a Communist spy in 1946.
The petitioners call on the government to submit a letter of apology to Dr. Shugar who, as a result of these civil rights abuses, and despite being exonerated of all the accusations against him, was summarily dismissed from his position with the federal Department of National Health and Welfare, unable to secure employment and forced to emigrate to Poland where he resides today. He is close to 100 years of age.
View Irwin Cotler Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Irwin Cotler Profile
2015-06-18 10:26 [p.15259]
Mr. Speaker, the third petition is signed by Canadians who are concerned about the situation of Seyamak Naderi, an Iranian citizen and former political prisoner and resident of camps Ashraf and Liberty, currently living as a refugee claimant in Albania and who is in urgent need of medical care.
The petitioners are concerned about the grave dangers he would suffer if returned to his native Iran. His sister Saeideh, the only member of his family who can provide the needed ongoing care that he requires, is a Canadian citizen seeking his reunification with her here in Canada.
The petitioners call upon the Government of Canada and the House of Commons to do everything in their power to expedite the recognition of Seyamak Naderi as a refugee and reunite him with his sister here in Canada as soon as possible.
View Marc Garneau Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I think my hon. colleague finished off on a positive note. Yes, we are here to debate Bill S-2, in this case. We may have different views on things, but that is what we are here to do.
I would like clarification on a couple of things she said.
Would she agree with me that the 28 countries that are part of the European Union have not signed the CETA agreement? In fact, I am concerned that they are moving away from that. Therefore, it is somewhat of an exaggeration to claim that we have signed a free trade agreement with 28 countries.
My second point is far more important. I believe I heard the member talk about the will of Parliament. I am referring, of course, to the destruction of registry documents by the RCMP, with the encouragement of the current government.
The will of Parliament is a very important thing, but would she not agree with me that it also includes respect for all the laws of this land, including the access to information law? In this particular case, this access to information law has actually been violated.
Would she agree with me that it is fine to talk about the will of Parliament but that one must, at the same time, respect all the laws that have been made in this House?
View Emmanuel Dubourg Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Emmanuel Dubourg Profile
2015-06-18 14:42 [p.15294]
Mr. Speaker, last year, 70% of the calls to the Canada Revenue Agency got a busy signal. That is 40 million calls. Things have gotten even worse: now it is 80%. The Conservatives have closed all of the service counters and cut the budget by 25%. That is disgusting, and that is why the Liberal Party leader decided to clean house and come up with a plan to give the agency back to Canadians.
How can the Conservatives tolerate the fact that 80% of Canadians' calls do not get answered?
View Francis Scarpaleggia Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Francis Scarpaleggia Profile
2015-06-18 14:54 [p.15296]
Mr. Speaker, Pope Francis unequivocally agrees with those who believe that human activity is contributing to climate change. In other words, he agrees with scientists and politicians who are calling for urgent action.
He also evoked the moral obligation to act, the obligation to respect the environment and ensure that the least fortunate, who are paying the price for global warming, can live in dignity.
Will the Prime Minister finally admit that there is a problem and commit to ensuring that Canada takes its place among the countries that are taking climate change seriously?
View Marc Garneau Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister just returned from a trip to Europe, but what were the results?
He did not help Ukraine by signing a free trade deal with it, as our EU allies did. He did not work with our European partners to lead the way in combatting climate change, unless we count watering down the commitment. He certainly did not seal the CETA free trade deal. He did not ask the Pope to apologize for residential schools.
Could the Prime Minister explain why he spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars on nothing but glorified vanity photo ops?
View Irwin Cotler Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Irwin Cotler Profile
2015-06-18 15:55 [p.15305]
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege out of respect for the integrity of Parliament, as you yourself have put it, and I want to join in the commendation to you, your staff, and the clerks for all that has been done. I join in the referencing of that by my predecessor speakers.
I am rising, I must say, somewhat hesitantly because of the lateness of the period, but I am doing so in the hope, as even the House leader mentioned, of the enhancement of the democratic process. In particular, I rise today on a question of privilege related to the government's response to a question on the order paper, Question No. 1229, which became accessible online only on Tuesday. I gave notice to the chair yesterday, and thus I am raising this matter at the earliest opportunity and regret that it is close to the end of our proceedings.
Mr. Speaker, I know that you and your predecessors have often made clear that the Chair is not empowered to adjudicate the quality or accuracy of responses to written questions. Indeed, that is not the issue I am raising, despite the fact that the government's response to Question No. 1229 all but ignored the question it purported to answer.
Indeed, the issue I raise is the violation of a Standing Order of the House, namely, Standing Order 39(1), which clearly states the following in reference to questions on the order paper:
...in putting any such question or in replying to the same no argument or opinion is to be offered, nor any facts stated, except so far as may be necessary to explain the same; and in answering any such question the matter to which the same refers shall not be debated.
This is a Standing Order to which you, Mr. Speaker, have yourself referred on previous occasions, such as on January 29, 2013, when you said, “as Speaker, I have a duty to remind the House that our written question process is intended to be free of argument and debate”, and it is in that context that I rise on this question of privilege.
This point, indeed, is emphasized in the House of Commons Procedure and Practice, second edition, which states, on page 522:
The guidelines that apply to the form and content of written questions are also applicable to the answers provided by the government. As such, no argument or opinion is to be given and only the information needed to respond to the question is to be provided in an effort to maintain the process of written questions as an exchange of information rather than an opportunity for debate.
Indeed, the only particular constraint placed by the Standing Orders on the content of responses to order paper questions is that they may not contain opinion or debate, yet the answer I received this week to Question No. 1229 was comprised almost exclusively of opinion and debate.
Hon. members rely on the written question system, and I have been pleased to be able to use it, to obtain the information we need to represent our constituents, to hold the government to account, and to engage subsequently in informed study of legislation and policy. Thus, the violation by the government of Standing Order 39(1), which has become a regrettable pattern, undermines the written question system and impedes the ability of hon. members to do our jobs.
On page 84 of O'Brien and Bosc, a list of instances found by the United Kingdom Joint Committee on Parliamentary Privilege to constitute contempt specifically includes, “acting in breach of any orders of the House”. Thus, I am asking to regard the government's response to Question No. 1229 as constitutive of contempt of Parliament.
With Question No. 1229, I sought detailed information regarding the funding of programs that facilitate the reintegration of offenders into society after they have served their sentences. The government's response, which, as I say, hardly deals with the question at all, begins, “Mr. Speaker, the government believes”. This construction necessarily leads to a statement of opinion, and the very inclusion of the government's beliefs in response to a written question contravenes the Standing Order. Therefore, the Standing Orders have been violated five words into the response.
The response goes on to make claims about the importance and efficiency of government measures, but regardless of the accuracy of those claims, they constitute debate and are thus not permitted in the context of an order paper question response.
As private members, if we include a statement of belief in the text of a written question, or if we engage in debate, we are quickly contacted by the private members' business office and instructed to amend the text and limit our inquiry to a request for factual information, which is, of course, the express purpose of the written question system.
In fact, as O'Brien and Bosc note on page 520 of House of Commons Procedure and Practice, not only are members barred from including expressions of opinion in our questions, we are prohibited from requesting the government's opinion, and the Clerk of the House “has full authority” to ensure our compliance.
It is the Speaker, however, who is vested with the authority to ensure that the government complies with the Standing Orders when responding to questions, and in fact, if the government includes its opinion in its answer, it is providing material that members are specifically prohibited from seeking, again in violation of Standing Order 39(1).
Briefly, it is important to note that this use or misuse of the written question system is not so much a personal breach on the part, in this instance, of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, who provided the response to Question No. 1229 and for whom I have a great deal of respect, as it is a regrettable pattern on the part of the government in general.
For example, the government's recent response to Question No. 1093 includes the phrase, “The Government of Canada rejects the argument”, and if one is rejecting an argument, one is, by definition, engaging in debate. The response to Question No. 773 again featured the construction, “The government believes”, and the response to Question No. 721 references the government's lack of “desire” to reinstate a particular program.
While the government's desires and beliefs are undoubtedly a matter of interest to Canadians and to hon. members, they do not belong in responses to order paper questions, just as the desires and beliefs of us as private members do not belong in the written questions we pose.
As you noted in your ruling on January 29, 2013, Mr. Speaker:
it is expected under our practice that the integrity of the written question process be maintained by avoiding questions or answers that stray from the underlying principle of information exchange.
I know, and with this I close, that at this late date in the parliamentary calendar, there may not be time for a prima facie finding of contempt to be referred to committee and for such a referral to proceed according to usual practice.
However, I raise this matter, and admittedly regrettably so at this late date in Parliament, but without an option otherwise, because we only received the answers recently, out of concern for the health of our parliamentary process, out of respect for the Standing Orders of this House, and out of concern for, as you yourself have put it, “the integrity of the written question process”, which is an essential tool for us as parliamentarians.
I ask that you protect the integrity of this process by finding that the government's response to Question No. 1229 is in breach of Standing Order 39(1), and I hope that when the House returns in the fall, hon. members from all parties will work together to strengthen parliamentary processes, such as the written question system, which underpin the vitality of our democracy.
View Irwin Cotler Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Irwin Cotler Profile
2015-06-17 14:18 [p.15202]
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise on behalf of four heroic political prisoners and their respective cases and causes.
They are Saudi Arabian blogger Raif Badawi; Venezuelan democratic leader Leopoldo Lopez; Iranian freedom of religion advocate Ayatollah Boroujerdi, as well as the persecuted leadership of the Baha’i community; and Mauritanian anti-slavery advocate Biram Dah Abeid.
Each political prisoner is a case study of the criminalization of fundamental rights, the deprivation of liberty, and torture in detention. Each is a looking glass into their respective oppressive regimes and their standing violation of international obligations, including obligations to us here in Canada.
We say to these courageous prisoners of conscience that they are not alone. We stand in solidarity with them. Their cause is our cause and we will not relent until their liberty is secured.
View Justin Trudeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Justin Trudeau Profile
2015-06-17 14:28 [p.15203]
Mr. Speaker, it is 2015. Sexual harassment in our military is—
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
View Justin Trudeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Justin Trudeau Profile
2015-06-17 14:29 [p.15203]
Mr. Speaker, it is 2015, and sexual harassment in our military is unacceptable. Someone in a leadership role excusing it as biological wiring is unacceptable. An apology that says this was just an awkward characterization is unacceptable.
The Prime Minister just said that he agrees, so why will the Prime Minister not immediately dismiss his Chief of the Defence Staff?
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