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Results: 1 - 15 of 45
View Ken Dryden Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ken Dryden Profile
2011-03-09 14:11 [p.8825]
Mr. Speaker, this is Israeli Apartheid Week. Universities are great places to discuss, debate and criticize and yet Israeli Apartheid Week often is not about discussion and debate. It is about intimidation and hate, where one voice overpowers and silences others and cuts them off.
Israel is not an apartheid state and yet if there is anything we have learned from the great slayer of South African apartheid, Nelson Mandela, conflict cannot be resolved with hate, because even if people do win they must live with one another. Living with one another is not just about talking, but listening; not just about knowing, but learning; not just about being right, but creating something better.
Our students have 60 or more years of their lives ahead of them. They will change Canada. They will create the global world of the future. It is time for students involved in Israeli Apartheid Week to move on to something worthy of all that is in them, something worthy of the future.
The really sad part of Israeli Apartheid Week is that our students and our universities can do much better.
View Ken Dryden Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ken Dryden Profile
2011-02-08 14:10 [p.7868]
Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development likes to talk about choice. Let us talk about choice.
Let us talk about average middle-class families with both parents or one parent in the workplace; their income stagnant or worse; with a mortgage and car payments; and having their kids in child care, with each place costing more than $8,000 a year and the Conservatives' so-called child care benefit providing less than $1,000 a year after taxes.
Let us talk about average parents, at home or not, who worry about their kids and know that for them the only real security and opportunity in the future is in learning; who want their kids to have a lot of experiences with other kids, other adults, in a lot of different places and settings; who need their kids to arrive at the kindergarten door ready to learn, and who know that for better child care facilities, and for attracting and keeping better teachers and for better learning for the future, the Conservatives' $1,000 benefit offers no choice.
That is the difference. With the Conservatives: no choice. With the Liberals, whether one is at home or not, in real life: real choice.
View Ken Dryden Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ken Dryden Profile
2011-01-31 14:10 [p.7423]
Mr. Speaker, Sergeant Ryan Russell was 35 years old. He had a wife and young son. He loved hockey; he was a goalie. He loved his job. It is what his father had done, and his father had been his hero. One day a few weeks ago, he left to go to work, more than 40 years of his life still ahead of him. In an instant, it was over.
In Toronto, more than 10,000 people attended his funeral. Beforehand, many had stood on sidewalks waiting for the procession, the city quieter than I had ever heard it before.
We try so hard to take the risk out of our lives. Then we see some people, police officers, firefighters, soldiers and others, who take on more risk and do it willingly to make us safer. How can they do it, we wonder. Could we?
So a city stopped, to feel sad, to offer hope for the survivors, and for Sergeant Russell and for all those who do what he did, to say thank you.
View Ken Dryden Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ken Dryden Profile
2010-12-01 14:19 [p.6668]
Mr. Speaker, last week, Red Fisher was inducted into the Quebec Sports Hall of Fame. Red has been writing for an unbelievable 56 years, first for the Montreal Star, and now for the Gazette. He respects what he writes about and respects his audience. He has never made himself more important than the game he covers. When others have decided they have “been there, done that”, Red is still able and willing to get angered, to get excited, and to see something new.
He can be tough. At times he was not very impressed with me, but it was because he knew I could do better; and every time I could not find my own answers, I would wait for the morning paper to see what Red thought.
There is no hockey public in the world more knowledgeable than Montreal's. It is this public that sets the standard against which the Canadiens must compete and has been crucial to the team's success. No one has been more important in helping to sustain this standard than Red. Simply, day after day, year after year, Red is the best.
We congratulate Red and thank him.
View Ken Dryden Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ken Dryden Profile
2010-11-25 13:38 [p.6448]
Madam Speaker, I will divide my time today with the member for Richmond Hill.
I will vote against this motion. The motion will not likely pass, as we know already, and what we say today will not change this outcome.
On a matter that is one of life and death for those in the military committed by our actions or for those who come home and who carry with them an experience that shapes their lives for a lifetime, one would expect a soul-searching debate of many weeks and months. But that is not what we have.
So if there is no real debate, let us at least set out some of the questions we would have discussed had there been one and keep those in mind as we get to the next milestones of the Afghanistan mission in 2011, 2014 and beyond.
I was in university at the height of the Vietnam war. Vietnam offered us many lessons. It taught us what happens when ideology, in this case Cold War ideology, makes us blind to what is there to see, when rhetoric sucks us in and sticks us with the wrong persuasive image, an image then of dominoes falling: if Vietnam falls, so will all of Southeast Asia; if Southeast Asia falls, so will....
But it also taught us of other traps. “Five hundred soldiers have been killed”, the U.S. government and military told us; “we can't allow them to have died in vain”. So more soldiers were committed, and more died. One thousand, 10,000, 20,000, until the war was not about dominoes anymore, and 10,000 more died because 20,000 had already died, and then 10,000 more. “We cannot leave now”, and there were 10,000 more.
Lessons offered, many lessons not learned, and one lesson that was learned: the U.S. public, in dismissing the Vietnam war, also dismissed the dedication of its soldiers. Its soldiers returned home broken and received no healing thanks. That would not happen the next time.
So in the years after September 11, 2001, Canada went into Afghanistan to fight terrorism, and in fighting terrorism, also to fight for those abused, especially women, by Afghan life.
Debate is so hard in a time of war. Criticism sounds unpatriotic. It is as if in war we lose our right to question and think. Yet it is a time when we must question and must think. Canadians are dying. Afghanis are dying. We have to be right. Situations can change, or we can begin to see those same situations differently. It is not about questioning our soldiers. Barring some rare abhorrent act, soldiers are always right. They do what they are told to do. It is their generals, or more so, it is those of us in Ottawa. It is their government. We make the final decisions. If we are wrong, far more than us, they pay the price.
We have to encourage debate because it is so easy to shut down debate and get things wrong; because this is about life and death, not dollars and cents; because we cannot face the prospect of being wrong.
It is so easy for us to wrap ourselves in the flag, to hide behind our soldiers, and at the first hint of criticism, say “We have to support our men and women in uniform”, to choke off debate of any kind. And who can argue?
In Vietnam, then, dismissive of the war, Americans were dismissive of their soldiers. In Canada now, far from being dismissive of our soldiers, it is very hard for us to be dismissive of any war they fight.
But true support for our men and women is committing them always to the right cause with the right chance to succeed, the right cause and chance today, tomorrow and every next day after that. So we must keep our eyes and minds always open, always alert.
More than 200 years ago, Samuel Johnson described patriotism as the last vestige of a scoundrel. This is not necessarily the case as Johnson understood it, but it can be. Question period, scrums and sound bites offer no time for thoughtful resolution, only enough time for pandering.
“But that is just the politics of it,” we say, “no big deal”. But in the absence of any other discussion, it becomes a big deal.
War, like grain subsidies, health care, and affordable housing, is about choices. We must provide our military the tools they need for the task we ask them to do, but is that task in Afghanistan, Darfur, or someplace else? Is it in defence, diplomacy, development, or all three? Or does it depend? There are choices. Do we buy the F-35 and pursue the foreign policy an F-35 can pursue, or fewer of them, or more?
People die in war. Tens of thousands of other Canadians die years and years before others do because they do not have the right food, the right shelter, or the right start in life. It costs about $2 billion a year to conduct our fight in Afghanistan. There are choices.
In Afghanistan, we know what we hope. We hope to shut down the actions of terrorists beyond Afghan borders. We hope for education and better lives for the Afghan people, especially for Afghan women. And we hope that long after we leave, the Afghan people will want this for themselves and be able to sustain this by themselves. Right now, we hope far more than we know, but we cannot allow hope, the ideology of terrorism-fighting, and the loss of Canadian lives to make us blind. The stakes are too high.
What do we owe the 153 Canadian soldiers who have died in Afghanistan? What do we owe their families? We owe them respect and gratitude. We owe them remembrance of what they have done for their country. More than anything, we owe them good choices in the future, for the sake of those who come after them.
I will vote against this motion, but like everyone else in this House and like everyone else in this country, I will go from here into the future with my eyes wide open.
View Ken Dryden Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ken Dryden Profile
2010-11-25 13:48 [p.6450]
Madam Speaker, I think the challenge for everyone in the House is to see that in fact we fulfill the commitment that we say we are making, a commitment that is for development, a commitment that is for training, a commitment that is not in a combat role.
I think the challenge and the record of governments in lots of places in the world is a very sketchy one in terms of maintaining those kinds of promises. When a country is in a war environment, it is very difficult not to be engaged in a combat role.
That is why, as I was trying to say in my remarks, we have to be really vigilant, each of each other, each of ourselves, because it is so easy to slide into a different role.
That is what we are voting on today, the literal support of that mission, of training and of development and not a combat role.
View Ken Dryden Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ken Dryden Profile
2010-11-25 13:50 [p.6450]
Madam Speaker, my understanding is that this not an extension of a combat role.
If it is not an extension of a combat role, then that is a very different story than what was brought up in the member's question.
View Ken Dryden Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ken Dryden Profile
2010-11-25 13:51 [p.6450]
Madam Speaker, I have not been to Afghanistan. I have not seen up close what the needs are.
I am going on the basis that in fact there is an ongoing need, in order to take on that larger role. As more soldiers from other countries leave or those ones stay in non-combat roles, there is that much more responsibility and a much larger task for those Afghans who remain, and therefore the training of them.
View Ken Dryden Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ken Dryden Profile
2010-11-01 16:02 [p.5615]
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have this chance to speak to Bill C-47, the second budget implementation act.
Everybody, rich and poor, young and old, doing well and not doing well, we are all looking for the same thing: a chance, a real chance. Even the rich who have been rich all their lives, to develop a new product or to break into a new market, at some moment they need a chance, too.
For those who are not rich and for those who are poor who have not had the same chances or who did not give themselves the full chance they needed, what do they do? Where do they go? For them, for all of us, at some moment, government matters.
A budget matters. A budget offers a path to our economic future as a country and for each of us as individuals. However, the impact of a budget is far more than just economic. It can add a piece to a life that up to that moment does not quite work. A budget has often to do with money in the form of an investment, in training, learning, health, research and development, housing, literacy, in things that might not make today much better than yesterday, but which will give us a shot at a better tomorrow.
I have watched the government for more than four and a half years. I have listened as it has brought down several budgets. A budget day offers many announcements about many things, so much it seems is about to be done. Then the next day and every day after that we also begin to see what is not being done. For me, the test for any budget of any government is, what will its impact be 5 years or 10 years from now? How will it make us better off, as a country, as individuals? How much is a budget just stuff and in truth will not have any real impact on our lives at all?
That is my disappointment with the government. More than four and a half years have passed with very little benefit to the future of Canada and Canadians.
Learning, we know, will be central to every country's future. As parents, we worry about our kids. As we look into the future, more than anything we want to know that they will be okay. We see these immense, unimaginable changes ahead and we do not know how our kids will adapt.
We know that passing on to them some money will help a little, but money gets spent. Over time, we have come to realize, to know that in their future their only real security, their only real opportunity is learning. Therefore, when things change, they have in them the capacity to learn and change with them.
Our kids need to learn more and better in their early lives, to have enriched opportunities outside their own homes as well, in early learning and child care, just as they do when they get to kindergarten and beyond. They need to have better chances at college and university so their learning is not interrupted constantly by the need for part-time jobs or years off to limit the debt they incur.
Many adults who do not learn to read early in their lives, who live under the suffocating ceiling of illiteracy need literacy programs to give them another chance at life.
What is the government doing in these regards, in this budget? What has it been doing in these more than four and a half years? Very little. Enough to say in question period and in scrums that it is doing something. Enough to meet its political needs, but not enough, not nearly enough, to meet the needs of those outside government, to meet the needs of Canada and Canadians for the future.
When this recession ends, one thing is certain, the world's economy will not go back to where it was before the recession began. Shifts have taken place. There are new ways to do things, new technologies, especially in the energy sector, new opportunities, new risks. The need for any government, for any company, is to move to where the world is going, not to where it was or is.
In this budget and in the last four and a half years what has the government done to prepare us to succeed in the future? It has done just enough to say it has done something.
It is even more dramatically the case for those who are poor and who need a chance in so many different directions, affordable housing, income assistance, child care, disability supports and even more so still, those who are aboriginal. The government has done just enough to say it is doing something, but not nearly enough to make a difference, to offer a chance at a real life.
For more and more families, it takes both parents in the workforce to make ends meet. We are living longer. We are living healthier. However, as extended families, less often do we live together. What happens when something goes wrong, when there is a major illness in the family, a child or an elderly parent? When lives are closer to the margin, how do we adapt? How do we help caregivers? The government has done just enough to say it is doing something, but not enough to make a difference.
If someone notices just how little the government is actually doing for Canadians, the government discourages those voices. According to how the government thinks, these problems should not exist. If government gets smaller, if a little more money is put into the pockets of people, everything will be fine.
The reality is, however, that life as it is really lived annoyingly gets in the way, unless of course the government does not notice. For the Conservative government, it is the miracle of ideology. If the Conservatives know something already, then they do not have to listen. The government does not have to listen to community groups, so why not cut their funding. It does not have to listen to people who oppose or criticize it, so why not fire or humiliate them. Because we cannot know what is not knowable, the census is cut. Everybody knows that if something is not measured, then it does not exist. If it does not exist, then it cannot be a problem. If it is not a problem, why have government programs to fix what does not need fixing? It is magic, magic for the government but not magic for those who need a chance.
In a time of global economic transformation, in a time of climate change, in a time when the gap between the rich and everyone else has grown, in this more than four and a half years, as exemplified by the second budget implementation act, the hallmark of the Conservative government has been political management, not national stewardship.
View Ken Dryden Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ken Dryden Profile
2010-11-01 16:12 [p.5616]
Mr. Speaker, it is a question for all of us. As much as we find a lot of the debate we have here fascinating, I am not sure many people at home do. We can see it in the problems with low voter turnout, especially among younger people. The majority of those who do turn out feel an obligation to vote, not necessarily out of a great engagement in the process. That is a problem for all of us.
Our biggest problem, and we can see this in the United States, comes when there is nothing really compelling on the table. That is when the problem arises. All of us have been around tables where we disagree with each other. Unless we have something to focus on, something we think is much more important than each other, we will focus on each other and the snipping begins.
That is our challenge and it is also the challenge in the U.S.
View Ken Dryden Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ken Dryden Profile
2010-11-01 16:14 [p.5616]
Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt that when the economy is working well, the greatest social justice program is a well-functioning economy. However, one of the challenges we are finding now, even when there are two jobs within a family and oftentimes there are not, is that the end result still has the kinds of problems that I was talking about, whether it has to do with housing or other experiences in low income and poverty.
I do not think it is enough just to say we will do what we can in terms of the economy. I would caution the members across the floor to not just look at and listen to what they are doing, but to look at the dimensions of what they are doing.
Anybody can do a little bit, an inch deep, but if the challenge is a foot deep, then an inch deep does not matter a heck of a lot. An inch deep can lead to very nice, interesting rhetoric and make everybody feel better, but it is the other 11 inches that are really the question. That is my problem with the focus and direction of this government for the last four and a half years.
View Ken Dryden Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ken Dryden Profile
2010-10-21 14:15 [p.5182]
Mr. Speaker, a few weeks ago I visited the Hincks-Dellcrest Centre in my riding. Among other things, the centre offers programs for children with suspected mental health problems and their parents. I sat around with some of the mothers and asked them why they were there.
Most of them are new to Canada, their own mothers live far away, no family and no mentors around, and this is their first child. Those 10 new things that happen every day in a child's life, why? Is this normal? Is this a problem? What should they do? They learn from the staff and they learn from each other. They have made friends. Their children have made friends. They feel comfortable. They feel at home.
If anyone ever for a moment wonders why governments can matter, why taxes can matter, why cutting is not the answer to everything; if anybody ever for a moment wants to know why multiculturalism in some countries struggles and why this multiculture of Canada works, go to Hincks-Dellcrest. It is inspiring.
View Ken Dryden Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ken Dryden Profile
2010-06-17 16:00 [p.4026]
Madam Speaker, I am dividing my time with the member for Vancouver Centre.
Prorogation can be mostly for benign reasons but in this case it was not. Done arbitrarily and out of the government's own convenience, it was done to shut down voices that the government did not want to hear. That may be very human, but for a democratic society, for Canada, it is a big problem.
The Prime Minister does not like a lot of different voices, not in his caucus, not in his cabinet, not in committees, not in the bureaucracy, not in media, not anywhere.
During his now more than four years in office, think of any big public discussion his government has generated on the transforming issues of today and of the future, on the changing national and international economy, on global security, on climate change, on energy, on anything. Nothing. The Prime Minister does not like other voices. Other voices might be critical, embarrassing or inconvenient. They may simply be different from his own. He knows where he wants to go. He thinks he is right. So why do these voices matter?
Prorogation was just part of it. In his more than four years as Prime Minister, he has used and misused the power of his position, its rewards and punishments to entice an intimidate, to play on human weakness, to prop up voices he wants to hear and to shut down those he does not want to hear. All this may be very human, but for democratic society, for Canada, it is a big problem.
This past Monday we brought together about 20 community groups from across the country, some national and international and some small and local, that after years and sometimes decades of receiving federal government money to do important community services and to give voice to those who are less advantaged, to help them to live the way all Canadians should live, they had their funding cut. These were aboriginal groups, health groups, women's groups, learning and child care, international aid groups and others. However, this round table was not really about their funding cuts. It was about what the loss of the services and the voice they provided means to their communities and to Canada.
These cuts, this different understanding of the importance of public voice, represent a great change from previous governments, from the Liberal governments of 1970s and early 1980s, from the Progressive Conservative governments of the late 1980s and early 1990s and from the Liberal governments again until 2006.
When I was minister of social development, my responsibilities included those for seniors, people with disabilities, the volunteer sector as a whole and child care. People who worked for advocacy groups on these issues did so because they believed in these issues and knew that so much more needed to be done. These groups pushed hard. We got to know each other, maybe even trust each other a little, but these groups were intensely politically no-partisan and intensely issue partisan.
They had to deal with whoever was the government. At times they drove me crazy. Sometimes they were too right, uncomfortably right when it was not sure that I could deliver that right. Sometimes I thought they were completely wrong, that to meet their own goals and mine they wanted to go down the wrong path.
However, I knew what every party for decades had known, which is that these voices are part of the essential mix of voices necessary for a properly functioning healthy society.
Then in 2006 the Conservatives won. During the first three or four months there were signs of trouble for these groups but to them they hoped it was just a matter of getting used to a new government and a new government getting used to them. They had seen it before, whether a Liberal or Progressive Conservative government, and eventually they knew they would get through to that government and everything would end up roughly as it was. However, not this time.
There were cuts to the court challenges program, women's groups, literacy and child care, and aboriginal groups. The first groups in these areas thought they were the only ones affected. They kept waiting for the train to arrive at the station but I would tell them that the train was not coming.
The Conservative government thinks differently. It does not know why it should give money to these groups. It thinks it is its job to reflect the different voices in the country. It believes that if these issues had any real public support, people would give to these groups themselves. It believes that if any money does go to these groups, it should go directly to the people in need, to feet on the ground, not to mouths in corner offices. It cannot understand why any government in its right mind would support someone who just criticizes it anyway.
All this might be very human, but for a democratic country, for Canada, it is a big problem.
We all knew and the government knew what would happen next. For these groups, their effectiveness, their voices and their existences threatened, they would go nuts. Instead, most have gone quiet.
I think this even surprised the government at first, then it realized the power it had. Essentially it said to these groups, “You thought you were strong. You are not. You need our money and now you have a choice. You can go quiet and maybe get some money, but not likely and certainly a lot less, and by going quiet, you become powerless, or you can go loud and certainly not get any money and become powerless. What do you want, to be powerless or powerless?”
For the government it meant that it could keep its money and keep these groups quiet. Life does not get much better.
On Monday, together some of these groups told their story. Many others are still not willing to. There was also someone who took part but who decided to do so only by phone because a government contract was pending for a group she would like to work for and she did not feel that she could put herself or this group at risk by being identified. This is a person who has a reputation for fighting every fight, loudly, publicly and never taking a backward step. It is all about shutting down voices.
Another group, whose funding has not been cut, had intended to be there to show solidarity with the other groups because this group knows that but for the grace of one cabinet minister who has a personal interest in the issue that is its focus, its funding might be cut too. In the end, however, the group decided that it could not risk being there. In one way or another, again, it is shutting down voices.
The round table was not about groups losing their funding. It was about what the loss of funding means, what the loss of services and the voices that they provide means to local communities and the national community, and what it means to all of us.
Here is what some of them said. One said, “I am acutely aware that--today--there may be consequences associated with speaking publicly about social and political issues of importance to Canadians. ...few would deny that the "chill" is real and that this is a new development in Canadian democracy”.
Another person talked about organizations that are now afraid to be visible in a press conference and about groups that historically have had too few resources to act alone. The person said that they were divided by fear, divided by a race to survive financially. The person said that the result was distrust, fear and a lack of cohesiveness.
Another person said, “We are witnessing some of the most prominent organizations in this country being silenced, reduced. ...ensuring that the government will have little or no opposition to their actions and policy.“We are witnessing some of the most prominent organizations in this country being silenced, reduced, ensuring that the government will have little or no opposition to their actions and policy. It seems that NGOs have been given two choices--stay quiet and don't represent the challenges facing vulnerable Canadians or voice those issues and quietly disappear”.
Those words do not convey their full stories nor the tone of their voices. Their tone was one of sadness, anger, disappointment in themselves for being so weak in the face of their organization's survival, for turning against other groups, for turning selfish and greedy, for being so unlike what they ever thought they were. More than that, their tone was that of disbelief and denial. They could not believe this was happening. They could not believe it was possible to stop themselves before they could say what needed to be said. This was not Canada.
These groups knew their own stories and knew the stories of those in their own sectors but they were stunned by the other voices they heard and by how broad and how deep the problem went. I think it took so long for these groups to speak out because of this disbelief, because of a feeling that surely they were the only ones, that no one else would understand, and because to say something about losing their funding would sound to others like sour grapes and would sound self-serving, as if they really did not have the right to say something.
It is the same story for all the opposition political parties and for the media. We are losing our voice, but what right do we have to say something? It is called sour grapes and self-serving.
This is not, first of all, most of all, about us. It is about the public, about Canadians, and about how this country works. That gives us a right. That gives us an obligation.
View Ken Dryden Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ken Dryden Profile
2010-06-17 16:12 [p.4028]
Madam Speaker, as I said in my initial remarks, the prorogation was a shutting down of voices. That is what it fundamentally was.
Prorogation can be used for lots of different purposes, but one of its purposes, surely, is not just for the convenience of the government to decide to shut down voices. It is too much of a central theme, a central attitude, and a central way of doing things by the government. It shuts down voices that it does not want to hear. Whenever it does not want to hear them, it just shuts them down. Prorogation is just part of the same thing.
In terms of the hon. member's question about the work of the committee, I am sure that the committee has worked hard. The fact is that prorogation as it now exists allows for the possibility of the shutting down of Parliament and the shutting down of voices at absolutely inappropriate and unworthy times. Unless and until we get prorogation right, we open ourselves to these kinds of abuses in the future.
View Ken Dryden Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ken Dryden Profile
2010-06-17 16:15 [p.4029]
Madam Speaker, however the process worked or did not work to the satisfaction of the member in terms of how we came to present this motion, I think that the essence of the question is the functioning of the current government and how prorogation can be misused to shut down voices.
I would not be so distracted as that member is. I think that is an absolutely central question for all of us, the shutting down of voices.
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