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Results: 1 - 15 of 84
View Brent St. Denis Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, soon, the Liberal leader and his team will unveil a new way to look at pollution and climate change. Unlike the Conservatives and the New Democrats, the Liberals are inviting Canadians to engage in an important dialogue on the future of energy use in Canada.
False reports by the Conservatives about a green tax shift underline their own lack of action and desperation.
They know, we know and Canadians know that something has to be done. Neither Canada nor the world can wait any longer.
Our plan will be comprehensive and it will be revenue neutral. Low income and middle income Canadians in particular will benefit from our green tax shift.
Canada cannot allow itself to lag behind in the green industrial revolution.
As one important aboriginal teaching says, “Our vision must be for seven generations”.
We know that Canadians want this debate and are aware of the consequences of inaction. It is sad that the Conservatives and the New Democrats do not have confidence in Canadians.
View Brent St. Denis Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, last week, I asked the minister responsible for veterans when this government will take action on the issue of post-traumatic stress disorder which is affecting Canada's newest generation of veterans.
The current system is not working. When will the government actually put money toward treating PTSD?
View Brent St. Denis Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, anyone who has actually talked to veterans in this country about this serious problem will tell you that we are simply not doing enough to help. Recent reports of our soldiers being told to ignore incidents of sexual assault in Afghanistan of civilians, some by Afghan soldiers, have only made matters worse. Already many of our soldiers come home with PTSD. Now we add this latest terrible twist.
When will the government do something to help our soldiers by taking these matters seriously?
View Brent St. Denis Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, amazingly the Conservative Party has produced a self-incriminating affidavit from the widow of the late Chuck Cadman. In the sworn affidavit she refutes most of the key arguments made by the government to claim its innocence in the 2005 Cadman affair. Contrary to the government's line, Dona Cadman confirmed that on May 17 two Conservative Party officials had indeed offered her late husband a million dollar insurance policy in return for his vote.
Given the litigious nature of the Conservative Party when confronted by its own wrongdoing, will the Prime Minister be suing Mrs. Cadman for defamation?
View Brent St. Denis Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I think we can assume that Mrs. Cadman is safe from Conservative lawsuits for now.
The parliamentary secretary repeatedly talks about a meeting on May 19, but last week he handed out a sworn affidavit from Mrs. Cadman in which she swore that the insurance offer was made to her husband on May 17, which is not May 19.
Why did the parliamentary secretary hold a press conference to distribute information that contradicted the Prime Minister's version of events? Why not simply explain what happened on May 17?
View Brent St. Denis Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, tomorrow the federal government will apologize to residential school survivors. I believe that such an apology is a key step in the healing and reconciliation process with Canada's aboriginal peoples. I look forward to hearing the apology and hope it achieves its intended purpose.
I also hope this apology and the reconciliation process will inform all Canadians about some of the tragedies that have been inflicted upon our aboriginal people. I believe the relationship between aboriginal Canadians and non-aboriginal Canadians can be strengthened with better dialogue and an increased understanding by all Canadians of aboriginal history.
For this purpose, I have introduced Bill C-496 to promote the teaching of aboriginal history and culture in Canada's mainstream primary and secondary schools. I believe such a measure will encourage an environment of understanding that will better help our country move forward. Over the long past, the teaching of aboriginal history has been deficient in Canada's schools and this needs to be addressed.
I urge all hon. members to support initiatives that promote better understanding and appreciation of the important role in Canada of aboriginal Canadians past, present and future.
View Brent St. Denis Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, today we mourn the very recent loss of two more Canadian soldiers.
We know that all members support our troops and that the loss of life and health of our military men and women is felt by all Canadians. Yet the government continues to fail our troops as they return from Afghanistan and other operations. Let us consider the fact that post-traumatic stress disorder, a crippling mental injury, still ranks among the most common of afflictions.
While clinics are fine and they are needed, when will the government provide real support for all the health care needs of Canada's newest generation of veterans? When will it take real action?
View Brent St. Denis Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I listened with care to my colleague from Charlottetown and he made a point of saying that the Ethics Commissioner, Ms. Dawson, was actually trying to be very helpful but that she was apparently constrained by the existing rules.
We should be thanking the member for West Nova for providing all members on both sides of the House with an opportunity to examine more carefully what appears to be an anomaly in the rules, which has allowed for what I would call her inadvertent decision.
I am wondering if my friend from Charlottetown could talk a bit more about the opportunity that this provides us to clear up an error that is not really helping any one particular member or another. It is for all members for the future.
View Brent St. Denis Profile
Lib. (ON)
moved for leave to introduce Bill C-543, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (abuse of pregnant woman).
He said: Mr. Speaker, the reason I am tabling the bill is many of us felt that Bill C-484, while it did attempt to accomplish certain things in protecting pregnant women from assault or abuse, left too many unanswered questions and too many doors were left open.
For those of us who are pro-choice, but did not want to go down that road, I have created a simple bill, which would provide judges with the ability to increase the penalties for those who would knowingly assault or abuse a pregnant woman.
I have had this tested to see whether it would open the door to recriminalization of abortion, and it will not. I have had it tested to see whether it would have any censure against the women herself, should she choose to have an abortion, and that will not be the case. In fact, it plugs all the holes left by Bill C-484.
I invite members, who felt as awkward as I did in not supporting Bill C-484, to look at this as a very helpful option to assist pregnant women, should they be attacked by those who are knowingly aware they are pregnant.
View Brent St. Denis Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, 91 years ago, on April 9, 1917, at Vimy Ridge, France, 100,000 soldiers from all over Canada fought shoulder to shoulder for the first time in international battle under the Canadian flag and under a Canadian commander.
Canadians representing all of Canada's regions fought together and won together. This victory has become known as the day when Canada truly became a nation and it earned for Canada a signature on the Treaty of Versailles.
The victory at Vimy Ridge is historic for both its significance and the losses our armed forces incurred. Some 4,000 Canadians gave their lives during this battle. They never saw the result of their sacrifice.
However, this important victory proved to our allies that Canadian soldiers were prepared to fight our common enemies. This enabled our country to take a strong position in the group of nations.
As of 2003, April 9 became an official military heritage day in Canada after the enactment of Bill C-227.
I ask all my colleagues to join me in commemoration of the bravery and courage of those who won at the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
View Brent St. Denis Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to join the debate tonight, a debate that honours our troops in Afghanistan and everywhere they act on behalf of Canada in the world, and indeed domestically.
I echo the comments of my colleague from Waterloo. To have this debate and to recognize there are different points of view and at the same time to recognize that in this democracy debate is necessary is a good irony. It is good that we can have the debate in this place. We could wish that other countries like Afghanistan could enjoy the ability to have discussions like this without guns, bombs, bullets or treachery. We and our troops, men and women, are there on our behalf to advance those values that we hold as a nation.
There is not a member in the House who does not, regardless of his or her view, support our troops. I want to emphasize that is my view and the view of all of us here.
In so doing, I want to pay tribute to those soldiers, men and women of the military, who have lost their lives, about 80, and the many hundreds who have been wounded to one degree or another.
I am the vice-chair of the veterans affairs committee, which is doing a study of veterans benefits. We are seeing all too often in testimony the tragic impact on lives of post-traumatic stress disorder. There is no question that the operation in Afghanistan will produce, unfortunately, a goodly share of future veterans of today's serving military who will suffer from post traumatic stress disorder. However, that is the price of acting out the values of our democracy in foreign lands.
I also submit that the motion, to give credit to the Prime Minister and the Liberal leader, is the result of their efforts to find common ground that reflects the values of our country and that it is a Canadian motion, not a Conservative or a Liberal motion.
I have talked to previous NDP voters who are much happier with this balanced approach than with the approach that Canada should leave Afghanistan right away.
I represent the riding of Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing. A major part of my current riding was represented by the late Right Hon. Lester B. Pearson. It was 50 years ago last fall that he won the Nobel Prize for his efforts in the area of peacekeeping.
We do not use the word “peacekeeping” very much any more, but ultimately it is all about that. Whether we go through seasons when that word does not easily fit the circumstances, there would be few Canadians who would not agree that it is really what ultimately we are trying to achieve.
I know all too well the families of soldiers killed. They are from the little communities of McKerrow and Espanola in my riding. Two young men lost their lives in Afghanistan in the last couple of years. They know too well that there is a great sacrifice.
By the lack of emails, phone calls and letters from constituents telling me that this motion is a mistake, I have a sense, and I am sure most of my colleagues here have this sense as well, that we are doing the right thing.
We will have an election sooner or later and that election will rightfully be about differing views on the country's finances, child care, aboriginal concerns and so on. However, it should not be about Afghanistan. We have troops there and families at home are wishing them Godspeed in their time there and their journey home. I think we are doing the right thing by settling this matter.
Our troops want us to debate this. Ultimately they want clear direction from the Parliament of Canada. As our leader has said, it is not our job as parliamentarians to micromanage the work of the generals and their fellow leaders on the ground. That is not our role. Our role is to set the direction and the mandate.
To go back to our veterans affairs committee, we recently visited four military bases, from the west to the east of Canada, in our veterans health study. In my experience, not a single member of the military questioned the debate, not a single one. They understand that the war has passed and that as for the work of our veterans, whether it was in the first or second world wars, in Korea or elsewhere in peacekeeping, those efforts were in fact to preserve and promote democracy. It is an honour. We honour our military by having this debate.
Let me go specifically to the things that our party wanted to see as the Afghanistan mission moved forward. We knew that there would have to be change in the mission. We knew that there would have to be an end date.
We also felt strongly that we would have to move beyond the military engagement, at least as the military engagement presents itself to us right now. The military engagement should focus on training the security forces and providing security for development and the building of infrastructure, schools and so on. For this, it is understandable.
Canadians understand that we need a strong military to be in that village once it is secured to make sure that it is safe for the water system to be built or rebuilt, as the case might be, or for that school to be built, and for other important issues of local governments to be fostered.
We need a strong military. As for how the devolution or the evolution of the combat mission unfolds in the months ahead, we will leave that to our military leaders. They have our message that the counter-insurgency measures should be diminished and that the military role of combat where necessary is in support of securing the reconstruction and securing development. We understand that it is our military that will decide those issues.
It was also very important to us that the issue of detainee transfers be dealt with. Happily, there is at least some clearing of the air on that important issue.
Also, we are calling on NATO to step up. There are other member states of NATO that need to take more responsibility. It is not our role as Canadians to be there forever doing the work that others should be sharing with us. Canadians understand that, but at the same time, they do not want to see us leaving Afghanistan tomorrow.
I feel very strongly that ultimately we are helping to build a civil society there. It seems a long way off when we look at the terrible news that emanates from that country and that region on almost a daily basis, but we cannot lose hope. We cannot lose faith that people, individuals, families, and communities, ultimately want to live in peace. We cannot work out their differences that may exist from ages past in their communities. They have to work those things out themselves.
It is not our role to change people or to tell people what they should do in their communities. However, we can provide leadership by good example. We can demonstrate by good example the fruits that come from labouring together to have a country such as we do, where debate is in a chamber like this, where debate does not involve bullets and bombs. Sometimes it involves strong emotional debate, but ultimately it is a debate of words settled by a democratic vote.
Much has been and should be made of the place of women in Afghanistan. Just having celebrated International Women's Day in Canada, I think it is important to remind ourselves that while we have some ways to go in our own country in this regard, we are light years ahead, sadly, of countries like Afghanistan.
Again, however, the cultural mores of another country are not ours to change. Those will change over time. Again, we will provide leadership by example. We will provide the security that will allow for the fostering of more equality and women's rights, and rights for minorities not only in Afghanistan but right around the world.
Afghanistan presents a very complicated situation today, as it has for decades and generations, sadly.
We support our troops. We look forward to them coming home safely when the mission finally reaches its end.
I think Parliament is working. I want to commend this place for helping us achieve a remarkable consensus as we move forward.
View Brent St. Denis Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend for his very detailed question. Obviously he is a student of history. I commend him for that. I do not know whether I can satisfy his question in any great detail, but what he made me think of as he was asking his question was the age-old problem in Northern Ireland, which, in another context, we might ask, was it tribal or was it not tribal?
As for dealing with tribal issues in parts of the world where the history is unique, each situation is unique and complex, and I do not think it is the place of a western nation like Canada to be picking winners and losers. Lines are often arbitrary lines between states. They are often chosen by the outgoing military leader of the day or some far-off governor appointed from some far-off country.
With respect to Pakistan, I think our leader has said it very well. He was criticized for it, but I think he said it very well when he said that there needs to be a greater emphasis on diplomacy, and I am glad to see that in this motion. I think the Pakistan puzzle in all of this needs a lot more attention. Hopefully, with the election of a coalition government in Pakistan now, we will see some settling down of the political problems there and greater attention and energy on the border.
However, when it comes to tribal and internecine fighting, I think those mysteries will remain mysteries for the western world for a long time to come. All we can do is provide some security within their paradigm, whereby hopefully they can work things out, as we have seen slowly happening in Northern Ireland. I hope that gives the member some sense of an answer to his very good question.
View Brent St. Denis Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, in stark contrast to the Conservative fend for yourself philosophy, Liberals believe that poverty affects everyone and governments have a moral responsibility to help springboard Canadians to success, dignity and independence.
The Liberal leader is showing leadership on poverty, outlining a bold vision committing to cut poverty by 30% and child poverty by 50% within five years of being elected.
The Liberal leader is showing leadership in this file by presenting an ambitious program and promising to reduce poverty by 30% and child poverty by 50% in the five years following his election.
For the working poor, Liberals would create a making work pay benefit to lower the welfare wall and improve the child tax benefit to support families. Liberals would honour the historic Kelowna accord, which the Conservatives cut, and would work with all levels of government on affordable housing and universal child care.
I believe that when we invest in Canadians, Canada succeeds socially and economically. I ask my colleagues on the other side to take this issue seriously and work toward ending poverty now.
View Brent St. Denis Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I very much to second the sentiments of my friend from New Brunswick. He speaks passionately about the importance of the court challenges program, particularly to minorities, whether they are anglophone, francophone or other minorities in the country.
I want to speak specifically to our official languages and to our francophone minorities in particular. He has some family in the northern part of my riding. I agree with him that we need to convince the government that it is not something we should do in the future. It is something that already should have been done by the government, which is to reinstate a program that makes the courts successful. People should not have to be rich to access the courts.
The court challenges program levelled the playing field. The number of very important precedents that were set by the courts, because of that program, have made our country the kind of country it is. We must ensure our minorities have access to the courts.
Would the member tell me if it is too late for the government to change its mind? I do not think it is. I suspect he will agree that it is not too late. Is it an urgent matter? Are there situations now that need to be addressed? As he is such a passionate promoter of these issues, I would like to hear more from him.
View Brent St. Denis Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, mindful of your admonition, I will be very brief. I would ask the indulgence of the House to revert for a few moments to the introduction of private members' bills.
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