With Harper off to the Commonwealth summit, and Ignatieff off in Montreal to unveil his party’s environment platform (version 5.0 I think), the benches seemed a bit thin in the House for a Thursday.
Mario Silva had a Member’s Statement on the one-year anniversary of the attacks on Mumbai.
Mr. Speaker, one year ago today, we joined with people across the world in horror as we watched what was to be two days of terrorist actions in the Indian city of Mumbai.
Like so many other such assaults upon humanity, these terrorist attacks served to remind us of the terrible hatred and extremism that still exists in our world today. Those innocent people who lost their lives in Mumbai will live on in our memories forever.
Anyone doing these deeds can never win however, because in the end good people always triumph over evil.
As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “You must never despair of human nature”. The world is full of good.
We in Canada join with our brothers and sisters in India in commemorating this dark day, but more important, we remember those who left us and whose light will continue to shine forever.
Our resolve will never falter as we join good and decent people everywhere in resisting hatred, intolerance and destruction in our world.
Libby soon after stood up to talk about her report on the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
Mr. Speaker, I am honoured that the report of the parliamentary delegation to the West Bank and Gaza this past August has been presented.
It was a significant and compelling experience, and I am committed to raising awareness about the worsening humanitarian disaster in Gaza and the need to end the blockade, normalize borders and end the occupation of Palestinian lands.
I am deeply concerned that the Conservative government has so politicized the situation in the Middle East and has gone so far as to attack MPs and organizations who criticize the actions of Israel as being anti-Semitic. Let us be clear. Anti-Semitism has no place in Canada.
The Conservative attacks are reminiscent of McCarthyism and also have no place in Canadian society.
Rather than trying to silence and denigrate legitimate public debate, including its contempt of the Goldstone report, the Conservative government must stand up for international law, human rights and the fourth Geneva Convention.
I hope all members will consider this report and ensure that Canada affirms its commitment to peace and justice for Palestinians and for a lasting–[microphone cut off at time limit]
Bob Rae led off Question Period with more questions about the whole detainee issue. John Baird was the designated caucus babysitter in Harper’s absence, and his obfuscation of the day was to denounce Liberal fundraising letter, which raises the cover-up on detainees, calling them an attack on our “great Canadian heroes.” Seriously? The language in the letter is about protecting the reputations of Canadian soldiers and diplomats. How is that possibly an attack on them?
Peter MacKay did stand up to answer Ujjal Dosanjh’s question – not that he said anything new. Baird again answered Duceppe’s questions on the detainees, as well as with Layton’s questions. Layton waited for his second question to break ranks on the detainee file – asking about Copenhagen – which Baird assured him that Harper would be attending the conference.
Michael Savage and Diane Finley had a showdown about who was smearing Canadians more – Savage demanding the Prime Minister apologise for the crazy comments of his MPs (like Keddy, Vellacott and Lukiwski), while Finley repeating Baird’s contention about alleged smears against soldiers (even though there were never smears!) That letter came up yet again when Pierre Poilievre used a faux-solemn tone to castigate Marlene Jennings and Bonnie Crombie when they asked questions on the In-and-Out affair.
Bill Siksay asked about the Uganda issue coming up at the Commonwealth meeting.
Siksay: Mr. Speaker, Uganda's anti-homosexuality bill is reprehensible, vile and hateful. It violates human rights by imposing life in prison on gays and lesbians and a death sentence for those who are gay and have AIDS. It will jail anyone who fails to report people they know to be gay.
At the Commonwealth meeting, will the Prime Minister meet face to face with Uganda's Prime Minister to help stop this bill, and will he make gay, lesbian and trans rights essential to development and educational work supported by Canadian foreign aid in Uganda and elsewhere?
Baird: Mr. Speaker, the current legislation before Parliament in Uganda is vile. It is abhorrent. It is offensive. It offends Canadian values. It offends decency.
We strongly condemn that and the Prime Minister will make that strong condemnation as well.
John Baird – champion of queer rights abroad. Who knew?
Sartorially speaking, it was a bit of a meh day, though I will say Claude Bachand, who has been getting a lot of screen time as the Bloc’s defence critic, had the shiniest blue tie I’ve ever seen – not that it’s such a bad thing.
For everyone who starts to bitch and moan that it cost Canadian taxpayers $2.5 million to pay host to Prince Charles and Camilla, I will remind them – the Prince is our future head of state. He spent 11 days touring the country, and discharging his duties as Colonel-in-Chief of several of our Canadian regiments. It cost our taxpayers $4.5 million to play host to Barack Obama for but a few hours. Put into that context, the Prince was a downright bargain.
As mentioned, Ignatieff outlined his the new and improved Liberal environmental plan, which promises cap-and-trade, tougher emissions standards, a 1990 baseline (but no mention of just what the target is), credit for Quebec and Manitoba’s early start on their reductions, and not waiting for the Americans to unveil their plan first. But can they deliver, or will there be a new version by election time? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.