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December 5, 2008

Canadian Parliament suspended until late January

Canadian Parliament suspended until late January

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Friday, December 5, 2008 The Parliament of Canada has been suspended until January 26, 2009, by Prime Minster Stephen Harper. On Thursday, Harper obtained the consent of the Governor General, Michaëlle Jean, to prorogue Parliament, a procedure which suspends the legislature without dissolving it. This prevents the Parliament from overthrowing the government and avoids calling a new election.

Michaëlle Jean, file photo
Image: Agência Brasil.

A coalition of the Liberal Party of Canada and the New Democratic Party had looked ready to overthrow the Conservative Party of Canada‘s minority government led by Harper.

“The first order of business will be the presentation of a federal budget,” Harper told reporters outside of the Governor’s Rideau Hall residence. “Let’s get on with actually working on a package. That’s what I think Canadians want us to do, is work on the economy and work together, work together in the interest in Canada.”

Stéphane Dion, file photo
Image: ycanada_news.

Stéphane Dion, the leader of the Liberal Party, who was positioned to become the new Prime Minister, said the coalition would still seek to replace Harper barring a “monumental change” in his policies.

“For the first time in the history of Canada, the prime minister of Canada is running away from the Parliament of Canada,” Dion said. He said Harper has “placed partisan politics ahead of the interest of all Canadians.”

“Nothing has changed for us,” added Dion. “We are more committed than ever with the coalition.”

New Democrat leader Jack Layton said it was a “sad day for parliamentary democracy,” and that Harper was trying to “escape accountability.”

“He’s put a lock on the door of the House of Commons and he refuses to face the people of Canada through their elected representatives,” Layton said, addressing press at the House of Commons.

On Wednesday evening, Prime Minister Harper spoke to Canadians in a televised address.

“The Opposition is attempting to impose this deal without your say, without your consent, and without your vote. This is no time for backroom deals with the separatists; it is the time for Canada’s government to focus on the economy and specifically on measures for the upcoming budget. This is a pivotal moment in our history,” Harper said.



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March 20, 2007

Bloc Québécois support Canadian budget, Liberals, NDP oppose

Bloc Québécois support Canadian budget, Liberals, NDP oppose

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Canada
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The Bloc Québécois backed Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s second budget yesterday, which means that there will be no federal election yet.

“Having said that, there’s money on the table [for Quebec],” bloc leader Gilles Duceppe said, “so we’ll take that money.”

However, the opposition Liberals and NDP did not back the budget. NDP Leader Jack Layton said the budget is giving more money to companies and less to Canadian citizens. The budget also has been criticized by some finance critics.

“He should have had a strategy,” Liberal Leader and former Environment Minister under Jean Chrétien, Stéphane Dion, said today. “He should have explained how his budget would make us more competitive, how it would be fairer for those in need, how it would enhance the environment.”

“For every step forward, there seems to be two steps back,” said Layton. “We could have supported child care or environment and given less to the big board rooms of Bay Street.”

Elections have to happen five years or less after a government is elected. The federal election of 2005 was held during winter.

Related news

  • “Canadian government faces elections speculation” — Wikinews, March 18, 2007

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January 4, 2007

Toxic chemicals found in four Canadian politicians

Filed under: Archived,Canada,Environment,Food,Health,Jack Layton,North America — admin @ 5:00 am

Toxic chemicals found in four Canadian politicians

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Thursday, January 4, 2007

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Toxic chemicals were found in four Canadian politicians after they volunteered to have their blood tested as part of Environmental Defense’s report titled Toxic Nation on Parliament Hill.

The federal politicians that were tested are:

  • Environment Minister Rona Ambrose,
  • Health Minister Tony Clement,
  • NDP Leader Jack Layton, and
  • Liberal Environment Critic John Godfrey.

Godfrey at number 55 had the highest total number of pollutants followed by Health Minister Tony Clement and Jack Layton at 54 and Environment Minister Rona Ambrose at 49.

They were tested for a total of 103 chemicals, which are related to cancer, developmental problems, respiratory illnesses, and nervous system damage. The chemicals found in them were mainly from household items which can cause cancer. In total, 54 carcinogens, 37 hormone disruptors, 16 respiratory toxins, 54 reproductive or developmental toxins, and 33 neurotoxins were found within the four politicians.

According to Dr. Rick Smith, Environmental Defence’s executive director, the politicians are more contaminated than the ordinary citizens tested last year.

“Our tests show that pollution affects everyone. From Parliament Hill to kids in Vancouver and Saint John, harmful pollutants are contaminating the bodies of Canadians no matter where they live, how old they are or where they work, play or go to school,” said Dr. Rick Smith. “I don’t know why that is. Maybe it has to do with their strange lifestyle — eating out a lot and a high-stress existence,” he said.

“Maybe its attributable to the unique lifestyles these guys lead,” Mr. Smith said. “Politicians have a very strange, very stressful lifestyle that results in them grabbing a bite to eat when they can and eating a lot of junk food.”

All four politicians were more polluted than child and adult volunteers that participated in a survey released last June for pollutants in families.

Pollutants

Cropduster spraying pesticides.

The blood was tested in Quebec and British Columbia for pollutants that fall under seven broad groups which are the following:

  • PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls),
  • Stain repellents and non-stick chemicals (known as PFCs, or perfluorinated chemicals),
  • Organochlorine pesticides (such as DDT),
  • Organophosphate insecticide metabolites (such as the breakdown products of malathion),
  • Heavy metals (such as mercury and lead),
  • Air pollutants called PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons),
  • Flame retardants (PBDEs, or polybrominated diphenyl ethers).

Quotes

Environment Minister Rona Ambrose, Health Minister Tony Clement, NDP Leader Jack Layton, and Liberal Environment Critic John Godfrey. “The need to measure what substances are accumulating inside Canadians is why the Chemical Management Plan announced December 8th includes a Biomonitoring component,” said Tony Clement. “This first-ever national survey will help determine future trends and allow comparisons to other countries, and will give scientists valuable data in making those determinations and proposing prevention or remedial measures where needed.”

“A growing awareness of the impacts toxic chemicals are having on families and children confirms for us that our government is moving in the right direction with groundbreaking action against harmful pollutants,” said Rona Ambrose. “By delivering an aggressive, world-leading approach to chemicals management, we are ensuring the health of our environment and future generations.”

“No one is immune from picking up dangerous chemicals, no matter how healthy a lifestyle you lead,” said John Godfrey. “These results underline the need for a greater effort to get harmful substances out of the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the products we use and dispose of.”

“Like many, I’ve been concerned about these toxics for decades and worried about them a lot,” said NDP Leader Jack Layton. “I’ve worked for years to have pesticides and other toxics banned or reduced. In light of these recent results, our party will redouble its efforts because this toxic shocker reinforces our commitment to be tough on companies that pollute and governments that don’t act. And clearly, this commitment should go beyond party lines.”

Environment Minister Rona Ambrose, Health Minister Tony Clement, NDP Leader Jack Layton, and Liberal Environment Critic John Godfrey.

Sources

Press Release:Pollutants Contaminate Blood of Federal Politicians” — Canadian News Wire, January 3, 2006

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November 22, 2006

State funeral approved by Canadian House of Commons

State funeral approved by Canadian House of Commons

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

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The House of Commons approved a state funeral for the last standing World War I veteran Tuesday. Three of them are still alive, Percy Wilson, who is 105 years old, Lloyd Clemett and John Babcock, both 106. They are the last three living veterans among the 619,636 Canadians who served between 1914 and 1918.

The motion, introduced by the New Democratic Party, was favored by all party leaders. The motion was prompted by an online petition by the Dominion Institute, a national organization which promotes Canadian history.

State funerals in Canada, by tradition, are reserved for prime ministers and governors general. This bill, which is now in affect in Canada, means that state funerals are not only for prime ministers but for people who have served the country.

“We want to thank the tens of thousands of Canadians who signed our petition in support of state funeral,” said Rudyard Griffiths, the director of the Dominion Institute. “By passing a motion to offer a full state funeral today the Parliament of Canada will allow a grateful nation to pay proper tribute to our last Great War veteran on his passing and honour the over 600,000 Canadians he served with under arms from 1914-1918.”

Australia, also held a state funeral for the final veteran of the Battle of Gallipoli. A State Funeral was offered for Steve Irwin in September 2006, but the offer was declined by his family’s wishes. Canada is the fourth country to have a funeral honoring the last war veteran that served in any war.

“We won’t be able to look them in the eyes anymore and thank them for their service the way we should for everyone who is willing to serve our country the way they did and our armed forces personnel still do,” NDP Leader Jack Layton said.

Since November 6, around 100,000 Canadians had signed the online petition.

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November 2, 2006

Canadian Prime Minister Harper agrees to send \’Clean Air Act\’ to committee

Canadian Prime Minister Harper agrees to send ‘Clean Air Act’ to committee

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Thursday, November 2, 2006

Canada
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Prime Minister Stephen Harper has agreed to send the government’s ‘Clean Air Act’ to an all-party committee for review, before its second reading, after Tuesday’s 25 minute meeting with NDP leader Jack Layton at the PMO.

Layton had asked for changes to the conservatives’ environmental bill during the meeting with the PM, asking for a “thorough and complete rewriting” of the Conservative party’s environmental bill.

However, Layton was disappointed with Harper’s reaction. “I’m not really convinced that the prime minister understands the urgency of the climate change crisis, the threat that climate change proposes and the urgency to move quickly,” he said. “Far too much emphasis on consultations that could go on for considerable periods of time as opposed to action.

NDP Leader Jack Layton in Ottawa during the 2006, Canadian federal election

Layton has introduced a private member’s bill on climate change. It calls for emissions to be cut by 25 per cent of 1990 levels by 2020, in an attempt to cut total emissions by 80 per cent of those levels by 2050.

Other parties including the Liberal Party of Canada, Bloc Québécois and the Green Party of Canada are concerned about this.

“What we’ve been concerned about was really a Halloween stunt from Mr. Layton,” Interim Liberal leader Bill Graham said at a news conference.

“It will be completely transformed,” said BQ Leader Gilles Duceppe. “The Conservatives won’t recognize their legislation.”

However, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May said bringing the ‘Clean Air Act’ into committee would give the legislation some legitimacy it doesn’t deserve.

The committee will be full of critics commenting on the conservatives’ bill.

The Tory government may have a possible non-confidence motion as early as Thursday unless it allows opposition parties to rewrite its clean air bill, which the PM had agreed to in the meeting with Layton.

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October 27, 2006

Canadian foreign affairs minister accused to have called Liberal MP a \”dog\”

Canadian foreign affairs minister accused to have called Liberal MP a “dog”

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Friday, October 27, 2006

Canada
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Foreign affairs minister Peter MacKay was accused last week of calling Liberal MP Belinda Stronach a “dog” in the House of Commons.

Stronach, a feminist, said the comment was offensive to all women.

NDP leader Jack Layton said on Saturday that MacKay should apologise or resign.

MacKay said that he did not call her a dog. “I made no such gesture. I made no derogatory or discriminatory remark toward any member of the House,” MacKay said yesterday in the House of Commons.

Despite MacKay’s comment, the Liberals are still asking for an apology.

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September 7, 2006

Canada\’s Afghan mission in question

Canada’s Afghan mission in question – Wikinews, the free news source

Canada’s Afghan mission in question

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Thursday, September 7, 2006

Canada
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  • 29 June 2014: Canada wins 2014 Women’s World Wheelchair Basketball Championship
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Prime Minister Stephen Harper reportedly failed to explain why Canada is fighting in Afghanistan, while the Harper government won parliamentary approval for a two-year extension of Canada’s mission.

Polls show that while Canadians may oppose about their soldiers engaging in direct combat, most are immensely proud of the mission.

“This is tough slogging. Canada has one of the most difficult parts of Afghanistan. They (the troops) are engaged in a very determined effort to take the Taliban on,” Foreign Affiars Minister Peter MacKay told CBC.

“I think we should stay in but we need to have a proper debate about whether this is the right course of action in the future. What is our best role in the world? Is our only security, military security?” Liberal MP Ken Dryden said.

NDP leader Jack Layton wants to pull troops out of Afghanistan, including having a debate. “The prime minister won’t even use the word ‘war’, even though it’s obvious that’s what Canada has now declared. There is no exit strategy that’s ever been offered and there’s no comprehensive plan to achieve peace,” says Mr. Layton.

Gilles Duceppe, the leader of the Bloc Quebecois, is also demanding an emergency debate on the whether Ottawa should pull its troops out of Afghanistan.

Harper and Defence Minister Gordon O’Connor issued a statement yesterday expressing their sadness and condolences over the death of Pte. Mark Anthony Graham, who was killed in a friendly fire incident by an American plane.

“His sacrifice, the ultimate sacrifice, will have helped the local displaced population to return home and be free from the shadow of the Taliban,” Harper’s statement read.

Related news

  • “Liberal leadership hopeful Ken Dryden outlines vision for Canada” — Wikinews, September 5, 2006
  • “Canadian soldiers killed, wounded by U.S. A-10 Thunderbolts’ “friendly fire”” — Wikinews, September 4, 2006

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September 2, 2006

New Democrat MP disagrees with Layton\’s call to withdraw from Afghanistan

New Democrat MP disagrees with Layton’s call to withdraw from Afghanistan

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Saturday, September 2, 2006

Canada
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  • 3 July 2014: Indian space agency launches five foreign satellites
  • 29 June 2014: Canada wins 2014 Women’s World Wheelchair Basketball Championship
  • 28 June 2014: Germany and Canada into 2014 Women’s World Wheelchair Basketball Championships final
  • 27 June 2014: Germany, Netherlands, Canada and USA into Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Championships semi-finals
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New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton‘s call to withdraw the 2,000 Canadian troops stationed in Afghanistan by February 2007 has not been universally greeted by his caucus.

NDP Member of Parliament Peter Stoffer of Nova Scotia said his views were more in line with those expressed by Liberal defence critic Ujjal Dosanjh who supports keeping troops in Afghanistan but altering their mission. Stoffer represents a riding that includes a large military base.

“To be honest with you, Mr. Dosanjh got it right the other day when he said just to extend the mission for two years without a proper debate and a plan is wrong, but to do an immediate pullout, or a very quick pullout, is also wrong, Stoffer said to the Globe and Mail adding “without a comprehensive plan, what are you pulling out for? What are you leaving behind?”

Layton said on Thursday that Canada must withdraw its troops as there is no “comprehensive strategy to achieve peace”, no clear goals and no exit strategy. He has also called for negotiations with the Taliban.

In another interview, Stoffer said, “I think just to ask for a pullout right now may be a bit early.”

“You just can’t say, ‘Well, we’re going to stay in Afghanistan for two more years’ without a plan. And I don’t think you can say, ‘We’ll pull out right away or in February’ without a plan. I think both elements of that discussion should be more comprehensive in their approach,” he added.

In May, MPs voted narrowly 149 to 145 to extend the mission in Afghanistan by two years. At the time Stoffer voted against extending the mission. 28 Canadian soliders and one diplomat have died since the mission began four years ago.

The disagreement within the NDP caucus comes as the party prepares for its policy convention in Quebec City later this week.

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May 18, 2006

Canada extends Afghanistan military role for two more years

Canada extends Afghanistan military role for two more years

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Thursday, May 18, 2006

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper asked for and received the approval of the House of Commons (Lower House of the Parliament of Canada) for a two year extension of the current mission in Afghanistan on Wednesday.

The Prime minister is not required to seek approval of the House of Commons to deploy forces, and Mr. Harper opened the 6 hour debate by declaring he would extend the mission by a year, with or without support from the Commons.

Prior to the parliamentary debate, the Conservative government consulted the three opposition parties. The Bloc Quebecois and the New Democratic Party voted against the motion.

Thirty members of the Official Opposition, voted for the extension. The Liberal Party allowed their members a free vote on the measure, and the majority opposed. Voting for the measure, interim leader Bill Graham said MPs were not given sufficient time to debate the issues, and were voting “with a gun put to our heads.”

NDP leader Jack Layton said the Conservatives were on the “wrong path”. The extension in Afghanistan, he said before the vote, would “render Canada incapable of responding to other situations in the world.”

The minority government received Commons approval by only four votes: 149-145.

Tragically, Captain Nicola Goddard, a Canadian female soldier posted in Afghanistan, was killed by Taliban rebels on the day of the debate.

CPAC (the Canadian Public Affairs Channel) carried both the full debate and the subsequent vote to extend the mission.

Australia is committed to a similar extension. The Prime Minister of Australia will arrive today, (18/05/2006), for a state visit to address the Parliament of Canada and attend various functions.

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June 28, 2005

Canadian House of Commons approves same-sex marriage

Canadian House of Commons approves same-sex marriage

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Tuesday, June 28, 2005

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In a 158 to 133 vote of the House of Commons held Tuesday night, Canadian MPs have approved the legalization of same-sex weddings in Canada. Assuming the Senate passes Bill C-38 and the Governor General gives royal assent, Canada will become the fourth country in the world to legalize same-sex weddings after the Netherlands, Belgium, and Spain. The bill presented to the House of Commons by the Liberal government of Prime Minister Paul Martin has passed mainly because of support by the left-wing New Democratic Party of Jack Layton and the support of the separatist Bloc Québécois, which enabled it to overcome the staunch opposition of the Conservative Party.

Votes in House of Commons on Bill C-38
Group For Against Absentees Total
Liberal cabinet 36 0 1 37
Liberal backbench 59 32 3 95
Conservatives 3 93 2 98
Bloc Québécois 43 5 6 54
NDP 17 1 1 19
Independents 0 2 2 4
Totals 158 133 16 307

While this vote is historic, gay weddings had already been legalized by the Supreme Courts of most Canadian provinces. The C-38 bill now extends these rulings to the rest of Canada, namely to the provinces of Alberta, Prince Edward Island, and the territory of Nunavut and the Northwest Territories.

The adoption of this bill ends a longstanding political and judicial debate in Canada, with the House of Commons referring the issue to the Supreme Court of Canada last year, only to have it handed back to them by the judges. If the debate has just been closed in a political sense, gay rights continue to create tensions between Canadians, since support for gay weddings comes mainly from Quebec and Ontario and parts of British Columbia while the Maritimes and Prairie provinces are mostly against them.

Those tensions have also been felt in the House of Commons itself, when Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper said on Monday, anticipating that the C-38 bill would be adopted, that the vote would “lack in legitimacy” since the bill would pass because of an unnatural alliance between the federalist Liberals and the separatist Bloc Québécois. This partisan view of gay rights has been strongly condemned, especially by Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe who said that MPs from his party were democratically elected and as legitimate as any in parliament. Others called Harper a hypocrite, pouncing on the fact that he never raised any such objections allying with the Bloc in the previous month’s confidence votes. Prior to the vote, Joe Comuzzi announced his resignation from the Liberal cabinet because of his opposition to gay weddings and the fact that Liberal cabinet members were required to vote the party line in this case.

Related news

  • Canadian PM vows to push ahead with same-sex marriage bill
  • Court legalizes same-sex marriage in New Brunswick

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