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February 23, 2007

Canadian MP Bill Graham to step down, Rae seeks his Toronto riding

Canadian MP Bill Graham to step down, Rae seeks his Toronto riding

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Friday, February 23, 2007

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Liberal MP and former leadership candidate Bill Graham says he will not run for re-election in his riding of Toronto Centre. Graham, 67, made the announcement to the executive of his Toronto riding association Thursday night.

File:Bill Graham Chile 2003.jpg

Bill Graham
(Image missing from commons: image; log)

Bob Rae, former NDP premier of Ontario from 1990 to 1995 and Liberal leadership candidate, will announce his candidancy for the Liberal nomination in the riding in the coming days, according to reports. Toronto lawyer Meredith Cartwright and United Church minister Rob Oliphant are also expected to contest the nomination which will likely be decided in April.

Rae spoke of Graham’s experience but made his election intentions secret. Rae does not have a seat in Parliament.

“[Graham] has been a great representative of Toronto Centre … and a terrific minister. Today is certainly not about speculation, it is about Bill,” said Rae. “I shall be making my intentions known in the very near future.”

Graham was a lawyer before entering politics and has served in cabinet and as interim Liberal leader in opposition. He has served as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of National Defence under Prime Ministers Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin respectively. In 2006, when the Conservatives took power and Paul Martin stepped down, he was appointed interim leader of the party until Stéphane Dion was elected.

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November 23, 2006

Harper to recognize Quebec as nation within Canada

Harper to recognize Quebec as nation within Canada

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Correction — November 29, 2006
 

There has been confusion if Harper is calling Quebec a nation or the people a nation. Editors offer this clarification:

Harper also said that he is using the “cultural” and “sociological” sence of the word “nation”. Harper is referring to the people and culture in Quebec as a nation.
 

Thursday, November 23, 2006 File:Stephen Harper voa.jpg

Stephen Harper
(Image missing from commons: image; log)

The Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, announced at 3:00 p.m. Wednesday that he will recognize Quebecois as a nation within Canada, despite a similar Bloc Quebecois’ motion.

The separatist Bloc Quebecois (BQ) opposition party originally introduced the motion to recognize Quebec as a nation, without specifying in or out of Canada. But Harper said that he will only recognize the Quebecois as a nation within Canada.

Quebeckers know who they are, they know they’ve participated in the foundation, in the founding of Canada and its development and in its greatness. They know that they’ve protected their language and unique culture but they also promoted their values and interests within Canada.

The real question is straightforward: Do Quebeckers form a nation within a united Canada? The answer is yes.

Do Quebeckers form an independent nation from Canada? The answer is no and it will always be no!

I say to my federalist colleagues and I also say to the separatist side that we here will do what we must, what our forefathers have always done to preserve this country, Canada, strong, united independent and free.

– Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada

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The Bloc, led by Gilles Duceppe is, by tradition, dedicated to separating Quebec completely from Canada. This has never passed.

“I would say we’re devoted to this country with its boundless potential and dedicated to building Canada which includes Quebec while the Bloc is dedicated to destroying Canada,” interim Liberal leader Bill Graham in response to Harper’s speech. “We are fundamentally opposed to breaking up of Canada … On this point we must clearly and fundamentally disagree and fundamentally fight for the rights of Canada and the whole of Canada.”

Mr. Duceppe opposed the prime minister’s position on Quebec.

“It isn’t up to the prime minister to decide what Quebeckers will choose as an option,” Bloc leader Gilles Duceppe said. “It’s up to Quebeckers … to decide what their future will be … not as long as they remain within Canada that is supposedly united. They are not a nation as long as they are a country …Never will I accept the only condition to be a nation is to recognize the right to remain in Canada. We are what we are, full stop.”

The Conservatives have ten elected MPs in the province.

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November 21, 2006

Canadian liberals unhappy with PM\’s performance at APEC summit

Canadian liberals unhappy with PM’s performance at APEC summit

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

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Bill Graham, Interim leader of the Liberal Party of Canada.
(Image missing from commons: image; log)

The Leader of the opposition, Bill Graham, criticized Stephen Harper’s performance at the four day APEC summit in the House of Commons yesterday. He says that the PM called his meeting with the Chinese President “a historic event.”

Graham says that it was hardly “a historic event” and his performance was “a big fat zero.”

Harper returned to Ottawa from the four day trip to Vietnam yesterday and was away from question period when the comment was made.

“It’s always very pleasurable to stand up and give speeches defending Canadian principles. But the test of the speeches is whether they deliver the results,” said Liberal leadership candidate Michael Ignatieff. “The test of whether Mr. Harper’s approach in this 15 minute meeting will be whether this guy is released or not,” said Michael Ignatieff, referring to the case of Huseyincan Celil.

Harper raised the case of Huseyincan Celil, a Chinese-Canadian stuck in a China prison for allegedly having links to Muslim separatist extremist groups.

Jason Kenney, parliamentary secretary to the prime minister, defended Harper and said he was proud of Harper’s actions and they protected Canadian values.

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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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July 2, 2006

Canada Day celebrated at Parliament Hill

Canada Day celebrated at Parliament Hill

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Sunday, July 2, 2006

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Canada Day was celebrated at Parliament Hill. People came across Canada to Ottawa to celebrate Canada’s 139th birthday.

About 25,000 people including Prime Minister Stephen Harper, his wife and their two children were there. The party got started at about 12:00, noon ET. The ceremony was in English and in French.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Google Canada Day logo at Google.ca.

Military veterans, medal-winning Olympic athletes and some of Canada’s biggest names in music were there. Canadian artists like Colin James and Annie Villeneuve performed in front of the Peace Tower. Other performers included Jesse Cook and the Samba Squad. Since Canada has two official languages (English and French) some artists were from Quebec and sung in French.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper urged Canadians to pay tribute to the soldiers and aid workers in Afghanistan. “Let’s show our appreciation, today and every day, to those who do it best for us in Afghanistan and around the world,” Harper said. “Our diplomats, our development workers and brave men and women of the Canadian Forces.” said the Prime Minister.

Gov. General. Michaëlle Jean noted Canada’s prosperity, including in her remarks a thank you to the people who toil to provide the country with a safe and plentiful food supply.

“Ours is a country of great wealth from its plains, forests and mountains that nourish us to the crystal clear waters of our abundant lakes and rivers,” she said. She was born in Port-au-Prince, Haïti and is the current Governor General of Canada. Harper and Jean took part in a wreath laying at the National War Memorial at an event marking the 90th anniversary of the Battles of the Somme and Beaumont-Hamel in France.

Bill Graham released a statement describing Canada as being like no other country, “made up of individuals, representing all ethnicities and all religions, bound together by our shared values of family, community, tolerance and freedom.”

Musicians performed in front of the Peace Tower, and fireworks ended the show.

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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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Wikipedia Learn more about Military history of Canada and Canadian Forces on Wikipedia.


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