House of Commons Hansard #65 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was political.

Topics

Pearson International Airport Agreements Act
Government Orders

10:40 a.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, I want to review some of the red book promises this morning.

The red book promised more integrity in government, it promised frugality, it promised to reduce perks and modify the MP pension plan, and change some of the Order in Council appointments. It talked about transparency in appointments. Appointments would be made to highly qualified people only. It talked about cleaning up patronage.

The third issue was changing the way committees worked. There would be more consultation, earlier consultation and more power to make changes in the committee structure.

I thought I would review how I think the government is doing on these issue. Polls say that the Prime Minister's popularity is excellent. Politicians have risen in public estimation. They are no longer lower than a rattlesnake's belly in some people's estimation. I hope that is true. I would have to say then that the mark for more integrity in government is quite acceptable on these issues.

Integrity is somewhat fragile, however. There are watchful eyes looking for lapses in integrity: the watchful eyes of the media, the watchful eyes of the public and the watchful eyes of opposition parties. One thing we are ordered to do in opposition is to watch for breaches and lack of integrity.

I thought I might mention some of the stumbles that the government may have made in these issues. NAFTA was promised in the election campaign a very specific review; it was signed pretty much as is. Cruise missile testing, something the Liberals had consistently talked against, has been passed.

On the Ginn takeover, a tiny odour settles around that takeover. The issue of election boundary revision is an issue that has a slight odour to it. I picked up a couple of little items from recent news clips. One is entitled "Pork barrel grows larger". In his ongoing investigation of patronage in federal advertising contracts, Greg Weston reports that the ad industry in Toronto is abuzz with rumours that some cabinet ministers are hoping to influence contracting by crown corporations. Such agencies are supposed to be run as independent businesses on behalf of taxpayers, with no patronage.

I refer to little item in the Ottawa Sun . It reports that a junior cabinet minister has been using a chauffeur driven limousine, unauthorized by the Prime Minister. There is a tiny odour in those issues.

I do not want to be overly critical. As I said before the marks on integrity given to the Liberal government at this stage of the game are quite acceptable, but if principles are solid integrity will follow meekly behind. If I could rephrase that, one does not have to work hard at maintaining integrity if one's principles are founded upon a granite base.

Bill C-22 has also a very slight or faint odour about it. It is a faint odour but a definite odour. The cancellation was correct. The desire for fair compensation is correct. However the government needs to bring the bills for fair compensation to the transport committee, have them reviewed in public, and there would be no odour or taint about the cancellation at all. Those bills need scrutiny. They need open review and there would be no problem with cancelling the Pearson airport deal.

There is no room for ministerial approval. There is no need for backroom deals. On this issue integrity is not difficult at all.

For example, in my young life I did some mountaineering. We went on an expedition to Gondeau Traverse which was technically very difficult. We had fixed pitons in place. We hooked up our carabiners and were able to make this traverse with technical difficulties. We took our less talented friends along to show our prowess. When we got to the middle of Gondeau Traverse we had to rappel straight down an unclimbable cliff.

Without failure, when pulling our rope down from Gondeau Traverse it would hook on a large rock above. A friend of mine, a good chum, had done this traverse numerous times. I must say we were showing off when we did it. We thought we were excellent mountaineers. The last time we did Gondeau Traverse we pulled the rope and the huge rock above us came loose. A 2,000-pound granite chunk fell. The two of us scattered and were very lucky to survive. The rock crashed on the ledge below us and ruined the climbing rope. We both looked upon that as a close miss.

I believe the faint odour that relates to Bill C-22 may just simply be the rope hooking on the rock above the government. There is no need for this to happen. It is completely avoidable.

Why would the Reform Party be so free with this advice to prevent the taint on this issue? I say very plainly that it is because the Reform Party frankly would like the Liberal government to be a success. That may be an issue that some would laugh at. I am particularly keen to see the government bring Canada back to its senses and not stumble on issues where there is no need to stumble. I give this advice freely and openly. There is no need to have the taint on Bill C-22.

An example of how keen we are to see the government succeed as a party is when our leader during comments on "The House" was asked if he were disappointed there was no tax revolt after the finance minister made his budgetary statements. His answer was very revealing. He said to the interviewer: "My desire is not to have a tax revolt. My desire is not to see the budget fail. My desire is to see Canada function at the highest level".

He was saying with those comments that his desire was to see the government succeed. We will stand as reminders to the government if it makes mistakes. In my view it is making a mistake with the bill by not having an open, transparent process as it promised. There is no need for a big review. There is no need for a fancy royal commission. There is a need for transparency.

I say for my children's sake: "Don't do this with a taint, don't do this with an odour, don't have the rope hang up on the rock above. It is easy to make this transparent, and I beg you to do that".

Pearson International Airport Agreements Act
Government Orders

10:50 a.m.

Bloc

Roger Pomerleau Anjou—Rivière-Des-Prairies, QC

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-22 before the House today aims at cancelling the privatization of the Pearson Airport, and the government, by introducing this piece of legislation, wants to fulfil the commitment it made during the election campaign.

This morning, my colleagues reviewed in detail all the process surrounding the negotiations of this privatization deal, and the Reform member who spoke first this morning mentioned that Conservative as well as Liberal lobbyists were involved in this deal since the very beginning.

In his report, ordered by the government, Mr. Nixon concluded that this contract had to be cancelled, and I quote: "My review left me with but one conclusion. To leave in place an inadequate contract arrived at through such a flawed process and under the shadow of possible political manipulation in unacceptable. I recommend that the contract be cancelled". Of course, in such circumstances, the Bloc also agrees that the contract must be cancelled.

But today, we are addressing the issue of political manipulation, the transparency of these contracts and the involvement of lobbyists, people close to the government and the friends of the big political parties.

Let me remind you that the Nixon report, as my colleague mentioned briefly, also made the following recommendation: "Failure to make public the full identity of the participants in this agreement and other salient terms of the contract inevitably raises public suspicion. Where the Government of Canada proposes to privatize a public asset, in my opinion, transparency should be the order of the day". He adds what has already been quoted: "The public should have the right to know the full details of this agreement". That is why the Bloc Quebecois is requesting a public inquiry on this matter, on this contract which we never saw.

With this bill, the government wants not only to cancel the privatization of the Pearson Airport, but also to leave it to the minister to settle all of the financial problems related to this agreement. All of these details will be up to the minister. We ask that the amounts and the names be made public and that there be real openness.

We remember that, according to the red book, which the government delights in quoting more and more in this House, the Liberals were probably elected on the promise of wall-to-wall openness. We know quite well that people everywhere in Canada and in Quebec are starting-I dare say-to be fed up with politicians with a tight-lip policy.

If the Liberals were lucky enough to be elected, it was especially on their promise of openness. But what is the reality? When we ask for an inquiry and for the documents on the issue of privatization of Pearson Airport to be tabled, we do not nor will we get anything. The answer is no.

Ever since the beginning of this 35th Parliament, in January, we have been asking the government to open its books to the public and to examine one by one all items of public spending, including tax expenditures. The answer is no. The Prime Minister said recently in the House that if we wanted details on government spending, we only had to ask the committees, since their mandate is to study these expenditures. The Bloc Quebecois asked all committees that sit and the answer was no.

In the case of the Hibernia Project, which is now losing billions of dollars, I for one asked the Committee on Natural Resources to let me see the Hibernia original contract. The answer was no.

This afternoon, we will resume debate on a motion by the hon. member for Richelieu regarding the funding of political parties by individuals. When this motion was first moved, we could see right away that members of the Liberal government were against it. Again, they refuse to make things more transparent.

Meanwhile, the situation is very bad in Canada. According to some figures reported last week, there are 790,000 welfare recipients and 400,000 unemployed in Quebec. We heard this morning that the number of unemployed in Canada grew by 65,000 in the month of April, an increase of 1 per cent in some areas. These unemployed people are concentrated in three provinces: Newfoundland, Quebec and British Columbia.

Faced with this situation, the government cannot find anything to say other than it is the unemployed who are the problem, they are a bunch of beer-drinking couch potatoes. That is why things are going bad in Canada. Also, and this is again related to the policy of transparency, when things are going bad, there has to be a reason. If the government cannot be transparent, it has to find a scapegoat. When things are going bad in Canada, we hear that it is because Quebec is too demanding. We all know that since the beginning of the Canadian Confederation, the whole history of this country could be described-

Pearson International Airport Agreements Act
Government Orders

10:55 a.m.

The Speaker

I am sorry to interrupt the hon. member. He still has a fair amount of time left for his speech. When we resume debate around noon, he will have the floor.

It being eleven o'clock a.m., pursuant to Standing Order 30(5), the House will now proceed to Statements by Members, pursuant to Standing Order 31.

Bosnian Children Relief
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

John Harvard Winnipeg—St. James, MB

Mr. Speaker, for several years now we have seen unrelenting images of destruction from the former Yugoslavia. Canadian peacekeepers have been deployed to protect innocent civilians. Parliament has debated our role there and even the possibility of air strikes. But the war continues and so does the suffering of innocent children.

This morning a press conference was held in honour of some very special children who have been brought to Parliament Hill by the Basic family of St. Catharines, Ontario. Saban and Fatima Basic established Bosnian Children Relief in 1992 to aid the most helpless victims of the Bosnian war, the young.

The Basics have travelled to Bosnian refugee camps several times to help provide food and shelter to orphans of the war regardless of their ethnic origin.

These children remind us of the bloodshed and terror they have endured in their homeland, but they also bear a message of hope. Let us congratulate their courage. Let us support their mission and let us all pray for peace on Bosnia.

Eaton Yale Limitée
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Bloc

Osvaldo Nunez Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, Westinghouse, now known as Eaton Yale Limitée , has announced that it will shut down its plant in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, on August 31, 1994, throwing 175 people out of work.

As a former union representative with Westinghouse, I am deeply troubled by this announcement, particularly since Saint-Jean is still reeling from the decision to close the military college.

I call upon the federal government to take action to prevent the shutdown of this plant and the loss of hundreds of jobs. Westinghouse is a supplier of electrical equipment. From now on, the U.S. division of Westinghouse will supply the Canadian and Quebec markets. If the government, which has made job creation its top priority, wishes to be consistent, it will not allow any further erosion of the manufacturing sector which employs thousands of workers.

Mother's Day
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Reform

Randy White Fraser Valley West, BC

Mr. Speaker, Sunday is Mother's Day and I would like to give my best wishes to all mothers across Canada.

All of my colleagues I am sure have a special lady in their lives. The special lady in my life disciplined me for lighting matches in the woods many years ago in Lakeside, Nova Scotia. What she did not know is that I put comic books down the back of my pants and I did not feel that stern hand upon my backside. I even acted out a five minute crying spree, a skill I am finding quite useful in the House of Commons today. While trying to keep one step ahead of my mother was exciting, I now know she was three steps ahead of me.

Whatever we are in Canada today is a reflection of what our mothers taught us to be. It is Mother's Day this Sunday but let us not wait until then to tell our mothers how proud we are of them.

Happy Mother's Day, mom.

Mother's Day
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

Eleni Bakopanos Saint-Denis, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to speak today about Mother's Day which we will be celebrating this coming Sunday, May 8. Across Canada, tributes will be paid to mothers for the invaluable contribution they have made to our lives.

As a mother I know that no sacrifice can be too great for one's children and that no joy can be greater than seeing your children grow to be healthy, happy and responsible members of Canadian society.

I wish to extend my very special thanks and love to the mothers in the riding of Saint-Denis and across Canada and finally to my mother for her unabiding love, her countless sacrifices and for standing by me so that today I can sit in this House.

Happy Mother's Day. Joyeuse Fête des mères.

Israel
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

John Bryden Hamilton—Wentworth, ON

Mr. Speaker, this week a historic agreement was signed in Cairo between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Israeli troops are now free to pull out of the Gaza strip and the west bank. After 27 years of strife peace in the Middle East is at last at hand.

A few weeks ago the children of Beth Jacob Hebrew School in my riding gave me a poem they had written. I would like to share their words:

Peace is special, it means love The symbol of peace is the dove Peace means to hope and care And make new friends everywhere There has been a lot of wars We don't need this anymore Enough of all the fighting, killing Too much blood is all we are spilling.

The prayer of these children, all between 10 and 11 years old, has been answered. The dove of peace flies over Jerusalem.

Victims Of War
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Ronald J. Duhamel St. Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, the deplorable situation of children living in war torn regions around the world has been condemned by several members of this House.

Whether it be the situation in Rwanda or the situation in Bosnia, we have all witnessed the senseless slaughter of human life. We have mourned such waste and violence.

What is most unfortunate is that innocent children are caught in the middle of such violence between the bullets, the bombs and the carnage-

-and must suffer the consequences and be the victims of the foolish actions of adults. I applaud those European countries which have opened their hearts to these children and I hope that Canada, a just and humanitarian nation, will see fit to do likewise.

Quebec's Major Central Labour Bodies
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Bloc

Philippe Paré Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, in view of the government's inability to check unemployment, Quebec's major central labour bodies must be praised for their show of social understanding this past week in taking new steps forward in restoring hope to the hundreds of thousands of unemployed Quebecers who, needless to say, did not choose to be out of work. By coming up with new ideas like eliminating overtime and dual employment, the CNTU, CEQ and FTQ are leading the way to a better distribution of collective wealth.

I urge all the people of Quebec, employers and workers, to seek concrete solutions to a difficult problem: lack of jobs. What is at stake is the social and economic well-being of our society, a society which has to come to the rescue of a generation of sacrificial victims: youth. Our young people can only gain from initiatives taken by local stakeholders who must take over for an overliberal government.

Arnold Smith
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, Dr. Arnold Smith is a well known professional and public spirited citizen from High River, Alberta.

He came to practise dentistry in 1956 and has just retired after a very distinguished career. His wife and three children now wonder whether he will be busy enough. I know that he will.

He has served his community with distinction in Rotary, town council, the recreation board, the memorial centre board, the library board, the development appeal board and the Otter's swim club.

I recognize Arnold Smith as a proud contributor to his community and wish him well in his retirement.

Mental Health Week
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

John Murphy Annapolis Valley—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, for the past 27 years I have worked in the psychiatric mental health field. It gives me great pleasure to rise today to inform my colleagues that this past week was National Mental Health Week.

I had the opportunity to attend the kick-off events earlier this week in my riding of Annapolis Valley-Hants. The focus of the week has been on the need to place greater emphasis on the integration of physical and mental health in our society.

Groups and individuals must work together to promote greater awareness of the mental health issues and to decrease the stigma often involved with mental health care.

I ask all members of this House to join me in praising the work of the thousands of professionals and volunteers in the field. Let none of us leave this important work to someone else, but rather join all Canadians in promoting active and healthy lives.

Canadian Federation Of Labour
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Andrew Telegdi Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Federation of Labour is completing its national convention in Ottawa today based on the theme building Canada's future.

This organization has developed Working Ventures, a capital fund with nearly $300 million. This fund is used to start and expand businesses to create jobs to get Canadians working.

The Canadian Federation of Labour is to be applauded for developing good labour relations and eliminating the adversarial system of confrontations. As well, it is very approachable because of its non-affiliation to any political party.

The key to a prosperous and united Canada is co-operation which is being demonstrated by the Canadian Federation of Labour. We should all follow its example.

2002 Winter Olympic Games
Statements By Members

May 6th, 1994 / 11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Patrick Gagnon Bonaventure—Îles-De-La-Madeleine, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebec City is about to present a bid to host the 2002 Olympic Games. If its bid is successful, investments totalling hundreds of millions of dollars will be required from the various levels of government, including the government of Canada.

The mayor of Quebec City should be required to commit to investing or spending 20 per cent of the olympic budget in rural areas of Quebec.

For example, men's and women's downhill racing events should be held in the Gaspé Peninsula, because the railway and airport facilities required to welcome athletes and visitors are already in place.

2002 Winter Olympic Games
Statements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Ha, ha.