House of Commons Hansard #199 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was reform.

Topics

Official Languages Act
Statements By Members

1:50 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Mercier Blainville—Deux-Montagnes, QC

Mr. Speaker, Bloc Quebecois members have always opposed any attempt to abolish the Official Languages Act.

However, some Reform, Conservative, NDP and Liberal members, including the Liberal member for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, gave their support to the Alliance for the Preservation of English in Canada, by tabling petitions asking the House of Commons to abolish the Official Languages Act.

The government is guilty of double talk. How else can we explain the closure of the only French speaking military college in Canada? How else can we explain the evasive answers to our questions on the insignificant attention given to French as a working language in the federal administration, in Ottawa and in Hull?

This government wilfully contravenes the Official Languages Act. That is confirmed by the reports of the Commissioner of Official Languages, and also by the actions of Liberal members.

Official Languages Act
Statements By Members

1:50 p.m.

The Speaker

My colleague, I should point out here that, when tabling a petition in this House, a member does not have to support or reject that petition. In fact, the Chair asks members to refrain from making comments when they table petitions.

The Family
Statements By Members

1:50 p.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Fraser Valley East, BC

Mr. Speaker, because of a court decision yesterday, same sex couples can now adopt children in Ontario. Although the nuclear family is the basic unit throughout all societies on earth and standard throughout all ages of history, this definition can now be quashed at the stroke of a pen by one man acting in one court. This is a sad day for the family in Canada.

I remind the government that polls show that 67 per cent of Canadians believe that same sex adoption is a negative development. I would remind the government that the Liberal Party voted solidly against changes in the definition of the family. I remind the government that a provincial bill authorizing same sex adoptions was resoundingly defeated not one year ago in the Ontario legislature.

Who runs this country, one man in one court in one province, or the people of Canada? The courts are embracing a public policy shift far removed from the people. The federal government bears a solemn responsibility to do whatever it can to fight this trend, to fight to protect the institution that forms the basis of our society. We must continue the fight for the nuclear family.

National Forest Week
Statements By Members

May 11th, 1995 / 1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Len Hopkins Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada is celebrating National Forest Week from May 7 to May 14. However, there is nothing to celebrate at the Petawawa National Forestry Institute.

This forest research laboratory, surrounded by 41 square miles of its own recorded research forest and history, is closing. Not only is this institute the oldest recorded research forest in Canada, but it is known nationally and internationally by top scientists. Tourists have come from around the world to visit it.

With its impending closure, we are witnessing a brain drain. Some scientists have indicated their departure to other areas outside Canada and others will be obliged to take early retirement even though their interests and hearts are still with the Canadian Forest Service.

It is rather ironic that trees that have come to the MPs in both lobbies of the House over many years of celebrating National Forest Week have come from the Petawawa National Forestry Institute.

We are not celebrating. We are in mourning.

Cedarbrae Collegiate
Statements By Members

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

John Cannis Scarborough Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, today a group of students from the student body of Cedarbrae Collegiate, located in my riding of Scarborough Centre, are visiting Ottawa. Along with my colleague for Scarborough West, I extend a warm welcome to them.

Cedarbrae Collegiate evokes fond memories to me of the occasions in the past when I visited the collegiate and participated in citizenship ceremonies.

I also thank the collegiate publicly for previous occasions when I and others were treated to some exceptional performances conducted by its excellent and renowned music department.

Congratulations to all the staff, administration and the student body. A special note of thanks and welcome to Mr. John Connors, also a member of the school administration.

Crime Prevention
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Glen McKinnon Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, I recently returned from the UN congress on the prevention of crime and treatment of offenders held in Cairo, Egypt.

I am proud to report that Canada continues to be recognized as an authority on human rights and a leader in attempting to identify the root causes of criminal behaviour.

Justice and Corrections Canada officials as well as participating NGOs combined their knowledge and expertise to establish a strong Canadian presence.

Our resolution which endorses the elimination of violence against women and children was supported by more than 55 countries. As well, during the Japanese sponsored gun control resolution Canada was commended for its leadership in establishing reasonable approaches to firearms legislation.

Other topical resolutions sought to discuss the standardization of extradition proceedings, the development of crime prevention strategies and to address juvenile and violent criminality and Internet protocol.

Quebec Finance Minister's Budget
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Gilbert Fillion Chicoutimi, QC

Mr. Speaker, unlike his federal counterpart, the Quebec finance minister decided to tackle the deficit in his very first budget. In just one year, he will reduce Quebec's deficit by one third. By comparison, the Liberals only managed to reduce the federal deficit by 10 per cent with their first budget. The cuts in transfers to the provinces announced in last February's federal budget will deprive Quebec of $650 million in 1996-97 and $1.9 billion in 1997-98. Yet, the finance minister has the nerve to criticize Quebec's budget.

Did the federal Minister of Finance spend the first year of his mandate trying to figure out how he was going to tackle the federal deficit, only to come up with this idea of offloading it onto the provinces?

Human Rights
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Beaver River, AB

Mr. Speaker, today we have leaned that an Ontario provincial court judge has ruled that laws prohibiting adoption by homosexual couples are contrary to the charter of rights.

The Minister of Justice has frequently insisted that including sexual orientation in the Canadian Human Rights Act as he has promised to do will be in accordance with the wishes of Canadians.

The courts and not the legislatures are making the law in the country. In the face of the Ontario court judgment, how can the minister be so confident about how his legislation will be interpreted?

A recent Angus Reid poll demonstrates conclusively two-thirds of Canadians disagree with the Ontario court and do not wish to extend adoption rights to homosexual couples. The Ontario legislature refused to do this last year. In the same way, Canadians overwhelmingly oppose the minister's plan to amend the human rights act.

The Minister of Justice must reconsider his promise to add sexual orientation to the Canadian Human Rights Act and represent the wishes of Canadians, unlike the provincial court has done.

Auditor General Report
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Vic Althouse Mackenzie, SK

Mr. Speaker, on a day when the auditor general's report dominates the day's news let us not forget some basic realities. Canada is being governed by the bureaucrats, not by elected representatives.

A few examples are all I can give in one minute but there is the Hughes contract with Transport Canada officials, a $377 million contract that got way out of hand. Another Hughes contract is with the defence department which even the minister has not been able to figure out yet. External Affairs transfer costs were identified today by the auditor general.

Instead of acting as spokespersons for the bureaucracy, it is time for ministers to stop protecting management levels. Make deputy ministers and directors general directly responsible for their actions.

Because termination is currently very costly, the system keeps senior bureaucrats on even when they work at cross purposes with elected politicians.

If cabinet is prepared to return to responsible government, Parliament may eventually be able to do its job of protecting the public purse.

The Environment
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief Prince Edward—Hastings, ON

Mr. Speaker, I extend my congratulations to one of Ontario's environmental groups, Fishermen Involved in Saving Habitat, FISH.

Environment Canada and FISH have been working together with the support of the environmental partners fund to carry out an environmental education project. This partnership has resulted in the development of the bronze level of the watershed report card, a management tool for bringing various stakeholders and community members together and collectively designing strategies for the protection of natural habitat. The bronze level is a crucial foundation which will pave the way for the silver and gold levels of the report card which will deal with the implementation of action plans for relevant ecosystems.

This project is possible because of the support of its community partners. These partners include the American Fisheries Society, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Energy, many volunteer workshop participants and of course Fishermen Involved in Saving Habitat.

Dr. Réjean Ménard
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Paradis Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, the College of Family Physicians of Canada just named Dr. Réjean Ménard, who is from Granby, the family physician of the year.

This is the first time that this prestigious honour, sought by the 12,500 members of the college, is awarded to a physician from Quebec.

Dr. Ménard's dedication to his patients, his availability, as well as his interest in medical training and in teaching, make him a role model. We are very proud of him.

Dr. Ménard deserves our admiration and our gratefulness for his remarkable work, and I invite all the members of this House to join me in conveying our most sincere congratulations.

Dr. Réjean Ménard
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Hearing Awareness Month
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Gurbax Malhi Bramalea—Gore—Malton, ON

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Canadian Hearing Society and the one in ten Canadians who are deaf, deafened and hard of hearing, I am pleased to draw to the attention of the House that May has been proclaimed Hearing Awareness Month.

The aging of our population and the increase in noise pollution have made hearing loss the fastest growing disability in North America.

For many deaf people American sign language is their first language. We must ensure they have access to employment opportunities, places of worship, entertainment and services of every kind.

It is also important to remember a little informed courtesy goes a long way in building and maintaining bridges between hearing and deaf, deafened and hard of hearing Canadians.

Auditor General's Report
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Maurice Dumas Argenteuil—Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, today, the auditor general released the results of an audit by his office involving more than 300 public servants. The results are alarming. It appears that 33 per cent of federal public servants are afraid to lose their jobs if they blow the whistle on cases of conflict of interest involving their boss. Even worse, 60 per cent of senior managers would take no action if the process for awarding a contract to a single supplier was clouded in any way.

This is intolerable, and the government must show some leadership here. But how, when the Minister of Canadian Heritage and the Prime Minister constantly give preferential treatment to friends of the government? The Liberals, who said they would defend integrity in government, still have a long way to go to deliver what they promised in their red book. It will take more than words to restore the public's confidence.

Government
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker:

When the last election battle Was engaged the red book won The promises all there to see In plain talk they were put down A new way to do politics Make commitments that you'd keep The public would be reassured And go right back to sleep The problem's not the deficit Don't get hung up on the debt Just get everyone back working Jobs, jobs, jobs we need, you bet We'll save our social programs

And replace the G.S.T. The infrastructure program will Bring work for you and me To show we're really serious We'll give special attention To a symbol that the public hates We'll reform the M.P. pension But history won't be so kind The red book makes me choke a bit It gave us a brand new political phrase We now know the hypogrit