House of Commons Hansard #221 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was environment.

Topics

Presence In Gallery
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Presence In Gallery
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

We will have a tribute to a former member in just a few moments, but I am prepared now to give a ruling on a question of privilege.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

As questions of privilege affect all of us, it is always valuable for us to give attention to the ruling.

I am now ready to rule on the question of privilege raised by the hon. member for Madawaska-Victoria on June 8, 1995.

During Private Members' Business on that day, the hon. member and the hon. member for Beaver River engaged in a heated conversation.

According to the hon. member for Madawaska-Victoria, as she turned to go back to her seat in order to end the discussion, the hon. member for Beaver River grabbed her by the arm. The hon. member brought this to the immediate attention of the Chair and, the Acting Speaker heard the question of privilege.

Citing Erskine May's , 21st edition, at page 126, the member noted that it is a contempt to molest a member. She then claimed that she had been physically assaulted and was prepared to move the appropriate motion.

The hon. member for Beaver River then rose to confirm that the member for Madawaska-Victoria was correct in her description of the events. The member for Beaver River apologized to the member for Madawaska-Victoria and told the House she had intended no harm, threat or assault.

The Reform Party whip, the hon. member for Calgary Centre, and the hon. member for Mississauga South, both witnesses to the incident, assisted the Chair by describing what they had seen. The chief government whip also spoke to the matter, drawing to the attention of the Chair a number of precedents. I thank all three members for their contributions.

In my view the matter raised by the hon. member for Madawaska-Victoria is a very serious one for this House. The events that occurred were unfortunate, to say the least.

The hon. member for Beaver River has admitted she was at fault but has explained she meant no harm and has in fact apologized for her actions. I refer to her own words in the debates of June 8 at pages 13507 and 13508:

I do apologize for that. I certainly did not mean any harm or assault. I do apologize if she thought there was any intention of an assault. I absolutely meant no harm or any threat.

As Speaker Fraser noted when ruling on a matter involving the hon. member for York South-Weston and the late Mr. Dan McKenzie, to which the chief government whip referred, once

the error has been admitted and the member has apologized, procedurally the matter should go no further.

The incident ought not to have happened and it ought not happen again. I refer hon. members to the debate of October 16, 1987, at page 10090. I concur with the decision reached by my predecessor on that occasion and with regard to the present case I find the matter is closed.

There is a troubling aspect to this incident which, if left unchallenged, could have serious consequences for us all, as members of this House. It is my hope that my remarks will clear the air and ensure that we stay on course in our dealings with each other in this House, particularly during the long hours of these final days before the adjournment.

As Speaker, I am the arbiter of House proceedings, charged with preserving order and decorum. However, I cannot do this job alone. I rely on the co-operation of you all, my colleagues, to ensure that this Chamber remains the focal point for thoughtful reasoned debate on the matters crucial to the well being of our nation.

While I take consolation from the fact that our House is more orderly and decorous than the one faced by my 19th century predecessors, I am constantly reminded that this is a place of strong opinions and strong emotions and that when tempers flare hon. members can get carried away. I strongly urge all hon. members, you my colleagues, to respect the conventions and traditions of this place and to conduct ourselves-myself also, because I am part of it with you-with the civility becoming representatives of the Canadian people.

There is absolutely no place for violent language or actions in this House. Our constituents expect members to be businesslike and civilized in the conduct of parliamentary affairs. So does the Chair. So does the whole House.

To quote Speaker Fraser on a ruling he gave on December 11, 1991, at page 6142 of the debates:

The Chair can devise no strategy, however aggressive or interventionist, and can imagine no codification, however comprehensive or strict, that will successfully protect the Canadian parliamentary traditions that we cherish as will each member's sense of justice and fair play.

In this I wholeheartedly concur.

The Late Robert Lloyd Wenman
Oral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

The Speaker

We will now proceed to tributes for one of our colleagues who died recently. I call upon the hon. member for Sherbrooke to make the first intervention.

The Late Robert Lloyd Wenman
Oral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Jean Charest Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to one of the longest serving members of Parliament, Mr. Bob Wenman, who passed away peacefully at his home on June 13.

Robert Lloyd Wenman was born in Maidstone, Saskatchewan, on June 19, 1940 and would have been exactly 55 years old today. He had a distinguished academic career, attending the University of Saskatchewan as well as several prominent American schools. He trained as a teacher at Saskatoon Teachers College.

He first entered politics in 1966 at the age of 25 years. He was elected at that time to the British Columbia legislature. He was re-elected in 1969 and after a short time was also an alderman in Surrey, British Columbia.

He was elected for the first time to the House of Commons in 1974 and re-elected at every election afterward until he decided to retire from politics in August 1993.

During his time as a member of Parliament he held several posts, including parliamentary secretary to the minister of defence, and chaired the Standing Committee on Labour, Employment and Immigration.

Outside the House of Commons he gave generously of his time to many causes, the most significant of which was undoubtedly the United Nations.

Mr. Wenman was a member of this place who very early on became interested in environment issues, issues that related to the global population. He was interested in these issues at a time when it was not fashionable. I remember in the 1984 Parliament he was among a few members at the time who pursued some key issues related to the environment, one of them being, as I subsequently discovered in reading some notes following his passing away, South Moresby in British Columbia. That was an issue he pursued with the previous government, that of Mr. Clark.

He was also very interested in issues that affected global parliamentarians and chaired that group for some time.

He left his mark in a conference held in British Columbia called Globe '92. He chaired the UN global parliamentarians on habitat group. A consequence of the 1992 conference was the creation of the International Centre for Sustainable Cities, now located in the city of Vancouver.

He was also very interested, in his constituents and in the issues of his own area, among them Fort Langley, which I know something of because of previous responsibilities. I can assure the House that he certainly pursued the interests of Fort Langley with a great deal of vigour.

As friends and colleagues reflect upon his great contribution, which spanned 30 years of public life in Canada, and as we think back to the significance of that contribution, may I refer to someone you have just referred to, Mr. Speaker, your predeces-

sor, Speaker John Fraser. Upon learning of his passing away, Speaker Fraser said this: "Bob Wenman took his own direction, clearly from his own star".

As we look back on his life may we encourage many other Canadians to follow the star of Bob Wenman.

In closing, I want to extend our very deep regrets to his wife of 32 years, Donna, and his four children, Jill, Kiven, Ken and Kraig.

The Late Robert Lloyd Wenman
Oral Question Period

3:15 p.m.

Victoria
B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, it is with a deep sense of loss that I rise to recall the life and the untimely death of Bob Wenman, a man dedicated to the country, to his province of British Columbia and to public service.

My friend, Bob Wenman, died last week in British Columbia at the age of 54 after a political career spanning almost 30 years, including 19 years in the House of Commons, representing the constituents of Fraser Valley West.

It is Bob's principled and distinguished life rather than his passing which will remain fixed in the minds of those of us who knew him.

Bob began his political career at the age of 25 in 1966 as a Social Credit MLA in the provincial legislature of the province of British Columbia. From that early start until last week he led a life marked by an unwavering commitment to stand by his beliefs and ideals. Whether or not his views were popular, Bob was resolute in upholding and promoting those things that he believed to be right.

During his final years in public office, Bob's commitment to family values, the environment and Canada's relationship with countries in the Pacific rim was very evident.

He is survived by his wife Donna and four children, Ken, Jill, Kiven and Kraig, and our thoughts are with them at this very difficult time. I hope his family and his many friends are able to take solace in the knowledge that his contribution to his province and to the country will long be remembered.

The Late Robert Lloyd Wenman
Oral Question Period

3:15 p.m.

Bloc

Louis Plamondon Richelieu, QC

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Bloc Quebecois and on my own behalf, I also want to pay tribute to Robert. You all remember that in 1981 only one Conservative member was elected in Quebec. However, in 1984, 57 Conservative members arrived here to represent Quebec, 56 of them being new faces. That turnaround was the result of the efforts made by Robert, who taught some skills at the sessions for Conservative candidates.

As the leader of the Conservative Party mentioned earlier, all Quebec Conservative or former Conservative members, including those who were defeated during the last election and those who did not seek a new mandate, remember Robert as an exceptional facilitator and motivator at these sessions for Conservative candidates. Robert was extremely friendly and he taught us many points which proved useful during the election campaign. In fact, several Quebec MPs elected in 1984 are very indebted to him for his good advice. Even though he had to conduct his own election campaign, Robert was generous enough to come and spend two days with us at the sessions for candidates, held in a hotel which is now a Travel Lodge, where he welcomed us. The whole session was organized by him.

He was an extremely generous person strongly devoted to the party line, but with some very progressive ideas. For example, he was always the one, in the Conservative Party who would trigger the debates on the environment. I had the opportunity to sit with him on various commissions and committees. I was always impressed by the avant-gardism of his ideas, as well as by the pragmatism which characterized every one of his statements. To be sure, he was a philosopher but he was always very practical.

We had a lot in common. Like me he was a former teacher and in business. Consequently we would often have discussions together. Robert also talked a lot about agriculture since he represented a part urban and part rural riding. Again, since our ridings were more or less similar, we had long discussions together. I have very fond memories of Robert. He was very close to his constituents and always ready to give to others. He was courteous, friendly, competent, meticulous, hard working, and showed respect for his colleagues. Robert also loved sports and we had to discuss racquetball with him every time we talked to him.

I thank him for his great contribution to democracy in this country. To his family, his wife and four children, I offer my most sincere condolences. I leave them with a quote from French author Alexandre Dumas who said: "Those whom we loved are no longer where they were, but they are always with us, wherever we are".

The Late Robert Lloyd Wenman
Oral Question Period

3:20 p.m.

Reform

Randy White Fraser Valley West, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am sad to say that last week former Conservative MP Robert Wenman passed away at the age of 54.

Mr. Wenman worked as a member of Parliament for 19 years, proudly serving the Fraser Valley West communities of Langley, Fort Langley, Aldergrove and Abbotsford.

Bob was a longstanding politician who started his public service at the age of 25 in 1966 as an MLA in British Columbia. He joined federal politics in 1974. In the House of Commons he focused on personal projects and issues such as the environment, a bill permitting passive euthanasia, the enhancement of Canada's international ties and the promotion of B.C. business opportunities with the federal government. He also was strongly anti-abortion and supported family values.

Bob and I met after the election and in the sincere and open approach for which he was known, he was kind enough to help me in those early days. For that I shall be ever thankful. He was a popular individual and active in our community. He was respected by all people and shall be missed.

Bob's contribution has made Canada a better country in which to live. I join with my Reform colleagues and all members of the House to express sincere sympathy to Mr. Wenman's family and friends. We thank Bob for his unselfish contribution.

The Late Robert Lloyd Wenman
Oral Question Period

3:20 p.m.

Bloc

Nic Leblanc Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would also like to extend my sympathies to the family of Bob Wenman. Mr. Wenman was a very likeable colleague over the years that I worked with him. We regret his passing and we offer our condolences to his family.

B.C. Treaty Commission
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Sault Ste. Marie
Ontario

Liberal

Ron Irwin Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 32, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the annual report of the B.C. Treaty Commission for 1993-1994.

Government Response To Petitions
Routine Proceedings

June 19th, 1995 / 3:20 p.m.

Kingston and the Islands
Ontario

Liberal

Peter Milliken Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to 16 petitions.

Committees Of The House
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

John Harvard Winnipeg—St. James, MB

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fourth report of the Standing Committee on Government Operations on Bill C-82, an act to amend the Royal Canadian Mint Act, without amendment.

I would like to add a few more words on behalf of the committee. In the deliberations on Bill C-82, an act to amend the Royal Canadian Mint Act, the Standing Committee on Government Operations heard two separate messages from both government and industry on the introduction of the new $2 coin.

First, the Government of Canada is introducing the new $2 coin because of the savings it will generate for the taxpayers. Within 20 years more than $254 million will be saved for Canadians with the introduction of the coin. Further, the government is expected to accrue an additional $449 million in seigniorage to the consolidated revenue fund within 18 months of the issue. The savings for taxpayers are significant indeed.

We also heard a second message loud and clear from industry, small and medium sized businesses in particular. Although industry supports in principle the introduction of the new coin because of the associated savings, business has expressed serious concern over the timing of the move. The affected businesses and associations clearly stated that the 12-month notice is not adequate time to prepare for this adjustment.

Given the fact that a delay in the introduction of the coin would cost the Government of Canada an estimated $109 million in the fiscal year 1995-96, the committee recognizes the need for the Government of Canada to balance both the requirements of industry with those of fiscal responsibility and budgetary prudence.

The committee recommends that the Royal Canadian Mint-

Committees Of The House
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

Order. The standing orders provide for a brief intervention. I would deem this intervention to go beyond the letter and the spirit of that standing order.

I would ask the hon. member for Winnipeg St. James to conclude.

Committees Of The House
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

John Harvard Winnipeg—St. James, MB

Mr. Speaker, the one paragraph I have left contains the major recommendation. Perhaps I could seek the indulgence of the House.

The committee recommends that the Royal Canadian Mint, the Department of Finance and the Bank of Canada work with

industry, small and medium sized businesses, in particular, to ensure a smooth and least cost integration of the new $2 coin into the marketplace. The government should further consider participation in a public awareness campaign with the affected stakeholders to minimize any possible disruption in trade and commerce.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

Shirley Maheu Saint-Laurent—Cartierville, QC

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 31, the form and the content of the attached petition have been certified.

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to present a petition from approximately 850 Canadians from the Montreal area. The long and turbulent history of humanity has, at times, concealed far reaching events of tragic proportions.

Eighty years ago the Armenian genocide, perpetrated by the Turkish government of the Ottoman Empire, claimed the lives of 1.5 million innocent Armenian victims.

Resolutions of the United Nations subcommission, the European Parliament, South American countries and in Canada, the legislatures of Quebec and Ontario have condemned this monumental crime.

Hence, the petitioners request that Parliament change its policy of indifference toward the Armenian genocide and actively initiate and promote international efforts to persuade Turkey to recognize its crime against humanity.