House of Commons Hansard #106 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was quebec.

Topics

Credit Cards
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Independent

Gilles Bernier Beauce, QC

Mr. Speaker, last March and May, I raised in the House the question of the usurious interest rates charged by banks and major department stores on credit card balances.

I am pleased to note that 84 of my colleagues have decided to join with the member for Beauce in denouncing this shameful practice and asking that they reduce by at least half the interest rates on their credit cards.

If the major banks and department stores do not respond promptly to this request, I think that the House of Commons should bring in legislation to resolve the issue. The time is long overdue to end this scandalous practice, which hurts not just the most disadvantaged members of our society, but also the middle classes, who may not be middle for much longer. I implore the government not to side with the bankers on this issue. Having sounded the alarm, let us take action.

Campobello Business Centre
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Harold Culbert Carleton—Charlotte, NB

Mr. Speaker, last Tuesday evening, November 19, I had the honour of participating at the official opening of the Campobello Business Centre on Campobello Island, New Brunswick.

The realization of this infrastructure project was the result of co-operation and partnership between the sponsor and the federal and provincial governments. Not only does this new business centre provide necessary services to the citizens of Campobello Island, it has also directly provided 14 new jobs for Campobello Island residents.

The Campobello Business Centre is a textbook example of what can be accomplished through partnerships when the community and community groups work together with all levels of government. The infrastructure program has been and will continue to be a great success.

I take this opportunity to add the Campobello Business Centre to the growing list of infrastructure accomplishments from across Canada.

Congratulations to all of our partners and the citizens of Campobello Island for a job well done.

Guru Nanak
Statements By Members

November 25th, 1996 / 2 p.m.

Liberal

Roy Cullen Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, today members of the Sikh community around the world celebrate the birth of Guru Nanak, founder of the Sikh religion.

Although historians differ regarding the date of Guru Nanak's birth, it seems most probable that he was born in 1469. He was born in Talwandi, now called Nankana Sahib, located in Pakistan about 35 miles southwest of Lahore.

According to various biographers during his infancy he would become very troubled on seeing misery and when he was able to walk he would carry articles of food and clothing away from home and give them to the needy.

To this day members of the Sikh community have a profound respect for the needs of others and they live their lives according to this principle. It is this same humanitarian and compassionate nature that we as Canadians strive for as our country grows and continues to mature.

I ask members of the House and all citizens of Canada to join me in celebrating the birth date of Guru Nanak.

Allison Sawatzky
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Paddy Torsney Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize and honour the courage of Allison Sawatzky, a young woman from the riding of Burlington.

In the spring of 1995 Allison and her family were devastated when she was diagnosed with necrotizing fasciitis, otherwise known as flesh-eating disease.

Since surviving the first few weeks against all odds and with the help of countless doctors and even more prayers, Allison has endured numerous surgeries, gains and setbacks. She has demonstrated remarkable determination and indefatigable spirit and she has been there to help other young Canadians through their trials.

Allison's courage and triumph were recognized November 21 when she received the Clark Institute of Psychiatry's Courage to Come Back Award.

Allison Sawatzky is a role model for all Canadians and for each of us in this House.

Please join me in recognizing Allison's triumph and her generosity to others. Way to go, Allison.

War Victims
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, the newspapers have been reminding us recently that there is a terrible hidden side to all wars: the mass rape of women and the abandonment of thousands of children.

In the village of Gisenyi alone, over 4,000 Rwandan children were wandering the streets in search of their parents, whom they may well never find.

At the same time, in the same region, aid workers were distributing large numbers of "morning after" pills to Rwandans raped in Zaire, so as to avoid a repetition of the births that followed the rapes of thousands of Rwandan women at the time of the 1994 genocide.

Over the ages, the rape of women has always been a corollary to war. In a different way, but just as dramatically, children see their future disappear forever. Our so-called civilized world must do everything it possibly can to end these horror stories, which are devastating on a personal and on a social level.

Indian Affairs
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Reform

Jay Hill Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, in February 1996 the government signed the Nisga'a agreement in principle, the first of the modern day treaties in British Columbia.

I recently asked the people of Prince George-Peace River for their views on the Nisga'a agreement. While 39 per cent of the respondents believe the Nisga'a government should have fewer law making powers than municipal level governments, 56 per cent believe it should have the same powers but not more; 65 per cent believe non-Nisga'a living in Nisga'a lands should be allowed to vote in local elections. But fully 93 per cent want this precedent setting agreement to go to a provincial referendum so their voices are heard.

Will this government and the government of B.C. give my constituents the right to vote on this agreement, an agreement that will further entrench special rights in the Constitution?

The government constantly talks about the inherent rights of native Canadians, but what about the inherent right of all Canadians to equality?

Trade
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Rex Crawford Kent, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week we were honoured by the visit of Chilean President Mr. Eduardo Frei. As chair of the Canada-Chile Friendship Group, I am proud that Mr. Frei's first visit to Canada is in tandem with the signing of a very important bilateral trade agreement.

Chile is a thriving democracy whose similarities with Canada go beyond geographical beauty. In an era of worldwide trade, our relations with Chile are a stepping stone to more trade negotiations with other countries in our hemisphere.

I am certain that the agreement with Chile will benefit Canadians from coast to coast. This trade agreement will make it much easier for Chile to one day enter into NAFTA.

I am sure I speak for many of my colleagues by congratulating the Prime Minister and the Minister for International Trade for signing this free trade agreement with the people of Chile.

Interest Rates
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

John Cannis Scarborough Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to address the issue of credit card interest rates. Unfortunately, it is not the first time and probably will not be the last time that I speak on this issue.

First, I would like to take the opportunity to commend the member for Fundy-Royal for taking the initiative to petition the banks and major retailers to drop their interest rates on credit cards. In addition, I support the private member's bill introduced by the member for Davenport which would limit the interest rates and fees charged on consumer credit cards.

At a time when the prime rate is less than 4 per cent, banks still insist on charging an average of 17.5 per cent on outstanding credit and balances. Some major retailers are charging a whopping 28 per cent. Incredible.

The government is doing its part to put money back into the pockets of Canadians by bringing interest rates down. Now we are asking the banks and the department stores to do the same. If they refuse, the people demand and deserve an explanation. Failing that, maybe we should boycott them altogether.

The Economy
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Larry McCormick Hastings—Frontenac—Lennox And Addington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to share three success stories from by riding of Hastings-Frontenac-Lennox and Addington.

The government's policies aimed at restoring Canada's economic health are working. This month the new $160 million Destec co-generation plant will be supplying energy in both steam and liquid form to Celanese Canada and electricity to Ontario Hydro.

In the process, innovative technology is being used and an estimated 19 jobs are being created. Celanese is another success story. In October the ribbon was cut on a $192 million expansion. The financial investment in Ernestown secures 350 jobs that were

at risk in 1992 and provides employment for an additional 60 people.

Bombardier employs approximately 500 skilled and talented people at a neighbouring plant that manufactures rail transit equipment and provides transportation systems support domestically and around the world. Currently Bombardier is working on a contract to supply a system to Malaysia for the Commonwealth Games in 1998.

Please join me in applauding these companies for creating jobs locally and for participating in the cutting edge of technology globally.

Peacekeeping
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Reform

Bob Mills Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, our troops have been twisting in the wind for over a week, waiting for a political decision to be made on the future of the mission to Rwanda and Zaire. Unfortunately the Prime Minister is off selling nuclear reactors to China and the rest of the cabinet is tongue-tied.

I am sure that most Canadians are now wondering just how long the government is going to stall before making a decision. While Reform has suggested that military intervention may not be necessary, the government has ignored our advice. Nonetheless it must face the facts.

It is becoming increasing clear that the Rwandan government will not play ball. Either we must accept that it has sovereign control over its territory and the multinational force is no longer needed, or the international community under Canadian leadership is going to override Rwandan sovereignty and send the force in anyway.

The government cannot have it both ways and the time for stalling is over. What is it going to be?

Banks
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Simon de Jong Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

Mr. Speaker, the big six banks are rejoicing over their early Christmas gift of $6 billion in record profits, but we know that many more Canadians cannot be part of this celebration.

While bank profits soar, so do bank service charges. On the heels of celebrating its windfall profits, the CIBC is hiking the fee for using another bank's cash machine from $1 to $1.25.

While the Bank of Canada prime rate has dropped to 3.25 per cent, the big banks continue to charge 18.9 per cent on Mastercard and 16.5 per cent on Visa.

The banks have been quick to lower the interest paid on the savings accounts of hardworking Canadians, so low that they pay only one-quarter of 1 per cent per annum on these savings.

I challenge this Liberal government to take legislative action that will bring debt relief and fair treatment to Canadian consumers, small business people, seniors and working families. They too deserve an early Christmas gift.

Parlement Jeunesse Des Francophones De L'Ouest
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, on Sunday, November 10, I had the privilege of attending a session of the sixth Parlement jeunesse des francophones de l'Ouest in Edmonton.

More than fifty young people from Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, the Northwest Territories and the Yukon spent four days in the seats of the Alberta legislative assembly, familiarizing themselves with the role of the legislator and the rules of parliamentary procedure.

Speaker Marco Roy guided the debates with a firm hand. Premier Christiane Moquin and House Leader Joëlle Leclerc acquitted themselves of their duties with skill and verve. The serious approach taken by all of these young people to their undertaking is eloquent proof that our future is in good hands.

The slight majority of young women participating in this youth parliament gives us grounds for believing that, on the eve of the third millennium, we shall be seeing increasing numbers of women in positions of political responsibility at all levels of government.

Parti Quebecois
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Eleni Bakopanos Saint-Denis, QC

Mr. Speaker, this past weekend's PQ congress has provided us with the perfect example of a political party which places its ideology above everything else: the economy, social and health services, minority rights and so on.

Thumbing their noses at the results of the two referendums they themselves organized on the separation of Quebec, PQ members continue to prepare for the next referendum as if nothing had happened.

In the close to 2,000 resolutions contained in the delegates' kits, the PQ members did not see fit to consider, even once, the desire expressed by a majority of Quebecers to remain within Canada. The PQ continues in its desire to impose its separatist obsession on the majority of the Quebec population.

That population has spoken twice on the separation of Quebec. It is time for the Parti Quebecois, and the Bloc Quebecois, to agree to respect the democratic will of Quebecers and to move on to other things: the economy, social services, and the respect of minority rights.

Quebec Premier
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Nick Discepola Vaudreuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, Lucien Bouchard urged delegates at the PQ convention last weekend to endorse his partnership proposal.

He reminded militants that partnership proved to be a winning formula in the last referendum, adding that, with an additional two months, the yes side would have won.

We do not believe in Lucien Bouchard's partnership project, and nor do the militants representing Montreal Centre, who said: "After condemning the excessive number of government and decision-making levels, we cannot propose another source of duplication and inefficiency".

Partnership, as described by the PQ leader, is nothing but a ploy, a marketing technique and an illusion to give the impression that separation would be smoother if achieved in conjunction with a partnership proposal. Lucien the magician strikes again!

Francophones Outside Quebec
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Canadian Heritage is responsible for the official languages program and, accordingly, for supporting the francophone minority outside Quebec in order to prevent its being assimilated by the anglophone majority.

How can the Minister of Canadian Heritage fulfil her ministerial responsibility and protect the two official language minorities, when she in fact refuses to acknowledge that Canada has a real problem in the assimilation of francophones outside Quebec, as Statistics Canada figures prove beyond a doubt?