House of Commons Hansard #117 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was rights.

Topics

Excise Tax Act
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

I thank the hon. member for his compliment to the Chair generally in his remarks. The four of us are very appreciative for any compliments that come our way.

As it is now almost two o'clock, we will proceed to Statements by Members.

Jason Brown And Darren Vickers
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Harold Culbert Carleton—Charlotte, NB

Mr. Speaker, this past Saturday I had the pleasure of joining the Goodine family in Woodstock, New Brunswick at a special reception in order to pay tribute to two young boys who through their quick actions and calmness under pressure avoided a tragedy for their 13-year old friend Billy Goodine.

Jason Brown and Darren Vickers were honoured for the responsible action that they took in July during a serious biking accident when Billy Goodine was seriously injured.

To elaborate further, Billy Goodine's neck was broken in the fall which could have led to full paralyses or even death. However, Darren and Jason's refusal to move Billy, coupled with excellent ambulance care by the St. John Ambulance and several weeks of hospitalization and rehabilitation, Billy was able to return home and to school on September 27, 1996.

We hear much about today's youth but-

Universal Declaration Of Human Rights
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Osvaldo Nunez Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, today, December 10, 1996, we celebrate the 48th anniversary of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This important document sets out basic international standards concerning fundamental human rights and freedoms and promotes the respect and dignity of all human beings.

During the last half century, we have observed considerable progress in this regard: the Berlin Wall came down, a number of dictatorships were replaced by democratic governments, and the end of apartheid in South Africa gave new hope to the African continent as a whole.

However, many countries are still living under oppressive regimes, and, in some cases, in states of civil war. Over 25 million refugees worldwide are the victims of persecution.

It is our fervent hope that Canada will devote more attention to defending human rights and freedoms, at home and abroad.

Drunk Drivers
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Reform

Bob Ringma Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, with the holiday season fast upon us, I want to remind Canadians who contemplate getting behind the wheel of a car after they have been drinking of one sobering statistic.

Each year on average in Canada, drunk drivers kill two and half times more people than do murderers. In 1994 alone this meant that 1,400 Canadians lost their lives because someone decided to have one more for the road.

I want to remind Canadians that the Liberal justice minister has done nothing to address this obscenely offensive situation. The government has had ample opportunity to redress the problem. Most recently this opportunity has come in the form of a private member's bill presented by my colleague, the member for Prince George-Bulkley Valley. The bill would have mandated a minimum sentence of incarceration for those who kill as a result of driving while impaired.

Reform's message is: Don't drink and drive. But Canadians are wondering if the justice minister has a different message.

Softwood Lumber
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Independent

Gilles Bernier Beauce, QC

Mr. Speaker, a number of sawmills in Quebec are unhappy with the softwood lumber quotas they were assigned in late October under the agreement negotiated with the United States in the spring of 1996.

They are questioning the way in which the quotas were arrived at by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. How is it that, according to the Financial Post , BC sawmills were given quotas representing between 75 and 85 per cent of their 1995 production, while Quebec's were between 60 and 65 per cent?

While many sawmills were going to reduce their production by 10 to 15 per cent, many are now thinking about shutting their doors. The whole quota assignment process must be reviewed. Otherwise, there will be more loss of employment in Quebec. Or better yet, I suggest that there be a review of this agreement, which has left people unhappy on both sides of the border, both in the United States and in Canada.

Bell Canada
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Brenda Chamberlain Guelph—Wellington, ON

Mr. Speaker, we all know that small businesses are the backbone of the economy. In Guelph-Wellington more than half the businesses have less than 10 employees. Many of these barely weathered the recession and they welcome good economic news. That is why the proposed Bell Canada rate increases will be an unfair burden for small business leaders in my community and in ridings across Ontario and Quebec.

If the proposal is accepted, telephone rates in my riding for business customers will nearly double. Over 1,500 of my constituents have signed a petition, distributed from my office, opposing these increases.

Small businesses deserve our support. Fifteen hundred people in Guelph-Wellington have joined me in saying that the proposed Bell Canada increase is a wrong idea at a wrong time.

The Economy
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Andy Scott Fredericton—York—Sunbury, NB

Mr. Speaker, I recently hosted a public policy forum in Fredericton on Canada's finances. The discussion included dealing with the deficit, the role of the private and public sectors with respect to economic growth and the HST.

The majority of individuals at the forum expressed the view that the country's social services cannot stand another round of cuts, that the government has hit expenditures as much as it can. They proposed we look at high end tax reform as there is a sense that large corporations and Canadians in the higher income brackets are not paying their fair share.

Discussions about the role of the public and private sectors in the economy focused on whose role it is to create jobs and how to do it. Forum members suggested government does have a role to play in intervening in the economy to protect disadvantaged Canadians and regions, to show leadership in dealing with global adjustment, school to work transition and lifelong learning.

I thank all who participated and in particular my colleague from Parry Sound-Muskoka. I advise the House that I have forwarded reports to the Minister of-

Quebec Premier
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Nick Discepola Vaudreuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, Lucien Bouchard dismissed the constitutional position of the Quebec

Liberal Party as "old hatM", adding that he could not believe in it. In his opinion, "Quebecers have moved far beyond that position. It has become totally irrelevant".

The PQ leader ought to read what his old friend and political advisor Daniel Turp had to say recently, and I quote: "The ultimate solution for Quebecers is renewed federalism, and a greater transfer of powers to Quebec. It is their solution of choice".

The QLP's constitutional position is a fairly faithful reflection of what Quebecers want, as expressed in the 1980 and 1995 referendums. When will the leader of the PQ, who has nothing else to propose except the separation of Quebec, accept this? At least the crown prince, Daniel Turp, has seen the light.

Universal Declaration Of Human Rights
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Philippe Paré Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, on December 10, 1948, the members of the United Nations Organization signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In so doing, the political leaders of the time wished to record their determination to ensure that the horrors of the second world war would never be repeated.

The countries which have joined the United Nations since that time have also been bound by this declaration, which is as valid today as it ever was. One needs only to glance at a newspaper to realize that, in many parts of the world, numerous human rights violations are still taking place to this day.

On the occasion of this anniversary, we must recall to mind the events which prompted the international community to adopt this declaration, and we must remind ourselves that human rights are an integral part of every human activity, whether political or economic.

In this era of universalization, where world wide trade turns its back on social considerations, we must keep the commitment that joins us together clearly in mind, and we must make sure that our actions are in line with our words.

Softwood Lumber
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Reform

Mike Scott Skeena, BC

Mr. Speaker, during the last election Liberals made a campaign promise that they would abrogate the North American free trade agreement unless it worked for Canadians.

What is Canada's biggest net export to the United States? Is it designer jeans? Is it electric shavers? Is it toasters? No, it is softwood lumber, by a wide margin.

How are the Liberals handling the single most important trade issue on Canada's behalf? The Prime Minister went on a golfing holiday with President Clinton while Canadian trade officials rolled over and meekly accepted a quota on softwood lumber. This was after Canada won three separate arbitrations on softwood lumber disputes.

While the minister brags about keeping promises and spends millions on trade junkets to Asia, sawmills in my riding, in Terrace, Smithers, Hazelton and Prince Rupert, are cutting back and laying off people.

It reminds me of another Liberal promise about jobs, jobs, jobs.

The Environment
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Len Taylor The Battlefords—Meadow Lake, SK

Mr. Speaker, today the Minister of the Environment tabled the long awaited changes to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. As usual, what the government says about protecting the environment is very different from what it does.

CEPA used to be the supreme environmental law in this country, in that it could override other acts and other departments. The new act will now only apply if the substance of concern is not covered by any other act, and the minister can only intervene if a province fails to do so. This effectively downgrades CEPA from being the most important pillar and centrepiece of environmental law into a law of last resort when nothing else applies. This legislation will take us backwards, not forwards. It effectively forces Environment Canada out of the environmental protection business and allows the harmonization agreement with the provinces to take precedence over CEPA.

The environment committee last year called for the act to be strengthened and revamped, not weakened in the manner proposed by the Minister of the Environment.

Housing Construction
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Raymond Lavigne Verdun—Saint-Paul, QC

Mr. Speaker, in November we saw an impressive increase in the number of construction starts in Quebec.

Our government is delighted that its economic policies have produced results. Thanks to the lowest mortgage rates in the last 30 years, Canadians who want to buy a home can now make their dreams come true.

In the Montreal area, there were more than 748 active construction sites, 54 per cent more than last year during the same period. Construction starts have increased by 288 per cent in the Sherbrooke area and by 108 per cent around Chicoutimi.

If it were not for the political uncertainty in Quebec today, all these figures would be twice as high.

Research And Development
Statements By Members

December 10th, 1996 / 2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Ted McWhinney Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, British Columbia is taking the lead in the research of new forms of transportation fueled by battery power.

We welcome the recent federal investment in fuel cell research in co-operation with Ballard Industries. It will help to prepare Canada for the transportation challenges of the future. Research and development of new technologies will be essential as Canada and British Columbia take a leadership role in trading organizations like APEC.

As evidence of the important role played by the federal government in B.C., it now funds 30 per cent of the research in British Columbia.

Research builds new links between industries. Shared research can help to build a strong country from coast to coast. New job opportunities will be created if we work together to transfer the research into new products and services.

These are the challenges we face and the opportunities we have in Canada. Let's take advantage of them.

Agriculture
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Georgette Sheridan Saskatoon—Humboldt, SK

Mr. Speaker, Saskatchewan is vitally interested in the future of agricultural research. Farmers, food processors, marketers and the academic community are all working in partnership with Agriculture Canada for the national good.

Through Agriculture Canada research labs, important work is being conducted to ensure the safety of the national food supply, to develop new crops, to investigate environmentally friendly and economical herbicides and pesticides to improve crop production and to identify new markets for Canadian produce and agri-food products.

Leading the way in the area of research and development, especially in biotechnology, the research labs have developed better methods for growing and storing Saskatchewan produce. Innovation Place, through its harnessing of government, academic and private sector resources, is an excellent model for the effective partnerships that ensure the successes we have seen in research and development.

They underscore the continued importance of the federal government's leadership role in the area of research and development in western Canada, a role to which my Liberal colleagues and I remain committed.

Universal Declaration Of Human Rights
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Maud Debien Laval East, QC

Mr. Speaker, today we celebrate the 48th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I would like to draw your attention to the determination and courage shown by several women's groups who established the permanent Arab tribunal on violence against women this week in Rabat, Morocco.

Recent events in Afghanistan are a clear indication of the need for such a tribunal. In fact, the first ones to suffer as a result of the political situation in Kabul are women. They have been excluded from public life and fired from their jobs and are compelled to abide by medieval customs.

The rights of women have been ignored in Afghanistan for many years. The restrictions imposed by the Taliban, such as closing girls' schools, prohibiting women from leaving their homes to go to work and the rule obliging women to cover themselves from head to foot are dramatic examples of violence and crimes against women in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the world.

I wish the permanent Arab tribunal on violence against women all the courage and energy it needs to proceed with its difficult task.