House of Commons Hansard #119 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was agency.

Topics

Canadian Food Inspection Agency Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphan Tremblay Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to address Bill C-60, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Act. At first blush, the bill seems pretty innocuous. I looked at it with the hon. member for Frontenac.

However, a closer examination shows what the Liberal Party wants to do. This is rather disheartening. The government comes up with nice bills, but it always wants to able to appoint friends. Because the government wants to remain in office, it does not necessarily appoint competent people. Not to worry. It does not matter whether these appointees are competent or not. What matters for the government is looking after its friends.

Earlier, the hon. member for Frontenac proposed constructive amendments. My colleague sat on the committee. He made constructive suggestions, and I am anxious to see whether the government will have the courage to accept and support these positive changes.

Why do I say this? It is because, while I am still naive, I do notice certain things when I look at the current political reality. We are the official opposition and people often say that the opposition is only there to block government initiatives. This is not at all the Bloc Quebecois' vision, particularly since we are not even here to try to form the government.

Rather, we are here to defend the views of part of the public. I was elected to represent the Lac-Saint-Jean region. Therefore, I come here with certain views and I say to the government: "Listen, your bill may not be so bad, but we propose this changeor that change". But to no avail. I am quite convinced that, when the time comes to vote, the government will turn a deaf ear.

It should come as no surprise that people are no longer interested in politics. It is always the same thing. It is always these little schemes to promote patronage. Of course, this is done quietly. It does not make the headlines. It is always done in an under handed way. This is all very disappointing. Even though we are the opposition-I would rather say the watchdog of democracy-we should be able to work together at least some of the time, so that everyone can make a positive contribution.

This reminds me of the bill we talked about recently, which would have revoked the conviction of Louis Riel. Why did the government vote against the bill? This is ridiculous. When the opposition says black, the government says white.

But that is not what it usually says. Usually, it says: "The opposition is just there to disagree". I am sorry, but we do try to suggest some constructive changes. We try to raise some interesting points. But all we get is a completely negative reaction to any contribution we are prepared to make. I must say I find this very disappointing. I look forward to the time when we have our own country, so we can go our own way.

I will give a few examples from the bill. In clause 9, it says that the head office of the agency shall be in the national capital region or any other location in Canada. That is good. However, according to certain officials, the head office of the agency could be in Ottawa at first and then be moved later on by order in council. Basically, the question that comes to mind is whether the agency could go where it would be politically expedient. If things are not going well in a riding, this would be a good thing to have, so the government hands out a goody. That is what I dislike about the Liberal Party and the government.

In clause 10, it says that the minister responsible for the agency shall appoint an advisory board of not more than 12 members to hold office during pleasure for a term not exceeding three years. The minister would also appoint one of the members as chairperson of the advisory board instead of letting people qualified in this area who have to work with the food inspection people choose their own representatives.

So the minister is making sure he can control the members of the advisory board and influence their decisions. That is pretty obvious. When you give a job to your friends, they can hardly turn around later on and bite the hand that feeds them.

In subclause 10(5), it says that the minister will fix the fees paid to the members of the advisory board. However, I may point out that in clause 8, it says that the president and the executive vice-president shall be paid such remuneration as is fixed by the governor in council. The question is whether this is a mere technicality or whether it is some kind of double standard that could lead to discrimination. This clause is unacceptable for another reason.

Clause 12 provides that the agency is a separate employer under the Public Service Staff Relations Act. Clause 13 provides that the president has the authority to appoint employees to the agency. When the bill was studied in committee, officials confirmed that there would be a code of conduct, of ethics, governing the appointment of agency employees. The thing is, however, that we will not know the content of the code before the bill is passed. It reminds me of the code of ethics of the ministers opposite: they have a fine code of ethics to show that everything they do is proper, except no one knows what the code is. It is completely ridiculous. What is the use of a code of ethics when people cannot even find out what it is about? Here again, it serves to score political points.

The officials told us that the usual rules governing hiring in the public service would be suspended during the transition period. Why do we not know what rules will be used?

We note therefore that patronage-discrimination even-will abound in the future Canadian Food Inspection Agency. This is why the Bloc Quebecois has proposed reasonable amendments to prevent the federal government from abusing its power in this matter.

As I said earlier, we simply want to make a constructive contribution. I do not want to foul things up. So long as we are paying taxes to Ottawa, I want to be sure this country is run the best way possible. I am here to work, to improve bills while we are still here. I see these sorts of things, and then people ask me why we want to have our own country.

At some point, people have to try to understand more. As I said earlier, we wonder why people are not more interested in politics. I think it is because of this sort of thing.

Our colleague from Frontenac has contributed constructively. I would therefore invite the government to give it some thought, and perhaps we could work more together.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency Act
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

My colleagues, as it is almost 2 p.m., we will now go to Statements by Members. We will come back to the hon. member after question period as he has a few minutes left.

The Late Martha Macdonald
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Colleen Beaumier Brampton, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week a very active and giving member of my riding of Brampton was tragically murdered.

Martha MacDonald was a caregiver with Brampton Caledon Community Living, an organization that offers support to mentally and physically disadvantaged people living on their own. She was a regular volunteer at the Ste. Louise Outreach Centre, a local food bank, and an active political participant. Her enthusiasm and passion will be missed.

On behalf of my constituents I offer my deepest condolences to the family and friends of Martha MacDonald.

In early November, Martha participated in a public forum on justice issues which I hosted in my riding of Brampton. She was quite vocal at this community event about the need for greater attention to the epidemic of violence against women. It is a very sad irony for me personally that this is my last memory of Martha MacDonald. Her comments foreshadowed the very tragic and unfair end to her life.

Port Of Trois-Rivières
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Rocheleau Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, last Monday, I asked the Prime Minister to make the commitment that his government would give the port of Trois-Rivières the status of Canada port authority. I have been informed that the Minister of Transport confirmed this morning, in a letter, that the port of Trois-Rivières would become a CPA.

There is no need to thank the federal government for that since the port of Trois-Rivières meets all the established criteria. As the minister representing the Mauricie region, the Prime Minister had the responsibility of ensuring, right from the start, that the port of Trois-Rivières would be given CPA status since it meets all the established criteria. His responsibility was to do that and not to make a pitch for some local personality through various means.

Furthermore, the Prime Minister voluntarily ignored the second part of my question concerning the $12 million accumulated by the port of Trois-Rivières. The Bloc Quebecois is concerned about that and demands that the government leave this money for the

development of the port of Trois-Rivières instead of dipping into this surplus, as it did with the port of Quebec City.

Drunk Driving
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Reform

Daphne Jennings Mission—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise to applaud the sincere and tireless efforts of the members of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Especially at Christmas, MADD reminds us with a red ribbon campaign of the tragic consequences of drinking and driving.

I commend MADD for effectively changing the attitudes of the public toward what used to be an acceptable social occurrence, getting behind the wheel of a vehicle after drinking.

However, the social pressure will not be enough to curb the high percentage of repeat offenders whose problems are more than bad judgment.

As a society we also have a responsibility to eradicate the ravages of drunk driving by addressing the cause, not only the effect.

Statistics show that up to 70 per cent of the drivers who cause death and injury through impaired driving do have alcohol problems.

Therefore I say it is time to enforce rehabilitation, even involuntarily, to prevent future tragic deaths. We must, as well, pass legislation like Motion No. 78 which will deal with this serious offence effectively.

Today I am again wearing my pin in honour of Cindy Verhulst, a young woman from Mission in my riding whose life was tragically cut short by a drunk driver.

Wilf Carter
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Steckle Huron—Bruce, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to pay tribute to a special Canadian music legend. Many will recognize the name Wilf Carter, but perhaps he was best known to his fans as Montana Slim.

Wilf Carter was born December 18, 1904 in Port Hilford, Nova Scotia and died one week ago at the age of 91.

Wilf Carter was inspired at an early age by a yodeller who was passing through town. Wilf developed his own unique three in one or echo yodel, which became his trademark in the music industry.

His famous yodel sparked his career, a career that spanned six decades and kept him on the road well into his eighties.

Wilf began his career while working in the grain fields of Alberta, singing at local dances, bunkhouses and parties.

Wilf was such a hit in the prairies that the Canadian Pacific Railway hired him to entertain trail riders on their summer packing trips through the Rockies.

One of his songs that I recall is "It makes no difference now". The truth is his career made a difference, for Wilf Carter was a legend in his own time.

On behalf of all Canadians and all those who knew him, we offer his family our deepest condolences. Gone but never forgotten.

Rupert Evans
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Ovid Jackson Bruce—Grey, ON

I am pleased to acknowledge the initiative of one of my constituents, Rupert Evans, who travelled to Japan to build a frontier log home in a rural community north of Tokyo. Rupert Evans, Royal Buchanan, Bill Power and Dan Babcock spent six weeks in Japan on the project while enjoying the warm hospitality of their Japanese hosts.

The material and human expertise required to build the home were Canadian. Mr. Evans and his team amazed their hosts with their aptitude and dedication. They accomplished in six weeks a project which normally takes months in Japan. Rupert Evans and his construction team showed the Japanese what Canadian hard work and initiative are all about. Their efforts have stimulated demand for Canadian resources and skill in this field.

We are opening doors to other markets, we are expanding opportunity for Canadian business and we are establishing good relations with foreign governments to facilitate trade.

Congratulations to Rupert Evans and his team for a job well done in showing that Canadian expertise is the best in the world.

Justice
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, I make this statement on behalf of my fellow island colleagues, four MPs.

A large group of islanders are concerned about a rash of criminal acts that has occurred on Prince Edward Island. The worst was the repeated sexual abuse of a three-year old girl in which the rapist suggested that she was actually the aggressor. We find that hard to believe. More to the point, a provincial judge sentenced this individual to only 15 months for this heinous crime.

In response to this, my colleagues and I have received a petition from the Citizens Against Sexual Abuse of Children signed by over 11,000 islanders.

These petitioners call on Parliament to review the penalties associated with such crimes. They feel penalties are far too lenient and should be increased to provide a deterrent to protect the most innocent in our society, our children. We also request the Minister of Justice to formally respond.

Bois-De-Belle-Rivière Forest Educational Park
Statements By Members

December 12th, 1996 / 2 p.m.

Bloc

Maurice Dumas Argenteuil—Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, I wish to express my support for the ongoing negotiations between the city of Mirabel and the Department of Public Works for the purchase of the Bois-de-Belle-Rivière forest educational park.

Several reasons led me to this decision. In the past, significant public investments have confirmed the role of Bois-de-Belle-Rivière as a tourist area. The city of Mirabel has already said it is interested in protecting local plant and animal life. It has even created a corporation, called CPEM, that is responsible for environmental protection in the Mirabel area.

The Centre de formation agricole de Mirabel, headed by Denis Lauzon, is also very much involved in this project.

The people of the greater Montreal area are in favour of protecting the Bois-de-Belle-Rivière area, and that is why I am asking the public works minister to accept the request made by the city of Mirabel.

Seniors
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Reform

Jim Hart Okanagan—Similkameen—Merritt, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise on behalf of the constituents of Okanagan-Similkameen-Merritt to give fair warning to the Liberals that their proposed senior's benefit which places a 50 per cent tax rate on the income of Canadian senior citizens will not be tolerated.

The Liberals do not listen to Canadians but they will not be able to ignore the voice of Canadian senior citizens who will align themselves at the ballot box in the next election. Canadian seniors will not stand for the 50 per cent tax rate on their income.

Not only are the Liberals planning to attack OAS, they are also attacking the Canada pension plan. They plan to triple taxes for the CPP and cut seniors' pensions in half.

Canadian seniors will support the fresh start offered by the Reform Party of Canada. We are committed to rescuing the CPP and guaranteeing that every senior citizen receives every penny that he or she is entitled to under the Canada pension plan.

Canadian seniors know that Liberal and Tory policies do not work. Canadians want the security of the Reform Party of Canada.

Aboriginal Affairs
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Audrey McLaughlin Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, Canadians have heard a lot this week about the Prime Minister's broken promises. The Prime Minister broke his promise to Canadians on the GST, on jobs, on the CBC and on many other issues. Some Canadians even say he lied, but today he went well beyond broken promises-

Aboriginal Affairs
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

The Speaker

My colleague, we had a similar situation yesterday. We cannot say through someone else's words what we ourselves cannot say in this House. I judge that word to be unparliamentary and I would ask the hon. member to withdraw it forthwith.

Aboriginal Affairs
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Audrey McLaughlin Yukon, YT

Yes, Mr. Speaker. Thank you.

Aboriginal Affairs
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Withdraw.

Aboriginal Affairs
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

The Speaker

I would ask the hon. member to withdraw the word.