House of Commons Hansard #29 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was health.

Topics

Department Of Human Resources Development Act
Government Orders

10:50 a.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Department Of Human Resources Development Act
Government Orders

10:50 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

In my opinion the nays have it.

And more than five members having risen:

Department Of Human Resources Development Act
Government Orders

10:50 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Pursuant to Standing Order 45, a recorded division stands deferred until Monday, April 22, at the ordinary time of the adjournment.

Pursuant to the agreement reached earlier today, a recorded division is deferred until Tuesday, at the end of the period provided for the consideration of government orders.

Department Of Health Act
Government Orders

April 19th, 1996 / 10:50 a.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception
Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Fred Mifflin for the Minister of Health

moved that Bill C-18, an act to establish the Department of Health and to amend and repeal certain acts, be read the third time and passed.

Department Of Health Act
Government Orders

10:55 a.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence
Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to speak today in support of Bill C-18.

Health is one of the most fundamental areas of government activity in our time. It is as much a basis of our economic success as it is a basis for our social strength.

Canadians have come to see Canada's approach to health issues as a valued example of the country's greatness. This bill will put the legal framework in place for us to keep moving forward as a modern department in a time of challenge.

You will forgive me if I read like this. I guess I have reached the age where health is very important to me. I do not mean to make light of this but my arms are no longer long enough to read my notes. My pride nonetheless has not been just a product of vanity, but it is a product of Canada's record of accomplishment and achievement in the broad health domain.

We have a health system that some of my colleagues opposite will recognize as the envy of the world. Yet we are at a time when people recognize the strains on the system and they are worried about the capacity of governments to meet the challenges these strains produce. Nonetheless what we have accomplished in this field shows the strength of the Canadian federation to address challenges. It shows the Constitution of Canada allows all governments to do what is right for the people of this land.

I will spend a few minutes reflecting on the leadership role the Government of Canada has played in the development and evolution of health and health issues. After all it, is the actions of the federal government, together with the provincial and territorial governments, that have built the system. Each has had a role to play that has been tested as constitutionally sound, and each still has such a role.

Speculating on what the Fathers of Confederation would have done if they could have looked into the future, it is kind of a parlour game currently in Ottawa. Would the Fathers of Confederation have drafted a constitution different from the one we currently have if they could have imagined today's health system and its costs?

The Fathers of Confederation assigned responsibilities as best they could and set out some principles to guide them. Almost from the time the constitutional ink was dry governments, courts and citizens have been interpreting those responsibilities based on contemporary context, and that is the genius of our Constitution. It is not simple a document, words on paper, or a historical curiosity from an another era. It is a living part of the fabric of Canadian society.

During the course of this debate some hon. members have cited various powers over health that our Constitution has assigned to provincial legislatures. They point to these and then claim the government has no right to work toward better health for Canadians. Can one imagine the absurdity of such a claim that the government has no right to take a leadership role? Can one expect an abandonment of responsibility? Obviously I disagree, as I think many of my colleagues on this of the House would.

The Constitution does not assign health as a complete and distinct subject to either the provinces or to the Parliament of Canada. It is much broader and farseeing.

It is certainly correct to note, though, there are provincial powers that relate to health. This is beyond debate. Sections 92(7), 92(13) and 92(16) of the Constitution deal mostly with hospitals, properties, civil rights and local matters. Section 92(2), which deals with local taxation and spending, would have extensions also for health implications.

Department Of Health Act
Government Orders

10:55 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. parliamentary secretary can continue his intervention after question period.

Huron-Bruce
Statements By Members

10:55 a.m.

Liberal

Paul Steckle Huron—Bruce, ON

Mr. Speaker, my riding of Huron-Bruce abounds with an overwhelming amount of tourism features. Huron-Bruce follows the shores of Lake Huron, the land of sights and sounds that captivate the enthusiasm of visitors of all ages. Lakeside communities bring the Huron shoreline to life. Sauble Beach, Port Elgin, Southampton, Kincardine, Goderich and Grand Bend all feature excellent marinas, shopping, dining, festivals, theatres and playhouses, accommodation and camping. Inland communities such as Blyth offer the renowned Blyth Festival, agricultural heritage and a picturesque village nestled in the quiet stretches of endless farmland.

Huron-Bruce is a patchwork quilt of rural Canadian towns, farm landscapes, parks and Lake Huron shoreline. My riding is hometown proud and I extend to my colleagues, their families and friends an invitation to visit Huron-Bruce and experience the charm, culture and the boundless possibilities of a vacation destination.

Nuclear Fusion
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Natural Resources has announced the elimination of the $7.5 million grant that was paid annually to the tokamak project at the Canadian centre for magnetic fusion located in Varennes.

By killing this research project on a new form of clean energy that creates jobs, the minister sacrifices 20 years of development work in the area of fusion, $70 million in infrastructure and about 100 specialized jobs.

The minister had the audacity to say in this House that about 25 per cent of her department's investments in research and development were in Quebec. However, the union of professional scientists at the Institut de recherche en énergie du Québec tells us that, at the present time, the federal Department of Natural Resources and Atomic Energy of Canada Limited spend only 8 per cent of their energy research and development budget in Quebec. With the elimination of the tokamak project, this would fall to 6 per cent.

Once again Quebec is the big loser as a result of cuts made without any consideration for the future.

The Gakhal Family
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Reform

Darrel Stinson Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, today is my first opportunity for a private member's statement after a terrible tragedy struck the city of Vernon, B.C. where my constituency office is located.

On Easter weekend the Gakhal family was gathering for what was to have been a joyful occasion as one of their six children was getting married. Instead, the estranged husband of one daughter arrived at the home of his in-laws and proceeded to kill nine of his former relatives before he returned to his motel room and took his own life.

This Canadian family was such a long term part of the community that most other Vernon families knew one or more members of the Gakhal family. Their children were friends with children of my office staff.

As the member for Okanagan-Shuswap, I want to express both my personal sorrow and the appreciation of the people of Vernon and the Gakhal family for the moment of silence observed on April 15 by this House as requested by the member for Vancouver South. The funeral Saturday with all those open caskets was one of the saddest days in my life and in the history of Canada.

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Bloc

Gaston Leroux Richmond—Wolfe, QC

Mr. Speaker, "the need to unite Canadians is at the heart of the CBC's mandate" according to Mr. Perrin Beatty, president-

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

An hon. member

Order.

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

As the hon. member knows, we have certain restrictions in terms of our dress code.

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Bloc

Gaston Leroux Richmond—Wolfe, QC

I will put my jacket back on, Mr. Speaker.

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

I am afraid that will not be enough.

Eastern Kings Memorial Hospital
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

John Murphy Annapolis Valley—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, on March 30 I had the honour of attending the official opening of the Eastern Kings Memorial Community Health Centre in my riding of Annapolis Valley-Hants.

This hospital has worked hard to ensure that its doors remained open during the province's health care reform exercise. Due to the tenacity and the strong will of the people of Wolfville and the surrounding area, this centre will stay open. In fact, it has become the first community health centre to open under Nova Scotia's reformed health system. It will continue to deliver first class primary health care to the people of Eastern Kings county.

I would like all members of Parliament to join me in congratulating all of the volunteers and the staff who have worked so hard to make this happen. They have truly made their community a better place.