House of Commons Hansard #32 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was customs.

Topics

Latvian And Polish Independence Days
Statements By Members

November 18th, 1997 / 2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Sarmite Bulte Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, today Canadians of Latvian origin celebrate the 79th anniversary of their independence, and on November 11 Canadians of Polish origin celebrated theirs.

As the first member of Parliament of Baltic heritage, it gives me great pride to recognize these important dates.

It is an occasion to contemplate the rich traditions of these countries that serve as an inspiration for all who cherish the values of freedom and democracy.

In the aftermath of World War I, in 1918 the Republic of Latvia gained its independence and, at the same time, Poland regained its. However, this freedom was very shortlived. Under Soviet occupation it was lost. However, even a half century of totalitarian rule did not stifle the love of freedom and cultural heritage. In Poland it gave rise to solidarity.

In 1991, after the tragic killings in Vilnius and Riga, the Canadian government was the first to recognize the independence of—

Latvian And Polish Independence Days
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Beauport—Montmorency—Orléans.

Rail Transportation
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Beauport—Montmorency—Orléans, QC

Mr. Speaker, today representatives of the railway industry are visiting Parliament Hill in droves to talk to many senators and members on the importance of rail transportation. I am proud to say that rail transportation is vital to a healthy economy in the major centres and the regions of Quebec and Canada.

In recent years, we have witnessed the birth of many short line railways. The entrepreneurship of their management and the flexibility of their operation enable them to free up the roadways in the regions and to maintain safe transportation.

Because their infrastructures connect with the main railway lines, the short line railways link their clientele to the vast North American market.

I join with industry members in reminding people that, for many businesses, the way to the future is by rail. Let us keep it competitive.

Tunisia
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Jacques Saada Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, on November 7, 1997, President Ben Ali celebrated ten years as the head of my country of origin, Tunisia.

In an attempt to dispel certain myths circulated by extremists and too often given media attention, I would like to tell this House of the measures President Ben Ali has announced in connection with this anniversary. They include greater separation of the executive and legislative branches, the prohibition of race and religion as bases for political parties, public funding of political parties, enshrinement of the equality of men and women in the exercise of democracy, guaranteed seats for the opposition in the chamber of deputies and on municipal councils, a multi-party system, confirmation of the role of judges in connection with passports, and so on.

All these measures reflect values that we as Canadians hold dear. I congratulate President Ben Ali on leading his people along the route to an ever stronger democracy and I offer the expression of my affection to the people of Tunisia.

Hibernia
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Reform

Dave Chatters Athabasca, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate all those involved in the Hibernia project and the people of Newfoundland for yesterday's milestone event when oil began to flow one month ahead of schedule and under budget. This day has been long awaited not only by the people of Newfoundland but the shareholders and taxpayers.

Investors can now begin to see a return on the billions of dollars used to finance the megaproject. Shareholders now have confidence to invest in future offshore oil projects. The people of Newfoundland will have up to 650 well paying jobs for the next several decades.

Newfoundland Premier Brian Tobin is quoted as saying that he expects Newfoundland to be a have province by the end of the decade. We Albertans know well the pride and benefits when oil flows.

Once again, congratulations to the people of Newfoundland.

Irish Famine
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Pat O'Brien London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, the summer of 1997 was named the Irish Summer by Heritage Canada in honour of the victims of the great Irish famine from 1845 to 1850. During these five terrible years in Ireland, one million people died of starvation and famine fever. Another one million fled across the Atlantic, some 300,000 to British North America, including my own ancestors.

These Irish refugees were escaping repeated failures of the potato crops, but also brutal and indifferent economic theories which held sway at the so-called centre of civilization.

The worst year of all was 1847, Black '47, when 20,000 Irish died on the coffin ships or in the quarantine stations of Grosse Isle, Quebec and Partridge Island, New Brunswick.

One hundred and fifty years later this government affirmed its commitment to preserve and protect the sacred burial grounds and monuments. The best tribute to the victims of the Irish famine is that Canada always be a nation which welcomes the refugee peoples of our world.

Francophonie Summit
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, being the proud Acadian that I am, I would like to congratulate the City of Moncton on being selected to host the next Francophonie summit. This is an honour that highlights the vitality and diversity of all francophone communities in Canada.

At the Moncton summit, the focus will be on youth, the youth that represents the future of the French community. It is therefore important to look at the challenges facing young francophones worldwide on the eve of a new millennium.

The Francophonie summit will generate significant economic benefits in the Moncton area and throughout New Brunswick. On the heels of the successful 1995 Congrès mondial des Acadiens, the Moncton area has demonstrated its capacity to host an international event.

The hard working spirit and hospitality of Acadians are legendary and will no doubt ensure the success of the 1999 summit in Moncton.

Quebec City Mayor
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebec City mayor Jean-Paul L'Allier is still reluctant to fly the Canadian flag in front of city hall, arguing that doing so would invite vandalism and violence.

Perhaps mayor L'Allier could show the same faith in the good conduct of his fellow citizens in this instance as he did when a monument was erected to commemorate the stupid remark General de Gaulle uttered on Canadian soil.

“Don de Dieu ferai valoir” is your beautiful city's motto, Mr. Mayor. Instead of coming up with all sorts of tricks to better serve the king of separatist colonials, Lucien I, you should do the honourable thing and represent all those Quebec City residents who are proud to be Canadians and proud to be Quebeckers.

You should not hesitate to pay tribute to the symbol of the greatest country in the world, a country that still counts Quebec City as one of its jewels. A decision on this matter will be made at city hall on December 1.

I therefore urge all Canadians and Quebeckers to pressure mayor L'Allier by calling city hall in Quebec City.

Hibernia
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Charlie Power St. John's West, NL

Mr. Speaker, today the people of Newfoundland and Labrador are celebrating the birth of a new industry.

Yesterday as oil flowed on board the $5.8 billion Hibernia platform, workers celebrated their accomplishments. Many of the 5,800 constructions workers, 90% of whom are Newfoundlanders, are also quite proud of their contribution.

It is also time for Canadians to share in our celebration. Of the $5.8 billion cost, $2.7 billion was spent in Newfoundland, but $1.4 billion was also spent in other parts of Canada.

The $1.8 billion loan guarantee of the Government of Canada will never be called upon. The billion dollar grant will be repaid in full. In fact, Canada will receive much more now that the amount of recoverable oil has been significantly increased.

This new industry with a potential of $100 billion of business from the 5.8 billion barrels of oil and 52 billion cubic feet of natural gas will be a major contributor to Canada's oil supply, government revenues and business profits.

On behalf of all Newfoundlanders we are delighted to begin our contribution.

North Brampton Youth Drop-In Centre
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Sarkis Assadourian Brampton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate and commend the efforts of the North Brampton Youth Drop-in Centre committee to create a place that the youth of my riding of Brampton Centre can call their own.

The aims of the committee are to address the issue of teen violence in Brampton, to provide a safe haven off the street, and to provide the youth with opportunities to develop a stronger sense of community and belonging.

I fully support the creation of the youth drop-in centre in the Heart Lake district of my riding and I urge all stakeholders at the provincial and municipal levels to endorse the creation of this very worthwhile project and support the youth of our communities.

Airbus
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, it is about time for some answers on this Airbus affair.

The former prime minister says there was a high level government plot to smear his name and then an attempt to cover up the plot. The current prime minister denies the whole thing. He says there were no Liberal ministers involved. He says the whole idea came from a lowly RCMP sergeant who was just sitting around in the police station and decided to go after the former prime minister.

Two prime ministers and two different stories. Which prime minister is telling the truth?

Airbus
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, in January of this year there was an agreement signed with the lawyers of the former prime minister. It was written in the settlement that was tabled in the House today that the parties accept that the RCMP on its own initiated the Airbus investigation.

The documents were tabled in the House. That was a statement made by Mr. Mulroney, through his lawyers, in January 1997.

Airbus
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the prime minister says that no Liberal politicians were involved.

Yesterday outside the House the Deputy Prime Minister admitted that the Airbus investigation is continuing, it is still going on. When he was asked if Brian Mulroney is still a suspect, he did not rule that out.

Is Brian Mulroney still under investigation or not? If he is not, why does the government not retract the letter to the Swiss which started this whole mess in the first place?

Airbus
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the RCMP said that it is still carrying on the investigation.

It is up to the RCMP to decide who it investigates; it is not for the government to decide. The RCMP in doing its job never mentions the names of the people who are being investigated because if there is no charge there is no need to know the names. We have to respect the freedom of individuals who are not called to appear before the courts.

Airbus
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, what has this bungled Airbus investigation accomplished? It has wasted a lot of taxpayer money. It has tarnished the reputation of the justice department and it has tarnished a lot of personal reputations as well.

I am no fan of Brian Mulroney but even he has the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Who in the government is responsible for this mess? Was it the solicitor general, is it the justice minister, is it the former justice minister or is it the prime minister?