House of Commons Hansard #121 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was appointments.

Topics

International Development Week
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria Minister for International Cooperation and Minister responsible for Francophonie

Mr. Speaker, I want to talk to you about international development week but before, I wish to offer my condolences to the family and friends of Father Guy Pinard, who was assassinated yesterday while celebrating mass in Rwanda.

A native of Shawinigan, Father Pinard spent several years of his life helping the poorest of the poor in Rwanda. I had the opportunity today to speak with the Rwandan minister, Dr. Charles Muringande, who indicated his government's intention of ensuring better safety in the area of the country where this crime was committed and to make sure that such reprehensible acts can be avoided in the future.

Be that as it may, Father Pinard's death is a great tragedy. With him we have lost a courageous man. He will be greatly missed in Rwanda as well as here in Canada.

I will now talk to you about international development week. In the next few days, Canadian men and women will have the opportunity to learn a little more about the outstanding efforts made by our fellow countrymen and countrywomen and their partners in developing countries.

Every first week of February, we have an opportunity to thank the international development workers for the future they are preparing for our children and all the children of the world. Until February 8, throughout the country, community and educational activities will highlight the challenges facing developing countries and the opportunities development represents for Canada.

This year's theme, "The World Ahead", is about our shared future. It is about a world where better health, education and economic opportunities in developing countries mean increased peace and increased prosperity for all, for the world. It is about seeing today's development partners not only as tomorrow's trading partners, but also as today's neighbours in the global village. It is about the hundreds of thousands of men, women and children worldwide who are creating that shared future right now.

An increasing number of Canadians, particularly young men and women, are getting involved in international development. During

recent visits, I met with people and discussed with them the work they do in developing countries.

By setting up medical clinics, building water supply systems, cleaning up the environment or enacting human rights legislation, they create links that bring nations of the world closer to one another. Their action has an immediate impact but also contributes to ensure a better future.

Every day Canadians are making a contribution to development: innovating, adapting and learning from their partners. Throughout international development week we will see and hear about the exciting work that they are doing. It is work worth recognizing and worth celebrating. I invite all hon. members of the House to join me this week to reflect on the challenges of international development and to salute the Canadians who are helping to build the world ahead. As I said previously, that is the theme of this year's development week.

During international development week, I invite my colleagues in the House and all Canadians to "Think of the World".

International Development Week
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Bloc

Philippe Paré Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, International Development Week gives me an opportunity, as the Bloc Quebecois critic for international co-operation, to recognize the outstanding contribution of non-governmental organizations in this area. Efforts made here and abroad, in the north as well as in the south, to promote sustainable development deserve to be recognized and encouraged.

Over the years, Canada has established a very good reputation in development thanks mainly to the excellent work of our nameless ambassadors who sometimes put their life on the line like Father Pinard did.

Unfortunately, the official development assistance budget has been cut by 28 percent over four years, including the cuts that will be made during the present fiscal year. We have to confess that the present Canadian foreign policy emphasizes trade and not co-operation. Moreover it is ironic that the minister should talk about public education activities during this week, when CIDA has cut by 100 percent the subsidies to NGOs whose mandate it was in the public participation program.

Since the international cooperation minister urges us to think about international development issues, I am taking this opportunity to emphasize that the level of poverty throughout the world is rising, as mentioned in the report of the UN development program made public last October. Sustainable development is the very basis of a lasting solution for millions of people. Let us keep that in mind, especially during this week.

International Development Week
Routine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Reform

Bob Mills Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would also like to address the death of Father Pinard and extend condolences on behalf of the Reform Party to his family and friends.

Father Pinard was tragically murdered while delivering communion in Rwanda. This senseless and shameful act has shocked Canadians and has reminded us all of the dangers faced by many Canadian men and women who work abroad under very difficult and uncertain circumstances to relieve human suffering.

Father Pinard fought for decades to bring hope and love of God to the people of Rwanda. Even in the face of other recent shootings he did not abandon his parishioners. He served them to the very end and this will not be forgotten by Canadians.

On behalf of the Reform Party it is a pleasure to respond to the minister's statement on International Development Week 1997. For decades Canadians have made a great contribution in the area of international development. Thousands have volunteered their time and millions have donated money to aid the cause.

Given this commitment by Canadians, it is also important that the federal government do its part and support the priorities of grassroots Canadians by matching the contributions raised privately by non-governmental organizations and church groups. I believe that Canadians prefer this approach rather than spending large amounts of aid dollars on government to government handouts. By working with grassroots organizations our aid dollars will more effectively help the world's poorest people by providing for basic human needs such as primary education, basic health care and sanitation. Canada will help to bring an end to the cycle of poverty and dependency that is common in many parts of the developing world. This is a worthy goal.

In addition since the minister mentioned human rights, I would argue that his government should act, not just simply talk. When Reformers consulted our grassroots membership on this topic at Assembly 96, they voted overwhelmingly to oppose giving foreign aid to governments that abuse basic human rights. This is a good idea and I am sure that most Canadians would agree with it.

Canadians have already done a great deal to foster international development but we can do better. We can make sure that our shrinking aid budget is spent more effectively and we can expect greater accountability for that spending from CIDA which should be given a true legislative mandate. If we do all this, then our development program will be on track for the 21st century.

Committees Of The House
Routine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Liberal

Jim Peterson Willowdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to table the committee's report on Bill C-70, which harmonizes the GST with the provincial sales taxes in the three Atlantic provinces and contains about one hundred amendments.

I would like very much at this time to thank members of the committee from all parties who worked so diligently and very intensely over the holidays before the House came back. I would also like to thank our staff who were splendid as always.

I would ask that this bill harmonizing the tax in the three Atlantic provinces with the GST be tabled at this moment.

Committees Of The House
Routine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Fundy Royal
New Brunswick

Liberal

Paul Zed Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present in both official languages the 49th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs regarding the membership of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts.

Mr. Speaker, I move that the 49th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs be concurred in.

(Motion agreed to.)

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Liberal

John Harvard Winnipeg—St. James, MB

Mr. Speaker, I have the pleasure and honour to present a petition on behalf of dozens of Manitobans, some of whom are my constituents.

The petitioners want to bring to the attention of the House the substandard condition of our national highway system. They urge the Government of Canada to join the provincial governments to upgrade the highway system which would bring on, among other things, the following benefits: job creation, economic development, saving lives and avoiding injuries, lower vehicle operating costs and greater international competitiveness.

I am happy to give my support to this petition.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Liberal

Ovid Jackson Bruce—Grey, ON

.): Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to table on behalf of 25 of my constituents a petition with regard to breast milk substitution.

The petitioners feel that a child has the best opportunity for life when breast fed and that breast milk substitutes should be discouraged. Indeed, we have endorsed that at the United Nations. The petitioners feel very strongly about this.

Since children are our best products and the best attributes that our country would have, we have much better health situations when they are breast fed. We try to pursue that policy. I agree with the petitioners and will table the petition on their behalf.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition from the people of Peterborough riding who want a nuclear weapons free future for their children.

The petitioners urge the nuclear weapons states to commit themselves to a binding timetable leading to the elimination of nuclear weapons by the year 2020. They urge that Canada participate with other non-nuclear weapons nations in Abolition 2000, which is the international campaign leading to the abolition of nuclear weapons worldwide by the year 2020.

These petitioners ask Parliament to support an international convention with a binding timetable to be signed by the year 2000 for the abolition of all nuclear weapons by the year 2020.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Liberal

John O'Reilly Victoria—Haliburton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to present under Standing Order 36.

The first one calls on Parliament to renew and ensure that AIDS funding goes beyond March 1998 and to renew the national AIDS strategy now.

This is a petition from the people in Victoria-Haliburton.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Liberal

John O'Reilly Victoria—Haliburton, ON

Mr. Speaker, the second petition is presented under Standing Order 36 also calls on the Parliament of Canada assembled to enact legislation to ensure that Canada remains one country, undivided, from coast to coast to coast.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Liberal

Gary Pillitteri Niagara Falls, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition from the residents of Niagara Falls and the Niagara peninsula.

The petitioners call on Parliament to urge the federal government to join the provincial governments to make the national highway system upgrading possible.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Liberal

Julian Reed Halton—Peel, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present a petition signed by 172 constituents of the riding of Halton-Peel who pray that Parliament enact Bill C-205 introduced by the hon. member for Scarborough West at the earliest opportunity in order to provide, in Canadian law, that no criminal profits from committing a crime.

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Rocheleau Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. I would like to remind you once again that I put four questions on the Order Paper last September and that, according to our Standing Orders, the government has 45 days to answer this type of questions. We are now at the beginning of February and I am still awaiting answers to my questions, which concern family trusts.

I can assure you that during the holiday season, I met many people from my riding and from other ridings as well and that, generally speaking, taxpayers from Canada and Quebec are very much interested in these questions.

I find it deplorable that the hon. parliamentary secretary has already told me here in the House that the government was preparing to respond to this type of question on the number of family trusts, a ranking of categories of family trusts by size, the impact on the Canadian taxation system of the creation of family trusts in 1972, and the number of trusts transferring their assets out of the country, about which we have learned recently after revelations by the auditor general.

Mr. Speaker, I am counting on you to ensure that the government answers these questions, which are of major public interest. Judging by the reaction of the parliamentary secretary, there is something to hide.

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:45 p.m.

Fundy Royal
New Brunswick

Liberal

Paul Zed Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the following questions will be answered today: Nos. 52, 58, 60 and 94.

Question No. 52-

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

3:45 p.m.

Reform

Garry Breitkreuz Yorkton—Melville, SK

-For each of the last 10 years, how many seized firearms have been destroyed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and ( a ) how many of these firearms could be described as firearms commonly used for hunting and sporting purposes, including how many prohibited weapons, restricted weapons, rifles and shotguns, and ( b ) what is the fair market value of these firearms with collectors, hunters and sport shooters, and ( c ) why did the RCMP Forensic Laboratories, Firearms Section, destroy approximately 2,617 firearms in 1994 rather than offer these firearms for sale to individual firearm owners who are authorized by the RCMP to own these types of firearms?