House of Commons Hansard #147 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was tax.

Topics

Canadian Volunteer Service Medal For United Nations Peacekeeping Act
Private Members' Business

6:05 p.m.

Bloc

Jean H. Leroux Shefford, QC

Madam Speaker, first I want to congratulate the hon. member for Saanich-Gulf Islands for his great tenacity and for his sense of duty.

As we all know, the hon. member had a long and distinguished military career. He has made a major contribution to the defence committee, because of his expertise and also because he is a true gentleman. Indeed, the hon. member has provided a lot of input in the work of the defence committee.

Today, the Bloc Quebecois, on whose behalf I am speaking, is pleased to support this bill, which will allow peacekeepers throughout the world to promote democracy and to preserve freedom, so that the world can become a better place. As I said, we are pleased to support this bill.

Ever since the UN was founded, Canada has been taking part in peacekeeping missions all over the world. However, there is currently no medal awarded to the military, civilians or policemen who serve with a peacekeeping mission. Under this bill, we would now be able to award such a medal.

Canada is aware of the many limitations of peacekeeping operations. Canada, which is an average size country, must continue to take part in these missions but, as we have always pointed out, it must do so according to its means. I think that, as a career military person himself, the hon. member for Saanich-Gulf Islands understood that we can acknowledge such contributions, but do it our own way. We need not compare ourselves to the

greatest and wealthiest of this world, but only to ourselves and see what we can offer.

Since Lester Pearson, Canada has deployed forces wherever they were required to uphold principles. I think that, through this bill, through the hon. member's tenacity and, of course, through the government's support for this bill-everyone agrees on this-we now have a bill providing that all these men and women who participated in peacekeeping missions can be honoured. We cannot put a price on that, I feel. It is not the metal that counts, but the symbol.

I find it interesting that, under this bill, the medal can be awarded posthumously. There are people who sacrificed their lives and their family will receive this honour on their behalf.

As I said earlier, the Bloc Quebecois members are very happy to support this bill. I think it promotes democracy and at least those people who participated in peacekeeping missions will have a tangible reminder of their deed.

Canadian Volunteer Service Medal For United Nations Peacekeeping Act
Private Members' Business

6:10 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Ringuette-Maltais)

Pursuant to order made on Tuesday, March 18, 1997, all questions necessary to dispose of Bill C-300 at report and third reading stages are deemed to have been proposed, put and carried.

Accordingly the bill is concurred in at report stage, read the third time and passed.

(Motion agreed to, bill read the third time and passed.)

The House resumed from February 6 consideration of the motion and of the amendment.

Canadian Census
Private Members' Business

6:10 p.m.

Reform

Val Meredith Surrey—White Rock—South Langley, BC

Madam Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise to speak on Motion No. 277 of the hon. member for Beaver River. It is a topic which is very dear to my heart.

I raised this issue on September 29, 1995 in question period and again on October 2, 1995 in question period because it was brought to my attention that the option of claiming to be a Canadian would not be on the new census.

Having been one of the Canadians who had a long census form to fill out, I found it very interesting, particularly Question No. 19 and its confused language, nationality, geographic origin and colour. Trying to answer Question No. 19 became extremely difficult.

One of the options under Question No. 19 was other. Because Canadian was not listed anywhere in that question, I had the uncomfortable situation of having to place Canadian under other. I refused to identify myself as a colour, as belonging to some geographic region or as someone who speaks a certain language. For a government not to allow Canadians to identify themselves as being Canadian is not progressive.

I am faced daily with people who are assumed to be immigrants and newcomers to Canada. Some of these immigrants have lived in Canada for 20 or 30 years. Because we as a government insist on breaking people down based on the origins of the family trees of individuals who are Canadians in all sense of the word-they pay taxes, use and pay for the facilities, the hospitals and the schools, have citizenship and vote in elections-they are not able to call themselves Canadians on our census form.

I do not want to leave the impression that I do not believe it is important to accumulate statistics. It is very important. It is acceptable for persons to be asked in a straightforward manner their racial background and left to determine what they want to put down, whether it is Irish, Scottish, Jamaican, Korean or whatever. They should not be asked if they are white or black, from the Philippines or from the Punjab. That is the wrong way to ask for a person's racial background or nationality. It is for statistical reasons only.

Canadians must be allowed to proudly claim that they are Canadian. I do not care whether a person is a brand new Canadian who got his or her citizenship the day before the census form arrived, or are Canadian born, or are a Canadian who has been here for 30 or 40 years. People who have come to this country or who were born here and are proud of being Canadian should be encouraged to state that on a census form.

It was with trepidation that I filled Canadian under other. It is a disgrace to have to put Canadian under the category of other. I also took the opportunity to fill in my lineage which was quite an interesting experience since I am a typical Canadian. My parentage is Scottish, Irish, Pennsylvania Dutch, German, Swedish and a few other other things to boot. That is what being a Canadian is all about. I felt I was not able, through the census form, to indicate honestly what I felt: I am proud to be Canadian. I am proud to be a third or fourth generation Canadian. I was saddened that my children could not put down that they are Canadians.

My hon. colleague's motion asks to return to the use of the word Canadian in questions like question No. 19. I do not buy the answers I received to my questions in question period. I quote the Minister of Industry: "On the issue of race, in the past people have

made calculations based on language rather than a specific question on racial origin. This time we think the provision of fuller information will give us a much better understanding of the make-up of Canadian society that should be beneficial for a wide range of purposes".

I would like to know what is the "range of purposes". I would like to know what the government is planning. It feels it has to segregate little communities. Depending on how it feels it must segregate them from each other. I really think this is a very divisive way of dealing with new Canadians.

My hon. colleague from Beaver River is looking to the unity of the country when she suggests that the federal government should be concerned about those things that bring Canadians together, about recognizing Canadianism. The identification of being Canadian is one of those things that will unify the country rather than divide it.

Any government program that is designed to give special consideration to any individual over another is wrong, particularly if it is based on gender, race, religion, geography or colour. Any government legislation that does not treat all Canadians equally is wrong. I fully support my colleague from Beaver River. I appreciate her efforts in trying to return some pride in being Canadian and in trying to return the ability to exercise the right to put Canadian down not as other, not as an afterthought, but very proudly to claim oneself to be a Canadian. I look forward to the next census I have to fill in where I can mark Canadian rather than other.

Canadian Census
Private Members' Business

6:15 p.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Calgary Northeast, AB

Madam Speaker, I too would like to commend the member for Beaver River for bringing this motion forward. In particular, I would like to thank that member for allowing me the opportunity to speak to the motion.

We are in an age where government seems to be intruding into so many areas of our lives. I can name a number of bills recently introduced in the House that do exactly that. One has to ask the question why. For example, think about the Canadian Wheat Board and its impact on many farmers in the country, especially western farmers, in how they sell their product. Some desire to sell their own grain but cannot do so because of the restrictions placed on them by the government.

I look at the gun control bill and see again a very intrusive feature. Some sections in the gun control legislation impact directly on law-abiding people. I do not think that is acceptable to the majority of people in the country.

Some of the more recent broadcasting legislation impinges on those who have businesses in that area. We see control on what can be broadcast, what can be sent out over the airwaves and what cannot. That is not to say that there should not be some legislation or restriction, but here we have restrictions that are going much deeper than what should be.

Coming up to the census, Statistics Canada, under the Department of Industry, claimed that the purpose of the question, in particular question No. 19 on the long form, was to organize population by selected ethnic origins. Those are the reasons it gave for collecting this data. This, irrespective of the politically correct spin bureaucrats and social engineers attempt to put on it, is nothing more than the labelling of people on the basis of race. Most people just want to be called Canadians.

I look at my own riding. I live in a very multicultural riding. I have neighbours who are from India, Jamaica and the Middle East. For the most part, they would like to be considered as Canadians. They came to Canada just for that reason. They do not come here to be hyphenated Canadians, which is what is the official multicultural policy of this Liberal government, which unfortunately was introduced some time back into the House and imposed on the people.

I refer to a statement made by Bruce Petrie, the StatsCan official overseeing the census. He said that question 19 was changed on the 1996 census from other past censuses "because too many minorities born in Canada were listing themselves as Canadian". This upset Mr. Petrie. One would have to ask: Why would this upset Mr. Petrie? I might point out that this quote came from the Fredericton Daily Gleaner newspaper of May 13.

Mr. Petrie goes on to say: "So someone who is black and speaks English and was born in Canada puts Canadian- That gives us no information to estimate the number of black visible minority people. We are not trying to measure race per se. We are purely and simply trying to enumerate visible minorities under existing federal legislation".

Again one would have to ask why. Why would the government want to enumerate visible minorities under the existing legislation? There is no question that it is a divisive form of regulation.

Let us go a little bit deeper. I have had the opportunity to speak to RCMP officials. In fact in the Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs this point was brought up. They want to have a quota system on the different visible minority groups in the country. The only way they can do that is to determine the number or percentages of those different visible minorities through the census.

The whole point is being missed if we engineer, for instance, a police force, selecting those according to their race as opposed to choosing the best there is regardless of race.

Canadians know and feel that this is a form of social engineering, and they do not care to hear that kind of spin. Mr. Petrie would certainly fall into that category because it is people such as himself who really drive this kind of a policy, with the blessings of the government, in particular the Liberal government.

Putting a hyphen before Canadian, so people become French-Canadian, Turkish-Canadian, Greek-Canadian, Somali-Canadian, Israeli-Canadian, Hungarian-Canadian or whatever, has to be the most divisive aspect of Canadian society. It puts us all into little boxes and categories. I suggest this undoubtedly is the purpose of the census information. It is going to be used for that very reason.

I am going to speak again of my own riding, a very multicultural riding. I see evidence there of this form of blocking of the community by race or background. That does not enhance unity, nor does it benefit those who come here from different ethnic backgrounds or countries.

Canadians are painfully aware that Liberal politicians use the information gathered from question No. 19 on the Canadian census to appease minority groups to attract votes, so it has another purpose. Vote buying.

Canadian Census
Private Members' Business

March 19th, 1997 / 6:25 p.m.

Liberal

Morris Bodnar Saskatoon—Dundurn, SK

Ludicrous.

Canadian Census
Private Members' Business

6:25 p.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Calgary Northeast, AB

The member across the way said it is ludicrous to say that, but that is exactly what is happening. The Liberal Party has been a master at such manipulation.

Canadian Census
Private Members' Business

6:25 p.m.

Liberal

Morris Bodnar Saskatoon—Dundurn, SK

You should be embarrassed at what you are saying.

Canadian Census
Private Members' Business

6:25 p.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Calgary Northeast, AB

No, I am not embarrassed by what I am saying. I think that it is important that Canadians hear it.

These same politicians also create quota systems for public service jobs. It is a quota system that only impacts in areas where the ruling party of the day allows it to take place. It is a form of reverse discrimination. It is contrary to the equality of all citizens. It sullies our reputation as a country which selects people for jobs on the principle of merit rather than socially engineered notions of race and entitlement.

Let us look further into this point of the census. The state is demanding answers that are none of its business. The census also asks Canadians to divulge other information: the marital status and sex of room mates and/or inhabitants of their home; how much money they make; how many books they have read in the past six months; how often they take a vacation without the children; how many windows they have which face north. That sounds like a real valuable piece of information.

The government assures respondents that the information collected from the census is confidential. I have been in the House for about three and a half years. I realize that the information gathered in many of the departments within the government is not confidential. It is like a sieve and it leaks out all over.

The notion that the records will be kept confidential in my opinion is absurd. I believe that a lot of Canadians have the fear that it is not as safe as what the government would lead people to believe.

For the reasons that I have outlined I have to urge that all members of the House carefully examine Motion No. 277 and support it in a vote.

Canadian Census
Private Members' Business

6:25 p.m.

Reform

Myron Thompson Wild Rose, AB

Madam Speaker, I too am pleased to be able to have the opportunity to speak to the motion of my colleague from Beaver River. I am especially thankful for this opportunity, having become a Canadian by choice.

When I received the census form this year I was one of the individuals who received the long one. I cannot say exactly what people feel like coming to a country and choosing it to be their land. My wife and I came here in 1968 and fell in love with the country and wanted to call it home. We chose to be Canadian.

Then along came this long census form. We saw choices of what to mark but could not mark Canadian because it was not on the form. I must admit the hairs on the back of my neck, because that is the only place I have any, started to rise. I was getting angry.

I thought for a minute I should send a message by putting in cocker spaniel. However cocker spaniel did not fit the way I felt at the time and I thought pit bull would be better. I wanted to put in something to drive home the point that I would like very much as a person who has chosen Canada to be my home to write Canadian and be proud to do so.

I wrote in the word Canadian. I was not going to sit back and say it was crazy. I just cannot say how pleased I was to hear from the social engineers on that side of the room. That is all this is, social engineering. I probably would be one of those who would get in trouble for not obeying the rule. We are required to obey rules.

However this leads to things that really bothered me. After we arrived here we had one child born in Canada. He by birth is a Canadian and very proud of it. As a Canadian he took advantage of some of the opportunities available to him. He joined the air cadets as a young man and spent five to six years in them. He was very pleased with that program and I was pleased he did well. After graduating from high school it was his desire to become a soldier. He wanted to be a little better trained so he decided to go to university to take some computer courses, which was a wise thing to do, and to join the militia in Red Deer, Alberta.

He got acquainted with a group of people and spent two to three years in the militia, along with getting some computer training at

university. When he turned 22 he decided it was time to fulfil his life dream to become a soldier in the Canadian army.

That is when everything fell apart. At the recruitment office in Calgary he was told that because of his physical make-up there would be no need for him to apply as a soldier in the Canadian army for at least six years. It was necessary to fill the positions available with other types of individuals.

That is totally shameful. That is exactly what happened. I hope the member from Saskatchewan will not bother me with heckling, nonsense and hogwash about quotas. I now have a son whose life dream is being fulfilled. He got to be a soldier. It is only because of where we came from that he was able to go south of the border. Within three days the United States army took him because of his qualifications. He has now been serving for over a year. He has received a promotion and is doing very well. They were quite intrigued with his qualifications and took him.

In the Canadian army he was told: "Maybe in six years, but we must fill these positions with other types of people". I thought Canadians should be able to fill those positions, particularly Canadians who believe in the sovereignty of the land and are willing to defend that sovereignty. Then along comes this form which does not include the word Canadian.

A lot of things make me very proud to be Canadian. We flew the flag shortly after we came here as immigrants, before we qualified to become citizens. We were proud to be in Canada so we flew the flag. We could not be called Canadian at that time because we had not had the opportunity to become one. We went to citizenship court five years later when we qualified and walked away very pleased to say we were Canadian.

Ministers and social engineers on that side of the House figure that if they give out 20 million flags and get people to fly them everywhere it will be a good sign of their love and pride for the country. They have it all wrong.

As a result of this census and their so-called magnificent employment equity bill, somewhere down the road through all this social engineering and finagling even the people in private industry will be forced in some way or another to make sure jobs are filled with a certain quota. It is there already in a lot of places and it will be worse.

At least on the census form we could have the word Canadian. I really do not think it is a whole lot to ask for. I live in Canada. I love the country. I am a member of Parliament. I would have liked to be able to freely circle the word Canadian on that long form, and it was not even there. That is why I felt like putting pit bull on the form.

The social engineering that goes on in the House when it comes to this kind of stuff makes me feel like a pit bull more days than I would like to.

I have a son serving with the United States army in Georgia. He does not like it down there. He would like to be in the north. He would like to be in Canada. People who sit here and heckle, like the member from Saskatchewan who heckled my friend from Calgary Northeast when he was making his points, make life very difficult for those who truly want to be a Canadian and to serve their country in the best way they possibly can. They ought to be ashamed of themselves for making it virtually impossible for a number of Canadians to be able to do that.

Flying the flag is not the only thing. There are many other things we can do and they do not see it. They are too busy social engineering and doing the best they can for themselves.

Let us include the word Canadian in these census forms and be proud we put it there. It will give people an opportunity to say they are Canadian.

Canadian Census
Private Members' Business

6:35 p.m.

Reform

Ken Epp Elk Island, AB

Madam Speaker, it is a delight to stand in the House today to lend my support to the motion proposed by the member for Beaver River.

Sometimes I am asked what it means to be a Canadian. I have a number of different pictures in my mind of what it means to be a Canadian that are very strong, very emphatic.

I am privileged by the fact that my grandparents were literally chased out of their home country in 1923. They suffered great persecution there. A number of my relatives were unjustly murdered. My grandparents knew it was not a safe place for our family and wondered where to go. Through various circumstances which I do not have time to relate tonight they were able to find their way to this wonderful country, Canada.

I have recollections as a child growing up in a little farmhouse in Saskatchewan where I was born and raised. I remember overhearing my parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts and some of their friends talking about the life they had experienced in what they called the old country.

They talked about some of the hardships and difficulties they had gone through and some of the ways in which their freedoms had been totally taken away: their freedom to make a living the way they wanted to make a living and their freedom to worship the way they wanted to worship. Those freedoms were wrenched away from them and they came to this country. I remember them talking about how grateful and how blessed we were as a family because we could be Canadian.

I remember being at the home of my grandparents many times. Whether it was to celebrate a birthday, Easter or Christmas we would get together as a family and my grandparents would lead us

in family prayers. My grandmother was more expressive than my grandfather. In her prayers she would say over and over: "Thank you for the privilege of living in this wonderful free country". They came here with 10 children. As an aside, until last year all of them were still living. The youngest was 75. I come from hardy stock. We live long.

My grandparents, my uncles and aunts on both sides of my family came to this country as immigrants, worked hard and helped to open up the west. They helped to till the land to produce food to feed themselves and others. They were as proud as we are to be part of this country. My parents were 12 years old when they came to Canada so I am a first generation Canadian. I was actually born in Saskatchewan. I called that home until I married and moved to Alberta. I have very strong attachments.

There is especial attachment to the country when one grows up in a farm family and tills the soil. There is an attachment to the land when one actually works the soil and grows food for sustenance, because we all know that without food we would not survive.

I have other recollections about being in this country. One of the most valuable ones was that of my son who has served in different places in the world where people were experiencing the same kinds of hardships my grandparents experienced. Because of our family heritage, partially at least, he felt it was a useful to spend part of his life helping others who were in difficult circumstances. He worked with various relief agencies around the world, carrying and wearing a Canadian flag. He went there not only in the name of the organization he was with but also in the name of our country.

A most recent recollection I had of the value of being a Canadian was a very moving experience for me. I participated for the first time ever in the ceremony of welcoming new Canadians at a citizenship court. It happened last year on July 1. We were in the historic court house in Fort Saskatchewan. As I recall the court house was built before Saskatchewan became a province and joined Confederation. It was an historical court house. There we were up on the second floor with a number of different people who were making Canada their home.

One lady in particular struck me. As she reached out to take from the presiding judge her citizenship papers there were tears literally streaming down her cheeks. It touched me because I had the recollection of my grandmother who had that same emotional reaction, that tie, that love of this country.

When I talked to her afterwards she said essentially the same thing that my grandmother had said: "I came from a country of great strife and I am so proud, so happy and so blessed to be a Canadian".

I do not believe that I can express more strongly or with more emotion my support for the bill before the House today. It is a bill which says let us call ourselves Canadians. This is the most valued

part of planet Earth. It is the most enviable place to live. There are people around the world who would literally give anything they have to live here, but for some reason we are hesitant to say that we are Canadians.

I thank the House for the opportunity to speak to this motion. I urge all members on all sides of the House to support the motion not because of any partisan consideration but simply because it is the right thing to do.

Canadian Census
Private Members' Business

6:45 p.m.

Reform

John Williams St. Albert, AB

Madam Speaker, I am very glad to rise to speak to the motion which was introduced by the hon. member for Beaver River.

I guess you might call me a new Canadian, having been born in Scotland. I came here when I was 23 years of age. Unfortunately that is quite some number of years ago. I cannot do anything about that. Nonetheless, I am a new Canadian.

When I go back to Scotland to visit the many relatives and friends I still have over there, after a few short weeks I want to come back to Canada. This is my home.

I have family here. I have a wife and two fine young boys. My wife was also born in Scotland. My boys were born here and they are Canadian. They think of themselves as being Canadian. They have lived in this country or all their lives, apart from a few weeks when they visited Europe. What are they forced to put down on the census form? Certainly not Canadian.

The Prime Minister stands in the House and tells us about how this is the greatest country in the world. I endorse that statement. I think this is the greatest country in the world and millions of people would agree with me. However, let us remember that these people built the greatest country in the world. It does not matter if they are of Scottish origin, like I and my family, or of the different origins which we have heard about in other speeches. They all came here with a dream, with a hope, with an aspiration for a new beginning, wanting to be Canadian.

I came here thinking that I wanted to be Canadian. For over 20 years I have held a Canadian passport. I am proud of that, yet there is nothing I can put down on the census form which salutes and recognizes that fact.

We have heard other speakers tell about the tragedies of where their families came from. One of the great heritages of Canada is that while, for example, Scotland has a great history of emigration, Canada has a great history of immigration. That is what has made this country strong.

My Scottish history tells me that a couple of hundred years ago the Highlands clearances occurred and Scottish people's houses were burned down and the kids were left to starve in the snow. Some of them were able to make their way across the great Atlantic Ocean to Canada. While they may have a strong emotional

attachment to Scotland and call themselves Canadians with Scottish roots, many of them have never left this country, and yet they cannot call themselves Canadian.

I think back to the last war when Canadians liberated Holland. The people of Holland are proud of it and grateful. As we know, every year there are hundreds of thousands of bulbs sent over here from Holland because the Canadians liberated their land. They were not hyphenated Canadians, coloured Canadians, white Canadians or other kinds of Canadians. All they know is Canadians liberated their land.

Even when I was a little fellow back in Scotland they talked about how the Canadians had worked around where I grew up and the sawmills they built and the work they had done for the war effort. They talked about Canadians. When I go over to Scotland on a holiday, again these people see us as Canadians and are proud and envious of what we have. Yet here in Canada we do not even want to recognize who we are with our history of immigration.

While people have come from all around the world and from desperate situations, each and every one of them has found freedom. However, now we find that our freedoms are being eroded. They are being pigeon holed, classified and counted according to groups so that this government can come out with a little subsidy program to say "we are going to give some money to you and to you" because we are all categorized into different groups. There are some of Scottish heritage, some of other heritage, some who are black, some who are white, some who are crippled, some who are handicapped and so on. The government is going to count them all up so that it can see what the differences are. That is divisive.

When the pioneers came to settle the prairies, I do not think they cared two hoots about where a person came from. It was can he work and can he put his shoulder to the wheel and does he believe in building this wonderful land that we have. That was all that mattered.

Now, in this great social engineering world that we are in, we have to get everybody categorized and pigeon holed so that we can design a program to fit them and have them developed down one certain road. We are going to help other people develop in a different way and somebody else go off in a different way so that we can keep ourselves apart. How are we ever going to build this national unity, national concept that we are Canadians from coast to coast, each and every one of us?

It can be done and it will be done eventually in spite of this government and in spite of government programs given enough time. However, it will take a very long time if we continue on with these divisive types of attitudes, categories, pigeon holes and labels and count them all one to ten. Do we deny some people access to a career even though they may qualify in merit but they happen to come out of the wrong pigeon hole?

I have had this happen in my own riding. I have had people in my office who had wanted to be members of the RCMP so bad that they could taste it. I can think of one fine young gentleman with a college degree who spent six hundred hours a year volunteering for the RCMP. His older brother is a member of the force. He would dearly love to be a member of the force. Wrong pigeon hole. He cannot join. He has every qualification in the book that is required and then some; yet wrong pigeon hole and he does not qualify.

This is the same as the member for Wild Rose. His son, wrong pigeon hole and cannot qualify.

I dearly love, as a new Canadian, speaking in this House. Think what that means when I travel back to Scotland and people say "you are a member of Parliament in Canada" and I say yes. They say "that is fabulous, how you have prospered over there". I have prospered. This country has been very good to me. Why, oh why do we deny ourselves the right to call ourselves Canadian? Do we deny the concept that we are Canadian, which could build unity and harmony within the country, rather than the divisiveness that the government wants to devise another program to solve. It is easy, Madam Speaker. Listen to the people. Do not listen to the government.

Canadian Census
Private Members' Business

6:50 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Ringuette-Maltais)

Is the House ready for the question?

Canadian Census
Private Members' Business

6:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Question.

Canadian Census
Private Members' Business

6:50 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Ringuette-Maltais)

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?