House of Commons Hansard #148 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was farmers.

Topics

Bill S-13
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Greg Thompson Charlotte, NB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the government House leader. Is the government willing to provide government time for the House to debate and vote on Bill S-13, an act to incorporate and to establish an industry levy to provide for the Canadian Anti-Smoking Youth Foundation?

Bill S-13
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I hate to disappoint the hon. member, but the negotiations between the opposition and the government in terms of House business occur at 3.30 today, not 3 o'clock.

Presence In Gallery
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

Today is a very special day for us in the House of Commons. In just a few moments I will present some 17 World War I veterans.

I want to explain first of all how I would prefer to proceed in this regard. I will say just a very few words and I will present the veterans who are behind me. All of you can see them from your seats.

You will understand that when I call out their names some of them will stand, some of them will remain seated and simply wave, and others have hearing problems, but they are here and they belong to us. After I have read all their names I would like you to join with me in welcoming them to our and their House of Commons.

I am delighted to welcome some 17 of our World War I veterans who are, as I said, in the public gallery just behind me.

The wars touched the lives of all Canadians, without regard to age, race or class. Fathers, sons and daughters died in action, were wounded, and many came home changed for evermore. Those who remained in Canada also served—in factories, as volunteers and wherever they were needed.

Together they fought a war and they forged a nation, a nation that we proudly call our Canada.

The standard they set was repeated by those who followed in the World War II and in Korea. It is a tradition of service and international respect that continues today with the courageous efforts of our peacekeepers in hot spots around the world.

To all these people, these Canadian heroes, today we the representatives of 30 million Canadians say thank you. Parliament, as do Canadians in communities across the land, owes them so much also. Our pledge is never to forget their sacrifice and to pass on their legacy to our children and our children's children.

I will read out their names and, as I said, they will make themselves recognized by you in their own way.

Mr. Henri Allain, Mr. Henry John L. Botterell, Mr. Gordon Boyd, Mr. Frederick Connett, Mr. Fred Evans, Mr. Fred Gies, Mr. Lazare Gionet, Mr. Harold Lidstone, Mr. Walter Loudon, Mr. Paul A. Métivier, Mr. Lawrence Morton, Mr. Percy Perdue, Mr. Harry Routhier, Mr. Tom Spear, Mr. Ernest Stevens, Mr. Stephen Thorlakson, and we have with us today a man they call their mascot. He is one of two surviving Victoria Cross winners, Mr. Smokey Smythe. These are our veterans.

Remembrance Day
Oral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception
Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Fred Mifflin Minister of Veterans Affairs and Secretary of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency)

Mr. Speaker, I address veterans of the great war and other veterans who are with us today.

Clearly this is a special occasion for special people at a special time. As we approach Remembrance Day and we celebrate veterans week, we who are so fortunate to have largely known only peace in our lives would do well to remember those who built our nation in the earlier years of this century. For so many war was a constant companion of their youth.

This Remembrance Day is a special one for it is the 80th anniversary of the signing of the armistice that silenced the guns for the first world war. The killing fields of Europe became remarkable at long last for their silence. More than 650,000 young Canadian men and women served. More than one in ten or 68,000 never returned.

These figures are just figures. They do not show the human side of war. They do not show the cold, the wet, the rats and the stench of trench warfare. They do not show the fear and the horror of war. They do not show the sorrow, the broken hearts shared both on the battlefield and by friends and families back home when entire battalions and regiments would be cut down as they marched in the maelstrom of enemy machine gunfire, whether it be the virtual annihilation of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment in a mere 30 minutes fighting at Beaumont Hamel or the 80% fatality rate suffered by Canadian regiments during 10 days of drawn out fighting at Passchendale.

These figures do not show the triumph of Canadian spirit, ingenuity and determination during such battles as Ypres, Vimy Ridge or Amiens. It was indeed during the first world war that Canadians would earn a reputation for being among the most professional and effective soldiers. These brave Canadians earned for our country international recognition, respect and independence.

It is a sad fact that not many veterans of that war are with us. Perhaps there are a few hundred. Some would say their steps are a little more tentative these days, their hands perhaps a little more shaky, and their eyesight somewhat dimmed. After all, as the nation approaches the millennium, veterans of the great war are approaching and have surpassed their own centenary. Despite the many changes that age visits upon us, their legacy to their home and native land remains etched in time. We consider them a national treasure.

We are delighted, indeed honoured, to have our World War I veterans with us in the House today and, as we have done earlier, we salute them.

No sooner was that war over and won, a mere two decades later Canadians again were called upon to offer up their lives in the fight against tyranny in World War II. They fought on land, at sea and in the air. They fought for their homes, for their families and for their country. Just a few years later we answered the call to Korea.

Every time a country came under threat of occupation and enslavement, Canada answered the call, and our peacekeepers have kept up this military tradition by maintaining peace for over half a century.

This week it is our turn to say to those who lost their lives and to their families and to those who returned to build a great nation that we the inheritors of their courage and determination will continue to honour their sacrifice by acts of remembrance and the telling of their story to our children from one generation to another. We will not forget.

Remembrance Day
Oral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

The Speaker

To the member who sent me this note asking how old our veterans are and to all members, the baby is 98 and the oldest one is 105.

Remembrance Day
Oral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Remembrance Day
Oral Question Period

3:10 p.m.

Reform

Peter Goldring Edmonton East, AB

Mr. Speaker, as we rise in the House today to recognize the glory and sorrow of our veterans valiant efforts for Canada and Newfoundland in World War I in battles like Vimy Ridge and Beaumont Hamel, we should be reminded of the words of one young man from Guelph. No finer example of inspirational significance has been born by the horror of human conflict than In Flanders Fields :

We are the dead Short days ago, we lived, Felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Lived and were loved, And now we lie, In Flanders Fields.

Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae paused to reflect on the high price of peace and of man's duty to serve. His pen spoke out from the fields of war 83 years ago. He spoke for all who have faced their soul in the finality of the theatre of war. From Korea to the gulf and through two world wars he could well be speaking of all brave men who have soldiered the world to defend Canadian beliefs.

The brave young men who fought in the two world wars served in our armed forces and merchant fleet, contributing so much to the end of global war.

His words are carved in the walls of the House and are as enduring as is the threat of future war. This year marks 80 since the guns of the war to end all wars grew mute, a war the world learned not from even with a price of 60,000 Canadian dead. Canada's losses would continue in 20 short years.

Our veterans of Korea, the gulf war and peacekeeping duties know too well the significance of his words. This century the price of peace was war. One hundred thousand of Canada's young never grew old. One hundred thousand youths lie in foreign graves, one hundred thousand from the Korean and two world wars. When I visit foreign graves with Canada's war veterans I am deeply moved by their moments of reflective grief for their comrades they left behind so far from home so long ago.

Time has not yet healed their wounded souls. Near one century hence memories fade not. Near one century hence they still have not forgotten that by mere chance alone they survived as other did not.

As veterans grieve for long lost friends they ponder why the price of peace is war and is so very high.

Soon John McCrae's words will echo in this hall and resonate throughout the land as we pause to give respect to our honourable war veterans and remembered war dead. “If ye break faith with us who die, we shall not sleep, lest we forget”.

I am proud to be in this House today to speak to Canada's war veterans.

Remembrance Day
Oral Question Period

3:15 p.m.

Bloc

Maurice Godin Châteauguay, QC

Mr. Speaker, it gives me pleasure today to rise in honour of Veterans' Week, from November 5 to 11. This week is set aside to commemorate the contributions and sacrifices of the men and women who gave up their lives for peace, democracy and our freedom.

As they gather around the cenotaph on November 11, thousands of people will remember the courage of those who died at the front fighting for peace in the great world wars. This moment in honour of the memory of these people should be a time of reflection on the atrocities that have marked world history. Often, the past may appear to explain the present, but it can never convince us that human lives must be sacrificed for a cause, whatever it may be.

Thousands of them died in the line of duty, were wounded or taken prisoner. On Remembrance Day we honour their memory and that of all the other veterans of 20th century wars.

War also affected the lives of all those left behind by the soldiers who died in the war. Their families will remember this great meeting with destiny that was beyond their control and the painful moments that will remain always.

On this Remembrance Day there will be veterans who are surely remembering their friends and colleagues as they were before they fell. I think of the wives making their last farewells as their husbands went off to war, never to return, of the parents whose children never came home.

Let us remember, so that there is never again an armed conflict, and our children never have to learn the horrors of war. We have a duty to ensure that Remembrance Day receives the respect due to it, and retains its position among our noble traditions.

I have travelled with veterans' delegations returning to visit the battlefield sites, and the graves of their fallen comrades. Veterans now in their seventies and eighties trying to locate the resting places of comrades who lost their lives in their twenties, if not younger.

I have always been impressed with their appearance at these ceremonies, as they stand stiffly at attention, just as they did when they were still in the Forces. As soon as the speeches and prayers are over, they wander off in search of the resting places of their dead comrades, lost in their memories and grief for a brief moment.

These unforgettable experiences have made me realize the reality of war. Such pilgrimages are both extremely sad and extremely gratifying, gratifying because of the appreciation shown by those who were liberated by our veterans. For instance, during my visit to Dieppe in 1997, I realized that our servicemen were true heroes in the eyes of the French.

These men and women did not forget the hard lessons of 55 years ago and they remember that our veterans liberated them. This year marks the 80th anniversary of the armistice that brought World War I to an end. On November 11, 1918, all of humanity pledged that there would never be another war. This universal hope was short-lived.

Twenty years later, the world had already forgotten the war's atrocities and launched into an even more deadly conflict, World War II, which lasted from 1939 to 1945. Six years of civilian and military losses. Six years of fighting for our freedom. These were the six most defining years in history.

On behalf of the Bloc Quebecois, I pay tribute to the men and women who gave their lives during the two world wars, the Korean war and in numerous UN peacekeeping missions.

Let us hope, as they did, that there will never be another war.

Remembrance Day
Oral Question Period

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Gordon Earle Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, it is with great honour and humility that I mark Remembrance Day on behalf of the New Democratic Party caucus.

Eighty full years ago from this Remembrance Day, the great terrible guns of the first world war fell silent on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

When the great war began in 1914, the Canadian regular army was made up of only 3,110 Canadians. Yet over 66,000 died in the killing fields of France and Belgium, with so many more deaths of our merchant mariners, our navy, the Newfoundland forces and the Royal Flying Corps.

World War II brought our death toll to over 100,000. With great pride and great sadness and with tremendous respect I recognize the ultimate sacrifice given by those killed in all wars and the terrible sacrifice also of their loved ones and their friends.

I will soon be joining these honourable veterans and other members of this House in France and Belgium to pay our respects to Canada's dead from the first world war.

This day is marked to ensure we never forget those who gave their lives for all of us. Let us never forget those veterans who suffered unspeakable horror in Korea, Japan and Hong Kong.

Let all of us in this House commit to doing all we can to ensure that those who served in our merchant marine are treated with respect and justice.

Let us recognize those who fought fascism as part of the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion in Spain. Let us also ensure that those brave Canadian prisoners of war sent to the Buchenwald concentration camp receive the justice they deserve.

As the first black member of parliament for Nova Scotia, it is my honour to remember those who served with the segregated Number Two Construction Battalion in World War I.

As aboriginal veteran day approaches on November 8, let us also not forget the over 7,000 aboriginal Canadians who served in the two world wars and in the Korean war.

Remembrance Day is honoured by many people in many ways. My comments have already spoken to those who died and their families and loved ones, but now as a parent I believe Remembrance Day must always address our youth. It is now their lives that we need to protect through remembering war.

If anything, let this day give each of us more strength and vigour in working for peaceful and democratic solutions wherever possible.

I finish with the words gracing the tombstone of Corporal Hugh Rocks of the Queen's Own Rifles of Canada who died on D-Day, June 6, 1944 and who is buried in the Canadian graveyard at Beny-sur-Mer in France: “There is a link death cannot sever. Love and remembrance last forever”.

Our duty especially today is to remember with honour and great thanks.

Remembrance Day
Oral Question Period

3:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

David Price Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to Canada's veterans.

Although I pay tribute every year to the men and women who fought for Canada, this is the first time I have had an opportunity to do so in the House of Commons. I consider it a privilege.

Veterans served their country so that the inhabitants of Compton—Standstead and of all regions of Canada may vote for the candidate of their choice.

As this violent and bloody century draws to a close, young Canadians must know that the values, ideals and institutions we hold dear today required sacrifices.

Too often during this century, tyrants and dictators tried to expand their empires by force. Many people saw their villages burned, their families killed and their freedom taken away.

Too many times this century tyrants and dictators raised their ugly heads and expanded their realm through force. For individuals this meant seeing their villages burned, their families murdered and their freedoms extinguished.

Against the expanding tyranny of Germany and Austria in the first world war, Nazi Germany, Japan and Italy in the second world war, and communist North Korea, China and the Soviet Union in the Korean War, Canada held firm. Young, vibrant Canadians with their futures ahead of them understood the importance of the call and put their lives on hold and at risk. Soldiers, sailors and airmen travelled to the farthest reaches of the globe to protect their families at home, safe in Canada. Too many of them never came back.

Today, thanks to their sacrifice, we continue to be safe here at home in Canada. While young people must learn the history of this century, our leaders must remember its lessons.

Tyrants must never be appeased. Dictators must never be welcome. True justice and freedom must always be the guiding principles for the leaders of Canada, leaders who inherited the trust of those who never made it back.

As I stand here in this House of Commons, elected freely by the citizens of Compton—Stanstead, I remember those who served Canada and on behalf of all Canadians and all people who love freedom, merci, thank you.

Remembrance Day
Oral Question Period

3:25 p.m.

The Speaker

My colleagues, in your name I have invited our World War I veterans to be received in Room 216N. You will understand that it will take us a few minutes to get them all there and as many of you as possible could come to meet them.

I invite you to come and shake their hands and perhaps thank them individually for what they and all the others have done for us. It is because of men like them that we are here today.

The House resumed consideration of the motion.

Supply
Government Orders

November 3rd, 1998 / 3:30 p.m.

Reform

Garry Breitkreuz Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, it is good to pause for a truce once in a while in the battles we engage in regarding the policies of the government and the affairs of this great country. We have a lot to be thankful for and many people have sacrificed their lives so that we may have peace. We pay them our respects. It is not easy to do battle in this House as we battle with words and that is what parliament is all about.

In posing my question I need to explain to Canadians that it is not easy to get a resolution on to the floor of the House to be debated and battled over. I want to thank all of those who helped me in the battle to have agriculture discussed. Farmers have gone to bat for us and they have done a lot for this country. We need to recognize that.

The government gets the chance to choose what is debated here most of the time. The official opposition gets to name the topic for debate about one day out of every month and generally the topics submitted for debate are much more important to most Canadians than what the government puts forth.

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of this topic to all Canadians. We may not debate agriculture very often, but I have no control over that.

I did not want this to be a partisan issue and so I did not press to have it votable. However my colleague had become quite partisan in his comments by documenting the failings of the Liberal government. Would it not be more productive to work with the government rather than chastise it for its failings? That is the question I would like the member to address.

Supply
Government Orders

3:30 p.m.

Reform

Leon Benoit Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, I really appreciate the question from my colleague. I would say yes, normally it would be much better if we could work together in a non-partisan way toward solutions. I think the member would know as well as anybody that in the last five years we have been in Ottawa we have tried that approach. We have worked hard in committees to try to move government along the way that farmers and Reform MPs think it should go. It has not worked. It is to the point where we have a crisis in agriculture that was completely unnecessary.

Before we can force or push this government into doing something about it, we have to make it very clear to the government how it failed farmers. The government has failed farmers in terms of the legislation it has brought forward, like the legislation that eliminated the Crow benefit. It was handled very poorly. The new Canadian Transportation Act does not encourage competition, is not fair and will not lower the cost to farmers. The privatization of CN which was a good idea has been handled poorly.

The ever increasing user fees and what the government calls cost recovery have put an undue tax burden on farmers and have made it so they cannot make ends meet. The increase in taxation at every level and in every imaginable way has been loaded on farmers.

All of these things together with the weak position of this government and previous governments during trade negotiations have allowed this completely unlevel playing field which our farmers are forced to compete on. This all shows that the co-operative approach does not work with this government. That is why we have to point out the government's errors of the past. Hopefully by doing that we will get it going in the right direction so this crisis can be dealt with.

Supply
Government Orders

3:35 p.m.

Reform

Jack Ramsay Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, I listened to the debate today—