House of Commons Hansard #75 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was flag.

Topics

The Irish
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Larry McCormick Hastings—Frontenac—Lennox And Addington, ON

Mr. Speaker, it has sometimes been said that there are only two kinds of people in the world, those who are Irish and those who wish they were.

Well, I have good news today. Everyone is invited to be Irish. Here on the Hill our newly formed all-party Irish Canada friendship group is a fast growing, popular organization.

Irish immigrants have always left very powerful footprints on our Canadian soil and have always contributed positively to this great country. During the years of the great potato famine, my own ancestors came direct from Ireland to Canada. My grandmother's people sailed to the new world in four weeks. On my grandfather's side, the family spent three months-plus on the high seas. Many survived the trip but many did not.

Landing in Quebec, they were welcomed and received warmly and cared for by their new neighbours. Friendship again reached beyond all language barriers.

Today Irish eyes are smiling around the globe. Top of the day to you, Mr. Speaker, and a tip of my Irish topper to all my colleagues.

Arctic Winter Games
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Reform

Jay Hill Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, 1998 is certainly a year of sports highlights. This week Canadians have yet another exciting opportunity to follow the challenges and incredible skill of our best athletes.

The 1998 Arctic winter games are now officially under way. Since the games began in 1970, this is the 15th time that northern athletes from Canada, the United States, Greenland and Russia have come together in friendly competition and cultural celebration.

More than 1,600 athletes, coaches, officials and cultural performers have converged on Yellowknife for these games. They will participate in 19 different sporting events, including a number based on northern living and Inuit and Dene sporting skills.

These games showcase the skills, sportsmanship and cultural pride that are so much a part of our northern communities.

I want to convey my best wishes to all the participants, coaches, volunteers and supporters. As for the Canadian athletes, the rest of Canada is cheering for you. Continue to make Canada proud.

Magog-Orford Optimist Club
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Paradis Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, while our budget is focused on youth, the contribution of the volunteers who work with young people must be acknowledged.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Optimist Club of Magog-Orford, and I take this opportunity to pay tribute to the initiative of founding chairman Yves GrandMaison and the dedication of all the members over the past 25 years.

Our young people need to hear an optimistic message: summer jobs, money to pay for their education and hope for the future. That is what our young people want from our governments.

Congratulations to Yves GrandMaison and all Optimists across Canada, who talk about good health, happiness and prosperity to everyone they meet.

Mart Kenney
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Reform

Jason Kenney Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, in March 1928 a young Vancouver musician played his first professional date on his 18th birthday. That man would become known as Canada's top big band leader and would bring joy to millions of Canadians from coast to coast through the difficult years of the Depression, the war, and ever since.

I am talking about Mart Kenney, my grandfather, who this week celebrated his 88th birthday and his 70th anniversary as a professional musician. He is still going strong and still bringing happy memories as he plays to sold out concerts across the country.

My grandfather has always had a special love for Canada. At the height of the big band era he turned down offers from the big record producers to move his band to the States because he wanted to raise his family here. Now he has rewritten the lyrics of his popular wartime patriotic song We're Proud of Canada to herald “the heritage we each proclaim which makes us different but the same”. It will be featured this summer by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

On behalf of all members this very proud grandson wishes a happy anniversary to a great musician, a great Canadian and a true western gentleman, Mart Kenney.

Employment Insurance
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, the last employment insurance reform is almost two years old. Under this Liberal government, the percentage of unemployed workers eligible for EI benefits dropped from 60% in 1993 to 42% in 1997.

We are in the so-called spring gap, the time of year when thousands of unemployed workers see their benefits run out as they wait for seasonal work to start again. These families have to turn to social assistance or use up their savings to provide for their needs.

Yet, the federal government continues to reduce its deficit by dipping into the employment insurance fund. The employment insurance fund keeps growing by $17 million a day, for a total of $14 billion to date.

Enough. It is time the money went back to those to whom it belongs. The government should give back to the unemployed the benefits it took away from them and to workers the portion of their premiums in excess of what is needed to maintain a fair and equitable system.

Semaine Nationale De La Francophonie
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Jacques Saada Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Government of Quebec reiterated its intention to move to the forefront in the issue of francophones outside Quebec. I congratulate it.

Our government has played a consistent leadership role in this matter, and we encourage all provinces in Canada to pass measures supporting francophone groups in a spirit of respect and openness and to promote Canada's linguistic duality.

The Government of Canada is playing its role fully by ensuring that the people of Canada have access to all government services in the language of their choice, in accordance with Canada's cultural and linguistic reality.

We are giving full support to francophone groups outside Quebec and encouraging all of Canada's provinces to do the same.

The Government of Quebec has an important role to play in connection with the francophone community, and we hope it will continue to take action in this regard.

I think that the Semaine nationale de la francophonie provides a special moment to underscore all the efforts made to unite francophone groups throughout Canada in a spirit of friendship, sharing—

Semaine Nationale De La Francophonie
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Winnipeg—Transcona.

Multilateral Agreement On Investment
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, today the Council of Canadians is calling on Canadians to oppose the Multilateral Agreement on Investment for the following 10 reasons.

The MAI would give new rights and powers to foreign investors and corporations; cripple our ability to create jobs; give corporations more power to fight environmental regulations; leave our culture at the mercy of U.S. entertainment mega corporations; open up our health care and public education to multinational corporations; threaten our ownership of fisheries, forests, energy and other natural resources; give corporations the right to sue our elected governments to protect their profits; be decided in secret by trade experts with no public input; impose tough unfair rules on developing countries that are not even part of negotiations; and lock us into a bad deal for 20 years.

Canada should not be part of any such agreement.

Vancouver Kingsway
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Sophia Leung Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, over the last few days I have had the honour of announcing over $45,000 in funding from Heritage Canada to two local organizations in my riding of Vancouver Kingsway. The federal government is supporting projects by the Society for Children and Youth of British Columbia and the Helping Spirit Lodge Society. These projects will be promoting child advocacy and human rights and helping aboriginal women overcome family violence.

I thank the minister of heritage for supporting these local initiatives. I commend both organizations for endeavouring to make our community a better one.

The Irish
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Charlie Power St. John's West, NL

Mr. Speaker, today is St. Patrick's Day. It is the anniversary of the death of St. Patrick and it is a day in which the Irish and those who wish they were celebrate being Irish. There are over 75 million Irish descendants worldwide. It would be difficult to find an area in which the Irish have not played a key role.

However, the influence on Canadian politics is unmistakable. Politics was not alive until the Irish invented it, said Don Pidgeon, a Montreal historian. The list of Irish politicians is a long one, but one that should be remembered is Thomas D'arcy McGee, one of the Fathers of Confederation who campaigned for the country that would encompass both official languages and cultures. There is no question that the Irish agenda helped to determine the politics of this country not only in the latter half of the 19th century but well into the 20th century.

Today I wish all my fellow Irish men and women and all those who are Irish today a happy St. Patrick's Day. Considering the—

The Irish
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

The Speaker

I remind members not to use props in the House. Please, I have enough.

Francophonie
Statements By Members

March 17th, 1998 / 2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Jocelyne Girard-Bujold Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the flurry of activities surrounding the sixth Semaine internationale de la francophonie, I am proud to pay tribute to the city of Jonquière, the first city in Quebec to be twinned under the title of «Ville des mots 1998» with Braine-l'Alleud of the French-speaking community in Belgium.

This honour recognizes the dynamism of the city of Jonquière in promoting francophone culture with, among other things, its Fêtes de la francité and its theme park.

I invite all Quebeckers, and more especially the people of the Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean and North Shore regions, to take part in the activities marking us as members of the francophone community, where people are bound together in solidarity.

Together, let us celebrate the future of French and the francophonie.

Justice
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Reform

Jim Gouk West Kootenay—Okanagan, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Young Offenders Act is a high priority concern for the Canadian public and for the Reform Party of Canada. In response to the demands of Canadians for changes to the act, Reform has developed a list of amendments and will be presenting it to the public in a series of town hall meetings throughout the country.

The first of these town hall meetings will be held in Castlegar in my riding this Saturday evening. These meetings will explain how the amendments were arrived at, how they will work and their impact on young offenders.

The justice minister recently made headlines by stating that she is thinking of revising the Young Offenders Act. I hope she is more in touch with Canadians' demands than she and her predecessor have been in the past. If she really wants to learn what ordinary Canadians want, she should attend one of our town hall meetings. I invite her to attend the one in Castlegar this Saturday evening.

Canadians are always willing to speak. The problem is getting Liberals to listen.

Child Sex Abuse
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Eleni Bakopanos Ahuntsic, QC

Mr. Speaker, last week in Victoria, I attended the International Summit of Sexually Exploited Youth. This gathering was co-chaired by Senator Landon Pearson.

The summit theme, out from the shadows, reflects the importance of giving a voice to sexually exploited youth and children. We listened to children talking about their personal experiences. We listened as 15-year olds and 16-year olds said they were not given the chance to be a child and to enjoy all the joys and challenges that come with childhood, as my daughters have.

Thousands of children across the world and here in Canada are victims of abuse related to child pornography and child prostitution. Since Canada is a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the summit was an excellent opportunity to renew our commitment to the right of all children and youth to live free from sexual abuse and free from sexual exploitation.

A statement and action plan expressing the will of these children was passed at the summit. I would invite all my colleagues in this House to read this statement.

The Senate
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, today British Columbia's latest unelected unaccountable senator was sworn in at the Senate.

Fitzpatrick is not like other patronage appointments though. He actually hired the Prime Minister when the Prime Minister was out of a job. Last week the Prime Minister told Canadians that he received no remuneration for that work. Insider trading reports showed that Fitzpatrick gave the Prime Minister a sweetheart stock deal worth at least $45,000.

How does the Prime Minister explain this contradiction?