House of Commons Hansard #89 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was debate.

Topics

Standing Orders And Procedure
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, seeing the clock I assume I will deliver half of my speech before question period and the balance after.

In the 1985 report to the House with regard to reform there was a quote which I would like to read into the record. It states:

The purpose of reform of the House of Commons in 1985 is to restore to private members an effective legislative function, to give them a meaningful role in the formation of public policy and, in so doing, to restore the House of Commons to its rightful place in the Canadian political process.

I believe that ideal, that objective, still is applicable today.

A number of members have commented on the process that private members' bills go through. I would like to deal with the issue of private members' bills in the time allotted to me.

I have had some success in terms of dealing with private members' bills. If I look back at the record of the 35th Parliament, I submitted eight bills, five of which made it through the lottery. One item was made votable and one in fact passed at second reading.

I also had four private member's motions, all of which were selected in the lottery. Two were made votable and both passed in this House. Based on that, I know that I have had more than my share of opportunity to bring issues before the House.

But there is the other side of the coin. There are many members of parliament who have worked many hours to bring forward issues that are important to themselves, to their constituents and, by and large, to Canadians as a whole. Many of those bills do not see the light of day.

The process that we have, a lottery, is basically a game of chance. I wonder in terms of the importance of issues of the day whether we should leave the fate of those issues simply to chance in a lottery. I am not a fan of the lottery process. In fact, I believe, as I see from the reform that has taken place in the House of Commons over the years, that a call for more efficiency within the House seems to be the order of the day. I for one, as a member of parliament, do not want to be in this place less. I want to be in this place more. I want to hear what members have to say. I want to hear their ideas. I want to hear what rationalization they have.

All of us cannot be up on all issues. All of us cannot be sensitive to the issues, regional issues and local issues. We learn from each other in this place. What has happened is that we have basically restricted the opportunities that members have to bring those issues forward.

All members of the House will know that when we go to committee there are witnesses who appear before us. The presentations of the witnesses are helpful and informative, but by far the most important part of those hearings is the question and answer period. That is where the dynamics take place. That is where we find out what the weaknesses are. That is where we find out where the strengths are. That is where we find out the most important information that we need to know to do our job.

I believe the same kind of principle should apply to private members' business. When I conclude my remarks after question period I am going to make a case as to why we should also have questions and comments on private members' business in the House of Commons.

Standing Orders And Procedure
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

I see, my colleague, that you received my signal for one minute left. You have approximately six minutes left in your discourse and you will have the floor when we resume debate.

It being almost two o'clock we will proceed to Statements by Members.

Armenian People
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Laval West, QC

Mr. Speaker, on April 24, Armenian Canadians and all Armenians will commemorate the 83rd anniversary of the genocide of 1.5 million victims perpetrated in 1915 by the Ottoman Turks.

Modern Turkey has yet to recognize this serious crime, which has already been recognized by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, the European Parliament, the Permanent People's Tribunal, Argentina, Brazil, Cyprus, France, Greece, Israel, Lebanon, Russia, Syria, Uruguay, Venezuela and, just a week ago, Belgium.

Closer to home, this genocide has been formally recognized by the Quebec National Assembly and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

The Armenian genocide has been documented and its existence proven beyond any doubt. All unanimously agree that it should be recognized internationally.

I therefore urge the hon. members of this House to recognize the Armenian genocide and extend my most heartfelt wishes to the Armenian people, a building nation—

Armenian People
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Edmonton—Strathcona.

Hepatitis C
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Reform

Rahim Jaffer Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, I stand in the House today to call on the government to end the suffering of two of my constituents, both of whom contracted hepatitis C as a result of government negligence and incompetence.

Allan Ordze contracted hepatitis C in 1975 and he wrote to me about his shattered dreams and his feelings of hopelessness. He fears every day for his family and wonders how he will care for them when his condition worsens.

Lisa Holtz contracted hepatitis C in 1985, just six months before the government accountants set their arbitrary date for compensation. Lisa too wonders how she will care for her three boys when she is sick and too tired to stand.

Allan and Lisa do not want the government's charity or apologies. They do not want to hear from any more government bureaucrats and accountants. They want justice and compensation for themselves and their children and they want it now.

Woburn Collegiate
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

John Cannis Scarborough Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate a group of students from my riding of Scarborough Centre.

The Woburn Collegiate robotics team recently competed in the U.S. first robotics competition in Orlando, Florida. This competition is a national engineering contest that immerses thousands of high school students from over 150 schools in the exciting world of engineering and robotics. Woburn is the first and only Canadian team to ever compete at this competition and was very proud to carry the Canadian flag and represent our country.

The Woburn Collegiate robotics team produced an excellent robot for the competition and was awarded a prestigious judges award. Let me point out that only 15 of 166 teams received such an award, proving indeed that Canadian students are among the best in the world in science and technology.

I take this opportunity to congratulate the students and the teachers of Woburn CI on their hard work in reaching this terrific goal. I also thank the Secretary of State for Children and Youth and the Minister of Human Resources Development for their assistance with this worthwhile project.

Canadian National Institute For The Blind
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Steve Mahoney Mississauga West, ON

Mr. Speaker on March 30, 1918 Captain Edwin Baker, Dr. Sherman Swift and five other blind and sighted Canadians founded the Canadian National Institute for the Blind. For the last 80 years this private voluntary and non-profit organization has provided rehabilitation services for blind, visually impaired and deaf-blind Canadians across the country.

One of the CNIB's most important services is providing visually impaired Canadians with books, magazines, videos and other material in Braille and on audio cassette free of charge through the CNIB library. The library is the country's largest producer of Braille and audio materials.

The CNIB also offers educational scholarships to worthy clients. I congratulate one recent recipient, Kristy Kassie, a client at the CNIB Halton Peel district office who is pursuing post-secondary studies at York University.

I congratulate the CNIB on 80 years of dedicated service to Canadians.

Quebec Minister Of Municipal Affairs
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Guy St-Julien Abitibi, QC

Mr. Speaker, there are still story tellers in the Quebec government.

After having accumulated a deficit in excess of $1.5 million as dean of the university in Rouyn-Noranda, running for the New Democratic Party of Canada in the 1988 election, having failed to deliver on promises made by Jacques Parizeau in the last provincial election campaign, Quebec municipal affairs minister Rémy Trudel soon found himself stuck, on April 7, in a meeting at his office in Rouyn-Noranda with people who had come to ask him for an explanation for his government's plans for social assistance reform.

In front of the cameras, Minister Trudel said there were thieves. If Minister Trudel has theft charges to lay against some individuals, Quebec has judges to hear his case. Otherwise, the citizens of his region are likely to think that his statement was off the mark.

Mr. Trudel, next time you find yourself in front of cameras, tell us a story about the Quebec mining fund promised by your government.

Drunk Driving
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Reform

Dave Chatters Athabasca, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise to remember a sad anniversary. One year ago on April 19, my very own son's birthday, three people were taken from the world in a head on collision between a pick-up truck and a Greyhound passenger bus on highway 43 just outside Fox Creek, Alberta. As is too often the case the driver of the pick-up truck was impaired.

On this anniversary a group of family, friends and Greyhound bus drivers gathered to remember. On behalf of the official opposition, and I am sure all members of the House, I extend our message of condolences to their families, friends and colleagues.

Let us remember their message: when you drink and drive someone is going to die.

Bravery
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

John Maloney Erie—Lincoln, ON

Mr. Speaker, I take this opportunity to congratulate the 16 individuals recently awarded the medal of bravery for their acts of heroism.

The upcoming presentation ceremony holds special significance for Erie—Lincoln riding as two of my constituents will be decorated by the governor general in recognition of acts of bravery in hazardous circumstances.

The quick actions of William John Gordon of Dunnville saved several individuals from a burning automobile wreck. This gentleman acted without concern for his own safety to help in a situation that could have been fatal for all those involved.

I nominated Luis Rodriguez, a Honduran immigrant from Fort Erie, for the medal of bravery for saving the life of an American citizen who fell from his fishing boat in the frigid waters of the Niagara River. Mr. Rodriguez assisted the distressed gentleman into his boat and then swam to shore towing the boat behind him.

On behalf of my riding and all Canadians I thank Mr. Gordon, Mr. Rodriguez and all medal recipients for their selfless acts of bravery. They have our admiration and respect. They have made us proud.

Hepatitis C
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Reform

Grant McNally Dewdney—Alouette, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like the Minister of Health to listen to the human side of his hepatitis C decision.

One of my constituents, Mrs. Joyce Smith from Mission, B.C., writes:

My three grown children are trying very hard to accept the fact mom is not the same. She does not smile or laugh as often as she used to. They do not want to talk about the fact that I am dying. I stare at our two beautiful grandchildren and wonder if I will live to see them grow up. I look into my husband's eyes and I know that he is afraid of the future. My husband and I have worked so hard, and raised our family, and now it was supposed to be our time together. But, the almost unbearable fatigue that I deal with prevents us from going very far or doing very much together.

Another one of my constituents, Mrs. Laura Stoll, urges me “to do the right thing and support compensation for all victims”. I certainly support compensation for all victims. However, how much longer will the Minister of Health continue to say no to people like Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Stoll? Where is his sense of fairness, his sense of human compassion? My constituents and all other Canadians would like to know.

National Volunteer Week
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Brenda Chamberlain Guelph—Wellington, ON

Mr. Speaker, this week we celebrate National Volunteer Week, a time to thank and honour the many people who donate their time to fellow Canadians.

I thank the thousands of volunteers in Guelph—Wellington who generously donate their time to better our community.

Canadian volunteers in the recent past have been called upon more than ever to help communities in need. Thousands of volunteers aided the flood victims in the Saguenay region of Quebec and the Red River Valley in Manitoba, while others assisted in the recent ice storm. Guelph—Wellington's 11th Field Artillery Regiment helped in devastated areas in eastern Ontario.

Volunteers are very important in communities across our great country. Guelph—Wellington has many generous volunteers. I congratulate and thank them all for their time and dedication.

Bettye Hyde
Statements By Members

April 21st, 1998 / 2:05 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, today we celebrate Bettye Hyde's nomination for the Royal Bank award for Canadian achievement. The Royal Bank will remember Bettye Hyde. When it tried to close her bank branch Bettye rallied the neighbourhood and won.

It has been a lifetime involvement for Bettye Hyde, mother, community volunteer, early childhood educator and environmentalist.

That is why we like Bettye and believe that her achievements and life meet the criteria set by the Royal Bank with respect to this award.

Bettye Hyde, who is 80 years of age, is still an active person. Just imagine what it would be like if there were more Bettye Hydes in Canada.

Bettye was big enough to keep her money in the Royal Bank as long as it keeps its branch in her neighbourhood. Is the Royal Bank big enough to honour someone who fights for the way things should be, not the way those in charge say things have to be?

Whether the Royal Bank chooses Bettye, she is a winner and that makes us all winners. It is called community. It is something even a bank should understand.

Nunavut
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Nancy Karetak-Lindell Nunavut, NU

Mr. Speaker, I rise this afternoon to convey a message from my constituents of Nunavut.

Yesterday was to be a crucial day for us. It was to mark the beginning of the last leg of a journey that began many years ago. Yesterday was supposed to be about Nunavut and its creation. It was supposed to be about the formation of our new government. Instead the people of Nunavut are left disappointed. They feel confused and robbed of their day.

It is our responsibility as parliamentarians to act in the best interest of all Canadians. It is important that we remain focused on the tasks at hand and not let our personal agendas interfere with progress.

I remind the hon. Leader of the Opposition, on behalf of the Inuit, that quick implementation of Bill C-39 is essential. Any delays could destroy the hopes, dreams and dedication of many generations of Inuit.

Education
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Mark Muise West Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, federal cutbacks in provincial transfer payments have had a negative impact throughout Nova Scotia's educational system.

High schools and elementary schools have had to restrict the number and quality of programs being offered to their students. School board officials have increasingly had to rely on the dedication and devotion of our educators to devise new cost efficient programs to offer our students.

Such is the case at the Yarmouth Memorial High School where teacher Ken Langille has been instrumental in developing an award winning law program for his grade 12 students. A winner of four provincial, three national and one international awards for teaching, excellence and innovation, I would like to welcome Mr. Langille and his students who are seated in the gallery today, hoping to hear the government introduce positive solutions to the education crisis.

On their behalf and on behalf of all those concerned with education, we call upon the government to begin addressing the serious financial crisis facing education in the country.