House of Commons Hansard #121 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was park.

Topics

The House resumed from June 10 the consideration in committee of Bill S-2, an act to amend the Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation and Safety Board Act and to make a consequential amendment to another act, Ms. Thibeault in the chair.

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10:05 a.m.

The Assistant Deputy Chairman

Shall clause 1 carry?

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10:05 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

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An hon. member

On division.

(Clause 1 agreed to)

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10:05 a.m.

The Assistant Deputy Chairman

Shall clause 2 carry?

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10:05 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

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An hon. member

On division.

(Clause 2 agreed to)

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The Assistant Deputy Chairman

Shall clause 3 carry?

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Some hon. members

Agreed.

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10:05 a.m.

An hon. member

On division.

(Clause 3 agreed to)

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The Assistant Deputy Chairman

Shall clause 4 carry?

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10:05 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

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An hon. member

On division.

(Clause 4 agreed to)

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The Assistant Deputy Chairman

Shall clause 5 carry?

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Some hon. members

Agreed.

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An hon. member

On division.

(Clause 5 agreed to)

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The Assistant Deputy Chairman

Shall clause 6 carry?

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10:05 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

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An hon. member

On division.

(Clause 6 agreed to)

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The Assistant Deputy Chairman

Shall clause 7 carry?

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10:05 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

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An hon. member

On division.

(Clause 7 agreed to)

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The Assistant Deputy Chairman

Shall clause 8 carry?

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10:05 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

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An hon. member

On division.

(Clause 8 agreed to)

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The Assistant Deputy Chairman

Shall clause 9 carry?

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Some hon. members

Agreed.

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An hon. member

On division.

(Clause 9 agreed to)

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The Assistant Deputy Chairman

Shall clause 10 carry?

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Some hon. members

Agreed.

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An hon. member

On division.

(Clause 10 agreed to)

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The Assistant Deputy Chairman

Shall clause 11 carry?

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Some hon. members

Agreed.

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An hon. member

On division.

(Clause 11 agreed to)

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The Assistant Deputy Chairman

Shall clause 12 carry?

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Some hon. members

Agreed.

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An hon. member

On division.

(Clause 12 agreed to)

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The Assistant Deputy Chairman

Shall clause 13 carry?

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Some hon. members

Agreed.

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An hon. member

On division.

(Clause 13 agreed to)

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The Assistant Deputy Chairman

Shall clause 14 carry?

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Some hon. members

Agreed.

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10:05 a.m.

An hon. member

On division.

(Clause 14 agreed to)

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The Assistant Deputy Chairman

Shall clause 15 carry?

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Some hon. members

Agreed.

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An hon. member

On division.

(Clause 15 agreed to)

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The Assistant Deputy Chairman

Shall clause 16 carry?

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Some hon. members

Agreed.

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An hon. member

On division.

(Clause 16 agreed to)

(On clause 17)

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Simcoe North
Ontario

Liberal

Paul Devillers Parliamentary Secretary to President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Madam Chairman, I move the following amendment to clause 17:

That the following words be removed from paragraph 28(a)(i): “or a control facility for aviation operations”;

And that the following words be removed at line 17 from paragraph 28(1)(b): “or a control facility for aviation operations”.

And the French version reads as follows:

—l'article 28(1), à la ligne 5, en enlevant les mots «par une installation de contrôle des opérations aériennes», et à la ligne 12 en enlevant les mots «installation de contrôle des opérations aériennes».

These were amendments that were made when this bill was at the Senate. There has been concern about the amendments. The amendments raise serious concerns for Transport Canada and the new NavCan corporation. Both are very worried that they will lose access to information which is essential to carry out their respective safety roles. The CATCA president, after discussion with the union's executive, stated that the CATCA would not oppose the removal of Senate amendments and NavCan requested the opportunity to explain its concerns in more detail to the Standing Committee on Transport only if the amendments in question were not removed. Therefore, I have moved that they be removed.

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The Assistant Deputy Chairman

Shall the amendment carry?

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Some hon. members

Agreed.

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An hon. member

On division.

(Amendment agreed to)

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The Assistant Deputy Chairman

Shall clause 17, as amended, carry?

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10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

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10:10 a.m.

An hon. member

On division.

(Clause 17, as amended, agreed to)

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The Assistant Deputy Chairman

Shall clause 18 carry?

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10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

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An hon. member

On division.

(Clause 18 agreed to)

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The Assistant Deputy Chairman

Shall clause 19 carry?

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Some hon. members

Agreed.

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An hon. member

On division.

(Clause 19 agreed to)

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The Assistant Deputy Chairman

Shall clause 20 carry?

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10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

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10:10 a.m.

An hon. member

On division.

(Clause 20 agreed to)

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The Assistant Deputy Chairman

Shall clause 21 carry?

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10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

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10:10 a.m.

An hon. member

On division.

(Clause 21 agreed to)

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The Assistant Deputy Chairman

Shall clause 22 carry?

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10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

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10:10 a.m.

An hon. member

On division.

(Clause 22 agreed to)

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The Assistant Deputy Chairman

Shall clause 23 carry?

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10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

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10:10 a.m.

An hon. member

On division.

(Clause 23 agreed to)

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The Assistant Deputy Chairman

Shall clause 24 carry?

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10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

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10:10 a.m.

An hon. member

On division.

(Clause 24 agreed to)

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The Assistant Deputy Chairman

Shall clause 25 carry?

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10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

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10:10 a.m.

An hon. member

On division.

(Clause 25 agreed to)

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The Assistant Deputy Chairman

Shall clause 26 carry?

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10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

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10:10 a.m.

An hon. member

On division.

(Clause 26 agreed to)

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The Assistant Deputy Chairman

Shall clause 27 carry?

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10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

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10:10 a.m.

An hon. member

On division.

(Clause 27 agreed to)

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The Assistant Deputy Chairman

Shall clause 28 carry?

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Some hon. members

Agreed.

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An hon. member

On division.

(Clause 28 agreed to)

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The Assistant Deputy Chairman

Shall clause 29 carry?

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10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

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10:10 a.m.

An hon. member

On division.

(Clause 29 agreed to)

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The Assistant Deputy Chairman

Shall the title carry?

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Some hon. members

Agreed.

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An hon. member

On division.

(Title agreed to)

(Bill reported)

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Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette for the President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

moved that the bill, as amended, be concurred in.

(Motion agreed to)

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The Acting Speaker (Ms. Thibeault)

When shall the bill be read the third time? By leave, now?

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Some hon. members

Agreed.

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Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette for the President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

moved that the bill be now read the third time and passed.

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10:15 a.m.

Reform

Lee Morrison Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Madam Speaker, on November 4, 1997 the deputy chairman of the Senate committee on transport and communications made a rather remarkable statement with respect to Bill S-2: “We will be making history this afternoon in that this is the first bill we will be dealing with ab initio since this is a Senate bill. We will then pass it along to you in whatever form that may be”.

What a satire of parliamentary democracy. The unelected, unaccountable troughers in the other place are initiating important bills and sending them off to us, in whatever form that may be.

I admit that Bill S-2 does not differ to any great extent from its previous incarnation as Bill C-86 in the 35th parliament. But in theory the senators could have done anything they wanted with this bill and sent it off to us here. That is wrong. I fondly hope we will not see in this parliament any further bills with the letter S prefixing them.

The Senate should be limited to its function of providing sober second thought, and even in that role it is illegitimate because of the manner in which its members are chosen. Only yesterday the Prime Minister had the effrontery to appoint five more, thumbing his nose at public opinion. However, Bill S-2 is a housekeeping bill and it is basically sound. It does have a couple of failures which I would like to bring to the attention of the House.

In section 4 which specifies the terms of employment for board members and establishes that there shall be no more than five, of whom three shall be full time members, there is no provision for a transparent merit based system of appointment. Members will continue to be chosen at the discretion of the minister, just as they are for a plethora of other boards and agencies.

This one in common with, for example, the National Parole Board and the Immigration and Refugee Board, has the capacity to do harm if the wrong patronage choices are made. There has to be a better way.

The second fault is that this board will continue to have the discretion to not investigate fatal accidents if it feels that such an investigation would be unlikely to lead to a reduction in risk to persons, property or the environment. But if no investigation is made how can such presumptions be reasonably made? Of course to investigate more accidents the TSB would need more money. It would need more investigators. Its current investigative staff is only 135 and its budget for 1998-99 is only $22 million.

One has to question the priorities of a government which has hundreds of millions of dollars for grants and forgivable loans to corporations that build aircraft but only a pittance to determine why aircraft crash. Bear in mind that although air crashes are spectacular, the TSB also must put together the puzzles of fragmented trains, ships and pipelines.

Those 135 investigators are stretched too thinly. I urge this government to remedy the situation.

Bill S-2 does not address the intrinsic problems of the board but its defects that I have drawn to the attention of this House are defects of omission rather than of commission. Reform members will therefore support it as a housekeeping exercise.

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10:20 a.m.

Liberal

Marlene Catterall Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. There have been consultations among the parties and I think you would find unanimous that during the present sitting when the questions are put for third reading of Bill S-2 and Bill C-38, in each case it shall be deemed to have been carried on division.

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The Acting Speaker (Ms. Thibeault)

Is that agreed?

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Some hon. members

Agreed.

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Bloc

Michel Guimond Beauport—Montmorency—Orléans, QC

Madam Speaker, I want to say from the outset that our party fully supports the idea of proceeding this morning with the second and third readings of the bill.

No one wishes to see any accident happen in the transportation sector. However, if some unfortunate accident does occur during the summer and requires a quick intervention by the Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation and Safety Board, it will now be possible—thanks to this bill—to have improved investigations to—as I mentioned in a previous speech—make sure that prevention measures are complied with.

When an accident occurs, we would like to make sure, through the recommendations that may be made following a serious and impartial investigation, that such accidents do not recur. Once again, the purpose of this measure is to protect the health of Canadians and Quebeckers, who have confidence in our transportation industry. So, let me emphasize again that our party agreed to the quick passing of this bill, before the House adjourns for the summer.

As I mentioned before, I think it was last Friday in my speech at a previous stage, our party regrets that this bill was initiated in the Senate by unelected representatives, political hacks, both Liberals and Conservatives, who think they have the authority to impose legislation on this House.

In Canada, we have a bicameral system. We hope this system can be replaced, but we have our doubts. Surveys in Quebec have shown that the vast majority of Quebeckers—74% or 78%—want to see the Senate abolished, whereas the rest of Canada wants a triple E Senate, a strengthened Senate.

This confirms what the Bloc Quebecois has been saying for a long time, namely that the system does not work. We are telling Quebeckers who want to see the Senate abolished and to recover part of the $54 million they pay in taxes for that institution that Quebec's political sovereignty is one way to achieve that goal. The Senate would no longer exist.

We deplore the fact that this bill was introduced in the Senate and that the government did not seize this opportunity to fix an archaic and outdated system whereby members of these quasi-judicial bodies are appointed by the governor in council. We know what this means.

For those who are watching us and who do not know, the governor in council is the patronage machine of the PMO which determines who are the most loyal friends of the government. We may think of Senator Ross Fitzpatrick, who was the fundraiser for the Liberal Party in the western provinces—

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10:25 a.m.

Liberal

David Collenette Don Valley East, ON

A distinguished Canadian.

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10:25 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Beauport—Montmorency—Orléans, QC

Evidently, we are hitting a nerve. The Minister of Transport had not said a word since I began, but when I mentioned the name of Senator Ross Fitzpatrick, the smoke started to rise.

I will continue.

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10:25 a.m.

Liberal

David Collenette Don Valley East, ON

He is a great Canadian.

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10:25 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Beauport—Montmorency—Orléans, QC

We know that Senator Ross Fitzpatrick, who was a Liberal Party bagman in the West, was made a senator by the Prime Minister. That is a reward.

We think the government should have taken advantage of this bill to ensure that members of these boards are appointed on the basis of merit alone, not as a political reward.

As for political rewards, there are sometimes ambiguities. If people are wondering why a well-known Conservative was appointed by the Liberal Party, it was to give the appearance of transparency.

In the Mulroney years, there was the hon. Ed Broadbent, former leader of the New Democratic Party, who was appointed to a human rights office in Montreal. Appointing someone from another party helps divert attention from the 30 appointments from their own party.

There is the example of the member for Beauport—Montmorency—Orleans, whom I had the pleasure of defeating in the 1993 election. He occupied the position you now hold, Madam Speaker. I am referring to Charles DeBlois. With the help of Marc-Yvan Côté, a well known political organizer in the Quebec City region, he was appointed to an immigration commissioner position in Montreal.

People wondered how a candidate who had been a Progressive-Conservative for five years could be handed a reward like that by the Liberal Party. It is the classic example. They appoint one from the other gang and then feel free to appoint 30, 40 or 50 of their own.

The best example of all is the chairperson of this transportation safety board. His name is Benoît Bouchard. He was the Minister of Transport in the Mulroney years. Just before the Conservatives were defeated—they were obviously headed for defeat in 1993—Mr. Mulroney appointed him Canadian ambassador to Paris. The Liberal government, having its own political appointee in mind for the Paris embassy—Jacques Roy—brought Mr. Bouchard back to Ottawa and appointed him chairman of the transportation safety board.

This is another way of appointing someone of a different political stripe, so that we can appoint 30, 40 or 50 others of our own.

That about wraps it up for me. I would like to take this opportunity to wish Quebeckers, Bloc Quebecois members, and members of our teams who work both in the ridings and in Ottawa, a pleasant summer. Rest up with your friends and families. I am sure that your families would want you to take care on the highways and waterways. There are always unfortunate accidents. I know that your families would rather have you alive and well.

Enjoy the summer.

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10:25 a.m.

NDP

Angela Vautour Beauséjour—Petitcodiac, NB

Mr. Speaker, the safety board act was originally passed by the Mulroney government in 1989. It brought a number of different federal bodies responsible for transportation safety under the same roof.

The NDP opposed the original act for three reasons. First, a newly created safety board was underfunded and underequipped to carry out its broad mandate to investigate all air marine, rail and pipeline accidents.

Second, the act allows ministers and interested private companies to review drafts of the board's reports and submit comments. This unduly influences the board's final reports and compromises the board's independence.

Third, the original act did not adequately protect the privacy of workers who gave testimony to the board. Without privacy workers were at risk of retribution if their testimony was damaging to their employers.

Bill S-2 is an act to amend the original Safety Board Act. Most of the changes are of technical nature to clarify language and adapt the act for technological advances. We support these aspects of the bill. There are some new provisions in the bill to extend privacy protections to people who give testimony to the safety board. We support this because it addresses one of the three reasons the NDP opposed the Safety Board Act in 1989. However, despite these positive changes we still oppose Bill S-2 because it makes a bad act even worse.

The safety board is still underfunded. Across the country there were over 2,000 air marine, train and pipeline accidents last year. Yet the safety board only employs 135 people to investigate these occurrences. Even though many of these accidents do not require in-depth investigation, the board nevertheless has a massive backlog. The backlog is so bad that the board has had to start rushing its investigations to catch up. This is a threat to public safety. The board requires more funding so it can hire more investigators to properly safeguard the health and safety of Canadians.

Bill S-2 would allow the government to turn some of the safety board appointments from full time into part time positions. This would leave the board with even fewer working hours. The dedicated public servants of the Transportation Safety Board of Canada are coping as best they can. The Liberals owe it to Canadians to give these public servants the resources they need to do their important work.

By far the worst aspect of Bill S-2 is that it puts a shroud of secrecy over the process by which private companies are allowed to influence the safety board. It is bad enough that they are allowed to review draft copies of the board's reports and make submissions.

Bill S-2 would make these submissions secret. If the private submissions of the safety board were not unduly influencing the board there would be no reason to hide them from the Canadian people. This process is elitist and anti-democratic. The Canadian people depend on the safety board for their health and safety when travelling. They have a right to know what these private companies are saying to the safety board.

The entire process of Bill S-2 has shown how out of touch the Liberals are with the Canadian public. First they introduced the bill in the Senate, a patronage ridden and anti-democratic institution that the Canadian people have no confidence in. The bill makes a bad piece of legislation even worse by putting a shroud of secrecy over the safety board and thereby compromising its independence.

The provisions of the bill to hide private sector submissions to the safety board are scandalous. The very fact that they have this opportunity to influence the board is a farce. The Liberals should have used this opportunity to remove this ridiculous provision from the act. Instead they are trying to hide it from the Canadian people.

Canadians rely on the transportation safety board to make sure that the rails, skies, waterways and pipelines of the country are safe. Transportation safety is vitally important to the movement of goods and passengers across the country. People need to be sure that the board is doing its job effectively if they are to have confidence in travelling or doing business in Canada. Thus the Liberals owe it to Canadians to make the safety board transparent and accountable.

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10:35 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Charlie Power St. John's West, NL

Madam Speaker, I rise to speak today on behalf of our caucus to support Bill S-2. It is an act to amend the Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation and Safety Board Act and to make consequential amendment to another act.

The Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation and Safety Board Act was passed by parliament in June 1989. The act established an independent federal agency, the Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation and Safety Board, or as it is commonly known the TSB.

The TSB has the mandate to investigate accidents into marine, rail, pipeline and air modes of transportation. A major feature of the TSB is its independence from the regulator, Transport Canada, and from all other departments of government. Its sole objective is to advance transportation safety, and this is indeed an admirable objective.

The original Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation and Safety Board Act contained a provision in section 63 of the act that required the mandatory review of the operation of the act.

This review was initiated in January 1993 by the Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation and Safety Board Act Review Commission and its report was tabled in parliament in 1994. Meanwhile the Moshansky commission of inquiry into the March 1989 accident at the Dryden airport had completed its work and made recommendations pertinent to the Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation and Safety Board Act.

Bill S-2 is the result of these changes suggested by both the Dryden investigation and by the Canadian Transportation Board Accident Investigation and Safety Board Review Commission. Bill S-2 proposes to do some tidying up of the already very solid piece of legislation.

Bill S-2 was introduced in the Senate on September 30, 1997. It went on to the Senate transportation and communications committee in which Bill S-2 received three amendments. One of these amendments was made by the Progressive Conservative senators whom at this time I would like thank for their hard work on this important piece of transportation safety legislation.

The Progressive Conservative amendment made in the Senate now allows the TSB to have two part time members. The current board consists of only four members and has one vacancy due to some trouble in finding a fifth full time member. The new provision is to allow part time membership as a positive step in maintaining a healthy TSB.

Liberal senators made two amendments to Bill S-2. One was a very good one and one was a very poor amendment. The first Liberal amendment was a transitional clause which ensures that pending or ongoing legal proceedings would be able to continue once the bill is passed. This is a positive move which protects against any gaps while Bill S-2 comes into force.

The second amendment made by a Liberal was not such a good idea. In fact it was so bad the Liberal government is now back-tracking and asking to have the amendment deleted. The amendment deals with the protection of land line recordings made in air traffic control systems.

The amendment was made without legal advice without transportation safety board consultation or, as far as we can tell, without consulting anyone about the possible the detrimental impact this amendment could have. The unintended affect of this amendment would deny the employer and the regulator access to information which the government has admitted is “necessary to ensure the quality and safety of some elements of air traffic service”.

The government in this case was asleep at the wheel. It should have been better prepared to deal with the bill. It has been a long while in the making. To let this occur shows just how little force that the government has had on the issue. It has been promised that the government will delete the amendment today. I hope it does that today because it is important that it should be done.

We are on top of the transportation safety issues in Canada and we will be ensuring that this legislation and any future safety legislation passed by the House will be positive step for Canada.

In conclusion, I should also like to note that our party's transportation critic, the hon. member for Cumberland—Colchester, has done an extensive investigation into the bill. It has been found to be solid and should warrant our support.

While it somewhat irregular for a bill which has been referred to a standing committee to brought back to the House without allowing the committee to do its work, hear any witnesses or perform the valuable work of parliamentary committees, we will be supporting this move today with regard to Bill S-2.

The reason for this is the need to give the transportation safety board the necessary changes to fine tune its operation as well as to make minor although important changes to the governing act. These changes will increase transportation safety for all Canadians. For this reason the Progressive Conservative Party will be supporting a quick passage today.

Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation And Safety Board Act
Government Orders

10:40 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Thibeault)

Is the House ready for the question?

Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation And Safety Board Act
Government Orders

10:40 a.m.

Some hon. members

Question.

Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation And Safety Board Act
Government Orders

10:40 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Thibeault)

The question is on the motion for third reading of Bill S-2. Pursuant to order made earlier this day, the motion is deemed carried on division.

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

National Parks Act
Government Orders

10:40 a.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception
Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Fred Mifflin for the Minister of Canadian Heritage

moved that Bill C-38, an act amend the National Parks Act, be read the third time and passed.

National Parks Act
Government Orders

10:40 a.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka
Ontario

Liberal

Andy Mitchell Secretary of State (Parks)

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to have an opportunity to rise today on third reading of Bill C-38, an act to establish Tuktut Nogait National Park.

I begin my comments by repeating something I said in the House yesterday. I thank all members from all parties who worked diligently in committee and otherwise toward the passage of this piece of legislation and toward an important objective that we as Canadians all share, the establishment and continuing establishment of our national parks system and toward fulfilling what is a very important goal and objective for all Canadians, the protection of special places in the country.

This park will join the family of 38 national parks to date and will, as I said, work toward the completion of our national parks system to ensure that we have the representation of at least one park in each of the 39 natural regions designated across Canada.

These are indeed special places. In this case of Tuktut Nogait, the process that has been developed in this park is being put forward to protect the bluenose caribou herd, the core calving grounds of the caribou herd, and to protect the tundra landscape of the northern Arctic. It is one of the most beautiful and spectacular locations in Canada, particularly in Canada's north.

The establishment of this park has been a very long, extensive and public process in arriving at the place where we are today. The original idea for this national park was in 1989 when the community of Paulatuk undertook a study. It came to Parks Canada, to the federal government, and suggested that one way to protect the area was through the establishment of a national park.

From that point there was a period of some seven years of public hearings, negotiations and discussions so that in 1996 all parties were in a position to sign an agreement to establish the national park. What we are doing with the bill is taking that agreement and bringing it under the National Parks Act.

Since that agreement has been signed a management board committee has been established to oversee the park. It includes representatives of the local community as well as of Parks Canada. This is a full management procedure by which to manage the park. I am pleased that the board is up and running and providing us with timely advice on the operation of the park.

I will not speak too long to this issue but there are four key points I want to make briefly.

One is the importance of establishing this park to protect the important calving grounds of the bluenose caribou herd. This was one of the raisons d'etre for the establishment of the park. The science which we have seen shows clearly that the park is used by the caribou for their calving.

It helps us as a government and as Canadians to fulfil an international obligation which we have talked about. This government and Canadians have been very insistent with our American counterparts that they protect their caribou on the Alaskan side of the border. We have worked diligently within Canada to ensure that we have protected the calving grounds. We have asked that the Americans do this. To date their land in Alaska, commonly known as the 1002 land, still does not have full protection. I think we are sending a very clear message internationally that we are willing to stand behind our international statements by protecting the caribou here in Canada.

I touched on my second point in my introduction. This park establishment is going along in terms of an agreement that all parties came to in 1996. This agreement was made, and there has been some discussion about this, knowing that there was an anomaly in that area that would indicate there may be some mineral potential.

In 1994 the resource company itself was part of that decision by voluntarily, at the request of the Inuvialuit, relinquishing its mining claims to that area. We understand that this was not because it was not an area that there may be mineral exploration, we did not think that the area was not valuable, but a collective decision was made that we would protect this area despite the fact that it may have some mineral potential. That was the decision. It was not made in ignorance. It was a conscious decision made to protect a very special place in Canada and to do so knowing full well what the results of that may be.

I also want to touch very briefly on the status of Tuktut Nogait as it stands today. There have been some suggestions that this is not really a national park and that any concern over protecting the integrity of agreements is not a real concern.

Many of what we commonly call our national parks are in exactly the same status as Tuktut Nogait is prior to the passage of this legislation. Places like Pacific Rim in British Columbia, Grasslands in Saskatchewan, Pukaskwa in Ontario, Gros Morne in Newfoundland all are more or less in the same legal status as Tuktut Nogait is today.

It is important that we demonstrate clearly that we are going to protect the integrity of the boundaries of our national parks. If we were to move away from that and say we would entertain logging interests in one area, oil and gas interests in another area or mining interests in another area, then we would have great difficulties.

We decide collectively as Canadians to protect certain special places in this country. As the Secretary of State for Parks, I had the honour and the responsibility of ensuring the integrity of those decisions.

This last point is one which I spoke on briefly yesterday at report stage. We are committed as a government to work with the local community to ensure that it has an opportunity to develop economically in terms of the park. We have made a commitment that we will be spending some $10 million over the next several years with the establishment of the park.

We have also said clearly that we are going to work to ensure that the native community, the local community, has the first opportunity for the jobs that are being created in that area. We are also working with the Government of the Northwest Territories to ensure that we can proceed with the economic development. The fact is that some 80% of that mining potential I talked about earlier is outside the park and may present an opportunity as an event that may unfold in the future.

In conclusion, I am pleased that we are about to pass this legislation and see another important part of our national parks system come to fruition.

National Parks Act
Government Orders

10:50 a.m.

Reform

Keith Martin Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to speak on Bill C-38. The Reform Party will be supporting it in our efforts to support conservation in Canada. However, I am greatly disappointed in the activities of this government over the past year with respect to protecting our endangered species and our parks.

I wonder if the hon. secretary of state knows that what is going on in the Arctic today is truly a tragedy. Teratogenic and carcinogenic materials in the form of radioactive isotopes are coming across to the northern Arctic. They are poisoning the Inuit people who live there. Those materials are bioaccumulating in the flora and fauna and causing serious trouble for the environment. Some of these isotopes will not go away for hundreds of thousands of years. We hear absolutely nothing about it yet the government has been warned repeatedly over the years. I would strongly recommend the government look into that.

Over 240 species are at risk in Canada today, including the prothonotary warbler, beaked whales, Mississauga rattlesnakes, black-footed ferrets, Vancouver Island marmots and many others. The people who are trying to preserve these species are not getting the help they require.

The minister of heritage has taken a knee-jerk response to Banff. She has done the exact opposite of what she should be doing. She should be enabling the people of Banff to generate the necessary funds to not only protect their wild spaces but also to expand the park.

I have heard the hon. secretary of state speak eloquently about this so he knows very well that the degradation of our environment and the destruction of our habitat seriously threaten endangered species. In a nutshell, we have to give endangered species a home. We cannot kill them. We have to protect them and we have to work with the people to do that.

There are many serious threats, from the destruction of our habitat to trafficking. Canada is one of top 10 countries in the world in the international trafficking of endangered species. There is trafficking of tiger parts, black rhino horn and many other endangered species around the world. That is not part of the Canadian legacy and it is not something we should be proud of having within our midst.

There is the issue of lack of support for our conservation staff. There are difficulties and jurisdictional problems between the feds, the provinces and the municipalities.

These issues have to be cleared up in a very substantive way for many reasons. One reason is that we have derived many medicinal and other benefits. We will derive more in the future if we can preserve these species for the benefit of all, not to mention the philosophical benefits of being able to give to our children what we have received from our parents.

There are some sensible solutions. What has worked around the world has been to get parks and wild spaces to generate their own funds. If parks and wild spaces can earn revenue, that revenue can be ploughed back into the parks. This is a very sensible and eco-friendly way to preserve and expand the parks.

Buffer zones could be created around the parks and the people living in the surrounding areas could derive benefits. When the people in the surrounding areas derive a benefit from the park they can use the area as a poaching buffer zone around the park. Different parks around the world have used this strategy. It has worked very well in Central America and elsewhere.

It could also be a very useful way of engaging developing countries in creating revenues in an eco-friendly way. Parks in south central Asia and Africa could generate revenues that would benefit the people in the surrounding area in a sustainable way. It enables people to support themselves.

In terms of the jurisdiction of the environment we have to clean that up. Currently federal regulations only cover 4% of the Canadian land mass. Species do not know boundaries. They cross over municipal, provincial and national boundaries. They need to be protected within that context. We have to remove the jurisdictional entanglements that prevent strong legislation from coming forward to protect our endangered species.

The trafficking situation is appalling. We have to have enough conservation officers and we have to give them the powers to enforce the laws. They are not getting the support of the justice system. They must do this for Canada to end its miserable legacy that it has before the world in being a conduit for wild animal parts.

I recognize that there are no new moneys, but funds can be generated through using the parks in an eco-friendly way. One example is to put a 2% levy on hotels deriving benefits from the parks. Those moneys could be poured back into the parks for conservation measures, habitat protection, extending the habitat, doing scientific research and education. In this way we would not have to ask the government for more money. The money would be there.

Hunting is actually useful. I do not hunt as I could never kill anything, but as has worked in the past, if money could be derived from hunting, those moneys which could be quite extensive could be poured back into the parks and used to preserve many of the other species. It might sound cold hearted but it is pragmatic and it does work.

We also have to deal with enforcing our obligations under CITES, the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species. We are a signatory to this convention but as I said before, we have been an embarrassment with respect to our enforcement of those issues.

We have a number of opportunities within our midst. The power of the federal government is enormous. It has to sit down with its provincial counterparts to establish jurisdictional differences. Perhaps it would be best for the federal government to take the responsibility and work with the municipalities. It also needs to work with farmers and land owners. They could be a natural support for conservation measures. Where that has been done on the prairies it has worked very well.

Generally speaking land owners do not want to see the decimation of the biodiversity within their midst. They would like to see that preserved for many reasons, yet they need people to work with them. If the government could manage to work with them then we would be able to expand our biodiversity and use the private land owners as friends rather than as enemies. This could be a useful way of expanding today's situation.

I will go back to the situation on trafficking. We live in a world that is intertwined; what happens half a world away affects us here at home. Canada has taken a leadership role in signing international treaties on biodiversity in the past. The world needs a leader in working with other countries in this area.

We have to put aside our prejudices and deal with some very pragmatic ways in which we can support our environment. Yes, it does take money. One of the things we could examine is that the environment can generate revenues in an environmentally sound, pragmatic and sustainable manner and those moneys could then be poured back into the environment.

When the minister prevented development within the city boundaries of Banff, that was not sensible. This did not involve an encroachment on the park. The minister could have taken a leadership role. She could have said that it would be allowed within the park so long as it fit certain federal regulations with respect to the environment. If the minister had done that and taken a leadership role in putting forth sensible ways for the park to generate revenues which could be poured into the conservation measures, Banff National Park would be stronger today.

National Parks Act
Government Orders

10:55 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

I am sorry to interrupt the hon. member but I think he knows what time it is. He will have plenty of time to complete his remarks after question period. We will now proceed to Statements by Members.

Small Business
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

Carmen Provenzano Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business and the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association have announced a joint initiative that will help make unincorporated businesses more competitive and improve health care coverage for up to one million Canadians.

Small businesses are the backbone of the Canadian economy. This is why our government has produced a number of initiatives designed to ensure continued growth in the medium and small business sectors.

The government's 1998 federal budget introduced measures that permit unincorporated, self-employed business owners to deduct the cost of supplementary health and dental coverage as a business expense. This is a major step toward placing them on the same footing as other Canadian businesses.

The joint CFIB and CLHIA announcement brings this important initiative full circle.

I congratulate the Minister of Finance for his leadership in this regard. I commend the Canadian Federation of Independent Business and the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association for responding so positively.

The result of this co-operative and innovative effort—

Small Business
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Calgary Centre.

Bill C-397
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Reform

Eric C. Lowther Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, taxpayers in my riding of Calgary Centre expect safe streets in their communities when they step out of their homes, day or night.

That is why when street prostitution and the intimidating criminal element it attracts surfaced in one of these communities these resourceful Calgarians said “No way. Not here”.

They went to their elected officials at all levels of government. They made it clear that they want results, not buck passing.

After consultation and review of the recommendations from the experts, I have submitted Bill C-397. This bill has the documented support of all three levels of government, the Alberta justice minister and local and business communities.

On May 19 I contacted other municipalities across Canada to see whether they felt their communities would benefit from Bill C-397.

The response has been encouraging, including a letter of support from fellow Canadians in the city of Rimouski, Quebec.

Calgarians and Canadians urge every member of this House to support this bill and contribute to safer Canadian communities.

The Environment
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

Charles Caccia Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Ontario environment ministry is allowing dombind to be spread on country roads, a practice that has dangerous consequences.

Testing has shown a dramatic rise in dioxin levels on rural roads treated with dombind, a thick, sticky material made from pulp and paper waste.

It contains toxic substances, including dioxins, which are harmful to aquatic life, soil organisms, cattle and humans.

The Ontario government has issued a licence allowing dombind to be sprayed until next December. The licence to use dombind, otherwise known as the black liquor, should be revoked because of its potential harm to drinking water and the ecosystem.

Research And Development
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

Andrew Telegdi Kitchener—Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, the University of Waterloo and the consortium Watpark recently announced progress in the development of a 200 acre world-class research and technology park on campus.

Companies such as IBM Canada Ltd. and the Evergreen Foundation are participating in this consortium. This high tech park will encourage the creation or relocation of research-based companies, provide attractive employment opportunities in the high tech sector for co-op students and graduates and produce long term financial benefits that will help the university to enhance the quality and relevance of its programs.

I applaud this private and academic sector partnership for its initiatives that will be of great benefit to the Waterloo region, Ontario and Canada.

I also congratulate this Liberal government, the Ministers of Finance and Industry and the Secretary of State for Science, Research and Development for their support of the R and D sector.

Minister Of Foreign Affairs
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

Jean Augustine Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate an outstanding parliamentarian on his 25th year in public life.

Over these 25 years, Canadians have watched his move from a scholar to a politician dedicated to championing issues of social justice.

His commitment in this area is exemplified by his leadership role on the land mines treaty and his fierce determination to protect children from all types of abuses, including those which are a consequence of war and labour exploitation.

Lloyd Axworthy's understanding of public service for the common good is one of the many reasons for the longevity of his career.

I commend him for his dedication to and appreciation of public life, for his work in the House of Commons and on behalf of his constituents.

I call on my colleagues to join me in congratulating the hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs. Congratulations, Mr. Minister.

Minister Of Foreign Affairs
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

I must caution the hon. member not to refer to hon. members by name, but by their title.

Government Spending
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Reform

Lee Morrison Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Health would have us believe that there are no funds available to compensate hepatitis C victims, but in his previous portfolio he had no difficulty committing the government to a loopy firearms registration scheme that will cost hundreds of millions of dollars for no discernible benefit, a scheme that has already cost far more than his initial estimate with nothing yet to show for it.

There are no funds for victims of governmental ineptitude and hundreds of millions available for useless and repressive bureaucratic exercises.

The chairman of the Toronto police services board reported a 40% drop in the criminal use of firearms in the last four years. Just as this government continues to ignore the indignation of rural people, it is ignoring the fact that firearms are not a problem in our largest city.

Priorities, boys and girls. Priorities.

R-2000 Program
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Roy Cullen Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, an hon. member stood in the House last week and blamed the federal government's National Building Code and its R-2000 program for the so-called leaky condo crisis in British Columbia.

The R-2000 program is not to blame. There is absolutely no evidence to indicate that the use of air vapour barriers is a problem in the lower mainland or elsewhere in Canada. There have been no wall failures reported in R-2000 certified buildings in British Columbia.

The R-2000 program provides a basis for the design and construction of new homes which are more energy efficient. All R-2000 homes must comply with local and provincial building codes. CMHC, NRC, key stakeholders and the B.C. community are working together to come up with appropriate technical solutions that can be applied to repairs of affected buildings.

I am pleased also to inform the House that, based on research done by NRCan scientists, new seismic hazard information will become part of the year 2000 national building code.

Abitibi
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Bloc

Pierre Brien Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to point out that tomorrow is the 100th anniversary of Abitibi's annexation to Quebec.

On June 13, 1898, the area around Abitibi, which had belonged to the Northwest Territories, joined Quebec following 25 years of discussions between the governments of Canada and Quebec.

An organizing committee under the aegis of the Abitibi-Témiscamingue cultural committee is co-ordinating an impressive number of commemorative and other activities, which will be taking place throughout the summer and continue until next winter. In addition, the committee plans to organize a conference in the fall on Abitibi's annexation to Quebec.

I congratulate the Abitibi-Témiscamingue cultural committee on this venture and I would like to point out that the people of Abitibi and my region are proud to belong to Quebec now and for always.

Happy celebrations.

Canadian Centre For Emergency Preparedness
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Beth Phinney Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, on Monday the Canadian Centre for Emergency Preparedness will be hosting its eighth annual world conference on disaster management in Hamilton.

Every year leaders in the field of emergency response examine lessons learned from the past year's worse natural and man-made disasters.

This year's conference features the eastern Ontario and Quebec ice storms, the Alberta fires and the Red River flood.

Emergency Preparedness Canada administers the joint emergency preparedness program and the disaster financial assistance arrangements program on behalf of the federal government.

This Liberal government has given tremendous support to ice storm victims and to those affected by the Alberta fires and the Red River flood victims. This emergency preparedness program is simply another way the Liberal government is helping Canadians in time of need.

The Senate
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Reform

Derrek Konrad Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Speaker, we have now been working together in this House since September and I must say it has been a pleasure working with everyone here over this period of time.

But as I say this on what appears to be our last day in this House before a three month recess, still nothing has been done about Senate reform. The Reform Party has remained committed to the idea of a triple E Senate and will continue to push for Senate reform.

The Prime Minister said that he is in favour of Senate reform, but yet just last night he snuck in five new senators. Shame. A whole session has gone by and still the Prime Minister has done nothing on the matter.

The vast majority of Canadians want Senate reform and want to be able to have a say in who represents them in the upper chamber, no matter how popular they may be. Canadians must have a voice.

Mr. Speaker, I think you will agree that it is time for the government to start listening to Canadians and to get real.

The Senate
Statements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Steve Mahoney Mississauga West, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday parliament welcomed its newest left winger, the hon. “big M” Frank Mahovlich.

Over an illustrious career, Frank Mahovlich scored 626 goals, was selected to nine all-star teams and was on 6 Stanley Cup winners. He has been a hockey hero in the two historic hotbeds of the Canadian game: Toronto and Montreal.

He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1981, Canada's Sports Hall of Fame in 1990 and received the Order of Canada in 1994.

He has the kind of talent we need here in Ottawa: someone who knows how to stick handle, how to win in the corners and how to finish the play.

Indeed, we would put our “big M” up against the official opposition's “little M”, Preston Manning, any day of the week.

The Senate
Statements By Members

11:10 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

If hon. members could restrain themselves somewhat, it would be easier for the Chair to hear breaches of order that are committed by members such as the hon. member who just mentioned a member of this House by name. I urge all hon. members to comply with the rules and only mention the title of the member or the constituency name, rather than the name of the member.

Firefighters
Statements By Members

11:10 a.m.

NDP

Rick Laliberte Churchill River, SK

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to thousands of men and women across northern Canada who are fighting forest fires. All Canadians owe a great debt of gratitude for their courage, discipline and resourcefulness.

In Churchill River hundreds are fighting fires in northwestern Saskatchewan communities such as Île-à-la Crosse, Buffalo Narrows and La Loche. In northern Alberta they protected Swan Hills. In the Yukon they are fighting fires around Haines Junction and Whitehorse.

The federal government should recognize the valuable resources available across Canada to meet the challenges of natural disasters. As a nation we have faced many tragedies, like the Manitoba flood and the ice storms of 1998. These disasters could be addressed by the firefighters of northern Canada.

Today I extend thanks to all the firefighters in northern Canada for protecting our communities.

Chiapas
Statements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Bloc

Maud Debien Laval East, QC

Mr. Speaker, we were distressed to learn of the resignation of Mgr. Samuel Ruiz as the head of the national mediation commission in Chiapas.

With 40 years' service to the Indian communities in Chiapas, the Bishop of San Cristobal was acting as mediator between the Zapatistas and the Mexican authorities. His departure and that of all the members of the commission heighten fears of further military intervention in Chiapas.

The pressure, insults, attacks and criticism from as high up as President Zedillo sabotage every effort by Mgr. Ruiz to bring peace.

We regret the departure of this man of peace, especially since we heard reports this morning of a number of deaths in Mexico.

We hope that the Government of Mexico will express its intention to reach a negotiated solution in stronger terms. According to the recommendations of the Mexican national human rights commission, relocating the military would be a first step.

House Of Commons
Statements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, this has been a successful year for parliament. We introduced 56 government bills into the 36th Parliament, compared with 45 in the last year of the previous parliament and we did this in a much more complex political environment in the House of Commons.

Bills passed by the House of Commons since February include the 1998 budget legislation which established the Canadian Millennium Scholarship Foundation, amendments to the Canadian Wheat Board Act and the Canada Labour Code, and legislation to create a new parks agency. These issues were complex and controversial and involved intensive work by MPs on the floor of the House and in committee.

We succeeded in moving forward on a large and difficult agenda because of the hard work of members of parliament, improved planning by the House leaders and better co-ordination between the House and the Senate.

Youth Unemployment
Statements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Gilles Bernier Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Mr. Speaker, according to figures provided by human resources development, the minister has cut funding for summer career placements in New Brunswick by over $300,000 from last year.

On Wednesday the minister mistakenly suggested that the funds were cut because the unemployment rate for youth has dropped in New Brunswick. The minister needs to check his facts. His department's own numbers show that youth unemployment in New Brunswick is up 2% from last year to 21%.

Finding a summer job is the only way many New Brunswick students can afford to pay for the skyrocketing costs of education. Many small businesses, non-profit organizations and municipalities can only hire students with the help of government programs. Unfortunately, because of the minister's cuts to summer job programs there are students across New Brunswick who will not be able to continue their education this fall.

Last year the Liberal Party lost two-thirds of its seats in Atlantic Canada and it seems to me it has learned nothing.

Accueil Bonneau
Statements By Members

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, at this very moment, the funeral ceremonies for the three victims of the accident at Accueil Bonneau are being held in Montreal's Notre-Dame Basilica.

I join with all my colleagues in the House of Commons in offering our most sincere condolences to the families and friends of the victims.

Accueil Bonneau makes a magnificent contribution to the lives of thousands of disadvantaged Montrealers. The three victims can never be replaced, but many courageous and determined volunteers have already rolled up their sleeves to ensure that these good works will continue.

Our thoughts go out at this time to the three who lost their lives in this terrible accident, to whom we must be grateful for their unceasing devotion to humanity.

Fortunately, however, thanks to the great solidarity shown by so many Quebeckers in the hours since the tragedy, the work of Accueil Bonneau will go on.

Liberal Party
Statements By Members

11:15 a.m.

Reform

Ken Epp Elk Island, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is the end of the semester and it is time to give this Liberal class its evaluation.

For fulfilling the election promise to elect a senator, f . The Prime Minister makes appointments and makes excuses.

For fixing the Young Offenders Act, f . The assignment is now over one year late.

For providing hope to victims of crime, f . They only talk but nothing has been done.

In basic accounting, f . They are listing items in the expenditures column that should not be there according to the auditor general.

For cutting government spending, f . They cut mostly in transfers to provinces.

For caring and compassion, f . For fixing up the problems in the military, double f . For planning to reduce the debt and interest payments, f . For attendance in the House, d . For respect and deportment, f .

With ten f s and one d they fail. The next class, the Reform class, will pass.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, it took a lot of courage for Private Ann Margaret Dickey to come forward and tell her story of abuse in the military, but what has been the reaction of the minister of defence? He blames the victim. Instead of following up on Private Dickey's complaints, the minister has the nerve to come forward and question her credibility.

Why should any woman ever come forward with allegations of sexual assault in the military when she knows she will be put on trial by the minister, his department and the media? Why is that?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Deputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the head of the national investigative service, Colonel Patricia Samson, confirms that an investigation is under way into the allegations referred to by the hon. Reform member.

This investigation is carried out by a body at arm's length from the chain of command. I suggest we let the investigation take its course and not raise it in the House of Commons in a way that may prejudice its appropriate and successful outcome.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, we would love to let the investigation take its course, except the minister spoke out and talked about zero tolerance and how terrible it is for any sexual assault to occur. Then he had the nerve to come forward and taint that investigation by saying that her whole story is not credible.

I want this minister to answer the question. Why should any woman ever come forward with allegations of sexual assault when she will have to go on trial by the minister, his department and the media?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Deputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I do not accept the insinuations and premises of the hon. member's question.

The minister said on behalf of the government that we want to have a professional and harassment free atmosphere for all members of the Canadian armed services.

That is why, following the recommendations of the Somalia commission and former Chief Justice Dickson, the government set up the arm's length national investigative service which is actively looking into the allegations in question.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, the biggest barrier to women coming forward with these kinds of allegations is absolute fear that they will not be believed, and the government knows it.

Dickey has run up against this problem at every turn for two years. First of all it was her commanding officer. Then it was the military investigators. Now it is the minister himself who is blaming her and asking about her credibility.

When will one of these so-called defenders of human rights over there stand and tell the minister that he cannot deal with sexual assault victims by blaming the victims?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Deputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I do not think we can accept the insinuation of the hon. member that the minister is saying we should blame the victim.

It is not my understanding of what he said at all. In fact the minister is very interested in making sure the investigation is carried on properly under the leadership of Colonel Patricia Samson, head of the national investigative service at arm's length from the chain of command.

If the hon. member believes that there should not be interference in an investigation in a way that harms those who make complaints, she should not be raising it wrongly in the way she is in the House of Commons today.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Reform

Leon Benoit Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, I frankly do not believe what we are hearing hear today.

The Deputy Prime Minister is saying that he cannot comment on the case because it is under investigation. Yet the minister is commenting on the case to all the media right across the country and he is blaming the victim.

How could Private Dickey ever get a fair hearing when the minister is questioning her credibility through the media right across the country?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Deputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I do not agree with the hon. member's interpretation of the minister's words that he is blaming the victim. I do not think he is doing that at all.

In any event, the minister is not directing or running the investigation. It is being carried on at arm's length by the national investigative service under the command of the chief provost marshal, Colonel Patricia Samson, herself a member of the same sex as the complainant.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Reform

Leon Benoit Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, maybe the minister ought to read the newspapers today. The headlines say that the minister is blaming the victim, and the minister is blaming the victim.

The minister has prejudiced the case. He has questioned Private Dickey's testimony in public. Now Private Dickey cannot possible get fair treatment within the military system.

I want to ask the government what specific plans it has. What will the government implement to give Private Dickey a fair hearing outside the military justice system?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Deputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, at this stage an investigation is under way at arm's length from the chain of command of the armed services. The investigation is not completed.

My hon. friend's questions would make more sense if they were asked once the investigation was completed. He wants to play this out in the headlines. I do not think that is fair to the complainant or any complaint of this kind.

Canada Information Office
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Rimouski—Mitis, QC

Mr. Speaker, recently, the Prime Minister gave the Minister of Public Works, the chief Liberal organizer in Quebec, responsibility for the Canada information office, the CIO.

This morning we learn in the papers that the minister intends to use the CIO's considerable resources to get involved in the upcoming election campaign in Quebec.

Will the Minister of Public Works confirm what we learned from the Canadian Press agency this morning, namely that the CIO will be hugely involved in the upcoming election in opposition to the current Government of Quebec?

Canada Information Office
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel
Québec

Liberal

Alfonso Gagliano Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, what I said in the interview to one journalist is that, first of all, the upcoming election in Quebec is a provincial one, not a federal one, and that, if the Government of Quebec or any other political party were to misinform people about the Government of Canada, we would be there to provide the facts. That is all.

However, I am surprised the member is asking the question, because her leader said all Bloc members would be canvassing door to door in the fall as part of the election campaign. So they can get involved, but we cannot—

Canada Information Office
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Rimouski—Mitis.

Canada Information Office
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Rimouski—Mitis, QC

Mr. Speaker, canvassing door to door is one thing, but using the $20 million of the CIO in the campaign is something else.

Canada Information Office
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Canada Information Office
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Rimouski—Mitis, QC

This government is arrogant. It thinks it has a monopoly on the truth. In a democracy, its not uncommon to have different takes on the same reality. Infallibility is to be found in Rome, not in Ottawa.

Will the Minister of Public Works confirm that his government once again intends to exceed the spirit of the legislation on political party funding, as happened in the 1995 referendum campaign with Option Canada?

Canada Information Office
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel
Québec

Liberal

Alfonso Gagliano Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, we have no intention to exceed any legislation, electoral or other.

What we are saying is that, as the Government of Canada, we are entitled, and Canadians are entitled to know the facts as they are and not the versions the separatists want them to hear.

So if they spread untruths, we will clarify things. That is what we are saying.

I would like to tell the member that if she wants to tell me about the honeymoon of the Bloc Quebecois and the Reform Party, I would be happy to spread that around Canada.

Canada Information Office
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Verchères, QC

Mr. Speaker, not only is the Minister of Public Works and main organizer of the Liberal Party in Quebec responsible for the CIO, but now he is also co-ordinating all government publicity.

What is the reason behind this odd co-incidence, which means that the main organizer of the Liberal Party in Quebec now has responsibility for the entire federal government propaganda machine?

Canada Information Office
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel
Québec

Liberal

Alfonso Gagliano Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I see that separatist Bloc members are beginning to get worried even though the election campaign is not yet under way in Quebec. Can you imagine what they will be like when it begins?

As president of the cabinet communications committee, I co-ordinate the government's activities and information and ensure that all ministers of the Canadian government speak with one voice. It is not a propaganda machine. Propaganda is part of the mentality of the separatist Bloc members who want—

Canada Information Office
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Canada Information Office
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Order, please. The hon. member for Verchères now has the floor.

Canada Information Office
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Verchères, QC

Mr. Speaker, does this mean the main organizer of the Liberal Party in Quebec is telling us that Ottawa does not trust Jean Charest any more than it trusted Daniel Johnson and that it prefers to run the next election campaign in Quebec itself?

Canada Information Office
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel
Québec

Liberal

Alfonso Gagliano Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, we have great confidence in Jean Charest. It was the separatist Bloc members who began attacking Jean Charest, even while he was still a member in this House, as soon as he announced his intention to run for the leadership of the Liberal Party of Quebec and to become the next premier of that province.

We have nothing to learn from these members, who are here for one reason only, and that is to break up Canada.

The Atlantic Groundfish Strategy
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Deputy Prime Minister.

The post-TAGS package that has been offered by the Liberals and that has been made public in recent days shows that the government just does not seem to get the severity of the crisis, of the social catastrophe, that is facing our coastal communities. Many thousands of Canadian families and their communities are facing a form of extinction.

When will the government appreciate the full gravity of the situation? When will it commit the kind of political will and resources that it has not yet being willing to do?

Or, is this most recent proposal just as trial balloon sent up to make Brian Tobin look like a hero when he eventually negotiates an increase in this inadequate sum?

The Atlantic Groundfish Strategy
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception
Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows that the government is not in the habit of responding to media speculation. The hon. member also knows that members on this side of the House are working very hard and very assiduously with the provincial governments to come up with a program.

The government is working flat out to finalize a program to restructure the fishery and to reorganize the program in such a way that those who are in need will get the necessary adjustment programs.

The Atlantic Groundfish Strategy
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, that is why, with remarks like that from the veterans affairs minister, the people of Atlantic Canada have no trust in the government.

The government has had six years to come up with a comprehensive package for the people on the east coast and those in Quebec.

Why is the government abandoning its responsibility for the people on the east coast? Why, in God's name, will it not do something for those people now?

The Atlantic Groundfish Strategy
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception
Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I assume with that rhetoric there is some emotion. I know there is a lot of emotion; I live in Atlantic Canada and I have relatives in the business.

The government's record for looking after those in the fishery is pretty good and I expect it will continue to be in the future.

The Economy
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the share value of Canada's dollar hit record lows.

Our floating exchange rate is being used by this government as a camouflage for flawed domestic economic policies. One of the forces exerting downward force on the Canadian dollar is that 20% of Canada's debt matured this year and yet this government has yet to commit to firm debt reduction targets.

When will this government commit to those firm debt reduction targets that would send out the appropriate message?

The Economy
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Stoney Creek
Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, there are a number of factors that have been impacting on the performance of the dollar recently, lower commodity prices and the uncertainty about economic developments in some Asian countries.

However, let us be clear that the underlying fundamentals are behind a Canadian economy that remains strong. The OECD, for example, estimates that Canada will have the best fiscal performance in the entire G-7. Output and employment growth have been robust and inflation continues to be low. We are on a track that will continue to see this country grow right into the next millennium because the fundamentals are right.

The Economy
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, this government's leadership is sounding very similar to the former leadership in Indonesia, blaming the guys in red suspenders for the weakness in the Canadian dollar.

I would ask this government to do what it has done over the past four years and take advice from a Conservative because this government has used Conservative policies, including free trade, the GST and the deregulation of financial services in transportation, to reduce the deficit.

I now beseech this government to again take advice from a Conservative and provide this country with the leadership it needs. We need reduced taxes and we need a commitment to lower debt to provide the strength for the Canadian dollar in the long term.

The Economy
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Deputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, if we took advice from the Conservatives we would still have a $42 billion deficit. If we took advice from the Conservatives we would still have unemployment at least 3% higher than we have today. If we took advice from the Conservatives we would have record high interest rates and inflation.

Canadians say to the Conservatives no thank you, they do not need any more of that kind of advice.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, in the videotape of Private Dickey's interrogation or interview by military police officers she was told that the investigation would be dropped or suspended unless she came up with more evidence of sexual abuse.

What kind of investigative unit would ask the victim to go out and gather her own evidence in order to bring her attacker to trial?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Deputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the investigation continues as confirmed by the chief provost marshal, the head of the national investigative service. Why does the hon. member not let the investigation continue and at the end of the investigation questions of that sort, if necessary, can be gone into further?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, the hon. Deputy Prime Minister should have informed the defence minister of that caution before he spoke out to the media.

This investigation sucks. I was an investigator with the police department for 12 years and the investigation conducted by the NIS is shoddy at best. Victims of sexual assault need to know that their complaint is going to be handled fairly and professionally.

How can any victim of sexual assault be convinced that their complaints will be properly—

National Defence
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

I urge all hon. members to be cautious in their use of language both in the questions and in the answers.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Deputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I am sure that when the hon. member was a police officer conducting investigations for 12 years he did not engage in a debate with third parties and the press about how he was doing his work.

I ask the hon. member to apply to this situation the same approach he took in conducting his investigations, not conducting and debating them with third parties but carrying on his work so that the investigation would not be prejudiced.

Why is he asking in a way that is aimed at prejudicing the investigation instead of letting it come out with a fair and reasonable conclusion based on the investigation?

Atlantic Groundfish Strategy
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Yvan Bernier Bonaventure—Gaspé—Îles-De-La-Madeleine—Pabok, QC

Mr. Speaker, this morning, we read in the papers that the government is about to announce a $550 million program to replace TAGS.

This paltry measure represents only 25% of the previous program and is considered definitely insufficient by angry fishing communities.

Is the deputy prime minister aware that a mere $550 million to replace the Altantic Groundfish Strategy will not nearly be enough to placate the angry and dispirited fishers from the Magdalen Islands, from the Gaspé area and—

Atlantic Groundfish Strategy
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of Veterans Affairs.

Atlantic Groundfish Strategy
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception
Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. member knows this is pure speculation and I am not going to comment on that.

We are very much aware of the situation. We have heard him and members in the House. We know each other and I think he knows that when this program is finalized it will address those issues he and other members of the House are concerned about

The government is working very hard to put this program together and it will be announced in the very near future.

Atlantic Groundfish Strategy
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Yvan Bernier Bonaventure—Gaspé—Îles-De-La-Madeleine—Pabok, QC

Mr. Speaker, of course, people speculate when they see that the members opposite are taking too much time to react.

By setting aside a mere $550 million to replace TAGS, the Minister of Human Resources Development is only deferring the problem, since it will take just six months to go through this money.

Does the government realize that, with only 25% of the budget of the previous program, it will be unable to take proactive measures to reorient the fish workers and will only point them towards civil disobedience?

Atlantic Groundfish Strategy
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception
Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I know the hon. member is not given to alarmist statements and superlatives that would exacerbate the situation.

We are very much aware there is a lot of anxiety in the Atlantic provinces and in Quebec. This process takes time because we have to consult with the province. We have to make sure we take the time to get it right because this has to be an excellent strategy. It has to be right and it has to be done soon.

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Reform

Mike Scott Skeena, BC

Mr. Speaker, the minister of Indian Affairs knows that the Delgamuukw decision has created a great deal of uncertainty in British Columbia. She knows that the native summit is claiming 100% of the province and she knows that some bands are now taking action to stop logging and mining.

The minister says the way out of this is to negotiate, but that process to date has not produced any results.

How long does she think British Columbians will have to wait to see a resolution to this problem?

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, not only I think the right approach is to negotiate aboriginal rights, it is the people of British Columbia, 9 out of 10, who say that the appropriate thing to do is settle land claims at the negotiating table.

It is the business community in British Columbia that understands settling land claims will add to the GDP of the province.

It is the supreme court which directs us to find in these modern times an appropriate way to reconcile aboriginal rights and directs us to do it at the negotiating table.

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Reform

Mike Scott Skeena, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is the business community in British Columbia that said not one more nickel of investment in that province until this issue is resolved.

The track record of the government is zero in seven; seven years of negotiating, not one agreement, over one hundred bands that qualify to be in negotiations.

The people of British Columbia deserve to know. How long will they have to wait to see this uncertainty cleared up and the question of land ownership in British Columbia resolved once and for all?

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, let us clarify another thing. If we want to talk about the B.C. business community, let us look at what Milton Wong, a prominent B.C. business person, said about the treaty process.

He said that through the treaty framework we can establish a social, political and economic certainty that will encourage investment in British Columbia and therefore be of enormous help to business communities across the province.

We have made progress. When we took office there was one table in action, now there are over 50. There are 30 that have frameworks of action in place and we are proceeding to agreements in principle.

Contraband Tobacco
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Government of Quebec announced that it would replace the QST with a specific tax collected at the source by manufacturers and wholesalers, which would go a long way toward solving the cigarette contraband problem on native reserves and would allow the Quebec government to recover lost revenues from uncollected taxes.

My question is for the Minister of Finance. Does the federal government intend to harmonize its policy what that of Quebec by replacing the GST with a specific tax collected at the source on tobacco products?

Contraband Tobacco
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Stoney Creek
Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, certainly the federal government is concerned about illegal activities and continues to work closely with the provinces and law enforcement agencies to control the sale of contraband goods.

However, we are not in favour of removing the GST on tobacco products. We feel that only goods essential to the well-being of Canadians should be exempt from sales tax such as basic food items, prescription drugs and medical devices. Clearly tobacco products do not fall into this category.

Contraband Tobacco
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, in five years this government has done nothing to fight contraband, to eliminate this black market estimated at $6 billion a year according to the auditor general.

It is a lot easier to take money from the employment insurance fund, to take money from the unemployed and the sick, than to fight contraband.

There is a simple solution to that problem. Will the minister apply this intelligent solution proposed by Quebec, a practical solution that would allow the government to recover millions of dollars in uncollected taxes on contraband cigarettes?

Contraband Tobacco
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Stoney Creek
Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as I said, the federal government is concerned about illegal activities. I said quite clearly that we will continue to work closely with the provinces and also with law enforcement agencies to control the sale of contraband products.

Quite clearly I stated earlier and I will restate that this government is not in favour of removing the GST on tobacco products. We will remove the GST on those products which we feel are essential to the well-being of Canadians. Again, tobacco does not fall into that category.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Reform

Jack Ramsay Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, we have now learned that the RCMP used money derived from the drug trade and organized crime to finance its Montreal based money laundering sting operation because of a lack of government funding. This lack of resources also contributed to the overall failure of this important undercover operation.

Why has the government denied the RCMP the resources to do its job? What has the government to say about the use of money derived from the drug trade and organized crime to finance portions of this operation?

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Hull—Aylmer
Québec

Liberal

Marcel Massé President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure

Mr. Speaker, as the solicitor general indicated yesterday, he has asked the RCMP commissioner to make a complete review of this case. He will then make the appropriate decisions based on the full report that will be provided to him.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Reform

Jake Hoeppner Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, RCMP informant John McKay was an agent working on a smuggling investigation in Manitoba called operation decode.

After receiving death threats, including a sympathy card sent to his mother, McKay asked for protection and was denied. He was murdered within months.

I would like to ask this government why the RCMP did not protect the life of John MacKay. Something is very wrong.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Hull—Aylmer
Québec

Liberal

Marcel Massé President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure

Mr. Speaker, in the absence of the solicitor general I will take note of the facts that were brought forth by my hon. colleague and ask the office of the solicitor general to answer in writing as soon as possible.

Scrapie
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Bloc

Hélène Alarie Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, 8,000 sheep have been slaughtered in Quebec in an effort to eradicate the sheep disease called scrapie. This measure was taken without a full report from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and for a disease that does not affect human health. Producers are desperate for help.

The industry is still waiting for an answer from the Minister of Agriculture. What does the government intend to do to help the sheep industry, and when will it act?

Scrapie
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Bellechasse—Etchemins—Montmagny—L'Islet
Québec

Liberal

Gilbert Normand Secretary of State (Agriculture and Agri-Food)(Fisheries and Oceans)

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her interest in this issue.

Scrapie is indeed a problem that greatly concerns the Department of Agriculture and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Between 7,000 and 8,000 sheep were slaughtered, and we are currently conducting an economic analysis with the industry to change certain criteria and see if any compensation is possible.

Breeders currently receive $150 for ordinary sheep and $300 for purebred sheep. However, this is not a crop insurance, but an incentive to report sick animals.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

Rose-Marie Ur Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, ON

Mr. Speaker, the situation in Kosovo is rapidly deteriorating with thousands of refugees fleeing their homes. The international community has an obligation to act and to act quickly. Will the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs report to the House on what precise actions this government is taking to help stabilize the situation in that troubled region of the world?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Vancouver Quadra
B.C.

Liberal

Ted McWhinney Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we are concerned about the level of violence and the plight of refugees in that region. At this moment the foreign minister is meeting with the G-8 foreign ministers and we are agreeing on collective measures. These include security enhancement in neighbouring countries and an immediate increase in humanitarian aid.

At the national level we have frozen all Serbian Yugoslav assets in Canada and we have banned all export of funds to Serbia Yugoslavia but we will act in concert. It is a grave problem for one of the most delicate areas of the world.

Fisheries
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Reform

John Duncan Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, we see on the front page of the Globe and Mail that the minister of fisheries is going to throw more money at the fishing industry. We agree that money is necessary but there must be a plan on how to spend it.

The all-party fisheries committee tabled a plan for the west coast over two months ago but we still have no direction from the minister. Now we are only two weeks away from the start of the salmon season. Why is the minister so reluctant to address the particular problems of the industry?

Fisheries
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Malpeque
P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, the minister is not at all reluctant to address the problems in the salmon industry. He has met with fishermen consistently. He has gone through the fisheries committee report and he certainly thanks the committee for the report.

The other day the minister announced a conservation framework to protect and rebuild B.C. coho stocks starting with more action as needed to protect and restore the salmon habitat itself. More action is needed to address the structural problems in the commercial fishery, including overcapacity and economic viability.

Fisheries
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Reform

John Reynolds West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

Mr. Speaker, the former and present ministers of fisheries have watched the demise of the east coast fishery in Canada to the shame of all Canadians.

Can the minister or the government advise this House of what they are doing differently in British Columbia to make sure we do not have the problem in British Columbia five years from now that we presently have in eastern Canada?

Fisheries
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Malpeque
P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, it is obvious the member opposite has not been following what the government has been doing on a number of fronts as opposed to what has happened in the past when he was a member of the former B.C. government before he became a Reformer. We are taking strong conservation measures. We have learned some lessons from the demise of the Atlantic cod. As the Minister of Veterans Affairs answered earlier in relation to the ongoing TAGS problem, we are looking to address that, to address the structural problem, economic difficulties and community problems.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

NDP

Angela Vautour Beauséjour—Petitcodiac, NB

Mr. Speaker, I must say that, during my first year here, I learned one thing: we need a surgeon in the House to perform heart transplants, because the Liberals have no hearts.

We hear ministers who keep saying that Canadians are proud of the employment insurance reform. I am here to tell you that this is not the case.

There are people in my region who are hungry, there are children who live in poverty, there are workers who lose their jobs, and then there are Liberals who try to defend their reform. With a $17 billion surplus, when will the Liberals show some leadership and start thinking—

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. Minister of Public Works.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel
Québec

Liberal

Alfonso Gagliano Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Human Resources Development answered that question many times.

The employment insurance reform has allowed seasonal workers, women and young people to accumulate the hours of work required to qualify for employment insurance. The system works. In those areas where it does not work, the minister is looking at other options and waiting for the reports to make the necessary adjustments.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Employment Insurance
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

Alfonso Gagliano Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, QC

But the hon. member would rather shout than listen to the answer.

Mexico
Oral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

NDP

Dick Proctor Palliser, SK

Mr. Speaker, I was a member of the parliamentary delegation in Mexico last month. I think all of us were pleased to hear the minister of the interior of that country assure us that his government would never resort to violence to end the insurrection in Chiapas. However, deaths of nine more Mexicans on Wednesday shattered such bland assurances.

My question is for the Minister of Foreign Affairs. When will the Government of Canada show some intestinal fortitude not only by condemning publicly its NAFTA ally, but also by suspending its export credits and other agreements unless there are ironclad commitments immediately against the Government of Mexico to stop this war against its indigenous people?

Mexico
Oral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Edmonton Southeast
Alberta

Liberal

David Kilgour Secretary of State (Latin America and Africa)

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Palliser for bringing this latest matter to my attention yesterday outside the Chamber.

The member knows very well that the government is extremely concerned about what is going on in Chiapas. We met with him and with the members of the delegation last week as he will recall. I can only assure him in the minister's absence that we continue to monitor the situation very, very carefully. I thank him for bringing this matter to the attention of the House.

Year 2000 Problem
Oral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Jim Jones Markham, ON

Mr. Speaker, a serious situation exists in the marketplace today. It is so serious that it undermines the race against the clock that government and industry have been waging against the year 2000 millennium bug. Incredibly it is still possible for consumers to unknowingly purchase Y2K non-compliant computer products.

My question is for the Deputy Prime Minister. Will he agree to set a date for Y2K compliance of all computer hardware and software devices and incorporate it into the Canadian Standards Act?

Year 2000 Problem
Oral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

St. Catharines
Ontario

Liberal

Walt Lastewka Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member opposite knows full well that the work on the Y2K program has been extensive within this government and outside with business and industry. The continuous programs as brought forward by the Monty report and the soon to become Statistics Canada report on the progress of the Y2K program is very effective for making sure that this country is ready for Y2K.

Year 2000 Problem
Oral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Jim Jones Markham, ON

Mr. Speaker, that is an unacceptable answer. Caveat emptor is an unacceptable response to an issue of this magnitude. Governments and business continue to invest too much money and effort into this battle against the millennium bug to accept such a hands-off approach. October 1, 1998, sell any Y2K non-compliant product after this date and pay the price. What is wrong with this solution?

Year 2000 Problem
Oral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Saint Boniface
Manitoba

Liberal

Ronald J. Duhamel Secretary of State (Science

Mr. Speaker, as has already been indicated every single initiative by the government has been undertaken to make sure that there is no Y2K problem in the year 2000.

Internally and externally we have been communicating with all the people with whom we do business. We have been advising them of the problem and it is up to them to take the action required. In fact, they can do so even more easily as a result of the announcement of the Minister of Finance yesterday. They can now deduct those initiatives. They can demand that these items be compliant and they will do so.

Youth Employment
Oral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Liberal

John McKay Scarborough East, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is addressed to the President of the Treasury Board. Canada's youth unemployment is nearly double that of any other age group. Thousands of young Canadians are looking for work to complete their education.

As the largest employer in the country, can the President of the Treasury Board tell this House what this government is doing to alleviate this desperate situation for students?

Youth Employment
Oral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Hull—Aylmer
Québec

Liberal

Marcel Massé President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure

Mr. Speaker, as part of the federal public sector youth internship program, 94 interns are now acquiring skills at federal worksites in Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, Edmonton and Vancouver. This year we are creating an additional 551 internships for graduates, 579 internships for non-graduates and our target of 1,130 is being met. This is an excellent example of co-operation between the federal government and non-government organizations in assisting Canada's youth.

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Reform

Darrel Stinson Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, the minister of Indian affairs has stood in this House and has said that the B.C. treaty process is working. She knows full well that when she met with the interior chiefs they said no to the B.C. treaty process due to the supreme court decision in the Delgamuukw case.

I would like the minister to state in this House today whether she believes that that supreme court decision is creating great uncertainty in the province of British Columbia, not only with the investment sector but also with all the Indian bands in B.C.

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, as far as I am concerned the only thing creating uncertainty in British Columbia are the members of the Reform Party. They have yet to provide any kind of credible solutions to the issue of settling land claims. They have nothing that is workable. They have nothing sustainable. I would like to quote Chief Joe Mathias of the First Nations Summit who said “Reform's so-called solution is terribly misguided and will create a lot more chaos and economic uncertainty than presently exists in the system”.

Housing Construction In Nunavik
Oral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Indian Affairs.

The federal government has already acknowledged the importance of making up for lost time as far as home construction in Nunavik, Northern Quebec is concerned. Yet it stopped funding housing construction in 1995, and Quebec continues to do this on its own.

Does the minister realize that, apart from not helping solve the housing crisis in Nunavik, her inaction contravenes the James Bay Agreement, which the federal government itself signed.

Housing Construction In Nunavik
Oral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, indeed implementing the James Bay-Northern Quebec agreement is a priority for this government and it has to be done in partnership with the province of Quebec.

The issue of housing is one that is great and is spread across this country. Making sure that aboriginal communities have good basic housing, water and sewers is fundamental to their capacity to participate in the Canadian society.

We are working in partnership with the First Nations and in most cases with the province of Quebec to proceed with continuing to alleviate this issue.

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

NDP

Gordon Earle Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, residential schools operated with the philosophy of “killing the Indian in the child ”. It is time the government showed leadership by directly addressing the multitude of court cases launched by survivors.

In light of the recent B.C. court decision assessing responsibility to both government and the churches, will this government instigate formal talks involving survivors and the churches to try to arrive at a speedy and satisfactory solution, or will the government allow the pain and frustration of the survivors to be drawn out over years of court battles?

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, this government has taken concrete action with regard to the issue of the residential school strategy. On January 7th along with my colleague the interlocutor we announced Canada's response to the royal commission. In that we presented a statement of reconciliation to aboriginal people where we identified to those people who suffered physical and sexual abuse at residential schools that it was not their fault. In addition to that we identified $350 million of new money to help communities and assist them in beginning the healing process that is the legacy of the residential school system.

Postal Service
Oral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Mark Muise West Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, Canada's aging population is increasingly choosing to relocate to senior citizen complexes. Many of these seniors find access to their postal services difficult especially during winter conditions.

Could the minister responsible for Canada Post tell this House whether steps have been taken to ensure that all senior citizen complexes are provided with postal delivery?

Postal Service
Oral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel
Québec

Liberal

Alfonso Gagliano Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, Canada Post Corporation is looking into this to ensure that senior citizen residents are receiving the appropriate mail. In New Brunswick because of the change of the restructuring of the 911 we are looking at each individual case. We want to ensure everyone receives their mail and especially that seniors receive their mail where they live.

The Senate
Oral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Reform

Rob Anders Calgary West, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister appointed five new senators yesterday, including the former president of the Liberal Party's Judy LaMarsh fund and a former special assistant to the Liberal Minister of Finance. Both are unelected and therefore unaccountable.

Will the Prime Minister stop electing Liberal fundraisers to patronage positions? I ask the Deputy Prime Minister, will the PM recognize the will of Canadians and appoint the senators elected in Alberta on October 19?

The Senate
Oral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Deputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the people appointed to the Senate pursuant to the requirements of the Constitution are people of distinction in their communities with respect to community work and work in their professions and businesses. We should be pleased that people of that calibre have agreed to serve in the Senate.

I do not think Canadians want the Reform approach of electing people for life without the ability to do anything about it until the age of 75.

If there are people worried about the left wing of the Liberal Party, they should be reassured by the appointment of Senator Mahovlich.

Jean-Lesage Airport In Sainte-Foy
Oral Question Period

Noon

Bloc

Michel Guimond Beauport—Montmorency—Orléans, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Transport.

The Jean-Lesage International Airport in Sainte-Foy is one of the airports listed for privatization by the end of this year.

Can the minister give us a progress report on the negotiations under way, and promise us that the deadline will be met?

Jean-Lesage Airport In Sainte-Foy
Oral Question Period

Noon

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, it is obvious that the government must follow the timetable for transferring the airports to the local communities.

Negotiations are currently under way between the parties in Quebec City, and I intend to see this concluded within the next few months.

Atlantic Groundfish Strategy
Oral Question Period

Noon

NDP

Yvon Godin Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, the rumour in this morning's papers is that the government would give the Atlantic provinces and Quebec $550 million for TAGS.

In the month of May alone, thousands of people stopped qualifying for TAGS. They were no longer eligible.

My question is for the Deputy Prime Minister. Will those who have lost their eligibility for TAGS be able to qualify, or is it just going to be the ones who go off it in August?

Atlantic Groundfish Strategy
Oral Question Period

Noon

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception
Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I can tell the hon. member with respect to the dollar figure that it is pure speculation. I also want to tell him that this program will restructure the fishery and will look after all those who need it the most.

Atlantic Groundfish Strategy
Oral Question Period

Noon

The Deputy Speaker

That terminates question period for today. Just in case we adjourn later today, I hope all members get a chance to do some fishing this summer.

Individual Member's Expenditures
Oral Question Period

Noon

The Deputy Speaker

I have the honour to lay upon the table the document entitled “Individual Member's Expenditures” for the fiscal year ended March 31, 1998.

Government Response To Petitions
Routine Proceedings

Noon

Peterborough
Ontario

Liberal

Peter Adams Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to 30 petitions.

Committees Of The House
Routine Proceedings

Noon

Liberal

Maurizio Bevilacqua Vaughan—King—Aurora, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both officials languages, the seventh report of the Standing Committee on Finance entitled “Report on Tied Selling—Section 45.1 of the Bank Act”.

Federal Law-Civil Law Harmonization Act, No. 1
Routine Proceedings

Noon

Bonavista—Trinity—Conception
Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Fred Mifflin for the Minister of Justice

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-50, a first act to harmonize federal law with the civil law of the Province of Quebec and to amend certain acts in order to ensure that each language version takes into account the common law and the civil law.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Criminal Code
Routine Proceedings

Noon

Hull—Aylmer
Québec

Liberal

Marcel Massé on behalf of the Minister of Justice

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-51, an act to amend the Criminal Code, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and the Corrections and Conditional Release Act.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Bank Act
Routine Proceedings

12:05 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-428, an act to amend the Bank Act and the Statistics Act (equity in community reinvestment).

Mr. Speaker, I again introduce a bill calling on the banks to invest in the community, that is, to strike a balance between deposits received and loans made, particularly for disadvantaged communities.

I am optimistic that I will have the support of all my colleagues in the House.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

President Of The Republic Of South Africa
Routine Proceedings

12:05 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

moved:

That hours of sitting and order of business of the House on Thursday, September 24, 1998, shall be those provided in the Standing Orders for a Wednesday:

That the Address of the President of the Republic of South Africa, to be delivered in the Chamber of the House of Commons at 10.20 a.m. on Thursday, September 24, 1998, before Members of the Senate and of the House Commons, together with all introductory and related remarks, be printed as an appendix to the House of Commons Debates for that day and form part of the records of this House; and

That the media recording and transmission of such address, introductory and related remarks be authorized pursuant to established guidelines for such occasions.

President Of The Republic Of South Africa
Routine Proceedings

12:05 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

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

President Of The Republic Of South Africa
Routine Proceedings

12:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

(Motion agreed to)

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:05 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure, pursuant to Standing Order 36, to present a petition on behalf of the constituents of Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough with respect to changing the Young Offenders Act.

They call upon parliament to inject, among other things, greater measures of parental responsibilities and to make changes to the Young Offenders Act that will increase accountability by youth involved in crime.

It gives me great pleasure to table the petition in the House today on behalf of my constituents.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:05 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, I have a second petition also from the riding of Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough calling upon parliament to reaffirm the concept of marriage to ensure that the traditional concept of marriage is preserved and protected in Canada.

I also table this petition on behalf of my constituents.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:05 p.m.

Reform

John Duncan Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition with 25 signatures from Courtenay and Campbell River in my riding.

The petitioners ask parliament to repeal Bill C-68 and to redirect the funds for registering firearms into more cost effective measures such as more police on the streets, more crime prevention, more suicide prevention, more women's crisis centres, more anti-smuggling campaigns and more resources for fighting organized crime and street gangs.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:05 p.m.

Reform

John Duncan Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, I also have two petitions signed by individuals from Campbell River, Courtenay and Comox in my riding.

The petitioners are asking parliament to enact Bill C-225, an act to amend the Marriage Act and the Interpretation Act, to define that a marriage can only be entered into between a single male and a single female.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:05 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Rimouski—Mitis, QC

Mr. Speaker, I wish to table a petition on behalf of the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada, better known as SOCAN, calling on the government to respect the principle of collective management of copyright and requesting the Minister of Industry to immediately appoint a judge to chair the Copyright Board, thus giving effect to Parliament's intention that the board be a competent and objective quasi-judicial tribunal.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I have a number of petitions to present today, the first one being a petition of many hundreds of names gathered by an organization in my riding called People in Equal Participation.

The petition calls upon parliament to take measures to amend the Constitution of Canada in order to restructure the Senate of Canada to become more effective and efficient in carrying out its role within the federal government and to reduce the number of senators from 104 to three regional representatives per province or territory, totalling 36 elected senators.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, as I have on many previous days I have literally thousands and thousands of names to present on petitions having to do with the multilateral agreement on investment. They keep on coming in from across the country. Even though the MAI negotiations have been somewhat stalled, people realize that the battle against the MAI continues.

They call upon parliament to reject the current framework of MAI negotiations. They instruct the government to seek an entirely different agreement by which the world might achieve a rules based global trading regime that protects workers, the environment and the ability of governments to act in the public interest.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

John McKay Scarborough East, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present on behalf of the member for Parkdale—High Park a petition calling upon the Parliament of Canada and the Minister of Industry to strongly reaffirm its commitment to chair the copyright board immediately upon a judgment with respect to parliament's intent.

I would appreciate if it could be accepted by parliament.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Charlie Power St. John's West, NL

Mr. Speaker, I wish to present a petition on behalf of my colleague for Burin—St. George's.

The petition, signed by several hundred Newfoundlanders, is asking the House of Commons to reject any bills that would weaken the sponsorship provisions of the Tobacco Act, a petition that both the member for Burin—St. George's and I enthusiastically support.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Reform

Eric C. Lowther Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have another petition to introduce from Calgarians concerned about offences related to prostitution. They feel that section 213 of the Criminal Code should be a hybrid offence so that these offences could be prosecuted as either a summary or indictable offence.

They call on the government to make such a change and give authorities greater flexibility to address the problem of prostitution.

I currently have Bill C-397 which proposes to make these very changes and the petitioners encourage every member to support Bill C-397.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Brien Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to table part of a petition signed by 10,000 people from Abitibi-Témiscamingue and elsewhere in Quebec. This petition came about because of the events at Taschereau on May 4, 1998, in which two people lost their lives.

This petition calls for a review of the criteria for granting parole under certain circumstances.

I will forward the full petition to the Minister of Justice so that she may proceed and give these people satisfaction.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

NDP

John Solomon Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition today from a number of people across the country with respect to the multilateral agreement on investment.

These people are very concerned about the fact the negotiations that happened in the past were secret. They are very much opposed to the fact that the Government of Canada is encouraging one Don Johnston in charge of the OECD to continue to negotiate this sort of agreement in secret without any authority.

They ask parliament to reject the current framework of the MAI negotiations. They instruct governments to seek an entirely different agreement by which other people can be included with respect to drawing up this agreement, not just Don Johnston and the Government of Canada.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

Andrew Telegdi Kitchener—Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition signed by 52 petitioners in support of Bill C-225, an act to amend the Marriage Act and Immigration Act, so as to define in statute that a marriage can only be entered into between a single male and a single female.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Reform

Mike Scott Skeena, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased on behalf of constituents in Smithers and Takla in my constituency of Skeena to table a petition.

The effect of the petition is that a marriage can only be legally defined as the union of a single male and a single female.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour of tabling a petition signed by over 1,000 ice storm victims. These are workers who lost their jobs during the first two weeks of disruption caused by the ice storm.

The petitioners are asking Parliament to abolish the two-week waiting period before getting a first employment insurance cheque.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

NDP

Gordon Earle Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour of tabling a petition pursuant to Standing Order 26.

This petition signed by over 100 people deals with the provocation defence currently used in femicide, wife slaughter cases.

The petitioners point out that such a defence unjustly focuses the criminal trial from the behaviour of the accused to the behaviour of the victim. The petitioners indicate that the defence is not consistent with community values and with the requirement that males take responsibility for violent behaviour toward women.

The petitioners request that parliament review and change relevant provisions of the Criminal Code to ensure that men who act violently toward women take responsibilities for their actions.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Reform

Darrel Stinson Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to table a petition from 38 constituents who are opposed to possible new definitions of marriage.

They ask the House to enact Bill C-225, an act to amend the Marriage Act to ensure that marriage could only be entered into between a single male and a single female, an issue very essential for preserving the basic building block of society which is the family.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

NDP

Dick Proctor Palliser, SK

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour and privilege today to introduce three petitions.

The first one is on behalf of my colleague, the member for Vancouver East. It relates to the Middle East and specifically requests that there be a recall of all Canadian military personnel and equipment now taking part in the blockade of Iraq and use all possible diplomatic pressures to urge the United Nations to end the sanctions against Iraq. This petition has been signed by 224 Canadians.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

NDP

Dick Proctor Palliser, SK

Mr. Speaker, the second petition is on behalf of my colleague, the member for Yukon, and consists of 344 names.

The petitioners call on parliament to instruct the government to re-evaluate its policy with respect to undocumented convention refugees in Canada class and consider implementation of the 1996 recommendation of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration on this matter.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

NDP

Dick Proctor Palliser, SK

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition with 72 names from the residents of Palliser expressing ongoing concern about the multilateral agreement on investment, on which we have already heard from my colleagues for Winnipeg—Transcona and the member for Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre.

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Peterborough
Ontario

Liberal

Peter Adams Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, this is something of a special occasion.

The following questions will be answered today: Nos. 21 and 94. .[Text]

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Which ministers of the Government of Canada visited the Drummondville-Trois-Rivières vicinity between August 2, 1996 and June 2, 1997?

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Peterborough
Ontario

Liberal

Peter Adams Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Gouvernment in the House of Commons

I am informed as follows:

The following ministers and secretary of state visited the Drummondville-Trois-Rivières vicinity between August 2, 1996 and June 2, 1997: Minister of Citizenship and Immigration; Minister of Human Resources Development; Minister of Industry; Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board; President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs; Prime Minister; President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure; Secretary of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec).

Other ministers and secretaries of state reported that they did not visit the Drummondville-Trois-Rivières vicinity between August 2, 1996 and June 2, 1997.

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

With regard to the application by the province of Nova Scotia to Revenue Canada for a $16 million refund to compensate a tax overpayment made by Nova Scotia Power, Inc. when it was a crown corporation: (/a/) what is the status of the review of this application by the Department of Justice; and (/b/) when will the department release its decision, if it has not done so already?

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Vancouver South—Burnaby
B.C.

Liberal

Herb Dhaliwal Minister of National Revenue

The provisions of section 241 of the Income Tax Act, on confidentiality of information, preclude the disclosure of information without the taxpayer's consent.

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Mark Muise West Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, I rise on point of order. First I thank the hon. parliamentary secretary for answering Question No. 21. I am also wondering if we could possibly know when we could expect an answer to Question No. 94.

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to say that we just did.

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

I trust that clarifies that matter.

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, I ask that the remaining questions be allowed to stand.

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

I that agreed?

Questions On The Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Business Of The House
Routine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, all parties have been consulted. I wish to seek unanimous consent for the following. I move:

That immediately after Bill C-38 is disposed of, Government Order, Government Business No. 15 shall be deemed carried and the House shall thereupon adjourn.

This is the item previously agreed to among House leaders in terms of the allocation of opposition days, restoring the closure motion, to adjourn and so on.

(Motion agreed to)

Committees Of The House
Routine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

Peterborough
Ontario

Liberal

Peter Adams Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, there has been consultation and I think you will find agreement for the following travel orders. I move:

That 10 members of the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans be authorized to travel to Iceland for approximately five days during the period September 12 to September 19, 1998 in relation to the committee's study of management of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and that the necessary staff do accompany the committee.

Committees Of The House
Routine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Does the hon. parliamentary secretary have the unanimous consent of the House to propose this motion?

Committees Of The House
Routine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Committees Of The House
Routine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

An hon. member

No.

Committees Of The House
Routine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

Peterborough
Ontario

Liberal

Peter Adams Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, there have been consultations and I think you will find consent for the following motion. I move:

That five (5) members of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts and two (2) staff persons of the committee be authorized to travel to Yellowknife, Northwest Territories to attend the nineteenth annual conference of the Canadian Council of Public Accounts Committees to be held in Yellowknife from August 15 to 18, 1998.

(Motion agreed to)

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-38, an act to amend the National Parks Act, be read the third time and passed.

National Parks Act
Government Orders

12:20 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Mark Muise West Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, it gives me pleasure to speak on Bill C-38, an act to amend the National Parks Act by adding Tuktut Nogait national park to the list of national parks in schedule I of the National Parks Act.

Tuktut Nogait is located in region 15, tundra hills, as designated by Parks Canada in its national park systems plan. This region is highlighted by a number of spectacular features. More than 95% of the region is tundra, rock barrens where only the hardiest plants can survive. Wildlife in this region is mainly comprised of summer migrants. Musk ox, wolves and caribou can be found in this region. It is also the home of one of the rarest birds in Canada, the Eskimo curlew.

All this is to say that this park will play a critical role in helping to conserve Canada's biological diversity through the protection of the bluenose caribou herd, concentrations of tundra peregrine falcons and rich niches of vegetation.

Tuktut Nogait is Canada's newest and fifth largest national park. The passage of Bill C-38 brings Canada's park system one step closer to completion. It is this government's objective to have a national park in all 39 natural regions of this country by the year 2000. It is also a very unique national park in that it was a community that initiated the idea of the national park. Most candidate sites are identified by Parks Canada.

The Inuvialuit are to be praised for their conservation efforts. In fact, 29% of their lands are protected areas whereas the government has not even achieved its goal of setting aside 12% of our lands as protected areas.

Six parties entered into agreement to establish Tuktut Nogait national park in June 1996, the Canadian government, the Government of the Northwest Territories, the Inuvialuit Game Council, the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, the Paulatuk Community Corporation and the Paulatuk Hunters and Trappers Committee.

While they were negotiating the agreement and at the time they signed that agreement the Inuvialuit groups understood that it would be possible for them to make changes to this agreement in the future.

Last winter the IRC approached the federal government to ask whether it could modify the boundaries of the park to allow for mineral development. The government's response was to wipe the dust off the Tuktut Nogait park agreement and attempt to slip it through parliament.

All parties agreed to the passage of Bill C-38 in principle but were preoccupied by the request made by the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation to remove 415 square kilometres of the established 16,340 square kilometres to permit mineral development. The government and conservation groups have argued that this land which represents only 2.5% of the park falls within the core calving ground of the bluenose caribou herd.

During first reading of this bill I told members of the House that I was in favour of this bill in principle. I thought then and I still do that we cannot start carving up parts of our national parks for any reason. Immediately following my remarks I was contacted by the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation to advise me of the Inuvialuit point of view.

It quickly became apparent that this issue was not as cut and dry as members of the House were first led to believe. It was very important for me to hear both sides of the story so I urged the committee to hear witnesses affected by the park. It was an honour for me to meet with the representatives of the IRC and from the community of Paulatuk when they appeared before the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage.

The committee was told that they had been lobbying the government for the past six months because they see the development of a mine as the way to end the dependence of their people on social assistance. The community of Paulatuk has a population of approximately 300 people. The majority of those residents are under age 25. The people of Paulatuk have traditionally lived off the land. They understand the danger that might be posed by a mine but they argue that the development of the mine could help their people.

Being from a region where many people have had to diversify due to the downturn in fisheries I can certainly appreciate the Inuvialiuts' difficult situation. However, my initial decision has not changed for a number of reasons.

First, the agreement was signed by all parties. Second, since only 10% of the anomaly lies within the boundaries of the park, I really do not understand why it is imperative for them to develop that portion. They would be much better to develop and exploit the remaining 90%.

The Inuvialuit also argue that the Tuktut Nogait is not a park but a proposed park.

I told witnesses and I have said in this House my party is not against mineral development. On the contrary, we support mining and other development in the north. However, I feel that changing the boundaries for Tuktut Nogait to allow for mineral exploration after the agreement has been signed would set a dangerous precedent for this and the other seven national parks that are not protected under the National Parks Act.

In my humble opinion if we start decreasing or reducing the boundaries of our proposed parks for immediate benefits, we will be short changing future generations. Our children's children deserve the right to enjoy our national parks and national treasures, be it the right whale in the Bay of Fundy or the bluenose caribou herd in Canada's north.

Although I am in favour of this bill, I am not in favour of the way this government has treated the people of Paulatuk. The IRC and the people of Paulatuk ask this government for time to explore the prospects of mineral development pursuant to their understanding of section 22.1 of the Tuktut Nogait agreement which states: “Any party may request a review by the parties of part or all of this agreement. If all the parties agree, they shall initiate the review within 90 days of the request”.

This government's cavalier response was to ignore the IRC's request and to try to whisk this through the House. Will this government ever learn to treat people with respect and dignity? Furthermore, this government has recently shown yet another double standard.

While arguing that mineral development in Tuktut Nogait would have a negative ecological impact on the environment, it is allowing Canadian Pacific Hotels to build a 156,000 square foot conference centre and hotel expansion on the shores of Lake Louise.

This is the latest but not the last announcement in the new development boom in Banff National Park. How can this government expect Canadians to take it seriously on environmental issues when it flip-flops from one park to another?

National Parks Act
Government Orders

12:25 p.m.

NDP

Rick Laliberte Churchill River, SK

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to lend support on behalf of the New Democratic Party to Bill C-38, an act to establish a national park and establish the boundaries of Tuktut Nogait.

The process began with a letter on March 10, 1989.

The Wildlife Management Advisory Council of the Northwest Territories wrote to the minister responsible for Parks Canada and proposed a study to consider the possibility of creating a national park in the vicinity of Bluenose Lake.

The context of the request was for the Paulatuk community conservation plan. The plan identified caribou and particularly the protection of the calving grounds of the bluenose herd as the foremost conservation concern for a community that has for generations depended for their livelihood on the caribou herd. Indeed, as mentioned throughout the debate on this bill, the park name, Tuktut Nogait, means caribou calves in the Siglik dialect of the Inuvialukton.

Seven years of analysis, consultation and negotiation followed. There were extensive discussions with local stakeholders, including the Paulatuk community corporation, the Paulatuk trappers and hunters committee, the elders committee, the government of the Northwest Territories, the Inuvialuit regional corporation and the Inuvialuit game council. These consultations led to an agreement signed in Paulatuk on June 28, 1996.

The federal government and the territorial government, together with the four other parties, agreed and the boundaries were set. That was the start of the birth of a park.

Then, after much fanfare, nothing happened. The federal government moved on with more paper signing, without follow up or action.

Suddenly Tuktut Nogait became an issue again. Over the winter the mining company that had removed exploration from within the park boundaries changed its mind. The anomaly proved to be a worthwhile investment within the boundaries.

Suddenly some of the local stakeholders who were looking at the environmental impact it would have on their communities were willing to take a risk on an economic venture into mining, and stating this whole concern under a park agreement, as the parties had agreed they wanted to make a change. It was quite a confusing state of affairs.

But the main problem was created by the government dragging its heels, especially when it knew that money would have to be spent to start the park. The government was not fulfilling the promise it had made.

The risks were not limited to the potential loss of critical area within the proposed park. The principle of developing within national park boundaries has opened up a great issue.

Canada witnessed just last fall the Cheviot mine case in which a huge strip mine will be developed beside the national Jasper Park, a very prestigious world heritage site. That brought a terse response from UNESCO, asking the government to reconsider and reverse its decision to allow a mine to be located at such close proximity to a pristine valley.

In this decision the minister used his discretion and as a result the fish habitat was damaged. It was the spawning ground for the western bull trout and it has been a sacred tenet of environmental protection to keep such a crucial species in this country.

This brings us to an important point as parliamentarians today consider Bill C-38. We must consider the remaining natural regions that are not protected. Failure to do so would be a great demise.

I bring members back to the Tuktut Nogait National Park. The existing park boundaries, as presented in Bill C-38, will create a park inside a settlement region, the Inuvialuit settlement region.

This region and the majority of its community members have compromised their settlement of lands to create a national park. But the federal government and the parks agency people, as they will soon be called if the parks agency bill is passed, have promised that Tuktut Nogait will protect the integrity of the bluenose herd.

There are other proposed boundaries to this park which involve the Nunavut settlement region and the Sahtu Dene settlement region. Why are those proposed regions not included in the bill? Why does it not state that the Tuktut Nogait National Park will be a huge protected area involving three settlement regions?

Principles of co-management are part of the commitments the government is making with the people of northern Canada, especially in the northern region where economic wealth is based on traditional lifestyle. For the economy to change to an eco-tourism based economy for the protection and enhancement of the national park with potential mineral development in that area, co-management and community involvement are required.

The agreement included a parks agreement which stated that the Inuit impact and benefits agreement would be considered when this national park comes into being. Employment and training opportunities must be considered.

All these issues will have a major impact on this community and on the northern region. The integrity of the ecology, the history and the biodiversity of our country must be protected for future generations as we create national parks. Development is a crucial risk for these national parks. We are witnessing decisions on requests being made for the Banff National Park. We must take these into serious consideration and not make decisions for the sake of the economy.

The root of the word economy is eco, which means your home. We know what money means, so it means the home of your money. But ecology means the home of your environment. Without this environment and this vast country we call Canada there would be no money made, there would be no people calling it their home.

This environment and this land must be respected. The national parks are a sacred way of protecting this land for future generations. They keep in tact the many generations of sustainable development that the aboriginal peoples of this world and this land have retained for their people. That sustainable development or that non-parasitic way of utilizing the land and resources for our own immediate needs without putting back is a crucial lesson for future generations.

I call upon other parties to take heed. The investments we make as a nation are not necessarily from park created revenues. As the Reform Party was quick to point out, the integrity of a park should be maintained by revenues created from within it. We must find investment from other sources within this country to maintain the integrity of the national parks of the far north which will never have the same revenue base which Jasper, Banff and other national parks have the privilege of creating.

This federal government has dragged its feet in creating this park, which has resulted in some controversy in a community that has other vested interests for economic reasons. It must also deal with the inequity. It must deal with the Nunavut settlement region and the Sahtu Dene settlement region to include the whole park boundary as originally proposed and not just within the Inuvialuit settlement region.

I am happy to state that we are in support of Bill C-38 which would begin the creation of the Tuktut Nogait National Park. The other settlement regions will contribute further boundaries and further vast tracts of land to protect the integrity of the bluenose herds and the integrity and the biodiversity of that land, so that it will remain sustainable for future generations of the north. May the ecology of this country not be compromised for the sake of the economy.

Committees Of The House
Routine Proceedings

12:35 p.m.

Peterborough
Ontario

Liberal

Peter Adams Parliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, there have been consultations among the parties and I believe you would find unanimous consent for this order of reference:

That the House give its consent to an order of reference to travel to allow the Chair of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration to visit Canadian and national immigration offices in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand and Thai refugee camps from June 26 to July 11, 1998.

Committees Of The House
Routine Proceedings

12:35 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Does the hon. parliamentary secretary to the government House leader have the unanimous consent of the House to propose this motion?

Committees Of The House
Routine Proceedings

12:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Committees Of The House
Routine Proceedings

12:35 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Committees Of The House
Routine Proceedings

12:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

(Motion agreed to)

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-38, an act to amend the National Parks Act, be read the third time and passed.

National Parks Act
Government Orders

12:40 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Rimouski—Mitis, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today at third reading of Bill C-38 introduced by the Minister of Canadian Heritage and entitled, after our motion at report stage, an act to amend the National Parks Act and establish Tuktut Nogait park.

The aim of this bill is to create a national park in the Northwest Territories, more specifically, in the Inuvialuit land claim settlement region.

To understand the situation fully, members have to know that, in 1984, the federal government signed an agreement with the native peoples traditionally occupying and using the region of the Beaufort Sea. This agreement was known as the Inuvialuit Final Agreement and accorded the Inuvialuit ownership of part of the lands they claimed.

In exchange for their transferring to the crown their interest in other lands they claimed, the Government of Canada undertook certain obligations with respect to the Inuvialuit living in the region. This agreement was implemented with the 1984 passage of the Western Arctic (Inuvialuit) Claims Settlement Act.

As part of the obligations the federal government undertook with respect to the Inuvialuit, the agreement provided, and I quote “The granting or setting aside for the Inuvialuit of certain lands in the designated region, their right to hunt, to trap and to conduct certain commercial ventures there”.

So, the government begun negotiations concerning the establishment of a national park in this region in 1989 partly to honour its obligations to the Inuvialuit.

The six parties involved in the negotiations were the federal government, the Government of the Northwest Territories, the Inuvialuit regional corporation, the Inuvialuit game management council, the Paulatuk community corporation, and the Paulatuk committee of hunters and trappers.

In 1996, after seven years of negotiations, the parties to this lengthy process signed the agreement to create a national park in the region covered by the Inuvialuit land claim, in the vicinity of Paulatuk, Northwest Territories. The short title for that agreement is the Tuktuk Nogait agreement.

In the Siglik dialect of Inuvialukton, Tuktut Nogait means “caribou calves”, which is not surprising since the park is at the heart of the Bluenose caribou herd's calving grounds.

As everyone knows, the reason for creating a park is that it protects a specific geographical aspect. The 16,340 square kilometers of Tuktuk Nogait Park will represent the natural region of tundra hills.

It is characterized by a rich biodiversity, for its hills and valleys offer lush vegetation and therefore an excellent habitat for the caribou and muskox. Its many cliffs and ramparts provide ideal nesting areas for birds of prey.

Within the park are archaeological sites which confirm that there was a human presence thousands of years ago. There have been settlements in a large part of the park at various times over the last millennium.

The region provides visitors with an opportunity to discover untouched Arctic landscapes, and to observe wildlife and plant life. Activities include hiking, camping, birdwatching, nature watching and photography.

According to the agreement, the objectives of the park's creation are as follows. First, to protect the Bluenose caribou herd and its calving and post-calving habitat.

Second, to protect in perpetuity a natural area in a region of tundra hills, and encourage the public to understand and appreciate the region in such a way as to leave it intact for coming generations.

Third, to promote co-operation among the Inuvialuit, the Government of Canada and the Government of the Northwest Territories in planning, operating and managing the park.

Fourth, to encourage and support the creation and maintenance of jobs and businesses in the region by permitting hunting within the park solely for subsistence purposes.

Fifth, to promote greater understanding and respect for the Inuvialuit cultural heritage and the natural surroundings of this nation.

Sixth, to create an environment suitable for long term research on the ecological and cultural history of the park.

And, seventh, to preserve the park's ecological integrity.

The park will be managed jointly with the Inuvialuit community. The park's board of management will comprise five members, two appointed by the Inuvialuit, two by the federal government—including one on the recommendation of the Northwest Territories government—and a chair appointed with the approval of all parties.

The park board of management will reconcile the various objectives of natural preservation, economic development and respect for native traditions.

The agreement provides for the formulation of a training and community assistance plan to help the residents of Paulatuk develop tourist and economic resources for the park, the priority hiring of qualified Inuvialuit employees and the priority awarding of contracts to Inuvialuit businesses that meet the terms of the contract on the provision of quality goods and services.

In short, the establishment of the Tuktut Nogait park should benefit the Inuvialuit community and all Canadians by protecting and developing this region for generations to come.

However, the park project recently was the focus of a dispute between the Inuvialuit and the government. On February 19, Inuvialuit Regional Corporation CEO Nellie Cournoyea wrote the Secretary of State responsible for parks, asking him to revise the park boundaries.

In light of recent information on the geological possibilities of one region, which occupies 2.5% of the park's area, the Inuvialuit were asking to have that area excluded from the park in order to allow future development.

On March 25, the Secretary of State responsible for Parks wrote back denying the request to review park boundaries.

Since then, things have speeded up. On March 30, the government introduced Bill C-38 at first reading. It was debated at second reading on April 3. On May 26, 28 and 29, the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage held hearings on the bill. On June 1, a clause-by-clause examination of Bill C-38 was begun, and yesterday, June 11, we passed it at the report stage, while today we have moved on to third reading.

The rapidity of this process, given that the agreement was signed two years ago and that nothing had been done since then, makes us uncomfortable.

We regret that some information was not available to us, particularly the text of the final Inuvialuit agreement and its implementing legislation. As well, we got the text of the Tuktut Nogait agreement only very belatedly.

The very brief hearings did not allow us to get a complete picture of the situation and to fully weigh the arguments of the parties involved.

Let us look now at the arguments from both sides.

For the Inuvialuit, the mining potential represents a much needed opportunity for economic development for their community. They were convinced they could obtain a revision of the park boundaries under section 22.1 of the agreement, which states that the agreement may be revisited with the consent of all parties.

There has been no environmental assessment proving that mining would compromise the park's integrity. The Inuvialuit were prepared to accept the findings of a study on this.

The agreement will give the Inuvialuit the means to preserve their cultural identity and values, while participating fully in society and in the economy.

In section 16 of the agreement, the federal government undertook to promote full Inuvialuit participation in the northern Canadian economy, and Inuvialuit integration into Canadian society through development of an adequate level of economic self-reliance and a solid economic base.

From their point of view, the refusal to amend the park's boundaries constitutes the loss of an opportunity to realize their economic development without having to rely on federal government subsidies.

For its part, the government is opposed to re-opening an agreement that took seven years to negotiate. It does not wish to amend the boundaries because this could set a precedent and lead to other requests for changes in unmanaged parks.

The government often holds out the park plan to protect caribou breeding grounds as an important and vital argument.

Canada is also trying to limit mining projects on the American side of the border.

The park's board of management has asked the government to go ahead and create the park. Both sides' arguments have merit and it is difficult to decide clearly which option would most benefit all three groups, the Inuvialuit, the federal government and the general public.

It is hard to decide whether the environmental or the economic arguments should take precedence, because a number of questions remain unanswered. Here are some of these questions.

Will changing the park's boundaries as requested by Inuvialuit officials compromise the main objective sought in creating the park, which is the protection of the Bluenose caribou herd and its calving and post-calving habitat?

Is the area affected by the change a sensitive area that is essential to the park?

What would have been the results of environmental impact studies on mining projects in that area?

Are the prospects of sustainable and long term development for the Inuvialuit community as a whole—through the creation of the park and their participation in its management—better than those provided by a mining project in a part of the territory that is supposed to become part of the park?

In spite of all these unanswered questions, the government decided to go ahead with the creation of the park, with the boundaries that were originally set. I deplore the fact that the government could not find a compromise that everyone could live with. There is no doubt that the creation of the park will have a positive environmental and economic impact on the region, but we will have to make sure the Inuvialuit are not penalized by the government's decision.

This is why I urge the secretary of state responsible for parks, and also his colleagues for Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Natural Resources and Human Resources Development, to make particular efforts to meet the federal government's commitments under the Inuvialuit final agreement, which are to promote the Inuvialuit's full participation in northern Canada's economy, and to help them reach an adequate level of economic self-sufficiency.

National Parks Act
Government Orders

12:50 p.m.

Reform

Lee Morrison Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Mr. Speaker, I will be dividing my time with the member for Calgary East.

Creation of the new park of Tuktut Nogait is a good idea. We should have some tundra hills preserved for posterity. However, I would hasten to point out that this site certainly is not unique. There are hundreds of thousands of square kilometres of virtually identical terrain. The boundaries that were arbitrarily developed are not necessarily the ideal ones. It is very unfortunate that they were established without any environmental assessment and without a resource inventory.

As a matter of fact, with respect to the resource inventory, there was a mining company with exploration rights on a portion of that park. It was proposed as the hon. member for Rimouski—Mitis has just explained to have a small portion of the proposed area removed so that the mining company's exploration program could proceed. The proposal by the Inuvialuit was actually presented by no less a personage than Nellie Cournoyea.

Nevertheless the government in its wisdom has decided to press on. The mining company was pressured to “voluntarily” relinquish its rights and here we are. It is the usual story of urban know it alls from central Canada dictating to the local people with respect to parks.

Unlike the great parks of the Rocky Mountains which have negligible mineral potential, Tuktut Nogait may contain economically important deposits. Nobody knows because nobody has ever made a serious effort to find out.

Fortunately future generations will be able, I suppose if it is deemed in the public interest, to change the boundaries of the already established park. But why not start out correctly from the very beginning? There should have been an assessment. This should be true of any new park.

There should always be an economic and environmental assessment, a cost benefit study to decide where the park should precisely be and then cast the boundaries in stone. Do not just draw lines on maps and say “Gee I think it is a good idea to have a park here”. It requires a bit of science and a little thought.

As far as the possible disturbance of the bluenose caribou by this exploration proposed in two and half per cent of the park is concerned, my personal observation is that caribou are quite compatible with human activity. I have seen them browsing in the shadow of a mine headframe. It is well-known that prospectors or explorers in the barren lands have had their tents knocked down because the caribou find that they are very convenient rubbing posts. Caribou are not shy animals; they are anything but.

The local people regard them as being a little on the dumb side and easy pickings for hunters. There is not much glory, not much honour, going out and shooting a caribou. It is like going out and milking a cow on the farm.

Talking about interfering with local people, just a few days ago our revered heritage minister vetoed a very carefully thought out and democratically approved development plan in Banff park. The local people looked at this very carefully. They decided what they felt was needed, decided what was suitable for their own particular environment. But no, our heritage minister gets up on her white horse, comes roaring in and says “They shall not do it. Never”.

The same people in Banff had to fight for years to preserve their airstrip. Fortunately they were able to enlist the assistance of the Canadian Air Line Pilots Association who pointed out that the airstrip in Banff as well as the one in Jasper are very important for safety reasons, for emergency landings.

They have been able to keep the airstrips but one wonders what the furore was about. Both of these parks are bisected by a highway and a railway. They were going to shut down a little 3,000 foot grass strip, which is highly essential to the preservation of human life, because somebody got a bug in their ear. Anyway, that battle has been won.

Hopefully when the present minister is sent to her reward with whatever patronage appointment she will get, this airstrip will again be returned for the local people to use. There are people in Banff who fly and use their aircraft for search and rescue. They have done so for many years.

Eventually I think they will get their airstrip back. It probably will revert to the situation which existed wherein they did the maintenance work at no cost to the federal government. Since these airstrips are going to be strictly for emergency use, the federal government's parks department will have to cut the grass and plough the snow.

I have another example of the local people being run over roughshod by Parks Canada.

This one is rather near and dear to me because it is in my own riding, the Grasslands park in southern Saskatchewan. The local people are really frightened by this vast area of ungrazed prairie which is beside their farms and ranches. This is a powder keg, a potential fire hazard of unparalleled proportions. They have begged and pleaded with Parks Canada to allow limited grazing of cattle in that park.

The natural condition of the prairie land is to be grazed by large ungulate. They used to be called buffalo. We have no buffalo any more. So not only does the prairie grow wild and present this terrible fire hazard, but it is deteriorating because in the natural balance certain species tend to overcrowd the others when ground is not grazed. Any rancher knows this, but the academic geniuses in Parks Canada who have never probably seen a cow or a buffalo or a blade of grass do not know what is happening out there.

The same parks people also continually get into unpleasant situations with the local people simply by being bad neighbours. They unlawfully impound stray livestock, for example. They refuse to participate in the maintenance of line fences. They say “that is your problem”.

On one occasion they actually were convinced under great duress to put up a fence. A fence the local ranchers had moved off the survey line for generations was then placed exactly on the survey line right down the middle of a creek. Brilliance. So naturally the first spring it went away and there was no fence at all and the rancher had to rebuild the fence back on his own land.

The problem with stray livestock was taken seriously enough that the local municipal government has passed the only open herd law in Saskatchewan that I am aware of. You can now run your cattle anywhere, including on your neighbour's front lawn, between I think October 1 and April 1, simply because Parks Canada is so obdurate that they will not get along with their neighbours.

I have to leave some time for my hon. colleague but I could go on for a long time about people at Parks Canada, some of my favourite whipping people.

National Parks Act
Government Orders

1 p.m.

NDP

Rick Laliberte Churchill River, SK

Mr. Speaker, I find it hard to restrain myself from commenting in respect of other members.

I take exception to the hon. member's statements on a number of occasions. The first is that there is no honour in hunting. I beg the member to reconsider this. Sport hunting and sustenance hunting are two different forms of hunting.

When northern people enter the tundra and kill a caribou to bring home and feed their child and sustain life for their family, for their generations to come, there is no greater honour than entering the woods, surviving the elements and bringing back the meat and the sustenance for that community or for that family. One does not need honour to be up in a chopper with a telescopic gun aiming at unprotected species on the ground. There is no honour in that. But when you sustain your family, when you hunt for the privilege of honouring and respecting the land, there is great honour in that.

We no longer have buffalo, as the hon. member said. There was no honour when the hunters climbed on to the trains and used automatic weapons and killed and piled buffalo bones on the banks of Wascana Lake, as it was later created. Wascana means piles of bones.

There is no honour in that. But when you retain the national parks and the integrity of the national parks, there is some security for the future generation. They can see in the past what ecological measures were taken.

I challenge the member to travel along the west coast of the United States. He will see the cathedral red woods standing in a protected area of northern California. Then he will arrive in Oregon where it is clearcut.

In terms of resource inventory, environmental impacts and challenging Parks Canada to retain its integrity and resources this costs money. The Reform Party time and time again has tried to be accountable. This government has made cutbacks that have had an impact on Parks Canada. Let us invest and put money in our budgets to retain the future of our parks.

National Parks Act
Government Orders

1:05 p.m.

Reform

Lee Morrison Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member should dig out his ears and listen to what other speakers are saying.

When I spoke of the caribou being an easy mark, I was not making any disparaging references to native people. I have had conversations along this line with Inuvialuit people who know that the caribou is a stupid animal and easy to shoot. That is all I said. Please pay attention.

The member was talking about wiping out the buffalo with automatic weapons. That would have been quite a trick inasmuch as automatic weapons were not developed until about 20 years after buffalo were nearly extinct. But that is a sideline.

National Parks Act
Government Orders

1:05 p.m.

Reform

Deepak Obhrai Calgary East, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have risen on this bill on many occasions and talked about the importance of national parks in Canada for future generations. We have supported this bill in the past. We are now aware of the controversy that took place about taking out a portion of the boundary due to the mineral finds in them.

I would say that both sides have good arguments. I would like to agree with my colleague from Cypress Hill who said future generations can change this if so desired. Although he says let us do it right in the first place, I would venture to say that at this time, due to the fact that this area has also been identified as a calving ground for the bluenose caribou, we not change it.

It is important to recognize that national parks are an ecological treasure. We are the custodians of this ecological treasure for our future generations. Therefore the Reform Party says we should support the concept of environmentally sensitive zoning.

The Reform Party supports cost effective and efficient initiatives that protect and preserve Canada's wildlife and wilderness areas for future generations to enjoy. Based on this, my party is in agreement with this act and will support this because it follows what we support.

However, I would like to talk on another point on Parks Canada. This is the user fee, the entrance fee into the national parks. I come from the riding of Calgary East which is at the foothills of the greatest natural treasurer we have in Canada. It is the Banff National Park at the foot of the Rockies. A tremendous amount of traffic goes through that park.

Over the 20 years since I first came to Canada I have marvelled at that area. I have noticed time after time that the user fee keeps rising.

Today it has come to the state where there are serious concerns as to what is the aim of this national park. One U.S. ranger said U.S. parks are set aside for the specific purpose of being available for all people, not specific people who can afford to go there.

We support our national parks as they are our national treasures for all Canadians. We should not raise the user fee to a level where only those who can afford to go can. That has happened. I do not go frequently to Banff National Park but I did at one time. Now I do not because of the high cost of going into my own national heritage. This is a cause for concern.

Imagine going through Banff and having to use the washroom. Our bodies do not say we are in a national park and cannot go to the washroom unless we have paid the user fee. If we have to go and we stop we are liable to a $2,000 fine.

As was quoted in the Calgary Herald one out of four cars going through Banff National Park does not pay the fee. Why? Do we think they do not wish to comply with Canadian laws? Nonsense. They do but the user fee is too expensive.

I am asking the government to consider that user fees for national parks is not revenue generating. We pay taxes. Taxes have not been reduced. Therefore this government should not use user fees as another form of taxation. It is important we recognize this fact.

User fees should be at a level where all Canadians can afford to go into national parks to enjoy themselves. Members of parliament have just been given pay raises of 2% so I presume they can afford to go to national parks. But I am talking about general usage.

My party supports this bill. We agree with this bill.

I would like to wish a happy summer to all my colleagues in the House. Go back to your constituencies and work for your constituents. I would like to pass a motion to adjourn the House for the summer.

National Parks Act
Government Orders

1:10 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

That will happen in due course in any event. Before questions and comments, the hon. government House leader.

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1:10 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

I want to take a moment to thank Mr. Speaker, all occupants of the chair, our very able staff from the clerks to the pages and all the support staff on Parliament Hill for the excellent help given to all of us during this session. I wish my very best to all hon. members of this House.

I think each one of us has deserved a bit of a break, some more than others perhaps if I can put it that way, but it has been an excellent session. I congratulate all hon. members and hope they will work very hard doing constituency work until we get back in the fall.

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1:15 p.m.

Reform

Lee Morrison Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask my colleague a question not so much for my own benefit but for the benefit of members in the House, most of whom are central Canadians who have never seen Banff.

What is the current day rate to enter Banff National Park? I also remind my colleague that it is pretty difficult to maintain accessibility of the public to a park when all that money is needed for Bombardier.

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1:15 p.m.

Reform

Deepak Obhrai Calgary East, AB

Mr. Speaker, yes, it is pretty expensive. I have the 1996 rate, which I think has gone up, by the way. It says $6 for adults but I think it has gone to $10 per day for adults, if I am not mistaken.

I remember when I was there it used to be $1 per day. Now it is $10 per day and $10 per day is pretty expensive. It is $75 a year to go to that national park. Again I appeal to the government to revisit that fee.

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1:15 p.m.

NDP

Rick Laliberte Churchill River, SK

Mr. Speaker, I have two points to make. The Reform Party spoke about its support for the ecological integrity of the Arctic region. This park is certainly one way of guaranteeing it.

This past week we had a motion ready to be introduced on an international agreement on persistent organic pollutants that affect endangered species of northern Canada. Why would his party not support an international agreement on persistent organic pollutants?

I congratulate all members on the successful parliament of the last year and ask them to enjoy our national parks. I look forward to a safe summer.

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Government Orders

1:15 p.m.

Reform

Deepak Obhrai Calgary East, AB

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question. I think everyone is concerned about pollutants and the ecological damage done to national parks.

I was born right next to national parks in Africa and I treasure national parks and animals. I share the sentiment that we should be very careful to ensure that pollution does not damage our ecological environment.

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1:15 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Is the House ready for the question?

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1:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Question.

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1:15 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The question is on the motion for third reading of Bill C-38. Pursuant to order made earlier this day, the motion is deemed carried on division.

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

Motion No. 15

June 10, 1998—Leader of the Government in the House of Commons—That, when the House adjourns following the adoption of this motion, it shall stand adjourned until Monday, September 21, 1998, provided that, for the purposes of sections (3) and (4) of Standing Order 28, it shall be deemed to stand adjourned pursuant to section (2) of the said Standing Order and provided that on any day prior to June 24, 1998, if any Standing Committee has a report ready for presentation in the House, the said report may be deposited with the Clerk of the House and shall thereupon be deemed to have been tabled in the House; and that the Order of the House of June 8, 1998, regarding motions pursuant to Standing Order 57 and Standing Order 78(3) is rescinded and that the Clerk of the House shall be directed to prepare amendments to Standing Order 81 that will provide as follows:

  1. The number of allotted days in each year is changed to twenty-one, with seven allotted days in each supply period; of the twenty-one, not more than fourteen may be used for votable motions;

  2. On the last day in the supply period ending not later than June 23, until 6:30 p.m. the House shall consider an opposition motion as on all other allotted days and at 6:30 p.m. all questions necessary to dispose of the opposition shall be put and any division requested deferred to 10:00 p.m. and from 6:30 p.m. the House shall consider motions respecting estimates and any bill or bills based thereon, provided that at 10:00 p.m. all questions regarding the Business of Supply shall be disposed of in the manner presently provided for by the Standing Orders; and

That, after the Clerk has obtained the approval of the House Leaders of each recognized party to the text of the said amendments, they be deemed to have been adopted by the House.

Business Of The House
Government Orders

1:15 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Pursuant to order made earlier this day, Government Business No. 15 on today's order paper is deemed carried.

(Motion agreed to)

Business Of The House
Government Orders

1:15 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

On behalf of all occupants of the Chair, the hon. member for Saint-Lambert, the hon. member for Edmonton Southwest and Mr. Speaker, may I thank the government House leader, the hon. member for Calgary East and the hon. member for Churchill River for their best wishes and say how much we wish all hon. members a very safe and enjoyable summer.

I wish all members and employees of the House a very good summer.

Accordingly the House stands adjourned until Monday, September 21, 1998, at 11 a.m. pursuant to Standing Orders 28(2) and 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 1.18 p.m.)