House of Commons Hansard #113 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was parks.

Topics

Commonwealth Speakers And Presiding Officers

10:05 a.m.

The Speaker

My colleagues, I have the honour to lay upon the table the report of the 14th Conference of Commonwealth Speakers and Presiding Officers which took place at Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, January 2 to 8, 1998.

Government Response To Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

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 10 petitions.

Interparliamentary Delegations
Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

Bob Speller Haldimand—Norfolk—Brant, ON

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34, I have the honour to present to the House a report from the Canadian Branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association concerning the 47th Commonwealth parliamentary seminar which took place March 3 to 14, 1998 in the United Kingdom.

As you know, Mr. Speaker, it was attended by a very able opposition member of the Reform Party who is sitting in the Chair.

Interparliamentary Delegations
Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. McClelland)

Thank you very much. I was most honoured to attend that conference representing our parliament.

Committees Of The House
Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

Clifford Lincoln Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fourth report of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage.

Pursuant to its order of reference of Friday, April 3, 1998, the committee has considered Bill C-38, an act to amend the National Parks Act, and has agreed to report it without amendment.

National Symbol Of Canadian Unity Act
Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

Lynn Myers Waterloo—Wellington, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-413, an act to provide for the recognition of a national symbol for the promotion of Canadian unity.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to introduce my private member's bill, which is an act to provide for the recognition of a national symbol for the promotion of Canadian unity.

The purpose of this bill is to promote Canadian unity and to provide a symbol which assists in this very important endeavour. I look forward to debating this bill in the House and I look forward to the support of my colleagues.

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

Income Tax Act
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Lynn Myers Waterloo—Wellington, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-414, an act to amend the Income Tax Act (wages of apprentices).

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to introduce my private member's bill, an act to amend the Income Tax Act.

The purpose of the bill is to allow an employer a tax credit equal to the wages paid by the employer to a person hired as an apprentice. This deduction could only be made upon completion of the full term of the apprenticeship with the employer.

I look forward to debating the bill in the House and I look forward to the support of my colleagues.

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

Criminal Code
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Beauport—Montmorency—Orléans, QC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-415, an act to amend the Criminal Code (gaming and betting).

I wish to inform this House, and you in particular, Mr. Speaker, that if passed this bill would allow international cruise ships to continue operating casinos on board while in Canadian waters.

I am reintroducing this bill because it is essential to the Quebec tourist industry, particularly in the greater Quebec City region, as this region could then undergo an incredible expansion as a destination and stopover for international cruise ships.

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

Corrections And Conditional Release Act
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Bloc

Richard Marceau Charlesbourg, QC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-416, an act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (accelerated parole reviews).

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to introduce this bill, the purpose of which is to prevent high-profile criminals from getting paroled after serving one-sixth of their sentence, even if the crimes for which they have been sentenced were not of a violent nature.

The latest example of this is Mr. Lagana, a notorious drug trafficker specializing in money laundering who, unfortunately, was granted parole after serving one-sixth of his sentence. The purpose of this bill is to prevent such decisions.

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

Committees Of The House
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Reform

Peter Goldring Edmonton East, AB

Mr. Speaker, I move that the fifth report of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade, presented on Thursday, May 7, 1998, be concurred in.

I rise today representing the constituents of Edmonton East to move concurrence in this motion. As the sands of time run out on the 20th century they do too for Canada's World War II veterans who were captured and enslaved by Japan 57 years ago.

On Christmas Day in 1941, 2,000 soldiers surrendered to Japan beginning a 44 month tenure of a hell of inhumanity at the hands of the Japanese and at the feet of Emperor Hirohito. Many barely survived, only to suffer lifelong misery from the effects of Japan's engineered slave labour camps. These men were sentenced to pay with their lives and health by a Canadian government eager for a war posting and by an enemy, Japan, indifferent to humanitarian treatment and the Geneva convention.

Japan went on to recover from its war injuries to prosper as an industrial giant, somewhat due to our veterans' efforts. Canada's Hong Kong enslavement veterans deserve an apology and some recompense. It is fair. It is right and the Liberals agree.

Some of these very modern industries then employed slave labour treating the workers with brutality beyond contempt. On the eve of the new millennium as we face the globalization of the international marketplace, Canada must take a leadership role in insisting that we Canadians are not simply purveyors of timber and oilfield technology. Canadians also export our Constitution and Charter of Rights and Freedoms. When the outside world sees our flag, the symbol of our nation, it feels warm in the solace that it stands for freedom and rights of all Canadians.

Our government could do well and reflect on this to act to redress wrongs committed years ago to our brave veterans. By example Canada could lead the way to show to other nations as Japan that their shame is our shame if we do not act.

Japan's shame is well documented in all the nations of the world except Japan itself. Revisionists and extinguishment of history may well suit the Japanese population as a whole but Canada should not participate. Canada must not wait for Japan to act. Canada must reference Japan's shame, lead by example and act alone.

To acquiesce and support Hong Kong veterans in spirit but not in recompense as the Minister of Veterans Affairs wishes is to be an accomplice to the same and to share Emperor Akihito's bewilderment in the veterans' disdain and to share Hirohito's shame. To be mute to the outrageous honouring of Hirohito's son Akihito for chivalry when our Hong Kong veterans still suffer from the ravages of enslavement is unconscionable and displays a government callousness that cries out for question.

Certainly the Government of Canada must achieve fiscal responsibility by a balanced budget and reduced taxes, but we have a duty to show Canadians that we care and will support their legitimate concerns. We also have a duty to show to the world that we are not followers but rather a leader when recognition and recompense are appropriate.

We can and must act now to do right and provide compensation to our war veterans who were forced to endure slave labour at the hands of the Japanese and Hirohito. We must not hesitate or skip one heartbeat in the conduct of our duty to Canada's veterans. Certainly we should claim costs from Japan but at a later date.

Today I will read a list of survivors' names to put a human face to this request and hopefully to add a sense of urgency as well. This list contains 361 names. It is shorter than it was a week ago. It will be shorter again a week from now. I ask in the name of decency that I will not be in the House on this matter to read again a much shorter list next year and the year after. I ask that you pick up the torch. I ask that you not fail in the task lest we all forget.

Hong Kong veterans Robert Acton, Leslie Adams, Borge Agerbak, Knud Agerkak, Peter Allain, William Allister, Arthur Ambrose, Francis Andrews, Alexander Archibald, Harold Atkinson, Alfred Babin, James Badger, Harold Baker, Stanley Banfill, George Barron, Robert Barter, Thomas Barton, Eric Batley, John Beaton, George Belcourt, James Bell, William Bell, Jack Bennett, Duncan Benton, Leo Berard, Donat Bernier, Walter Billson, Leonard Birchall, Gerard Bisson, August Bitzer, Clement Blacquière, Joseph Blacquière, Phillip Bliss, Sydney Blow, Eugene Bond, Graham Boudreau, Armand Bourrbonnière, Robert Bowman, William Bradley, Charles Brady, Ray Bronson, Charles Broome, Frank Brown, Lucine Brunet, Ernest Buck, Ludovic Bujold, Clarence Burgess, Bruce Cadoret, Wallace Cake, Kenneth Cambon, Charles Campbell, Railton Campbell, Edward Campbellton, Leslie Canivet, Charles Cardinal, Arnold Carrière, Lloyd Carter, Bernard Castonguay, Robert Chamberlain, George Chanell, Frederick Chapman, Leslie Chater, Charles Chesser, Glyn Chipping, Kathleen Christie, Ronald Claricoates, Oswald Clark, Robert John Clayton, Bliss Cole, Lloyd Cole, Fred Cooper, Claude Corbett, Renaud Côté, Leonard Cotton, Kenneth Court, George Coutts, Albert Cox, Bryce Craig, Winston Cunningham, Adolphe Cyr, Roger Cyr, Theophil Cyr, Wilmer Cyr, Donald Dainard, Charles Dallain, Jean-Paul Dallain, Paul Dancause, John Danielson, James Darrah, John Davies, Morgan Davies, Frederick Dawe, John Dearden, Pierre-Lionel Delarosbil, Albert Delbridge, Elmer Denison, William Derhak, Thomas Dewar, Ralph Dewby, Arthur Diehl, Samuel Disensi, Phillip Doddridge, John Doiron, Leonard Doiron, Rosaire Doiron, Gerald Doucette, Lts Doull, Lloyd Doull, Robert Dunlop, Gordon Dunn, Daniel Dunseath, Gordon Durrant, George Edgecombe, Harold Englehart, Arley Enright, Roderick Everson, Kenneth Ewing, John Fair, John Fertal, Cecil Fines, Horace Fitchett, Audrey Flegg, John Fleming, Robert Fleming, Thomas Forsyth, Earl Francis, Homidas Fredette, Isaac Friesen, Frederick Gard, John Gauthier, Donald Geraghty, Horace Gerrard, David Golden, Jack Goodey, Edward Granham, Walter Gray, Glenford Gregoire, Richard Grieves, Anthony Grimston, Gerald Gunson, James Guthrie, Harry Gyselman, Michael Haddad, George Hallada, Lloyd Hanna, George Harbour, Allan Harper, Wallace Harrington, Harry Hawryshok, John Hay, Harold Heath, Norman Henderson, Walter Henderson, Elwin Herring, Joseph Hickey, William Hickie, Henry Hladych, Kenneth Hogarth, James Houston, Alfred Hunt, Clarence Hunt, Hector Hunt, Joseph Hunt, Edmond Hurd, Thomas Hutchinson, Kenneth Inche, Walter Inglis, Gilbert Jacquard, John James, James Jessop, Alton Jewers, Richard Johnson, Thomas Jones, Wilfred Jones, Richard Keays, Lloyd Keene, Frederick Kelly, Reginald Kerr, John Kinahan, Michael Kudlovich, Thodore Kurluk, Ernest Ladde, Thomas Laflamme, William Laidlaw, Regis Lajeunesse, Jean Pierre Lalime, Frederick Lanyon, Eugene Lapointe, Maurice Lapointe, John Lavoie, Reginald Law, Philip Lawlis, John Lebelle, Jean-Paul Leblanc, Joseph Leblanc, Leandre Leblanc, Leopold Leblanc, Lionel Lecouffe, Lesly Leggo, Richard Leir, Wilbert Lester, John Levitt, Stanley Lloyd, William Lockwood, Arthur Lousier, John Lowe, Oswald Luce, Wilbert Lynch, Henry Lyons, Robert Lytle, Gerald Marley, Allison MacDonald, Edward MacDonald, George MacDonell, Laurie MacKay, Ralph MacLean, James MacMillan, Donald MacPherson, Eldon MacWhirter, William MacWhirter, Eric Maloney, William Maltman, Williams Marks, Geoffrey Marston, Allen Martin, David Martin, Douglas Martin, John Maruschak, Frederick Mason, Eugene Matchett, Alfred Matthews, Clifford Matthews, William Mayne, Richard Maze, William McAuley, Clifford McDavid, Milton McDonald, Roy McDonald, Lewis McFawn, John McGee, John McGreevy, Gordon McLellan, William McNaughton, Angus McRitichie, George Merritt, Joe Michalkow, Joseph Miller, James Mitchell, James Moar, William Muir, Leon Murphy, Raymond Murray, Howard Naylor, Donald Nelson, Frank Neufeld, William Nicholson, Cornelius Nickel, Wallace Normand, Walter O'Hara, Lloyd O'Leary, Albert Oakford, Robert Olscamp, Carl Olsson, Grenville Onyette, Douglas Orr, Marcel Ouellet, William Overton, Gordon Palin, Parker Robert, Soren Paulson, Raymond Pellor, Gerard Pentland, Abraham Peters, George Peterson, Arthur Pifher, Leo Pitre, Joseph Poirier, Ferdinand Poitras, Allison Pollock, Coleman Pollock, John Pollock, William Pople, Arnold Porter, Ross Purse, Edward Query, Raymond Quirion, Charles Rame, Lawrence Rattie, Douglas Rees, Douglas Reid, James Riddoch, Arthur Roberts, Austin Roberts, Ernest Roberts, Roy Robinson, William Rodgers, Edwin Rodrigues, Peter Rollick, Jacob Rose, Arnold Ross, Lancelot Ross, Lawrence Ross, John Roussel, Ronald Routledge, Berthrand Roy, Albert Russell, Fred Ryman, Mattew Sandford, William Sarginson, Oliver Sauson, Adam Schnell, Theodore Schultz, Arthur Schwartz, Leonard Seaborn, Lloyd Seaward, Edward Shayler, John Simcoe, Harold Smith, Jack Smith, John Smith, Raymond Smith, John Snively, Donald Southworth, Lionel Speller, Arthur Squires, Robert Stager, Lawrence Stebbe, Clarence, Leslie Stickles, John Stroud, Gerald Sunstrum, Royce Sweet, Dempsey Syvret, John Tayler, George Taylor, Joseph Tennier, Elved Thomas, Bernard Thompson, Daniel Thompson, Percy Thompson, Wendell Thompson, Raoul Tremblay, Sidney Vale, Johannes Van Baalen, Emile Van Raes, Alfred Wagner, Howard Ward, Robert Warren, Lenoard Watson, John Webb, Harry White, Allan Whitman, Richard Wilson, Cecil Windsor, Peter Wing, Leonard Wood, Arthur Wright, Frederick Wright, John Yanota, Lavin Zaharychuk and Nick Zytaruk.

This tribute is to Canada's forgotten war veterans to remind the all party committee of its unanimous agreement to compensate Canada's Hong Kong war veterans for enslavement. I want to recognize the human element of a well documented statistical history.

I wish now to conclude my tribute to the surviving veterans of Japan's evil enslavement with a call for support for compensation for Canada's Hong Kong veterans.

Committees Of The House
Routine Proceedings

10:30 a.m.

Reform

Dick Harris Prince George—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am sure that everyone in the House can support this issue. I hope the Liberal government will take those steps to ensure that our veterans who were enslaved in camps in Hong Kong during the war will be adequately recognized and compensated. That compensation will be claimed from the country of Japan.

I ask the member if he could give us an explanation as to why Canada has not acted on this issue prior to now. Why does it take until 1998 for a government, whether current or previous, to act on this very important issue?

Committees Of The House
Routine Proceedings

10:30 a.m.

Reform

Peter Goldring Edmonton East, AB

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for the question.

The history of this relates back to 1953 when there was a settlement made with a Japan that was broke. With Japan's economy after the war it was felt that there was no money available for compensation. The Canadian government on behalf of the Hong Kong veterans accepted a $1 a day settlement for enslaved labour by Japan, a buck a day settlement.

What the Hong Kong veterans are asking for is something that was a reasonable return for labour at that time, let alone slave labour. They would like $18 a day, which would be reasonable. The $1 a day was totally unacceptable. It was inappropriate. Japan, now the richest country on earth, uses that buck a day settlement as an excuse not to approach it again. That is wrong. Canada now has an opportunity now to correct this wrong.

Committees Of The House
Routine Proceedings

10:30 a.m.

Bloc

Daniel Turp Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have a brief comment to make, which is that the Bloc Quebecois would be totally in favour of this motion, particularly since, during the previous Parliament, the Bloc Quebecois introduced two motions in the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs in response to this request by the Hong Kong combatants and veterans for fair compensation.

The government opposed those two motions, or at least the first. Those motions afforded the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs the opportunity to hear some very moving testimony from the POWs themselves, or their survivors, who revealed all the details of the dreadful treatment accorded these prisoners, who were used as forced labour, and worked on airports and other things from which the Japanese and the Japanese government benefited.

What our party finds most distressing is the government's total lack of compassion and sympathy for these prisoners and their survivors. The government is hiding behind an international treaty, a peace agreement and legal opinions on this matter, which have never been presented to the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, despite demands from opposition parties including our own.

It is hard to understand why the Government of Canada is unwilling to demonstrate the requisite generosity toward these prisoners, as it did toward other prisoners and veterans.

We feel that the government should follow up on the recommendation in the report by the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade to pay each Hong Kong veteran fair compensation, particularly as this fair compensation has been estimated at about $23,000 per veteran and as there are only 200 to 400 of them left to receive it.

In conclusion, my question for my colleague in the Reform Party is this: Does he not think that this claim is justified and should be recognized, particularly as many other prisoners and veterans have had their right to fair compensation recognized?

Committees Of The House
Routine Proceedings

10:35 a.m.

Reform

Peter Goldring Edmonton East, AB

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the kind comments from my colleague.

I do believe it is essential for Canada to step forward and give recognition to these honourable veterans. It has been far too long. Christmas day 1941 was the first day of their internment. It is now 58 years later and there are still questions.

In this day of revising and changing history, we should step forward, do the right thing and provide compensation for these veterans. We should give them this sign of respect.

I phoned Mr. Wilbert Lynch in Edmonton yesterday. He is now in the hospital and I wish to give him my regards right now. There is a sense of urgency to give this sign of respect.

Committees Of The House
Routine Proceedings

10:35 a.m.

Peterborough
Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I move:

That the House do now proceed to orders of the day.