House of Commons Hansard #171 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was first.

Topics

The International Year Of Older Persons
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Sarmite Bulte Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, the United Nations has designated 1999 as the international year of older persons. At its launch it encouraged all nations to take advantage of the year so as to increase awareness of the challenge of the demographic aging of societies, the individual and social needs of older persons, their contribution to society and the need for a change in attitude toward older persons. The UN has designated this year's theme as “A Society for all ages”.

In this context I would like to salute the hard work of the Community Older Persons Alcohol Program, or COPA, which is situate in my riding. Founded in 1993 as a specialized home-visiting addiction treatment service for individuals 55 years of age and over, COPA is committed to addressing the treatment needs of the older adult in the west Toronto area.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all organizations who believe in improving the lives of older persons and to salute a community which built this country for generations to come.

Women's Hockey
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Alex Shepherd Durham, ON

Mr. Speaker, no other sport defines our nation as does hockey and no other sport is more exemplary of our culture and our pride in our country. That is why I was especially proud that my own Durham federal Liberal riding association was able to sponsor the Olympic women's Team Canada versus Team Finland hockey game in Oshawa on January 20 last month.

I want to thank the Minister of Canadian Heritage for being part of the ceremonies. It was the first time Team Canada has played in the Metro Toronto area. The minister's commitment to fostering and advancing our unique culture in the mainstream of public life was recognized by all.

With standing room only, 4,000 Durhamites in a sea of Canadian flags was an inspiration for us all. A great display of skill and perseverance ended in a six-all tie that was a real fan pleaser.

I extend thanks to the CHA, the staff of the Oshawa Civic Auditorium, the Minister of Canadian Heritage, the Clairington women's hockey association, the Clairington girls' hockey association, as well as all the other women's and girls' hockey associations that made this event a great success.

The Prime Minister
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Reform

Rob Anders Calgary West, AB

Mr. Speaker, it would be nice to say that the Prime Minister has extraordinary vision for the country, but ironically the PM only sees 20-20 when it involves his blind trust.

While it is in the Prime Minister's best interest to keep Canadians in the dark, he should come clean before the House about his conflict of interest. The Prime Minister is required by law to put his business in a blind trust so Canadians know he is not abusing power. But the Prime Minister ignores the law and gropes around in the not-so-blind trust anyway.

This raises two questions: What kind of ethics commissioner would have an open discussion with a public office holder about holdings in a blind trust? Only one appointed by and dependent upon the Prime Minister for his job.

What else has the Prime Minister not told us about his business dealings? Bombardier gets a lot of lucrative, untendered contracts. Maybe the PM has stock. We do not really know. Canadians deserve to know.

This is a case of three blind mice: the Prime Minister, the ethics commissioner and the public, but only the public is in the dark.

The 1999 Federal Budget
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Ovid Jackson Bruce—Grey, ON

Mr. Speaker, later on this month the Minister of Finance will be bringing down our 1999 federal budget.

Last summer I conducted, as did many members, a survey of my constituents of Bruce—Grey. I asked them about their priorities for our communities. They said to me, in no uncertain terms: health care, debt reduction and tax relief. That is what I hope the finance minister will come up with when he brings the budget down on February 16.

I want to say to my constituents that the finance minister listens to the needs of Canadians.

As well, I hope the finance minister will be listening to my appeal for help for families and children.

Justice
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Beth Phinney Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians were horrified when a judge in the B.C. supreme court recently ruled that it was legal to possess child pornography.

The B.C. government is appealing this decision and even though it is not binding on other provinces it could set a precedent for other jurisdictions to follow.

Child pornography is violence against children. It is child abuse and the possession of it must be treated as such.

There are many things that are illegal to possess, as well as illegal to produce. Child pornography should be no different. The full force of the government must be brought to bear against the possession of this filth.

The youth of today are this country's future and our responsibility. We have the duty to shield our children from the scourge of child pornography. I support the Minister of Justice in her efforts to quickly achieve intervener status in order to defend the legislation and protect our children.

Taxation
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Reform

Ken Epp Elk Island, AB

Mr. Speaker, it was terrifying. The bandit forced me to go from room to room in my house and watch while he and his accomplices loaded half of everything I owned into his truck to haul away. I was powerless to stop him. When he was done and left I phoned the police. But they would not help.

Why did the police not come to help? The answer is simple. The bandit was the tax collector.

If an ordinary criminal were to come into my house and take half of everything I own, we would not let him get away with it. But when it is the tax collector, he is authorized to take half of my earnings every year and the only person who can get into trouble is me if I do not help him load.

It is high time that we gave Canadians some tax relief. It just is not right to take half of their earnings year after year after year.

Economic Development
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Claude Drouin Beauce, QC

Mr. Speaker, on January 13, the Quebec City region received very good news for its economy.

Indeed, the Canadian government, through the Export Development Corporation, agreed to join Investissement Québec in funding the construction of the Spirit of Columbus platform in the Lévis shipyard.

Now that funding has been secured for the platform, anything is possible. The Government of Canada was involved in the search for viable solutions, which open up interesting perspectives for the future.

The Bloc Quebecois had accused the Liberal government of not abiding by its promises in this respect. Once again, they have been proven wrong. The government did deliver on its promises to the workers of this shipyard. The funding granted will have a positive impact and boost the economy in the Quebec City and Chaudière—Appalaches region.

This is further proof of the Canadian government's vigourous involvement in this country's economic development.

Kangiqsualujjuaq Tragedy
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, on December 31, while the community of Kangiqsualujjuaq was ringing in the New Year, a terrible avalanche destroyed the school gymnasium, killing nine and injuring 25.

But for the vigilance and determination of members of the community who rushed to free people from the snow, the toll would have been much higher. Let us pay tribute to the community spirit of the Inuit of Kangiqsualujjuaq.

To the families who were touched by this tragedy, and to the entire population of Nunavik, the Bloc Quebecois extends its deepest condolences.

Justice
Statements By Members

February 1st, 1999 / 2:05 p.m.

NDP

Chris Axworthy Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, in 1993 this House passed Bill C-121 which made the production, dealing and possession of child pornography indictable offences. But the recent B.C. court decision has reminded us that child pornography remains a serious problem in Canada.

Depictions of child pornography comprise a permanent record of a child being sexually abused. People who possess child pornography may not have participated in the original crime, but they are certainly accomplices. Each time a pedophile taps into this pornographic underworld the children portrayed are victimized over and over again.

Preventing the sexual abuse of children is a battle that must be fought by all Canadians, regardless of their political stripe or ideological stance.

I and my colleagues in the NDP caucus urge parliament and all parliamentarians to reaffirm their commitment to Canada's children by voicing loudly society's utter condemnation of this form of child sexual abuse. We must send a clear message: When the rights of children, our most precious resource, and the rights of pedophiles and predators come into conflict, the rights of children must prevail.

Louise Arbour
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Daniel Turp Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Quebecois wishes to congratulate the chief prosecutor for the international criminal tribunals, Madame Justice Louise Arbour, for her courage and determination in the present crisis in Kosovo.

By trying to get to the bottom of the events that led to the deaths of 45 Kosovars, among them women and children, in Racka, Madame Justice Arbour has shown once again that she takes her job seriously and that she has no intention of caving in to those seeking to escape international criminal justice.

With a new round of fighting under way and the parties summoned to Rambouillet with a view to a ceasefire and the resumption of negotiations, it is to be hoped that the agreement to be signed at the international peace conference will give Madame Justice Arbour the tools to bring to justice those who have committed the massacres and atrocities that have so appalled humanity.

Parti Quebecois
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, the referendum game is on again, since this past weekend.

At the Parti Quebecois national council meeting, the party and Quebec Premier Lucien Bouchard did not exclude the possibility of public funds being used to promote the secession of Quebec.

The Parti Quebecois has not understood that, not having obtained a majority vote in the last Quebec election, it cannot do anything it wants. The Parti Quebecois has not understood that the population of Quebec has given the government a mandate to govern within the framework of Canadian federalism, not one to pave the way for another referendum.

The population of Quebec has given the Government of Quebec a mandate to work effectively and in collaboration with the Canadian government, not to seek to harm and destroy our country.

International Development Week
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Diane St-Jacques Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, today, on behalf of the Progressive Conservative caucus, I would like to draw attention to International Development Week.

This week affords us the opportunity to celebrate the exceptional work being done by the thousands of Canadians actively involved in developing countries in helping to bring about peace, reduce poverty and injustice, preserve our shared environment, and forge links of trust and friendship world-wide.

International aid, which plays a decisive role in the social and economic transformation of increasing numbers of developing countries, must remain one of our national priorities for this reason.

By continuing to invest in sustainable development in the developing countries, we shall succeed in meeting the needs of the present without compromising those of the future, thus building a safer and more equitable world.

Black History Month
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Augustine Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, on December 14, 1995, on a motion introduced in the House, the House of Commons declared February as Black History Month.

From the earliest period of our history to the present, people of African origin have contributed toward making Canada one of the most envied nations in the world.

Black people, both as slaves and as free men and women, gave greatly of themselves to the development of our nation. As fishermen and domestics in New France, soldiers and labourers in Nova Scotia, fur traders for the Hudson's Bay Company, prairie farmers, skilled tradesmen, teachers, and businessmen in pre-Confederation British Columbia, African Canadians have brought a wealth of skills to our country and continue to do so.

I encourage all members of parliament to take advantage of the opportunity to meet with members of the Black community in their ridings and to join in the celebration of Black History Month.

Human Rights
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canadians were shocked and deeply hurt to learn recently that an organizing committee chaired by a federal bureaucrat discriminated against the Christian faith at the Swissair crash memorial service held on September 9.

Christian clergy were not allowed to mention the name Jesus or use their New Testament scriptures. The remarks of other religious groups received no such censure.

As when any basic human right is transgressed, there are unfortunate and painful consequences. This censure was unfair to the Christian clergy making presentations and it was a disservice to those Christians at the ceremony seeking comfort, solace and healing from their terrible pain.

Appropriately, the federal government offered an apology and expressed some responsibility. However, Canadians want to know that religious discrimination like this will not happen again. They demand constructive solutions.

Therefore it is now up to the government to put its apology into actions. It is time for the Prime Minister to develop strict guidelines to ensure that religious discrimination like that which occurred at the Swissair memorial service never happens again.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, our Prime Minister is a funny guy. Whenever he talks about taxes he gets a twinkle in his eye. I am serious. He has it there now.

Last week in Switzerland he said a funny thing. He said he was glad that Brian Mulroney had imposed the GST. At the time he publicly criticized the GST and now he admits that he secretly admired the tax.

I would like to ask old twinkle eyes over there, just between you and me—