House of Commons Hansard #47 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was housing.

Topics

Black History Month
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

Susan Whelan Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, Black History Month is dedicated to the recognition, learning and celebration of black history in North America.

It started in the United States in 1926 by Carter G. Woodson. The celebration of Black History Month in Canada first gained acceptance in the 1960s as awareness among black Canadians of their contributions to Canadian society was heightened as a result of the civil rights movement in the United States.

Since then the celebration of Black History Month has become an annual event in major Canadian cities. In December 1995 parliament passed a motion officially designating February as Black History Month.

Activities that take place during Black History Month are varied in both scope and nature. This month is an important part of preserving our heritage.

The heritage of black Canadians is evident in my own riding of Essex by the North American Black Historical Museum, the Nazrey African Methodist Episcopal Church and the Walls Site to name a few.

Southwestern Ontario is an example of how slaves who sought haven contributed to the building of our great country.

This month is an opportunity to remember and celebrate the contribution of black Canadians to the building of Canada.

The Environment
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

Julian Reed Halton, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada's Kyoto commitment to reducing greenhouse gases has been described as the greatest challenge facing this country since World War II.

A reduction in emissions of 6% from 1990 levels means a 25% reduction from 1999 levels, or roughly 26 million tonnes of gases are to be offset.

Since Canada has rarely experienced a year when greenhouse gases have not increased, the challenge becomes enormous. Over the past year hundreds of Canadian experts have been working hard to submit recommendations to the Climate Change Secretariat which will provide the basis for action.

In spite of the naysayers who think we cannot achieve our targets, I believe that these recommendations will result not only in a cleaner, healthier environment, but in an economic upsurge through the utilization of our untapped renewable resources. I urge all Canadians to support this giant leap into the future.

Eric Newell
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Reform

Dave Chatters Athabasca, AB

Mr. Speaker, on Wednesday, February 16, Mr. Eric Newell, chairman and CEO of Syncrude Canada Limited was awarded the Order of Canada.

Mr. Newell hails from Fort McMurray, Alberta. As his MP I am pleased to extend the congratulations of myself and all MPs for his achievement.

Mr. Newell is not only extremely active within the world of oil production, he is also very involved in his community particularly in education related activities. His accomplishments are far too numerous to mention them all, but I will name a few.

Mr. Newell received the 1997 Canadian Business Leader Award from the University of Alberta. He is the chairman of the 2000 Governor General's Canadian Study Conference. He is vice-chairman of the Conference Board of Canada. He is the director of the Canadian Millennium Scholarship Foundation. He is on the board of directors for the Keyano College Foundation.

Accomplishments such as these deserve recognition. I am pleased that Mr. Newell has joined the prestigious group known as the Officers of the Order of Canada.

Public Service Of Canada
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

Eugène Bellemare Carleton—Gloucester, ON

Mr. Speaker, we need to reinforce our public service. We need to put an end to the employment freeze. We need to drastically reduce the practice of contracting out for temporary help. We need to considerably diminish the number of term and casual employees. Permanent employment is what we need to encourage young competent Canadians to choose the public service as a profession.

Hiring young professionals full time would provide the public service with highly qualified replacements, as well as safeguarding its professionalism and corporate memory.

It is vital for young Canadians to have the possibility of a career in the public service, if we are to maintain the quality of services to all Canadians in the years to come.

David Pelletier
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Bloc

René Canuel Matapédia—Matane, QC

Mr. Speaker, on the weekend of January 30, David Pelletier, who is from the Quebec riding of Matapédia—Matane, and his partner Jamie Sale, from Alberta, won the Canadian figure skating championship for pair skating. They won with the highest marks ever in that annual event. They got five perfect marks of 6.0 and two 5.9s. This is extraordinary.

As David's father Jacques Pelletier said, “This achievement is evidence that work, patience, determination and courage allow us to meet challenges, reach beyond our limits and to accomplish goals deemed impossible by others”.

I wish the best of luck to Jamie and David in their next two competitions this season, and I congratulate them on their performance.

Invention Fair
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the first invention fair will be held in Montreal from July 7 to 9, at the Maurice Richard Arena. The fair is organized by the Association des inventeurs du Québec. It will bring together inventors, innovators, designers and engineers.

Participants will represent the world of creativity and the industry in general. The public will have an opportunity to discover Quebec's engineering and innovative feats.

This is an opportunity to promote those who like to dare and innovate. Often, a simple idea or a fortuitous discovery can lead to surprising products and revolutionize an economic, social or cultural sector.

We wish the best of luck to the organizers of that show and to each and every participant.

Human Resources Development
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Reform

Eric C. Lowther Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, in the past the Minister of Human Resources Development has repeatedly said that the department funds were being managed appropriately even though at the time her own department knew things were in very bad shape. She made the damaging audit results public only because the Reform member for Calgary—Nose Hill was going to if the minister did not.

Now the minister tells us she is going to fix the problems. This is the same minister who said there were no problems. Her credibility is gone and she should go with it.

There are 180,000 Canadians on health care waiting lists but the minister gives $535,000 to a group which bought jewels and claimed them as office furniture. It takes three months to see a health specialist but a failed project at McGill did not have to wait to get $100,000 more than it asked for from the minister. The brain drain takes 1,400 doctors a year but HRDC paid students $14,000 each for three weeks of work.

There is more, but the bottom line is that the Liberals' priority is to buy votes, not the health care of Canadians.

Bombardier
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Quebec giant, Bombardier, has just snagged another major railway contract in the Netherlands.

This contract worth $660 million provides for the delivery of 13 four-car double-deck EMUs and 12 six-car EMUs.

Bombardier is a one of our companies that has made an international name for itself. Its expertise in the area of transportation is its vocation, and is a source of pride for all of Canada.

Bombardier has long understood that the key to economic success is to occupy much of the market and be based in an economic and a political entity such as Canada.

We congratulate Bombardier on this latest success and encourage them to continue their growth worldwide. Indeed, Bombardier is a real jewel of our economy and we are all very proud of it.

Railways
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, today I would like to raise again with the Minister of Transport and with others an issue which I think should be of concern to all members of parliament, or at least those members of parliament who have rail lines running through their constituencies.

The fact is that the railways, all of them, are running longer and longer trains. We are now seeing 10,000 foot trains as a rule. I am told sometimes there are 12,000 foot trains. They are tying up railway crossings for a much longer period of time than is allowed for in the rules. It is only supposed to be five minutes. However, there are crossings in my riding, and others may have the same, where trains are taking 45 minutes to clear the crossings.

This means that traffic is backed up. It means that public safety concerns are raised in terms of ambulances and emergency services that cannot get from one part of town to the other.

I have raised this with the Minister of Transport before. This is a real issue which needs to be dealt with. The railways are abusing the rules and some day someone is going to die because they are abusing these rules and because the government has refused to do anything about it.

Once again I urge the minister to act.

Renewal Of Infrastructures Program
Statements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, really, the more things change, the more they stay the same. It would seem that the Liberal government wants to renege on another of its commitments.

In a recent article in La Presse , we learn that the Liberals would like to delay the renewal of the infrastructures program in order to use it for purely electoral ends. This federal, provincial and municipal program is vital to Quebec and Canada. This is true too for quality of life and especially public safety.

Quebec, the Canadian provinces and territories and the municipalities have long called for this program. It would be totally unacceptable and incredibly irresponsible if the government were to delay it and use it for such partisan purposes.

When will the Liberals finally honour their commitments? When will they stop pulling the wool over people's eyes and when will they stop making the provincial governments and the municipalities pay and then turn the situation to their advantage?

Human Rights
Statements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Bill Graham Toronto Centre—Rosedale, ON

Mr. Speaker, today the Minister of Justice will table in the House legislation to ensure that federal laws conform to our human rights obligations. This represents the culmination of the work of many groups and individuals around the country, too many to name, who have worked so hard over the past 15 years to achieve the goal of equality in our society. They deserve our thanks.

This historic legislation will enshrine in the statutes our obligations under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Canadian Human Rights Act.

This is the right thing to do. It is also supported by a vast majority of Canadians who believe that one of the most important characteristics of our society is its tolerance based on the elimination of discrimination.

Recent court decisions have indicated that our statutes must be updated and this will end the need for constant litigation such as that presently brought by the Foundation for Equal Families.

This is an important piece of legislation for all Canadians and of particular concern to my constituents. I commend the government for acting proactively in this place to ensure equality for all our citizens.

Fuel Costs
Statements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, I rise today on behalf of Nova Scotians who are being severely threatened in relation to rising fuel costs. The price of oil has jumped to more than 50 cents from 32 cents per litre in recent days. Diesel has gone up 70 cents a gallon in four months forcing truckers out of competition.

Nova Scotians are finding themselves financially burdened due to the increase in fuel costs throughout the province largely in part due to federal taxation. In April 1997 this Liberal government was supposed to rid Canadians of the GST but actually created the HST in three Atlantic provinces to a fixed rate of 15%. This tax is applied federally and cannot be changed at the point of sale. This has hurt many citizens, in particular seniors and low income earners. Essentials in life are becoming more and more unattainable for those on fixed incomes.

I urge the Minister of Finance along with the Minister of Industry to take immediate action to examine closely these huge increases in prices of crude oil. Nova Scotians and indeed all Canadians cannot continue to struggle under crippling high fuel costs compounded by massive tax grabs. There is a budget coming. Please give Canadians relief.

Rural Health
Statements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

John Finlay Oxford, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Health and the new federal rural health directorate have been working hard to tackle the special health problems of rural Canada and small towns like Ingersoll and Peterborough.

The Summit on Rural Health Research in Prince George brought together representatives of all stakeholders in rural health care. There are in effect two health care systems in Canada: one for the big cities and one for the rest of the country.

While it is clear that some major health facilities have to be in large cities, there is no good reason why basic, rapid response, modern care cannot be available to all Canadians. It is the task of the federal government to make sure that our health care system is available to all.

I urge that Health Canada be given the resources to translate its fine preliminary work into action. This will improve health care for all rural Canadians.

Employment Equity
Statements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Reform

Jim Pankiw Saskatoon—Humboldt, SK

Mr. Speaker, state sanctioned discrimination is prominent in Canada under the code names of employment equity and affirmative action. Supporters of these programs hide behind subterfuge and politically correct rhetoric in order to mask their true intent. In fact, employment equity quotas are as insulting and offensive to those they purport to help as they are to those against whom they discriminate.

Hiring quotas based on race or gender imply that members of target groups are somehow inferior and therefore incapable of competing on a level playing field. Such programs foster suspicion and resentment, and rob us all of dignity and self-worth.

Affirmative action programs breed resentment and suspicion among co-workers, and these hiring quotas foment inequality and bitterness in society at large. That is because of an inescapable universal truth which is that it is not possible to discriminate in favour of someone because of their race or gender without discriminating against someone else because of theirs.

Affirmative action and employment equity programs are inherently unfair, they violate the principles of equality and merit based hiring, and they must therefore be stopped.

Aboriginal Referendum In Lac-Saint-Jean
Statements By Members

February 11th, 2000 / 11:15 a.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Verchères, QC

Mr. Speaker, a few days from now, the federal government will hold a referendum among the Montagnais of Lac-St-Jean. Let us take a look at the clarity of the question that will be asked:

“Do you accept and approve the settlement agreement dated, for reference purposes, the 14th day of December, 1999, between the Montagnais band of Lac-Saint-Jean and Her Majesty the Queen in right of Canada?

Do you agree to sanction, pursuant to sections 38(1) and 39 of the Indian Act, the absolute transfer to her Majesty the Queen in right of Canada by the Montagnais band of Lac-Saint-Jean of all rights and those of its members pertaining to all parcels of reserve land on concession IX of the Ouiatchouan township?

By voting yes, you authorize the Chief of the Montagnais band of Lac-Saint-Jean or any other member of the band council duly authorized by resolution to sign on behalf of the band council and its members all documents and to take all measures required to put into effect the settlement agreement and the absolute transfer of all parcels of the reserve land on concession IX of the Ouiatchouan township. Yes or no?”

Is that clear, Mr. Speaker, as a question?