House of Commons Hansard #56 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was senate.

Topics

Division No. 749
Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Thibeault)

This is not a point of order. It is part of debate.

Division No. 749
Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

Liberal

Yvon Charbonneau Anjou—Rivière-Des-Prairies, QC

Madam Speaker, as the House is well aware, Bill C-13 was based on the recommendations of an interim governing council composed of 34 well-respected Canadians representing all fields of health research in Canada.

This interim council includes people from provincial governments, universities, hospitals, the academic community and charitable organizations in the health and private sectors, as well as researchers from all fields of health research.

The institutes work with organizations that focus on the three areas of health, health care and health research. For us, this is all interconnected, since research is what makes quality care and services possible. In general, the Canadian public and the research community have been receptive to this message and given it their strong support.

Research also provides Canada with an important opportunity to contribute to improving people's health, not only in Canada but internationally as well. That is one of our responsibilities as an industrialized and developed country. Canadian researchers in fact—and this is something to be stated with pride—are often at the leading edge of their specialties and their contributions are recognized worldwide.

It should be obvious to everyone that decision makers in the political arena need to have research data to call upon. Those of us who have to make decisions, who are in politics with the people in the various departments backing us up, need to be informed of the top research data when the time comes to make decisions on policy, regulations, or mechanisms for managing the programs for which we are responsible.

Public access to research material and reports on public health related issues is also governed by the Privacy Act and the Access to Information Act.

These are acts to protect people's rights while guaranteeing public access when appropriate. Some of the amendments are, therefore, prompted by the bill itself, or by other bills ensuring the public of access to information.

As for conflict of interest issues, which are addressed by some of the proposed amendments, and matters of ethics, the health committee's report contained a recommendation to the government that application of the principles of ethics be enhanced as far as the health research institutes are concerned. Our committee recommended “that the Governing Council develop and implement appropriate conflict of interest guidelines for the agency, including the Institutes of Health Research”.

We are waiting for the government's response to this recommendation. This recommendation shows that our committee is concerned by this issue and has brought it to the government's attention.

Therefore, it is not necessary to state in the act that the governing council has the authority to develop a conflict of interest code. The federal government has already taken measures to ensure that organizations have a conflict of interest code that meets their specific needs.

The federal government's ethics counsellor will work with the president of the institutes to develop a code that meets the specific needs of the new organization. As part of this process, they will determine whether it is necessary to develop additional conflict of interest policies for all members, employees and volunteers of the institutes' committees and advisory boards.

It must be understood that these institutes are headed by a president. There is also a governing council and there are advisory boards. When developing a code of ethics on conflict of interests for the institute, it will be necessary to take into account the various levels within the organization and the positions held by those concerned.

Some of the concerns expressed earlier by opposition parties, including the Reform Party and the Bloc Quebecois, concern motions in both Group No. 1 and Group No. 2. Later on, when we discuss Group No. 2, we will have the opportunity to provide answers to these concerns. Some of these answers are in the form of amendments proposed by the government to meet these concerns expressed by the opposition.

The committee did a good job and its Liberal majority took good note of the most important suggestions made by the members of the opposition parties.

Division No. 749
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Reform

Gary Lunn Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Madam Speaker, I rise with pleasure today to talk about Bill C-13, an act to establish the Canadian institutes of health research and to repeal the Medical Research Council Act. I agree with the objective of the bill and the new Canadian institutes of health research. Before I speak to the bill which I am pleased to support, I want to take a moment to speak about the decorum in the House and what has happened.

When I came in here earlier this morning a member from the Bloc was speaking about the bill. The member said it was a very important bill for Canada. I listened to the hon. member's speech. I would hope that Bloc members would show the same respect for all members of the House.

I understand the Bloc members are upset about closure being brought in at the committee stage on the clarity bill but that does not give them the right to derail the entire House. It is okay to take a stand on a bill and I acknowledge we did it on the Nisga'a bill. However it does not mean that they should try to derail the whole House and cause problems on every single bill over their one issue. I appeal to the Bloc members to give all members of the House including those on the government side the respect to be heard on this bill. It was very important to say that at the outset.

Why is this bill so important? At first glance one wonders whether it will create another billion dollar boondoggle. On really looking at the bill I agree with the concept of what it is trying to do. It is putting money back into medical research. It is very important that we make this investment. It will also help stem part of the brain drain by making this investment in our scientific community and will put the resources into medical research. The intent is correct.

The Canadian institutes of health research appear to have a precise game plan with the sole intention of promoting research. There are couple of qualifications. First, there is little time available to consult the scientific community for input on research projects that are to be undertaken. It is important to make sure that the scientific community is targeted. Second, I have some concerns that the president of the Canadian institutes of health research may bypass recommendations of the governing council and simply appoint people to the advisory councils based on individual choice rather than their qualifications. I say that because of what we have seen historically in that appointments become much more political.

When one reads the bill it does appear that the appointments will be independent and made at arm's length from the federal government. I applaud that and hope that will be carried out. Of course, we will not know until the bill is passed and we see the appointments but that issue seems to be addressed. Again, I point these concerns out because it is very important that the institutes operate independent of the government.

I wish I could say that was the case at HRDC. This all ties together. It is government grants going out as subsidies. Again, I think it has to happen in scientific research. That is an important role the government must play and that is why I support that. But we must make sure that the money gets to where it is supposed to be and is done in a non-partisan way.

Unfortunately we have seen the billion dollar boondoggle at HRDC. Not only that, it is the whole culture that flows through all levels of many government departments. I personally witnessed it with the TAGS program and the fisheries in Atlantic Canada. The federal government paid $2.8 billion for fishermen to stay at home and wait for the fish to come back. The government did not achieve any of the desired goals. We have seen it in Indian affairs, CIDA, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and the list goes on and on.

I point out these concerns because if this is to work and we make this investment in our scientific community, we have to make sure it is done in a non-partisan way. The government has addressed that in the bill. That is why I intend to support it but it is important that we follow up and make sure that it happens.

All grant money should be administered that way. The new Canadian institutes of health research will replace the Medical Research Council which until now has not been accountable. It has not worked and that is why there must be a change. It is very important that the money is fully accounted for and transparent. This is the first step in making that happen.

We have seen in the past and on the front page of every paper for a month concerning HRDC, that it has not been accounted for. Most important it has not been transparent. Canadians are wondering where their tax dollars are going. I hear over and over again from people in my riding and in the medical community that it is very important that we make investments in research. That is an appropriate goal for government but it has to be transparent. It has to ensure that the public has access to where the money is going.

That is only one aspect. I wanted to raise it because I believe this can play an important role in curbing the problem of the brain drain. I have talked about this before in the House. This issue is very dear to me. Some of our best and our brightest in particular in the areas of health, engineering and the high tech sector are going south.

It is worth noting that we need that private sector and government partnership. The bill addresses that. It brings in the private sector for that partnership aspect. It is a very important component. I encourage the government to look at that in all ministries and departments. If we are going to help stem the brain drain, I absolutely fundamentally believe we need to lower taxes, but we also have to allow the private sector to create the jobs. It is not a role government can play.

We have to make investments in the scientific community. However, in other areas such as industry, and areas of grants where there is no transparency and accountability, that is not working. The private sector has a very important role to play.

I commend the government for the bill. I support it. It is very important. We are putting money into scientific research. It appears the government has tried to keep it at arm's length and I applaud that. It appears that 95% of the resources will go to front line research and that only 5% will be used for administration. I applaud the government. It is an encouraging first step. It will help reduce the brain drain. Hopefully when the bill passes, this will happen.

We can apply this whole concept to other ministries such as HRDC. We need to invest in our people but it cannot be a political fund which is used to buy votes. That culture has grown and grown and grown. We need to change that.

I will be supporting this very important bill. I look forward to seeing the results and to our scientific community benefiting from these so very important research dollars.

National Defence
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Lynn Myers Waterloo—Wellington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to extend my congratulations to the men and women who work at the Department of National Defence.

Canadian forces have record levels of overseas deployments to peacekeeping missions and increased activities at home.

The Department of National Defence has made fundamental organizational changes in order to ensure that the structure of the department and the Canadian forces are ready to support these new challenges.

An independent report released earlier this month noted effective implementation of reforms in over 300 areas. The reforms range from the creation of a military ombudsman, to the revamping of the military justice system and to the implementation of quality of life initiatives.

The Canadian forces and the Department of National Defence have demonstrated they are capable of fundamental changes at an institutional and cultural level. I applaud their flexibility and leadership. The department deserves our respect and our gratitude.

Agriculture
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Reform

Garry Breitkreuz Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, farmers in Saskatchewan are losing the shirts off their backs and the government is to blame. The ministers brag about all the money they have promised but 75% of the money the Liberals promised is still in Ottawa's ivory towers, not in the farmers' pockets.

Today's announcement for farm assistance to Saskatchewan is just another billion dollar boondoggle. I held eight town hall meetings in January and attended farm crisis rallies in Toronto, Regina and Saskatoon.

A group of farmers asked me to bring the shirts they are losing to Ottawa and give them to the Prime Minister. I have a box full of them. I am going to be out in the lobby after question period with this box of shirts. If the Liberals want to show they care about western grain farmers, I trust one of the ministers responsible for this disaster will come out to the lobby and pick them up.

Farmers are being taxed to death by Ottawa. One farmer wrote a note on his shirt, “Jean and Paul have taken—”

Agriculture
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Parkdale—High Park.

Estonia
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Sarmite Bulte Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, today Canadians of Estonian heritage are commemorating the 82nd anniversary of the declaration of independence of Estonia.

It is an anniversary that is foremost in the minds of all people who have been able to cast off the burden of foreign domination. Canada has played a major role in helping to re-establish democratic institutions in Estonia, in assisting Estonia to become a recognized member of the international community, and in providing infrastructure to make Estonia ready for membership in international security arrangements.

Estonians have played an important role in sharing their unique cultural attributes with all Canadians. I recognize the vital importance that Esto 2000, the Estonian world festival, will be to Toronto's cultural scene this coming July.

The song, dance and gymnastic festivals and other festivities will be followed with great interest by all Canadians.

May we wish Canadians of Estonian heritage success in all their endeavours during Esto 2000 and may the independence of Estonia be commemorated for generations to come. Elagu Eesti .

Black History Month
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Susan Whelan Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, February is Black History Month. It is a time for all Canadians to cherish our country's history.

Yesterday the Reform member for Calgary East spoke and I could not agree with him more. The ancestors of Canada's black community have made a tremendous contribution building our great nation.

That is why the government, through HRDC and the jobs creation partnership program, invested in the Nazrey AME Church, the first black national historic site designated in Canada. Located in the town of Amherstburg, this architecturally distinctive stone chapel is an example of the small refugee churches from Ontario associated with the underground railroad.

For once I hope the Reform Party will recognize this useful spending.

It is a sad day for Canadians when the Reform Party extols the virtues of history in this country while at the same time trashing one of the very programs that preserved it.

Coca-Cola Bottling Company
Statements By Members

February 24th, 2000 / 2 p.m.

Liberal

Sarkis Assadourian Brampton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, as the member of parliament for Brampton Centre, it is with tremendous pride that I welcome the Coca-Cola Bottling Company to my riding.

Coca-Cola will invest $150 million in the construction of a new market service centre facility that will include manufacturing, sales and distribution functions and will employ approximately 550 people. This is the single largest facility investment ever made by the Coca-Cola Bottling Company in Canada and will be the company's largest production and warehouse facility in the country.

Welcome, Coca-Cola, to Brampton where economic growth is the real thing.

The Senate
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Reform

Rob Anders Calgary West, AB

Mr. Speaker, last week Albertans learned that we have a vacancy in the Senate.

The last time this happened the Prime Minister appointed a senator with full knowledge of a Senate election underway in Alberta. These sneaky tactics were not part of his leadership campaign in 1990.

There is even division in the Prime Minister's cabinet over this. The MP for Edmonton Southeast is challenging the Prime Minister's methods. I guess he could not live with the Prime Minister's broken promises.

Bert Brown won the support of more Canadians than any other federal politician in history. The will of Albertans has been expressed, democracy has been denied.

There is no justice in the Edmonton West MP refusing to respect her constituents' demands for democracy in the Senate. The people, their premier and a cabinet colleague are all calling for Bert Brown to take his place in the Senate.

Economic Development
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Paradis Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, a hundred or so mayors, municipal politicians and leaders of economic development in the Eastern Townships and the Montérégie area are here today to take part in a day-long event with an international focus.

We are talking about foreign affairs, about the promotion of culture abroad, international trade and, in particular, Team Canada and international co-operation, looking at such topics as how businesses can help in other countries.

I am delighted that so many of them accepted my invitation. I also congratulate them on their interest in always looking for new ways to help their town or municipality get ahead.

Municipal politicians are aware that they need to find ways of meeting the challenges of globalization. Increasingly, local communities will be called upon to work more closely with other communities.

In closing, I greet the delegation from my riding of Brome—Missisquoi and congratulate them on their initiative and excellent team work.

Depleted Uranium
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Reform

Peter Goldring Edmonton East, AB

Mr Speaker, a diabolical pallor of death looms over abandoned battlefields affecting all with its ominous nuclear glow. A waste product of our power industry that lights our homes is now a preferred weapon of war.

Depleted uranium's battlefield signature is a pyrophoric ball with a cloud of nuclear waste. Many suggest that the battlefield killing and suffering continues long after the soldiers depart.

Both government and scientists duck and dodge questions regarding this weapon's effect on man.

Depleted uranium is a nuclear weapon that does not discriminate. It must be banned for conventional warfare use for the sake of our soldiers and for the sake of all humanity.

Black History Month
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Augustine Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Mathieu Da Costa Awards Program was launched by the Department of Canadian Heritage in February 1996 to mark the official recognition by the Parliament of Canada of February as Black History Month.

At the Mathieu Da Costa Awards Ceremony this morning, nine students were honoured for their efforts to promote mutual respect and understanding between Canadians.

The award winners for best essay/short story and artwork were: Timothy Fung from Vancouver, B.C.; Lauren Inrig from Delta, B.C.; Karen Lowe from Abbotsford, B.C.; Charles Sargent from Calgary, Alberta; Boeseya Man-VanDyck from Winnipeg, Manitoba; Ellen Friesen from Winnipeg, Manitoba; Karine Houde from Kanata, Ontario; Isabelle Vachon from Welland, Ontario; and Sharon Boersma from Petrolia, Ontario.

I ask all my colleagues to join me in congratulating these young, talented Canadians.

The Economy
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Ted McWhinney Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, Statistics Canada's report on Canadian international trade for 1999 confirms that the federal government's economic policies and fiscal management have laid the groundwork for a booming trade economy.

Our annual trade balance with the rest of the world was just under $34 billion in 1999, its highest level since 1996. Our volume of exports grew at almost twice the pace of imports.

In 1999 we exported over $360.6 billion worth of goods; 11.9% more than in 1998. Much of this growth can be attributed to increased domestic capacity in the automotive industry and high demand for Canadian built models in the United States. Our television and telecommunications equipment industry also contributed significantly.

Overall, the resulting trade balance for 1999 was the third highest on record for Canada.

Black History Month
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Gordon Earle Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to celebrate Black History Month and to extend congratulations to Brad Barton, a fellow black Nova Scotian who will be receiving the Order of Canada.

The history of Nova Scotia and all Canada reflects the tremendous contribution by black Canadians from all walks of life and often against incredible odds.

Black History Month, also know as African Heritage Month, has been celebrated in North America since 1926. These celebrations mark the contributions made by black Canadians through exhibits, informative lectures, cultural events, political activities, recognition ceremonies for distinguished black Canadians and many other events.

I encourage as many people as possible to participate in black history and African heritage events wherever they occur throughout the country.

I was pleased recently to attend an event to honour African-Canadian veterans and other blacks in uniform. I am looking forward to participating in an upcoming discussion forum on the state of anti-racist education in Nova Scotia public schools.

I hope the government seizes upon the spirit of Black History Month to address the serious shortcomings in the role of blacks in the federal public service so that we may have even more—