House of Commons Hansard #83 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was marriage.

Topics

Canada Book Day
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Parrish Mississauga Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to inform the House that on April 27 we will be celebrating Canada Book Day. Canada Book Day is an initiative of the Writers Trust of Canada in support of World Book Day. It has taken place annually since 1995. Canada Book Day is the largest single day celebration of reading and book buying in Canada.

This year Public Works and Government Services Canada is playing a major role in supporting this event. A quarter of a million items have been distributed to Canadians through our department's active network of over 700 bookstores. Today there is a promote a book table in the rotunda of Centre Block to display key government publications and to distribute additional promotional items.

I encourage all members to take time out of their busy day to visit the display in the rotunda.

Sayisi Dene
Statements By Members

April 11th, 2000 / 2:05 p.m.

NDP

Bev Desjarlais Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, poetry preserves the memory of our society. More than just a historical record, poetry preserves the feelings of those who live through historical events.

From the 1950s to the 1970s the Sayisi Dene of northern Manitoba were the victims of shameful treatment at the hands of the department of Indian affairs. Fully one-third of their people died from their forced relocation, an entire generation lost.

The poetry of Ila Bussidor captures the pain and loss of the Dene but also the strength and hope for healing. Today Ila Bussidor is the chief of the Sayisi Dene. She is leading her people in their fight for compensation. Her poetry speaks of night spirits, the spirits of those who died.

I dream of an eagle Forever coming to me with messages of strength Always in friendship and kindness. I touch the great sacred bird of spirit. He cares for me, each time I vision him. He lets me carry him. He gives me his sacred feathers. He walks with me. I am not afraid of him. I believe he is my guardian. The spirits of my father and mother Beside me in my times of pain.

Aéroports De Montréal
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Mercier Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, for a number of weeks now, the papers have been full of revelations on the inadequate management practices of Aéroports de Montréal. These troubling revelations have led the Bloc Quebecois to send for the chairperson of the board of directors, Ms. Pageau-Goyette, to have her appear before the Standing Committee on Transport. Problems of labour relations, lack of transparency and the appearance of conflict of interest have been raised.

The responses provided by ADM management have been, to say the least, unsatisfactory and perplexing. Crucial decisions on the development of Montreal were made by ADM, and major investments were announced in a context that shook public confidence considerably.

The Bloc Quebecois does not intend to stop there. The airports of Montreal are public assets funded out of the public purse.

Management of ADM will have to review its practices in order to win back the confidence of the public and elected representatives. There will be no question of repeating the practices being followed at Department of Human Resources Development within an agency given the task of developing infrastructures so important to Quebec.

Iran
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Bill Graham Toronto Centre—Rosedale, ON

Mr. Speaker, Thursday of this week will see the beginning of a trial in Iran that those of us who value human rights and democracy will be closely watching.

Thirteen Jewish citizens of Iran stand accused of crimes against the state. Many foreign observers are of the view that these charges are unfounded and have been trumped up by Iran's conservative clergy as a part of their scheme to slow the opening of Iran.

Many of us watched with interest and hope during the recent elections in Iran which moved the country closer to being the open and democratic society that its citizens wish.

We are encouraged by some of the recent positive initiatives put forward by the Iranian government concerning the prosecution of the accused. Basic rights, such as the right to choose free and independent counsel, and certain bail provisions have been granted. However, the Iranian government must act to ensure that provisions of a fair trial are upheld throughout the course of the proceedings.

Many of us respect Iran for its rich history and its dynamic and educated population. However, our eyes will be on this trial and we expect that the accused will receive a fair verdict and that religious freedom will be protected in Iran.

Prime Minister Of Canada
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, what better to bolster the Prime Minister of Canada's image, which is suffering from scandals, investigations and challenges to his leadership, than a nice little trip abroad, better yet to the Middle East where, with lots of coaching, he will be able to show what a statesman he is and how deft he is at international relations.

His advisers must be sorely disappointed. Instead of the hoped-for success, the Prime Minister is busily forgetting what he was told, getting his foot in it, and upsetting everyone.

“Personally, I think it better to keep the declaration of independence as a bargaining tool”, he told Yasser Arafat in French, while the Jerusalem Post had his advisers quoting him in English as saying the exact opposite.

It seems that the Prime Minister is inconsistent, whatever the time zone. Stay tuned tomorrow for what happened during the Prime Minister's trip to the Golan Heights.

Employment Insurance
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Norman E. Doyle St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals' so-called reforms to the unemployment insurance system have been devastating to Canada's unemployed. These days only 36% of unemployed Canadians qualify for EI benefits, down from 87% in 1989.

In St. John's East the EI cuts are costing my constituency $50 million annually. In neighbouring St. John's West, in byelection country, they are costing it $56 million a year. The riding of Burin—St. George's is losing $81.7 million annually and Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte is losing a further $74.7 million. All told, the economy of Newfoundland and Labrador has lost over $1 billion in EI revenues since the Liberals came to power in 1993.

What have the Liberals given back? They have increased EI maternity leave from six months to a year. However, given that only 31% of unemployed Canadian women actually qualify for benefits, that is very cold comfort.

Volunteers
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

John McKay Scarborough East, ON

Mr. Speaker, this is National Volunteer Week and it gives us an opportunity to look at some of the profiles of our volunteers.

In a report entitled “Religion, Volunteering and Charitable Giving” there is one very startling correlation. The more active one is religiously, the more active one is in making Canada a civil society.

Only 14% of Canadians describe themselves as active religiously, but they make up 43% of the volunteers and contribute over 50% of the overall time volunteered. In addition, they are responsible for over 65% of charitable giving.

If the religiously inactive contributed in the same manner, donations would double and volunteer time would increase by 60%.

All members should congratulate those who are religiously active in their communities and who make our society more civil as a result of their faith and their commitments.

I would like to take this opportunity to encourage all of my constituents, religiously active or otherwise, to find time and moneys to truly make a difference.

Iran
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, this Thursday, 13 Jewish-Iranian men will be put on trial in Iran on false charges of espionage.

Even if one sets aside the critical issues of religious freedom raised by this case, what is clear is that these men have the right to a fair trial under Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

That right includes access to legal representation of their own choosing and adequate time to prepare their defence in an open trial which international observers are free to attend and monitor. Unfortunately, at this point it appears that these men will be tried in a closed, Iranian revolutionary court without their chosen legal counsel.

The NDP joins the international community in demanding that these 13 Jewish-Iranians receive a fair trial. We call upon the Iranian government to ensure religious freedom for all its citizens, regardless of their faith.

Revenue Canada
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Edmonton North
Alberta

Reform

Deborah Grey Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, it is report card day today, and it ain't pretty.

The auditor general criticized mismanagement in immigration, Indian affairs, HRD and the solicitor general's office, but it was the revenue department which got first prize today.

Revenue hands out more than $2 billion, mainly to large corporations. That generates $20 million to $55 million of benefit to the Canadian economy. It is another massive boondoggle. It is hardly a deal.

Does the revenue minister think that taxpayers really enjoy having their money wasted by the very department which collects it?

Revenue Canada
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Outremont
Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon Minister of National Revenue and Secretary of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec)

Mr. Speaker, let me be clear from the outset. Canadian Alliance members would have people believe that there were problems and that funds under the responsibility of the Department of Human Resources Development disappeared. They are once again trying to suggest that funds have disappeared.

I simply want to say that there is no mention of money having been lost in any department. It must also be understood that what the auditor general's report refers to goes back to 1994 and even long before that. But in 1994, a decision was made to set deadlines for claiming tax credits for research and development, resulting in 16,000 claims being submitted at the same time, all within a four month period.

Revenue Canada
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Edmonton North
Alberta

Reform

Deborah Grey Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, maybe it is not about the loss of money. It is about the massive mismanagement of money in every single department.

According to the auditor general, revenue plays favourites with who gets access to that cash. In fact, less than 10% of companies who apply get 85% of the money.

In one case the department spent nearly 10,000 hours trying to figure out how one guy could even qualify for the cash. He ended up getting twice as much as he asked for. Now, there is a real deal.

Why is it that every time anyone in the government sees a pot of taxpayers' cash, they just cannot resist the temptation to dish it out?

Revenue Canada
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Outremont
Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon Minister of National Revenue and Secretary of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec)

Mr. Speaker, they obviously have no idea of what economic development is about, let alone tax credits for research and development.

What I explained, and this is important, is that, in 1994, for reasons of good management, it was announced in the budget that tax credits for research and development had to be claimed in the 18 months following the year in which the money had been spent.

The result was that all the claims, some of them dating back to 1985, were submitted at the same time. As a result, 16,000 additional requests were submitted within a four month period. I feel that the department did a good job and that the auditor general's report tabled today will be a good tool to ensure that our program can be improved.

Revenue Canada
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Edmonton North
Alberta

Reform

Deborah Grey Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, only a Liberal could brag about that and think that it is just a terrific report.

They should be calling their department “Expenditure Canada”. Collect more in taxes this year? Well, quick, spend it as quickly as possible before the public finds out.

One applicant got a half million dollars more than he even asked for. He was told, “Do not worry about it. It is okay. It will not happen again, we promise”. Then they were told, “Keep the cash”.

That is unbelievable from the government. Why does every single day see another government boondoggle?

Revenue Canada
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Outremont
Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon Minister of National Revenue and Secretary of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec)

Mr. Speaker, there are mechanisms within the agency to ensure that all tax credit requests for research and development are reviewed.

Discussions and appeal procedures were also used. Again, at the risk of repeating myself, the official opposition obviously cannot and will not understand. If the Canadian Alliance members were in government, there would be no business sector and no economic development in Canada. It is impossible to discuss program management with them. They cannot understand what it is about. As early as 1994, we began to deal with the 16,000 additional requests, and I am proud of the work the agency has done.

Revenue Canada
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

John Williams St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, try this one on for size.

The tax auditor approves a scientific tax credit for tens of millions of dollars. The auditor sends it upstairs to head office for approval, and what do they do? They say, “Not tens of millions of dollars surely. Let's double that”.

My question for the Minister of National Revenue is simple. Why did his senior bureaucrats double the tax credit that was authorized by the auditor without any additional information?