House of Commons Hansard #94 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was citizenship.

Topics

2 p.m.

The Speaker

As is our practice on Wednesday we will now sing O Canada, and we will be led by the hon. member for Fraser Valley.

Hungary
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Tom Wappel Scarborough Southwest, ON

Mr. Speaker, for the country of my ancestors, Hungary, the year 2000 marks a special anniversary. The Hungarian state is 1,000 years old.

At Christmas in the year 1000 AD, almost 500 years before Europeans stumbled upon the new world, Stephen, the first king of the Magyars, was crowned with a crown sent by Pope Silvester II. King Stephen later became St. Stephen, canonized on August 20, 1083.

Many celebrations are planned in Hungary for this historic milestone. On May 19 and 20 in Budapest the Hungary 2000 Conference will be convened. The Canadian parliament will be represented by a delegation of the Canada-Hungary Parliamentary Friendship Group led by me.

I look forward to extending congratulations on behalf of all parliamentarians as Hungary celebrates 1000 years of statehood, the Magyar millennium.

Divorce Act
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Reform

Paul Forseth New Westminster—Coquitlam—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, one year ago today the Minister of Justice said in response to the special joint committee report “For the Sake of the Children”, “Canadians agree that when families break down, the needs and best interests of children must be the highest priority”.

Sadly, a year has elapsed and this high priority item is nowhere to be seen. The minister has caved in to the bureaucratic insider systems agenda of just leaving the Divorce Act as it is. The concerns are the same wherever I go in Canada about the shortcomings of the Divorce Act for the child-parent relationship.

We need shared parenting put in the law. The act must serve children's needs first and grandparents must be permitted their rightful place in the law. Maintenance should reflect the principle of ability to pay and demonstrated need. There must be easier access to the superior courts and all orders must be easily enforced, especially child access terms and parental guardianship. The act must respond to false allegations.

On behalf of parents, grandparents and most of all the children, I pray that the House of Commons does not have to hear a similar plea for action on May 10, 2001 but rather, that the Canadian Alliance government will have already acted.

Canadian National Railway
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Alex Shepherd Durham, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw the attention of the House to a ceremony which took place today. The Canadian National Railway donated a vast collection of photos collected by it over the last 150 years of railway building to the Canadian Museum of Science and Technology.

From the Grand Trunk Railway to the National Transcontinental, to the Newfoundland railway system and the Canadian Northern, railways have been the building blocks that have made our country.

These pictures are available to Canadians on the web. This shows how the new technologies being learned by Canadians can help celebrate our past history and culture.

On behalf of parliament, I would like to thank the CNR for its contributions to making the stories of the building of our country available to all Canadians so that we can appreciate the struggle that has made Canada the great country it is today.

Israel
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, today is the 52nd anniversary of the establishment of the state of Israel.

Israel is not simply the Andy Warhol of the international media. Rather, it must be seen and understood as the drama and development of civilization itself, as a first nation of humankind.

In a word, the Jewish people are a prototypical aboriginal people just as the Jewish religion is a prototypical aboriginal religion and Hebrew an aboriginal language.

The Jewish people still inhabit the same land, bear the same name, worship the same God, study the same Bible and speak the same language as they did 3,500 years ago and whose abiding hope and dream is to live in peace with the other indigenous nations and peoples of the region, the Arab nations and Palestinian people.

Nature Conservancy Of Canada
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Rick Limoges Windsor—St. Clair, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to advise all hon. members that the Nature Conservancy of Canada invites them to a dedication of its latest conservation project. This project is made possible with the assistance of Shell Canada Limited and local partners in memory of the late Shaughnessy Cohen, my friend and your former colleague. This event takes place this afternoon from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the dining room of the National Press Club.

Aboriginal Affairs
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Reform

Roy H. Bailey Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, grassroots aboriginals continue to phone me and send me faxes, e-mails and letters pleading that the Government of Canada hear their concerns.

These aboriginal men and women detest being treated like beggars in their own communities by their own band councils while at the same time being ignored by the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. These desperate citizens want equal treatment under local government as other Canadians enjoy. Their neighbours in rural municipalities, towns and villages elect men and women who must practise openness and accountability and who know there are severe penalties if they contravene legislation.

All the natives ask is to be treated equally. They want bondable licensed and trained administrators to handle their financial transactions approved by the band council. They want annual budgets and an annual external audit.

Why does the government show contempt to the petitions of grassroots natives who are being denied time proven legislation and the accountability and responsibility enjoyed by other Canadians?

Multiple Sclerosis
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Paddy Torsney Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, May is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month. The MS Society of Canada has led the way for people living with MS. During the month of May, volunteers across Canada participate in fundraising and awareness campaigns to support MS research and to provide services.

This year the MS Society of Canada hopes to build on past successes and raise even more than the $19 million generously gifted by Canadians from coast to coast. These funds enabled the MS society last year to direct an additional $3 million to 13 potentially groundbreaking research projects and 36 research scholarships.

Colleagues, please join me in urging all Canadians to join these dedicated volunteers in achieving their goals. Congratulations to the MS Society of Canada; you make an incredible difference by helping the people living with MS.

Alexi Bérubé, Mp For A Day
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, today I am pleased to welcome to Parliament Hill Alexi Bérubé, MP for a day for Longueuil.

As the winner of the second “MP for a day” contest in the riding of Longueuil, Alexi Bérubé, a secondary IV student at École Jacques-Rousseau, distinguished himself out of some fifty students in the national history course who participated in the contest.

I must admit that the choice was not an easy one, because all 11 finalists, whom I had the pleasure of meeting, presented worthwhile qualities. I want to congratulate the other ten finalists for their excellent performance, as well as all the other students who took part.

During his stay in Ottawa, Alexi, who is accompanied by his teacher Jean-Paul Bohémier, will have the opportunity to familiarize himself with the parliamentary duties of MPs.

With this contest I wanted to interest young people in the world of politics, and to familiarize them with it, for they are the decision makers of tomorrow.

On behalf of all my colleagues, I welcome Alexi and wish him an enjoyable stay among us.

Canada-France Parliamentary Day
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Yvon Charbonneau Anjou—Rivière-Des-Prairies, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw to the attention of this House that today is the third Canada-France parliamentary day, organized under the auspices of the Canadian group of the Canada-France Inter-Parliamentary Association, in co-operation with the Fédération canadienne France-Canada, the Embassy of France, and the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Once again this year, the day will begin with a symposium on “Cultural diversity and the new technologies”, at which French and Canadian experts will exchange views and hold discussions with participants.

There will also be a working meeting between the Canada-France federation and our parliamentary group, and the day will close with a dinner at which the Secretary of State for the Francophonie and the Ambassador of France will speak.

As hon. members can see, France and Canada are collaborating closely to promote cultural diversity in a changing world characterized by new technologies and the globalization of trade exchanges, within the enhanced Canada-France Action Program signed in December 1998 by the prime ministers of France and of Canada.

Dr. Mary Percy Jackson
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Reform

Charlie Penson Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to Dr. Mary Percy Jackson, a rural medical pioneer. Dr. Jackson passed away last Saturday in Edmonton at the age of 95.

In 1929 Dr. Jackson was fresh out of medical school in England and was looking for adventure. She found it in the Battle River area of the Peace River country where she became the resident doctor and made her rounds on horseback.

Her patients, who were mainly Cree and recent immigrants, pitched in to buy her a horse. The working conditions were rough and isolated. Supplies and provisions were scarce. In spite of that she was successful and highly regarded because of her dedication to her patients. She used her ingenuity to overcome the isolation, transportation challenges and lack of medical equipment.

In 1990 Dr. Jackson was awarded the Order of Canada in recognition of her service.

I had the pleasure of knowing Dr. Mary Percy Jackson and of listening to her stories of practising medicine under tough conditions. I debated health care issues with her when she was almost 90 years old.

Her memorial service will be held on June 3 in Manning and Keg River, Alberta.

Pensions
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, imagine being a senior citizen having worked hard all of your life and planned for a modest retirement on fixed income with just enough money to pay for essentials and drugs with a little bit left over to treat your grandchildren. Then imagine $2,000 or even $5,000 a year being yanked from your savings because the federal government signed a treaty with Washington.

Eighty thousand Canadian retirees face that very problem. Until 1996 these pensioners were taxed on 50% of their social security. Today it is 85%.

Last week I met with CASSE, a group appealing to their Windsor MP and the finance minister to restore the 50% exclusion in effect when they planned for their retirement. Because of the sudden drop in income, seniors are being forced to move into cheaper apartments, are being ejected from nursing homes and are suffering erosion of their modest lifestyles.

I call on the finance minister today to restore the 50% exclusion or at the very least grandfather this rule so that it will no longer punish people who are already retired.

Musical Group Harm'Manik
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Ghislain Fournier Manicouagan, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like today to honour the brilliant performance by the musical group Harm'Manik, which has 70 members, students between the ages of 15 and 17 who attend the Manikoutai composite high school in Sept-Îles.

At the most recent New York Heritage Festival, held on April 28 and 29, they did so well that the jury gave them two firsts and one gold and one silver award for the scores they received.

Their excellent performance earned the Harm'Manik group an invitation to the Dallas Gold Festival in 2001, an honour in itself. Of the 3,000 musicians taking part in the New York Heritage Festival, only the Harm'Manik group was invited.

Speaking for myself and all the residents of Manicouagan, I congratulate Harm'Manik and wish them every success in their preparations for Dallas 2001.

National Press Club Book Drive
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Nancy Karetak-Lindell Nunavut, NU

Mr. Speaker, today the members of the National Press Club of Canada are launching a book drive to help provide books for the community of Cambridge Bay, Nunavut whose library burnt down in 1998.

The Cambridge Bay book drive kick-off is tonight at the National Press Club. Anyone wishing to donate books can drop them off at the press club at 150 Wellington Street until the end of May.

The recent book drive spearheaded by my colleague the hon. member for Ottawa—Vanier resulted in an astonishing 125,000 pounds of books for the Aqsarniq Middle School in Iqaluit, therefore enabling us to donate to every community in my riding in Nunavut.

I thank the National Press Club for its interest and wish it every success in its book drive and sincere thanks on behalf of my constituents for everyone's generosity. Thank you, mutna .

Youth
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to inform the House of a real success story involving Canada's youth.

The national youth at risk pilot project initiative resource collection “Open Your Mind—Open Their Lives” is the result of nine national organizations, 28 communities and hundreds of local partners in youth working together. Teen Express 2000 in Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough is one of seven profiled as extremely successful. Teen Express 2000 was established during the summer of 1998 as a co-operative venture among the Pictou County Women's Centre, New Glasgow Youth Centre, New Glasgow/Westville Police Service, YM-YWCA of Pictou County and Recreation New Glasgow.

Establishing partnerships and creating mechanisms for shared information between organizations related to youth is the goal. This is achieved by means of a four step process: building awareness, gaining commitment, implementation and sustainability.

Communities and organizations form partnerships that will provide support, leadership, expertise and the commitment needed to develop a sustainable program for youth and children. Many agencies and individuals are unaware of just how beneficial youth networking can be in their community. Teen Express 2000 is a shining example to all.