House of Commons Hansard #28 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was briefing.

Topics

2 p.m.

The Speaker

As is our practice on Wednesday we will now sing O Canada, led by the hon. member for Edmonton North.

Université De Moncton
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Jeannot Castonguay Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the Université de Moncton, which this past Monday inaugurated its master of forestry program at its Edmunston, New Brunswick, campus.

This long-awaited master's program will equip local young people, as well as students from elsewhere, to work in a field that is essential for the survival of our planet. Forests are a resource that disappears if mismanaged, hence the importance of training in this field.

What is more, this program represents a feather in the cap of the francophones of New Brunswick and of francophones throughout Canada. This young French language university, a mere 38 years old, and its 15 year old faculty of forestry have every reason to be proud of this accomplishment, and I congratulate them on it.

To all those who had a hand in it, my congratulations, and to all the future graduates, my best wishes for success.

Committees Of The House
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Randy White Langley—Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, House of Commons committees are already rolling and I would like to give one person's opinion of what committees are like:

O give me some pity, I'm on a committee Which means that from morning to night We attend, and amend and contend and defend Without a conclusion in sight.

We confer and concur, we defer and demur And reiterate all of our thoughts We revise the agenda with frequent addenda And consider a load of reports.

We compose and propose, we suppose and oppose And the points of procedure are fun But though various notions are brought up as motions There's terribly little gets done.

We resolve and absolve, but we never dissolve Since it's out of the question for us What a shattering pity to end our committee Where else could we make such a fuss?

James Merritt Harrison
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Ben Serré Timiskaming—Cochrane, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise to pay tribute to a great Canadian scientist who was recently inducted into the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame. The late Dr. James Merritt Harrison was the former director of the Geological Survey of Canada.

During his 17 year tenure, this organization enjoyed one of the most successful periods of its venerable history. Indeed, during this time many government programs were developed that helped make Canada a world leader in mineral exploration and resource development. Later, as a senior officer with Natural Resources Canada, Dr. Harrison became a respected spokesman on mineral industry issues.

Dr. Harrison greatly deserves this prestigious honour and he deserves public recognition for his accomplishments in the mining industry.

Foreign Affairs
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, if human security is an organizing principle of Canadian foreign policy, then it is human insecurity which is the most serious dimension of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict today including the fear and fact of terrorism and violence, the demonizing of the other, and the harm to children caught in vortex of conflict. Each side sees itself as victim and the other as victimizer.

Accordingly what is required now is a parallel set of confidence building measures by each party for the Israelis to lift the closure, permit normalization of life and adhere to the strictures of the Oslo accord and the Sharm El Sheikh agreements; for the Palestinian authority to cease acts of incitement and violence, combat the terrorist infrastructure, and similarly adhere to the Oslo and Sharm El Sheikh agreements.

In a word, if there is one thing that both Israelis and Palestinians require today, and to which Canada can contribute, it is the restoration of a sense of human security as a prelude, if not condition, to a negotiated peace.

Shirley Buote
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Joe McGuire Egmont, PE

Mr. Speaker, I send my sincere congratulations to one of my constituents, Shirley Buote. Shirley returned to Prince Edward Island on Monday night after an excellent performance at the International Special Olympic Winter Games in Anchorage, Alaska.

On Friday, Shirley put her best foot forward and secured a bronze medal in the 200 metre snowshoe competition with a time of 1:24:67. This is a sport, I may add, that I share her enjoyment of. Shirley then joined three other Canadians to win a silver medal in the 4x100 metre relay event with a time of 1:55:11.

Shirley was the lone Islander competing for Canada at the winter games and she has made all Islanders proud. I congratulate Shirley on a job well done.

Agriculture
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Roy H. Bailey Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, today thousands of desperate farmers are demonstrating across Canada. They are praying that the public will understand that the government's recent aid announcement fails to provide even short term relief.

Canadian farmers receive a mere 7% of their income in government subsidies. Europe subsidizes its farmers by 65% and the U.S. subsidizes 34% of its grain farmers' income. Many farms in Canada are subsidized only when both husband and wife leave the farm to provide their own income.

Here are some basic questions facing Canadians. First, do we want safe food? Second, do we want an agriculture industry? Third, do we want a dependable supply of food?

Canadians and their government are in danger of losing what we now enjoy with a safe, dependable and cheap supply of food. We must address short term solutions before we can deal with any long term strategy.

Centenarians
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Eyking Sydney—Victoria, NS

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure today to congratulate two fine ladies from Millville, Cape Breton. Sister Mary MacIntosh and Annie MacAulay are turning 100 years of age this month. As young girls, they both went to a one room schoolhouse in Millville.

Sister Mary MacIntosh became a Sister of Charity and worked in various convents and hospitals. She enjoys doing counted cross stitch and always has one or two crochet projects in progress. Affectionately known as Sister Henry, she is still an active member of our community.

Annie MacAulay went on to become a teacher. She married Dan Allen MacAulay. They raised four children and have 16 grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren.

She has a beautiful property on the Mill Pond Road overlooking the Bras D'Or lakes, and as a farmer I am proud to be growing crops on her land.

Over the last century these two ladies have contributed greatly to our community. I am proud to rise today to mark this occasion.

Virtual Parliament
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphan Tremblay Lac-Saint-Jean—Saguenay, QC

Mr. Speaker, on March 7, I sent a letter to all the members of this House on the need to develop a virtual parliament. Subsequently, at the interparliamentary forum of the Americas, which was held here in Ottawa last week, we passed the following proposal:

Recognizing that co-operation among parliaments is essential and that globalization brings about issues that require debate and actions that go beyond national frontiers;

Recognizing that we must participate in an active manner in those debates and that we must increase exchange and dialogue among parliament members from other countries, from the hemisphere and the world;

Recognizing that a new formula, apart from occasional summits and gatherings, must be developed to increase the productivity of our work, in order to allow parliament members to exchange on a more regular basis;

We, parliamentarians from the Americas, will acquire the proper and available telecommunications instruments that will allow us to hold virtual assemblies or committees between parliamentarians from the Americas.

Agriculture
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Pat O'Brien London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, calls by the reform alliance members for increased income support for our farmers borders on hypocrisy.

This is the party that wants to wipe out agricultural support programs. Its policy book, passed at its convention just last year, says that the Alliance wants to force our farmers to be “self-reliant”. It states that the Alliance members “support the phased reduction and elimination of all subsidies, support programs and trade restrictions”.

This is not a new stand for that party. The policy book passed at the Reform Party's founding convention said “We advocate the removal of agricultural subsidies at home and abroad”. Later, the party told us that “The Reform Party supports a shift from a government dominated and supported agricultural industry to an industry shaped by market forces”.

Why would Canadian farmers now consider that party their new champion?

Agriculture
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Carol Skelton Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, foot and mouth disease is spreading like wildfire through Europe. The disease would devastate our livestock industries if it were imported to Canada.

Travellers returning from Europe have told us that customs officials have failed to determine if they had visited farms. Farmers have also reported that there were insufficient security inspections to ensure that potentially contaminated food was not being brought into Canada.

On March 2, Linda and Bill Plank landed at Vancouver airport directly from London and indicated that they had visited United Kingdom farms. They were not even questioned by customs officials let alone referred to food inspection officers. This was in the middle of the crisis in the United Kingdom, yet again our government was failing to fully protect the Canadian livestock industry.

It would only take one person transferring the virus on their shoes or clothing to begin a Canadian infestation. We must prevent transmission of foot and mouth disease into Canada before it happens. We must therefore ensure complete security and inspection for travellers and imports coming from all of Europe. Canada cannot afford to react after the fact.

Greece
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

John Cannis Scarborough Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to rise today to welcome, first and foremost, a good friend, and second, a parliamentarian from Greece, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs who is visiting our capital city and Canada.

Never before have the relations between Canada and Greece been better, both on the cultural side and the economic exchange side. We welcome the deputy minister to Ottawa, where he can see that the voices of 30 million people are heard right here. I welcome the deputy minister. It is good to have him here.

Agriculture
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Lorne Nystrom Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

Mr. Speaker, at noon today I was among many people at the farm demonstration in Ottawa. There were also thousands of farmers demonstrating in Regina, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Swift Current, the Toronto area and right across the country.

They are doing so because farmers are in the biggest crisis they have seen since the 1930s and many are going bankrupt and being forced to leave the land. In the prairies alone, between the fall of 1999 and the fall of 2000, 22,500 farmers left the land. It is hard to believe that so many have left the land. The reason is that our federal government has not been supporting our farmers like governments have in other parts of the world.

In Europe grain farmers get about 56 cents on the dollar from the European Community. In the United States they get about 38 cents on the dollar. In this country it is only 11 cents on the dollar.

We need more money from the federal government. Five hundred million dollars is not enough. It has to be doubled to around $1 billion in the short term, and in the long term we need a long term farm program based on the costs of production.

Minister Of Finance
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of Finance dared to call the Premier of Quebec barbaric. In doing so, he insulted all of Quebec.

A barbarian is uncivilized. The dictionary describes a barbarian as cruel, merciless, and inhuman.

Cruel, merciless and inhuman were the cuts the Minister of Finance imposed on the health and education systems.

Cruel, merciless and inhuman was the reform of employment insurance, which excluded the majority of unemployed persons, especially women and young people, from the benefits of the system.

Cruel, merciless and inhuman was the attitude of the federal Minister of Finance toward the Canadian tax system when he excluded his ships from Canadian taxes while he hacked hospital budgets to bits.

Who is barbaric? The person who defends the interests of Quebec, the dignity and pride of Quebecers, as Bernard Landry has always done, or the person who sits atop his pile of money spouting insults that spatter Quebecers with disdain, as the federal Minister of Finance has done?

Fisheries
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Steckle Huron—Bruce, ON

Mr. Speaker, last Saturday the Ottawa Citizen reported yet another threat to the commercial fisheries in the Great Lakes. It appears that a small yet vitally important crustacean is disappearing from the lakes at an alarming rate. This shrimp-like bottom feeder called the diporeia is the primary food source for numerous young fish species. At this point the creature has not been seen in Lake Erie for over three years and is on a steady decline in the other four lakes.

Scientists are unclear as to the impact that these waning numbers will have on populations such as smelt, whitefish, trout and salmon. However I strongly feel that we must act quickly. As is the case with sea lamprey scourge, it is suspected that the root problem of this situation is a biological foreign invader. I regret that control of a problem is needed because efforts to prevent the attack were not taken. We need to start tackling these issues head on or we risk disaster for the entire Ontario freshwater fishery.

I would encourage the government to strive to resolve these matters through increased R and D funding, more stringent control of ballast water exchange and by adding sea lamprey control to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans a-base funding at the $8 million level requested by the standing committee.