House of Commons Hansard #173 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was legislation.

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Business of the House

11:10 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)

It is my duty pursuant to Standing Order 81(14) to inform the House that the motion to be considered tomorrow during consideration of the business of supply is as follows:

That the government immediately introduce legislation to protect children from sexual predators including measures that raise the legal age of consent to at least sixteen, and measures that prohibit the creation or use of sexually explicit materials exploiting children or materials that appear to depict or describe children engaged in sexual activity.

The motion, standing in the name of the hon. member for Regina--Lumsden--Lake Centre, is votable. Copies of the motion are available at the Table.

The House proceeded to the consideration of Bill S-22, an act to provide for the recognition of the Canadien horse as the national horse of Canada, as reported (without amendment) from the committee.

National Horse of Canada Act
Private Members' Business

April 22nd, 2002 / 11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Murray Calder Dufferin—Peel—Wellington—Grey, ON

moved that the bill be concurred in.

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11:10 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

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11:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

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11:10 a.m.

An hon. member

On division.

(Motion agreed to)

National Horse of Canada Act
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11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Murray Calder Dufferin—Peel—Wellington—Grey, ON

moved that the bill be read the third time and passed.

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured once again to speak to Bill S-22 which would recognize the breed known as the Canadien horse as the national horse of Canada.

I hope that hon. members saw for themselves what a beautiful horse this is when we brought some horses to the Hill last Wednesday. This sturdy but gentle and intelligent breed is an animal that we can all love and be proud of. It would make a perfect symbol for all of Canada. I have spoken extensively at second reading so I will keep my remarks short today to give other members a chance to wrap the bill up today.

Why the Canadien horse? This is the only breed uniquely developed in Canada. All other breeds are imports. The breed which was developed in Canada is different than its European ancestors and has adapted to the harsh Canadian conditions. This is uniquely our horse.

It played a role throughout Canadian history since it first came from the stables of Louis XIV in the mid-1600s. Not only was it important for centuries in new France, but it helped open up other parts of Canada including the maritimes, Ontario, and western Canada. As a few hon. members discovered the hard way, the horse has developed many devoted fans in western Canada who are prepared to defend with facts the claim that the Canadien horse also has deep roots in the west.

It helped shape our history by carrying Canadian troops in battle during several wars. The Canadien horse provided genetic stock for a number of other major North American horse breeds. Its recognition therefore is a boost to the equine industry as a whole. This horse has twice almost come to extinction, with less than 400 in the 1970s surviving. National recognition would increase its popularity with the breeders, ensuring the survival of this heritage breed.

Other countries recognize national horse breeds: Mexico, Peru, Brazil, Scotland, Ireland and Denmark, just to name a few. We too should be proud of what is ours and what is uniquely Canadian.

I have been impressed by the way that this little iron horse has brought together Canadians from all parts of the country and of most political persuasions as well. I have support throughout the House for the bill. I have heard from horse breeders and horse lovers from east to west. They have been in touch with each other in this effort.

Last Wednesday I had the pleasure of sharing a carriage ride with the hon. member for Nanaimo--Cowichan. Other members also set aside partisan differences to share their enthusiasm for this horse. Last Wednesday's event on the Hill was jointly sponsored by members of parliament from the four other parties in the House. Indeed I credit many of my opposition colleagues for the bill's success so far.

In the spirit of cross party co-operation, I hope that the bill is passed tout de suite.

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Private Members' Business

11:15 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Scott Reid Lanark—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I too am speaking in support of Bill S-22, recognizing the Canadien horse as the national horse of Canada.

I will divide my brief remarks into four sections: first, Senate bills and how they ought to be treated in the House; second, the value of symbols; third, the question of whether the Canadien horse is the appropriate breed, considering the claims of rival breeds to be the national horse of Canada; and finally, some of the reasons why the Canadien horse deserves to be our national breed and to be recognized as such.

I will begin with the first question. Some have been arguing, and this was discussed in the Hill Times a few issues back, whether Senate bills ought to be debated in the House and passed through this House when we face a situation in which private members' business and private members' bills are increasingly being shut down in the House.

There is a serious problem with private members' bills originating in the House being unable to go forward for a variety of reasons. It originates with the unwillingness of the government to allow backbenchers of all parties to put forward bills on various subjects that are of importance to their constituents. Unfortunately, one of the few ways that such bills can go forward is by originating in the Senate, which does not have the same degree of control from the government. For that reason the bill should not be rejected or considered on anything other than its merits as a bill in the House. That is really all that has to be said on that subject.

Really, a bill is a bill. The founders of our country were concerned about the nature of bills that could originate in the Senate. That is why they put restrictions in our constitution. Money bills, for example, cannot originate in the Senate. We ought to be respectful of their wishes and say that when a bill is not a money bill, it is just as legitimate when it originates in the Senate as it is when it originates here. We ought to seek to correct the problem of too much restriction of private members' business by dealing with the rules of this House and the behaviour of the committees of this House rather than through any other approach.

I turn to the question of the value of symbols. Some would argue that we ought not to be worrying about whether or not we have a national horse. I disagree with this.

Members should consider the symbols that we do have. We have a national animal, the beaver. There was a time when that might have seemed silly, but that is a unifying symbol. It relates to our history. The beaver has a prominent role in our history, both in New France and then through the Hudson's Bay Company, the Northwest Company and the settlement of the west.

Similarly we have a national leaf, the maple leaf. The maple tree is not endemic to Canada, but Canadians travelling overseas who see other persons with a maple leaf on their backpack know that they are fellow Canadians and feel an immediate sense of commonality and comradery with other Canadians. I do not think any Canadian did not feel proud watching our athletes marching into the stadium at Salt Lake City, wearing the maple leaf on their jackets. That is a unifying symbol even though it is not endemic to the entire country.

Third, we have a national song. O Canada originated specifically as a song that was relative purely to Quebec. Times have changed and it is now a unifying symbol for all of Canada. All of us again felt our hearts swell when we saw the Canadian flag, the maple leaf, raised in Salt Lake City and O Canada being played.

Finally, we have a national holiday so I do not see why a national horse would necessarily not fit into that pattern very nicely. I suggest this adds to the richness of our symbols. The greater the breadth of the symbols that unify us, the greater is our national unity.

I wish to deal with the question of rival breeds, other horses that could potentially be considered national horses for Canada. There are only two other breeds that originated in Canada: the Newfoundland pony and the Sable Island pony. Both have their origins here. Of course, neither of them could be considered to be geographically widely spread, particularly the Sable Island pony, notwithstanding its widespread fame. The Sable Island pony is not a formally registered breed whereas the Canadien horse is a formally registered breed. It is the only formally registered breed that has its origin in Canada. This is a good argument in favour of considering it our national horse.

It has been suggested that the mustang should be Canada's national horse. The mustang's formal name is the American mustang, and its endemic range after it was released from its ancestors, the Spaniards in the 1500s, was primarily in Mexico and the American southwest. Canada, especially the Canadian prairies, is simply too cold for the mustang to survive outside of having human care. It would be a poor choice as Canada's national horse.

Interestingly enough the mustang is partly derived from the Canadien horse. In the 1860s many Canadien horses used by both sides in the American Civil War escaped and the gene stock of the American mustang now contains the blood of the Canadien horse among its other components.

This is true of a number of American breeds including the Morgan, the Tennessee Walker, the American Saddlebred, the Missouri Fox Trotter and the standard breed. All of them have some ancestry from the Canadien horse. That is an argument not in favour of including any of them as our national horse. However the Canadien horse has had a tremendous influence and therefore does us proud as a nation.

I would like to say a few words in praise of the Canadien horse and its merits. The Canadien horse was introduced in New France in 1665 during the reign of Louis XIV. In contrast to the many other popular breeds in Canada such as the American Saddlebred, the standard breed, the Morgan, the American quarter horse and the Appaloosa that originated in the United States, the Canadien horse originated solely within Canada. By its physiology it is a horse well suited to Canada. It is physically a strong horse. It is not a large horse, but its compact size helps it to survive in cold weather. It is resilient and strong, thus the nickname, the little iron horse.

To give a sense of the natural hardiness of this horse I would like to read from a letter that was received by my constituency office. It is from an individual who owns some Canadien horses. It states:

Besides my two Canadien horses, I also have two American quarter horses. My two quarter horses have had numerous health and lameness troubles in the past year. They are kept in the same pasture as my Canadiens, who have not had so much as a scratch or a runny nose. My two Canadiens are fat and sassy on a minimum of feed. My quarter horses require a great deal of grain to keep their weight at a decent level.

I am not a horse owner myself but I do appreciate the good nature of the Canadien horse because my parents are involved with horses. They run a therapeutic riding stable south of Ottawa, and a good natured horse is absolutely essential to therapeutic riding for persons, particularly children, suffering from either physical or mental disabilities who gain benefits from the interaction with the horse and from knowing that horse will be well-behaved, gentle and considerate toward them. The relationship they form with the horse is every bit as important as the physical therapy they get from riding the horse.

I have breeders in my own constituency. I had the great pleasure last December of riding in a carriage pulled by two beautiful Canadien horses around the town of Pakenham, the centre for the breeding of the Canadien horse.

I would like to conclude with another passage from a letter I received in my constituency office explaining why one Canadian feels we ought to honour the horse. It states:

We should honour the Canadien Horse, who has earned the right to be called Canada's National Horse. The Canadien Horse truly represents what the residents of Canada should strive to be--strong, intelligent, noble, honest, hard working, and true to its roots. The Canadien is resistant to disease and cold, and lameness is practically unheard of. After all, none of us are native to North America, but rather, we all descend from immigrants of other countries, who came here, adapted, multiplied, and produced the many great residents of our nation. What breed to better represent our history, than one who has done the same?

National Horse of Canada Act
Private Members' Business

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer Sackville—Musquodoboit Valley—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to rise on behalf of the federal New Democratic Party and thank the hon. member for Dufferin--Peel--Wellington--Grey for bringing this debate to third and final reading.

Everyone knows the joke about the horse that went to the veterinarian and the veterinarian said “Well, what is with the long face?” There would be a lot of long faces in Canada if this bill does not pass as the member has brought it forth.

I want to quickly thank all the organizers and the hon. member's staff for organizing last Thursday's Horse About on Parliament Hill. Anyone who saw those four Canadien horses would marvel at the beauty they displayed on Parliament Hill.

I also want to bring greetings on behalf of Mr. John Hart and his family from Margaree Centre in Cape Breton. They have Canadien horses and have been trying to push this issue for many years to bring it to fruition.

In conclusion I would say that the member and the House will have neigh problems from the New Democratic Party on this very important issue.

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Private Members' Business

11:25 a.m.

Liberal

John Bryden Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Aldershot, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is really an honour to be the seconder to this bill. It gives me the opportunity to draw the House's attention to a phenomenon that has occurred on this set of benches where I sit next to the member for Dufferin--Peel--Wellington--Grey. By the sheerest coincidence, three of us in this row: the member for Scarborough Centre; the member for Dufferin--Peel--Wellington--Grey; and myself, the member for Ancaster--Dundas--Flamborough--Aldershot, all at the same time have had bills before the House within two weeks that dealt with symbols of national unity, symbols of Canada.

The member for Scarborough Centre, who is of Greek descent, brought forward a bill pertaining to respect for the national flag. It was very appropriate in his case because, if we remember, Greece is the cradle of civilization and of freedoms, and I like to think of the member for Scarborough Centre as the man of culture who brought forward a bill pertaining to the symbols of Canada.

Myself, I am merely a man of words and my bill would have pertained to changing the oath of citizenship to reflect the values of the charter. My bill in fact was to be debated today and it was with great pleasure that I was able to exchange the time with the member for Dufferin--Peel--Wellington--Grey so his bill could go forward. I regret that my bill is not currently votable but his is. It now stands a very good chance of passing into law.

The bill we have before us now is a bill that pertains to making the Canadien horse the national horse of Canada, a very important national symbol. The member for Dufferin--Peel--Wellington--Grey is a farmer, so we have before us a bill dealing with national symbols from a man of the land. Here we have a man of culture, a man of the land, a man of words and today, the man of land has the floor.

Symbols are dreadfully important and Canada is deficient in them. One can only think of two important symbols. One is the beaver, which was adopted by a pioneering society which saw in the beaver the same type of industry and effort that those who came from all over the world to clear the land saw in themselves.

The second important symbol, and it has taken a long time for it to take root in Canada but is now one of the most important symbols of all, is the maple leaf. The maple leaf is the symbol of Canada not because there are maple trees everywhere in Canada. It is because of that glorious show of yellow, gold and red that we see every year which uplifts the spirit of every Canadian. Regardless of where we come from in our ethnicity or who we are, every Canadian sees the red and gold of the maple leaf and they feel that spirit in them. That is one of the things that helps them identify themselves as Canadians.

Thus we have a third symbol and that is the Canadien horse. It is so appropriate because the moment we see the Canadien horse we fall in love with it. Not only is it a tremendously beautiful animal, it also symbolizes the kind of industry and sheer niceness about being Canadian. The Canadien horse is rooted in Canadian history going right back to Louis XIV of France who sent the first contingent of horses to Canada. The Canadien horse has become an integral part of our national identity. It is extremely appropriate that we have the bill before the House. We actually have a chance of making this symbol into law. I think this is an extraordinary opportunity and I really congratulate my colleague for his success in bringing it so close.

Finally, I would like to point out that symbols are dreadfully important. We do not have enough of them in this country perhaps but national symbols are the things that declare the identify of people and in this day and age the world is becoming a much more dangerous and frightening place.

It is very important for Canadians to develop a stronger sense of their identity through their symbols, and symbols are very powerful when they do this, because we seem to be entering into an era of much doubt and distress. There is a rise of a kind of religious nationalism that will run in full collision with the kind of principles of freedom and democracy and open society that this country has come to represent. Symbols like the Canadien horse, and the Canadian flag from the member for Scarborough Centre, and I hope some day an oath that will reflect Canada's fundamental values, is the armour Canadians will need in years to come when we see the type of nationalism that poses a threat to the fundamental values that unite us as Canadians.

I will just state those values: equality of opportunity, freedom of speech, democracy, respect for the rule of law and the search for human rights for all people. This is what being Canadian is all about. This is what our symbols ultimately point to.

We have taken one giant step with the bill the member for Dufferin--Peel--Wellington--Grey has brought before the House today. The Canadien horse is an important symbol and I am extremely proud to have been a part of the debate today.

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Private Members' Business

11:30 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Gerald Keddy South Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, it is with pleasure that I rise today to speak to Bill S-22, the national horse of Canada act. Once again I would like to thank the member for Dufferin--Peel--Wellington--Grey for bringing this Senate bill into the House of Commons under his tenure and under his leadership. He has done a fine job in pursuing the bill, along with our colleagues in the Senate.

For me it is a special pleasure to speak to Bill S-22. Back in 1990, in New Ross, Nova Scotia, the town where I was born and raised and where I live today, Allan Hiltz started the rare breed program. He brought in and brought back to this agriculture museum the Cottswold sheep, the Berkshire pig and the Canadien horse.

In 1990, the three Canadien horses that were purchased from Quebec brought the total Canadien horses, not just in Nova Scotia but in the maritime provinces, to five. Three were at the Ross Farm Museum, one was at the Louisbourg National Historic Park and one was owned by Ruthanne Hart , who is the founding member of the Canadien Horse Breeders Association, Atlantic District.

There are now 3,000 Canadien horses across Canada, with 250 foals being born every year. Eleven of those horses are in the small community of New Ross, with eight of them at the Ross Farm Museum.

Canadien horses and heritage animals are definitely a part of our Canadian heritage. They take us back to the very roots of our existence. Part of the foundation stock for the Canadien horses were horses that were brought from France to LaHave in Lunenburg county in 1632 to 1635. Some of those bloodlines still run in the horses that were later taken to Quebec.

It is important to remember that most of the horses already in Nova Scotia prior to 1632 were picked up when Argall raided the French settlements in Nova Scotia and burned Port Royal. They stole the horses and took them back to New England. A lot of the original breeding stock that was in Nova Scotia was lost. It was the horses that were brought into LaHave and the horses that were later taken to the province of Quebec that established the foundation stock for the breed today.

It is not my intention to be longwinded on the bill today. All of us want to see thebill go through the House as quickly as possible. However, I have one more comment to add.

I listened with interest to the member for Lanark--Carleton. I would like to correct one part of his debate for the record. There is no such thing as a Sable Island pony. I have been on Sable Island many times and have worked out there for eight years on the offshore. There are Sable Island horses and they are direct descendents of Canadien horses. Those are horses that were picked up in 1755, 1756 and 1757 during the expulsion of the Acadians and taken to Sable Island. That is the foundation stock of the Sable Island horses, which is exactly the same foundation stock as Canadien horses.

In closing, I once again congratulate the member from the government side for bringing the bill forward. It is a great bill and a great day for all Canadians.

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Private Members' Business

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

Clifford Lincoln Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, since its arrival in the colony of New France, the Canadien horse has been acknowledged for its strength, endurance, vitality and good temperament. From the very first, it provided substantial support to the first builders, the first farmers, the first loggers of the new colony.

The Canadien horse has the longest history of any horse breed in Canada. The first ones came from the royal stables of Louis XIV in 1647. The new Canadians were quick to discover and depend on the numerous attributes of the breed.

This horse was to be used everywhere, on the farms in particular, as well as for transporting people and goods. They were also raced.

The Canadien horse made an impact across the land and was soon employed all the way from Manitoba to Nova Scotia. It was also used as a cross-breeder and indeed it gained renown also as a war mount and pack horse.

For instance, during the American civil war hundreds and thousands of Canadien horses were purchased for the purpose of war and sadly left dead on American battlefields as indeed on other battlefields such as those of the Boer War.

Large numbers of the Canadien horse were also purchased and shipped off to our neighbours in the south to be bred with racing trotters and pacers, and a significant number even found homes as far away as the West Indies.

Sadly, the breed almost perished as a result of its popularity as a war horse and a cross-breeder. These activities, combined with the general neglect of all horses due to the arrival of mechanized farm machinery, nearly sounded the death knell of the Canadien horse.

Thankfully the breed is now enjoying a renaissance. Through astute management on the part of breeders helped by the federal government and Quebec government and with the help of the Equine Research Centre in Guelph, the number of Canadien horses is on the rise. Today it is estimated that there are between 2,000 and 3,000 across the land.

People across Canada and the United States are now rediscovering the breed and are falling in love with the Canadien horse all over again. Making the Canadien horse a national symbol will attract to it the respect and recognition it has always deserved. Indeed, the Canadien horse, strong, calm, hardy and intelligent, is a fitting national symbol for all Canadians.

For all these reasons, I hope that all members will join in support of Bill S-22.

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Private Members' Business

11:40 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Dick Harris Prince George—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I felt that I had to speak on this Senate private member's bill just briefly. I want to point out the dictatorial way that the government has acted in relation to private members' bills coming in through members of parliament.

Apparently an attempt was made to introduce a bill such as this some time ago and was quickly--

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Private Members' Business

11:40 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)

I am sorry, the hon. member is way off the subject that we are debating this morning. I will give him the floor again if he will please come back to the subject of the Canadien horse.

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11:40 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Dick Harris Prince George—Bulkley Valley, BC

Certainly, Mr. Speaker, this private member's bill that came through the Senate in an attempt to represent the creation of a Canadien horse is important.

For that reason, I think our members are likely to support the bill. However, at the same time, we express our discontent with the way the government has treated private members' bills originating in the House of Commons.