House of Commons Hansard #210 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was public.

Topics

Millennium Scholarships
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, as one of the ways the government has demonstrated its commitment to education in Canada, we introduced the millennium scholarship program three years ago. The program is intended to assist deserving students with access to post-secondary education.

In my riding of Halifax West two such deserving students have been awarded millennium scholarships this year. Nitya Das of Charles P. Allen High School and Caitlin Pierlot of Sir John A. Macdonald High School exemplify the sorts of students this important program is designed to assist.

I wish to congratulate Nitya and Caitlin for their accomplishments to date and wish them the best of luck in all their future endeavours. They are our future and it looks pretty bright. I say well done.

Liberal Party of Canada
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Duncan Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, I want to advise all hon. members that the species at risk legislation is not as comprehensive as we first thought. For example, there is no mention whatsoever of protection of one of the most endangered species of all and that is honest Liberals.

As their numbers dwindle by the day, who will step forward to provide protection for those poor and rare reminders of a cleaner environment? What about that other species at risk, the ambitious former finance minister and leadership candidate? Are there no protective barriers behind which this species can hide from the heavy boots of its natural enemies? Maybe I should say the singular enemy.

Goodness knows there is that other species which requires protection as well. Who will step forward to propose amendments to protect the lame duck Liberal leader?

Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

John O'Reilly Haliburton—Victoria—Brock, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today on behalf of the Minister of National Defence to acknowledge the 60th anniversary of the Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service, more commonly known as Wrens.

The Wrens were established on July 31, 1942, to release Canadian sailors from shore duty. From across Canada, women volunteered to serve their country by performing non-traditional jobs ranging from maintaining anti-submarine equipment and aircraft to cryptology communications and signalling. These women performed crucial roles in support of Canada's war efforts as full and equal partners. The Wrens were trailblazers for women in Canada and the Canadian forces. By 1955 women were fully integrated into the regular force component of the Royal Canadian Navy and they continue to serve in the defence of Canada to this day.

I would ask all members to join the Minister of National Defence and myself in offering our thanks and congratulations on this the 60th anniversary of the Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service.

Employment Equity
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, last week, a report was tabled in this House, entitled “Promoting Equality in the Federal Jurisdiction: A Review of the Employment Equity Act”.

In this report, the committee members express regrets that the Treasury Board and the Public Service Commission of Canada have ended the employment equity positive measures program and closed down the enabling resource centre, right in the midst of the review of the employment equity legislation.

Given that the representation of disabled employees has dropped in 19 of the 40 federal departments, the committee has recommended that the government reverse its decision and restore these programs.

While the Liberal government has been handing out goodies to its cronies to the tune of tens of millions of dollars, in connection with its propaganda campaign, we can only hope it will not be so cynical as to refuse to assist the disabled in integrating or reintegrating the work force. It is a matter of social justice, equity and respect.

Official Languages
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Andy Scott Fredericton, NB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to highlight the announcement regarding the new official languages legislation that was adopted by New Brunswick.

The new legislation is based on the original act that was introduced by former Premier Louis Robichaud, after New Brunswick became the only officially bilingual province in Canada, in 1969.

I am most pleased with this initiative from New Brunswick's legislature, which was supported by all of the parties, and I am confident that this new official languages act will help ensure that the linguistic rights and privileges accorded all New Brunswickers by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms are respected.

Government Contracts
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Philip Mayfield Cariboo—Chilcotin, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals are gushing with gratitude for the looming summer recess. In summers past their eagerness to depart was due to their natural inclination to do as little as possible and still pretend to represent the interests of Canadians.

Today the situation is different. Their eagerness to depart is fueled by embarrassment and shame and by a desire to run for cover. While the Liberals are on vacation the official opposition will continue to do its work of exposing the government's list of scandals and corrupt practices, a long list that is still growing day by day. Not all members will be holidaying at the cottage or by the pool.

The public accounts committee will continue to meet throughout the summer. We have the serious work of holding hearings into the Groupaction scandal to find out if there was political interference in the awarding of these bogus contracts. We will be questioning public servants in charge of these files that “broke every rule in the book” according to the auditor general.

As the Liberals watch the lobsters boiling in the pot or barbecue steaks this summer, we hope they will ponder the heat that awaits them when they return to the House this fall. Canadians deserve better, much better.

National Heritage Fair
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Robert Bertrand Pontiac—Gatineau—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, from May 8 to 12, Heritage Fairs were held in every province in Canada. In the Outaouais, more than 250 students took part by presenting projects on history, heritage and culture.

Two students in the Outaouais distinguished themselves: Lauriane Dubois and Mathieu Falardeau. In the Pontiac, Kylie Beck won an award.

These students will be accompanied by teacher Julie Coutier, who will chaperone them during their trip to the National Heritage Fair, which will take place from July 8 to 15, in Saint John's, Newfoundland.

Danielle Lessard will lead the Quebec delegation. Ms. Lessard, who is an administrative assistant in the Private Members' Business Office, was the winner of the Honorius Provost silver medal for volunteer of the year, 2002. This award was given by the Quebec historical societies. She received the honour on Saturday, June 15, at the annual conference in Sherbrooke.

Congratulations and bon voyage on your trip to Newfoundland.

Windsor, Ontario
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, the city of Windsor is the busiest and most vital crossing point between Canada and the United States.

The three crossings in Windsor play a significant role in business, social and political interactions for our nations. Sadly the residents of the area have been taken for granted.

Although the Minister of Transport did indicate that the government needs to move faster on a binational study to address border congestion, I am concerned that the government will not follow through with any real action on his words.

Compounding my concern is the lack of public consultation and the behind closed door meetings that have occurred, and may continue to happen.

I understand the Deputy Prime Minister has established a handpicked task force to report back to him by the end of July. Without being provided any information on the membership, mandate, terms of reference and specifics on the task force, I can only hope the process is open, inclusive and involves the public and city of Windsor residents who will pay the ultimate price for any recommendations from the panel. He should also act on the city's request for $1.2 million for immediate operational improvements to show good faith.

Acadian People
Statements By Members

June 20th, 2002 / 2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, certain individuals seem incapable of expressing the slightest opinion without covering everyone around them in insults. But as we know, insults are the weapon of the weak.

This is true of the member for Beauséjour—Petitcodiac. After accusing me of opportunism in connection with the motion to have the crown apologize for deporting the Acadians, he called me a hypocrite and a cynic when I brought the subject up again in April.

And he is still at it, now referring to all the members of the National Assembly—PQ, Liberal and ADQ—as hypocrites because they have passed a unanimous motion to support the Société nationale de l'Acadie in its effort to get the crown to officially recognize the facts surrounding the deportation.

This man, the very one who questioned the professional integrity of the auditor general, to the point where he was publicly chastized by the current government House leader, can let down his people without even blinking in the hope of one day being able to ride around comfortably in a ministerial limousine. So be it. But he can stop his unseemly attacks on all those who are showing their support for Acadians.

Old Age Security
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Albina Guarnieri Mississauga East, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the fifth actuarial report on old age security was tabled in the House. We learned that our old age security payments will increase from $25 billion to $93 billion annually in just 25 years.

These payments to nearly eight million retired Canadians will be made from general tax revenue. The cost of OAS will grow almost 40% faster than total employment earnings.

Having conquered the challenge of the deficit, it is time that we begin setting aside part of our current surplus to pay for future retirement costs and prevent destructive tax increases or cuts in our seniors' benefits.

Canadians who have paid a lifetime of taxes deserve and expect that their old age security will be secured by government foresight.

Fisheries
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Loyola Hearn St. John's West, NL

Mr. Speaker, the next NAFO meetings will be held in September in Spain. The Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans tabled a unanimous report recommending that Canada withdraw from NAFO and take custodial management over the nose and tail of the Grand Banks and the Flemish Cap.

The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans rejected the report without even reading it.

What kind of message will this send to the countries who pillage our resources? Come on folks, it is open season on the Grand Banks.

The minister also said that Russia would take action against the Olga which was caught overfishing in the NAFO zone. It said that the boat would not be allowed to fish in the zone for a year. Well the Olga is out fishing there today.

Maybe the minister should get a new job, buy a dory and head for the Grand Banks.

Philippine Independence Day
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Sophia Leung Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, this past Saturday the Filipino Canadian community of Greater Vancouver celebrated Philippine Independence Day. This year marks the 104th anniversary of Philippine independence.

The Philippines was the first independent republic to be declared in Asia. Over 5,000 people attended the two day celebration held at the Plaza of Nations in Vancouver.

I congratulate the president and board of directors of the Philippine Day Confederation and all its volunteers for their hard work in organizing the celebrations. I salute them for their cultural contributions to our community.

I invite all members to join me in wishing them happy Philippine Independence Day.

Oral Question Period
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Ken Epp Elk Island, AB

Mr. Speaker, as question period co-ordinator for the official opposition it is my job to help our team put together thoughtful, probing questions each day to hold the government accountable on behalf of the voters and taxpayers.

However, I am very frustrated. We ask pointed questions which demand an honest answer and all we get back is deflect, deny, dodge and distract. We ask a question of the Prime Minister or a minister for which they alone know the answer and someone else stands up in their place to deflect and deny. We just cannot squeeze answers out of this government whose only goal seems to be to cover up its misdeeds.

This has gone so far that only an independent public inquiry will put the question to rest. The fact that they refuse this inquiry is in my opinion further tacit admission of guilt. If they have nothing to hide, they would welcome the exoneration of the inquiry. I believe it is because they have much to hide that they do not want the truth to come out.

World Refugee Day
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Jocelyne Girard-Bujold Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, in 2000, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution making June 20 of every year World Refugee Day.

With the new immigration act coming into force next week, the government has decided not to create a refugee appeal division. The representative in Canada of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees has long been critical of the absence of such an appeal mechanism.

The negotiations under way for a safe third country agreement with the United States, which might allow Canada to avoid its obligations to many refugees, is of very great concern. These facts require us to be vigilant and to question the present actions of the government.

The Bloc Quebecois wishes to point out that refugees make a significant contribution to our societies and that the need for security does not excuse the adoption of measures which call into question the fundamental principles of protecting refugees.

Ethics Commissioner
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, this session is rapidly coming to a close. It is a session that has been marked by one consistent theme. The Prime Minister and cabinet refuse to be straightforward about their actions or the lack of them. When we demand details we get dodges. When we ask for action we get anything but. I want to try one more time.

The Prime Minister has refused for nine years to keep his promise regarding an independent ethics commissioner. Will he commit today to legislation to create an independent commissioner with the power to deal with the kinds of abuses we have seen perpetrated by the government?