House of Commons Hansard #143 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was program.

Topics

Children of Deceased Veterans Education Assistance Act
Government Orders

10:50 a.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer Sackville—Musquodoboit Valley—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, with respect to the hon. member's request for the minister to resign, as upset as I am and as upset as people like Cliff Chadderton and many others are over the minister's stalling tactics on trying to get a change in the legislation, the member knows very well that if the minister resigned today, there would not be a new minister probably until April to get the problem solved because of the change of leadership within the Liberal party. That will delay the proceedings even longer which would delay our fight.

I commend the member for her speech with regard to the widows. I am just as upset as she is over this, but if the minister resigned today, that would delay the proceedings even longer. As upset as the member is, and rightly so, would she not think that it would be just as good for all of us, including those Liberals on the backbench who support the changes to this, to keep pushing the minister as hard as we can on behalf of the widows to get this done? Would she think that it could be a better approach to this ongoing discussion?

I agree with the member's anger about this. She is justified. The fact is there is no reason this cannot be done. There is absolutely no reason these widows cannot be looked after.

Children of Deceased Veterans Education Assistance Act
Government Orders

10:50 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Cheryl Gallant Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the other opposition parties on this side of the House. The Progressive Conservative Party of Canada, the New Democratic Party of Canada, the Bloc Quebecois, all of us have fought valiantly for these widows and for all veterans.

I find it difficult to believe that if a minister were incapacitated that it would hold up an entire bill. Just do the right thing, do the paperwork and have these widows included.

The Liberal Party of Canada says it stands for equality. There is no equality on this issue. This would be a fine time to see whether the Liberals stand for anything.

Children of Deceased Veterans Education Assistance Act
Government Orders

10:50 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Brian Fitzpatrick Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Speaker, I want to summarize this matter. If I understand the minister correctly on this point, he has said that they are in agreement on the objective. Therefore, I presume the objective is to provide justice for the widows and to overcome this problem. In question period I heard him say that the cupboards were bare and that the resources were not there.

I have many problems with that. The Governor General's budget went up dramatically in the last few years, by millions of dollars. The trip to Russia alone would pay for a lot of widows' pensions.

I think of some of the cronies that we have heard of lately, like Mr. Radwanski. I did some calculations on his budget. We could probably cover 2,000 widows just with what he has squandered away through excessive overspending. Then something like $20 million went to the former finance minister's Canada Steamship Lines. That would probably fund this program for its duration.

Could the member accept the argument that there really is not any government resources to fund the pensions?

Children of Deceased Veterans Education Assistance Act
Government Orders

10:50 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Cheryl Gallant Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for making such fine points. We need only take a look at government waste to see that the money really is there. For example, $2 billion was lost in HRDC and $1 billion went out the window for the gun registry. I think an estimated $500 million is available to keep the registry going and to get it working, but it really will not save lives. It will serve only to generate artificial work and if anything, trample on the rights of Canadians.

We also saw a waste of money in the issue involving Mr. Radwanski and lunches for the Minister of Canadian Heritage to the tune of $28,000 a year.

If we really look at the spending habits of the government, individual ministers and the mandarins, we would find enough money to take care of the women whose husbands fought so valiantly for the freedom we now enjoy.

Children of Deceased Veterans Education Assistance Act
Government Orders

10:55 a.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am here today primarily because of Bill C-50. Like many members of Parliament, I have been seized with the issue of widows' pensions.

As members know, the bill was tabled at first reading on September 18 and it would amend a number of acts. Therefore, to find some continuity to it, we have to look at the existing acts. In the current act the date at which widows become eligible for pensions is in the regulations. The bill therefore would not amend the regulations; it would amend the acts.

I want to assure members, and I would ask the member if she would agree, that the effective date of widows' pensions is a matter which is incorporated in the regulations which can be changed by order in council at any time. Therefore, it is still possible for cabinet to make the announcement of an amendment to the regulations without any further amendments to the current bill. If the member is not sure of that, she may want to at least consider asking that formally of the minister in writing.

Would she agree that if it is by regulation, this can still happen by November 11?

Children of Deceased Veterans Education Assistance Act
Government Orders

10:55 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Cheryl Gallant Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, there are many good things in Bill C-50 and we want it to pass as quickly as possible.

The member himself said that this is a matter of changing regulations and this can be done by cabinet at any time. Why has that not been done? What are we waiting for?

All veterans and widows are concerned that if the bill goes forward, the government will forget about it after November 11. These people will be forgotten again for another year. That is why we want to ensure that the issue is addressed now, not after November 7, but now.

Paul Martin Sr. Award
Statements By Members

October 24th, 2003 / 10:55 a.m.

Liberal

Tony Tirabassi Niagara Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to Ralph Griffin, a resident of the city of Thorold in my riding of Niagara Centre, who has recently been honoured with the Right Hon. Paul Martin Sr. award for his dedication and commitment as an Ontario March of Dimes volunteer.

Mr. Griffin, who first became involved with the Ontario March of Dimes in 1987, has been volunteering continuously for 16 years, lending his support to various programs, particularly the befriending program which fosters friendships by matching a physically disabled adult with a volunteer who share common interests.

Mr. Griffin also organizes annual social events and fundraising activities.

Congratulations to Ralph and thanks for his devotion to the Ontario March of Dimes.

Foreign Affairs
Statements By Members

10:55 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Cadman Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, while the Prime Minister is hobnobbing with Chinese leaders, Dr. Wang Bingzhang, whose parents live in Surrey, serves a life sentence in a Chinese prison.

For five months in detention, Dr. Wang was not told of the charges against him. He was denied legal counsel and the right to judicial review of his arrest and detention. He was denied the presumption of innocence, the right to prepare a defence, the right to a fair and timely trial and the right to cross-examine witnesses.

In July the United Nations arbitrary detention working group declared Dr. Wang's detention to be arbitrary and in violation of international law. It found no basis for charges of espionage or terrorism against him. He is being punished for advancing the cause of democracy.

Meanwhile, our Prime Minister was greeted with a 19 gun salute along Tiananmen Square, the site of China's most infamous violation of human and civil rights.

Dr. Wang's family in Canada is frustrated to tears and ashamed of the Prime Minister's glad handing ways with the regime that has jailed their son for life.

Correctional Service of Canada
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, earlier this week my wife and I attended a rather unusual event organized by the Correctional Service of Canada. It was the fourth charity auction of offender art, an opportunity for offenders serving federal sentences to use their artistic talents and give back to the community. The auction featured 61 pieces of art created by 27 offenders.

I am pleased to tell the House that over $20,000 was raised, some of it from me, and that proceeds will benefit the Illitiit Society of Nunavut, the United Way and the Prison Arts Foundation.

I wish to applaud the Correctional Service of Canada for taking this initiative, the National Art Gallery for providing an excellent venue and, most important, the men and women who contributed their art and thus participated in a novel way of giving back to their community.

Well done and I look forward to the fifth such auction next year.

Canadian Forces
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

David Pratt Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I rise in the House today to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Canadian Forces communications and electronics branch.

From its humble beginnings, the signal corps, as it used to be known, has emerged as a leader in the development and use of new technologies that have enhanced the communications and operational capability of the Canadian Forces.

Past and present members of the branch have been hard at work this year organizing an impressive array of events to mark their centennial. This August in Kingston, the branch's home station, a reunion celebration was held. The branch's Colonel-in-Chief, the Princess Royal, honoured participants with her attendance over the celebration weekend.

On behalf of the hon. member for Kingston and the Islands I wish to congratulate the centennial 2003 organizing committee and all who played a part in making the 100th anniversary celebrations such a solid success.

Canadians are very proud of the accomplishments of the C and E branch and wish them the very best for the future.

Science and Technology
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Cheryl Gallant Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, the decision by the federal government to give $15 million to a U.S. neutron research laboratory is a slap in the face to Nobel Prize winner Dr. Bertram Brockhouse.

As the only Nobel laureate who has born, educated and completed his life's work, in Canada, he was able to do this because the research facilities exited at the Chalk River laboratories. He will probably be the last.

To maintain and continue the international reputation that Canada has developed, thanks to the work of individuals such as Dr. Brockhouse in nuclear research, we must properly fund and build research facilities in Canada. Even non-nuclear countries such as Australia operate research reactors because of the enormous application to science and technology.

By relying on other countries for a modern neutron source, Canada will find itself falling behind other countries in this type of research where once we were world leaders.

A Canadian neutron facility is essential if Canada is serious about developing a knowledge based economy. Let us keep Canadian research dollars in Canada.

United Nations Day
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

John Bryden Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Aldershot, ON

Mr. Speaker, today is United Nations Day. It is a pleasure for me to tell the House how important this organization is to Canada.

We feel that multilateral cooperation is the best way to ensure long term international security.

The UN has experienced numerous difficulties in the past year. As a result, there are many questions about the organization's role and operation.

It is essential that the UN remain at the centre of the international response to the challenges the world is now facing.

Canada will continue to support it in that role.

Front d'action populaire en réaménagement urbain
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Bloc

Diane Bourgeois Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, FRAPRU, a community organization for urban renewal, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this week. This organization has led many battles for housing rights, particularly the right to social housing.

According to a recent press release by FRAPRU, the hon. member for LaSalle—Émard co-signed a Liberal report in 1990 that accused the Conservative government of having slashed housing budgets and programs.

However, the former finance minister went even further by failing to provide a single penny for new social housing in Canada eight years in a row, which, in Quebec, deprived individuals living in inadequate housing and the homeless of 40,000 social housing units.

The Bloc Quebecois will continue to support FRAPRU's demands that the future prime minister reinvest substantially in social housing, once he emerges from behind the curtains.

On behalf of all my colleagues, I want to congratulate and thank FRAPRU and its coordinator, François Saillant, for many years devoted to defending the most vulnerable members of our society.

Toronto and Region Islamic Congregation
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the 25th anniversary of the Toronto and Region Islamic Congregation, TARIC, and to congratulate it on the launch of phase 2 of its building project.

I was honoured to be invited to the recent 25th anniversary celebration.

TARIC was first registered as a non-share capital corporation in 1978 and over the last 25 years has grown into a large multipurpose organization, serving the Muslim community in the GTA. TARIC has since become a significant presence in our multicultural community.

The TARIC centre was opened in 1991 and now has a membership of over 10,000. The new building will meet an increasing demand for space and services.

I ask members in this House to join me in congratulating the chairman, Haroon Salamat, and the board of directors on this very special occasion, and to wish them much success in their new facility.

Agriculture
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Maurice Vellacott Saskatoon—Wanuskewin, SK

Mr. Speaker, inconsistent foreign restrictions on the importation of beef products have caused great harm to Canada's beef industry.

The Liberal government has been unprepared for this problem and since the worst has occurred, the government has taken minimal and inadequate remedial action.

What is needed is for the government to immediately institute internationally recognized protocols. We need to replace damaging political posturing relating to borders with sensible, agreeable rules for all concerned.

Farmers in my riding are not simply experiencing a slowdown in their business, they are going under. For many of them, this is the most disastrous time of their lives and the most distressing time for their family members. But the government has remained virtually silent.

We cannot even say that the government is missing in action because the government is really not a part of the action.

Cattlemen across the country have given up hope that the Liberal government will do anything and have had to take it upon themselves to deal with U.S. officials directly.