House of Commons Hansard #67 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Transportation
Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 32(2) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, two copies of a document entitled “Straight Ahead: A Vision for Transportation in Canada”.

Transportation Amendment Act
Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of Transport

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-26, an act to amend the Canada Transportation Act and the Railway Safety Act, to enact the VIA Rail Canada Act and to make consequential amendments to other acts.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Libby Davies Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to present a petition from thousands of people who live in the Ottawa and Montreal areas who are concerned about the desperate situation of Algerian refugees.

The petitioners call upon Parliament to immediately end the deportation of non-status Algerians, to re-establish the moratorium on deportations to Algeria, and to regularize the status of all non-status Algerians.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

Janko Peric Cambridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36 I have the privilege to present to the House a petition from hundreds of concerned citizens from my riding of Cambridge. In Canada, one out of four children dies before birth from induced abortion. More than half of all Canadians agree that human life should be protected prior to birth and yet there is still no law protecting unborn children.

The petitioners pray and request that the Parliament of Canada enact legislation that would provide legal recognition and protection of children from fertilization to birth.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Reed Elley Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36 I would like to present two petitions from constituents in my riding in the greater Nanaimo area.

The first petition deals with the employment insurance program. The petitioners state that over $35 billion in unpaid insurance benefits have been taken out of the program by the federal government since it started the EI program and that in 1999 the EI program paid more money to the Department of Finance than it did to people who were unemployed.

The petitioners ask that Parliament enact legislation that would modernize the employment insurance program according to the plan proposed by the Canadian Labour Congress.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Reed Elley Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, the second petition deals with child pornography. It is signed by 43 petitioners asking that the House adequately address the problem of child pornography in Canada so that it would in no way, shape or form be legal at all.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition signed by a number of Canadians, including in my own riding of Mississauga South, regarding stem cells.

The petitioners would like to bring to the attention of the House that Canadians do support ethical stem cell research, which has already shown encouraging potential to provide cures and therapies for the illnesses and diseases of Canadians. They point out that non-embryonic stem cells, also known as adult stem cells, have shown significant research progress without the immune rejection or ethical problems associated with embryonic stem cells.

The petitioners call upon Parliament to focus its legislative support on adult stem cell research to find those cures and therapies for Canadians.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Peter Goldring Edmonton Centre-East, AB

Mr. Speaker, I wish to present a petition put forth by many concerned Canadians. These petitioners ask the Prime Minister and the Minister of Justice to stop the exploitation of our children in child pornography. They demand that Parliament take all necessary steps to ensure that all materials that promote or glorify pedophilia with children be outlawed.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Bob Speller Haldimand—Norfolk—Brant, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise under Standing Order 36 to present two petitions.

The first deals with Bill C-250. The petitioners call upon Parliament to protect the rights of Canadians to be free and share their religious beliefs without fear of prosecution.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Bob Speller Haldimand—Norfolk—Brant, ON

Mr. Speaker, the second petition deals with child pornography. The petitioners call upon Parliament to protect our children by taking all the necessary steps that are available to ensure that all materials which promote or glorify pedophilia are outlawed.

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Halifax West
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

The House resumed from February 19 consideration of the motion that this House approves in general the budgetary policy of the government; of the amendment; and of the amendment to the amendment.

The Budget
Government Orders

February 25th, 2003 / 10:10 a.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore
Ontario

Liberal

Jean Augustine Secretary of State (Multiculturalism) (Status of Women)

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Yukon.

As Secretary of State for Multiculturalism and the Status of Women, I would like to comment on the 2003 federal budget regarding its relevance for the realization of the objectives of the multiculturalism policy and how it will help to advance the status of women in Canada today and in the future.

A budget is more than a simple accounting of finances. It is the expression of a nation's values and priorities. It is a tool to protect and help build the kind of society Canadians value. It also recognizes that a secure society is the foundation for a strong economy.

Recognizing the critical link between social and economic policy, the 2003 budget contributes to building the Canada we want by emphasizing investments in individual Canadians, their families and communities.

This approach to building a better Canada by linking social and economic priorities was heralded in the 2002 Speech from the Throne when the government reaffirmed its commitment to helping children and families out of poverty, to building competitive cities and healthy communities, and attracting and retaining talent and investment from other parts of the world.

We feel that these priorities are of great importance to all Canadians and that the 2003 budget reflects the engagement of the Canadian government to their realization.

The federal budget presented by the Minister of Finance on February 19, 2003, features several elements which are of particular relevance for multiculturalism. These include: foreign credentials recognition, facilitating the economic integration of newcomers to Canada, the promotion of healthy communities and cities, and the celebration of all cultures and values. Of particular importance to women are initiatives in the areas of health care, poverty and affordable housing, making our communities more livable, support to aboriginal communities, and increases in international aid.

The first element concerns the financial support in the 2003 budget for expanding the skills of our labour force and helping all Canadians who want to work, including new Canadians, to apply their talents and initiatives to productive enterprise.

The government will invest considerable sums over the next few years to help new Canadians integrate quickly into our economy by providing more funding to second language skills, supporting faster recognition of foreign credentials and through pilot projects to attract skilled immigrants to smaller communities across the country.

Helping new Canadians integrate quickly into our economy, including the faster recognition of foreign credentials, directly affects immigrant women. At present, regardless of their educational qualifications, women wanting to enter Canada tend to be allowed in through temporary foreign worker programs that place them in low skilled, precarious employment situations--factors that increase their vulnerability to violence. Better recognition of skills earned abroad will provide immigrant women with the conditions they need for economic autonomy, access to opportunity, and a better quality of life.

The Department of Canadian Heritage, through the multiculturalism program, has worked in collaboration with Citizenship and Immigration Canada and Human Resources Development Canada on the issue of recognition of foreign credentials. I am very pleased to see what our collective efforts have achieved and will continue to achieve.

In this regard, the government will continue to work with its partners to break down the barriers to the recognition of foreign credentials and will fast track skilled workers entering Canada. It will also position Canada as a destination of choice for talented foreign students and skilled workers by more aggressively selecting and recruiting through universities and in key embassies abroad.

The second element that I wish to highlight concerns the investments the Government of Canada has announced for Canadian families and their communities. The Minister of Finance said:

Canada is a very prosperous country. But not all Canadians share in that prosperity. We may have tackled the fiscal deficit but we have not yet adequately addressed our social challenges.

Some of these challenges may have a greater impact on women, ethnoracial and ethnocultural communities, and on newer Canadians. Stronger, healthier communities reflect the government's commitment to social justice and contribute to enhanced social cohesion, both of which are cornerstones of the Canadian multiculturalism policy.

The 2003 budget will contribute to both improving quality of life for all Canadians, and easing the burden on some communities and families who may be facing particular challenges.

For example, the report on The Future of Health Care in Canada has stressed the importance of considering and involving ethnic communities and new Canadians in identifying needs and designing programs to meet those needs. By focusing and improving access to health care for all Canadians, the government is improving our capacity to work in partnership with communities across Canada to ensure that institutions and government services are responsive to the needs of ethnoracial and ethnocultural communities and newcomers to Canada.

High quality health care is a key priority for women who must often assume the caregiver role. This budget provides funding for primary care, home care, catastrophic drug coverage, and also invests in promoting the health of all Canadians, including diagnostic and medical equipment, health information technology and research hospitals.

I believe that funding directed at strengthening the quality of life in Canada's large urban centres can contribute directly to improving the outcomes for women as well as ethnoracial, ethnocultural and immigrant communities that represent a significant share of a city's population. In the budget, the government is making significant investments to address homelessness and increase affordable housing in Canada. Funds to enhance existing affordable housing agreements with the provinces and territories, and to extend the government's housing renovation program speak to this opportunity to improve quality of life in these cities.

The budget also demonstrates a commitment to families by increasing the national child benefit supplement which works to support low and modest income families, including sole support women-led families, in raising children. A new child disability benefit will provide significant additional assistance to low and modest income families raising a child with a disability. Initiatives in the budget also provide funding for child care and early learning.

We have expanded the employment insurance program to allow for compassionate family care benefits for those who must look after gravely ill and dying family members such as a child, parent or spouse. Again, this responsibility often falls on the shoulders of women.

The budget continues to offer support to aboriginal communities in Canada by investing in health and water quality issues, and in the first nations policing program, which will have positive benefits for aboriginal women who are victims of violence.

Added funding for the national aboriginal achievement foundation to expand scholarships for aboriginal students will widen opportunities for aboriginal youth, including young aboriginal women who remain among our society's most vulnerable and least advantaged members.

The government's commitment to education and excellence in post-secondary education is reinforced by its investment in the Canada student loans program.

I also want to draw attention to the investments we have made in the promotion of Canadian culture and values. I think all of those speak to the commitment that we have on this side of the House to relieving a number of problems facing women and multicultural communities. The items in the budget, which speak to values, cultures and international aid, are all helping to advance the status of women and to strengthen Canadian multiculturalism.

I encourage and ask all members to support these items as presented in the budget.