House of Commons Hansard #71 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

International Women's Day
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Sarmite Bulte Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, to commemorate International Women's Day, on Thursday, March 6 I hosted the fifth annual breakfast in my riding to acknowledge the accomplishments of the women of Parkdale--High Park.

The event celebrated the success of local women including: Dr. Wendy Cukier, professor at Ryerson University and president of the Coalition for Gun Control; Judy Fong Bates, High Park writer; Janis Galway, developer of equity inclusion programs, Angela Gei, producer, actor and community activist; Sonia Potichnyj and Slava Iwasykiw, owners of Lemon Meringue; and Lisa Zbitnew, president of BMG Canada.

International Women's Day is an ideal opportunity to reflect on the progress made to advance women's equality, to assess the challenges facing women in contemporary society, to consider future steps to enhance the status of women and, of course, to celebrate the gains made in these areas as well as an opportunity to honour all women in our communities.

Terrorism
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Ted White North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, for at least a decade the Liberal government has known that the MEK was raising funds in Canada to support the activities of the terrorist National Liberation Army in Iraq. Yet despite all of the evidence available to the Prime Minister and the fact that the MEK has long been branded as a terrorist organization in the United States, the MEK still does not appear on the latest Canadian list of banned organizations.

Why is it that the official opposition has to continually bring these groups to the attention of the Liberal government? Whose interests are the Liberals protecting by refusing to ban the MEK from fundraising for terrorism in Canada?

It is time that the members over there gave their heads a shake. They need to abandon their naive and dangerous multicultural endorsement of terrorist fundraisers. It is time to draw up a complete listing of all terror groups active in Canada so that we can put an end to their fundraising activities once and for all.

Peace Scarf
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Andy Scott Fredericton, NB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to advise the House that on Saturday, March 8, 2003, almost 300 people gathered at Wilmot United Church in Fredericton for the afternoon to demonstrate their commitment to peace and to bring this commitment to life by working together knitting this scarf.

Folks from the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design, the Fredericton multicultural community, CISV, OXFAM, Freedom and others spent the afternoon knitting and supporting each other during these critical and fearful times.

This scarf, which was presented to me, represents the diversity of people opposed to a war in Iraq, those who do not want to see Canada involved in a war in any way, shape or form.

I join with my friends in the belief that the act of war must be the final resort, only to be waged when there are absolutely no alternatives. We are not there.

International Trade
Statements By Members

March 17th, 2003 / 2 p.m.

Liberal

Guy St-Julien Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canada successfully passed a review by the World Trade Organization, which gave it an enviable grade for its trade policies. Canada's trade practices and policies are among the most transparent and liberal in the world.

All countries are regularly subject to a review of their trade policies. The resulting report takes stock of their policies and highlights certain shortcomings and progress achieved in terms of market openness.

The World Trade Organization, through its member countries, suggests, however, that Canada seek new trade opportunities rather than depend on its ties with the United States.

The Minister for International Trade replied that Canada is making great efforts in this regard, but that the proximity of the Americans makes the situation more complex.

Badger Flood
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Janko Peric Cambridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, in mid-February the community of Badger, Newfoundland was hit by terrible flooding, followed by freezing temperatures that left the town devastated and many homeless.

In my riding local businesses and organizations like Nemcor, Elite Vending, the Real Estate Board of Cambridge and the Newfoundland Club of Cambridge have raised money and relief to help the people of Badger.

My constituents, as well as local companies and organizations have always been there to help other regions of Canada when they have faced disasters.

I would like to congratulate the efforts of all those involved, especially the Newfoundland Club of Cambridge, for showing leadership in helping the people of Badger.

Zoran Djindjic
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rahim Jaffer Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, the world has come to know the horrors of crime and terror once more as one of democracy's shining stars was brutally assassinated.

Zoran Djindjic became Prime Minister of Serbia following the end of President Milosevic's brutal reign.

Djindjic made it possible for the United Nations to indict and capture numerous war criminals in the former Yugoslavia. He re-established diplomatic ties with the west and it was under his watch that Canada dropped sanctions. He waged war against organized crime and pledged his country's support for democracy and for human rights.

For these actions he became a target of criminals and recently lost his life.

On behalf of Canada's official opposition, I would like to thank Mr. Djindjic for his sacrifice and wish his successor, Mr. Zoran Zivkovic, our full support in continuing on with these much needed reforms.

Most of all we would like to thank the Serbian people for their perseverance and for their commitment to peace and democracy.

St. Patrick's Day
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Paddy Torsney Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to rise in the House today to wish all Canadians a very happy St. Patrick's Day. Today, all Canadians join those of us of Irish descent to celebrate in a spirit of comraderie and goodwill.

March 17 offers an opportunity to note the vital contribution that Irish Canadians have made to the history of this great country. It is no surprise that 14% of Canadians claim some Irish ancestry. During the famine of the 1840s millions of Irish left their homeland. Many travelled to Canada where they found a flourishing community of Irish people.

Some of Canada's most prominent leaders have Irish roots. Four of the first five Governors General of Canada were Irish, as were eight Fathers of Confederation, including of course D'Arcy McGee. Some of Canada's famous business leaders are Irish, including Hilary Weston and the late Timothy Eaton.

I wish all Canadians a very happy St. Patrick's Day.

Caid Mille Failte.

Iraq
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

Mr. Speaker, although the Security Council did not authorize a war, it seems that there will be a war on Iraq. However, we still do not know if Canada will take part or not.

On one hand, the Prime Minister says that Canada will not participate in any war not backed by the UN; on the other hand, he says that the existing resolution already authorizes war and that Canada will take part in an authorized war. On one hand, he says that he does not approve of war aimed at a regime change; on the other, he submits a proposal authorizing, after a deadline, a war that, everyone knows, is aimed at a regime change.

In fact, the government says what the public wants to hear but does whatever Washington asks.

The 250,000 people assembled in Montreal the day before yesterday do not know what to make of this contradictory and ambiguous behaviour. They want their elected representatives to oppose Canada's participation, period.

Put an end to ambiguity and let parliamentarians decide by allowing them to vote here, in this House.

MetroStar Gala
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Hélène Scherrer Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, last night the MetroStar awards gala once again showed Quebeckers' admiration for television artists. Sophie Lorain and Guy A. Lepage received the awards for female and male artist of the year respectively.

I would also like to note that for the first time a woman, Sophie Thibault, received the award for best news anchor.

Among the winners in other categories were: Sophie Lorain and Roy Dupuis for female and male leads in a television series, Élise Guilbault and Denis Bouchard for female and male leads in a television drama, Véronique Cloutier for variety show host, Benoît Gagnon for sports show host and Guy Mongrain for a game show.

I would also like to congratulate all the other winners and nominees. Thanks to them, the quality of our television programming is undeniable. Bravo to all.

Official Languages
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Scott Reid Lanark—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, if someone sat down and tried to design as an experiment the most exclusionary system of public service hiring and promotion imaginable, it might look something like this.

First, select some skill that most Canadians do not have and declare it essential for many jobs where it serves no work related function. Second, keep tight limits on job training in this skill. Third, demote or transfer any public servant who does not meet the arbitrary and ever-changing goals. Quite frankly, that is exactly what the government is doing with the tough new bilingualism requirements announced last week.

Under these rules 24 million Canadians would be frozen out from all top public service jobs. Which Canadians are excluded? There would be the 57% of francophones who do not speak English, the 91% of anglophones who do not speak French, over 80% of immigrants, and 95% of aboriginal Canadians.

The new rules are unworthy of a country that cares about all of its citizens, including the ones who are not bilingual.

Meteorological Service of Canada
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Alan Tonks York South—Weston, ON

Mr. Speaker, on March 13 the Government of Canada announced an investment of $75 million over five years that will allow the Meteorological Service of Canada to improve the quality of its forecasts and service to Canadians in all regions.

As a result of this investment, Canadians will benefit from more accurate and timely weather information, day-to-day forecasts, longer term forecasting, and in the prediction of extreme weather events.

To produce an accurate forecast for any given area, it is not necessary for a meteorologist to be looking out a window at the area to which the forecast applies. That is observation. It tells us what the weather conditions are at that particular moment in time. Environment Canada has over 6,000 different kinds of observing sites across the country.

Producing a forecast requires a view that extends many thousands of kilometres in order to see how various weather systems and patterns are developing. Then it takes sophisticated knowledge and equipment to predict the conditions that these systems will produce.

This new funding will enable the staff of the Meteorological Service of Canada to expand their knowledge and use more sophisticated equipment. It will also allow them to strengthen their research capability and deliver better--

Meteorological Service of Canada
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre.

Meteorological Service of Canada
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis Winnipeg North Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, last week the environment minister made a decision to cut Canada's 14 weather forecasting centres down to 5. In Winnipeg, public pressure forced him to keep a forecasting capability for now, but we will have to be vigilant to prevent closure down the road.

Over the last 10 years the Liberals have followed an erratic course opening offices and then closing them, cutting 59 weather offices, 3 forecast centres, and making massive cuts to the weather service amounting to 40% of its budget. How short-sighted.

The government's own reports show that our weather forecasting system is in such bad shape that it has put the safety and security of Canadians at risk. We know that forecasting accuracy has dropped, equipment is rusting out or obsolete, personnel are overworked, and staff morale is decreasing.

The Liberal's plan of consolidation is not a solution to any of these problems. In fact, the plan puts Canadian safety in jeopardy, and threatens our economy and the environment. There has been no cost benefit analysis done. There is no recognition that technology and remote forecasting cannot replace the accuracy of human observation and regional experience. There has been no consultation with the employees, their representatives or the public.

Iraq
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, along with millions of people around the world, Quebec has proclaimed loud and clear its opposition to a declaration of war against Iraq.

In Quebec, the demonstrations have been impressive. This solidarity shows once again that Quebec is distinct. It is a clear message to renounce war and let the negotiation process and the UN inspections play out unimpeded.

I participated in the march in Quebec City, which drew 18,000 people, and several of my colleagues did the same elsewhere: in Montreal more than 250,000 people took to the streets; in Trois-Rivières there were 3,000 people; in Alma and Rimouski 5,000 people came out; and in Gatineau 5,200 people took part.

Aware of the imminent possibility of a unilateral declaration of war, people want to send a clear message to the Prime Minister.

By all accounts, the Prime Minister does not seem very receptive, since he refused to meet with the Échec à la guerre Collective to discuss Canada's role and the importance of finding a peaceful solution to this conflict.

Acts of Bravery
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

R. John Efford Bonavista—Trinity—Conception, NL

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to congratulate John Dean of Little Heart's Ease, Newfoundland, who nearly four years after he saved the life of his friend and shipmate Levi Avery has been recognized by the Governor General of Canada for his act of bravery.

Mr. Dean and Mr. Avery were fishing from the Sandra L. Dean about 130 miles southeast of Catalina on May 29, 1999. They were setting crab pots when Mr. Avery became entangled in the rope that was tied to the pots and dragged overboard into the frigid waters of the North Atlantic. Crew member Randell Smith reacted quickly as he operated the engine controls. Mr. Dean made the decision to go into the water after his friend. The recipient showed exceptional courage in the face of this near fatality.

I would like to ask the House to join me in sending out congratulations and our thanks to this brave individual and all others like him.