House of Commons Hansard #73 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was rail.

Topics

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

As is our practice on Wednesday we will now sing O Canada, and we will be led by the hon. member for Sackville—Musquodoboit Valley—Eastern Shore.

[Editor's Note: Members sang the national anthem]

Paul Harris Fellowship Award
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Beth Phinney Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, on March 12 I attended the Paul Harris Fellowship Award dinner hosted by the Rotary Club of Hamilton. Originating in 1980 this event is held so that the Rotary Club of Hamilton Mountain can honour local citizens for their outstanding service to our community.

In this country approximately 6.5 million people volunteer yearly and contribute close to one billion hours of their time. This translates into the equivalent of 549,000 full time jobs.

This year's recipients of the rotary award are Mae Stewart, age 91, who has been volunteering for over 65 years, and Daniel Pajek, a student who has maintained a 90% average while also volunteering within the community.

I am sure all members of the House will join me in congratulating the two winners for their contributions to the Hamilton community, and the Rotary Club for recognizing the valued work of volunteers.

Cagnicourt, France
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Roy H. Bailey Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, on September 6 Cagnicourt, France will celebrate the 85th anniversary of its liberation by Canadian soldiers. The town square will be renamed to honour George McKean, a former Calgarian, who played a significant role in that battle.

The tide of World War I began to turn after the Canadians took Vimy Ridge in 1917, but the German army was determined to fight back. When the Canadians liberated Cagnicourt on September 6, 1918, Kaiser Wilhelm exclaimed, “We have lost the war”.

Seven--that is right, seven--Victoria Crosses were awarded honouring soldiers for that particular battle. Most significant was Colonel Cyrus Peck, the only member of Parliament ever to be awarded the Victoria Cross.

Canadians, led by this government, must do more to recognize this historic battle. We must not allow this significant Canadian event to slip away. Let us join the French and a band of veterans and their relatives from Canada to be with them on September 6, 2003.

Lest we forget.

Middle East
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Colleen Beaumier Brampton West—Mississauga, ON

Mr. Speaker, on Sunday a 23-year-old American volunteer in Palestine, Rachel Corrie, was killed by an Israeli army bulldozer while trying to stop a house demolition in the refugee camp of Rafah.

Rachel was an activist who spoke out about the Palestinian struggle. In an e-mail to her parents, she described the prevalence of gun towers and tanks, the destruction of homes and the shattering of lives. She described children touched by war and a people under constant occupation.

Rachel died because the international community and its institutions failed to protect Palestinian refugees from Israeli aggression. Although tragic, this incident is consistent with Israel's illegal conduct in the occupied Palestinian territories. On the same day that Rachel died, 10 Palestinian civilians were killed, including five children.

Canada must speak out. While American and British soldiers are ready to invade Iraq, the world continues to ignore human rights violations in Palestine.

Farm Safety
Statements By Members

March 19th, 2003 / 2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Rose-Marie Ur Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, ON

Mr. Speaker, farming is a livelihood for over 200,000 Canadian farm families from coast to coast to coast. Too often, however, it is also a way of injury and death.

It is estimated that every year in Canada there are 130 farm related deaths, 1,200 people are hospitalized from farm related injuries and 50,000 people sustain farm related injuries requiring them to either seek medical attention or to take a day away from normal work activities. Of all agriculture related injuries, 65% of fatal injuries and 50% of injuries requiring hospitalization are related to the use of agricultural machinery. The very young and the elderly are at the greatest risk on the farm.

March 12 to 19 is National Farm Safety Week. The theme this year is “Farm Safety and Street Smarts”.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the Canadian Federation of Agriculture are urging farmers and their families to think about how they can protect themselves from the possible hazards of living and working on a farm.

I too would like to take this opportunity to urge all my constituents in Lambton--Kent--Middlesex and all farm families throughout Canada to continue to participate in safe farming.

Diabetes Hope Foundation
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Gurbax Malhi Bramalea—Gore—Malton—Springdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is a great pleasure for me today to have the opportunity to congratulate the Diabetes Hope Foundation in my riding of Bramalea--Gore--Malton--Springdale that recently received a donation of $1,500 from the BMO Financial Group.

The Diabetes Hope Foundation provides assistance to children living with diabetes. The donations received by this grassroots non-profit organization support young Canadians by maintaining a scholarship program, a medical assistance program, and Camp Huronda where children can experience summer fun, including sports and social activities. This foundation hosts many fundraising activities annually that support and benefit children who live with diabetes.

I would like to recognize the ongoing efforts of the dedicated volunteers and supporters of the Diabetes Hope Foundation. I encourage all Canadians to support this organization.

Firearms Registry
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Garry Breitkreuz Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, on Monday the President of the Treasury Board admitted publicly that she did not even know the total cost of the gun registry to date. In spite of the fact that Parliament has never been told how much the gun registry has actually cost taxpayers over the last eight years, the government is demanding another $172 million in funding.

Yesterday, six brave Liberals wrote a letter to their colleagues saying:

--we believe that the Minister's asking us to vote more money is unconscionable and hostile to the principles of parliamentary government and the interests of Canadian taxpayers.

This is an absolute disgrace. If the President of the Treasury Board does not have the courage to do her job and say no to this billion dollar boondoggle, Parliament must.

The Prime Minister is threatening to call an election if he does not get his way. The Prime Minister's continuous acts of terrorism against democracy must stop.

Holiday

Purim
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Jewish people all over the world just concluded the celebration of the Purim Holiday, whose centrepiece is care for family, neighbours, friends and the less fortunate, a concern symbolized by the delivery of food baskets on this holiday.

I would like to express my appreciation to B'nai Brith, the Chabad community and the Ottawa Jewish community for hosting yesterday's Purim celebration on Parliament Hill and presenting food baskets to representatives of each of the parties. Purim is also an omnipresent reminder of anti-semitism as the oldest and most enduring racial hatred, and of the standing threat in its wake to the survival and security of the Jewish people. It is also a reminder, in the universalist sense, of the victory of the oppressed over the oppressor, of the importance of the steadfast commitment to principle, of the courage to confront evil, to resist and to prevail.

Intellectual Disability
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, from March 16 to 22, the Quebec Association for Community Living is sponsoring the Quebec Intellectual Disability Week. The theme this year is “Believe... and grow together!”

In Quebec, approximately 224,000 people are living with an intellectual disability. Today, our society has evolved, and we do not look at these citizens the same way we did 50 years ago.

Respect for their dignity and the efforts made to promote their integration allow us to benefit from their important contributions in many areas.

I want to point out the essential contribution of those around them who provide support. This support helps improve their quality of life.

The Bloc Quebecois thanks you for your important contribution to Quebec society and wishes every one of you a great Quebec Intellectual Disability Week.

Americana
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, Americana, the Pan-American Environmental Technology Trade Show and Conference, is being held today through Friday in Montreal. This event has become one of the premier environmental technology events for the Americas and the world and we are pleased that Réseau Environnement has been able to organize such a valuable event.

Americana 2003 is welcoming over 10,000 participants from 50 countries in the Americas, Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.

The Government of Canada is proud of once again being a leading partner in this event, through the Climate Change Action Fund.

Americana 2003, with the theme “Solutions for a Healthy World”, provides Canadian environmental industries with a forum to display and promote their technological solutions to climate change.

I wish all Americana 2003 participants a great conference.

Organized Crime
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gurmant Grewal Surrey Central, BC

Mr. Speaker, the epidemic of marijuana grow ops in B.C. is a very serious concern. These are not mom and pop operations. They are controlled by organized crime.

This $6 billion industry diversifies into the cocaine and illegal gun trade and results in the gang violence that plagues our streets. One in eight murders is connected to marijuana grow ops.

Lax sentences and open ads result in criminals flocking to the region. Surrey has over 4,500 grow ops, 6% of the households. Kids in schools sell and smoke pot.

In neighbouring Washington state first time offenders receive a minimum three month sentence. In Surrey, even after seven convictions, they still have not seen the inside of a jail and the doors of the courts continue to revolve.

The solicitor general could not have seen and smelled marijuana from his Surrey helicopter tour.

When will this weak Liberal government enact laws with teeth and allocate adequate resources and lay stiffer penalties for those involved with marijuana grow ops?

La Semaine de la Francophonie
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Gérard Binet Frontenac—Mégantic, QC

Mr. Speaker, March 9 to 23 is La Semaine de la Francophonie organized by the Association canadienne d'éducation de langue française.

This event is designed to meet the specific needs of the francophone education community. It is part of Les Rendez-vous de la Francophonie, which are designed to bring together all Canadians.

The theme this year is “Des racines en partage”. This theme refers to history and solidarity, as well as the importance of sharing the French culture and language and passing it on from one generation to the next.

In their schools, young Canadians will have an opportunity to learn more about la Francophonie. This knowledge will in turn help them develop a sense of belonging; they will be proud of their roots. These feelings will remain with them throughout their lives.

Through initiatives like La Semaine de la Francophonie, francophones and francophiles preserve and ensure the future of their language and culture. I strongly urge Canadian schools to participate in these celebrations.

Iraq
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Bev Desjarlais Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, the government's position on Bush's war in Iraq is typical Liberal doublespeak. On one hand the Prime Minister has been saying that Canada will not participate. On the other hand the Liberal government has authorized over 100 Canadian troops serving in exchange programs with British and American units in the Middle East to participate in combat, if and when those units invade Iraq.

The Liberals seem to be the only people on the planet who think that authorizing troops to participate in combat means we are not participating. Canadians from coast to coast to coast have told the government that they do not support this U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. Rather that listen to and respect the views of Canadians, the Liberals are saying one thing and doing the opposite. The majority of Canadians do not want our soldiers involved in this conflict. The honourable thing to do now is for the government to live up to its promise not to participate and call our exchange forces home.

Finally, I invite all members of the House, the people of Canada and people throughout the world to pray for all the men, women and children who most surely will be injured or killed as a result of this unnecessary war. Let us pray for peace and understanding. At this point that is their only hope.

Jean-François Bisaillon
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, last Saturday, we mourned the passing of Jean-François Bisaillon, a man who had spent several months working in my office on the Hill, when I was chief whip for the Bloc Quebecois. Not yet thirty, he was tragically cut down in the prime of life and leaves behind his wife, three young children, his parents and two brothers.

At the time of his death, in a terrible car accident, Jean-François Bisaillon was working for my hon. colleague for Marguerite-d'Youville, François Beaulne. Passionate about politics and eager to serve his fellow citizens, Jean-François had decided to get involved in the executive board of the Association du Bloc québécois de Verchères—Les-Patriotes as a youth representative, before briefly dabbling in municipal politics in Ste-Julie during the 2000 elections.

We will cherish the memory of a discreet, almost self-effacing man, who was so very talented, friendly, dedicated and ready to help. He was a computer whiz, a very proud Quebecker, and everyone's friend. His easygoing smile and great personality will be sorely missed.

My hon. colleagues in the Bloc Quebecois join me in offering our sincerest condolences to his family.

Human Rights
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Mac Harb Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am dismayed by comments from a member of the official opposition concerning the impending war in Iraq. During this period of intense emotion, it saddened me that a Canadian Alliance member resorted to a blanket statement that mocked the pain and suffering of other people.

Yesterday the member for Calgary Southeast stated on national television that the ethnic cleansing that took place in the former Yugoslav republic was modest compared to the atrocities committed by Saddam Hussein.

The horrors committed by any government against their own people in no way gives anyone the right to mock the human suffering of others, be it in the former republic of Yugoslavia or elsewhere. The hon. member's comments go beyond respectable political debate. They are reprehensible, unfortunate and shameful.