House of Commons Hansard #79 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Budget Implementation Act, 2003
Government Orders

12:35 p.m.

Liberal

Brent St. Denis Algoma—Manitoulin, ON

Mr. Speaker, I appreciated the member for Halifax West's comments on this very good federal budget. I would just point out a fact of political life in Ontario and ask him to comment in the hope that things are not much different in his province.

Around the time the Prime Minister was negotiating with the premiers and territorial leaders, he tried to impress upon them the importance of accountability. If the federal government was to transfer money to the provinces, money a commitment that was almost historic in its size, he insisted on our behalf that the provinces provide, not to the federal government but to the people of Canada, some accountability so Canadians would know that every dollar of this new federal transfer was going into health care in their provinces. The Premier of Ontario at that time said that he was not sure Ontario would use all the new federal health money for health care, which of course would be a tragedy because of the need for increased investment in health care.

In the experience in his province, is there an understanding by the public of how important the federal investment is in health care, even though it is the responsibility of the provinces to deliver that health care? Does he agree with me that accountability to the public, to citizens, is a key part of the puzzle?

Budget Implementation Act, 2003
Government Orders

12:40 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague from Algoma—Manitoulin for that excellent question because it gives me a chance to talk about something I had not talked about and had forgotten about briefly, which is of course accountability.

I can assure him that in my riding and in the forums I held accountability was a priority and an item that would come up frequently in people's comments. They wanted to see this money spent well. They wanted to see new money from the federal government to the provinces for health care being spent on health care. That was a vital concern of theirs, to ensure that it not be spent on things like lawn mowers or other things which we heard about, regrettably.

They also wanted to see measures of performance in health care that were independent of provincial governments. They wanted something of a national system, something like a national council like Roy Romanow suggested, that could look at how each province was performing and give people nationally a picture of how the health care systems in their own provinces were performing. They could then assess them in comparison to other provinces and try to determine whether people were really getting value for their money.

To me that is vital. It is something we have heard constantly. People say that it is costing more and more for health care. They believe they are paying enough money for health care and they should be able to have a very good publicly paid system. However they want to know that it is being managed well.

How do we do that if we do not have some system nationally of overseeing the system, of examining it, measuring it and comparing it as well as going over things like research and trying to ensure that we are going in the right direction, in a variety of ways, in improving the management of our health care system nationally? I constantly heard about this priority in Halifax West.

I was surprised that the representative from my province in those meetings, Jane Purves the minister of health, did not feel that accountability should be a priority. I think that as a result of the meetings, we do have some accountability process but I hope we can strengthen that in the future.

Budget Implementation Act, 2003
Government Orders

12:40 p.m.

Liberal

Brent St. Denis Algoma—Manitoulin, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to share my time with the previous speaker, the member for Halifax West, as we debate the most important piece of work that a government does in the cycle of a parliamentary year, that being the federal budget.

I would like to congratulate the Minister of Finance on his first budget. I believe the broad measures in this budget will benefit everyone. The budget continues the Liberal government's record of strong fiscal management while at the same time making investments in key areas such as health care and support for Canadian families.

Budget 2003 heralds a moment of great opportunity for Canada. Where once we followed the economic performance of other nations, today Canada leads the way in growth, job creation and debt reduction. Canada led the group of seven nations, the G-7, in growth last year and we expect to do the same in 2003.

I would like to point out for the benefit of members, and some of them may have noticed this in their offices a few weeks ago, a scorecard produced each year by the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants. This scorecard covers the last fiscal year and I expect that next year's card will be even better. If I could, I will just provide members in the House a summary of the results.

We forget sometimes that when we were elected in 1993 we inherited an annual deficit at the time of $42 billion a year. Every year $42 billion was being added to the total debt of the country. Now we are in our sixth budget year that we will have a surplus.

We tend to take for granted the impact that has on the finances of the nation. It allows us to make extra investments in health care. It allows us to support economic development in our regions. It allows us to reduce EI premiums. It allows us to participate in the rebuilding of Afghanistan and now, tragically, the rebuilding that will be needed in Iraq. It gives is the flexibility not only to serve our own citizens better and provide a better future for our children and grandchildren but it also allows us to play a very positive part in the search, as difficult as it might be sometimes, for global peace.

Let me just give members the highlights of the scorecard. The debt to GDP ratio came in at 7.1. All these numbers are out of 10. The Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants says that this is the best score in more than a decade. According to their report, the year's score reflects a meaningful reduction in government debt as a percentage of GDP over the past five years. The surplus to GDP ratio came in at 8.6. Again all these numbers are out of 10. The report goes on to suggest that once again the Canadian economy staying in surplus is still the best result among the G-7 nations.

I will conclude with the fifth item here, which is foreign held debt in relation to net government debt. This came in at a perfect score of 10. Currently only 17% of our national debt is foreign held, a clear indication of strengthened fiscal position. That means the 83% of national debt is held by Canadians and Canadian pension funds. That is very important because 83% of our interest payments on national debt goes to Canadians, whereas at one time our foreign debt was, in percentage terms, very large. That percentage is dwindling and that is thanks to a very aggressive, positive and assertive debt management practice by the government.

I would like to go on by suggesting that Canada's resilient economic performance is thanks to not only the efforts of the government but the sacrifices of all Canadians. It is a testament to the federal government's responsible fiscal record since elected in 1993.

Budget 2003 recognizes the critical link between social and economic policy. This means building the society Canadians value, building the economy Canadians need and building the accountability Canadians deserve. It means making investments in the needs of individual Canadians, their families and communities; remaining fiscally prudent and deficit free, while promoting productivity, innovation, skills and learning; and making government more accountable to Canadians.

Through budget 2003, the government continues to build a society that responds to the challenges we face as a nation and capitalizes on the opportunities available to us all. The budget fosters a successful economy and continues to deliver prudent management of Canada's finances.

I will summarize the broad thrust of the budget. The previous speaker gave an excellent description of the initiatives under health care so I will not go into great detail, but I will underline that the investment of $34.8 billion over five years in support of Canada's health care system will pay significant dividends.

I concur with the member when he says that the public wants accountability. The public wants to know that this new federal investment, plus the provincial commitments to health care, will indeed be spent to improve health care and to bring us closer to improved core funding of our hospitals and move us toward a national home care system and a national system to deal with the catastrophic cost of drugs that some families have to face.

The budget also provides support for families, children, Canadians with disabilities, communities of all sizes and aboriginal communities, and it includes six weeks of EI benefits to allow for the care of a gravely ill family member.

I will say a few things about the initiatives in support of our families, such as the increase to the national child benefit supplement which the federal government, together with the provinces and territories, established in 1997. They established this benefit to help families with children get off welfare. Since that time, the government has seen a reduction in welfare dependency and child poverty.

Budget 2003 announces a significant increase in the benefits to children living in low income families through the Canada child tax benefit. This benefit provides increases to the annual supplement of $150 per child in 2003 and an additional $185 per child in each of 2005 and 2006. This will bring the maximum total child benefit for a first child to $2,642 in 2003, growing to $3,243 in 2007. In fact, assistance to families is projected to reach over $10 billion by 2007, more than double the level of 1996.

All Canadians have an interest in ensuring that all Canadians benefit from our education system, our productivity and our economic growth. We cannot allow any part of our society to be left behind, whether it is on issues of literacy or it is simply an issue of insufficient income to provide the basic necessities, which in their own way prevent some people from taking advantage of those best parts of Canadian life and what this country has to offer. We simply cannot afford to leave anybody behind.

I would go on to add that for those who have members of their family with disabilities and who are caring for children with severe disabilities it imposes a very heavy burden on families. In recognition of this, effective July 1, budget 2003 introduces a new $1,600 child disability benefit. This will be targeted to children with a severe and prolonged mental or physical impairment.

The federal government will also give Canadians with disabilities the tools they need to actively participate in Canadian society. In so doing, the federal government is renewing a funding commitment of $193 million per year to assist disabled persons in strengthening their prospects for employment.

I could go on about the very beneficial impacts that the budget will have on Canadian society but I will conclude by saying that I was very pleased with the new investment in support of our military. We all wish, I am sure, a very quick and peaceful outcome in the Middle East.

Budget Implementation Act, 2003
Government Orders

12:50 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis Winnipeg North Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to hear the member's comments about people living with disabilities and the families that support them. In that context, I would ask the member why he and other members of his caucus, along with members from the Alliance Party, chose not to support a very important proposal before the House, that being Bill C-206, the private member's bill on caregiver benefits, presented by my colleague, the member for Sackville—Musquodoboit Valley—Eastern Shore.

The member will know that Bill C-206 was a proposal to the House to deal with the fact that the burden for caregiving falls heavily on women's shoulders and requires a meaningful solution by way of using some of the $45 billion EI surplus.

Given the need that he has identified and the fact that we had a constructive proposal, why did he and so many others in the House choose to vote against that constructive proposal and instead create a situation where families continue to grapple with the need to provide care for children with disabilities, for aging parents, for sick members of their family or for people who are dying, and do so without a meaningful alternative?

I think the member needs to explain to us what was wrong with that proposal and why he and others would reject something that was so positive.

Budget Implementation Act, 2003
Government Orders

March 27th, 2003 / 12:55 p.m.

Liberal

Brent St. Denis Algoma—Manitoulin, ON

Mr. Speaker, I believe it was recently that we had the vote on Bill C-206. While lauding the initiative of the member who proposed that private member's bill, according to my understanding there were several aspects to the bill that were technically impossible to deliver given the current framework.

I would suggest to the member that Rome was not built in a day. I am sure she could find room in her heart to say that the federal government is at least moving in the right direction. In fact, a number of provisions in Bill C-206 were, as I understand it, announced in the budget and that it might have been a duplication of effort and initiative to support that bill.

That said, the member and I are of one mind when it comes to doing what we can to support those who are disabled or the people who support those who are disabled. I believe she will at least agree with me that the initiatives that have taken place under our watch since 1993 have seen remarkable improvements. However we can agree that there is always room to do better, whether it is this file or the other files that constantly face a government.

Budget Implementation Act, 2003
Government Orders

12:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Randy White Langley—Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, over the years, particularly since I have been here, 1993, we have been picking the government up on wasteful spending, things that really ought not to have occurred. I will not go into any of the detail of them. However over the years nothing has been taken out of the budget of the federal government. It is just a reallocation of dollars.

If we have identified virtually billions of dollars over the last 10 years of inappropriate spending, why has that money remained in the government's coffers? Why do we not cut back on the budget itself and remove those kinds of items?

Budget Implementation Act, 2003
Government Orders

12:55 p.m.

Liberal

Brent St. Denis Algoma—Manitoulin, ON

Mr. Speaker, I guess it is a matter of perspective. As I said in my remarks, we inherited a huge deficit so clearly we did something right in turning the finances of the country around. He did not give me any specific examples but there were some serious adjustments and cuts in the government's expenditures or we would not have achieved the elimination of the deficit and the long overdue return to surplus.

I would suggest to the member that while no one should ever believe that governments cannot make mistakes, we are not perfect nor is any government, I believe that the citizens of this country have been led by a very responsible government that has managed the resources of the country extremely well in my view and in the view of all those on this side of the House.

Budget Implementation Act, 2003
Government Orders

12:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Randy White Langley—Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, I want to talk at length about some of the difficulties with the government's budget in terms of not committing to the national drug strategy, and I will in a minute, but I want to follow up on the comment that was just made by the member across the way.

If the hon. member wants specifics, I did not bring with me the litany I have of wasteful spending by the government, but when we look at some of the research programs that it is into and some of the largesse to friends and relatives and so on, things that were just a complete waste of money, we would have thought that over the years the government would have gone through some kind of zero based budgeting procedure, whereby it would look at all these kinds of expenditures. The government would determine that if it was spent one year and was picked up on, why would it spend that next year and the year after, so it would just be removed from the budget.

That really never was done. The big cuts of the 1994-95 era were made at the expense of the provinces through the equalization formula and the Canada health transfer program as well. That money is really still in the budget. That is a shame, because it will not get out of there until we get in and make those kinds of reductions.

That being said, I want to talk about something else that is not in the budget but that I think is in fact very important to a lot of people in this country. I can recall bringing into this House about two and a half years ago a motion to establish a special committee to study the non-medical use of drugs. It was adopted unanimously. We did 18 months of study on that. We went to Europe to look at programs and we went to Washington, New York and all across the country to see what was going on. We made some recommendations to the House of Commons, and lo and behold, on these 41 recommendations one would have expected the government to acknowledge that it had a committee looking at the drug problem. It acknowledged that in the throne speech and said that it would do something, but when it came time to do something in the budget, which is really what drives the initiatives of a government, nothing was said or done. Why is that?

In the interim, at the time we were meeting on the drug issue, the justice minister happened to announce that he would decriminalize marijuana. He just blurted it out without any particular study. He just said we would do it. The committee was not through with its study or its recommendations, so I think the government had its own agenda. Meanwhile, the Minister of Health said the government was in Vancouver looking at the dreadful situation with hard narcotics, crack and heroin, and he said that he thought the government would get involved in pilot studies and start some so-called safe injection sites. I will get into how safe they are in a minute, but there we had two significant announcements blurted out by two separate ministers, basically unauthorized by government and unsubstantiated by a committee.

In fact, the committee was going in neither direction at the time they were announced. Subsequent to those announcements it turned out that our committee, which had a majority of government members, started to move toward recommendations based on safe injection sites and the decriminalization of marijuana. We knew where that direction came from.

I am at a loss as to just exactly why there is no money in the budget for some of the recommendations that we did make. It seems to me that these recommendations were not all that tough, one being “the appointment of a Canadian Drug Commissioner, statutorily mandated to monitor, investigate and audit the implementation of a renewed Canada's Drug Strategy”. To us that made infinite sense. We would put one person in charge and finally get some direction among these departments. The two worst we found were Corrections Canada, courtesy of the former solicitor general, not this one--but it does not matter, it is still there--and Health Canada. We found that the two worst departments were actually heading the drug strategy itself.

We wanted to appoint a drug commissioner to try to get these departments in line and follow some form of notable and practical prioritization of the issues. We asked why a biennial cross-Canada survey could not be undertaken. It would cost money, but not that much money in comparison to the cost of the drug issue itself.

Lo and behold, we found out that in 1997 the government, as some form of cost cutting measure, decided it would no longer survey our young people on the use of drugs in our country. Canada is the only country in the western hemisphere not to do this. We were the only committee ever in a democratic House that did not have that kind of data available to us when we sat down to discuss the drug issue itself. Why? Because the government said it did not need to know how much our kids are using and decided to just ignore it. We asked the government to put some money back in and let us survey and find out where we are at in this country. That was not done.

Let us find out, we said, and let us make a recommendation that under a renewed Canada drug strategy Health Canada be provided with “dedicated research funds” to systematically and regularly collect and retrieve various information across Canada. Notwithstanding the fact that Health Canada was doing diddly-squat on the drug issue, we asked for it to be given some money to see if this could be organized. Was it included in the budget? No, it was not.

We asked what else we could do. We could try to implement “effective Canada-wide mass media prevention and education campaigns”. That is not done in this country today. I think that Canada is the only country that does not. We said, “Let us put some money into the education of our young people and let them know how serious the drug issue is”. We made this recommendation and expected it to be in the budget. It was not there. Maybe the government did something else.

We recommended that the government recognize the need to treat individuals addicted to drugs “in a timely manner”. We suggested putting in some money for that. Was it done? No, it was not. Today this country is virtually void of any effective and consistent national strategy on detoxification of people addicted to drugs. Rehabilitation is almost non-existent for many tens of thousands of addicts, very many of them under the age of 25.

What consistency do we get in this country? What kind of programming do we have? How is it supported? The fact is, it is not supported. It is not supported by government even though it had these recommendations. The government could have said that because this is becoming a real problem--which it already is but at least we could get an acknowledgement--the government would fund something, not a big program, but fund something and see what it could get with that.

We made more recommendations. We talked about a pilot project of “the establishment of two federal correctional facilities reserved for offenders who wished to serve their sentence in a substance-free environment”. Corrections Canada is a virtual sieve for drugs. It is the worst anywhere that we could find. Quite frankly, it would take very little to clean it up. We suggested that two of the prisons in Canada be dedicated to drug and alcohol rehabilitation and detoxification. That would not take very much, quite frankly. I talked to the last solicitor general about it, who actually listened. I know that supposedly we have zero tolerance in prisons, but that is not quite the way it is. It is in the commissioner's directives, but it is not the way it is.

Let us take two facilities. There are facilities such as this. I have been in them. I have been in them in the United States, actually, where they were very effective, where zero tolerance meant zero tolerance but the people who went into these prisons went in there by application and recommendation before they were released from prison so they could get their act cleaned up before they got out. They were not sending inmates out of prison addicted to drugs. I do not think that is such a lofty goal that it could not be achieved or at least tried. It could at least be tried. It has not been and there is no indication in the budget that it will be.

I want to talk about the cost of the decriminalization of marijuana. A lot of people in this country are saying that we should decriminalize marijuana because we do not want young people to get criminal convictions for having a joint or two. That would make sense to virtually everybody, I would think. The difficulty with this concept as the government will come out with it, which scares the living daylights out of me, is that it does not quite have the concept right. It is not going to be good enough to just say “30 grams of marijuana is for personal use” and if a person uses that there will be a summary conviction, which is a fine.

Here is the problem. Thirty grams of marijuana basically rolls anywhere from 30 to 60 joints or, if they are thin, up to 70 joints. That is not personal use. If someone is hanging around with 30, 40 or 50 joints in their pockets, that is not personal use in my opinion. In fact, in Holland 30 grams was personal use and they reduced it to five grams. Five grams makes anywhere from three to seven joints.

If the government said that it would give people that, that it would decriminalize five grams, it means that if someone is caught with roughly five grams there is a fine. That seems simple enough. We would not give a criminal record to those who are caught with that, like students, the university students, the high school students and so on and so forth. That sort of makes sense.

The problem with that concept is that before this goes into place the government has to come up with some conditions. Some of this costs money. It should have been in the budget. There have to be conditions upon which one goes from five grams to a criminal conviction for marijuana.

The conditions are these. After the five grams, the legal industry out there, the judges and the lawyers, has to understand that somewhere there is a criminal offence. There has to be some kind of sentencing grid or schedule. Otherwise, decriminalization is a waste of time. As it is today, for a person caught with 50 grams, in British Columbia courtrooms the judge usually will say, “Bad guy. Don't do it again. Go home.” That is not a criminal offence. That is not how a criminal offence is treated.

The problem will be if the government does not come in with a condition that will treat five grams as decriminalized, and for over five grams, if the sentencing grid is not identified then we have the same problem all over again. It is just a different amount, that is all. This has to be taken care of. There has to be some money spent, not only for training of these judges and lawyers, if we can imagine that they need it, but a commitment on it has to be received from all the provinces.

There also has to be a schedule for the fines that are imposed. The provincial attorneys general have told me that they already have a difficult time collecting on summary convictions, speeding fines and so on, so all the federal government would do is throw more fines at the provinces for collection. They cannot collect what they already have, so how are we going to do this?

When I meet with the advocates for the legalization of marijuana from time to time they tell me that even if we fine them they will not pay the fines.They said that they would force us to take them to court and that they would hold their breath, cross their arms and wait for the judges to eventually say that they cannot deal with it so it might as well be legalized.

What have we achieved so far? We have achieved nothing, but that has to be a condition of decriminalization. We need to have a progressive fine schedule, which has to be a condition, whether it is $200, $400, $600 or whatever. The inconsistency in the courts today is a serious problem. We need to have a consequence of the payment of fines. Fine revenues should be directed to the communities where they were collected. We made that recommendation in the drug strategy itself. We also need a national advertising program on the problems with drugs, which was not in the budget. We asked for it to be in the budget. What is the point of going through all this stuff if we are not telling the young people that there is something wrong with it?

The whole process of implementing these kinds of strategies in this nation, which are very important, is being ignored on the other side. Unless there is something to back it up with money and action, it is lip service.

We asked for a national advertising program but it was not done. We need drug driving laws and roadside assessments to be in place before we decriminalize. That has not been done. These things are all left alongside because some minister blurts out what the government will do and the amount that it will do it with, with absolutely no forethought to all the other issues.

I will talk very briefly, because I will have time to talk about it a little later, about the national sex offender registry, which I, quite frankly, wrote about two and a half years ago and modeled it after Christopher's Law in Ontario. It takes money and some commitment to do that. I note that the government has tabled a bill for a national sex offender registry, which was like pulling teeth.

Basically what we asked for was put into the bill, with the exception of the last two pages. I would like to get some kind of logical commitment from the Solicitor General that the government will at least look at the two very serious problems in this, which are serious indeed. We should not use the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as an excuse not to do what is right because Ontario did not.

The first thing is the idea of retroactivity. If we implement that particular registry and do not include those sex offenders who currently are incarcerated provincially and federally, we are making a very serious mistake. The recidivism rate for those individuals is high and we know that crimes committed tomorrow will be committed by individuals who are sentenced today for sex crimes. I have a long list of them here but it is not worth going through at this point in time. I want the government to understand that that is a very serious problem.

The legislation has two other problems. The government wants to leave it to lawyers, the crown, to make the application for a person to be a sex offender, which is a big mistake. I have a litany of cases where they have made mistakes on that. The government also wants to leave it to a judge to decide, after all this, whether a person goes on to the registry. Again, judges these days are making more and more serious decisions in the negative in courtrooms than ever before. I would not leave it to judges and lawyers in the courtroom to express the will of the Canadian people, which resides here in the House of Commons.

I want to say that a budget is only as good as the issues contained within it. We spend a great deal of time and money in the House of Commons trying to implement a rational, progressive national drug strategy and it has no consequence in the budget. It is not even there in the government's budget. I would hope that the message gets across to the other side.

In closing I want to say that I just listened to Tony Blair, the Prime Minister of Great Britain, and the president talking about the war in Iraq. When I listen to Tony Blair, I am so proud and pleased to hear him being so decisive and direct and who knows where he is going. I am embarrassed, to say the least, that what we have on the other side is not even close to that. I hope one day the House of Commons has a leader who is decisive and for whom we can be proud when we send him or her to other countries of the world.

Budget Implementation Act, 2003
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1:15 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am not embarrassed about Canada or about Canadian military involvement. The member should know that Canada was there in Somalia and Kosovo. On September 11 we received 40,000 Americans and took care of them at a time of crisis in the United States. We were there for the war on terrorism against Osama bin Laden and the al-Qaeda. Some three weeks ago we committed an additional 2,000 troops to the Afghanistan war on terrorism and freed up resources for the Iraqi theatre.

Canada has a strong and deep relationship with the United States of America. Our reputation as a peacekeeper and as an international champion of human rights is unparalleled. We are a sovereign country. The member should know that Canada is a sovereign country and even the best of friends can disagree but still respect their mutual sovereignty.

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1:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Rajotte Edmonton Southwest, AB

He was talking about Great Britain and Tony Blair, Paul. Wake up.

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1:15 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

He was talking about being embarrassed about Canada. I am sorry he is embarrassed but Canada has nothing to be ashamed of. Canada has been beside our neighbour, our best friend and our largest trading party on virtually every operation that the United States has led, whether it was under the UN or otherwise. Kosovo was not under a UN umbrella, the member will remember as well. If he is going to--

Budget Implementation Act, 2003
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1:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Randy White Langley—Abbotsford, BC

Question.

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1:15 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

This is question and comments, so just cool your jets. Mr. Speaker, if he--

Budget Implementation Act, 2003
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1:15 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Order, please. If in fact we are going to be respectful of this institution and its practices, well then let us practice them. I will give the member a few more minutes to wrap up his comment or question of his choosing, but please make all your interventions on either side of the House through the Chair.

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1:20 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, we are in very delicate times. The members well know that in times of war and severe conflict that affect the globe as a whole, every nation should be speaking with one voice, and in Canada that is the Prime Minister.

We all regret that some members have said things as individuals and I think their comments are reflective on them, but the member should also acknowledge that it is not a reflection on Canada's attitude toward the United States or the coalition in Iraq, and that Canada will never wear the label that he has given to it as being an embarrassment.