House of Commons Hansard #84 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was united.

Topics

Official Languages
Oral Question Period

April 3rd, 2003 / 2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, the President of the Treasury Board promised us that March 31 was the deadline, that no delays would be accepted in applying the Official Languages Act and that all senior public officials would be required to comply.

How can the President of the Treasury Board justify that the President of Canada Post came and told the committee yesterday that of the five cases that do not comply with the act at Canada Post, two of the individuals would be retiring in the next few years—so he was not doing anything about them—and the other three individuals in question would soon be registering for French courses? Is this the President of the Treasury Board's solution?

Official Languages
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Westmount—Ville-Marie
Québec

Liberal

Lucienne Robillard President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Quebecois member should know that Canada Post, as a crown corporation, is not subject to the same employer policies as the Treasury Board. I would think that he should be aware of this, given how long he has been a member of Parliament. Canada Post is required to have its own policies to fulfill its obligations, based on the Official Languages Act.

Perth—Middlesex
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Cheryl Gallant Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, members of Parliament are elected to represent their constituents. Is the reason that the government is afraid to call a byelection in Perth—Middlesex because it knows the voters will turn the election into a plebiscite on the government's billion dollar gun registry fiasco?

Perth—Middlesex
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria Minister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I thought there was only one member across the way with a morbid fear of Brian Innes, Liberal candidate, soon to be MP for the riding of Perth—Middlesex. However it is now noted that this is a widespread affliction across the way, soon to be cured by the byelection and subsequent victory of the Liberal candidate and future MP.

Chambord Plant
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Jocelyne Girard-Bujold Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, the stakeholders in the Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean region are about to apply for federal government assistance to purchase the dairy plant in Chambord. They are seeking an endorsement from the federal government to cover part of the acquisition costs.

The Secretary of State in charge of Economic Development made a commitment in this respect at the time of the byelection in Lac-Saint-Jean—Saguenay. Does he still intend to respond positively to this request and act quickly so that the community can purchase this plant within the allotted timeframe?

Chambord Plant
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Beauce
Québec

Liberal

Claude Drouin Secretary of State (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec)

Mr. Speaker, from the outset, we told producers and processors that we would be there for them and that we were prepared to cover the costs of a study. This offer still stands. Our regional office is following this file very closely, and we will be monitoring the situation and applications by promoters. I can assure the House that Canada Economic Development will continue its work in that region, as in every other region of Quebec.

Infrastructure
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin Windsor—St. Clair, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister for International Cooperation. The evidence seems to be mounting to suggest that the border infrastructure file has changed hands from the Minister of Industry to the Minister for International Cooperation.

It has come to our attention that the minister was a participant in a so-called secret meeting in early March with a number of Windsor area councillors to discuss border infrastructure funding.

What role did the minister's office play in facilitating this secret meeting?

Infrastructure
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka
Ontario

Liberal

Andy Mitchell Secretary of State (Rural Development) (Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario)

Mr. Speaker, the investments that we intend to make in border infrastructure are critical to our trade. We are having discussions with a wide range of stakeholders to ensure that the investments we make are the rights ones done in the right way.

That is the commitment of the Minister of Industry. He continues to work on this file, with the widespread support of all members of Parliament on this side, including the member from Windsor.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Deputy Prime Minister referred specifically to several submissions which led to keeping open the Barbados tax loophole which proved so attractive to Canada Steamship Lines.

Would he table those submissions that he mentioned so specifically and would he indicate to which minister they were addressed?

Taxation
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the member will know that we are talking about events that occurred eight years ago.

Certainly if the submissions are in a form that can be made available to him, I have no hesitation in allowing him to have access to them.

Business of the House
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would love to ask the government House leader about the business for the rest of this week and next week. I would also ask him when he is going to bring in the legislation so that murderers will not be able to vote in the byelection in Perth—Middlesex that we are so looking forward to because we expect that Marian Meinen--

Business of the House
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

Order. I was afraid the hon. member for West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast might resurrect question period. This is of course the Thursday question and I know the government House leader will want to resist going off on tangents and will deal with the question of the business of the House.

Business of the House
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria Minister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the continuing fear of Liberal candidate Brian Innes is duly noted, but this afternoon the House will continue with the opposition day motion on the war in Iraq. There are discussions going on with regard to this subject which may continue today and otherwise.

As previously ordered, the House will not be sitting tomorrow.

On Monday, pursuant to what I just stated, we will return to consideration of Bill C-13, the reproductive technologies legislation, followed by report stage of Bill C-9, the environmental assessment legislation.

I am also looking forward, with the usual cooperation of all hon. members for an appropriate time and hopefully very soon, to resuming the consideration of the Senate amendments to Bill C-10, the Criminal Code amendments.

Thursday of next week, in other words a week from today, shall be an allotted day.

In the event that there are additions or other changes to this business, I shall communicate with other House leaders through the usual channels.

The House resumed consideration of the motion.

Supply
Government Orders

3:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

Mr. Speaker, I want to continue on with my comments to the government House leader that Marian Meinen, our candidate for Perth—Middlesex, will certainly enjoy the speech I am making. I know she is looking forward to being in the House with all of us and she knows how important this debate is today.

All Canadians have seen the motion that we put before the House and will not understand if there is even one member who votes against this motion because it is such an important part of what is happening in Canada today.

Canadians are understandably confused as to why it should be necessary for the official opposition to endeavour to tell our American friends that the vast majority of Canadians want to remain friends. It worries Canadians that the present Prime Minister, as lame a duck as he is, is still capable of throwing more strain upon our enduring friendship.

Canadians are as bewildered as they are confused. They are wondering why the former finance minister, the member for LaSalle—Émard, is not speaking out against those who hurl insults at our American friends and their administration in Washington. We all know he so desperately wants to be Prime Minister that he will say anything anywhere if it will win him one more delegate vote. He will promise anything to anybody and then hit the dirt when the controversy arises. Canadians wonder why he will not at least speak out on the way his party has turned its back on our American allies. Is becoming leader of that party just too important for him to find the courage to speak out?

The member for LaSalle—Émard reminds me of a recent cartoon in the New Yorker magazine. I believe the caption beneath the cartoon describes perfectly the former finance minister's approach to politics. The caption reads, “It could go badly or it could go well, depending on whether it goes badly or well”. It sounds like something the present Prime Minister would say. Does that not capture in a few words the former finance minister? For that matter, would it not be an appropriate caption to stick under a photo of the present Prime Minister?

All of us in this party believe that the reckless statements of certain members of the House have strained our relations with the United States and we regret that. We can assure our friends to the south that the rabidly anti-American New Democratic Party does not speak for or even draw the attention of the majority of Canadians. I think they should know in the United States that the majority of voters in ridings held by Liberals are not rabidly anti-American; it is only their Liberal members of Parliament who are.

I do not think Americans have to be reminded, and the Liberals and New Democrats should remember, that in World War I 35,000 Americans joined the Canadian army. They joined before America entered the war in 1917. Again in World War II approximately 30,000 Americans joined the Canadian Forces before the U.S.A. entered the war. They came voluntarily because they wanted to do what was right. They wanted to fight for freedom against fascism. They wanted to help their good friends and neighbours who were going overseas to fight for democracy and freedom.

No matter how controversial it was and became, there were Canadians who went south to join the American military in the war in Vietnam. And who will ever forget what Canadian diplomats did to help six Americans escape from Iran? Ambassador Kenneth Taylor received the congressional gold medal for that from the president at the time, Ronald Reagan.

We know how the present Prime Minister likes to boast about how he takes no nonsense from the Americans. We just wish he had waited until he was long gone from office. Surely he could have spent his retirement years boasting instead of doing it now in public when some media still listen to what he says.

Here is another question for the member for LaSalle—Émard. The Prime Minister and so many of the member's leadership supporters in caucus believe that the Bush regime is illegitimate. Does he agree or does he disagree? It is time the former finance minister came out of the closet. Is he anti-American like so many of his supporters and the Prime Minister? Or does he agree with us that the Americans are not just our closest neighbours by virtue of our geography, but also our closest friends and allies by virtue of our history?

Mr. Speaker, I should mention that I am splitting my time with my colleague.

One would think that the ancient mariner might find time to let Canadians know what he thinks. If he ever does become prime minister, Canadians might like fair warning so they can develop new investment strategies. They will need those new strategies if the rabid and venomous anti-American rhetoric continues to spew from his supporters.

I think we want him to clear the air so we know that he has at least one opinion on our relations with the United States. Surely it is not too much to ask of a man who wants to be prime minister to have at least one opinion.

Then we have the incredible hulk of the New Democratic Party. He is one who thundered that the American administration is killing babies. We thought that party had decided to give that sort of foolish rhetoric a rest back in the 1960s. Of course, that is a party that never really left the 1960s and most of its members do not know there have been a few new books written since then.

Why are we concerned on this side? We think supporting our allies in a fight against brutal tyrants is the right thing to do, but we are also concerned abut the impact that Liberal anti-Americanism will have on Canadians and Canada.

Anecdotal evidence is coming in already. We are hearing of conventions being cancelled or preliminary discussions on conventions being halted. We are hearing of small businesses that do business in the United States getting the cold shoulder from longtime clients and friends.

We hear that hunting and fishing lodges are either getting cancellations or far fewer inquiries from the United States than in previous years.

We hope Canadians will remember it was the Liberals backed by their kissing cousins in the New Democratic Party who did not care what the economic fallout might be. They have vowed they will never join our allies and will continue hurling insults at them.

We hope Canadians employed in the auto manufacturing industry remember it was the Liberals and New Democrats they will have to thank for the disappearance of their jobs.

In my beautiful province, people involved in the softwood lumber industry are already feeling the pain and are wishing the Liberals and the New Democrats would zipper their lips.

Of course there are others, the victims of Saddam Hussein who are trying to understand why Liberals and New Democrats are siding with him instead of those who would run that brutal tyrant out of Iraq.

The business community is wondering why the natural resources minister is still in cabinet after his criticism of President Bush. They are certainly wondering why there has been no apology.

If the Liberals just once in their history would listen to Albertans, and I know that would be difficult for them, they would hear how much the comment of the natural resources minister concerns them. It was totally inappropriate and the Prime Minister knew it and knows it now. His problem is he does not have any other loyalists left to elevate to cabinet. It must be embarrassing for the Prime Minister just as it is for all Canadians. It would embarrass anyone to have to admit that they could not demote a cabinet minister because they did not have the talent or the loyalty in the rest of the caucus to produce a replacement.

We should also let the parents of the brave sons and daughters who are with the American military in Iraq know that Liberals and New Democrats do not speak for all Canadians. We in the Alliance share the worry and the grief of those American parents and our hearts go out to them. We cannot forget either that there are Canadian parents with children in the American military. Our prayers and thoughts are with them as well.

It is unfortunate that the present Prime Minister and the ones who aspire to replace him all share the same anti-American sentiment. It is not just unfortunate, it is shameful.

We have done our utmost on this side to let our American neighbours know that the anti-Americanism is not as rampant on this side of the border as the government would paint. We want them to know that it is only rampant among Liberal and New Democratic Party members of Parliament.

We apologize for that on behalf of all Canadians who cherish our friendship with the United States. We apologize to them as well that one of those parties has already elected an anti-American leader and that all of the candidates for the leadership of the Liberal Party are anti-American.

We insist that Americans understand one thing and bear it in mind: Canadians are not anti-American. It is only Liberals and New Democrats who are and we hope Canadians will remember that and remedy it in the next election.