House of Commons Hansard #93 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was workers.

Topics

Disability Tax Credit
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, over one year ago I contacted the minister responsible for the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency and expressed my serious concern about the application form used for Canadians applying for the disability tax credit.

One year later I am standing here holding in my hands the denied application of Michelle MacDonald. Michelle suffers from multiple sclerosis that is both debilitating and constantly deteriorating. Her doctor from the Dalhousie Research Centre noted on her application that her condition was recurrent and “totally incapacitating”.

Despite the doctor saying she is totally incapacitated, due to the score card system she has been denied the disability tax credit.

I am again today providing the minister with more information. I am publicly asking that Michelle MacDonald's denial be reviewed and reversed.

National Volunteer Week
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Mac Harb Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, this is National Volunteer Week, an occasion to thank the people who donate their time and talents in service of their fellow citizens. All across Canada much of our quality of life depends upon the commitment, compassion and generosity of volunteers. Now more than ever Canadians need to strengthen their sense of community.

The theme for National Volunteer Week 2003, “The Power of One, the Value of Many”, highlights the uniqueness of each volunteer and acknowledges the importance of their collective contribution.

I call on my colleagues to join me in celebrating the spirit of caring as we thank Canada's 6.5 million volunteers for the support they bring to countless causes every day, all year round.

Spruce Budworm
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Brian Fitzpatrick Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Speaker, Parks Canada has finally made a positive decision to combat the spruce budworm problem at Prince Albert National Park. Thankfully, common sense and an effective official opposition can declare victory.

The use of the organic agent BTK is both a safe and an effective means of control. It is in wide use across Canada. Yet this government almost gave in to the pressure of a vocal small minority for whom any form of environmental stewardship is unacceptable.

The Canadian Alliance has worked hard on this issue. However the real winners are the thousands of park users who have fought to save their forests. This decision shows that the average citizen can be heard in cabinet. This is truly a victory for grassroots democracy.

Asian Heritage Month
Statements By Members

May 1st, 2003 / 2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Sophia Leung Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, May is Asian Heritage Month, the month when we acknowledge the long and rich history of Asian Canadians and their contributions to Canada.

In Canada our cultural diversity enriches us socially, politically, economically and culturally in many ways. Asian Heritage Month is an ideal occasion to celebrate the beauty and wisdom of various Asian cultures.

Since the inaugural Asian Heritage celebration began in Toronto in 1993, cities across Canada, including Halifax, Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver, have been holding annual festivities. In December 2001 the Senate of Canada passed a motion designating May as Asian Heritage Month.

I invite every Canadian to take part in the festivities that commemorate the legacy of Asian Canadians and their many contributions which have helped Canada become the multicultural and diverse nation it is today.

Health
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, one month ago the World Health Organization recommended that the government institute interviews with outbound passengers at Canadian airports. The Minister of Health consistently refused to commit to these recommendations up to and including yesterday here in the House of Commons. Yet now she has apparently issued a letter to airlines recommending that these and other procedures be instituted.

If the minister will not simply admit that she made a mistake, can she explain to the House why it is so important to implement these recommendations now that the SARS crisis is abating, as opposed to before when it was at its height?

Health
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Victoria
B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the World Health Organization has clearly on a number of occasions indicated its support for what Canada is doing. For example, today, May 1, Dr. Guenael Rodier, the WHO's director of communicable disease surveillance and response said about Canada:

Canada has been a model of transparency in its reporting and public information, of determination in its contact tracing, and of heroic dedication on the part of its medical, health and scientific staff.

That is the World Health Organization's assessment of Canada today.

Health
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I can only observe that this crisis has really aged the Minister of Health.

On another issue, just this spring the federal government signed a new health accord with the provinces, with the support of all the provinces and I should add, the Canadian Alliance. However, now the former minister of finance is suggesting that the accord should be ripped up, that it is inadequate, that it does not deal with fundamental issues.

Does the health minister still endorse the accord and does she agree that it is a basis for further health care reform?

Health
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Madawaska—Restigouche
New Brunswick

Liberal

Jeannot Castonguay Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, this is certainly an interesting question. Yes, we still endorse the accord, and I will explain why. It was very clear that what we wanted to do with this accord was to make changes to our health care system.

That is why $16 billion has been earmarked for the next five years to deal with the issue of exorbitant drug costs and also the issue of access to care outside of hospitals.

This is how we are bringing about reforms. We on this side of the House are still very proud to endorse the accord.

Health
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, when the health minister starts answering questions again, we will see whether she agrees with the new boss or the old boss.

Apparently, the former Minister of Finance wants to rip up the new health accord. This accord enjoys the unanimous support of all levels of government, provincial, federal and territorial, and of the Canadian Alliance.

Does the federal government still support this accord, and has the Prime Minister spoken with Jean Charest, the new Premier of Quebec, to determine whether the Government of Quebec still supports the accord?

Health
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Madawaska—Restigouche
New Brunswick

Liberal

Jeannot Castonguay Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, obviously since agreement was reached earlier this year on this famous accord, the provinces will still ask for more. This is no surprise to us; the moment they say it is enough is the moment when they will start having problems.

Of course, with Quebec having a new government, I am sure that the Minister of Health and the other ministers involved will meet with this new government and discuss their concerns and their interests. I am sure that we will be able to cooperate and work together to take note of their interests.

Health
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rob Merrifield Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, a dozen patients in Hong Kong who had recovered from SARS have now shown a relapse of the illness. A relapse may mean the patients can still transmit SARS after recovery, again suggesting the need for greater caution in surveillance.

Are Canadian officials involved in investigating the situation there in order to prepare for the same here?

Health
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Madawaska—Restigouche
New Brunswick

Liberal

Jeannot Castonguay Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, certainly this is a serious disease. We need to acknowledge that we must continue to monitor the situation.

Dr. David Heymann, executive director, communicable diseases at the World Health Organization had this to say today:

SARS is the global emergency. We need to get this disease under control and contain it. We made our recommendation based on three criteria. The criteria no longer apply to Canada and they have been taken off the list. We did not make our decision based on something that Canada was doing wrong. Canada was doing everything right, including screening passengers as they left.

Health
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rob Merrifield Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, back on March 27 the WHO recommended surveillance and it was not taking place here. The government at that time had two options: passive voluntary half-measures; or erring on the side of caution with action. If we have learned anything over the past month, it is the terrible cost of a passive, weak approach.

What specific measures is Health Canada taking should a SARS relapse occur in Canada?

Health
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Madawaska—Restigouche
New Brunswick

Liberal

Jeannot Castonguay Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, this disappoints me. With this type of attitude, it is difficult to be very positive. We on this side of the House are very positive.

Canada is one of the first countries in the world to follow the WHO recommendations regarding passenger screening. We are doing more and more every day. We are making the necessary adjustments based on new information we receive. That is how we will solve the problem, not by criticizing. We must learn from what has happened. That is how we will move forward.

Canada Labour Code
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the anti-scab legislation in place in Quebec since 1977 has made it possible to greatly reduce the duration of labour disputes and thus limit the impact on workers' families. Unfortunately, Quebec and Canadian workers under federal jurisdiction do not have the same protection.

Since the Liberals were in favour of anti-scab legislation when in opposition, will the minister admit that after 10 years it is high time her government legislated and solved this problem?