House of Commons Hansard #118 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was antarctic.

Topics

Business of the House

10:05 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, there have been consultations among all parties in the House and I believe you would find unanimous consent for the following motion. I move:

That, if at any time that the House stands adjourned during June, July, August and September, 2003, the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates has ready a report, when that report is deposited with the Clerk of the House, it shall be deemed to have been duly presented to the House.

Business of the House

10:05 a.m.

The Speaker

The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Business of the House

10:05 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

(Motion agreed to)

Antarctic Environmental Protection Act
Government Orders

10:05 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria for the Minister of the Environment

moved that Bill C-42, an act respecting the protection of the Antarctic Environment, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Antarctic Environmental Protection Act
Government Orders

10:05 a.m.

York South—Weston
Ontario

Liberal

Alan Tonks Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to speak to Bill C-42.

Bill C-42 is enabling legislation that will allow Canada to ratify the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty, commonly known as the Madrid protocol.

Since signing the protocol in 1991, Canada has been committed to its ratification. By doing so, Canada will be joining the other 29 nations that have ratified the protocol. It will commit the country to the protection of this unique ecosystem, from which we can learn a great deal about the world's environment.

As a nation active in Antarctica, we must provide clarity on Canada's role in the region to Canadians present there and to the global community. We must establish mechanisms that will prevent or mitigate potential negative environmental impacts of human activity.

The Antarctic was once available to only the most adventurous of explorers and is now visited regularly by tourists and scientists, including Canadians. With continued scientific research, commercial fishing and increased tourism, we must be cognizant of the cumulative impacts of human action.

The challenge that nations operating in the Antarctic face is to manage activities in a way that balances the benefits of access with the need for environmental protection. The Madrid protocol, which came into force in 1998, achieves that balance through three key obligations.

First, it commits parties to the comprehensive protection of the Antarctic environment and designates Antarctica as a natural reserve devoted to peace and science.

Second, it sets out the principles for environmental protection, requiring an environmental impact assessment of all activities before they are allowed to proceed.

Third, the Madrid protocol bans activities harmful to the Antarctic environment, such as commercial mineral resource activity, damage to historic Antarctic sites and the harmful disturbance of wildlife.

The protocol's approach to environmental protection and conservation is similar to the approach taken by Canada in the areas of environmental assessments, marine pollution countermeasures, as well as our general approach toward national parks and species at risk.

What Bill C-42 does is it provides the legislative basis needed to implement the requirements of the Madrid protocol in Canada. Canadian tour companies and scientists are already voluntarily complying with the protocol using the approval mechanisms established by other nations. Those individuals and groups have consistently called upon Canada to ratify the protocol.

It is time for Canada to take responsibility for the activities of its nationals in the Antarctic.

Bill C-42 is consistent with established Canadian legal policy and practice and is in accordance with international law. It is consistent with the approach taken by other countries that have ratified the protocol.

The history of Antarctica is one of inspiration. It inspired people like Scott, Amundsen, Shackleton and the men that joined them, including other Canadians. It inspired ground breaking scientific research. Perhaps most important, it inspired the nations of the world to come together in a spirit of cooperation and multilateralism to declare that there would be a place on earth dedicated to peace and science.

It is now time for Canada to complete the process that began a decade ago and join the world in preserving and protecting the environment that has inspired so many in the past so that it will continue to inspire many more in the future.

We have seen only too well what damage can be caused to fragile frozen tundra if rules and procedures are not put in place and a common understanding is not established.

Antarctica is the last great wilderness on earth. It is not the territory of one nation, but the responsibility of all people in the world.

Canada has a well deserved reputation as a responsible polar nation that protects its environmental heritage. That reputation must be extended to Antarctica as well.

My hope is that passage of the bill through the House will enable Canada to do its fair share to protect this last common wilderness as a legacy for people in the future.

Antarctic Environmental Protection Act
Government Orders

10:10 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

Mr. Speaker, as the former environment minister in the beautiful and bountiful British Columbia, I have long had a deep and abiding concern about the need to protect the pristine and unexploited regions on the planet.

I am here at the request of my hon. colleague, the member for Red Deer, to speak to Bill C-42, an act respecting the protection of the Antarctic environment. This legislation may actually be worthwhile in that it is legislation that may actually do what it says it will do. That is rare: good legislation coming from a Liberal government. I wonder if this was one of the last items on the previous government's agenda.

One would think that by now the Liberals would have passed all the legislation left over from the Mulroney regime and would have come up with some of their own. I know that with their leadership woes going back to 1990 and that leadership race that never stopped running, they have been preoccupied, but surely they could have found time in the last 10 years to come up with something original. If this is it, we should offer them mild congratulations.

Other environmental legislation they have introduced will do nothing but harm. This bill appears to be fairly benign, unlike the species at risk legislation and the Kyoto legislation that will one day prove ruinous to Canada. Having said that and to repeat my earlier statement, we in the Canadian Alliance share the goal of this legislation and wholeheartedly support its premise.

The act would allow Canada to formally ratify the so-called Madrid protocol to make sure the international community uses the Antarctic for peaceful and scientific purposes only. The Antarctic Treaty of 1961 prohibits military activity. It guarantees freedom for and cooperation in scientific research. It agrees to the exchange of information, suspends all territorial claims and prohibits nuclear activities and disposal of radioactive waste.

The act would become part of the Antarctic Treaty system and that is something the Canadian Alliance endorses and supports wholeheartedly. We in the Alliance recognize the importance of an ethical dimension in our foreign policy and will do what is necessary to achieve that after the next election.

I should pause here for the benefit of Liberals to define the word ethical. It means morally correct and honourable. If the Liberals want me to define morally correct and honourable, well I could go on and on but I do not want to get off the topic.

The Canadian Alliance believes that responsible exploration, development, conservation and renewal of our environment is critically important. The act would stop exploitation and ruination of a unique environment before it begins and that is worth supporting.

We have something in common with the bottom of the world sitting where we do at the top of the world. Outside of northern Canada and the Arctic, the Antarctic is one of the few frontiers left on the planet. Our northern lands, starkly beautiful, have been scarred by the carelessness of the Liberals over the years. We do not want the world to do to the Antarctic what the Liberals have allowed to be done to our Arctic.

On behalf of the hon. member for Red Deer and all Canadian Alliance colleagues, I declare our party's support for this legislation that protects the environment. It is unfortunate the Liberals have dragged their feet for so long that it is only now we come to vote on this very important bill.

Antarctic Environmental Protection Act
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10:10 a.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Rosemont—Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak today on Bill C-42, a bill to ratify the Protocol on EnvironmentalProtection to the Antarctic Treaty.

This protocol was signed by Canada in 1991 and one of its purposes was to protect the ecosystems in an extremely fragile area.

Knowing the current state of Antarctica in particular, we know that it is fundamental that there be critical parameters for all activities that might take place in this very fragile area.

This protocol reinforces what the Treaty on Antarctica established in 1961. This protocol also makes it possible to endorse and implement the principles established in 1961, after the signing of the Treaty of Antarctica. These principles include making Antarctica a nature preserve to be protected. A further intent was to make Antarctica an area where no military activities could be carried out.

This is important. Given what we have all experienced in the past few months, it is important to reaffirm, in legislation, Canada's will to make the Antarctic a demilitarized zone.

The third important principle in the Antarctic Treaty of 1961 was to ensure greater cooperation with regard to research, particularly scientific research. The goal was to ensure the uniformity of exchanges and partnerships.

Furthermore, another aspect concerns the suspension of sovereignty and claims to territorial sovereignty in this area of the Antarctic; this applies to a number of territories in the Antarctic. Issues relating to sovereignty and claims to territorial sovereignty are currently on the table, but the 1961 treaty suspends such claims.

One final aspect prohibits nuclear explosions or the disposal of radioactive waste material; Bill C-42 contains provisions on this.

What, then, is the aim of this bill? It seeks to provide a solution to what the member states had agreed to in the Antarctic Treaty of 1961. Canada reiterated its commitment in 1991, by signing the Madrid protocol. We are proud to say today that this protocol has been ratified.

There are provisions in this legislation. What is their purpose? To protect ecosystems in this fragile zone and make it a demilitarized zone, if possible. This would ensure that this zone does not become a disposal site for radioactive and nuclear waste; and would also suspend claims to territorial sovereignty. All this, to ensure that this zone, which is unique in the world, will receive sufficient protection.

In closing, I want to add that my party is very pleased to support Bill C-42, which will provide a sustainable solution for a fragile zone that must be protected as a natural heritage site.

Antarctic Environmental Protection Act
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10:15 a.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin Windsor—St. Clair, ON

Mr. Speaker, I also appreciate the opportunity to speak to Bill C-42. It is one of those times that we stand up in the House and say that it is about time.

The Madrid protocol, which Canada agreed to in 1991, is basically the reason this bill is before the House. However, as in so many other cases, it has taken us a full decade to bring forward supporting legislation for commitments that we made at the international level. It is all too typical of the government in the way it has avoided its responsibility to the various countries on this planet in terms of meeting our responsibilities. Again I repeat, it is about time.

Having said that, I want to address a couple of points with regard to the Madrid protocol and this legislation. I would indicate that the NDP is prepared in principle to support the bill. It is one that in its overall context and direction we do support.

The bill has encompassed to some degree the protocol but I do have some reservations and I want to mention those. It does address the protocol in the sense that the protocol had various principles that underpinned that agreement at the international level. It was making sure that the Antarctic would never be militarized and that neither nuclear weapons nor reactors would ever be placed there. It has a number of provisions in it which encourage further scientific research in the area to identify the ecosystem in many respects and hopefully ways of being able to identify needs that we and the rest of the planet may be able to maintain.

It was interesting to listen to the Alliance's attack on the government with regard to how Kyoto will be a disaster, according to them. The Antarctic, as is our Arctic, is the first victim of the global warming that we are seeing. I remember about a year ago there was a huge chunk that separated off the ice patch there that was larger than Newfoundland. It has completely broken up and is no longer part of that continent. Therefore, we badly need Kyoto in place as quickly as possible to forestall further damage like that to the Antarctic.

Going back to this bill specifically, the final point I would mention in terms of one of the underlying principles of the Madrid protocol is that all countries that signed on to the protocol would, in effect, abandon sovereignty claims. Not all countries have and so there is still an issue in that regard, but it certainly behooves Canada to take part in this.

Once the bill goes to committee we will have a greater opportunity to explore this but I do want to raise a couple of cautions. There are concerns about whether the bill goes far enough to implement the Madrid protocol and protect the Antarctic. I just want to mention a couple of sections. One is clause 5.

I am not sure how one would ultimately interpret this, but clause 5 of the bill as printed and presented to the House leaves open the possibility of the military having access to the sites. In fact, it specifically says that the bill would not apply to the Canadian military. I do not understand that and we will have to explore that.

The other one is that the prohibition in clause 7 prevents a number of activities but specifically allows commercial fishing. That is a great concern to us in Canada given the devastation that we have seen to some of our fishing stock when it is uncontrolled, as it would be in the sense that there are no controls in this legislation in that regard.

Antarctic Environmental Protection Act
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10:20 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to speak today in support of the bill. If any country in the world should be interested and concerned about the welfare and the conditions in the Antarctic it should be Canada, and we are pleased to support the bill.

It also raises all kinds of questions that go further, questions that could be tied to Kyoto or, as the previous speaker just mentioned, the North Atlantic Fisheries Organization which has so much to do with our fisheries reserves, our resources, the economy and the welfare of the two sides of our country, the Atlantic and the Pacific. In this case we are talking about the Atlantic because it is the North Atlantic Fisheries Organization, but there are parallels here to talk about.

We feel the government has not done nearly enough to protect the fishery and it has not played a leadership role. It has done nothing to think outside the box to address the fisheries concerns, which are really environmental and conservation concerns, such as what we are talking about today with the Antarctic environment.

Canada must and should take a leadership role in these issues. I think the world looks to Canada and they are really surprised that we do not take a leadership role in issues such as this. I urge the government, when it is considering issues in the Antarctic, to also consider issues in the Atlantic and try to think of ways that have not been addressed to deal with the fisheries in the Atlantic Ocean.

Two to three weeks ago, professors from Dalhousie University came out with a startling study that said that 90% of the large fish in the oceans have been scooped up. That is a scary statistic. One just has to look at what has happened over the years because no one has addressed this issue. No one has really stood up to the fishing industry around the world and said that the rules must change. Canada should be the one to do that. Canada should not just be a part of something. It should not go along with NAFO. We should play a leadership role.

The ministers over there should understand that Canada is the one that should play the leadership role but we are not. We are just going along with everybody else. The government should think outside the box and take startling and strong steps to protect our fishery and to change the rules around the world. This study, which said that 90% of the large fish are gone, predicts that the deterioration of the fish stocks will continue dramatically in the future until there are simply no fish.

It is issues like this that we have to be concerned about and that is why we support the proposal of Bill C-42 on the environment in the Antarctic. However there are other issues with which we must deal but the government has being lax on them. We know it and the whole world knows it. The whole world knows that Canada is just going along with everybody else on this when we should be taking strong steps and demonstrating our concerns about the situation in our oceans and protecting and conserving the fish resources.

We are pleased to support Bill C-42 on the environment of the Antarctic but we urge the government to go further on issues. Even on Kyoto, the government brought in Kyoto with no implementation plan. Bill C-42 is part of a plan to have a plan but at least it is a start. We hope the government will move further on this and also on Kyoto.

The member for St. John's West, who is with me here today, has raised the issue time and time again that Canada should play a leadership role in the conservation of the fishery on the Atlantic coast and yet nothing ever changes. Nothing happens. We just go along. It is time Canada stood up, took a stand and fought back.

Antarctic Environmental Protection Act
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10:25 a.m.

The Speaker

Pursuant to order made on Thursday, June 12, Bill C-42 is deemed read a second time, deemed referred to a committee of the whole, deemed reported without amendment, deemed concurred in at report stage and deemed read a third time and passed.

(Bill read a second time, referred to committee, reported without amendment, concurred in, read a third time and passed)

Injured Military Members Compensation Act
Government Orders

10:25 a.m.

Edmonton Southeast
Alberta

Liberal

David Kilgour for the Minister of National Defence

moved that Bill C-44, an act to compensate military members injured during service, be read the second time and referred to the Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs.

Injured Military Members Compensation Act
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10:25 a.m.

The Speaker

I understand there is a superseding unanimous consent motion in respect of this so that this bill will in fact not be going to the committee even if the motion is subsequently adopted.

Injured Military Members Compensation Act
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10:25 a.m.

Liberal

David Pratt Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to speak in support of this measure, Bill C-44, an act to compensate military members injured during service. The bill would redress a disparity in the benefits provided to members of the Canadian Forces who have been seriously injured while on duty.

Under the Canadian Forces insurance plan currently, members of the Canadian Forces below the rank of colonel are not eligible for a lump sum payment when they suffer severe injury while on duty. Under this same plan, individuals at the rank of colonel and above receive payments of up to $250,000.

The Minister of National Defence first heard of this inequity last August through the efforts of Major Bruce Henwood. Major Henwood was a Canadian peacekeeper in the former Yugoslavia. In 1995 he suffered major injuries including the loss of both legs when his vehicle struck an anti-tank mine. Under the insurance plan, Major Henwood was not entitled to a lump sum payment for his injuries because, as I indicated, compensation was only provided to those of the rank of colonel and above.

Major Henwood has since made extraordinary efforts to have coverage extended to all ranks, and on behalf of the Minister of National Defence and, indeed, the members of the Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs, I commend him for his dedication to this cause.

When the minister heard of Major Henwood's story, the minister undertook to end this inconsistency in the insurance plan. On February 11 of this year the minister announced that the plan would be expanded to cover all regular and reserve members of the Canadian Forces, regardless of rank, for accidental dismemberment while on active duty.

At the same time, the minister promised to exhaust every avenue in an effort to make sure that a lump sum payment was provided to those who were injured before this new coverage came into effect. With this bill, the Minister of National Defence has met that commitment.

All members of the Canadian Forces, regardless of rank, can expect to receive assignments that may put them in harm's way. We certainly wish the Canadian Forces and the members of the 3rd Battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment who are going to Afghanistan the very best, and we certainly wish that each and every one of them comes home safely.

Providing coverage only for senior ranks was, in the minister's view, and I think in the view of all Canadians, unacceptable. In a word, it was unfair. That is why the government changed the insurance plan and that is why the minister has introduced this bill, to help the 200 or so individuals who have found themselves in Major Henwood's position, to help those who have been severely injured in the course of military service but have been unable to claim the benefit because of their rank.

This bill would allow lump sum payments of up to $250,000 for current or former Canadian Forces members who suffered serious injury attributable to military service.

Before I conclude, I wish to thank the opposition parties for supporting this measure. It is heartening to see both sides of the House stand behind our men and women in uniform. They are the people who regularly put themselves in harm's way in the service of our country. With all that they give on our behalf, we must be prepared to give back. They certainly deserve nothing less.

Injured Military Members Compensation Act
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10:30 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise and speak to Bill C-44 this morning. This legislation will right a wrong that has been in place for many years, for 30 years many would argue. They would say 30 years because for colonels and above this lump sum payment coverage has been in place since 1972. It is indeed an embarrassment that it has taken this government this long to act on changing that.

I think one has to wonder where the government's priorities are. We get legislation coming forward in the House all the time that quite frankly does nothing positive at all, and in some cases just the opposite, and yet a change like this, which was desperately needed, has taken 30 years, or 10 years for those who served in the Balkans, where many were injured, including the person who was persistent enough on this issue such that the government could finally no longer resist, and that was Major Bruce Henwood.

In fact, this bill should be called the Bruce Henwood bill, because he has pursued this issue absolutely fruitlessly for 10 years until just recently when, with help from the opposition but mostly through his own efforts over the years, he finally forced the government to make this move. Why the government would resist for so long is almost impossible to understand, but finally he has been successful. Again I have to say that I think the bill should be called the Bruce Henwood bill, because it was through his courageous and persistent actions that it has come forward.

There are some problems with the bill. One is in the case of people feeling they are not receiving proper treatment. Under the bill, it is of course the minister who makes the decisions. If someone feels mistreated, there is an appeal, but who is the appeal to? To the minister. So we will have the minister appealing his own decision in cases where people feel they are being improperly treated. That simply has to be changed, and I hope it will be changed by the minister.

What we are proposing, in fact, is that there be an appeal to the military ombudsman. The military ombudsman would then make a recommendation to the minister. Should the minister support that recommendation, fine, it will go through, but should the minister refuse to support the military ombudsman's recommendation on an individual case, we are suggesting that the military ombudsman be given authority to make public both the minister's reasons for rejecting it and the ombudsman's reasons for supporting it. At least we would then have the court of public opinion to put pressure on the minister.

I am calling upon the government to do that. I would assume that the government can see it is improper to have the minister handling appeals for the minister. I hope clause 11 of the bill will be amended to deal with that.

As well, this legislation simply will not deal with cases of injuries like post-traumatic stress disorder. There is nothing in Bill C-44 to help deal with those types of cases. Also, there is probably nothing in the bill to deal with cases like that of Matt Stopford, who has been stonewalled by the government, and quite frankly by the military, for many years. He was severely injured, admittedly poisoned by his own troops when serving in the Balkans. This legislation does nothing to help him as far as I can tell, so there are some huge gaps in the legislation.

It is certainly going to be worthwhile legislation for the roughly 200 military personnel who will likely receive lump sum payments of up to $250,000, although many of the payments will be much less than that.

I commend the government for finally righting this wrong after 30 years, it could be argued, but certainly 10 years. It has taken 10 years, but I guess better late than never applies in this case. Let us move ahead with this and fix the things that have to be fixed, which I have pointed to. I would like to congratulate Major Bruce Henwood for the Bruce Henwood bill.

Injured Military Members Compensation Act
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10:35 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Loyola Hearn St. John's West, NL

Mr. Speaker, as others before me have said, this is a bill that I think everyone supports and which they are very proud to support. The bill addresses an inequality that has been in the system for quite some time.

When we see provisions made to compensate leaders in the field, generals and colonels, et cetera, and yet the rank and file are not put in the same class in time of war there is something definitely wrong. As members know, to quote the words of an old song, “The ones who give the orders are not the first to die”. It is the rank and file who are usually the first out on the firing lines. We have had several people over the years who have lost limbs or who have had a loss of speech or hearing. It is about time we addressed that.

We are extremely proud of the people in our forces. I am sure that the member for Saint John, if she were here today, would be saying as I am that we are in full support of the bill. There are a few little glitches in it that will undoubtedly be corrected through amendments as we have a chance to put the bill into practice.

The main thing the bill does is compensate those who should have been compensated quite some time ago. We can argue and point fingers, but that does not serve any purpose. The thing is that the bill is here. Hopefully it will pass quickly today and then we can get on with helping those who have done so much to help us.

The Conservative Party is very proud to support the bill. We ask for quick passage of the bill so that those who have done so much for us, for the country, will be properly compensated.

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10:35 a.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the NDP I would like to indicate our support for the bill and for its quick passage today in all stages. This is certainly something I want to commend the government for, but more particularly the Minister of National Defence, because I think this has been a personal priority of his. I have talked to the minister about it at least a few times and I am glad to see that he has been able to move on this particular file.

I want to concur with my Alliance colleague as to some of the concerns he has about the bill and of course what the bill does not address in terms of post-traumatic stress disorder, et cetera, but the fact of the matter is we had a particular issue to deal with in terms of how Canadian Forces members who faced dismemberment on the job are treated. We had a class society within the Canadian armed forces, in which officers were treated differently from the NCOs and the rank and file. That has been corrected, and the minister has also dealt with, as I understand it, the question of retroactivity.

All in all I think it is a pretty good day. I would urge colleagues in the House to proceed with dispatch when it comes to this particular legislation.

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10:40 a.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, we are also very pleased that this bill is being passed here today. When the minister called me last week to say that he wanted cooperation from all the parties to pass this bill quickly, he did not have to explain that he wanted to correct the inequities within the system.

Indeed, there were inequities. It is true that it was Major Henwood who pushed the hardest to have something done about these inequities, which have existed since 1972. For instance, a general who lost a hand or a foot in the performance of his duties received compensation, while those under his command were not entitled to it.

As we know—this was mentioned earlier—generals rarely set foot on the battle field. Their duty is to give orders to attack or not to attack. The person who puts his life on the line is the private. If he lost a limb during combat, he was told he would not be compensated because his rank was not high enough.

In my view, this bill corrects this unfair situation. Those who have been in a theatre of operations understand the significance of this bill. I had the honour of training with the Royal 22e Régiment a few years ago. I was deployed to Bosnia with them. We were told to always stay on the roads because there were mines everywhere in all the adjoining fields. There were operators, people who cleared the mines continuously, almost 24 hours a day. Those are the people who could have been exposed to this type of risk.

To us, the fact that nobody could—or would—recognize them was absurd. I think that the bill before us today has corrected this, and better yet, it is retroactive. I told you about my experience in Bosnia, but there are people who went to Bosnia, who lost limbs and have not been compensated to date. This bill has retroactive measures that I think will cover everyone.

I also had some reservations about the minister's decision. We will, of course, not make a fuss today, when we know this bill has to be passed before we adjourn for the summer. The minister's decision to review is his to make. It might have been worthwhile to have an independent tribunal or an ombudsman—the military ombudsman might have been suitable—assess the appeal.

If the soldier is not satisfied with the ministerial decision, he could go to the ombudsman. But the bill before us has the minister reviewing his own first level decision. Yet in clause 11 we see there is provision for a review to the Federal Court via what I call a writ of evocation. If the minister is felt to have erred, I believe there is provision in the bill to allow application to the Federal Court.

I am therefore very pleased to announce on behalf of the Bloc Quebecois to all soldiers and NCOs who have lost a limb in the performance of their duties that we have today remedied the situation and they will be receiving considerable compensation. Although obviously there can never be full compensation for the loss of a hand or a limb, at least they will know that Parliament has made an effort and has shown its gratitude. We will be supporting this bill with pleasure.

Injured Military Members Compensation Act
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10:40 a.m.

The Speaker

Pursuant to order made on Thursday, June 12, Bill C-44 is deemed read a second time, deemed referred to a committee of the whole, deemed reported without amendment, deemed concurred in at report stage and deemed read a third time and passed.

(Bill read a second time, referred to a committee of the whole, reported without amendment, concurred in at report stage read a third time and passed)

Injured Military Members Compensation Act
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10:45 a.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. There has been consultation among all House leaders and I am pleased to inform the House about this item. I would seek unanimous consent, pursuant to that agreement, for the following:

That, if at any time that the House stands adjourned during June, July, August and September, 2003, the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights has ready a report on Bill C-23, when that report is deposited with the Clerk of the House, it shall be deemed to have been duly presented to the House.

Again, this is on Bill C-23 only, because there were discussions of another item about which there was not an agreement.

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10:45 a.m.

The Speaker

Does the hon. government House leader have unanimous consent of the House to propose this motion?

Injured Military Members Compensation Act
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10:45 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Injured Military Members Compensation Act
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10:45 a.m.

Some hon. members

No.

Privilege
Government Orders

10:45 a.m.

The Speaker

I am now prepared to rule on the question of privilege raised by the hon. member for Provencher on Wednesday, June 4, 2003, in respect to a response made by the hon. Solicitor General to a question raised by the hon. member for Crowfoot.

I would like to thank the hon. member for having raised this matter as well as the hon. government House leader and the right hon. member for Calgary Centre for their contributions on this question.

The hon. member for Provencher, in raising this question, alleged that in responding to a question raised by the hon. member for Crowfoot regarding the terrorist bombing of Air India flight 182, the hon. Solicitor General specifically made reference to the trial currently underway regarding the incident.

The member raised his concern that the Solicitor General's comments could have an influence on the fair trial of the accused in this case. He made reference to page 534 of the House of Commons Procedure and Practice regarding the onus placed on members of the House to respect the sub judice convention in order to protect the accused from suffering any prejudicial effect from public discourse on the issue.

I undertook to review the videotapes and transcripts of the exchange between the hon. Solicitor General and the hon. member for Crowfoot and to come back to the House should I feel it necessary.

In reviewing the Debates and the tapes, following oral question period, I must say that I share some concerns about the response of the hon. Solicitor General in regards to the Air India trial. I would draw the attention of hon. members to page 428 of House of Commons Procedure and Practice where it clearly states that:

It is deemed improper for a member, in posing a question, or a Minister, in responding to a question, to comment on any matter that is sub judice.

The hon. Solicitor General himself stated that it would be inappropriate to initiate a public inquiry while the court case is ongoing and I believe that he might, on reflection, have exercised greater caution in providing his response to the question of the hon. member for Crowfoot.

While the Speaker has the final responsibility to determine whether a subject matter raised during the consideration of oral questions is sub judice, the responsibility to show restraint in commenting on any matter before the courts lies with members of the House.

In this regard I would draw the attention of hon. members to a ruling made by Mr. Speaker Parent on April 6, 1995, on a very similar question of privilege wherein he noted that the approach of most Chair occupants has been to discourage all comments on sub judice matters rather than to allow members to experiment within the limits of the convention and to test the Speaker's discretion. This is especially important, given that it is speculative to determine how a comment might influence a matter before the courts.

Accordingly, while I do not feel that the hon. Solicitor General's response breaches the sub judice convention in such a significant way that it constitutes a breach of the privileges of this place or its members, I would caution all hon. members to exercise greater discretion in debate and during oral questions when they are dealing with matters that are before the courts.

Business of the House
Government Orders

10:45 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, there have been yet further consultations and I now believe that you would find consent for the following. I move:

That, if at any time that the House stands adjourned during June, July, August and September 2003, the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights has ready a report on Bill C-23, when that report is deposited with the Clerk of the House, it shall be deemed to have been duly presented to the House.

Business of the House
Government Orders

10:50 a.m.

The Speaker

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Business of the House
Government Orders

10:50 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

(Motion agreed to)

The House proceeded to the consideration of Bill C-35, an act to amend the National Defence Act (remuneration of military judges), as reported (without amendment) from the committee.

National Defence Act
Government Orders

10:50 a.m.

Edmonton Southeast
Alberta

Liberal

David Kilgour for the Minister of National Defence

moved that the bill be concurred in.

National Defence Act
Government Orders

10:50 a.m.

The Speaker

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

National Defence Act
Government Orders

10:50 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

National Defence Act
Government Orders

10:50 a.m.

The Speaker

I declare the motion carried.

(Motion agreed to)

National Defence Act
Government Orders

10:50 a.m.

Edmonton Southeast
Alberta

Liberal

David Kilgour for the Minister of National Defence

moved that the bill be read the third time and passed.

National Defence Act
Government Orders

10:50 a.m.

The Speaker

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

National Defence Act
Government Orders

10:50 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

National Defence Act
Government Orders

10:50 a.m.

The Speaker

I declare the motion carried.

(Bill read the third time and passed)

National Defence Act
Government Orders

10:50 a.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. We are very close to 11 o'clock and I know that on Bill C-35, one member was to have spoken and the bill did carry. I want to take the opportunity to thank members for doing that.

Perhaps if some members are ready, and I know many members wanted to make statements under Standing Order 31, the House could consider moving to statements by members for those members who are already in the Chamber and ready with their statements.

I know that at this time of year members want to make statements before they go home for the summer. Perhaps Mr. Speaker, you may want to check that out.

National Defence Act
Government Orders

10:50 a.m.

The Speaker

I am more than happy to. I am in the hands of the House, of course. I wonder if we might not suspend for five minutes unless there is a plethora of statements ready. Does the member for West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast wish to participate in this point of order?

National Defence Act
Government Orders

10:50 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

Mr. Speaker, just to agree with what you were saying. We could suspend for five minutes and give our members a chance to be here. I know that these statements are extremely important and Canadians out there are waiting anxiously to hear them.

National Defence Act
Government Orders

10:50 a.m.

The Speaker

I could not agree more. We will suspend for five minutes and resume at the call of the Chair.

(The sitting of the House was suspended at 10.53 a.m.)

(The House resumed at 11 a.m.)

Millennium Scholarships
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

Yolande Thibeault Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, recently, the Millennium Scholarship Foundation selected 120 young Quebeckers to receive Excellence Awards.

I proudly bring to the House's attention that one of these prestigious awards went to Emmanuelle Denault-Lombart, a student from the riding of Saint-Lambert.

Receiving an award like this is a unique moment in a student's life. It is an excellent way to encourage and reward the academic accomplishments of our young people, the adults of tomorrow.

Again, bravo, Emmanuelle. Canada is rich in resources, including its young generation, of whom you are an outstanding member.

Transportation
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jim Gouk Kootenay—Boundary—Okanagan, BC

Mr. Speaker, as the time for summer recess draws near, Parliament has once again managed to prove its own irrelevance. Standing committees are charged with the responsibility of scrutinizing estimates to determine if requested funds are justified, and if not, to reduce them. All too often this process is really a rubber stamp of whatever is requested.

This year, the transport committee did its job. It determined that VIA Rail had not needed all of its operating budget last year, yet was looking for an increase it could not justify to the committee. The committee reduced the requested amount.

The minister then came before the committee and attempted to brow beat and threaten members into changing their position without offering any justification for the increase. The committee stood firm. “No problem”, said the minister, “I will simply put the money back in and tell Liberals how they must vote”. The Liberals obeyed.

We have always known that voting is directed by the PMO. We now have proof that committees that are supposed to be masters of their own proceedings are ultimately subject to the same dictatorial process and Canadians will continue to pay out money that should have stayed in their own pockets.

Royal Canadian Air Cadets
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

Nancy Karetak-Lindell Nunavut, NU

Mr. Speaker, this weekend seven members of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets 795 Squadron of Iqaluit will be participating in a citizenship trip to Ottawa. This will be the first time to Ottawa for some of these teens. They will also be taking part in several activities, including a full day at the National Aviation Museum and visits to the Canadian War Museum and the National War Memorial. This trip was made possible under the national cadet program under national defence and also with local support from the Royal Canadian Legion Iqaluit.

On behalf of my constituents of Nunavut, I congratulate the cadets and their instructors and wish them well on a very successful and highly informative weekend, including a tour of the Parliament Buildings on Monday.

Daniel Bleau
Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, today we wish to pay tribute to a friend, Daniel Bleau, who died in a fishing accident on June 7, at the foot of the Saint-Maurice falls north of La Tuque.

Daniel was the general manager of the Val D'Or regional airport from 1985 to 1990, and had also managed several other airports in Quebec. Recently, he was the assistant regional manager for eastern Canada programs with Transport Canada at Dorval.

Mr. Bleau was always personally involved in the communities where he worked. This senior public servant always saw his projects through to completion in an exemplary way.

We, his friends and colleagues in Canada and in Quebec, want to tell his children, Jean-Sébastien, Geneviève and François-Xavier Alexandre, his parents, Thérèse and Jean-Paul Bleau, his brothers and sisters, and his entire family that we will never forget how hard Daniel worked to make the world a better place.

Thank you, Daniel.

Kitchener-Waterloo Philharmonic Choir
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, this past weekend I had the pleasure of listening to the Kitchener-Waterloo Philharmonic Children's Choir perform in the Centre Block rotunda on Parliament Hill. As anyone who heard them will attest, they sang like angels.

The Children's Choir was formed in 1986 and has been led by Director Carol Giesbrecht ever since. The Children's Choir introduces preteen children to the sounds and the experience of choral music and has been a resounding success, growing from 25 children to over 80 in its 17 year history. The choir has released a CD called “Songs of the Season”, which is a tribute to the hard work of Mrs. Shelagh Santi of the Parents Committee and the many volunteers who have contributed to the choir's success.

I wish to extend my thanks and appreciation to all the members of the Kitchener-Waterloo Children's Philharmonic Choir for sharing their outstanding gift with all of us.

International Plowing Match
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Scott Reid Lanark—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to extend a warm personal invitation to all MPs and to Canadians from across the land to attend the premier agricultural exhibition of 2003.

This year Ontario's International Plowing Match and Farm Machinery Show is being held in beautiful Lanark County, just a few minutes west of Ottawa, from September 17-21. The International Plowing Match is also known as Rural Expo, and it is a wonderful opportunity to experience Ontario's rural culture and rural heritage. Anyone lucky enough to attend will bask in the warmth of Lanark County hospitality.

Although there has been support from all levels of government, it is truly the hard work and dedication of 1,700 volunteers, led by Gord and Ann Munroe, that will ensure the success of this huge undertaking.

Lanark's International Plowing Match is a chance for rural Canadians to show city dwellers why we love country life so much. Come along, and love it too.

Millennium Scholarships
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Millennium Scholarship Foundation provides some of the most prestigious awards available at high school graduations across the country. This year three students in my riding of Halifax West will be receiving millennium scholarships.

In recognition of their hard work and dedication to their studies, I am delighted to announce that Emily Archibald of Millwood High School, Erika Bateman of Sir John A. MacDonald High School and David Langille of Charles P. Allen High School will all be receiving millennium scholarships at their graduations later this month.

I look forward to presenting the awards in person in at least two of the ceremonies.

If our children are our future, as we are so often reminded in this place, then Nova Scotia's future is looking better all the time.

Good work and congratulations to all three.

Quebec National Holiday
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, “Rêver bleu”, the theme of the Fête nationale du Québec, reflects the legitimate aspirations of Quebeckers to provide a platform for the seven million voices that make us unique on this continent.

A platform to tell you about my country. And my country is Quebec, with all its scrapes and bruises, its longing for a time that was and its tender hopes for the future.

My country is the sound of hearty laughter and an all-encompassing view of the world. It is the desire to be part of a community and to create a place where all can thrive.

My country is the lands cleared by our ancestors, shaped over time and reshaped through the dreams and energy of the young.

My country is a delight to the eye. From Îles-de-la-Madeleine to Abitibi, from Lac-Saint-Jean to the Laurentides, from Beauce to Ungava and Joliette to Charlevoix—all of Quebec invites you to join in the festivities.

Taxation
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Joe Peschisolido Richmond, BC

Mr. Speaker, in April 1999 the federal government started requiring Canadian residents to report their foreign assets in an effort to reduce tax evasion. This is a laudable goal which unfortunately has resulted in negative unintended consequences.

Would-be investors feel this is an unnecessary breach of their privacy and some immigrant investors avoid compliance by changing from resident to non-resident status.

Studies have shown that the foreign asset disclosure rule has taken some $1 billion out of the B.C. economy by discouraging investment. Therefore I urge the Secretary of State for International Financial Institutions to review the foreign asset disclosure rule to encourage new business and new investment in British Columbia and indeed in all of Canada.

Marriage
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gurmant Grewal Surrey Central, BC

Mr. Speaker, in a Canadian Alliance motion in 1999, this House, by a vote of 216 to 55, endorsed the traditional definition of marriage as a voluntary union between a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others.

Some people live together in a relationship outside of this definition. They deserve our respect and protection; they already have rights.

The issue of the definition of marriage should be dealt with by the Parliament of Canada, not by the courts. Let the people have their say through their members of Parliament to make the laws of this land. A few special interest groups or individuals should not be allowed to pull stunts and intimidate Parliament.

Marriage is an integral part of the family. Let us save it. Let us not forget, stronger families build a stronger nation.

Millennium Scholarships
Statements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the Millennium Scholarship Foundation has recently announced the names of 120 young Quebeckers who are Millennium Excellence Award recipients for the 2003-04 academic year.

It is with great pleasure that I inform this House that two recipients of the millennium excellence awards are students at Lower Canada College, an institution located in my riding of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine.

Congratulations to Akil Alleyne and Alypervaez Harji for winning this award which attests to their dedication and enthusiasm for all forms of excellence.

These awards, created by the federal government, are given out to students who have excelled in high school, who have been active in their communities and who have demonstrated an interest for innovation.

In short, these young Canadians are our leaders for tomorrow.

Middle East
Statements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, with Hamas promising an earthquake and Israel's reactions, violence in the Middle East continues.

The road map presented by the Unites States is being severely tested and the countries of the world must now join together to reinforce this strategy before it is destroyed by extremists who just do not want peace no matter what.

Part of the road map calls for monitors and the U.S. and Europeans have already committed. Yesterday senior Palestinians called on Canada to join in providing monitors to ensure that the road map has the best possible chance to succeed.

Now is the chance for Canada to re-establish ourselves at the very least as a junior partner in an attempt to find peace in the Middle East.

I support the call for Canada to supply monitors, and I urge the government to move quickly and announce the participation of Canadians in this role.

Governor General's Medal of Bravery
Statements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Tony Tirabassi Niagara Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to my constituent, Dennis J. Rogers, who has been awarded the Governor General's Medal of Bravery.

On February 18, 2002, Mr. Rogers risked his life to rescue a woman from a burning house in Welland, which is in my riding of Niagara Centre.

Mr. Rogers was driving by with his family when he noticed flames and thick smoke billowing from the house. He immediately pulled over and ran to the back door where an 11 year old boy told him that his mother was trapped inside the home. Getting no response to the calls to the woman, Mr. Rogers raced inside. Crouching and groping around under the blinding smoke, he followed the sounds of the victim's voice until he located her frozen with fear in a corner of the bathroom. As he gasped for air, he carried her outside moments before the House was fully engulfed in flames.

Congratulations Dennis. He truly is a hero.

Public Service
Statements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Bloc

Diane Bourgeois Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, between 1998 and 2002, the Liberal government spent $40 million on the Employment Equity Positive Measures Program. According to the report, which is posted on the web site of the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, this program has contributed to building a modern public service. However, none of the recommendations in this report are found in Bill C-25.

Each year, Status of Women Canada spends $11 million on a gender-based analysis. However, some parts of Bill C-25 completely disregard employment equity measures.

Nor is the government introducing legislation to ensure the well-being of its employees. Some 21% of federal public servants claim to be victims of harassment. However, Bill C-25 makes no mention of concrete measures to counter harassment when, clearly, the Canadian government, as an employer, has the obligation to ensure the psychological well-being of its employees.

The Bloc Quebecois reprehends this government, which continues investing heavily in beautiful reports, without applying them or acting as an employer responsible for its workforce.

National Aboriginal Day
Statements By Members

11:10 a.m.

NDP

Bev Desjarlais Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, June 21 is National Aboriginal Day. It is a day for us to honour and celebrate the aboriginal people and cultures who have blesses this land and who have contributed so much to our country.

It is also a day for us to reflect on the history of aboriginal people in Canada, a history filled with mistakes, tragedy and genocide perpetrated against the aboriginal people by colonial powers and the Canadian government.

While this history is tragic, it saddens me even more to see this Liberal government of today continuing some of those mistakes. Aboriginal people in Canada continue to have the lowest living standards, the worst housing, the least access to clean drinking water, the worst health care and the fewest educational and job opportunities of any group in Canada.

The Liberal government's failure to live up to treaty promises, to provide opportunity and hope to aboriginal communities is a disgraceful legacy for a tired, sad, arrogant government. What is more, with initiatives like the first nations governance act it continues to impose misguided, made in Ottawa policies on aboriginal communities.

I hope the Liberal government will take some time this National Aboriginal Day to reflect on this and remember that the treaties were supposed to be about partnership and sharing.

Churchill Women's Institute
Statements By Members

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Aileen Carroll Barrie—Simcoe—Bradford, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, Thursday, June 12, the Churchill Women's Institute celebrated their 100th anniversary. Adelaide Hoodless founded the first branch of the Women's Institute in southern Ontario in 1897.

The Women's Institute is now an international organization. Its motto, “For Home and Country”, provides an educational forum for women with an emphasis on civics.

This is a time when government and organizations throughout North America are searching for ways to get people together to discuss means of enhancing the quality of life in their communities, to increase opportunities to bring people together for companionship and support and social cohesion. This is one of the primary ways to prevent isolation and fragmentation.

I wish to congratulate the Churchill Women's Institute for 100 years of strength and leadership.

Kyoto Protocol
Statements By Members

11:15 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Rajotte Edmonton Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, in the Liberal leadership debate last Saturday, the front-runner, the former finance minister, told the party faithful that he would have held off adopting Kyoto targets until there was a plan on how Canada could reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

This former minister also told the Edmonton Journal editorial board that:

What they did was to simply ratify Kyoto without a plan, then start to work on it. You see where we are four months later, we still don't have a plan.

What a revelation. The Canadian Alliance has been raising concerns for years that there is no implementation plan.

The industry committee has been studying this issue and has had no details provided to it by the environment minister, national resources or finance.

Canadians deserve answers. They deserve principled leadership. If the member for LaSalle—Émard believes that there was no plan then and there is no plan now, then he should have exercised leadership by voting against Kyoto last December.

The Canadian Alliance will continue to exercise leadership and push the government to start working with Canadian businesses and consumers to reduce emissions and allow our economy to grow.

Glen Hillson
Statements By Members

11:15 a.m.

NDP

Libby Davies Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is with great sadness that I along with my colleague from Burnaby—Douglas, all members of our NDP caucus and our leader Jack Layton hear of the death of Glen Hillson, one of the greatest AIDS activists in B.C. and indeed the world.

The people of B.C. and Canada are indebted to Glen's heroic and tireless work for people with HIV-AIDS and his relentless advocacy for government action, research, support and dignity for persons with HIV-AIDS.

Glen Hillson, as the chair of BCPWA and one of the longest surviving people to live with AIDS, was much loved, enormously respected and inspired all of us to work for human rights, accessible health care and dignity for all people.

He will be deeply missed. I am sure that all members of the House join us in offering our sincere sympathy to his dear partner Gerald, his family and all who have known him and his profound presence in our lives.

Canadian Multiculturalism Day
Statements By Members

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Carole-Marie Allard Laval East, QC

Mr. Speaker, diversity in Canada is increasing. Cultural diversity has become one of our strengths.

This year, Canada is officially launching Canadian Multiculturalism Day on June 27. As the most multicultural country in the world, Canada will celebrate, on June 27, our confidence and tolerance, and we will tell our stories.

Let us celebrate June 27 and be proud of the contribution of our communities of all origins.

Canada Customs and Revenue Agency
Statements By Members

11:15 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rahim Jaffer Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, the minister responsible for the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency has been having a hard time doing her job.

Just as she denied the problem of the stolen billion dollars in GST rebates, she denies the problem of people illegally crossing the border from the U.S. into Canada.

She has said that because we have licence plate readers at our high-volume crossings in Canada, we know the licence plate of any car that tries to the run the border.

That however is wrong. According to the Auditor General's May 2003 report, licence plate readers work properly only 70% of the time.

She also has said that we also at our borders have licence plate readings and that the Americans do not have that on their side. In fact the 2002 annual U.S. customs report states that the U.S. has installed 50 licence plate readers on their side of the border.

If the minister continues to misinform the public, instead of checking licence plates, she will be in the big house making licence plates.

Liberian President
Statements By Members

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

David Pratt Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week the special court in Sierra Leone announced the indictment of Liberian President Charles Taylor for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Taylor was visiting Ghana at the time.

Unfortunately, although Ghana was given advanced notice of this indictment, they allowed Taylor to leave Ghana rather than arresting him.

Now President Taylor is attempting to link the success of the Liberian peace process to the lifting of the indictment against him. Under no circumstances should the Sierra Leone special court indictment against Taylor be lifted.

Charles Taylor has a long history of using peace processes to buy time, to rest and re-equip his fighters with the hope that the international community will forget his record of aggression and terror. Between 1989 and 1997, for instance, Taylor negotiated and broke 13 separate peace agreements.

If we are ever going to end the culture of impunity, we must support this special court and others in the future whose objective is to bring to justice those charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Liberian President
Statements By Members

11:20 a.m.

The Speaker

Hon. members will appreciate that as at Christmastime, sometimes the Chair is a little generous with time, and we have been today on Standing Order 31 statements because of the unusually large number of requests.

Liberian President
Statements By Members

11:20 a.m.

An hon. member

Ho, ho, ho.

Liberian President
Statements By Members

11:20 a.m.

The Speaker

Ho, ho, ho, as the hon. member says.

Health
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

Mr. Speaker, the WHO has voiced concern over Canada's handling of SARS. A North Carolina man who had visited a Toronto area hospital was allowed to slip through. The WHO has expressed concerns that exported cases of SARS could lead to another travel advisory.

We have been asking for months for face to face interviews of outgoing passengers at airports. The government has refused. Will the government admit that comprehensive interviews could have prevented this exported case?

Health
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, in the absence of the Minister of Health, I would like to say that this continues to be a very serious situation for all Canadians, not just those of us from the greater Toronto area. The particular case in point is something that is being investigated by Ontario health officials because the individual who went to North Carolina had no visible symptoms and there is some degree of perplexing evidence in this particular incident.

I do not think we should jump to conclusions. We should continue to support the efforts of our health care workers and of the Ontario government in dealing with this very difficult situation.

Health
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

Mr. Speaker, the economic damage caused by the first WHO travel advisory has been very devastating to Toronto as well as other cities in Canada. It is impossible to estimate the economic damage that a second advisory could cause to Canada and certainly to Toronto.

Considering the economic fallout of another advisory, could the government explain why Canada does not have the strictest screening procedures possible?

Health
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, as I understand it, what is happening in Geneva is that there is a continual watch going on on Canada and there has been no new travel advisory issued for Toronto.

The Minister of Health has been quite forthcoming in the House in talking about the very strict measures that are in place in Canadian airports in dealing with people who leave and who may be suspected of having some problem that could end up to be SARS.

Again I do not think we should jump to conclusions. I do not think we should be precipitous. We should just continue to do the work in a very methodical way to contain the problem.

Health
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

Mr. Speaker, nobody is jumping to conclusions. We want the strictest procedures possible to make sure all Canadians and people visiting us and leaving here are under good care.

SARS has caused a health crisis in Toronto. The WHO travel advisory has resulted in an economic disaster, as I said before. Yet the Liberal government fails to admit that there is an emergency and we see that from the answers from the acting prime minister.

The Ontario government has already spent millions and millions trying to cope with this outbreak, with very little help from the federal government. How can the government justify its position that this is not an emergency?

Health
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the answers that have been given by the Minister of Health and the Prime Minister obviously show the degree of concern the Government of Canada has. Contrary to what the hon. member has said, the federal government has been very supportive of the Ontario government, not just with the provision of personnel but with the provision of moneys.

As the hon. member should know, we are in discussions with the Ontario government. My colleague, the Minister of National Defence, will be meeting his counterpart next week to deal with the matter. We certainly are very cognizant of the damage that is being done. There is one thing that is certain. Unless the health issue is dealt with, then the economic damage will continue, and that is where the priority--

Health
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Peace River.

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Charlie Penson Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, I do not think bringing in the Rolling Stones is going to solve that problem.

It is estimated that by next week, losses to the livestock industry will be over $1 billion due to the BSE scare. The beef industry has rejected the government's latest proposal, saying loans simply are not the answer. As they say, “You cannot borrow yourself out of trouble”.

Now it appears the government is using this disaster to blackmail the provinces into signing its agricultural policy framework. I ask the minister, will the government introduce a comprehensive compensation package outside of the APF?

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, once again the opposition does not have the facts. There has been no proposal put on the table because the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food is meeting with his counterparts in Vancouver today to discuss this very issue and what can be done.

Certainly ministers on this side of the House have been working on this particular matter under the leadership of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food for the last number of days. I am certain that the discussions in Vancouver will help the situation and help deal with the very terrible crisis that is faced by producers and others in the country.

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Charlie Penson Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, that is part of the problem. No proposal will be put on the table. It has been almost a month since this scare started to affect beef producers and it is an economic loss to the livestock industry.

The president of the Canadian Cattlemen's Association says the minister's BSE compensation plan for loan guarantees is like throwing a rock to a drowning man. The industry needs cash, not more debt.

I ask again, will the government commit to an immediate cash injection for the feedlot industry that is losing millions of dollars a day?

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, as I have said, all of these issues are under discussion today in Vancouver.

The hon. member should recognize that the preoccupation of the Government of Canada and the provincial governments and especially my colleague the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food is to deal with the science in this case to ensure that people are well aware that there is no hazard from other animals being infected. The science is now conclusive and is now being analyzed by our friends in the United States. This leads us to some optimism that the border will be opened in the near future.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of Public Works and Government Services said he did not see what the problem was concerning the access to information request from the La Presse reporter who was trying to get some details on the amounts of contracts awarded to TNC Médiacom. The minister's defence was that he did not even see the access to information requests.

How can the Minister of Public Works and Government Services explain that all the difficulties in his department—regardless of who the minister is—are, by sheer chance, related to the sponsorship program and, by sheer chance, always benefit cronies of the regime?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, as I explained yesterday, there have been many requests for information under the access to information process. We have tried our very best to respond to all of them with a great deal of diligence. The information that was under discussion in the House yesterday has in fact been released publicly in a very fulsome way dating back to last year. One ATIP request got misdirected somehow and ended up in a partial answer to one particular reporter.

I repeat again, all of the information that was requested has in fact been released.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Longueuil, QC

Not only are these requests numerous, they also get lost in the department. And the minister tells us he does not see responses to ATIP requests before they go out. Yet, when it comes to requests from the Bloc Quebecois, on which we are still awaiting responses, the department tells us the minister's office needs to see them first.

Contradictions? Cover up? Mistakes? A lot for just one minister. Who is telling the truth? Who is responsible?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member is inviting ministers to read and to rule upon every access to information request, first of all, she is asking us to violate the rules which I will not do, and second, that will simply slow down the process.

The rules for access to information are clearly laid out. When a request comes in, it is responded to by the department. I in no way edit the content.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, what we are asking the minister to do is simply to exercise his ministerial responsibility. But like his predecessors, he does not seem to get it.

Each time something new crops up in the sponsorship affair, deepening the mystery surrounding this program, the minister promises us that he will investigate and put his officials to work on it, but the results are far from satisfying. It is just a smokescreen.

The Minister of Public Works and Government Services can order all the internal investigations he wants and personally investigate the activities of his own department, but will he admit that the only credible kind of investigation would be an independent public inquiry?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I gather that the hon. members have some difficulty with the work of the Auditor General. They must have some difficulty with the work of the RCMP.

Quite frankly, if members are interested in getting to the root of this matter, they would be best advised to rely upon the official and authoritative investigations that are already underway, on the one hand by the Auditor General, and on the other hand by the RCMP.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, everything that happens in this department is kept under wraps, and problems are dealt with in isolation and as they arise. As a result, it is impossible to untangle the political strings and find whoever was behind this affair and could have profited from it. The suspects in this scandal should not be conducting the investigation. We are familiar with the limitations of the RCMP and of the Auditor General.

Will the minister admit, once and for all, that only an independent public inquiry can answer these questions?

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, again, the opposition obviously denigrates the work of the Auditor General and the RCMP.

If there are issues related to the management of public funds, those are exactly the issues that will be looked at by the Auditor General. She is doing that work now, government wide.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Lakeland, AB

She does a great job. You do a lousy job.

Government Contracts
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Wascana, SK

I am glad to hear the opposition saying, at least part of the opposition, saying that the Auditor General does a great job. I hope I hear the same congratulations about the work of the RCMP. It does a great job too and, between the two of them, they will resolve these matters.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, for years the name that symbolized Canada's role in the world was Lester Pearson. Today it risks becoming Alfonso Gagliano. That moves Canada from being a leader to being a laughing stock. Time magazine's cover story on foreign policy asks, “Where has Canada gone?”. Now the United States compares our record in fighting the modern slave trade with that of Rwanda and Bangladesh. That is because the government pays more attention to photo opportunities and patronage than it does to foreign policy.

Why will the government not put Canada's interest and reputation first and simply fire Alfonso Gagliano?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Barrie—Simcoe—Bradford
Ontario

Liberal

Aileen Carroll Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has raised this question before, as have others. The Minister of Foreign Affairs has responded by advising that Ambassador Gagliano is the ambassador of Canada to the Kingdom of Denmark. He will continue to fulfill that function.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, the last formal bilateral meeting between the Prime Minister of Canada and the President of the United States was on September 9, 2002. We know President Bush deliberately cancelled his planned visit here, but the problem goes beyond President Bush.

I put a question on the order paper asking which foreign leaders the Prime Minister spoke to by telephone during a critical five week period in the Iraq crisis. The answer was that he made only 13 calls that included any reference to Iraq. The government would not say who he talked to because “that would be injurious to the conduct of Canada's international affairs”.

The Prime Minister is not doing his job. Why do his colleagues not--

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of Transport.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the right hon. member, as usual, has uttered nonsense in the chamber.

The fact is that it is not the quantity of calls that the Prime Minister engages in, it is the quality, it is the people to whom he speaks, it is the length of those calls and it is the issues that are discussed.

The Prime Minister was fully engaged in the lead up to the war in Iraq. I think that Canadians certainly appreciated the great work that he did to try to forestall that particular invasion and have a peaceful solution under the auspices of the United Nations.

Health
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Libby Davies Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Transport.

Yesterday the WHO criticized Canada's handling of SARS and Toronto again faces the possibility of a travel advisory. In particular, the WHO has criticized the lack of cooperation between Ottawa and the provinces. Yet there is still no health council as promised and there is no announcement on the national public health agency.

Would the minister to explain to us, because he prides himself on being the minister from Toronto, why, after almost four months after SARS hit, the Liberals are still asleep on the job?

Health
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, if anyone is asleep it is the hon. member for not knowing the great work that has been done by Health Canada, Human Resources Canada, the Minister of Industry and other departments in assisting with this very difficult problem.

The opposition seems to want to politicize something that is a terrible crisis in the same way that it is doing with mad cow.

We have to work together as Canadians to deal with these problems. The federal government has been working since day one with the Ontario government and giving it every support.

Health
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

NDP

Libby Davies Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have to say, surely enough of the political rhetoric. To date there has not been one penny in disaster relief for the health costs or for the hospitality industry. Not one Toronto Liberal MP can get the government to wake up, and now the city is facing the possibility of another travel advisory. However, instead of doing their jobs, what are they doing? Instead of responding to the crisis, the Liberals and the Alliance are trying to go on vacation early.

Could the minister responsible for Toronto tell his constituents and us in the House why he deserves a vacation more than the people in Toronto deserve--

Health
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of Transport.

Health
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, thank God the hon. member does not represent a constituency in Toronto because all we would get is this kind of negative rhetoric.

The fact is that the members of Parliament from the greater Toronto area have been in the forefront in helping deal with this particular issue. There have been announcements from the Minister of Industry, from the Minister of Human Resources Development, from the Prime Minister and from the Minister of Health. We are all pulling together to deal with this difficult problem.

I would say to the hon. member that perhaps she should take a summer break away from politicizing something that is a crisis, not just for Toronto but for all of Canada.

Justice
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant McNally Dewdney—Alouette, BC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Liberal chair of the justice committee broke a tie urging the government to allow same sex marriages. This signals that the government is opening the door to changing the definition of marriage by letting the courts make the law.

Will the Minister of Justice assure Canadians that the current definition of marriage will not be changed by unelected judges but will be decided on by Parliament?

Justice
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Malpeque
P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights recommended that the Minister of Justice not seek an appeal to the court's ruling on marriage, and the member has indicated that. This is an important issue for Canadians and the recommendations of the committee and the decisions of courts in three provinces are part of that discussion.

The Minister of Justice indicated publicly yesterday that he will take these issues into consideration and discuss the issue with his cabinet colleagues next week.

Justice
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant McNally Dewdney—Alouette, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canadians want to know where the government is today on that issue. For Parliament to have the final say on the definition of marriage, the government must appeal the lower court rulings allowing same sex marriages so that Parliament makes the final decision on the issue.

In 1999 the House passed a motion defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others. The minister assured Canadians that he would take all necessary steps to preserve this definition.

Why does the minister refuse to take even the first step to preserve the definition of marriage by appealing these court rulings?

Justice
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Malpeque
P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Justice is not like the member opposite who just happens to hear one decision and goes according to that right off the bat.

The Minister of Justice carefully analyzes all the issues surrounding the issue. He has made it very clear that he is willing to look at all points of view and give consideration to those various points of view, discuss his views with his cabinet caucus colleagues next week and make a decision.

Softwood Lumber Industry
Oral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Jocelyne Girard-Bujold Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, the week of May 30 was devastating to the softwood lumber industry. During that time, 34 mills and 2,000 workers were affected in some way by the crisis. Clearly, Quebec's regions are the hardest hit by this situation.

Is this devastation not sufficient to convince the Minister of Industry that he must take immediate action to support this industry by offering loan guarantees, so companies can avoid bankruptcy?

Softwood Lumber Industry
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Dufferin—Peel—Wellington—Grey
Ontario

Liberal

Murray Calder Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, as we have said before to my colleague across the way, we are extremely sensitive to the situation right now within the softwood lumber industry. We have come forward with a $350 million assistance to help them out, $110 million for communities.

The Minister of Industry, the Minister of Natural Resources, the Minister of Human Resources and the Minister for International Trade are monitoring this situation very closely.

Softwood Lumber Industry
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Bloc

Jocelyne Girard-Bujold Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the Chaudière—Appalaches region, represented by the Secretary of State in charge of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, nine mills and 389 jobs were affected during the week of May 30.

How can the Minister of Industry care so little, considering how much the crisis has affected companies and workers, when his hon. colleague's region suffered badly that week?

Softwood Lumber Industry
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Dufferin—Peel—Wellington—Grey
Ontario

Liberal

Murray Calder Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I have to repeat what I have already said to the hon. member. We have a number of government departments involved in this. We are putting forward assistance and we will continue to monitor the situation very closely.

Viking Millennium Celebration
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Strahl Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, here is what we know about Hagar the horrible, the minister responsible for ACOA. He claims he had the sole responsibility to host public receptions for the Viking Millennium celebrations, but both the federal and provincial governments say that is not so.

He then used that responsibility to raise thousands of dollars, all of it sent directly to his home, but then conveniently neglected to actually hold any public receptions and now refuses to give an account on how the money was raised or how it was sent.

Since there are no records to show that the money raised was used for either political or government business, has the Minister of National Revenue started an investigation to see if the minister claimed this money as taxable income?

Viking Millennium Celebration
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is asking about the administration of a constituency association. I can understand his concern with that because of the troubles in his own party. Today's Calgary Herald tells us that the Canadian Alliance fund in Calgary Southwest has cooked books. Now we know why these questions are being asked. It is a lack of transparency in the system that we have improved with Bill C-24 and that the hon. member and his friends have voted against.

Viking Millennium Celebration
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Strahl Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, so far it appears that the only celebration surrounding this minister's money making scheme is when he and his wife opened the envelopes and deposited the cheques in the basement vault.

When the minister responsible for ACOA sent out invoices to his constituents asking them to send money to his home, he told them that he needed the money because “others had backed out of the proceedings”. However now the minister admits that there never were any others involved and that he simply used that as a pretext to make his pyramid letter-writing scheme more convincing.

Since the money was raised under false pretences and since the minister cannot produce a single receipt on either how the money was raised or spent, will the Minister of National Revenue investigate whether it was claimed as personal income?

Viking Millennium Celebration
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, these are ridiculous accusations that should not be said on the floor of the House.

We are talking about a constituency association. He says that the minister sent such letters. The individual in question was not a minister at the time that he is even alleging. These are factually incorrect and I believe they are even out of order. They do not involve the responsibility of the government.

Justice
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Bloc

Richard Marceau Charlesbourg—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights passed a motion in support of broadening marriage to include same-sex couples. The courts have spoken, now Parliament has spoken as well.

Will the government pledge to put an end to its attempts at obstruction and not to appeal the decisions of the courts of appeal of Ontario and British Columbia?

Justice
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Malpeque
P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, as I said earlier, the Minister of Justice is aware of the decision that the House of Commons justice committee made yesterday but I understand it has not reported.

As I also said earlier, this is a very important social issue for Canadians. The Minister of Justice will take all those points into consideration. He has stated publicly that he will review those discussions with his cabinet colleagues before making any decision.

Justice
Oral Question Period

11:40 a.m.

Bloc

Richard Marceau Charlesbourg—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, since Tuesday, many same-sex marriages have been performed. These marriages are perfectly legal and are binding today. The legal situation across Canada is however uncertain, and the federal government must clarify this situation.

When will the government do the right thing by clearly stating that this matter has been resolved, that same-sex couples have the same rights as heterosexual couples throughout Canada and that, from this day forward, they are entitled to marry?

Justice
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Malpeque
P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada and the Minister of Justice take this issue very seriously. The Minister of Justice is not going to make a hasty, off the cuff decision, as I have indicated. He is taking into consideration the points of view of Canadians, of members of the House and of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights and will discuss those points of view with his caucus and cabinet colleagues before making any decision.

Viking Millennium Celebration
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Moore Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canadians must have faith in the cabinet in terms of how it manages the public purse, but when questioned about the fundraising with regard to the Viking commemoration event the Liberal minister for ACOA has given three different answers to how this unfolded.

If the minister cannot give the House and Canadians a straight answer about a straight problem and a straight, clear conflict of interest, how can Canadians trust him to manage a department that has a budget of $1.4 billion?

Viking Millennium Celebration
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the questions being asked are about how a constituency association of a political party has raised funds in the past, how it is receipted, how it pays income tax and so on.

Let me read again what is really behind this:

--an investigation by Canadian Alliance Fund chairman Shawn Rattai into the Calgary Southwest books.

There is trouble in the Alliance Party fundraising. It is trying to bury that by questioning other political parties and neither case, of course, has to do with government policy at all.

Viking Millennium Celebration
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Moore Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, there is a difference between a private organization and a public official using public money under the veil of public office.

The problem with this is that at the time we have a government that is supposed to be cleaning up its scandals, we have a backbench Liberal member of Parliament who engages in behaviour that has a clear appearance of corruption. Then what is the Liberal government and the executives--

Viking Millennium Celebration
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

The Speaker

That is out of order. We will move on. We will have no more. We will deal with it later.

The hon. member for Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik.

The Environment
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of the Environment. Quebec has already begun its public hearings on the environmental assessment of the Lac Kénogami water level regularization project, which has been anxiously awaited by the people of the Saguenay since the terrible floods of 1996. Now the federal government must also hold public hearings on this.

What can be done to avoid any delay in getting this much needed work completed?

The Environment
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Victoria
B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to announce that a draft agreement has been reached with the Quebec Minister of the Environment on the creation of a joint project review panel. The agreement will make it possible for the public review to be a joint undertaking. The best way to avoid any duplication is to ensure full complementarity between the two levels of government, and doing so will enable the tight deadlines to be met.

Public Service
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, unbelievably, the Government of Canada is advertising five jobs in Nova Scotia. In these job descriptions it says “Non-whites must clearly self-identify”. At no time does it ever say that whites must self-identify.

It is obvious that non-whites and whites are being treated differently by the government. No matter what the excuse, racial discrimination should not be allowed and non-whites should never have to self-identify as being not white.

Will the government remove all these offensive references from every publication relating to whites and non-whites now?

Public Service
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has raised this kind of question before and certainly, as he portrays it, there are some troubling aspects to what he is saying. I will certainly bring it to the attention of the President of the Treasury Board.

Public Service
Oral Question Period

11:45 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the tone of that answer very much but the fact of the matter is, this is on a website that people all over the world can read and it says that in Canada we divide our society between non-whites and whites. It is unacceptable. It is awful that we even have to talk about it.

Again, I ask the government to act quickly to remove all references to whites and non-whites from every publication.

Public Service
Oral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I have just said that we will bring this to the attention of the President of the Treasury Board, but I think everyone in this country knows that we have the most multicultural, multiracial society on earth where we all live together in harmony, and that must be reflected in all aspects of society.

This certainly will be brought to the attention of the President of the Treasury Board.

Occupational Health and Safety
Oral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, it has been 11 years since 26 Nova Scotians were killed in the Westray mine disaster.

An exhaustive public inquiry, a decade of pressure by labour and the introduction of three Westray bills by the NDP have finally forced the government to introduce legislation to hold corporations criminally responsible for jeopardizing workers' lives.

Will the government now give the unequivocal commitment that there will be no more foot-dragging and that before the end of 2003, the Westray bill will be fully implemented in this country?

Occupational Health and Safety
Oral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Malpeque
P.E.I.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the bill introduced yesterday on both the Westray disaster and corporate crime would enshrine in legislation a duty for those who direct employees to be responsible.

I want to say as well, in direct response to the member's question, that our sympathies as a government go out to the families of the 26 miners who were lost in the Westray disaster.

The Government of Canada is taking strong action as a result of that disaster so it will not happen again.

Canadian Television
Oral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

NDP

Wendy Lill Dartmouth, NS

Mr. Speaker, this week the heritage committee released a review of the Broadcast Act showing the government's shameful legacy of mismanagement of the Canadian TV system.

One example is the finance minister's announcement of no new money in the budget for the Canadian television fund. Instead, he has decided to borrow $12.5 million from next year's fund.

Will the finance minister today heed the heritage committee's report and its recommendation and restore funding to the CTF, or will he allow Canadian drama to simply wither away?

Canadian Television
Oral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Laval East
Québec

Liberal

Carole-Marie Allard Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I wish to take this opportunity to congratulate all of the members of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage who worked so hard for more than two years to produce this report. My colleague was one of them, and I congratulate her.

As for the future of the Canadian Television Fund, as she is very much aware, there are several possibilities at the present time, and we have had many comments about the need to review governance and fund operations. The Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage has made the same recommendation.

The report will be studied in detail—

Canadian Television
Oral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Prince George—Bulkley Valley.

Viking Millennium Celebration
Oral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Dick Harris Prince George—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, in the Canadian Alliance if we see a problem we investigate it and we fix it. We do not try to cover up like those Liberals over there do.

That money was not spent on the Viking millennium projects; there are no receipts. It was not political contributions; there are no records at the riding level. That could only leave that perhaps it was meant to augment some personal income. So I ask the Minister of National Revenue, will she direct her department to audit the ACOA minister's personal income file and recover any taxes owing on his other income?

Viking Millennium Celebration
Oral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has just admitted in a question that he is asking about something that has nothing to do with the government, by his own admission. Why does he ask questions about the fundraising of political parties, riding associations or anything else that by his own admission has nothing to do with the Government of Canada, by a person who was not a minister of the Government of Canada, by the admission of the question again?

Viking Millennium Celebration
Oral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

The Speaker

Order. The hon. member for Prince George—Bulkley Valley wants to ask a supplementary and it is hard to imagine how he is going to be able to hear the answer to know what to ask with all the noise that is coming from his own side. I would ask for a little order. The hon. member for Prince George—Bulkley Valley has the floor.

Viking Millennium Celebration
Oral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Dick Harris Prince George—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question surrounds some possible tax evasion and I would think that would be of interest to the government. What we have here appears to be a new twist on the underground economy, a new example of how to make extra money and avoid paying taxes on it.

Given the cloud of scandal now hanging over the ACOA minister, will he just step aside today until this whole issue is cleared up?

Viking Millennium Celebration
Oral Question Period

11:50 a.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I know that you are very fair and you have probably allowed more latitude to the opposition within the rules to ask these spurious questions, but I can categorically tell you, Mr. Speaker, that the minister for ACOA is supported by all members on this side of the House, including the Prime Minister, and I reject any allegations made by the hon. members opposite.

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, encouraged by government and others to plant tobacco on their sandy soil at the turn of the last century, Quebec's flue-cured tobacco growers are now facing a situation that has caused the loss of over half their market this year.

Can the Minister of Agriculture confirm what his parliamentary secretary said this week to the flue-cured tobacco producers of Lanaudière region who met with him, namely, that his government is seriously studying the possibility of assisting tobacco growers to explore alternate crops?

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Portneuf
Québec

Liberal

Claude Duplain Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, we met with the Quebec producers this week, and the hon. member was with me. What was said was that, within the strategic framework, measures could be taken, possibly, to help the tobacco producers. That was what was said.

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, the strategic framework contains no guarantee that a program will apply. Instead of just being open to the possibility, can the minister commit to creating a specific program tailored to the tobacco growers, if there is no suitable existing program, so that they can find alternate crops?

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Portneuf
Québec

Liberal

Claude Duplain Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, I cannot make such a commitment on behalf of the minister—that much is certain. But what I am saying, and it is true, is that within the strategic framework there are programs to help tobacco growers who will work with the department's officials on finding ways to diversify their crops, in both Quebec and Ontario.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, the large planes this government is planning to rent to move Canadian military equipment are both unreliable and dangerous. Seventy-five Spanish peacekeepers were recently killed when one of these rented Ukrainian planes crashed. Families of those killed were so upset they shouted “murderer” at the Spanish prime minister and defence minister as they attended the funeral mass.

Why would this government rent such unreliable and dangerous planes rather than purchasing our own reliable strategic airlift planes?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, there are only two NATO countries that have that internal lift capacity: the United States and the United Kingdom. All of the other NATO allies rely upon other strategic arrangements, and the Minister of National Defence has indicated in cooperation with other nations in NATO that we are in fact examining these capabilities to make sure that our troops can be carried in a timely and safe manner.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canada could be the third. Why will this government not recognize that? The fact is, the cost for Canada to rent airlift for the Afghanistan mission will probably be much higher than if we had owned or leased our own planes to do the job. In the long run, owning or leasing would save money and ensure the planes are there when we need them.

Why would the government choose the high cost, high risk option rather than doing what is best for Canada and best for our military?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, doing what is best for Canada and best for the military are always at the top of the government's agenda. In fact, what we are looking for here is the most cost effective way to provide the service that is needed. The hon. gentleman assumes a certain course is better and the other one is worse. We are prepared to look at the alternatives and make sure that we get the best.

Canadian Heritage
Oral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

Eugène Bellemare Ottawa—Orléans, ON

Mr. Speaker, thousands of Canadians are interested in researching their family tree. Can the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage inform the House of the new tools available to Canadians to help them conduct their search?

Canadian Heritage
Oral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Laval East
Québec

Liberal

Carole-Marie Allard Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to inform the House that, since March, Canadians and other genealogy buffs have access to a goldmine of information called the Canadian Genealogy Centre. Just visit www.archives.ca.

Mr. Speaker, as you already know, there are 43 references between 1925 and 1935 to the name Milliken in Immigration Canada's database.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Keith Martin Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has been repeatedly arrested and rearrested and his followers raped, murdered and tortured, all this for simply protesting against the thuggish regime of Robert Mugabe.

Why has our government refused to strongly and publicly condemn Robert Mugabe for these actions and call for the release of Morgan Tsvangirai and his followers?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

Noon

Barrie—Simcoe—Bradford
Ontario

Liberal

Aileen Carroll Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada shares the concerns of the hon. member, very much so.

We remain very concerned about the situation there. We are doing our utmost within the Commonwealth. We have been very active in other multilateral forums. The Minister of Foreign Affairs operates with bilaterals where he can. It is simply not something that there is an easy solution to. Speaking out and condemning accomplishes very little. Actions accomplish more, and this government is engaged on Zimbabwe.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

Noon

Canadian Alliance

Keith Martin Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, what the government is doing is condemning the people of Zimbabwe to death. Unless it acts these people are going to be murdered, as they are being murdered right now as we speak.

The government talks big and acts very little. I spoke about a responsibility to protect. The government wanted to make the African agenda a centrepiece of its so-called legacy but it is not working. We are not saving lives.

My question is simple. Will the government strongly denounce Mugabe for gross crimes against humanity and call for his indictment for the crimes against humanity that he is participating in right now?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

Noon

Barrie—Simcoe—Bradford
Ontario

Liberal

Aileen Carroll Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

As I have said, Mr. Speaker, we have been supporting and are very actively supporting multilateral action to respond to the human rights crisis that has been described.

However, we cannot think of bringing Robert Mugabe before the ICC, as the hon. member knows, because it has no jurisdiction. Mr. Mugabe cannot be indicted by the court in the absence of a UN Security Council resolution calling for the ICC action. This is known to the hon. member, and again we are hearing rhetoric at a time when the information required is well known.

Mining
Oral Question Period

Noon

Bloc

Serge Cardin Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, at the time the last federal budget was brought down, the Mining Association of Canada said that, in the end, eliminating the resource allowance would lead to a definite increase in taxes paid by the mining industry. The federal government has once again shown how little consideration it has for regions like Abitibi, where the economy is largely dependent on mining.

Is the minister aware that these new fiscal measures, far from helping the industry and the communities that depend on mining, are imposing an increase on the average amount of tax paid, particularly by gold and copper mines?

Mining
Oral Question Period

Noon

Vaughan—King—Aurora
Ontario

Liberal

Maurizio Bevilacqua Secretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for his question. We actually engaged in a discussion with the resources industry sector precisely to improve the tax system to make it more efficient and effective and take the types of measures that speak to economic growth. When we speak about economic growth, it also speaks about economic growth for the areas the hon. member just mentioned.

Fisheries
Oral Question Period

Noon

Progressive Conservative

Loyola Hearn St. John's West, NL

Mr. Speaker, the recent closing of the Atlantic fishery has left a lot of people out of work. The instability makes sure that many plant workers will not even qualify for employment insurance this winter. We need a long term focused plan to address this overall problem, but in the interim we need a short term fix.

Will the minister responsible for ACOA assure us that he will deal with the Minister of Human Resources Development and the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to ensure that these people are looked after this fall while we are putting a long term plan in place?

Fisheries
Oral Question Period

Noon

Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte
Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Gerry Byrne Minister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency)

Mr. Speaker, at the time of the closure of the cod fishery in Atlantic Canada and Quebec, the Government of Canada announced a short term program to provide income supplementation.

In addition to that, we also announced that we will be working on long term measures to be able to stabilize communities over the long term and provide benefits to those communities and individuals that will be affected. In addition to that, we recently announced an income bridging program to be able to provide some income to those affected workers while those programs were put in place.

We are interested in dealing with a wide variety of programs to be able to put in place a good comprehensive strategy for Atlantic Canadian and Quebec fishers and plant workers.

Housing
Oral Question Period

Noon

NDP

Libby Davies Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, thousands of British Columbians are living in leaky housing co-ops and face building envelope failure, unhealthy moulds and fungi. To add insult to injury, they have had to deal with a federal agency, CMHC, that has been incredibly difficult to deal with.

Will the minister responsible for housing and CMHC ensure that fair financial help is available to these families, who are tired of fighting? Will he commit that they will not face eviction and that their homes will be fixed and they will be healthy to live in? Will he do that?

Housing
Oral Question Period

12:05 p.m.

Mississauga West
Ontario

Liberal

Steve Mahoney Secretary of State (Selected Crown Corporations)

Mr. Speaker, our government, in cooperation with the province of British Columbia, invested $27.7 million to help people with leaky co-ops and leaky condos in British Columbia. We are well aware of the serious nature of this problem. In fact, we are working and talking with the federal co-op foundation to find other ways to help these folks so they can live in homes that are healthy and comfortable for their families.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

12:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gurmant Grewal Surrey Central, BC

Mr. Speaker, a local Canadian Sikh was forced by passport officials to remove his turban in order to speed up his application and arrive in India in time for his mother's funeral. In another case, a lady was forced to remove her dupatta for passport pictures.

Sikhs' turbans are religious articles of faith. Canadian Sikhs have been battling prejudice and discrimination for years. Will the Liberal government and the foreign affairs minister give clear instructions to the passport department so that Canadian Sikhs will not face humiliation during future visits to the passport office?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Question Period

12:05 p.m.

Barrie—Simcoe—Bradford
Ontario

Liberal

Aileen Carroll Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, in no way was this a matter of discrimination, nor are there any matters that relate to the issue that has been brought forward that stem from discrimination. It is a longstanding policy on the part of the department that when a person has a passport picture taken nothing must be worn to obscure the accuracy of that photo. In the event where headgear or something is integral to religious belief, it is asked that proof of that person's religious affiliation be brought to the department. In this case it was not, and therefore that exception was not applied.

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

12:05 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, farmers are exasperated by the federal government's inability to defend their interests. Tomorrow, in Saint-Hyacinthe, farmers will be meeting with the Liberal Party leadership candidates to remind them that they are still waiting for support measures for the cattle industry, which has been hard hit by the U.S. embargo.

While the crisis continues and the investigation is at a standstill, can the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food assure us that he will not use this crisis to shove his policy framework down the throats of Quebec farmers?

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

12:05 p.m.

Portneuf
Québec

Liberal

Claude Duplain Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, I have been saying this for a long time. The Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food would never want to use this case to get the policy framework signed.

I would like to thank the hon. member for his question because I would like to reiterate what the Minister of Transport said earlier. Currently, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food is in discussion with his provincial counterparts in Vancouver in order to address the whole cattle crisis.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

12:05 p.m.

Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte
Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Gerry Byrne Minister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency)

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of personal privilege.

Today in question period there were several statements that were made in questions that were asked that had no relation to my role and administrative duties as the minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. In fact there were several statements made in question period today by the members opposite from the Canadian Alliance, that were absolutely incorrect and for which I would seek redress.

The fact of the matter is that every member of the House is also part of a political process, a political party, and has riding associations and riding offices that basically deal with the political process. Quite frankly, what has been said here on the floor of the House of Commons today is that these activities were done while I was Minister of State responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. That is categorically not true. In fact, we all have a role to play in this, but unfortunately the role that the Canadian Alliance is playing right now is just simply to try to malign my character with absolutely incorrect information. It is completely out of order.

I ask you, Mr. Speaker, to hear my point of personal privilege. The facts of the matter are that these funds were raised through the riding association. They had the full support of the riding association. That has been stated publicly and these are completely outside of my jurisdiction, my role as a Minister of State. In fact, every action that I have taken as a cabinet minister is completely consistent with the rules and the guidelines. I followed every rule and every guideline that was required of me as a member of Parliament and as a Minister of State.

Quite frankly, we know that members opposite do not practise what they preach. We also know that they do not disclose information, that they do not publish their riding associations' accounts on their websites. This is a matter that is basically done internally in their riding associations. That is the way it is done with the 1,200 riding associations or more throughout the entire country. To make these scurrilous accusations of one member of Parliament, they should look at themselves before they start making such comments.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

12:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, on the alleged point of privilege raised by the minister, I heard him make no specific denials. I heard him make several general accusations against members of Parliament, unnamed or unknown.

A factor to be borne in mind here is that it has been during his conduct as Minister of State that he has issued statements about this affair that were contradictory in several matters. I understand the point that he is trying to make, that these transgressions occurred before he was a minister of the Crown. The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration has made the same kind of attempt to avoid responsibility for his actions. Whatever he did as a private member, it is clear that as a minister he has been engaged in his role as minister in issuing contradictory statements that made it more difficult for the House of Commons to come to a clearer knowledge of the facts in question. That, sir, is a ministerial breach in which the House has a very--

Privilege
Oral Question Period

12:10 p.m.

The Speaker

Order. I will hear very briefly from the hon. member for Fraser Valley on this point.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

12:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Strahl Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, very briefly, certainly the member has raised some issues of serious concern. He feels his privileges have been compromised. I would agree it is serious. If he feels that way, I am prepared to move the appropriate motion to refer this matter to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, and the committee will deal with it properly there.

Privilege
Oral Question Period

12:10 p.m.

The Speaker

I think we have had enough discussion on this. It is obviously a matter of grievance. The Chair was concerned and expressed its concern once during question period about the preambles to the hon. members' questions. The questions in most cases were in order at the end, but the preambles contained various allegations that were irrelevant to the question that was asked, and certainly would be understandably offensive to the hon. Minister of State who has stood up and expressed his objections to that. I am sure hon. members will have noted his objections, if they could hear them over the yelling that was going on.

In the circumstances, we will leave the matter there and move on.

Business of the House
Oral Question Period

12:10 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, there have been further consultations among House leaders and I believe you would unanimous consent for the following motion. I move:

That, if at any time that the House stands adjourned during June, July, August and September, 2003, the Standing Committee on Health has ready a report, when that report is deposited with the Clerk of the House, it shall be deemed to have been duly presented to the House.

As I said, we have consulted with all parties and I understand that there is some work that will take several days before the report is ready and the committee feels that it should be made available to Canadians at that time.

Business of the House
Oral Question Period

12:10 p.m.

The Speaker

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Business of the House
Oral Question Period

12:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

(Motion agreed to)

Privilege
Oral Question Period

12:10 p.m.

The Speaker

I am now prepared to rule on the question of privilege raised on May 27, 2003 by the hon. member for Calgary—Nose Hill concerning statements made by the hon. Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.

The hon. member charged that the minister had deliberately misled the House and the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration. I would like to thank the hon. member for Calgary--Nose Hill for having raised the matter, as well as the hon. Minister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, the hon. members for St. John's West, Laval Centre and West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, as well as the parliamentary secretary to the government House leader, for their remarks on this point.

The hon. member for Calgary--Nose Hill in bringing this issue to the attention of the House, alleged that the hon. Minister of Citizenship and Immigration had deliberately misled the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration in testimony that he gave before the committee. In support of her allegation, the hon. member cited findings included in a court ruling which was later upheld by the Federal Court of Appeal.

In addition, the hon. member for Calgary--Nose Hill maintained that on three occasions the hon. minister had an opportunity in the House to correct the erroneous statements he had made before the committee and each time failed to do so. I refer hon. members to Debates , February 24, 2003, page 3909; February 25, 2003, pages 3984-85; and February 26, 2003, pages 4040-41.

The government House leader has indicated that he regarded this as no more than a difference of opinion. He indicated that if the hon. member for Calgary—Nose Hill was unsatisfied with the answers that the minister had provided, she had the opportunity to seek clarification by raising the issue during the debate on the adjournment proceedings, our late show.

The hon. members for St. John's West, Laval Centre and West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast in their interventions were all in agreement that the proper course of action when a misleading statement has been made is for the member responsible to acknowledge the error and retract the statement.

Finally, the parliamentary secretary to the government House leader asserted that neither the hon. minister nor departmental officials had ever misled the committee. He claimed that the information provided by them had been the most reliable that was available at the time.

A charge of deliberately misleading the House or one of its committees is a very serious matter and as Speaker, I always regard questions of this type as having great importance. They reflect not only on the members concerned but on the House itself. I know that members on both sides of the House appreciate the gravity of such a charge. House of Commons Procedure and Practice , p. 87, points out that deliberately misleading members impedes them in the performance of their parliamentary duties and consequently obstructs the House itself.

In raising her question of privilege, the hon. member for Calgary--Nose Hill did not identify any particular statements of the hon. Minister of Citizenship and Immigration as deliberately misleading. Instead, she made reference to a decision of Mr. Justice Kelen rendered on February 21, 2003, in which the finding is made that information given to the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration was misleading. I should point out that the court did not conclude that the statement was made deliberately to mislead or that there was any conscious attempt to obstruct either the committee or the House.

As I noted, the parliamentary secretary to the government House leader, in his remarks, indicated that the minister and his officials provided the committee with the best information available to them at the time. To date, no report concerning the testimony of the minister or his officials has been presented by the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration. It would be inappropriate for me to comment on the committee's proceedings in the absence of such a report.

With respect to the minister’s statements in the House, the emphasis seems to be more on what was not said than on the contents of the remarks themselves.

Our practice requires that, when charges are made against members, the evidence on which those charges are made must be presented in the House. It is the House itself, and not the courts or other outside bodies, which is ultimately responsible for upholding its privileges and judging charges of contempt against its members. In the case before us, the hon. member for Calgary—Nose Hill has not laid out explicitly the basis for her charge. Even the court decisions to which she has referred, while they speak of misleading remarks, do not contend that there was an intent to mislead.

No information has been provided to the Chair concerning whether or not new or more accurate information became available to the minister at a later date. In any event, while such information might have a bearing on the accuracy of earlier statements, I believe it would not, by itself, be conclusive regarding an intent to mislead the standing committee. Similarly, statements made, or not made, by the minister during question period are open to various interpretations different than the interpretation given by the hon. member for Calgary--Nose Hill.

Given the differing views of the nature of the remarks made by the minister and his officials, it is difficult for the Chair to regard the matter as anything other than debate.

I am unable to find a basis on which the charge of a prima facie breach of privilege could be regarded as having been established in this case.

Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act
Oral Question Period

12:20 p.m.

The Speaker

It is my duty pursuant to section 23(1) of the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act to lay upon the table the report of the Electoral Boundaries Commission for Manitoba with an addendum dated June 2, 2003, which disposes of the objections raised by members of the House of Commons, and the report of the Electoral Boundaries Commission for New Brunswick, with an addendum dated May 23, 2003, which disposes of the objections raised by members of the House of Commons.

Government On-Line: 2003
Routine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

Niagara Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Tony Tirabassi Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, in order to inform parliamentarians and Canadians about the significant progress that has been made on the government online initiative, on behalf of the President of the Treasury Board, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the second government-wide GOL report, entitled “Government On-Line: 2003”.

Government Response to Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

Halifax West
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to one petition.

I know that the hon. member for Mississauga South would want me to read it but I want to tell him that it is a bit long and so maybe next time.

Income Tax Act
Routine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria for the Minister of Finance

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-48, an act to amend the Income Tax Act (natural resources).

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the eighth report of the Standing Committee on Official Languages.

Pursuant to Standing Order 108(3)( f ), the committee reviewed francophone audiovisual production in minority environments, and agreed, on Thursday June 12, 2003, to report its findings and recommendations to the House.

The report contains three recommendations. The first calls on the government to re-establish, indeed even increase, its contribution to Canadian television production and confirm it for the next five years. It also recommends the creation of a special envelope for francophone production outside Quebec and finally, it recommends that the government thoroughly review both the administration and the structure of the Canadian Television Fund. The report also contains a dissenting opinion.

We are asking the government to reply to the report within the time limits prescribed by the rules of the House.

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

Jacques Saada Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present the 40th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs relating to the inclusion of a code of conduct in the Standing Orders of the House of Commons.

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

Roy Cullen Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fifth report of the Standing Committee on Finance on Bill C-212, coincidentally my private member's bill, an act respecting user fees.

This bill requires more oversight of Parliament when user fees are introduced or increased. It calls for an independent dispute resolution process, the need for greater stakeholder participation in the fee setting process, the requirement for comprehensive stakeholder impact and competitiveness analysis and the establishment of standards by departments and agencies which they must adhere to when they collect a user fee.

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

Reg Alcock Winnipeg South, MB

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour of presenting, in both official languages, the fourth report of the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates. This is a completely unanimous report, with the full support of all members representing all parties.

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

Bonnie Brown Oakville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fourth report of the Standing Committee on Health regarding the availability of animal sourced insulins for diabetics.

Pursuant to Standing Order 109, your committee requests that the government provide a comprehensive response within 150 days of the tabling of the report in the House.

Criminal Code
Routine Proceedings

12:25 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Moore Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-444, an act to amend the Criminal Code (weapons trafficking).

Mr. Speaker, this is my second of two private member's bill that I am introducing this week as a response to the government's inadequate response with regard to firearms laws in the country.

The bill I introduced on Tuesday bans gun ownership for life for anybody convicted of a violent crime. The bill I am introducing today doubles the minimum sentence and dramatically increases the maximum sentence available for anybody caught illegally trafficking in weapons and ammunition in and out of our country.

This is the kind of step that goes in the right direction, and the kind of stuff the Liberals do not do the Canadian Alliance will do to save and protect Canadians.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Public Safety Officers Compensation Act
Routine Proceedings

12:25 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-445, an act respecting the provision of compensation to public safety officers who lost their lives while on duty.

Mr. Speaker, so dramatically shown on September 11, 2001, police officers and firefighters rush in to help while others flee for safety and when one of them loses their life in the line of duty, we all mourn that loss.

Accordingly, this bill seeks to establish a public safety officers compensation fund for the benefit of families of public safety officers who are killed in the line of duty.

I therefore look forward to working with all hon. colleagues to demonstrate the esteem in which all Canadians hold our public safety officers.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Public Safety Officers Compensation Act
Routine Proceedings

12:25 p.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I ask unanimous consent for the following motion: That when the House adjourns this day, it shall stand adjourned until September 15, 2003 provided that, for the purpose of any Standing Order it shall be deemed to stand adjourned pursuant to Standing Order 28.

Public Safety Officers Compensation Act
Routine Proceedings

12:25 p.m.

The Speaker

Does the hon. government House leader have the unanimous consent of the House to move this motion?

Public Safety Officers Compensation Act
Routine Proceedings

12:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Public Safety Officers Compensation Act
Routine Proceedings

12:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

No

Business of the House
Routine Proceedings

12:25 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, under motions, pursuant to Standing Order 56.1, I move:

That, when the House adjourns this day, it shall stand adjourned until September 15, 2003 provided that, for the purpose of any Standing Order, it shall be deemed to stand adjourned pursuant to Standing Order 28.

Business of the House
Routine Proceedings

12:25 p.m.

The Speaker

Will those members who object to the motion please rise in their places.

And fewer than 25 members having risen:

Business of the House
Routine Proceedings

12:25 p.m.

The Speaker

Fewer than 25 members having risen, the motion is adopted.

(Motion agreed to)

Business of the House
Routine Proceedings

12:25 p.m.

The Speaker

Before the hon. House leader rises on a point of order, there will be a reception for all hon. members in room 216 starting at about 1 o'clock, if that is satisfactory to hon. members.

The hon. government House leader and all hon. members are, of course, invited.

Business of the House
Routine Proceedings

12:25 p.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, I wish to designate Tuesday, September 16 as an allotted day.

May I take this opportunity to wish my very best to all hon. members for the summer, to you, Mr. Speaker, to the staff of the House of Commons and indeed, and no doubt you will do so yourself, to all our pages who have served us so well and all other employees.

Business of the House
Routine Proceedings

12:25 p.m.

The Speaker

I hope hon. members will have a chance to speak to some of the pages at the reception.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have three groups of petitions that I would like to present today.

The first has to do with marriage. The petitioners say that marriage is the best foundation for families and the raising of children and that the institution of marriage is between a man and a woman, and that is being challenged.

The petitioners therefore ask that Parliament to pass legislation to recognize the institution of marriage as being between a man and a woman.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, the second group of petitions is on child pornography. The petitioners call for the House of Commons to say that the use of child pornography is condemned clearly by all Canadians.

They therefore call upon Parliament to protect our children by taking the necessary steps to ensure that all materials which promote and glorify pedophilia or sado-masochistic activities involving children are outlawed.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Lakeland, AB

Madam Speaker, the third group is on the issue of stem cell research.

The petitioners say that thousands of Canadians suffer from debilitating illnesses such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, diabetes, cancer and so on, and that there is a lot of potential to provide cures through stem cell research.

They call on Parliament to refuse the use of embryonic stem cells and to focus instead on adult stem cell research which can provide cures for these diseases.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:30 p.m.

Liberal

Joe McGuire Egmont, PE

Madam Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36 my petitioners wish to call upon Parliament to focus its legislative support on adult stem cell research to find the cures and therapies necessary to treat the illnesses and diseases of suffering Canadians, diseases and illnesses such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, diabetes, cancer, muscular dystrophy and spinal cord injury.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rahim Jaffer Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Madam Speaker, I am happy to present a petition today on behalf of Canadians who want their right of informed freedom of choice and access to non-drug medicinal products of their own choosing. As well, the petitioners would like the clarification of the current vague definitions of food and drugs in the outdated 1927-1952 Food and Drugs Act by enacting Bill C-420, an act to amend the Food and Drugs Act.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:30 p.m.

Liberal

Andrew Telegdi Kitchener—Waterloo, ON

Madam Speaker, I have a number of petitions, starting with a petition signed by 76 people, calling upon Parliament to maintain the law on marriage as being a lifelong union of one man and woman to the exclusion of all others.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:30 p.m.

Liberal

Andrew Telegdi Kitchener—Waterloo, ON

Madam Speaker, the second petition deals with child pornography.

The petitioners call on Parliament to protect our children by taking all necessary steps to ensure that raw materials which promote or glorify pedophilia and sado-masochistic activities involving children are outlawed.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:30 p.m.

Liberal

Andrew Telegdi Kitchener—Waterloo, ON

Madam Speaker, the last petition is from the rural route mail couriers. The petitioners call upon Parliament to allow for collective bargaining and to repeal subsection 13(5) of the Canada Post Corporation Act.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Ted White North Vancouver, BC

Madam Speaker, I rise to present a petition on behalf of John and Barbara Stuart and 92 others in which they draw the attention of the House to the following.

The addition of sexual orientation as an explicitly protected category under section 318 and 319 of the Criminal Code of Canada could lead to individuals being unable to exercise their religious freedom as protected under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and to express their moral and religious doctrines regarding homosexuality without fear of criminal prosecution.

The current provisions of the Criminal Code of Canada can be effective in preventing true threats against individuals or groups without changes to section 318 and 319 of the code.

Therefore the petitioners call upon Parliament to protect the rights of Canadians to be free to share their religious beliefs without fear of prosecution.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jay Hill Prince George—Peace River, BC

Madam Speaker, it is my pleasure and privilege as member of Parliament for Prince George—Peace River to present two groups of petitions today.

The first consists of three petitions containing hundreds of name from Pouce Coupe, Dawson Creek, Chetwynd and Fort St. John in my riding, as well as Mississauga, Markham, Newmarket and even from that small city of Toronto.

The petitioners note that divorce can have a very detrimental effect on children if they are prevented from having meaningful relationships with both parents, grandparents and siblings. An equal shared parenting role for both spouses after divorce would be in the best interests of the child. They are calling upon Parliament to pass legislation to incorporate into the Divorce Act an equal shared parenting role for both parents following separation and guaranteed access to grandparents and siblings, as dictated by the best interests of the child.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jay Hill Prince George—Peace River, BC

Madam Speaker, my second group consists of two petitions primarily from Prince George in my riding, but also from Fort St. John, Charlie Lake and the surrounding area. It deals with the issue of marriage, which is certainly a hot topic right now. The petitioners note that marriage is the best foundation for families and for the raising of children.

The House passed a motion in June 1999 that called for marriage to continue to be recognized as the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others. Therefore, the petitioners call upon Parliament to pass legislation to recognize the institution of marriage in federal law as being a lifelong union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Scott Reid Lanark—Carleton, ON

Madam Speaker, today I am presenting a petition on behalf of a number of constituents from several ridings close to my own in Ontario. These are petitions that were circulated by members of provincial parliaments, specifically Marcel Beaubien and Bob Runciman. They relate to the question of gun control and particularly the firearms long gun registry.

The petitioners draw to the attention of the House of Commons the wild cost overruns in the firearms registry, which they regard as turning the long gun registry into a metaphor for government waste. They also draw to the attention of the House of Commons the complete ineffectiveness of the firearms registry in keeping firearms out of the hands of criminals. This relates to the issue of property rights.

Madam Speaker, I wanted to mention as well, because this is our last day in the House of Commons before the House rises, that I hope you personally and all my colleagues have a very good summer this year.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:35 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Halifax West, NS

Madam Speaker, as you know, ministers are unable to present petitions in the House. Therefore, on behalf of my hon. colleague, the member for Elgin—Middlesex—London, I am pleased to present a number of petitions.

The first group of petitions call upon Parliament to take all measures necessary to protect the rights of Canadians to freely share their religious and moral beliefs without fear of prosecution.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:35 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Halifax West, NS

Madam Speaker, the next group of petitions is regarding Iraq. The petitioners request that Parliament resolve that Canada continue to insist that the UN authorize inspections for weapons of mass destruction and that they be conducted without any undue haste.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:35 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Halifax West, NS

Madam Speaker, the next group of petitions calls upon Parliament to pass legislation to recognize the institution of marriage as being the lifelong union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.

Madam Speaker, the next group of petitions calls upon Parliament to use the notwithstanding clause to protect marriage.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:35 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Halifax West, NS

Madam Speaker, the next group of petitions calls upon Parliament to support adult stem cell research.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:35 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Halifax West, NS

Madam Speaker, the last group of petitions calls upon Parliament to protect our children by taking all necessary steps to ensure that all materials which promote or glorify pedophilia or sado-masochistic activities involving children are outlawed.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:35 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Madam Speaker, I literally have a tonnne of petitions, with thousands of signatures, that I wish to table in the hope that the government will pay attention to them over the recess.

The first petition is stating total opposition to any participation by Canada in Bush's dangerous missile defence program and calling upon Canada to play a more proactive role in the fight for nuclear disarmament and the total banning of missile defence flights.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:40 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Madam Speaker, I take pleasure in tabling a second petition calling for the full implementation of the Romanow commission recommendations to ensure that our health care system remains firmly rooted in the universal public not for profit principles so valued by Canadians.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:40 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Madam Speaker, my third petition is signed by well over a thousand Canadians. They are requesting that Parliament take specific action to stop the imprisonment and deportation, without cause, of Canadian citizens by other countries to a country of previous citizenship.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:40 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Madam Speaker, my last petition, with literally tens of thousands of signatures, declares Bush's invasion of Iraq unjust, immoral and illegal. It urges Canada to reinforce its traditional role as a broker of peace, and continue to respect and uphold the authority of the UN charter and international law in the context of the Iraqi war, which goes on killing.

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

12:40 p.m.

Halifax West
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

12:40 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

12:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

12:40 p.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Madam Speaker, I believe that if you were to seek unanimous consent, the House would be disposed to call it 1:30 p.m. in order to move to private members' hour.

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

12:40 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

12:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

12:40 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)

It being 1:30 p.m., the House will now proceed to the consideration of private members' business as listed on today's Order Paper.

The House proceeded to the consideration of Bill C-205, an act to amend the Statutory Instruments Act (disallowance procedure for regulations), as reported (without amendment) from the committee.

Statutory Instruments Act
Private Members' Business

12:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gurmant Grewal Surrey Central, BC

moved that Bill C-205, an act to amend the Statutory Instruments Act (disallowance procedure for statutory instruments), be concurred in at report stage.

Statutory Instruments Act
Private Members' Business

12:40 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Statutory Instruments Act
Private Members' Business

12:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

(Motion agreed to)

Statutory Instruments Act
Private Members' Business

12:40 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)

When shall the bill be read the third time? By leave now?

Statutory Instruments Act
Private Members' Business

12:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Statutory Instruments Act
Private Members' Business

12:40 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gurmant Grewal Surrey Central, BC

moved that the bill be read the third time and passed.

Madam Speaker, on behalf of the constituents of Surrey Central I appreciate the opportunity to conclude the third hour debate on Bill C-205, an act to amend the Statutory Instruments Act concerning disallowance procedure for statutory instruments, commonly called regulations.

I would like to thank my hon. colleague from Vancouver Island North for seconding my bill. I am proud to recognize that Bill C-205 is the work of the collective efforts of members of all parties in the House as well as senators, particularly those who now sit on the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations which I had the honour to chair. I would like to thank my co-chair, members and the staff of the scrutiny committee for their support and input on the bill.

I would also like to thank the hon. member for Nanaimo--Alberni for allowing me this opportunity by giving away his spot scheduled for today in exchange for my bill.

While I am thanking everyone, I would also like to thank the staff of the House who helped me in the drafting of the bill. I highly appreciate the efforts made by everyone who was involved in the bill, particularly all the House leaders who were very cooperative on the bill. I am feeling very lucky that the bill will soon become law. I appreciate the cooperation I sought from members and senators.

For the people who are watching, disallowance is one of the traditional means at the disposal of a legislature to control the making of delegated legislation by giving legislators an opportunity to reject a subordinate law made by a delegate of Parliament. The disallowance procedure has been in existence in other Commonwealth jurisdictions for many years. This bill is intended to provide a legislative framework for a similar procedure at the federal level in Canada.

The bill would provide, first, a legislative basis for the procedure that is currently set out in our standing orders, so we will have a legislative footing for the disallowance procedure; and second, it would extend the application of that procedure to regulations made by persons or bodies other than the governor in council or ministers of the Crown.

In other words, all regulations in Canada would be reviewed and scrutinized by the standing joint committee or by the authority of Parliament through that committee. All regulations would be under the scrutiny and review of the elected officials in Parliament.

The Parliament of Canada is the source of all legislative authority, In fact, that authority is delegated not only to the governor in council and ministers, but also to various other regulation making authorities such as the CRTC, Canadian Transportation Agency, and many other agencies and boards.

When those agencies exercise that delegated authority to make regulations, those entities are exercising a power that finds its source in the House of Commons and in Parliament. Parliament, therefore, has not only a right but a responsibility to control the exercise of those powers which are delegated to it.

Effective parliamentary scrutiny must be accompanied by effective parliamentary control. That effective parliamentary control was not there before. This was not always the case for many years, since regulations have been subject to parliamentary oversight and scrutiny for almost three decades. The gap was partly addressed in 1986 when the government of the day agreed to be bound by standing orders providing for a disallowance procedure.

However, because of the non-legislative nature of our standing orders, the current procedure could not deal with a portion of the regulations subject to parliamentary review and scrutiny.

As everyone knows, of all the laws we see in this country, 80% of that law comes through the back door by way of regulations, and 20% we legislate in this House. All the bills that we passionately debate and vote for are about only about 20% of the total complement. So the significance of this bill is huge, and moreover, the statutory instruments in fact affect every Canadian. As we wake up in the morning and have coffee or cereal for breakfast, there are regulations which govern them. For everything every Canadian does in a day, I am sure there is some sort of impact of regulations. Moreover, for businesses the compliance costs for the regulatory burden, commonly called red tape, is huge. It is estimated to be about $113 billion. It is a huge cost to businesses.

Regulations have huge implications on the day to day life of Canadians. Moreover, there is a huge demand and need for regulatory reform in Canada and I am sure that we will be working on it. There is a need for moving from red tape to smart tape and from smart tape to smart government. For regulations where there is any overlap or anything like that, we have to reform them.

I will not take much time but I want to mention a couple of facts. When the current procedure was first implemented in 1986, it was stated that it was to be an experiment, with its success leading to a statutory disallowance procedure. The experiment has been a success, and after ignoring this for many years, this success justifies us in extending the scope of the disallowance procedure in order that parliamentary control coincides fully with parliamentary scrutiny. This can only be achieved by means of legislation. That is what Bill C-205 is going to do.

More than three decades after the enactment of the Statutory Instruments Act, I believe that the time has come for the Parliament of Canada to give itself the means to ensure the democratic control of federal delegated legislation. If my bill is passed, this legislation would be a major historic milestone in restoring accountability and democratic and parliamentary reforms for which my party, the Canadian Alliance, has been asking for a very long time. Placing the current disallowance procedure on a statutory footing will make it possible to close the gap between parliamentary scrutiny and parliamentary control. It will also ensure that the procedure is legally effective.

Bill C-205 is intended to ensure that parliamentarians are in a position to exercise their responsibility for the effective oversight of the exercise of legislative powers they entrust to various delegates. This bill will restore democracy to the system rather than having bureaucrats controlling regulations that affect all aspects of Canadians' lives.

The procedure set out in Bill C-205 for the reform of the current disallowance procedure has been endorsed by the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations. The concerns raised earlier by some members have already been accommodated since they did not go to the principles of the bill but rather to some perceived practical difficulties.

I see that the government House leader is very anxious to have this bill go to the Senate, so I would like to conclude that a consensus has been reached among all members of the committee and the House leaders of all parties. I can assure the members that the bill is now absolutely ready to be sent for the next step. I urge and ask all members to give their unanimous consent to send this bill to the other House for it to be enacted into law. I thank members in advance for their support of this important initiative.

Since I am the last speaker before we adjourn, I wish you, Madam Speaker, and all the members of this House a wonderful summer recess break.

Statutory Instruments Act
Private Members' Business

12:50 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)

Is the House ready for the question?

Statutory Instruments Act
Private Members' Business

12:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Question.

Statutory Instruments Act
Private Members' Business

12:50 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)

The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Statutory Instruments Act
Private Members' Business

12:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

(Bill read the third time and passed)

Statutory Instruments Act
Private Members' Business

12:50 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)

It being 12:54 p.m. the House stands adjourned until Monday, September 15, 2003, at 11 a.m., pursuant to Standing Orders 28(2) and 24(1) and order made earlier today.

(The House adjourned at 12:54 p.m.)