House of Commons Hansard #114 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was parties.

Topics

Portuguese Canadians
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

Mr. Speaker, on May 13, 1953 the first officially recognized Portuguese immigrants arrived in Halifax on pier 21. This means that 2003 marks the 50th anniversary of official immigration from Portugal to Canada. I rise today to offer congratulations to the approximately 360,000 Canadians of Portuguese origin on Portugal's national day and to commemorate this historic occasion.

Portuguese Canadians have sewn a beautiful thread through the multicultural tapestry of Canadian society. Whether it is listening to the music of famous Portuguese Canadian Nelly Furtado or witnessing the achievements of the Portuguese Canadian Coalition for Better Education, it is clear the Portuguese Canadian community is thriving. On this historic day, I am honoured and pleased to congratulate the Portuguese community for 50 years of flourishing in Canada.

Mr. Speaker, I was pleased to represent my party and our leader at the luncheon you held today for the Prime Minister of Portugal. I say to other colleagues further down to my left that they should look at his political record and his willingness to lead a centre right coalition to form the government of Portugal.

Nature-Action Québec
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Yolande Thibeault Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, today I wish to pay tribute to Nature-Action Québec, an organization located in the riding of Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert involved in improving the quality of life of its people and those living in neighbouring communities.

The mission of Nature-Action Québec is to act as a concrete influence on society by promoting new ways of doing things that are more harmonious with a healthy and sustainable environment, both now and in the future.

Recently, the Government of Canada awarded the organization $149,877 to finish the shoring up of the banks of the Lamarre ditch, thus preventing flooding caused by poor irrigation practices on Chambly farmland, as well as to construct a noise barrier in a park.

Initiatives such as these have a positive impact on the environment. That is why my colleagues join with me in congratulating the Nature-Action Québec team and encouraging them to keep up the good work.

Montreal Holocaust Memorial Museum
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Richard Marceau Charlesbourg—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday in Montreal, I and a number of my colleagues had the privilege of attending the opening of the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Museum.

This museum, the first one of international scope in Canada, was opened in the presence of men and women from a variety of backgrounds and political affiliations.

Montreal is known throughout the world for the size of its Jewish community. Moreover, it is home to the third-largest number of Holocaust survivors in the world. Needless to say, the choice of Montreal as the site of such an institution is particularly appropriate. Its Jewish community is lively, extremely dynamic and closely involved in the development of Montreal and Quebec as a whole.

The museum will help teach Quebeckers, particularly our youth, as well as other visitors to Montreal about the great horrors of the Shoah, not only for the Jews, but for humanity as a whole.

The opening of the museum to the general public will provide an opportunity to harmonize the national motto of Quebec, Je me souviens with the lesson that must be learned from the Holocaust, “Never again”.

Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre Museum
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I wish to bring to the attention of all my colleagues the inauguration of the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre Museum. I had the privilege to attend this solemn, yet hopeful, ceremony last night.

The Holocaust is perhaps the darkest and most horrific moment of humanity's long history. Millions of Jews were mercilessly sent to concentration camps to be brutally murdered for the sole crime of being Jewish. The museum will show the Holocaust through the eyes of those who have lived and experienced it.

If I consider this event to be a source of hope, it is because the Holocaust museum will remind future generations of the terrible cost of intolerance and hate toward others.

Here in Canada, the sad lessons of the Holocaust will not be soon forgotten. I want to congratulate all the organizers of this event and wish them the best of success for the future.

The Economy
Statements By Members

June 9th, 2003 / 2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Loyola Hearn St. John's West, NL

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has been flitting around the world bragging about our great economy. The minister of culture and the two ministers of finance have been chasing each other around the country basically expressing the same views. We can talk about cops and robbers.

If we are so well off, why is it that the beef industry in the west must be begging for assistance? Why is it that the government of Ontario and the city of Toronto have to beg for help? Why is it that the east coast fishermen have been offered a paltry $325 a week?

Does the government want Canadians to be like Oliver Twist and ask “Please sir, could we have some more?” Remember that very soon the government will be going begging to them.

Citizenship and Immigration
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, the government is choosing to allow the criminalization of dissent and diversity in an increasingly brutal fashion. I join a growing number of people who are calling for an independent public inquiry into police actions against non-status Algerians on May 29, 2003.

There are allegations that the tactical unit of the RCMP used excessive force against a dozen peaceful non-status Algerians occupying the offices of citizenship and immigration simply asking for a meeting with the minister.

Canada's Algerian community and its supporters are deeply concerned with the desperate fate of individuals and families at risk of deportation. The minister lifted Canada's moratorium on returns to Algeria back in April 2002. Many fear they will face danger and persecution.

Groups such as Amnesty International and the Quebec Human Rights League have expressed alarm at the excessive use of tasers, or high voltage electroshock weapons. Many of the Algerians received serious burns, head wounds and bruises during the police raid.

We in the NDP call on the minister to review these deportations and meet the individuals involved to hear their concerns.

Jonquière Taxation Data Centre
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

André Harvey Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, during celebrations to mark the 20th anniversary of the Jonquière Taxation Data Centre, Gilles Marceau, federal Liberal member over two decades ago, was honoured. Mr. Marceau will be remembered for fighting long and hard to make this project a reality.

In recognition of his contribution to this amazing achievement, the conference room was named the Salle Gilles Marceau.

Unable to attend for health reasons, Mr. Marceau was represented by his son Réjean. However, the following Wednesday, on June 4, 2003, the director, Diane Gagnon, made a presentation at his home. Mr. Marceau was very moved and honoured by this tribute in recognition of his contribution to the Jonquière Taxation Data Centre.

I also want to acknowledge all the employees of this centre for their professionalism.

Prime Minister of Canada
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Rajotte Edmonton Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, let us compare the legacies of two prime ministers, the present one and his hero Sir Wilfrid Laurier.

Laurier understood the importance of allies and a strong national defence. As Prime Minister he increased defence spending and took tough stands in support of the British in the Boer War and World War I. This Prime Minister failed to stand with our British and American allies for the first time in our history and has failed to adequately equip our armed forces.

Unlike the present Prime Minister, Laurier understood that it was in Canada's best interest to have a healthy relationship with the United States and sought to expand this relationship, particularly through freer trade. Laurier understood the importance of western Canada and sought to populate it and develop its potential. This Prime Minister has never even attempted to understand the dreams and aspirations of western Canadians.

Sir Wilfrid Laurier is rightly honoured today as one of our finest prime ministers. It is truly sad that our Prime Minister, while holding up Laurier as his hero, has completely failed to emulate his courage, wisdom and national vision.

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is returning to the country in the midst of the mad cow crisis.

Before the Prime Minister left the country he could not remember if he had discussed the mad cow issue. Now, four weeks later the government still does not have a plan. Apparently it will be another two weeks before it is able to come up with any kind of compensation package to address the industry's problem.

My question is very simple. Is the Prime Minister capable of understanding that this is an emergency and if he is not interested in doing his job, why does he not just leave office now?

Agriculture
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food has worked extremely diligently on this file. This morning we had a report by a group of international experts who reported that we have acted more diligently than any other government. They are complimenting the government for the action it has taken.

We are very happy that there was only one cow that was affected. A lot of animals had to be destroyed because of that and, of course, we have programs within the government to deal with emergencies in the agriculture sector. We are looking at whether these programs can apply. If not, we will see what can be done on top of the existing programs that very often are agreed upon with the provincial governments.

Health
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, we have already said that existing programs will not cover the severity and immediacy of the crisis. While the Prime Minister is studying this, people are going bankrupt.

I want to move to another subject. If he is so interested in these issues, let us discuss Toronto. We have had the outbreak of SARS now for the past three months. It is devastating Toronto's economy, but the government apparently says it is not a disaster and is reneging on its commitment to provide the Government of Ontario with emergency relief funding.

Once again, if the Prime Minister and the government are not interested in dealing with this issue, why not just leave office now?

Health
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we made some further announcements on this issue after Friday. We have done a lot of things to adjust to the situation. We face a very difficult problem and we are doing our best to solve it.

I do not think that it is advisable to try to score political points. It is difficult for the provincial government and we have to compliment the health workers in Toronto who are doing a fantastic job under extremely difficult circumstances.

Political Party Financing
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, apparently the new announcement is the Rolling Stones concert. That is after the Prime Minister did the Chinese restaurant photo op. Frankly, this crisis needs more than dinner and theatre.

The Prime Minister's real priority appears to be getting more money so that the Liberals can pass Bill C-24. This seems to take precedence over the devastation that is affecting rural Canadians in the beef industry and the health care crisis that is gripping the city of Toronto and affecting its economy.

My question once again is simple. Why should Canadians want a PM who does not deal with their problems but instead needs money to buy the support of his own party?

Political Party Financing
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I recall the last leader of the Reform Party who challenged me to call an election. I was in the House and I obliged, and with quite good results.

We have a piece of legislation that has been before the House for months. There is a committee report on the bill dealing with electoral financing that has been presented to the House. The committee made recommendations to the government and the bill will be dealt with by the House this week. It is a bill that will serve democracy very well in Canada.

Political Party Financing
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Scott Reid Lanark—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, today the government tabled amendments to Bill C-24 that will raise the annual per vote subsidy to political parties from $1.50 to $1.75. The shortfall caused by banning corporate and union donations will now be entirely made up by public funds and an extra $1.2 million in taxpayer money will go every year to the Liberal Party of Canada.

Why does the Prime Minister insist on digging deeper into the pockets of Canadian taxpayers in order to line the chest of his party?