House of Commons Hansard #123 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was country.

Topics

International Day of Peace
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Bloc

Marcel Gagnon Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, this Sunday, September 21, is International Day of Peace. Yet, in Iraq, Colombia, Afghanistan, Liberia, Israel and Algeria, violence is a part of daily life.

There is still so much to be done to achieve peace and it is sad to see, still today, countries bombing people in the name of peace. To watch the news and read the papers, one wonders what motivates our leaders, or at least some of them.

At a time when roughly 300,000 children are fighting in armed conflicts around the world, the international community must, now more than ever, stand up to the combatants of the world so that, one day, these children can exchange their guns for toys and stop giving up their lives.

International Literacy Day
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Laval West, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise in this House today to acknowledge International Literacy Day, which was on September 8.

The year 2003 marks the launch of the UN Literacy Decade, 2003-2012.

Still today, the final report of the International adult literacy survey shows that 22% of Canadians have difficulty reading. Globally, UNESCO estimates that 860 million adults are illiterate and more than 100 million children still do not have access to schooling.

Yet, good reading and writing skills are essential for people to participate fully in society.

In light of these statistics, it is critical to redouble efforts to fight illiteracy in Canada and around the world.

Government of Canada
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is with a heavy and woeful heart that we deliver our usual reminder to Canadians of the corruption that is so rampant across the way.

While many Canadians are engaged in the legitimate business of the harvest, the Liberals are filling a horn of plenty that can only be characterized as a cornucopia of corruption.

It is not confined only to elected Liberals. We know they have no shame when it comes to plundering the public treasury. Appointees, political aides and probably some aides still employed are just as shameless. Only the best restaurants, only the finest wines, only the choicest cut of meat, and only the most savoury of exotic desserts are acceptable to the Liberals and their friends, cronies, appointees and political aides.

It enrages Canadians to learn that one Liberal aide is allowed to spend on lunches and dinners as much as the average Canadian earns in one year.

It further enrages Canadians that up until only recently it was the member for LaSalle—Émard who happily signed the cheques to cover these expense accounts.

Canadian Country Music Awards
Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Bryon Wilfert Oak Ridges, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week Canadians from coast to coast celebrated Country Music Week by kicking off their sneakers in exchange for cowboy boots.

The celebration was one of rich history and current success of Canada's country music. Whether it is Shania Twain, Stompin' Tom Connors or Prairie Oyster, country music is something that is shared and loved by Canadians of all ages from coast to coast to coast.

Celebration of Country Music Week was capped off with the Canadian Country Music Awards which was a resounding success. It was hosted by the great city of Calgary.

Among the big winners was Shania Twain who won four awards and Terri Clark who took home top honours and the award for Entertainer of the Year.

I wish to congratulate all the nominees and especially the winners of these awards. I hope Canadians continue to support our country music industry and I wish our country music artists continued success.

Pumpkin Festival
Statements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, Windsor, Nova Scotia, is known as “The Little Town of Big Firsts” and this weekend the Hants County Exhibition, the oldest agricultural festival in North America, continues for the second of two weekends in the town.

On October 4 the 19th annual pumpkin festival and weigh-off will be held. Windsor's Howard Dill, developer of the Atlantic giant pumpkin seeds is credited with launching the international craze of growing giant pumpkins. Known as the Pumpkin King, Mr. Dill is a four-time world champion pumpkin grower.

The festival now includes the hugely popular pumpkin regatta to be held on October 12. The Windsor-West Hants Pumpkin Festival and Regatta won the 2002 Attractions Canada award in the sporting event category.

Mr. Speaker, I actually won the pumpkin regatta in 2001, by the way.

But as the birthplace of hockey, the home of North America's oldest agricultural fair, and now the new home of giant pumpkin racing, Windsor-West Hants continues to be the “Little Town of Big Firsts”.

Anna Lindh
Statements By Members

September 19th, 2003 / 11:10 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, on September 10, the Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Anna Lindh, was killed in a Stockholm store. She would probably have been her country's next prime minister. Today, eloquent tributes were paid to her at the Stockholm city hall. The terrible attack on her took place just four days before Sweden voted in a referendum on whether or not to adopt the Euro.

The mother of two, Ms. Lindh was elected to the municipal council of her hometown at the age of 20. She became Minister of Foreign Affairs in 1998, after four years in the environment portfolio.

She constantly stressed that collective security and a collective future were dependent on cooperation, self-sufficiency and independence. Her legacy will be a foreign policy founded on the respect of human rights.

The Bloc Quebecois wishes the people of Sweden to know that all Quebeckers share their grief.

Anna Lindh
Statements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Aileen Carroll Barrie—Simcoe—Bradford, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay my respects to the family of Anna Lindh, the late Swedish Foreign Affairs Minister who died last week in Stockholm.

I had the great pleasure of meeting Ms. Lindh when I attended a European Union Conflict Prevention Conference in Helsinborg, Sweden, in my capacity as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

I was very impressed with Anna Lindh, the woman and the politician. There was every chance she may have become the future prime minister of Sweden. Her death has left a void which will take a long time to fill.

I held her in high regard and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to meet and work with her on that one occasion. She was a prominent campaigner for human rights and European integration, and was a politician with enormous conviction.

My condolences go out to her husband, her two children and her fellow countrymen. As Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson said: “Sweden has lost its face to the world”.

Immigration
Statements By Members

11:10 a.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, in June of this year before the House rose for the summer, I brought to the attention of the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration the fact that many foreign delegates to the Lutheran World Federation meeting in Winnipeg in July were having an unjustifiably difficult time getting visas and I asked the minister to intervene accordingly.

I regret to say that he does not appear to have done so, at least successfully, as whole national delegations from some countries never did get into Canada for the meeting. This was more than just regrettable. It was disrespectful to the Lutheran Church, damaging to those who were refused, and will be harmful to the prospects of further such global meetings in Canada.

The Lutheran community in Winnipeg is still upset with the government about this, as is the provincial government, and I thought it important to put on the record this unhappiness with the government's handling of this event.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada
Statements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Beauséjour—Petitcodiac, NB

Mr. Speaker, September is Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada month.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada is the leading child and youth serving organization providing mentoring programs across the country. Over 170 local agencies provide support to more than 300 Canadian communities.

Currently, over 10,000 children are matched with adults. Big brothers and big sisters reap benefit from their experiences while the “littles” benefit on a number of levels as well, including improved self-confidence and social skills.

During this month, we encourage all Canadians to donate time to this wonderful organization.

Union of British Columbia Municipalities
Statements By Members

11:15 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Andy Burton Skeena, BC

Mr. Speaker, next week the annual Union of B.C. Municipalities convention will take place in Vancouver. This annual gathering of municipal and regional district leaders from around the province of B.C. provides them with an opportunity to network with their peers and elected representatives, both provincial and federal. Municipal government provides the closest and most direct relationship to government for Canadian citizens.

Clearly, municipalities are shortchanged by the federal government. Fuel taxes disappear into Ottawa, never to be seen again by those who pay. Infrastructure dollars are scarce and the sharing formula needs revision to ensure that smaller municipalities are more capable of carrying their share of the cost.

As a former mayor, I look forward to renewing old acquaintances and discussing with them these and other issues at the UBCM convention in Vancouver next week.

Voyageur Colonial Pension Fund
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Carol Skelton Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, the government has failed to respond directly to questions concerning the collapse of the Voyageur pension plan. Access to information documents show that there were concerns that political pressure was being put on OSFI to have the audit amended.

Could the acting prime minister tell us what political pressure the former finance minister was applying?

Voyageur Colonial Pension Fund
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I think the Prime Minister has answered this question rather well in the last few days. The fact is that OSFI, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, is a quasi-independent agency under the auspices of the Minister of Finance. However, all of the dealings for OSFI were assigned by the former minister of finance to the secretary of state for financial institutions and at that time I believe it was the member for Willowdale.

There has been no impropriety in the way this case has been handled.

Voyageur Colonial Pension Fund
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Carol Skelton Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, it is obvious that OSFI did not act independently from the former finance minister as it should have. His staff were directly involved in the discussions to close the books on the Voyageur pension plan and to shortchange the employees.

The government has a duty to those pensioners. Will the minister begin a full independent investigation into OSFI and the Voyageur pension plan?

Voyageur Colonial Pension Fund
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, it is true the government has a duty to pensioners and OSFI fulfills that. But the opposition members also have a duty to ask questions in the House that are relevant and that are of the highest integrity. To come here day in and day out and condemn the former minister of finance is totally unacceptable.

Voyageur Colonial Pension Fund
Oral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Carol Skelton Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, Canadian citizens are relevant. Here is what one longtime employee said yesterday: “I got shafted good. I don't have enough for 10 years”. That is not fair.

The Prime Minister said yesterday that the ethics counsellor signed off on this. That is not good enough. I ask again, will the Prime Minister call an independent investigation into the handling of the Voyageur pension plan?