House of Commons Hansard #8 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was liberal.

Topics

Parliament of Canada Act
Routine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Brossard—La Prairie
Québec

Liberal

Jacques Saada Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister responsible for Democratic Reform

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-4, An act to amend the Parliament of Canada Act (Ethics Commissioner and Senate Ethics Officer) and other Acts in consequence.

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to the special order made previously, I would like to inform the House that this bill is in the same form as Bill C-34 was in the previous session at the time of prorogation.

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

Parliament of Canada Act
Routine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

The Chair is satisfied that this bill is in the same form as Bill C-34 was at the time of prorogation of the 2nd session, 37th Parliament.

Accordingly, pursuant to order made Tuesday, February 10, 2004, the bill is deemed approved at all stages and passed by the House.

(Bill read the second time, considered in committee, reported, concurred in, read the third time and passed)

Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act
Routine Proceedings

February 11th, 2004 / 3:05 p.m.

Brossard—La Prairie
Québec

Liberal

Jacques Saada Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister responsible for Democratic Reform

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-5, an act respecting the effective date of the representation order of 2003.

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to the special order made previously, I would like to inform the House that this bill is in the same form as Bill C-49 was in the previous session at the time of prorogation.

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

Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act
Routine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

The Chair is satisfied that this bill is in the same form as Bill C-49 was at the time of prorogation of the 2nd session, 37th Parliament.

Accordingly, pursuant to order made Tuesday, February 10, 2004, the bill is deemed adopted at all stages and passed by the House.

(Bill read the second time, considered in committee, reported, concurred in, read the third time and passed)

Assisted Human Reproduction Act
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister of Health

moved to introduce Bill C-6, an act respecting assisted human reproduction and related research.

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to the special order made earlier, I would like to inform you that this bill is in the same form as Bill C-13 was at the time of prorogation of the previous session.

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

Assisted Human Reproduction Act
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

The Speaker

The Chair is satisfied that this bill is in the same form as Bill C-13 was at the time of prorogation of the 2nd session, 37th Parliament. Accordingly, pursuant to order made Tuesday, February 10, 2004, the bill is deemed adopted at all stages and passed by the House.

(Bill read the second time, considered in committee, reported, concurred in, read the third time and passed)

Public Safety Act, 2002
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Stoney Creek
Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri Minister of Transport

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-7, an act to amend certain acts of Canada, and to enact measures for implementing the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, in order to enhance public safety.

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to the special order made earlier, I wish to inform the House that this bill is in the same form as Bill C-17 at the time of prorogation.

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

Public Safety Act, 2002
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

The Speaker

The Chair is satisfied that this bill is in the same form as Bill C-17 was at the time of prorogation of the 2nd session, 37th Parliament.

Accordingly, pursuant to order made Tuesday, February 10, 2004, the bill is deemed adopted at all stages and passed by the House.

(Bill read the second time, considered in committee, reported, concurred in, read the third time and passed)

Library and Archives of Canada Act
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Louis-Hébert
Québec

Liberal

Hélène Scherrer Minister of Canadian Heritage

moved to introduce Bill C-8, an act to establish the Library and Archives of Canada, to amend the Copyright Act and to amend certain acts in consequence.

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to the special order made earlier, I would like to inform you that this bill is in the same form as Bill C-36 was at the time of prorogation.

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

Library and Archives of Canada Act
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

The Speaker

The Chair is satisfied that this bill is in the same form as Bill C-36 was at the time of prorogation of the 2nd session, 37th Parliament.

Accordingly, pursuant to order made Tuesday, February 10, 2004, the bill is deemed adopted at all stages and passed by the House.

(Bill read the second time, considered in committee, reported, concurred in, read the third time and passed)

2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games
Routine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Hamilton West
Ontario

Liberal

Stan Keyes Minister of National Revenue and Minister of State (Sport)

Mr. Speaker, I consider it a great privilege to stand in the House today for the first time as a minister of the Crown, and I am here to express the Government of Canada's best wishes to the people of Vancouver and Whistler as they prepare to celebrate the six year countdown tomorrow toward the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

I would also like to use this opportunity to reaffirm the federal government's collaborative approach and commitment to sport and physical activity in Canada.

Before I go any further, I would like to take a moment to recognize the hard-working and professional public servants who make up the Department of Canadian Heritage. I am fortunate to have such a committed group of dedicated people who ensure that the government's role in sport and physical activity in Canada is focused, efficient and delivers results.

Only with their continued support will the government be able to deliver on its commitments to sport and physical activity.

I would like to draw to the attention of all my hon. colleagues that in only a few short years from now Canada will have a chance to showcase our commitment to excellence when we host the world at the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver and Whistler.

As the throne speech said, the 2010 Winter Games are “an opportunity to reinforce participation in sport by Canadians, at the highest level and in our communities”.

Sport is about teamwork and only through teamwork can we ensure that Canada wins gold in 2010.

The federal government is not alone in this. Canada's sports system is based on partnerships and its sustainability relies upon the full support of governments at all levels, sport organizations, the private sector, communities and volunteers.

Hosting the 2010 winter games will bring tangible benefit for Canada's developing and high performance athletes and to the country as a whole.

Our commitment to creating a lasting legacy will mean more than facilities. It will be the expertise that is developed among officials and volunteers. It will be the pride Canadians will feel in themselves, their communities and their country. There will be the stories we will share as a nation for generations to come.

The games will also give Canada an opportunity to showcase the world, not only our sport excellence, but also our innovation, culture and values. Values like inclusion.

The cultural component of these games, which will include a strong emphasis on the culture of our first nations, is already shaping up to be nothing short of spectacular.

Over the next six years, the 2010 winter games undoubtedly will heighten the interest of Canadians in sport and physical activity.

This brings me to my overriding goal as Minister of State for Sport. I want to get more Canadians participating in sport and physical activity. I want to ensure that the barriers to participation are reduced.

That means creating opportunities in sport for more new Canadians, young people, economically disadvantaged people, persons with a disability, aboriginal people and especially aboriginal children and youth.

As the father of two soccer playing daughters, I can see firsthand the effect of sport on young people. It improves their health and fitness, teaches them important life lessons, bolsters their confidence and self-esteem, and builds friendships and social skills.

As member of Parliament for Hamilton West I have seen how sport can improve the lives of people whose circumstances have put them on the margins of society.

I intend to work hard to remove the barriers to participation faced by specific groups, such as persons with disabilities, youth at risk, and young and teenage women.

I am operating from the deep belief that sport has the ability to transform lives. I know this belief is shared by many of my colleagues in this place. It is my duty to ensure it is understood by all Canadians.

This point was hit home to me just a couple of weeks ago when I was travelling in western Canada. While in Edmonton, I met with members of the aboriginal community there. As members may know, Canada hosted the 2002 North American Indigenous Games.

I was told that in the months leading up to and following that event, when many aboriginal young people were in training, there was a notable decline in the number of young aboriginals who take their lives. That is the power of sport.

This ties in directly with our government's priorities as announced recently in the Speech from the Throne, strengthening Canada's social foundations. Sport has a unique and important role to play.

All our communities come to life on their soccer and baseball fields, in their hockey rinks and on their tennis courts, and in their sailing and rowing clubs. People of all ages and all walks of life come together in activities that help them lead more healthier and productive lives.

The more Canadians involve themselves in sport, encourage the volunteerism encompassed in sport, ensure we have an ethically based sport system, and give our top athletes the support they need, we make Canada a leading sport nation. In doing all this, we reap the benefits of a healthier population, stronger communities and a broader base of participants for future excellence in sport.

We can do all these things by building on the commitments already laid out in the historic Canadian Sport Policy , the blueprint of the future of sport in Canada.

The Government of Canada invests $90 million a year toward initiatives both to get Canadians involved in sport and to support our high performance athletes. This investment is leveraged by our partnerships throughout the provinces and in communities.

Canadians understand the value of sport and physical activity in our society. The Government of Canada, along with our partners, will work hard to ensure that more Canadians, regardless of circumstance, can realize the benefits.

As we look ahead to Athens this summer and further down the road to Vancouver and Whistler in 2010, we should remember to cheer on our athletes who make us so proud as they serve as our ambassadors to the world. Their path to excellence has been made with great personal sacrifices in time and in money.

Finally, we need to acknowledge the importance of coaches to the success of Canadian athletes and how they enjoy their sport, and ensure that we have world class coaching to back up our world class athletes.

All of this work is going toward making Canada a leading sport nation. I am appealing to all of my colleagues in the House and to all of my fellow Canadians to help me spread the message to get active and by doing so build better communities through sport.

2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Gary Schellenberger Perth—Middlesex, ON

Mr. Speaker, I wish to offer my sincere congratulations to the minister on his appointment to cabinet. I look forward to working with the minister in this important area.

I want to thank the hon. minister for taking time to address the House this afternoon. However, at this particular time, I think we are hearing from the wrong minister. Sport is a very important portfolio, to be sure. I played a lot of sports in my day and I still feel if it was slow pitch, I could get back to it again. I do not run the bases quite as fast as I used to, but it has been great. I have always been a team player.

Considering recent events transpiring outside the House, we should be hearing from a minister in response to the serious problems raised in the Auditor General's report that was tabled yesterday.

I have no doubt the people of Vancouver and Whistler appreciate the kind words and best wishes as offered by the minister. In fact, I too, on behalf of the people of Perth—Middlesex and the Conservative Party of Canada, want to let all Canadians know how proud we are of the folks out in Vancouver and Whistler.

I have every confidence that the 2010 Paralympic and Olympic Winter Games will be some of the most successful ever and will serve to showcase Canada in all its magnificent splendour. I somehow think, however, that the good folks in the Vancouver-Whistler area would appreciate if the government would be accountable, not misappropriate funds, and spend responsibly. One of the keys in sport is to play by the rules. The government should set a good example and play by the rules.

It is also nice to recognize the great work done by the vast majority of the country's civil servants. Sadly, because of the actions on the part of the government, many hard-working professional civil servants will see the reputation of their professions tarnished. I bet they would rather see the government conduct itself in a proper fashion and would gladly forgo the occasional pat on the back.

Sport is about teamwork. The minister is right about that, though one could make the same observation about government.

Why does the government not want to work with all the hon. members? From BSE to softwood lumber, from the state of Canada's underfunded military to the awful treatment of our veterans, why will the government not take this attitude concerning the importance of teamwork to these areas?

I want to help and the people of Perth—Middlesex want to help. I can assure the House that my colleagues in the Conservative Party of Canada want to help. When will the government start acting as partners in the House so that we can help and work toward policies that will benefit Canadians?

I hope the minister's stated desire to involve more aboriginals, new Canadians, young people, economically disadvantaged people and persons with disabilities is a sentiment that he is serious about. These are excellent objectives indeed. I will be most pleased if we can achieve success on these fronts.

What I do not understand is how huge payments, false receipts, false invoices and untendered contracts handed out to friends of the Liberal Party of Canada with Canadians receiving little or no value possibly moves Canada any closer to achieving these noble goals? We are mired in a culture of corruption. As more evidence comes to light regarding this matter, it is becoming evident this type of irresponsible and scandalous behaviour is rampant throughout the day to day operations of the government.

Experts are reporting this to be arguably the greatest scandal in Canadian history. I must admit that in reading through the Auditor General's report last night I found cause for great concern. When Canadians are bombarded with one scandal after another, with mismanagement--

2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. I know the hon. member is responding to a statement by a minister concerning amateur sport. It sounds to me as though he has gone far from the mark on amateur sport. I know he will want to get back to the subject in the limited time remaining for his remarks. The purpose of the response is to deal with the subject of the matter raised.

2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Gary Schellenberger Perth—Middlesex, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will talk to the coaches. I have been a coach. I have been a volunteer and I have great support for all those people.

I support 100% the minister's remarks. I will gladly work with the minister to help achieve these goals, but to achieve these goals we will have to be willing to show real commitment, to put our heart and soul into this. In the absence of this, I will hold the government's feet to the fire. It is wrong to give people false hope. Let us make things happen.

2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise today to speak about the countdown to the Olympic and Paralympic Games of 2010 to be held in Vancouver and Whistler.

On behalf of all my Bloc Quebecois colleagues, I would like to extend my best wishes to all those who will, directly or indirectly, work very hard, with force and determination, to make this sports event hugely successful and show that success rests not merely on individual athletes, but on a large team in which each individual contribution is specific and significant.

As the Minister of State for Sport said previously, sport is a team effort. I agree entirely with that premise. Let me take this opportunity to salute some members of that team who ultimately will reach the podium of excellence, those who will give us huge emotions: the athletes themselves.

As a member of Parliament, but also as the Bloc Quebecois critic for amateur sports, I often meet athletes and speak with them about their training, the humongous sacrifices they have to make and the strong spirit they must have to become elite athletes.

We have no idea of the daily discipline required by athletes who hope one day to stand on the winners' podium. Every time I meet them, I am profoundly impressed by their determination and their desire to keep improving. Every time, however, the same issue crops up: the crying need for funding for top level athletes.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time I have spoken about this situation. Many athletes and organizations have spoken out many times. Just recently, the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association has been criticized on many fronts. A number of athletes have reported that they received only tiny amounts, if anything at all, from their association to help defray their expenses for training and travel, even though the association receives over $2 million in funding from Sport Canada.

How did this situation come about? Is it a problem with this association's management of public funds? Or is there simply not enough money to meet the athletes' needs? The situation is totally unacceptable.

I have written to the new Minister of State for Sport about this situation, asking him to intervene with the management of the Canadian Freestyle Skiing Association to have them open their books and be accountable. I am still waiting for the minister's reply.

Still, given the urgency of the situation and the fact that freestyle skiing will be a very important discipline at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, now is the time to invest and give our athletes the financial and material resources they need, in order to help them as best we can.

We must not wait for 2010 to realize that we should have done something. It will be too late. It is very important that our athletes be able to train in adequate conditions and that they do not have to bear the entire financial burden of training, or travel, which, after all, is necessary to participate in competitions.

When we see scandals like the sponsorship affair come to light and be confirmed by an Auditor General's report, we realize that millions of dollars are wasted shamefully, and the whole community suffers.

I am sure that the athletes of Quebec and Canada would have loved to receive that wasted $100 million. It is simply scandalous. Imagine: $100 million for the friends of the party in power, while our athletes live below the poverty line. It is unacceptable.

Can we picture what $100 million represents? It is almost the total amount the government spends on sport. It is exactly twice the amount requested annually by the athletes and sports organizations.

The new Minister of State for Sport said that athletes should be provided with the high level of support they need to succeed in order for Canada to become a world leader in sports.

When will he put his money where his mouth is? The government better not try to tell us there is no money. What with surpluses estimated at more than $4 billion, amateur sport has every right to ask for a substantial budget increase, and the minister must act now.

On the eve of the next budget, I call on the Minister of State for Sport to get assurances from the Minister of Finance that the money will be available for this year's competitions, so that our athletes are ready for the 2010 Olympic Games.

I would like to conclude by telling the very sad story of Karine Sergerie. This young woman could have gone to the top of the podium at the next Olympic Games in Athens, but her dream was shattered because of technicalities.

This young Quebecker was denied a place on the Canadian team by Taekwondo Canada despite the fact that she is ranked second in the world. It is hard to imagine that one of the world's top Taekwondo athletes will not be going to the Olympics.

Words cannot describe my indignation. Yet, the Minister of State for Sport was just talking about the federal government's commitment to creating more opportunities for athletes. He also talked about inclusion. I wonder what those words mean to the minister and his government.

The best I can hope for is that this sad incident will never happen again and that all those who aspire to go to the 2010 Winter Games will be able to train in dignity and with all the respect we owe our athletes, who bring us pride and honour.