House of Commons Hansard #13 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was public.

Topics

2 p.m.

The Speaker

As is our practice on Wednesday we will now sing O Canada, and we will be led by the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre.

[Editor's Note: Members sang the national anthem]

Age of Consent
Statements By Members

February 18th, 2004 / 2 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, 251 parishioners of St. Alphonsus Church, Peterborough, signed and sent symbolic ribbons to me as part of their campaign to focus awareness on raising the age of consent for sexual activity.

Currently, the age of consent for sexual activity in Canada is 14. My constituents want to see this age raised to 18.

The Catholic Women's League of Canada co-operates with CASE, Canadians Addressing Sexual Exploitation, to get this message out.

I will be forwarding these symbolic ribbons to the Minister of Justice, as well as sending along their message of concern about this most important issue.

I commend this group for their dedicated efforts on behalf of a cause of great importance to them and for their fine service in Peterborough and Canada.

Agriculture
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Dale Johnston Wetaskiwin, AB

Mr. Speaker, since BSE was detected in one Alberta cow nearly a year ago, life for everyone connected with the cattle industry has been turned upside down in Canada.

While the government has been bogged down with scandals, tax paying cattle producers are struggling to stave off bankruptcy. This crisis is having a devastating effect in communities across the country.

In my constituency the loss of revenue from cattle sales has dealt a crippling blow to local businesses. Sales of farm machinery are off by 50% or more, and retail outlets, from grocery stores to record shops, are reeling from staggering losses of revenue.

After 87 years, the Ponoka Co-op was forced to close its doors two weeks ago and lay off its 40 employees.

The players across the way may have changed, but it is the same old approach. Why would they ignore a $30 billion industry that provides nearly a quarter of a million jobs in this country.

If the government continues to neglect the people whose livelihoods are dependent upon agriculture, it will do so at its peril.

Cyprus
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Laval West, QC

Mr. Speaker, after 40 years of separation and antagonism, Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders have pledged to negotiate the reunification of Cyprus based on the Annan plan unveiled on November 11, 2002. The date is significant because it is also the day the world remembers those who died in two world wars.

It has been a long road for these two states who can now envision their futures together as one with shared values as they get ready to join the European Union on May 1.

In anticipation of a new peace, in the last eight months or so restrictions on travel across the buffer zone have been relaxed. There have been over two million crossings without violent incidents.

Canadians of Greek origin in the riding of Laval West can be proud of these steps forward.

Let us, as a government and as a multicultural nation that includes both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, congratulate the leaders and the UN secretary general, Kofi Annan, for their persistence in bringing about the peaceful settlement.

Special Olympics Canada
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Gérard Binet Frontenac—Mégantic, QC

Mr. Speaker, from February 16 to 21, Prince Edward Island is hosting the Special Olympics Canada Winter Games. This national edition of the Special Olympics is a prelude to the Special Olympics World Games to be held next year.

Competing in an international event is the motivation for the more than 8,500 certified volunteer coaches and 28,000 athletes with an intellectual disability to train with all their might worldwide.

Before entering competition, the athletes take the following oath: “Let me win,but if I cannot win,let me be brave in the attempt”. I think that my hon. colleagues will agree with me that this is a most noble statement, from which we could all draw inspiration.

I invite my colleagues to join me in saluting the courage and determination of these athletes.

Middle East
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Art Eggleton York Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise to respond to yesterday's statement by the member for London—Fanshawe condemning Israel for the construction of a security fence.

We have to remember the realities that have forced Israel to build this protective barrier. Israel has been targeted by an unprecedented campaign of terror that to date involves 136 suicide bombings, resulting in 925 fatalities and more than 6,100 people injured. The Palestinian Authority chooses not to stop this strategy of terror. This context is missing from the member's statement.

Moreover, the member's reference to concentration camps in the West Bank and Gaza is unacceptable. It makes a mockery out of the Holocaust.

Though not a measure of choice, the security fence is a measure of necessity. Where built to date, the presence of the fence has resulted in a 30% drop in suicide attacks.

This is not a land grab. This is a temporary security measure that could be undone once the Palestinian leadership lives up to its responsibilities. Simply put, no terror, no fence.

Veterans Affairs
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, last week Canadians were shocked to learn that 175 veterans' graves were without headstones because of a lack of funding.

Families of eligible veterans were told that their loved ones would be laid to rest without a headstone and that their names would be added to a six year waiting list.

The problem is that the federal government has not ensured that the last post fund has the money it needs to ensure a timely distribution of these important memorials.

Since this story first broke I am pleased to report that Canadians have banded together to answer the call. A flood of public donations from families and schools have come in, allowing project managers to say that the backlog will be eliminated by the end of the summer.

The Minister of Veterans Affairs has said that he will not increase funding and that he is happy to let the public pay.

These brave veterans are national heroes and their memory is being dishonoured each and every day that their graves go unmarked.

Why will the government not do the right thing and act now?

Special Olympics Canada
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Shawn Murphy Hillsborough, PE

Mr. Speaker, the Special Olympics, Canada Winter Games 2004, is being held this week in Prince Edward Island.

More than 1,000 participants, coaches, managers, mission staff and special guests are taking part in the games which are being held at various venues in Charlottetown and Brookvale, Prince Edward Island and Wentworth, Nova Scotia.

The primary role for Special Olympics Canada is to enrich the lives of Canadians with intellectual disability through sports.

Special Olympics is a not for profit agency with a strong community presence that provides opportunities for training and competition to thousands of athletes of all ages and abilities.

The organization also has an army of volunteers who give their time as trainers, officials and administrators.

I would ask the members of the House to join me in congratulating the event organizers, volunteers, participants and the host province of Prince Edward Island for the remarkable contribution to the quality of life of countless Special Olympic Canadian athletes.

Gaston Jacques
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, like many Quebeckers, Drummondville airman Gaston Jacques gave his life in defence of his country during World War II.

On May 22, 1944, he and his crewmates were shot down by the Germans.

His family was to never hear of him until a history buff, a woman from Ontario, set out to look for the family of Gaston Jacques.

Some 60 years later, the Jacques learned that their lost brother is buried in a Canadian cemetery in the Bretteville area, in France.

The Jacques family has also just learned that, next year, a memorial to the sacrifice of Gaston Jacques and his crewmates, who died to liberate France, will be erected on the site where Gaston's plane crashed, in Sées.

I therefore pay tribute to the memory of Gaston Jacques, a war hero from Drummondville.

Black History Month
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Robert Lanctôt Châteauguay, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise today to recognize Black History Month.

Afro-Canadians have contributed to the development of our country and have enabled Canada to become the country it is today—an open, diversified country with a global perspective.

Thus, the month of February is an opportunity to commemorate the numerous accomplishments and contributions these Canadians have made and continue to make to our society. In addition, it is an opportunity for all Canadians to learn more about the involvement and experiences of black Canadians in this society, because they play a vital role in our community.

For the past nine years—nine already—many activities have been organized across the country, and I invite everyone to participate. Being open to different cultures is an enriching experience for everyone who tries it.

Natural Resources
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Duncan Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, the federal government and British Columbia are moving toward lifting the 30 year old moratorium on west coast oil and gas.

Meanwhile, the federal environment minister is pre-emptively removing a huge area for potential oil and gas exploration and other resource development by creation of a marine protection area. The terms of reference he has set for his department is to present the final proposal for this area to cabinet by May.

The inadequate public consultation stakeholder process and analysis has been roundly condemned by rural coastal communities and first nations.

Why is it that the B.C. based environment minister can act contrary to the interests of British Columbia? Comprehensive planning for the B.C. coast requires co-operation, not unilateral action.

When will the Prime Minister or natural resources minister derail this fast-track idiocy?

Council of Professional Engineers
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Andy Savoy Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Mr. Speaker, as a professional engineer I am very pleased to rise today to acknowledge the presence of the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers. CCPE is the national organization of the provincial and territorial bodies that license Canada's 160,000 professional engineers.

Engineering and CCPE, through its “From Consideration to Integration Project” is at the forefront among licensed professions to develop new frameworks that streamline foreign credential recognition, thereby integrating engineering graduates into licensed practice while preserving existing standards that serve public safety.

CCPE is also finding meaningful, holistic solutions for infrastructure renewal through its participation with other industry stakeholders to develop the Technology Road Map for Infrastructure Renewal.

With 2004 also being the 150th anniversary of the first engineering course in Canada, at UNB, it gives me great pride to acknowledge the contribution of Canada's engineers, CCPE, and its constituent members, who will continue to make Canada a true northern tiger.

Women's Economic Summit
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis Winnipeg North Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, this week women from across Canada were in Ottawa at an NDP economic summit, determined to get women's economic concerns onto this government's budget agenda.

After 20 years of Conservative and Liberal pork-barrelling and corporate handouts, they came here enraged that organizations advocating and providing vital services for women are struggling to survive while this government continues to cater to its corporate pals.

They were here to overcome ten years of Liberal budgetary neglect, broken child care promises, social program cuts, and the bypassing of achievable improvements to housing and job equality for a corporate wish list of tax cuts and debt reduction, dismayed that this government refuses to go all out to fix Canada's equality deficit as outlined by the UN.

It used to be that we had to hold bake sales to meet our needs. Now we find out that we should have been running communications companies.

When will this government stop marginalizing women's economic concerns and make them budget priorities?

Sponsorship Program
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, while there are organizations in Quebec working with practically no resources to provide breakfasts to children living in poverty, this government used $250 million to plaster Quebec with Canadian flags, while being very careful to look after the generous donors to the Liberal Party.

While he was Minister of Finance and vice-president of the Treasury Board, the current Prime Minister did not lift a finger to halt this corruption. The same man, however, at the same time, did not hesitate to throw his weight into abandoning the ill, our educational institutions, and the less fortunate, by bleeding provincial transfers dry.

How can the Prime Minister claim that he never knew anything about this diddling with public funds, even though his party's policy chair wrote him a letter on February 2, 2002, informing him that persistent rumours of such activity were circulating.

There are two options: either the former finance minister knew everything and refuses to admit it, or he saw nothing, which indicates total incompetence. In either case, he does not deserve to be Prime Minister.

Learning Enrichment
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Sarmite Bulte Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, on Thursday, December 18, 2003, the Honourable Gerard Kennedy, Ontario's Minister of Education, and city councillor Sylvia Watson joined me to officially launch the newest site for the Learning Enrichment Foundation Online Community Access Program Network. Located at the Masaryk-Cowan Community Centre in my riding of Parkdale--High Park, this project is funded by Industry Canada.

By becoming a member of the Learning Foundation Community Access Network, our community will gain access to jobs and local programs. In fact, this federal program has become a catalyst for community development activities across the country.

Parkdale--High Park is a vibrant and progressive community. Industry Canada's Community Access Program ensures that we have equitable access to the tools and resources that will strengthen our community. This is also a great example of two organizations, the Learning Enrichment Foundation and the Masaryk-Cowan Community Centre, working together to meet local needs.

I wish to take this opportunity to thank all three levels of government that are working with local people to solve local issues.