House of Commons Hansard #2 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was program.

Topics

Resumption of debate on Address in Reply
Speech from the Throne

1:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, I want to begin by congratulating my colleague for his elevation, his long-earned position in the government. However I do have to take issue with the suggestion that somehow now provinces and municipalities should get down and kiss the shoes of the Prime Minister for, after 10 years, decimating their budgets by these cuts to transfer payments.

I find some of these poor mayors of municipalities and the provinces are suffering from Stockholm syndrome. They are now feeling that they should somehow thank their captors. What we have seen is that they have been forced to do so much with less that it is like getting hit on the head with a ball-peen hammer. It feels good when it stops.

There is the suggestion that we should be thankful in Atlantic Canada because the government is now going to stop pummelling us and stop ripping money away from our provincial and municipal budgets and allow us to sort of revel in the fact that the Prime Minister will finally live up to a portion, probably 2%, of the decrease in the GST that has been collected.

Well we all know that huge whopper about how it would axe the tax, get rid of it. Ten years later it is lingering like a great big elephant that has been sleeping next to the Prime Minister, from which everybody in the Liberal Party wants to avert their eyes.

We all know that one of their own members went so far as to resign over that promise. Now she possibly will have to resign again because of the way she has been treated by her own colleagues.

I take no history lessons whatsoever from the member opposite, even though he has a long history here. I have great personal respect for his commitment, however, in Atlantic Canada all we are looking for is a fair share and an opportunity to participate fully in the economy of the country. We want the ability to use our own resources and to produce things that we can export.

The rising tide has really been something that has washed over us and carried our most valuable resource away: our young people who have had to leave the provinces of Atlantic Canada, have had to leave the country and, in many cases, will never return.

It is only when we elect a Conservative government in the country to work with Conservative provincial governments, to work with mayors and councillors at the municipal levels, that we will see a return to true equalization in Canada.

Resumption of debate on Address in Reply
Speech from the Throne

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough for pointing out an important point about the Speech from the Throne regarding student debt.

I, like he, know of many students who will be hounded to their graves until they pay back every nickel of their student loans and the horrendous debt that has piled up from their student loans.

Does the member share with me the outrage in the contrast. Some 96% of student loans are paid back fully. The remaining 4%, Revenue Canada goes after every nickel, as I said. It garnishes wages. It even changed the bankruptcy laws so that a student could not file bankruptcy for 10 full years to ensure that it gets every penny back.

I would ask the member to contrast that with the technology partnership loans, of which $2 billion were given away to mostly members on the Liberal donor's list, and only 3% out of that $2 billion in TPC loans has been paid back, while 96% of all student loans, as horrific and massive as they are, have been paid back. Could the hon. member comment on this incredible contradiction?

Resumption of debate on Address in Reply
Speech from the Throne

1:55 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, I could not agree more with my colleague from the New Democratic Party. There is not only a huge contradiction but there is an absolutely huge imbalance and assault on the fact that young people, who are paying for their own education to further their ability to participate in the economy, are being unfairly punished.

This has been the disproportionate approach that has been carried out now for so many years under the tutelage of the Prime Minister and former finance minister.

The fact is that the member has correctly identified that students predominantly work for years to pay off those student debts. They do so in an honourable fashion. They do so, as I said, in some cases by leaving the country so they can earn sufficient income to pay that money back. I know that there are young people in the country who, given the opportunity, would stay. The focus that should be placed in any sort of student loan program is one that encourages participation in the economy here in this country.

Members of the Conservative Party have proposed in the past changes to our tax structure that would allow for that to happen; rewards in fact for staying in their communities, in their country, paying and contributing to the economy in such a fashion.

What we have seen in the past is a government that uses a very heavy hand. I do not want to mix apples and oranges here but we have seen it in the immigration matter. If the diligence that is used to pursue students who are behind on their student debts were used to pursue some of the illegal immigrants in the country I am sure we would have much more equitable system.

Agriculture
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is appropriate that the first member's statement of the new Parliament be on the tragedy which is BSE.

I urge the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food to remember beef and other ruminant farmers who are still suffering from the closure of the U.S. border as a result of BSE.

One cow, which did not get into the food chain, caused the U.S. border to be closed to Canadian products. Now one cow with BSE in the United States has further complicated things.

The government did well in getting the border open to some meat exports but the export of live animals from Canada to the U.S. is still embargoed.

This is a very tough winter for beef and other farmers and those associated with their industry.

Although hundreds of millions of dollars have been put into relief programs, the only solution to the problem is to open the border.

I urge the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and the Prime Minister himself to keep this file active until the Canada-U.S. border is fully opened.

Government of Canada
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Cheryl Gallant Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, today I pay tribute to members of the Renfrew County Private Landowners Association who have come to Ottawa to protest the rising tide of government over-regulation and rising taxation.

Property reassessments will see taxes on some rural woodlots rise 300% to 400%. In the case of maple syrup producers, reassessing their operations from agricultural to industrial means a tax increase in some areas of 1,400%.

While the government talks of forests and carbon sinks in the Kyoto accord, government policy will force landowners to clear cut their woodlots in order to pay the taxes and drop the assessments.

It is time for the government to back off. Between the softwood lumber dispute, BSE, high taxation and overzealous government inspectors, rural Canada is at the breaking point.

The time has come to fix Trudeau's mistake and put the right to own private property into the Canadian Constitution.

Canadian Council of the Blind
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Maria Minna Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, today I ask the House to pay tribute to the Canadian Council of the Blind, an organization of the blind and visually impaired which is this year celebrating its 60th year. The council was founded in 1944 by veterans of the second world war who felt the need for a voice for the blind.

Since 1947 the first week of February has been designated as White Cane Week. During this week events take place in communities across the country that are designed to increase the public awareness of the challenges faced by the blind and visually impaired, and to build the understanding that a lack of sight is not a lack of vision.

Today the white cane is a symbol of independence and the courage of the blind and visually impaired Canadians as they strive to function independently.

Blindness is not defined by age but, as our population ages, increasing numbers of our citizens will face the challenge of a deterioration of their sight. The national challenge is to ensure these Canadians can live as independently as possible. The white cane is a sign of independence not dependence, of ability not disability.

Mining Industry
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, Quebec enjoys a good reputation among Canadian and North American mining companies. According to a survey, directors of mining companies consider it their favourite province.

Quebec ranked fourth on a list which included the Canadian provinces, a number of American states, some of Australia's states, and 20 countries with mining potential, such as Peru, Ghana, South Africa, Russia and Indonesia.

The respondents, heads of 159 mining companies, mainly Canadian or American, want clear, transparent and stable regulations, along with a competitive taxation system.

The federal Liberal government and the Government of Quebec encourage mining development with a competitive tax policy and clear regulations. Those issuing mining permits are clearly in favour of finding solutions, not creating problems.

Quebec has good mining potential.

Boreal Forest
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Charles Caccia Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada is endowed with some 520 million hectares of unique ecological value, the boreal forest. Of great alarm then is the boreal forest conservation framework proposed by four forest and mining companies and four environmental NGOs whereby half the boreal forest would be exploited for commercial purposes.

The proposed framework was concluded without public consultation, without approval by governments and without assurance that once the agreed upon first half of the boreal forest will be cut other forest companies would not come forward and claim the second half.

In addition, the framework would seriously impact Canada's Kyoto commitment and Canada's biodiversity convention obligations.

Finally, aboriginal peoples' livelihood, way of life and traditions would be affected.

For the sake of future generations, I therefore urge the federal government to protect the boreal forest and dismiss the framework.

Agriculture
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

David Anderson Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Mr. Speaker, on May 20, 2003, BSE created a corral full of troubles for the Canadian beef industry: borders were fenced off, international markets dried up faster than a prairie creek and ranchers stared at the horizon waiting for leadership.

Eight months have passed, a summer, a fall and a winter, a long time, but not enough time for the government to solve the problem.

While yesterday's throne speech totally ignored agriculture, there are solutions. Can we investigate the packers, as the agriculture committee asked months ago? Can we increase slaughter capacity to deal with the surplus of culled cows? Can we conclude the necessary international protocols?

Ranchers are sick of the government's inaction. How long will it take farmers to see real change? How long do ranchers have to wait for real leadership? The answer is: when the Conservative Party of Canada forms the next government.

Fisheries
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, over the past number of years those involved in the fishing industry throughout Canada have criticized the decision making process within the Department of Fisheries and Oceans as being too remote from the regions in which the activities of Canada's fisheries are conducted.

The Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans itself has recommended the decentralization of the department on three separate occasions. In light of that persistent concern among those active fishermen throughout Canada, I have called upon the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to task the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans to undertake a study focusing on the merits of implementing those recommendations and, at the very least, enhanced Pacific and Atlantic offices.

In the new spirit of giving greater autonomy to the views of members of Parliament and committees, and through them to the people of Canada, I propose the committee be so tasked forthwith.

Parental Leave
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, the very man who has a penchant for using tax havens rather than contributing to the collective tax effort of the country he heads missed a great opportunity in the throne speech to show some openness toward Quebec, by sidestepping the issue of parental leave.

Why such a stubborn refusal to treat those who have brought a new life into the world the same as those who have lost their jobs? There is no gesture as selfless as producing a new life, and Quebec has chosen to acknowledge this by creating a family policy that is the envy of all.

Having saved one billion dollars at the expense of the $5-a-day daycare centres, the Prime Minister is at it again. He is now hindering Quebec's implementation of a parental leave program tailored to the needs of its young families.

The Prime Minister ought to be acknowledging this progressive move by Quebec, and announcing loud and clear that he will not be appealing the Quebec appeal court decision, and that he will comply with his own Constitution and transfer all that is owing to Quebec in connection with parental leave.

Jamie Murphy
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Lawrence O'Brien Labrador, NL

Mr. Speaker, today a brave Canadian soldier was buried in Conception Harbour, Newfoundland. I know I speak for all when I say that our deepest sympathies and condolences are with the family, loved ones and comrades of Cpl. Jamie Murphy.

Sadly, attacks against Canadian troops in Afghanistan are stark reminders of the sacrifices that our soldiers make on behalf of all Canadians. They leave behind the safety and security of Canada to face dangers abroad.

The professionalism and expertise of the Canadian Forces are renowned worldwide. They are remarkable ambassadors and promoters of Canadian values and ideals. They are tangible expressions of our nation's beliefs. Their work in Afghanistan and other countries is making each and everyone of us proud.

Canada's men and women in uniform are fighting a force that threatens our freedoms and our way of life. For this we thank them. For this we remember Cpl. Murphy's sacrifice.

Curling
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Rick Borotsik Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, time and time again I have boasted in the House about Brandon—Souris and its curling prowess. In the past we have hosted major national and international curling events and have been represented by some exceptional curlers but this year we have truly succeeded in our claim of becoming the curling capital of Canada.

This year Brandon--Souris has no less than five teams representing Manitoba in national curling events: the Manitoba seniors men, Neil Andrews and his team of Darryl Andrews, Jim Horn and Doug Carvey; the Manitoba seniors women, Joyce McDougall and her team of Helen Fenwick, Pam Horn and Karen Dunbar; Manitoba mixed champions, Terry McNamee, Jill Officer, Brendan Taylor and Tanya Robins; Manitoba junior women, Tasha Hunter and her team of Jocelyn Foreman, Karen Hodgson and Roxie Trembath; and representing Manitoba at the Scott Tournament of Hearts is Lois Fowler's team of Gerri Cooke, Maureen Bonar and Lana Hunter.

This is truly an amazing feat, by truly amazing curlers, from a truly amazing constituency. I send congratulations and thanks from all of southwestern Manitoba.

Georgian Express Flight 126
Statements By Members

February 3rd, 2004 / 2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Susan Whelan Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today under the provisions of Standing Order 31 to pay our respects to the 10 passengers and crew whose lives were so tragically lost in the crash of Georgian Express flight 126 into Lake Erie on January 17, 2004 shortly after takeoff from Pelee Island.

The passengers' families, friends and their communities sadly lost loved ones who had shared the enjoyment of one another's company on a hunting trip to the island. Also tragically killed were the young pilot and his friend from California. The names of those lost are: Jim Allen; Robert Brisco; Fred Freitas; Larry Janik; Jamie Levine; Wayne Price; Ted Reeve; Tom Reeve; Walter Sadowski; and Ronald Spencler.

In an instant our world can change. We can only imagine the anguish of the victims' survivors as the recovery efforts were hindered by severe weather and ice conditions out on the open lake. On behalf of the House, I extend my deepest sympathies to each of them, and our thanks to the courageous men and women of the Canadian Coast Guard, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Ontario Provincial Police, the Transportation Safety Board, the coroner's office, and all others who made recovery possible while Erie was in winter's icy grip. God bless them all.

Speech from the Throne
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday's Speech from the Throne and today's debate highlight the difference and widening gap between those of us in Canada in the NDP who want to build this country as opposed to the government that attempts forgiveness for past sins.

The government desperately attempts to address the problems created by a decade of neglect. On health care, there is still no commitment to the Romanow commission. On the environment, there is still no plan for safe water, clean air or clean food. For students, there is still no commitment to address their lifetime debt load. On the economy, how is it possible that we do not have an auto policy, we do not have a shipbuilding policy, and we do not have a steel policy?

It was ironic to watch the Liberals give a standing ovation to the Prime Minister for a legacy of corporate tax cuts at the expense of building this country for all, not just for some.