House of Commons Hansard #31 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

The Budget
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Garry Breitkreuz Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, I stand before you having heard what the Liberal government has to offer to Canadians in the form of its 2004 budget. It is quite obvious that Canadians have had to listen to the Liberals' so-called plans for a better Canada, but the Prime Minister, the Minister of Finance and this Liberal government have not listened to the taxpayers of this country. They have not listened.

I recently toured my riding of Yorkton--Melville, an area in eastern Saskatchewan that includes both urban and rural settings, and I can tell the House that Canadians are sick and tired of being jeopardized because of the Liberal agenda. If there is any question as to whether the Liberals' billion dollar scandals like the sponsorship program or the gun registry are fading from the minds of our taxpayers, members can just ask any of my constituents: they are not.

Canadians feel sheer resentment and frustration toward the Liberals for misusing and mishandling their money, and uttering words like accountability and transparency in the budget speech is not going to regain the trust that this government has lost.

Canadians are outraged over the loss of their tax dollars, yet the Liberal government chooses to ignore their cries to scrap programs like the gun registry, which is estimated to balloon to $2 billion before it is even fully implemented. We are hearing that there may be changes to the gun control program, but that is not what we need to hear. Canadians were waiting to hear that no more money would be wasted on the useless registry. Instead, they were lied to with words like “better money management”.

How is their money being better managed with a program that the Liberals said would cost $2 million but is instead heading toward the $2 billion mark? That is one thousand times over budget. How can the government justify continuing spending on a program aimed to keep duck hunters on the edge and further outrage the very people who are funding it, the Canadian taxpayers? How much longer will our taxpayers have to pay for a useless program that continues to exist only as a Liberal propaganda program?

My riding is home to one of Saskatchewan's major health care facilities, the Yorkton Regional Health Centre. It helps serve 60,000 people in the Sunrise health district, plus a good number of western Manitoba residents. The heath districts in Saskatchewan share a number of services, requiring people to travel to Regina or Saskatoon for major surgeries, tests or specialized treatment.

While the drive to one of these centres on a weekly or sometimes even daily basis can be very tedious, the grave concern is with the amount of time people have to wait to receive treatment or in some cases even to be diagnosed. It is an unconscionable length of time that they have to wait. People are walking around with cancers spreading through their bodies and some do not even know it. Men previously diagnosed with prostate cancer are waiting months for treatment while the cancer spreads. For some, necessary surgeries come too late and the spreading cancer cannot be stopped.

It is absolutely unconscionable. These people have no hope. The treatment they are getting makes them feel more hopeless. The health and quality of life of Canadians are suffering because this government cannot get its priorities straight. The $2 billion band-aid the government announced is incomparable to the $25 billion wound that was opened by the finance minister when he slashed health care spending.

Young people in their forties and fifties are being forced into wheelchairs because they are waiting for hip replacement surgeries. They have to put their dignity on the line as they ask for help in bathing, dressing and using the washroom. These people have to rely on others to care not only for them but for their own families as well. All they want is a chance to live life again.

These people understand the need to wait their turn for surgery such as a hip replacement, but there is no answer as to how long that wait will be. The waiting lists in Saskatchewan are so long that necessary surgeries are not even being scheduled. People are living in agony. For some, that means placing even more of a load on overworked doctors, nurses and other health care employees. There is no light at the end of the tunnel for these people because this Liberal government refuses to hear what is really happening out there. The Liberals have placed a huge burden on the health care system, yet they will not take responsibility.

My constituents are very perceptive. They already see the pattern formed by the Prime Minister and his Liberal government. They see that the government cannot control taxpayers' dollars. Nor do they believe any of the promises made by the Prime Minister. Time and time again our people have been let down by the government and they simply will not fall for false hopes anymore.

The Prime Minister says health care is a priority, yet that clearly has not been the case in this or any of his past budgets.

He says more resources need to be devoted to the military, yet our servicemen and servicewomen are risking their lives flying in ancient Sea King helicopters and there is not even a plan to replace them.

There was the promise to scrap the GST, which was broken.

There were promises to lower taxes. They were broken.

And just where does the fuel tax go? Certainly not to the broken down highways connecting my constituents to their hospitals.

By offering very little in the budget, maybe the Prime Minister thinks he can make good on very little promises. They are baby steps, I guess.

My constituents, like others in agriculture based ridings, resent the government for holding its farmers and cattle producers hostage. The very reason that communities in my riding exist is the agriculture industry. They exist thanks to it. International farm machinery manufacturing facilities like Morris Industries in Yorkton and even the town of Esterhazy, home to IMC Kalium Canada, the world's largest potash mines, know how vital farmers are to the country.

Our farmers and ranchers have suffered through droughts and poor markets, and now BSE, virtually alone. The Liberals have repeatedly ignored pleas from our food providers all while millions have gone to fund this government's latest scam.

I will have to finish later, Mr. Speaker.

The Budget
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)

I thank you for your cooperation. You will have three more minutes for your speech after question period.

Research and Development
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is the ultimate example of an ideal partnership, combining the best knowledge, expertise and collaborative efforts from the public and private sectors throughout the region: the Peterborough DNA cluster project. It is a superb example of an ideal partnership.

Project partners include Trent University, Fleming College, Industry Canada, the Peterborough Partnership Group, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and the Greater Peterborough Economic Development Corporation.

Initial projects include automation of DNA sample collection, wildlife and commercial stock management through DNA profiling, potential for improved DNA forensic applications for criminal justice, and disease prevention, management and control.

With a prime location, skilled workforce and a reputation as a major centre for innovative research and development, Peterborough was the ideal choice for a project of this importance.

Whistleblower Protection
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Darrel Stinson Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, on March 27, W5 exposed corruption and cover-up at Canada's High Commission in Hong Kong.

One of those trying to protect Canada's interests was immigration control officer Brian McAdam, who discovered that known Chinese criminals were being admitted into our country. After filing many reports with many superiors, Brian McAdam was drummed out of Canada's foreign service, his career and his health destroyed.

Another whistleblower was RCMP corporal Robert Read, a 24 year veteran of the force. After getting no results through internal channels, he went public with his concerns and was fired. Although Corporal Read was cleared and actually commended by the RCMP internal review committee, he still does not have his job back.

The facts about Brian McAdam and Robert Read show why Bill C-25, the new whistleblower protection law, is inadequate and should have no time limit. The government should be protecting Canada, not the old boys' network.

Vince Ryan Memorial Tournament
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Bras D'Or—Cape Breton, NS

Mr. Speaker, today I wish to express thanks to the organizers of the Vince Ryan oldtimers hockey tournament. From its humble beginnings 15 years ago with 12 teams to this year's incredible 152 teams, the Vince Ryan has become the most significant winter tourism event on Cape Breton Island.

Hosting teams from across Atlantic Canada, Ontario and Alberta, this year's event was highlighted by the participation of the L.A. Chill women's team from Los Angeles, California.

The economic impact of the event on our local economy is tremendous, dumping in over $3 million over the four day competition.

To tournament organizer Richie Warren, his board of directors and the huge army of volunteers, I wish to offer my thanks and congratulations. The host communities should take great pride in the incredible hospitality shown their guests.

The continued efforts of these committed people have been the catalyst that has allowed the Vince Ryan oldtimers tournament to become one of the best adult hockey events not only in Atlantic Canada but in the entire country.

Health
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the former premier of Saskatchewan, Roy Romanow, says he agrees with Ottawa's decision not to increase funding for health in the federal budget brought down on March 23. He said:

Adding $2 billion to medicare without first agreeing on the reforms would be an unwise use of taxpayer dollars.

Money injected into an unreformed system would be swallowed up and the provinces would only demand more.

If Ottawa simply added to the base, as the provinces want...it would probably not be a very good idea.

Mr. Romanow said he agreed with the provincial premiers that there needs to be an increase in federal funding, but the provincial governments forget to mention that he recommended starting by introducing changes so that the health care system is able to meet the current needs of Canadians.

The Prime Minister of Canada said that a reformed system could improve the health of Canadians.

Montréal Games
Statements By Members

March 29th, 2004 / 2 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I would like my colleagues to join me in wishing good luck to the 5,000 children between the ages of 6 and 12 who are participating in the 27th edition of the Montréal Games.

Since yesterday, these sports enthusiasts have been competing with one another in 24 sport disciplines, from track and field to water polo. The competitions are being held mainly at the Complexe sportif Claude-Robillard and will end on Sunday.

In addition to instilling healthy living habits in all these children, this event helps them to discover the rewards of setting personal goals.

On behalf of all the members of this House, I would like to congratulate these young athletes. Bravo.

Government of Canada
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Strahl Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, there are currently three big federal issues in my riding. The first of which are the efforts to control the avian flu in the local poultry industry. On this front, I want to thank the agriculture minister for keeping me and my constituents informed about developments in this unfortunate saga, and also for intervening in an appropriate way when I have raised concerns on behalf of people affected by this poultry disease.

However, such cooperation is not evident in the transfer of the old CFB Chilliwack lands, a move that would permit the building of an impressive new education park. This would not cost the federal government a dollar, but holding up the paperwork could kill the project. Several universities are ready to start construction, and the provincial and local governments are ready to go.

We have been promised this transfer for years now. I urge the Treasury Board President and the Minister of National Defence to personally intervene to make this possible.

Finally, I urge the minister to start allocating funds under the softwood adjustment initiative, so that suffering communities and individuals in places like Boston Bar, Lillooet, Pemberton and Hope can plan and move ahead. Let us not wait until an election call to make it right. Let us do the right things, for the right reasons, right now.

Union des cultivateurs franco-Ontariens
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, this past Saturday, March 27, the franco-ontarian farm community was in a celebratory mood.

The Union des cultivateurs franco-ontariens was celebrating 75 years of existence. The UCFO began life as the Union catholique des fermiers de l'Ontario in 1929. Concerned about the future of agriculture, these farmers held meetings, provided training for fellow farmers, and worked generally to improve their industry, making every effort to preserve their language.

Seventy-five years later, UCFO is as dynamic as ever. It publishes a newsletter, Agricom , and continues to provide services to its membership.

On the occasion of this 75th anniversary, we extend congratulations to the UCFO, and President Pierre Bercier, CEO Nadia Carrier, and Agricom Editor Pierre Glaude. Long may it continue to serve the francophone agricultural community of Ontario.

François Bourque
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Roy Matapédia—Matane, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to pay tribute to a young man from Gaspé by the name of François Bourque, who recently won the world junior downhill combined championship in Maribor, Slovenia.

His performance was one of the best at these championships, an additional honour on top of his previous two bronze medals plus a gold in the World Junior Super G in 2003. Quebec's hopes are pinned on this young downhill ski ace.

He has, moreover, been given the honour of having a run named after him at New Richmond's Pin Rouge ski resort.

François Bourque is Quebec's alpine skier of the future, and we feel it is a sure bet that he will have many more medals to his credit as the years go by. Congratulations to our Quebec champion; may he have many more equally great years ahead of him.

RAI International
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Carole-Marie Allard Laval East, QC

Mr. Speaker, today, I would like to reaffirm my support for the Italian-Canadian communities of Laval East and of other regions of Canada that are asking to have access to RAI International, the Italian digital television broadcasting network.

On Tuesday, along with other Liberal members, I met officials from RAI International to discuss the application submitted on September 15, 2003 to the CRTC.

RAI International is accessible in 215 countries in the world, but not here in Canada. The Italian-Canadian community is getting impatient. It has already presented a petition signed by over 106,000 people and over 330 letters to the CRTC, urging the commission to approve the application to add RAI International to the list of eligible services.

I strongly support this application for RAI International in Canada, because I believe that the Italian-Canadian community in Quebec and Canada should enjoy the same rights as other Italian communities around the world.

Government of Canada
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is the Liberal version of Fear Factor for soldiers. First, they fly in a 40 year old Hercules, followed by a hair-raising flight in a 40 year old Sea King. The final challenge is a trip to Afghanistan where they ride in a rusted out Iltis through minefields, while engaging Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters. Then it is back home again for six months before doing the same thing all over again in Haiti. Survive it all and they do not have to pay on their danger pay.

That is how the Liberals treat our soldiers in their flak jackets. However, if they are a Liberal flack their Fear Factor is that they might get left off the gravy train. In Liberal gravy train Fear Factor watch Earnscliffe, Groupaction and Groupe Everest go to a PMO dinner where the contestants will dine on fine French cuisine. Next comes a PMO wine tasting where contestants will consume $100 bottles of wine. Finally, it is the cash scramble where contestants grab millions in phony advertising contracts and untendered commissions.

The only losers in this orgy are the taxpayers of Canada. That is exactly why this reality show needs to be cancelled right now.

The Environment
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Serge Marcil Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, the One Tonne Challenge announced on March 26 by the Minister of the Environment is very important if we want to achieve Canada's goals regarding climate change.

Every one of us produces greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. In fact, every Canadian produces, on average, about five tonnes of greenhouse gas per year.

Even though climate change is one of the most serious problems confronting our country and our planet, the good news is that each one of us can help by personally reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. Such initiatives will also provide numerous benefits locally, including cleaner air and more thriving and sustainable communities.

Canadians are proud of the role that they can play to protect the environment, whether it is through recycling, waste reduction or more energy efficient habits. The One Tonne Challenge is an invitation to all of us to take these next steps to achieve the national goal of reducing emissions by one tonne per person, or about 20%.

Softwood Lumber
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer Sackville—Musquodoboit Valley—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, Canada's small and medium sized independent lumber producers are being driven out of business while the Liberal government dilly-dallies on the softwood lumber dispute. The situation grows worse with each passing day and the federal government does not care about the economic carnage being inflicted on the small operators.

A recent independent study confirmed that shipments from Canada's small and medium sized lumber operations dropped last year, while Canada's largest lumber producers were at record highs. The big are getting bigger and the small are being driven out of business.

What does the tired, old Liberal government do about the asymmetrical impact of the dispute and the disproportionate injury it is inflicting on Canada's small and medium sized independent lumber operations? It has proposed to make this permanent. That is right. Officials are proposing to take away market share from the little producers and give it to the big guys, under a poorly designed quota proposal based on a faulty reference period, the very reference period where the small operators exports are down while the big guys are up.

The Prime Minister says that he wants to end cronyism. Well, it must begin with the lumber file, and that begins with fair treatment of Canada's small and medium sized producers. We say to Canada's small producers, do not vote Liberal or Conservative, vote NDP--

Softwood Lumber
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Terrebonne--Blainville.