House of Commons Hansard #51 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was first.

Topics

Eric Kierans
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Serge Marcil Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, I was greatly saddened to learn today of the passing of Eric Kierans, who was a pillar of Canadian politics at a pivotal point in our history.

Born in Montreal in 1914, he entered provincial politics in 1963. After his first victory in a by-election, he went on to the revenue portfolio and then to health in the government of Jean Lesage.

Today, everyone agrees that the Lesage government was the architect of the quiet revolution in Quebec. In 1968, he made the leap to the federal level, where he made a name for himself as Postmaster General and Minister of Communications in the government of Pierre Elliott Trudeau.

Mr. Kierans was a larger-than-life figure in Canadian politics. We extend our condolences to his family and friends on behalf of all Canadians. Canada will never forget this man who was so devoted to his country.

Hurricane Juan
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer Sackville—Musquodoboit Valley—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, one of the major concerns of any elected government should be the care of the people who need the care the most.

Recently in Nova Scotia we had hurricane Juan which devastated many people throughout our area. The fact is it devastated those people on low incomes and on social assistance more than any others. In fact, we found out today that the federal auditors will not even reimburse those people on social assistance or low income for their food expenses during hurricane Juan. It is absolutely unbelievable. We also found out that this is the Liberal policy throughout the entire country in terms of disasters.

What we are asking the federal government to do is back the hounds off, look after those people and reimburse their expenses for the loss of food during hurricane Juan.

Multiple Sclerosis
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Paddy Torsney Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week I assisted the Multiple Sclerosis Society in kicking off its 28th annual carnation campaign by pinning carnations on members of Parliament. Thanks to their generous donations we raised almost $350, a tremendous start to an important campaign to support those living with MS and to invest in research.

Colleagues, I was touched by the generosity of all members on both sides of the House and the many personal messages of those in this place who have been touched by MS.

This past weekend I joined volunteers in my riding of Burlington to sell carnations. We had great success.

May is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month. I hope all Canadians will take the time to learn more about this disease, learn to recognize the early indications and to seek help.

Canada has one of the highest rates of MS in the world. An estimated 50,000 Canadians are living with this disease and three more are diagnosed each day. We need to find a cure for this disease.

I thank my colleagues for their support.

The Environment
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Bob Mills Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, for over 10 years the Canadian environment has suffered under the Liberal government. Successive Liberal do nothing, lip service governments have brought us next to zero meaningful environmental programs.

Here is what we do have: untreated sewage flowing into the ocean in three major cities; a legacy of contaminated sites; brownfields littering every city; overflowing landfills not using modern technology; no invasive species legislation; bilge oil being intentionally dumped off our coast; boil water warnings in every province; and decreased air quality and increasing smog days.

We are ranked 16th out of 24 countries in environmental quality. We have ineffective, last minute legislation designed to buy votes. We have a species at risk bill which will not protect species at risk. We have a carbon dioxide treaty that will never see the light of day. We have a bill which removes large chunks of national parks. We have a gutted weather service.

The Liberal legacy goes on and on.

Gatineau Olympiques
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to bring to the attention of the hon. members that the Gatineau Olympiques have just won the President's Cup for the second year in a row. As a result, they will be representing Quebec in the Memorial Cup series.

Last evening, the Olympiques showed their mettle in an exciting game at Hull's Robert Guertin arena. They beat the Moncton Wildcats, taking the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League championship before a delighted hometown crowd. This team is gutsy, to say the least.

My congratulations to the entire team, and in particular to captain Maxime Talbot. His leadership has earned him the Guy Lafleur trophy for series MVP, two years running.

Hockey is still as much a Canadian passion as ever, and we enthusiastically support our young players. Gatineau is justifiably proud of its Olympiques, and we wish them luck as they head on to the Memorial Cup.

Citizenship and Immigration
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Scott Reid Lanark—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, on October 24, 2002 the House of Commons unanimously voted in support of a motion that called for the release of 13 Falun Gong practitioners with family ties to Canada, who at the time were imprisoned in China. It was passed with the specific intention that these prisoners of conscience be reunited with their families here in Canada.

One of these prisoners, Mingli Lin, was freed on March 26, 2003. However since that time, our consulate in Shanghai has repeatedly denied him a visa to come to Canada. While the Chinese authorities have respected the requests of Parliament as communicated through the former prime minister, our own consular officials are refusing to act upon the stated and unanimous directives of the House.

I call upon the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to respect the express and unanimous will of the House of Commons by allowing Mingli Lin to enter Canada to be reunited with his family.

Gasoline Prices
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Sébastien Gagnon Lac-Saint-Jean—Saguenay, QC

Mr. Speaker, last Friday in the Saguenay region, the Prime Minister of Canada announced with great fanfare—for the second time—federal financial participation in the widening of highway 175. The Prime Minister seems to be short of ideas, to say the least, if he has to resort to recycling an announcement that had already been made by his predecessor, two years ago.

The man who wanted to do things differently is taking up the old Duplessis-style methods of winning votes. People are not fooled by this and they can see through these electioneering moves. It would have been much more significant for the people of Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean had he made a commitment to take swift action to curb the spectacular rise in the price of gasoline.

If he really wants to stand out, the Prime Minister should agree to establish a petroleum monitoring agency, as called for by the Bloc Quebecois. But it appears that he would much rather serve up leftovers than create anything new.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

May 10th, 2004 / 2:15 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, today's charges stem from an earlier Auditor General's report, an earlier investigation, an earlier scandal, although there is one common denominator and that is the Liberal Party of Canada.

These charges will not provide Canadians with any answers regarding the sponsorship program or the Auditor General's concerns over the $250 million of taxpayers' money. There will be an 18 month delay before there will be any answers from the public inquiry. There are 13 RCMP investigations. There are no answers coming from the government.

Canadians deserve to know, where is the money, who is responsible and who gave the political direction?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Edmonton West
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, that is exactly what the Prime Minister wants to get to the bottom of and he has made it absolutely plain. That is why we have a public inquiry. That is why the public accounts committee is at work.

What I would do is call upon the public accounts committee to put together an interim report, especially in light of the charges that were laid today. It is probably a good time for the public accounts committee to take stock of what it has heard so far and share that with the Canadian public.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, the death knell is tolling for the public accounts committee. There is a deep, gaping hole through the government and the bureaucracy. We are nowhere near the bottom of answers in the sponsorship scandal.

Given the recent comments from the Prime Minister's Quebec lieutenant, Jean Lapierre, calling for charges in the sponsorship scandal, today's charges seem suspicious at best. They are soiled because of those words. It is inappropriate for public commentary to come from someone that close to the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister gave his absolute assurances. Will there be no political manipulation of this system and will Canadians truly get the answer before an election?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Edmonton West
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, I hope the hon. member is not impugning either the integrity or the independence of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Let me quote Corporal Patrice Gélinas, who today made the following statement in relation to the investigation: “Our investigation is totally, totally independent from whatever is going on in politics, so we are doing our police investigation, notwithstanding whatever is going on everywhere else”. He said that it does not affect by any means the RCMP investigation.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, this is not about the RCMP.

The Auditor General very much said that in the sponsorship scandal every rule in the book was broken. When it comes to shutting down inquiries, incomplete inquiries, and political interference, the government wrote the book.

The manipulation from the Prime Minister's Office to shut down the inquiry is evident. The Prime Minister himself said that Canadians deserve answers. They do not have answers as yet. He has said that there will be answers before an election.

Will the Deputy Prime Minister reassure Canadians that we will get to the bottom of this before he shuts down the committee and pulls the plug?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Edmonton West
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, the public accounts committee is not being shut down. In fact, members of the public accounts committee, as I understand it, have called for an interim report. I think that is perfectly reasonable in the context of everything that committee has heard, the witnesses that committee has heard.

In fact, I would think Canadians would expect at this point an interim report that takes stock in relation to everything that has been heard and learned so far.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, that answer shows just how arrogant the Liberals have become. They think Canadians are naive enough to believe that, when a Liberal member of the committee, the minister for P.E.I., said that an interim report would make it easier for the Prime Minister to call a spring election.

Is it not true that the reason the Liberals are jamming out an interim report this week and shutting down the committee before it has heard from 90 witnesses is that they do not want Canadians to know the truth about where the millions went before we go to an election?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Edmonton West
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, no one has done more than the Prime Minister to get to the bottom of this matter, to learn the truth. He was the person who called for a public inquiry. He was the person who asked the public accounts committee to sit early so it could begin its hearings.

I think it is really unfortunate that members of the opposition choose to play politics with the committee. The public is watching. The public, I can assure every member of the House, is not impressed with what it is seeing. It wants to get to the bottom of this matter. I call upon the public accounts committee to continue its work.