House of Commons Hansard #122 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-48.

Topics

Extension of Sitting Period
Government Orders

1:25 p.m.

Liberal

Roger Gallaway Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I never in any way suggested it was undemocratic. In fact, it was Speaker Fraser who ruled on June 13, 1988, that this could be done. I would point out that when one starts waiving or changing the law, in what I regard as a capricious fashion, one has to be careful because the law of Parliament is embodied in the Standing Orders. This is not all of the law of Parliament but much of the law of Parliament.

Of course, this chamber has enormous powers. We could waive a day for impaired driving, so if someone is convicted on that, it is a free day. No one is going to suggest that is going to happen. When there are laws as embodied as the laws of Parliament called the Standing Orders and when we start playing with those or carving exceptions into those laws, where is it all ending?

I refer to the Debates of June 9, 1998, when it was the Conservatives who were doing that, but were in fact doing it in a way that in my view had a greater sense of urgency than what we are having now. There will always be a time, when we wrap up for the summer, that legislation will be left sitting until the fall that many or a few would regard as urgent. The case could then be made that we should just keep sitting.

The motion that is before the House which is to be voted on is an open-ended question for members here. Do members want to sit for 95 days or do they think it is right and proper to give to a House leader the right and authority to stretch proceedings out from Monday through Thursday midnight. That is why I referred to that quotation. That is legislating by exhaustion. That is not the right and proper way to debate, to deliberate, and for members to exercise their representative and deliberative powers. I must object to this way of doing business.

Extension of Sitting Period
Government Orders

1:30 p.m.

Conservative

Rahim Jaffer Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to rise and speak in this House, although the motion that we are debating today is not one that I am crazy about.

I have the pleasure to follow my colleague, the House leader for the opposition. We were all very thrilled with his performance yesterday in this House. He gave a very bountiful speech, if I may use that word. He was able to address a number of key topics pertaining to this motion that has been put forward by the government, but also a number of other strong issues that we have contention with, the bills that are leading to the extension of the sitting of the House. I speak of BIll C-48 and obviously Bill C-38.

I do not know that I can do as good a job as he did. He spent two hours talking about such pertinent issues and enlightening this place. I know we were all in awe with his ability. I will do my best to speak against Motion No. 17 that we are speaking to today.

My colleague from Sarnia—Lambton spoke in great detail of the precedent that this is setting and the precedents that have been set in the past.

I would not mind taking a moment just to read the motion into the record so that everyone who is following this debate is clear as to exactly what we are debating. The motion reads:

That, notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practice, when the House adjourns on June 23, 2005, it shall stand adjourned until June 27, 2005; at any time on or after June 27, 2005, a Minister of the Crown may propose, without notice, a motion that, upon adjournment on the day on which the said motion is proposed, the House shall stand adjourned to a specified date not more than 95 days later; the said motion immediately shall be deemed to have been adopted, provided that, during the adjournment, for the purposes of any Standing Order, the House shall be deemed to stand adjourned pursuant to Standing Order 28; commencing June 27, 2005 and concluding on the day on which a motion that the House stand adjourned pursuant to this Order is adopted, the ordinary hour of daily adjournment on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays shall be 12:00 midnight;--

That sounds a little awkward. Obviously for those watching at home it is tough to follow that kind of a motion and really make sense of it. As we heard yesterday, my colleague the opposition House leader put forward an amendment to the motion. It says that according to normal practice, after tonight, the Standing Orders indicate that this House is to rise and be adjourned, and that we strike the rest of the motion that was a little bit confusing and just add that we will return to this place on September 12, which is closer to the current Standing Orders than obviously what the government is proposing.

As my colleague the member for Sarnia—Lambton said, this motion seems to be completely unnecessary, especially as it is changing the Standing Orders for political purposes.

The member for Sarnia--Lambton did indicate that we have seen this before. He rightfully pointed out it was the Conservatives who in fact did that in 1988. Unlike him, I was not in this place at that time, so I do not have the personal account that he was able to relay, but I do recall studying it. I was a student at that time here in Ottawa. I watched what was happening. I remember watching members such as the member for Sarnia--Lambton taking part in debate and being in awe as to what was happening.

I do recall that at that time there was a sense of urgency as to why the Standing Orders were being changed. The issue was free trade. There was some great concern about the timing of that particular bill going through the House and the effect it would have on our economy, and the effect it would have on millions of Canadians, and rightfully so. Clearly, there was a concern as to why the Standing Orders were changed.

We have to address the point that the member for Sarnia--Lambton made, that this attacks the fundamentals of our Standing Orders and the democracy of this particular chamber. The opposition House leader tried to address that point yesterday. Very clearly this is an attack in essence on the way this place functions.

It is frustrating to no end to see those sorts of changes being made by the government. My colleague from Sarnia--Lambton said how vehemently the Liberals opposed the changing of the Standing Orders in 1988 when the government of the day was trying to do it, even though the urgency was definitely there over the time that we have now.

The other thing he was clear to point out which I think we have to be concerned about is that the government is trying to legislate by exhaustion. If one looks around the chamber there have been high emotions, especially with the issues we have been dealing with in the last few weeks. There have been a lot of different opinions. Many of our constituents are looking forward to the return of their MPs back home to do the business that they would be doing in their constituencies.

If we take a step back we see that we have passed Bill C-43. It is currently in the Senate but as we know, the Senate is holding that up and it is out of our control. There has been a sense of urgency with the budget. We supported it to get it through. There were some measures in it with which we could agree.

Now that it has passed this place, the urgency of passing the budget has been deflated. The fact is that with Bill C-48 and Bill C-38, there is no sense of urgency. We could follow the normal Standing Orders, return back home, hear from our constituents and deal with those two pieces of legislation when we returned as normal under the Standing Orders. Again, to use the language of the member for Sarnia—Lambton, changing the Standing Orders for political purposes is really unfortunate. The Liberals are undermining democracy in this place in doing that. The government says it is necessary.

This is to follow up on the reason we are dealing with this motion to extend the sitting. The government says it is necessary to pass the legislation to allow the budget to pass. As I just said, that in fact is false. It seems to me that the Liberal Party continues to play an absurd game with the very budget bill that the Liberals accused the Conservatives of blocking, Bill C-43.

The original budget implementation legislation which includes the Atlantic accord is now being held hostage by a Liberal dominated Senate, which is really beyond my belief. I do not understand what is going on. The government is obviously dominating the Senate. Why now after all that urgency is the Senate holding up Bill C-43? The Liberals I guess have never been really serious about passing the bill. If we could in fact get that bill through the Senate faster, and let us face it, the Conservative senators have said they would be willing to deal with it in one sitting, we could actually get the money for Atlantic Canada, and for the Canadian cities and municipalities that are waiting for it. It would be able to go through a lot faster and we could in fact have that money flowing before we returned in the fall.

It seems to me there is something going on. It seems the government is informing its senators to hold this legislation up. At the FCM convention which I attended recently with the Leader of the Opposition, I challenged the government. We could have dealt with the new deal for cities and municipalities and with the Atlantic accord if the Liberals were willing to remove that part out of the budget. I think they would have had consent from this House to move those pieces of the budget forward so quickly that the money could have been flowing today to those people who need it. But we are dealing with political games and we did not even hear why the Liberals would not remove that portion of the budget. They have added on this new NDP budget that they are saying is so urgent. Why could they not make that particular change to get the money to the people who need it the most?

It is not just my words or the words of my colleagues. We know how much the government House leader likes to quote from editorials. Let me quote from today's editorial in the Halifax Chronicle-Herald which deals with this very subject. It is very informative about the games that I think the Liberals are playing. It goes like this:

The Liberals delayed passing the Atlantic accord through the Senate on Wednesday, and the Tories say they're doing it in a cynical attempt to put pressure on Tory MPs. The Liberal House Leader in the Senate, Jack Austin, turned down an offer from Conservative Senate Leader Noel Kinsella to go to clause-by-clause consideration of the bill last night. If he had accepted the offer - a fairly common procedure - Bill C-43 would have passed today, the bill could have received royal assent this afternoon, and Nova Scotia and Newfoundland would have immediately received big cheques from offshore revenue deals reached with the Liberal government. The deals, reached after months of tough negotiations, are worth $830 million to Nova Scotia and more than $2 billion to Newfoundland, but the federal Finance Department can't cut the cheques until the budget bill is passed. The Liberals don't want the Senate to pass C-43 until the House passes C-48, the $4.5-billion NDP budget amendment, Mr. Kinsella said.

“It's pretty bad that the Liberals would not accept putting through to royal assent their own budget bill”.The Liberals added Bill C-48 to their budget to win NDP support, and the Tories are strongly opposed to the new social spending it contains. When it went to the House for second reading, the Speaker had to break the tie to get it passed and prevent the Liberal government from falling.

This is an editorial that was written today in the Halifax newspaper. It basically says what games the government is playing when in fact we could have this money flowing. It is still holding up the bill in the Senate. It does not make a lot of sense to us who are ready to get that money flowing, and we could actually get out of this place without changing the Standing Orders, the motion that we are debating today. It begs the question, what are the Liberals doing? They have a majority in the Senate. It is their budget. What are they afraid of?

It continues to be demonstrated to us and I think to Canadians that the only reason they keep playing these games is not because they are legitimately concerned about a lot of these issues that they say they are, but because they have a serious issue about hanging on to power. They want to cling to power. They are playing games to do that. They are cutting deals with people in order to save their own political skin.

We are dealing with this motion today, because they have actually neglected their responsibility over the last few weeks in getting this legislation through the House a lot faster.

Our party is strongly opposed to the two major bills, as mentioned by a number of our colleagues, what we call the dangerous and reckless spending in Bill C-48, but also the same sex marriage legislation.

As the official opposition we are not in the business of helping the government pass legislation that we do not think is in the best interests of the country. That is what our House leader said yesterday. We will vote against any extension of the agreed upon calendar so that the government can make up for its own mismanagement of the legislative schedule. We will have as many members as possible in the House to vote on these bills, including the confidence vote on Bill C-48.

I would like to talk for a few minutes on the spirit of Motion No. 17 and why this motion as it relates to Bill C-48 needs to be defeated.

Bill C-48 outlines a host of new spending. I mentioned that in the earlier part of my speech. Canada could have more and better paying jobs, a much higher standard of living, but Ottawa taxes too much and spends too much. We have seen that from the amount of the surpluses over the past number of years. Since 1999-2000, program spending has gone from $109.6 billion to $158.1 billion, an increase of over 44%, a compound annual growth of 7.6%, when the economy itself managed to grow by only 31.6%, a compound annual rate of growth of 5.6%.

We cannot support this motion because it is the curse of the Liberal government that once the Liberals have our money, they cannot resist spending it even faster than the economy is growing. It is not surprising that there is so much waste within the government.

I would like to identify a couple of examples of waste which point out even stronger to a party like ours, the opposition, why we should not give a blank cheque to the government in Bill C-48. I do not have to remind the House and Canadians that the firearms registry is a perfect example of that. The government said it was going after the criminal use of firearms. In the end, we had a piece of legislation that was supposed to cost Canadians $2 million. In fact there are estimates that it is reaching, if not exceeding, $2 billion.

How can there be that kind of exaggerated cost unless there is not a plan in place to deal with it, not to mention the annual cost of that particular program. What sort of value has come back to Canadians on that? Can we actually say we have prevented crimes with guns, that we have actually gone after the criminals and not the duck hunters? I do not think we would find even very many members on the government side who can claim that it has been a successful program. That again came from wasteful spending and without having a clear plan as to how the government should spend the money. The government is asking us to give it that trust again in Bill C-48.

We also saw an unfortunate situation. We know what the problem was in Davis Inlet where we saw children high on gasoline and a lot of other social problems. What was the answer? It was to throw money again at that problem without a real plan.

Now the community has been moved not too far away from where it was originally located, at a cost of about $400,000 per person and the problems have continued to follow. Unfortunately, we have not seen the improvements that we would have liked to see from this kind of social spending. Again, it is the lack of a plan and a knee-jerk reaction to spending.

All of us know how close we came in 1995 to losing the country because of a lack of vision from the current government. What was the solution? Let us throw money at Quebec and try to buy votes through the sponsorship program. What did we get as a result? A complete waste of taxpayer dollars.

We have what we all know as the sponsorship scandal and the continuous fiasco surrounding that with inquiries. We have seen the continuous corruption on the other side. It just proves the point further that it is difficult for the opposition to give free rein to a government which has demonstrated time and time again its inability to manage taxpayer dollars.

I have given the House a few examples here today. I think we could even point to more because more seem to be coming up on a daily basis. We have seen what has happened in Technology Partnerships Canada. My colleague from Edmonton—Leduc has been pressing for an audit to be done on that department. We have seen other examples of that sort of waste. Therefore, it becomes very difficult for us to say we can endorse Bill C-48.

In the years 2003-04 and 2004-05, the Liberals could not help themselves. Program spending rocketed by almost 12%. Per capita program spending by the federal government has reached its highest point in over a decade and it is scheduled to go even higher in the future.

Before we pass the motion and allow more time for Bill C-48 to be debated, perhaps we should look at the record when it comes to budgeting practices of the Liberals. I have talked about the spending, but their budgeting is not that much better.

In 1996-97 real federal program spending per capita was just over $3,000. It will have risen to just over $4,000 in 2005-06. That is an increase of about $800 per capita in volume terms, or just over $3,000 for a family of four. Current Liberal-NDP spending plans will take that spending to almost $4,600 by 2009-10. That is a projected increase of almost $1,200 per person.

Increases in government spending do not necessarily point to solving problems or even getting better results for Canadians through their services. I think most Canadians today would agree. If we look at our health care system and other areas of our social fabric, they have all been damaged by the way the government has managed its budgets as have the services that Canadians continue to get back. Yet they are taxed higher than ever.

It is incredible that the finance minister continuously gets up in this place and says that the government has delivered tax relief to Canadians. If we ask Canadians if they have seen any real tax relief over the time the Liberals have been in power, they will answer quite overwhelmingly that they have not seen anything realistic or substantial handed back to them. Clearly this is something that needs to be addressed. It continues to prove the point why it makes it so difficult for us to support Bill C-48.

We have always believed on this side of the House, especially when it comes to the surpluses, which my House leader spoke to yesterday, that a surplus is the result of the government taxing too heavily. Some of that money should be returned to Canadians, especially when the value for the services is not coming back to them the way it should.

We feel that $1,000 more in the pocket of an average Canadian will go a lot further than in the hands of the government, which seems to misspend their tax dollars. A great example of that would be a $1,000 of savings put into an RRSP, which would initially be worth $1,160. After 30 years, at a rate of 5% return, $1,000 a year invested in an RRSP would be worth nearly $81,000. A $1,000 invested outside of an RRSP at a 5% rate of return would be worth even more in 30 years.

Clearly, we know the government has lost sight of this in its wild attempt to tax, spend and often give very little value back to Canadians, as we have seen. We maintain that we should look at an option of taking the surpluses and looking at effective and meaningful ways to give that money back to Canadians. They are struggling on a daily basis. Many of them cannot make ends meet. Why not give that money back to Canadians so we can have a more productive economy, better paying jobs and Canadians can take care of themselves. We believe hard work should be rewarded. Unfortunately, we are not seeing that.

For the reasons I have identified, it is clear to us in the opposition that we cannot support the motion to extend the sitting of this session on the basis of the wild spending proposed in Bill C-48. It also is an attack of democracy in the House and on the Standing Orders, which we should all be respect and follow, as agreed to by all members in the House.

Extension of Sitting Period
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member covered a lot of ground. He mentioned game playing. I suspect we all have to admit that games have been played on all sides for some time now. It is probably reflective of what will go on as we move forward.

I would prefer to argue the matter of the calendar of the House. Back in 1984 Parliament decided to have a fixed calendar so real people, including MPs, could manage their lives and make plans because of the unique circumstances in which we found ourselves. In the cases where there were extended days, they were with regard to one item, not many items. Would the member care to comment on that?

Even though the motion says that we could have up to 95 extended days, we have many bills on which we could work. I guess the real question comes down to how we interpret public interest. I suggest to the member that public interest is applicable in everything that we do. That is public interest.

It has to be interpreted even further, to the extent that it makes a meaningful difference. It is not always to the benefit of all, but it may be the right thing to do. The law must be in place to take care of a situation.

Maybe it is time for a little penance. When we do our jobs here, the rules we apply should look to the history and intent of the changes made in the Standing Orders. I suggest that anything going on right now that is picked up after the resumption on September 19 would have no material impact on the ultimate effect or benefit of any of the legislation still pending.

Extension of Sitting Period
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Conservative

Rahim Jaffer Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, we heard the intervention from the member for Sarnia—Lambton. He identified clearly in his speech, and I tend to agree with him, that there was a normal schedule under the Standing Orders for this place to sit. If there were an actual urgency with these bills, which is why the government has proposed the extend sitting, then maybe there would be a different reaction from a number of members in the House.

If we look back at the precedent that was set in 1998, and I talked briefly about it in my speech, we would have been able to say that if it were an issue that was threatening our nation and something needed to be determined at a particular point in time, then we should extend the hours. We have a responsibility in the interests of Canadians to deal with urgent legislation.

That is not to say that what we are dealing with is not important. What the government is proposing still needs to be discussed, but do not attack democracy in this place. That is the point. We have Standing Orders in place and we all follow those Standing Orders. We all work together in order to achieve the schedule has been presented. In trying to change those Standing Orders, without any real sense of urgency, is an attack on democracy in this place and on the ability for members of Parliament to do their jobs.

We do not quite understand why the government at this point in time is rushing to get legislation through. We can easily deal with as soon as we come back in the fall. We can get to the business in our constituencies, we can listen to Canadians and do the things we have to do in our ridings and not take on an added expense of extending the hours of this place just for political purposes for the government. That is something that astounds me, especially when we could come back and deal with a lot of these things in the fall.

Extension of Sitting Period
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Bev Desjarlais Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, I want to clarify something for my colleague from the Conservatives, who is very upset with Bill C-48 that somehow will cost the Government of Canada so many additional dollars.

The Conservatives supported Bill C-43 when it had the corporate tax cuts of $4.6 billion. They had no problem with that. Now he used outright the term that the Conservatives do not support social spending. Those were his words. It was okay to give $4.6 billion in corporate tax cuts, but no dollars back to Canadians.

There is no question that all Canadians will benefit from the changes in Bill C-48. By improving dollars for affordable housing, there will be construction throughout the country. Small and medium size businesses throughout the country will benefit from the building of homes and improvements to homes. It is not as if it will just be the people who finally get to have some decent housing around them. It will be those small and medium size business in rural Saskatchewan, remote Manitoba, all over. Everybody will benefit. The dollars for education benefit everybody throughout Canada.

I know the budget is not supporting the people about whom the Conservatives seem to care. It is not supporting corporations. How can they possibly stand here and say to Canadians that they do not value them as much as they value corporations?

Extension of Sitting Period
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Rahim Jaffer Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member can twist my words any way she likes. If she wants to talk about hypocrisy, let us see who voted against the first budget introduced in the House, by way of Bill C-43. I strictly remember the NDP members stood and asked what they would get out of it. They were not prepared to support the government until it gave them something, which it did in BIll C-48. They voted against Bill C-43 initially until they got their fair portion of whatever they thought was important.

Clearly, when it comes down to those issues that she raises, we have always maintained that it is important to have a responsible level of social spending. However, do I trust the government across the way to deliver those sorts of services? More and more Canadians are becoming cynical about the way the government spends money and the types of services it delivers back to Canadians.

The fact that the NDP members are now propping up a corrupt government that continues to maintain this spending, which often does not result in positive results for Canadians, is beyond me. It is beyond Canadians that they would be so irresponsible to do so. The only thing we have been proposing is responsible spending with responsible results.

Extension of Sitting Period
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

James Lunney Nanaimo—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, the member hit the nail on the head. We have the NDP fudge-it budget, which is about an illusion. The member for Sarnia--Lambton talked about legal fiction, the use of the word “deemed” in the motion, about making something seem to be something it is not, creating an illusion.

The NDP will not receive any of that money. We know it is contingent spending. It is about creating an illusion and talking about all these things. It will not see any of that money before an election. It is the same thing with Bill C-38. The members cannot answer the protections for religious rights in there.

The member earlier said that there were 28 hours of debate in the House on changing an institution that has served this nation and others for thousands of years. What is the rush?

Could the member comment on how tax cuts, to which members over there are objecting, stimulate the economy, create productivity and competition, which makes our economy competitive worldwide, and allows us to have the jobs that keep their members happy?

Extension of Sitting Period
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Rahim Jaffer Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, clearly one of the things that we have said consistently in the official opposition is there has to be a significant balance of tax relief to Canadians who are so overtaxed. Many of them are unable to make ends meet. We have always said that we would not only help Canadians but would help stimulate the economy as well. My colleague is correct. This is one of the reasons we are opposed to Bill C-48.

One thing is beyond me, and I identified that as an inconsistency in my speech, especially with regard to the government. It is the fact that it wants to try to rush Bill C-48 through the House. We have had extensive debate on Bill C-43 and we supported it. Now that the government has the opportunity to start delivering some of the money encompassed in Bill C-43 too Canadians, the Liberal-dominated Senate is holding up the legislation for no clear reasons.

Our Conservative senators have said that they want to get Bill C-43 through the Senate in one sitting. They want to build on what is in the bill to get the money to the communities and cities and to people who have been waiting for it in areas where Canadians have been struggling. Why are the Liberals holding that up?

Now the Liberals want to extend the sitting of this House to deal with Bill C-48 and Bill C-38, but they have no urgency to get Bill C-43 through the Senate.

National Child Benefit
Statements by Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Françoise Boivin Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, today, I would like to congratulate the Liberal government on its recent evaluation of the national child benefit. The report, entitled “Evaluation of the National Child Benefit Initiative”, confirms that this measure is reducing both child poverty in Canada and its serious effects.

Since 1998, the Government of Canada has consistently increased benefits for children and the family. Between now and 2007-08, annual federal benefits for Canadian families with children—provided through the Canada child tax benefit and the national child benefit supplement—should reach $10 billion.

Progress has been made in reducing child poverty, but the Liberal government recognizes that a permanent strategy and ongoing efforts are required in order to achieve the goal we have set. Clearly, children and their families are a priority for our government.

In closing, I take this opportunity to wish everyone a happy Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day.

Summer Barbecue Tour
Statements by Members

June 23rd, 2005 / 2 p.m.

Conservative

Gerry Ritz Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, in his usual lame duck fashion, the Prime Minister gave our leader advice on attending barbecues, but I have some advice for the Liberal and NDP leaders as they run the barbecue gauntlet this summer.

Now that the mad as hell tour is history, the Prime Minister must begin the caught red-handed tour. He pledged to wait until Canadians knew all about ad scam before his last election call. Now that they know more than he wanted them to, he will have to come clean for the next election. He will certainly want to get himself in shape for that run. Luckily, a visit to his favourite private clinic will not take long; waiting lines are for suckers. And dieting should be easy: he can eat all the crow he wants, followed by servings of humble pie, washed down by a big can of whoop-ass.

The NDP leader must go on the sorry as hell tour. It is Canadian taxpayers who will be sorry as they remember the Liberal-NDP budget disasters of the early 1970s. His dilemma: should he peddle his assets on his bike or have his chauffeur polish his Kyoto-friendly Cadillac? And of course, should he eat his magic bean budget salad with his silver spoon?

Veterans
Statements by Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, today a plaque will be unveiled at the Canadian War Museum to commemorate the contribution made by 300 West Indian men and women who joined Canada's armed forces to fight alongside Canadians during the second world war.

These men and women came from nine islands in the West Indies. After their military service in Canada, three became prime ministers of their native countries.

Also, I would like to pay special homage to Mr. Owen Rowe for his role in ensuring that Canada's new war museum officially recognizes the contribution made by these West Indian men and women. Unfortunately, Mr. Rowe passed away on April 16.

This plaque is the result of efforts by a number of veterans to obtain national and international recognition for West Indian veterans' service to Canada.

I am proud to be participating today in such an important historical event.

Agriculture
Statements by Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, on May 11, more than 350 dairy farmers delivered 28 bags of skim milk powder to the four ministers concerned with supply management and to the Prime Minister, to get Canada to use article XXVIII of the GATT in order to prevent unrestricted imports of several dairy ingredients.

The Minister of International Trade should be aware of the risk these imports represent to supply management and should use article XXVIII of the GATT.

While the minister is telling us that now is not the time to institute new tariff quotas under article XXVIII, unrestricted imports of dairy ingredients are threatening our supply management system.

The minister must take action immediately to limit the imports of ingredients that are replacing domestic milk and to really strengthen the supply management system.

I also want to take this opportunity to wish Quebeckers a happy St. Jean Baptiste Day.

Air-India
Statements by Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Gurbax Malhi Bramalea—Gore—Malton, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada's Prime Minister is in Ireland today to mark the 20th anniversary of the Air-India bombing.

In marking the tragic events of the Air-India bombing of 20 years ago, we must continue to ensure that we learn from the lessons of the past so they are not repeated in the future.

Numerous changes to our security measures have taken place, and the police continue their investigation. The government is seeking independent advice on outstanding questions related to the destruction of Air-India flight 182.

In doing so, the independent adviser to the government, Mr. Bob Rae, is consulting extensively with family members who lost relatives in the bombing. By listening to their concerns, Mr. Rae will aim to advise the government on what remains to be learned about this terrible tragedy.

We owe it to the 329 victims and their families to ensure that we draw on the important lessons of this terrorist event to punish those responsible and ensure such an event never happens again.

Historica National Fair
Statements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Maurice Vellacott Saskatoon—Wanuskewin, SK

Mr. Speaker, the Historica National Fair is a truly national event, hosted each July by a different community in Canada. From July 11 to July 18 this summer, Saskatoon will have the honour of showcasing its historical treasures. The Bishop James Mahoney School in my constituency will serve as accommodations and headquarters for the week.

A total of 165 students between the ages of 10 and 15, representing all provinces and territories, will take part in a special week of sightseeing, historic tours, hands-on workshops and special events. The national fair is a unique opportunity for students to explore a part of the country they might otherwise never have a chance to visit. Also, this event inspires lasting memories, new friendships and experiences, and it creates and strengthens connections between young Canadians.

During the one day public exhibition, students proudly share their outstanding history projects with the general public and with each other. I therefore invite everyone to come and meet these young delegates from across Canada at the exhibition, which will take place on Friday, July 15 at the Saskatoon Field House.

I extend congratulations to all the delegates and many thanks to the organizing committee and the numerous volunteers. I invite them to have fun and enjoy their stay.

Blainville Lions Club
Statements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Diane Bourgeois Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to pay tribute to a founding member of the Blainville Lions Club. For the past 13 years, Lion Réjane Picard has been committed to humanitarian and social causes and her dedication is an inspiration to all Lions Club members in the lower Laurentians.

Recipient of a Melvin Jones fellowship award, Ms. Picard, who held various positions including first, second and third vice-president, president and treasurer, and then contributed her time to several committees and various fundraising campaigns, deserves our utmost respect.

The members of the Bloc Québécois join the members of the Blainville Lions Club in expressing admiration and congratulations for Lion Réjane Picard. I am especially proud to represent in the House of Commons the woman who sponsored me to the Blainville Lions Club.