House of Commons Hansard #6 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was environmental.


Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

1:05 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

I can assure the hon. member that I see no problem whatsoever. Now, the hon. member for Rimouski-Témiscouata.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

1:05 p.m.


Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour for me to speak today in this House, the symbol of Canadian democracy.

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all members of this House who were elected or re-elected, especially the right hon. Prime Minister, the honourable Leader of the Opposition and the hon. member for Calgary Southwest.

My first words will be directed to the constituents of the riding of Rimouski-Témiscouata. I want to thank them for the confidence that they have shown me by choosing me to represent them in the House or that they have expressed to me since I was elected. I will do everything I can to meet their expectations and they can count on my co-operation for any individual or collective project that could contribute to their well-being.

My speech will be made up of two parts. In the first part, I want to remind you of the reasons that brought me to Ottawa and, in the second part, I want to express some comments and questions I have about certain aspects of the Department of Canadian Heritage, of which I am the official critic for the opposition. I will come right to the heart of the subject by reminding you, Mr. Speaker, that you have before you a true sovereignist, one who is determined to work relentlessly in order to defend Quebec's interests. You have before you a sovereignist who, on behalf of the people of Rimouski-Témiscouata, feels that she has the legitimate right to be here in order to claim what is owed to that region and to see to it that it is treated fairly.

Whether the Prime Minister or the hon. member for Calgary Southwest and their parties like it or not, I came here to speak about Quebec sovereignty.

I came here to fight for the MRCs of Mitis, Témiscouata and Rimouski-Neigette and their 37 municipalities in my riding which includes Rimouski, the regional capital of eastern Quebec. Besides government services, you can find in Rimouski one university, the Institut national de recherche scientifique en océanographie, the Institut de marine, one CEGEP, the Quebec Telephone head office, the Rimouski regional hospital and the archdiocesan offices.

I am also here to fight for the five eastern Quebec ridings and all Quebecers.

I stand here as an advocate of Quebec sovereignty. I grew up in Montreal, started a teaching career in Laval University in Quebec City and spent the last 25 years working in a region that honoured me by making me their elected representative. That region is well known for its vibrant cultural life, but it is plagued with deep and lingering economic problems. Up to a few years ago, the citizens there thought they could count on vital communication links for its development, but it had to weather a

devastating attack by the previous government which deprived it of its public television services and cut back its postal and railway services. Ever since that sombre day when Radio-Canada closed its doors there, that region has hardly had any means left to voice its concerns, and its protests have gone unanswered. Everyone knows that we have reached a point where communications are essential community rights.

The people of Rimouski-Témiscouata have had enough of cuts, closings, unemployment, welfare, poverty, bankruptcies, tax increases, not to mention the underground economy, smuggling and violence. These proud, courageous and hard-working people have had enough of a centralizing government which denies that there are differences and disparities between communities. They have long understood that their future depends on appropriate and concrete solutions to their problems. They understand that their sovereignty, Quebec's sovereignty, is the key to their future. In the meantime, they will have the opportunity to say yes again like they did the first time in May 1980. They want the Minister of Canadian Heritage to fairly fulfill his mandate, a mandate which is to protect the cultural and natural heritage so that when the new era comes Quebec can find its heritage untouched. I will now turn briefly to some issues before the Department of Canadian Heritage, that is amateur sport, the National Film Board, official languages, Telefilm Canada, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and copyright.

Now that the winter and summer Olympic Games alternate every second year at the request of American broadcasters and their sponsors, amateur sport will be on the forefront of current events and could be widely talked about in a rather bad light, as we saw recently in the case of Team Canada and figure skating in the United States.

In the present context of economic austerity, Quebecers want more than games, in any case something other than a flag war. They demand, among other things, a review of the athlete status in order to put an end to dubious practices whereby so-called amateurs stash away the thousands of dollars they earn while continuing to receive their amateur sport grant. These grants should go only to those who really need them.

Moreover, since the main decision centres for participation in the Olympics are in Toronto and Calgary, Quebec is asking, and rightly so, for a review of selection procedures in some olympic sports, to do away with discrimination and inequity toward Quebec athletes and others.

Over the last four years, Canadian taxpayers have given some $4 million in grants to Team Canada. Selection of athletes is entirely left to the various coaches and, according to information given in this House by the Minister of Canadian Heritage himself, Team Canada will reveal the names of athletes selected "a few days only before the first match". Why pay for four years if, on the eve of the Olympic Games, we cannot make public the names of the 23 players selected?

Team Canada needs more than a token French speaking assistant coach in charge of relations with the French media. We have to make sure that people like Mario Lemieux will not be eliminated because they are "not good enough"; that those like Alexandre Daigle will not be excluded because they are "too strong-minded"; that those like Sylvie Fréchette will not be disregarded because they refuse to train in Calgary; that those like the Duchesnays-who gave France the gold-will not be considered "too avant-garde" by Canadian judges; finally, that those like Eric Lindros will not be given the red carpet treatment and selected against the rules.

Finally, one has only to think about fencing or figure skating to realize that all amateur sports are not equal. We must recognize that and adopt a grant policy which will protect those sports and ensure an equitable distribution of funds.

As far as official languages are concerned, it is essential that interventions be targeted properly, that they be distinct, that they fulfill specific needs and that they take into account the special situation of each of our two solitudes.

Let us not forget that the Bloc Quebecois came to Ottawa to deal with sovereignty; we are not here to promote bilingualism. For Quebec, the sole purpose of official languages is the proper operation of federal parliamentary and judicial institutions.

However, for the francophone and Acadian community of Canada, the Bloc Quebecois is simply asking for the implementation of section 23 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms entrenched in the Constitution Act of 1982.

I want to make this clear to all Canadians from one ocean to the other and to the other, as our colleague from Yukon likes to say Mr. Speaker, I want you to listen carefully. As you know the English speaking minority of Quebec has always been well treated. These people have a complete guarantee that under a sovereign government in Quebec they will keep all their historic rights.

As critic for Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition I want to make sure that the minority known as la Communauté francophone et acadienne du Canada receives the same treatment and that its rights guaranteed by the Constitution are respected without

having to take legal proceedings and going as far as the Supreme Court of Canada.

Even though it is a magnificent concept, the cinerobotheque recently opened in Montreal has not increased the NFB's market.

Over the years, the NFB has strayed more and more from its original course which was to produce documentaries. The NFB seems to be looking for its raison d'être. It produces fewer films on its own but rather uses the funds it manages to co-produce films in co-operation or in competition with the private sector or Telefilm Canada, as was the case with "The Decline of the American Empire", "Night Zoo" and "Léolo".

On the other hand, the NFB neglects its regional role and budgetary restrictions forced it to reduce the resources and services which regions normally had access to. Preferring glamour to thriftiness, the NFB announced it was closing its regional offices in Rimouski, Chicoutimi, Trois-Rivières, Sherbrooke, Rouyn-Noranda, Charlottetown, Calgary, St. John's and Sydney, but that it will be keeping open those in Paris, London, and New York to distribute its films, something which could be done at a lesser cost by the private sector.

I am asking that the NFB's mandate be re-examined in light of the taxpayers'ability to pay and the need to support a growing film industry in Canada.

As for Telefilm Canada, one can well wonder why it is maintaining at great expense offices in Paris, London, and Los Angeles.

Moreover, through the years-thanks to a lack of control and too much opulence-several of Telefilm's employees have gotten into the habit of attending, sometimes in great numbers, numerous film festivals including the one in Cannes and the film and television fair, as well as the Marché international de la production en télévision and the Marché international de la production et des communications which are held for the same audience and the same market, twice a year in Cannes.

Before considering slashing financial support for the creation of original works, we should review the mandate of Telefim Canada, and ponder the judiciousness of keeping those offices abroad open instead of giving the responsibility for film distribution to the private sector.

As far as the CBC is concerned, we know that in 1990, it was left with a shortfall of $108 million as a result of a decision by the previous government. The president announced unprecedented cuts, closing 11 local or regional TV stations, including those in Rimouski, Matane, and Sept-Îles, and causing the loss of 1,100 jobs, 280 of which were reclassified or lost in eastern Quebec.

These cuts, which had and are still having a negative impact on regional development, did not improve the corporation's financial situation.

It should be noted that, without taking into account the cuts announced in the April 1994 budget, the CBC will have a shortfall of around $42 million in 1993-94; around $32 million in 1994-95; and around $79 million in 1998-99.

It is therefore urgent that we tackle the issue of the financing of the CBC public radio and TV networks.

I am concerned that the CBC is thinking about using the surplus generated by the employee pension fund to offset its deficit for the next two years. You can surely understand that we will oppose any attempt to resolve the CBC's financial woes by shutting down regional stations or by using pension funds for bailout purposes.

Moreover it is all the more important under the circumstances that the next CBC president be selected on the basis of ability rather than on the basis of partisan considerations.

Lastly, the mandate of the CBC must not be viewed strictly in terms of available funds, but equally in terms of the country's linguistic specificity, that is to say in terms of the cultural specificity of the country's two founding peoples.

The Crown corporation is straying from its mandate of public broadcaster because, on the one hand, of the shortfall it must make up and because, on the other hand, of the increasingly commercial approach it is being forced to take. It has modified the content and level of some of its programming to get the viewer ratings it needs to attract advertisers and in turn erase part of its revenue shortfall. It is dipping into an already limited pool of advertisers, especially in Quebec, and getting into questionable competition with private broadcasters.

It is critical that the government review the Crown corporation's mandate and be very vigilant as the CRTC prepares to hold important hearings on speciality services and digital radio broadcasting. The CRTC's rulings will have a major impact on the operation of the radio-television industry. The government must ensure that in making its ruling, the CRTC takes into consideration the country's linguistic specificity and extracts a commitment from cable operators to abide by Canadian content rules and make services available to all Canadians.

Mr. Speaker, it is important to realize that the CRTC's rulings will have a considerable impact on the world of television. They will affect cable subscription costs as well as the way advertising revenues are shared at a time when broadcasters are already worried about their future.

Moving to the complex issue of copyright, I would like to point out that creators are currently out in the cold and that the government will have to act quickly by tabling as soon as possible a bill to correct this unfortunate situation.

As I far as I know, there are two ways of looking at this issue. You can view copyright as a right to reproduce a concrete piece of work-a view commonly held by the Americans and Anglo-Saxons-whereby the higher the quality of the work, the more it is reproduced and the more profitable it is.

Or you can view the very act of creation as taking precedence over any concern for protecting the work that will be produced. This is the view which allows creators to earn money as soon as their work is used, the view favoured in francophone circles.

The Bloc Quebecois believes we should favour the latter and protect copyright for 50 years after the death of the artist on all types of work.

However, we can neither stop progress nor ignore it. So, we must recognize the right to copy privately, but at the same time grant royalties to creators for every blank tape sold as well as for the recording medium. The Société de gestion des droits d'auteur, a collective, could be in charge of administering the royalties.

Further, Mr. Speaker, we should protect neighbouring and residual rights. France recognizes the former. That is how Céline Dion can receive royalties every time they play her rendition of "Power of Love"-to which she has given a personal touch and which she has made famous around the world-in France but not in the US nor in Canada, because neither recognizes neighbouring rights.

As for residual rights, they should be included in this act and also protected for 50 years. These rights relate to the royalties paid to artists as their works are sold to successive owners. This entire area of residuals will have to receive due attention out of fairness for the artists and to sustain the art production market.

The last point I want to get across to the government is that culture is a sensitive area and a financially profitable industry of vital importance to the development of communities. Just thinking about how much the Riopelles, Vigneaults, Voisines, Adams, Sutherlands and Forresters have done for the reputation of Quebec and Canada, it is easy to see that the return on investment in the cultural industry far exceeds that of any other economic activity.

The Bloc Quebecois reiterates that, to promote the cultural identity of each of the founding nations, the government must put an end to costly overlapping in culture and communications, while ensuring the transfer of the budget envelopes for these items, in accordance with the traditional demands of Quebec.

Finally, Mr. Speaker, I ask the government to follow through on the suggestion of the Official Opposition requesting that a committee be struck to review extensively, item by item, expenditures of the Department of Canadian Heritage and of all federal corporations or agencies that come under it.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Before going on to questions and comments, I would like to add for the television viewers that you remained seated because of a broken ankle.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.

St. Boniface Manitoba


Ronald J. Duhamel LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I wish to thank my colleague for her speech. I would like to make a short comment and then ask two questions.

The comment is very straightforward. I believe that it would be useful, if possible in the near future, to give a comparison of the services anglophones have in Quebec and those francophones have outside Quebec.

I understand your point and I fully agree with the basic premise, but I believe that could help to educate some people. So if the occasion arose and I could assist you, I would be pleased to do so. If you can do it, it would be very useful.

I also note that the hon. member made the following comment, that if Quebec became a sovereign state, the anglophone minority could be assured of having the historic rights which they had and which they enjoy today. I hope that it would be so, but why did so many anglophones leave Quebec during the referendum crisis several years ago and why are so many still leaving, according to the statistics and information I have? If this objective of sovereignty were realized, no doubt more would leave. Obviously, some of them must be wondering if it is true or not.

Secondly, I listened carefully and I heard nothing about what a Bloc Quebecois government would do with respect to native people if Quebec were sovereign. Nevertheless, the First Nations have historic rights. Would you have something to share with us on this subject?

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.


Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to start by making a comment and thanking the parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services for his question.

First of all, minority rights in Quebec have always been guaranteed and protected. You asked me to draw a comparison between francophones and anglophones. I will take only one example, that of the school system.

Anglophones have always managed their own free public school system. They even had a school system managed by English speaking protestants, so that they would not have to mix with French-speaking catholics.

Although the 1982 Constitution guarantees the right of Acadians and other French speaking Canadians to manage their own schools in every province where numbers warrant, those com-

munities had to go all the way to the Supreme Court to force their provinces to merely implement the terms of the 1982 Constitution.

So when Acadians and other French Canadians are treated the same as the anglophone minority in Quebec, I think that Canada will be entitled to sing the national anthem of its choice. In the meantime, I think that the rights of Quebec anglophones are protected by the program of the Parti Quebecois. This is not the place to list their potential rights in a sovereign Quebec. We will leave that to Quebec and Mr. Parizeau when he comes into office, as we all hope.

As far as natives are concerned, I am not the designated critic on this issue. I will leave it to the official critic on aboriginal affairs to state our views on the subject. But it is clear that our native minority has always been treated well in Quebec, too. They have not experienced nearly as many difficulties as in the rest of the country, as the courts can testify to.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.


Ben Serré Liberal Timiskaming—French-River, ON

I would also like to congratulate my colleague from Rimouski-Témiscouata for her comments. However, Mr. Speaker, I thought that, during the last election campaign, the party which forms the official opposition had promised Quebecers that it would primarily talk about economic recovery and job creation. Yet, since the opening of this session, that party has only raised the issue of sovereignty.

Is the hon. member for Rimouski-Témiscouata prepared to fulfill the mandate she received from her constituents and co-operate with our government to put Quebecers and Canadians back to work? Otherwise, will she tell them honestly that she is here for one reason, and that is Quebec's independence, rather than its sovereignty?

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.


Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question, but I want to remind him that I am not here to promote Quebec's separation, but rather its sovereignty, and in French there is an enormous difference between those two concepts.

As regards economic recovery, it just so happens that I am involved in a sector which is absolutely extraordinary for the recovery of the economy. The budget for Canadian Heritage is roughly $3 billion but that sector brings in $22 billion to Canada. Each dollar invested in the cultural sector brings in one dollar in revenue. In some fields you sometime have to spend $200,000 to create one job, but in the cultural sector one dollar will have a return of one dollar. In fact, this sector is the one with the highest return in the economy and it also creates 500,000 jobs across Canada.

What I emphasized throughout my speech was that we must revise mandates, cut the fat in the federal administration, and put an end to trips made three times a year by civil servants to Cannes as well as to the film festival in Berlin at taxpayers'expense. I have rarely seen any civil servant at the international film festival for youth in Rimouski. It does not cost much to go to Rimouski. Yet, no civil servant shows up at that festival, even though it would really not be an expensive proposition, with hotel rooms at $40 a night. But 60 civil servants go to Cannes three times a year and stay in hotels at $200 a night. This is why we must set up a House committee so that members of Parliament are the ones who decide where to cut, instead of relying on suggestions made by civil servants, because they will never cut in their own fat. Have you ever seen anything like this? Therefore, this issue must absolutely be dealt with by a House committee, so that we, members of Parliament, are the ones to decide where to cut out the fat. We must be able to find funding so as not to reduce the budget of Telefilm Canada producers but rather that of those who sell our films and not passively watch the private sector sell our films. This is the kind of sound decision we must make, and not once again go after the performers and the creators. The throne speech is silent on this; there is not a single line about promoting economic recovery in that sector in spite of the fact that we know it has the best performance.

So, I hope the government will prove serious and take proper steps in this direction.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

There are three and a half minutes left. You can share this time. The hon. member for Berthier-Montcalm.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.


Michel Bellehumeur Bloc Berthier—Montcalm, QC

First off I would like to congratulate the hon. member for Rimouski-Témiscouata who reminded this House of the first objective Bloc Quebecois members have set for themselves during the last campaign.

Listening to her speech, one or two questions came to my mind. However, given the question of the last speaker I will rephrase it, to make it clearer to the hon. member for Rimouski-Témiscouata, and to the House. As a member of this House, how does she interpret the mandate she received on October 25?

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.


Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

I hope I interpret it the same way as everyone else in this House. I came to pave the way for Quebec sovereignty, to explain to all Canadians what we are doing here and what we will be doing afterward. We did not come here to destroy Canada, we came to rebuild it differently by going our own way and making it better, because there really are two countries in Canada. We have to shed our blinkers and face the facts. We have two countries. We say: "Let us leave. Let us try

to negotiate something which would allow our two countries to live side by side and everything will be better for Canada".

I have just remembered the hon. member's question. He wants to know why the anglophones are leaving Quebec. They are leaving because they are scared. It is just fear, because there are English speaking Canadians of other origins coming to Quebec. Even Americans come to Quebec, because life is good there. The food is good, accommodation is good. People who are scared leave Quebec, those who like a challenge are coming in.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

I will recognize the parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

St. Boniface Manitoba


Ronald J. Duhamel LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate my colleagues on having been elected to the House.

Congratulations to all my colleagues. At the same time I want to thank my constituents for giving me the honour of representing them in this House.

I thank my constituents for having given me the opportunity to return.

My speech has three parts. Part one will be about government that takes an active role. Part two will concentrate on the priorities in the throne speech, and finally part three, the conclusion.

The government has been extremely busy undertaking a number of actions, actions that are good for Canadians, actions that are in fact part of its electoral program. Let me mention a few.

The government has downsized cabinet; it is one of the smallest ever in the history of Canada. It has cancelled the controversial EH-101 helicopter contract. It has as well stopped a bad deal to privatize terminals one and two at Pearson International Airport. It is pushing ahead with its $6 billion national infrastructure program. It has replaced the Governor of the Bank of Canada. It has passed NAFTA and finalized the terms of the new GATT. It has announced a plan for the review of defence policy. It has sent a clear signal on the need for integrity and frugality in government and it is opening the books to reveal government finances. Those are a number of actions the government has already taken.

As parliamentary secretary I have had the good fortune to make a number of announcements in my own riding that respond to the need to create jobs in Canada. It so happened because I was from the city of Winnipeg in the province of Manitoba that I was given this task.

For example, Peerless Garments Limited received two contracts totalling $541,000 for newly designed materials for National Defence to protect Canadian forces personnel from cold and wet weather. This will create four jobs and maintain up to 30 employees in Peerless Garments Limited.

Another announcement involved Century 21st Apparels Limited that won a $526,000 contract supplying National Defence with parkas and trousers for wet weather. This will create up to 20 jobs and maintain 45 more jobs at this particular company.

A third announcement involved Standard Aero Limited that won a $725,000 contract for repairing and overhauling aircraft cooling materials. It will maintain six jobs at this particular company.

Those are the kinds of announcements that Canadians want to hear. Those are the kinds of announcements that create jobs and maintain jobs, that make sure our fellow Canadians are working or going back to work.

I also had the privilege of announcing a grant of $261,000 in my own riding for maintaining a six-room residence to provide temporary shelter for victims of family violence.

It is too bad that in today's society, we need establishments like these, but unfortunately, we do. I was glad to make this announcement, which responds to a real need in our society.

I will now discuss the highlights of the throne speech. First, I would like to deal with job creation.

Job creation which during the election was our major priority continues to be our major priority.

Most members will have heard about the infrastructure program that is going forward rapidly. That is an immediate response to Canadians who have been unable to work. Then there will be the response to small and medium sized businesses which are those enterprises that have created 85 per cent of the new jobs in Canada during the last decade. They will have more access to capital. There will be less red tape. There will in fact be research and development which will permit them to grow, create and simply make sure there are more jobs in Canada.

Now, I would like to speak about integrity or ethics, if you prefer, in public life.

The Prime Minister has indicated that integrity in government is absolutely essential and in that vein he has cancelled the Pearson airport deal which was a very bad deal for Canadians. He has cut political staff for a saving of $10 million annually and he has outlined cuts to MPs' perks and benefits of over $5 million annually. There will be a review of MPs' pensions and there will be additional reductions and changes to that which is happening in this government in this Parliament because the Prime Minister and his government believe that integrity in government is an absolute necessity.

There were also references in the throne speech to economic recovery.

We have talked about changing Canada's social security system within two years so that it responds to more needs more effectively, replacing the goods and services tax, ending foreign overfishing and making sure that we have an elimination of internal trade barriers.

Finally, there is perhaps a fourth major point. We have talked about strengthening the fabric of Canada.

About strengthening the social fabric in this country.

We will proclaim the Canadian environmental assessment act. The Prime Minister will himself chair a national forum on health to foster a public dialogue on health care. We will introduce measures to enhance community safety, especially the safety of women and children, and we will move to implement the inherent right of aboriginal self-government. We will consult widely with Canadians as we conduct major reviews of foreign and defence policy.

As I indicated initially, this is a government of action. This is a government that said during the election campaign that it would do things and this is a government that has reiterated a number of those particular points in the Speech from the Throne.

I would like more or less to summarize the throne speech which reflects our determination to keep our campaign promises. To me, this is absolutely essential. Economic recovery and job creation are the main priorities of this government and of all Canadians.

We will meet the commitments made in our campaign program, the little red book which is becoming increasingly popular. The government's priorities are clearly identified, both in this little red book and in the throne speech.

And finally, the Minister of Finance will put figures to the measures announced in the throne speech in his February budget. The budget will contain measures designed to control the debt and the deficit while turning around the unemployment situation.

There are two final comments I would like to make. The throne speech contains one paragraph which to me is very important, and I quote:

Our cultural heritage and our official languages are at the very core of Canadian identity and our sources of social and economic enrichment. The government will announce measures to promote Canada's cultural identity.

Is this throne speech perfect? Of course not. But I think it gives us a chance, if we are willing, to work together to create, to build, and to improve what we already have. On many occasions I have heard members of all political parties make comments such as that this is an excellent country. We live well. We eat well. We have fun. So when we like something this much, something that may be the best of its kind in the whole world, why are we looking for radical solutions? To me, this is the best country in the world, and I want to ask my colleagues to help make it even better.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.


Pierre De Savoye Bloc Portneuf, QC

Mr. Speaker, I just heard the hon. member make some very interesting comments about job creation. But I also read this morning that the Minister of Finance said he would cut expenditures by twice the amount of any hike in taxes. We know Canadians, Quebecers and others alike, are taxed enough as it is. We also know that if we reduce expenses we will take away the income of many who will end up on unemployment. How can the member not see the contradiction between what his minister said and what he just told us?

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.


Ronald J. Duhamel Liberal St. Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his questions. Naturally, before we get the details, we will have to wait for the February budget. But I see no contradiction. If we examine all the reports received to date we see that the Minister of Finance is trying to establish a larger taxation base because we are short some $46 billion. It is very normal therefore to try to find taxes in areas that were not taxed or not sufficiently taxed before.

I do not think cutting certain expenses will necessarily have adverse effects on jobs. It depends on where we make the cuts. Remember that here, in the House of Commons, our program is based on two fundamental principles, on two very important programs, the first being the infrastructure program which has already been launched and budgeted. That measure has been implemented and it will immediately create jobs for people.

As far as long term development is concerned, we talked about replacing the GST, about ensuring better access to capital for small businesses, since they were responsible for creating 85 per cent of new jobs over the last 10 years, and about giving them additional help for training and updating skills, more help for research and less forms to fill. All that is very normal. I see no contradiction there. I think the Minister of Finance is trying

to strike a balance between deficit and debt reduction and job creation. I admit this is quite a challenge, but I am very willing to wait until February for the details.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.


Jean H. Leroux Bloc Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the member for St. Boniface on his remarks.

I will also take this opportunity to greet all the French speaking Manitobans living in his riding. He just described the state of the Canadian economy and we are all in agreement with what he said.

One thing is certain now, everyone in Canada knows what is going on. People understand the difficult situation we are in. They are now expecting action. Making a diagnosis is not enough, the government was brought to office to take concrete and positive steps to stimulate the economy.

The member also mentioned French speaking Canadians across Canada. Mr. Speaker, I think I should point out that francophones outside Quebec have always relied on the Canadian government for services whereas for us, in Quebec, our motherland, our government has always been primarily the government of Quebec, and that is a big difference.

Mr. Speaker, to conclude, I would like to ask the member, in his capacity as parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Public Works, what his government intends to do, apart from the tripartite program, to create stable and long lasting employment.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.


Ronald J. Duhamel Liberal St. Boniface, MB

I want to thank my hon. colleague for his comment and question. First off, it is a fact that the nearly one million men, women and children who make up the francophone minority outside Quebec have relied to some degree, and at times considerably, on the federal government to help them establish certain institutions.

One fact that is sometimes forgotten is that this minority has often looked to Quebec, an important reference point, for the necessary resources to grow and develop.

Moreover, it should also be remembered that we have long relied on our own resources and waged our own fight to preserve our language and culture which we hold so dear.

Regarding long-term stable jobs, as my hon. colleagues in this House know, the program which we are putting forward to encourage in some ways small and medium sized businesses will create this kind of well-paid, sustainable employment. Our long-term plan is to reduce government red tape, to ensure that taxes-

I see the Speaker is signalling to me that my time is up, so I will conclude on this note.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.


Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, allow me to add my words of congratulations to the many you have received since your appointment as Deputy Speaker.

I also want to congratulate the hon. members for Bruce-Grey and Madawaska-Victoria for their eloquence in moving and seconding the Speech from the Throne.

I am pleased to have in common with all members of this House the responsibilities of this office. There has been much talk of the need for greater civility here. I believe that members of all parties can help give this place a more productive and positive atmosphere.

Allow me to thank the voters of Halifax West once again for giving me and this government something very precious and that is their trust and confidence.

It is with a great sense of pride and humility that I stand in this House to speak on behalf of the people of Halifax West. I am here to serve them and give voice to their concerns but I recognize that I am also here to serve the best interests of Canada.

It is also with a sense of history and responsibility that I stand in this House where my father and grandfather stood before me. I note from Hansard that when my grandfather, Jack Harrison, made his maiden speech in this House some 44 years ago the one member to intervene during his speech was Mr. Stanley Knowles. What a remarkable pleasure it has been to see him here sitting in front of me these last few days.

I have great respect for the best traditions of this House. At the same time we are all aware of the need for change and the urgent need to restore hope and confidence to Canadians.

I am encouraged by the changes to the rules of the House announced in the Speech from the Throne. I detect a fresh, new attitude in this place and it augurs well for Canada.

With nearly 93,000 voters, Halifax West is the biggest riding in Atlantic Canada, the fastest growing one and perhaps the most diversified as well.

It has urban, suburban and rural components. It includes a large part of the city of Halifax along the hills from Fairmont and Fairview to Clayton Park and Wedgewood. It includes

bedroom communities like the town of Bedford, the Timberlea area and Sackville, the third largest community in Nova Scotia.

Halifax West also contains a long list of smaller communities from the hamlets of Goffs and Oldham in the northeast to the fishing villages like Terrance Bay and the picturesque Peggy's Cove in the south and the glorious beaches of Queensland and Hubbards in the west.

Throughout my years of growing up, working and volunteering in Halifax West I have seen the challenges facing its people. As we all know Canadians face many challenges. We face challenges like unemployment. We see friends desperately trying to find work. We see neighbours in danger of losing their homes, their hopes and their dreams. We face the challenges of cleaning up our environment. We see our lakes and rivers dying from acid rain and other pollution.

We smell our landfills overflowing. We have witnessed the ravaging of our ocean resource. We see other challenges. We see the poverty of single mothers and their children. We see women bruised and battered. We see families destroyed by drugs and alcohol.

At the same time as we face these and other challenges we are confronted by a national debt of over $500 billion.

These are but a few of the enormous problems we are facing. No government could solve them all, and none could do it overnight.

Unfortunately, I do not have all the answers, but I look forward to working with all my colleagues to find them.

Last summer and fall I visited over 12,000 households in Halifax West. As I did, I heard the concerns of many people. I want to mention today a number of issues they have brought to my attention.

Transportation is a constant concern. Overcrowded and inadequate highways and access roads are a safety problem and a hindrance to business. Many communities in Halifax West have sewer and water systems that are inadequate or in need of upgrading. They pose a real threat to health and the environment.

In light of these concerns I am pleased the government has moved so swiftly to complete the Canada-Nova Scotia infrastructure agreement that was signed January 14 in Halifax. I am confident the private sector will play a role and will respond to the call to play a role in this national program. I am encouraged that this job creation program allows local governments to set the priorities.

Unemployment is a major problem throughout Atlantic Canada. There are those in Halifax West who live in very difficult conditions. After seven years of involvement in food banks I feel a particular obligation to those in our society who are hurting. These people want to move away from dependency to become full participants in society. They want to work.

I look forward to the coming review of our social programs with the hope that we can make them fairer, simpler and stronger.

I am happy about the reintroduction of the residential rehabilitation assistance program because it will allow many seniors to stay in their own homes. I also find it is a good idea for the government to focus on small and medium sized businesses in its long-term job creation plan.

As a past president of the Bedford Board of Trade I am familiar with the frustrations of the small business sector. By cutting red tape and improving access to capital we can give small business a better shot at success. No other segment of our economy has the same potential for creating jobs.

I spoke a moment ago about transportation. The Halifax International Airport is located in my riding and many residents are employed either at the airport, in the nearby aerotech park or in the airline industry. In light of the current airline industry crisis in Canada these airline workers in particular are very concerned about their future. They are looking to the government to help stop the feuding. I wish the Minister of Transport every success in this regard. I offer my support and assistance to him.

Then there is the railway. The maintenance of an efficient and competitive rail link to the Atlantic provinces and the port of Halifax is a crucial economic issue for Halifax West and the entire region.

Halifax has a long and proud history as the east coast home of our navy. I look forward to the coming review of foreign policy and defence policy. I am confident it will highlight the need for a strong, effective and flexible naval force for peacekeeping, drug interdiction and resource preservation. There is no more pressing problem in Atlantic Canada than the collapse of the groundfishery which has caused the largest layoff in Canadian history.

The vast majority of my constituents are not directly involved in the fishery but they know the importance of the fishery to the entire Atlantic economy. I welcome the government's pledge to assist those affected to become self-supporting. I stand with all members from Atlantic Canada in my concern for this vital sector.

Canadians will take hope from the speech from the throne. It demonstrates that this government is keeping its promises. The

Prime Minister and cabinet have been true to their words in cutting $10 million from their staff budgets. I am pleased that we in the House will help save another $5 million.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

2 p.m.

The Speaker

Order. It being two o'clock p.m., pursuant to Standing Order 30(5) the House will now proceed to statements by members, pursuant to Standing Order 31.

MiningStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Ben Serré Liberal Timiskaming—French-River, ON

Mr. Speaker, on November 26, 1993 a serious rock burst occurred at the Maccassa mine in Kirkland Lake, trapping two miners underground and injuring many others. To this date recovery efforts have not been successful and the two miners are still missing. With each passing day chances of finding these two men alive become less and less likely.

Such tragedies are unfortunately a common occurrence in our mining communities. I would like the families of these two miners and the communities of Kirkland Lake, Larder Lake, Virginiatown and Matachewan to know that our thoughts and prayers are with them.

This government is committed to participate in further studies on how to prevent and anticipate these rock burst occurrences which are the major cause of mining fatalities.

Research And DevelopmentStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Nic Leblanc Bloc Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Greater Montreal area is the economic heartland of Quebec. There you find the greatest concentrations of industries and jobs. Eighty per cent of the province's R and D activity is conducted in the Montreal area.

But for decades now, the federal government has been neglecting the funding of research and development in Quebec, with the result that Quebec's economy has suffered.

In my capacity as a member from the greater Montreal area, I want this House to know that I will continue to keep a watchful eye on this because Montreal should be getting its fair share of federal R and D funds for employment and equity.

Senator Douglas EverettStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Jake Hoeppner Reform Lisgar—Marquette, MB

Mr. Speaker, I rise to commend Senator Douglas Everett of Manitoba who has announced that he will be resigning his seat in the upper House.

Senator Everett conducted himself in such a way as to enhance the credibility of that institution. He favoured freer votes in the Senate and chose to sit as an independent Liberal when he found himself at variance with the Liberal Party on the issue of free trade. When he dissented from the tactics used by the Liberals in the Senate in the GST debate he crossed the floor to sit as a fully independent senator.

In his resignation speech, Senator Everett's last advice to the government was that the upper chamber should be elected like the House of Commons.

I pay tribute to Senator Everett today and recommend that the government heed his advice for restoring public trust and confidence in the upper chamber.

Schindler's ListStatements By Members

2 p.m.


John Finlay Liberal Oxford, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to express my appreciation and that of my hon. colleagues in the House for the opportunity last Thursday to attend a special screening of the film "Schindler's List".

Many hon. members and senators along with staff members took advantage of the kind invitation of the hon. member for Ontario. In his welcoming remarks he warned us that "Schindler's List" is a powerful film which makes explicit the facts of the holocaust and the lessons to be learned from it.

As we prepare for a special debate on peacekeeping in Bosnia it is appropriate that we reflect on the genocide, violence and inhumanity of the holocaust. Similar evils seem rampant in Bosnia.

In conclusion I again thank the hon. member for Ontario for his timely initiative.

Criminal CodeStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Morris Bodnar Liberal Saskatoon—Dundurn, SK

Mr. Speaker, under section 745 of the Criminal Code many murderers of police officers and prison guards are coming up for review of their eligibility date for parole. Such individuals are serving life sentences with no eligibility for parole for 25 years. The review proceedings could allow this 25-year period to be reduced to 15 years.

I ask that all members join together to review this condition to determine whether this procedure should be available to murderers of police officers and prison guards or whether it should be eliminated completely as soon as practically possible, thereby making murderers of police and prison guards serve at least a minimum of 25 years.

Aluminum IndustryStatements By Members

January 24th, 1994 / 2:05 p.m.


André Caron Bloc Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebec is the third largest producer of aluminum, with 10 per cent of world capacity.

The workers employed by the four aluminum plants located in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region account to close to 30 percent of the direct manufacturing labour force in the region. This industry is going through a crisis caused by the Commonwealth of Independent States, which is dumping massive quantities of aluminum on the international markets and making world prices tumble.

Aluminum-producing countries have tried without success to convince Russia to reduce its production. The United States wants to protect itself by imposing anti-dumping duties on all foreign producers including Quebec. That would only aggravate the crisis hurting Quebec aluminum workers. Canada must act immediately to persuade Russia to limit its exports and also to prevent the United States from imposing anti-dumping duties on aluminum from Quebec.

FirearmsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Jim Gouk Reform Kootenay West—Revelstoke, BC

Mr. Speaker, my riding and indeed the whole country have many residents who choose to own and use for competitive or recreational purposes legally owned firearms. Competitive shooting is in fact an Olympic competition that has won many medals for Canada.

The previous government passed legislation that severely restricted the legitimate use of firearms without addressing the criminal use of them. The Liberal government has indicated its intention to introduce new firearms legislation.

If it is the government's intention to deal seriously with prevention of illegal activities I would hope its legislation is straightforward and realistic. Legitimate owners stand ready to assist the government in any way possible.

If on the other hand it is the government's plan to pass regulations intent on forcing these legitimate owners to give up their legal property in frustration, I hope the government will at least be honest enough to state that its real intention is to take firearms away from all citizens of this country.

Legitimate owners would like compassionate legislation, but above all else they demand honesty from their government.