House of Commons Hansard #9 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was riding.


Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

12:35 p.m.


Jim Jordan Liberal Leeds—Grenville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate my colleague for Macleod on his maiden speech in the House. I understand that he is a very renowned surgeon. I do not know if that is an exaggeration or not, but I was told that.

I was kind of curious when he mentioned the drain that Canada has had in its medical profession. That has been going on for a number of years. We invested in 600, 700 or 800 highly trained people and then lost them.

Does he see any simple solution to that? For what reasons would highly trained Canadian professionals leave their country and go to a neighbouring country? There must be some attraction there. I am sure the hon. member for Macleod has wondered about that. I have wondered about it. I know that some of them come back. What did they go for in the first place? After a while did they get disillusioned? What brings them back to Canada? What could we be doing in our system to discourage them from going in the first place? Do we not have enough resources to accommodate them? Do we not pay them enough? I do not know. I am asking the question.

Perhaps the hon. member for Macleod as a professional, a doctor, would like to give his interpretation of that problem. It is a big problem in this country to lose those highly trained, highly specialized and very expensive people from our society.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

12:35 p.m.


Grant Hill Reform Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to be called a very distinguished surgeon. Possibly only in my own mind am I so distinguished.

To the member's question as to why there is a tremendous drain in our country on our medical resources, it is an increasing drain and the figures I gave are quite alarming. It was the highest number that had ever departed and this was in 1992.

Most of my colleagues who leave this country depart for one of three reasons. First, there is the financial reason. The pay is much better in the U.S.. The second reason that I hear is the bureaucratic meddling in their affairs. It is bureaucratically difficult in medicine. Third, there are freedom issues, taxation and so on.

Primarily these issues revolve around money. The social standing of a physician in our country is still fairly secure so I do not think that is a major issue. I do not have the answer to this particular problem. I simply say that protecting our medical environment is very important and I hope to be able to do that somewhat in this House.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

12:40 p.m.


Gilbert Fillion Bloc Chicoutimi, QC

Mr. Speaker, I must congratulate the hon. member on the quality of his message concerning health. We all know that health is very important. But, to stay in good health, we must offer favourable conditions. That is why we should keep our social programs.

What I liked about the hon. member's speech is that he was suggesting that the government freeze transfer payments to the provinces. Not only freeze these payments but also try and find additional savings in other government expenditures.

I would ask the hon. member whether, in addition to health, he was also thinking of social housing. We all know that inadequate housing can have a detrimental effect on people's health and lead to massive expenditures for the state. These people are usually families and households where the main breadwinners are women. It is under such circumstances that children are ill-treated and become sick. I would ask the hon. member whether he considers the social housing issue as important as the health issue, so that we can continue to protect the health of Canadians?

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

12:40 p.m.


Grant Hill Reform Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for his question.

I mentioned that health care has the highest priority for Canadians and this is not something that I manufactured. This is something that I learned from studies. Social housing does not have the highest priority for all Canadians and so I would not put the same emphasis on it as I put on health care.

As we talk about cuts to government expenditures-one knows that Reformers are very fiscally conservative-we look upon all areas that can be reduced. By reducing in other areas and giving us the high priority ones, the most funds are available. I would not in this instance equate the two.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

12:40 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

I understand there have been some discussions between the parties regarding a statement from the Minister of Transport. I wonder if the Secretary of State for Parliamentary Affairs would approach the Chair and maybe give us some indication.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

12:40 p.m.


John Cummins Reform Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, my comments today will be addressing fisheries issues but first I would like to offer my thanks to the voters of Delta for allowing me the honour and privilege to represent them as their member of Parliament. I would especially like to thank those people who worked so hard to get me here. I am sure that all my colleagues would agree that none of us would be here if it was not for the love, patience and support of our families and for that I am truly grateful.

I would like to thank my wife Sue, my stepdaughters Kristi and Erin, and most of all my little Carolyn. She is not talking to me on the phone these days. She does not seem to understand why I have to be away so much.

At the other end of the scale, despite 24 years of ill informed advice from me, my son Martin remains a reasonable loving person of whom I am most proud and I thank for his support.

I would be remiss if I did not also thank my father, John Cummins, and my late mother. Life is a little easier when you can look at your mother and father and say with pride "that is my mother and that is my father". I have been able to do that. My parents gave their all so that my brother, Mike, my sisters, Colleen and Joan, and I could have the opportunities they could only dream of.

We in this House should dedicate ourselves to the task of ensuring that the parents of every child in this country can provide the opportunity for their children to realize their dreams.

On a personal level, I believe that in building a better Canada we should not lessen our efforts in the area of medical research. Having lost loved ones to cancer and to Lou Gehrig's disease, I believe that no matter how hard things get we must always dedicate the necessary funds to find cures that would eradicate diseases such as these.

Might I also take this opportunity to congratulate all members of the House on their election. If I may I would like to share three thoughts with them. First, remember who you are; second, remember why you are here; and third, above all else remember who sent you here.

I represent the people of the federal constituency of Delta. It includes the municipality of Delta and a small chunk of the neighbouring municipality of Surrey. My riding is a desirable piece of real estate bordered on the north by the south arm of the Fraser River and on the west by the Straits of Georgia.

The temperature today in Delta is about 8 degrees and that is just one reason why I am going to be leaving here a little later today.

There are many reasons why the people of Delta elected me, the least of which was my personal popularity. I was elected because the people of Delta supported the policies of my party. They accepted as reasonable and desirable, and indeed necessary, my party's suggestion for parliamentary reform including an elected, equal and effective Senate. I am sure the people voted for us because of our desire to change the extravagant pension plan for MPs.

They supported my party's deficit reduction package and our calls for the reform of the criminal justice system. Many people in Delta voted for us because of our support for the continuation of two viable airlines in this country. Many voters supported us because of their concern over the future of west coast fisheries.

Pacific fisheries products account for 25 per cent of the total value of Canadian fish products. Fishing is, depending on the yardstick, the third or fourth largest industry in British Columbia. Although more than half of British Columbia's fish processing jobs are concentrated in the Vancouver area as a proportion of the local economic activity the industry is relatively more important in Prince Rupert, Port Hardy, Ucluelet, Tofino and other coastal communities.

To date we are encouraged by the actions of the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and support his decision to break off negotiations over the Pacific Salmon Treaty. We have sent a firm signal to the Americans that we will not continue to pay the tab to conserve, enhance and manage Canadian fish stocks for the benefit of American fishermen.

Recently, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans announced his intention to introduce legislation to extend Canada's coastal jurisdiction on the nose and tail of the Grand Banks. In our view, article 116 of the 1982 convention on the law of the sea gives the minister, gives us, the right to enforce our fisheries regulations to the edge of the continental shelf.

We were very pleased to see the minister make clear to members of the European Community that Canada will no longer stand idly by while foreign draggers continue to pillage our fish stocks.

The minister is taking a tough approach on this crisis and if and when he decides to take tough action we will be there with him.

Those who would test our resolve should be duly warned.

We on this side of the House support a Canada in which everyone is treated equally in the Constitution and the law regardless of race, language, creed or culture.

The aboriginal fishing strategy imposed on the fisheries on both coasts by the past government is an example of the exact opposite. The creation of a separate commercial aboriginal fishery was not demanded in the Sparrow decision of the Supreme Court as some would have us believe.

Furthermore, last June the British Columbia Court of Appeal found that an aboriginal right to a commercial fishery did not exist. One would then have to ask why this unfair and discriminatory policy was foisted on the commercial fishing industry in 1992 only five months after the then fisheries minister, Mr. Crosbie, stated that he would never commercialize the native food fishery on the Fraser River.

Was it because of the constitutional negotiations that were going on at that time? Was the fishery simply a carrot to encourage native leaders to drop their demands to be considered a distinct society? Was the AFS put in place simply to encourage native support for what was to become the Charlottetown accord? One can only wonder.

This separate native commercial fishery was set up despite the fact that aboriginal people make up only 3 per cent to 4 per cent of British Columbia's population. Yet, they hold 20 per cent to 25 per cent of all commercial fishing licences in British Columbia and their share of the commercial catch is estimated to be 25 per cent to 30 per cent.

Continuation of this ill considered policy will only serve to drive Canadians apart. It will not and cannot achieve any of its stated goals.

In 1969, the Trudeau government white paper echoed the principle in the famous Brown versus Kansas City Board of Education decision that ended official discrimination against blacks in the United States school system.

It said: "you cannot have separate but equal. To be separate is to be inherently unequal".

I urge the Prime Minister to use the insight and wisdom he displayed then, as minister of Indian affairs and the minister responsible for this white paper, to put an end to the aboriginal fishing strategy.

On another point, we fully support all efforts by the government to put the thousands of east coast fishermen back to work. We know the seriousness of the problem and would urge the government to listen to those people who are affected, those people who fish and understand the problem. These people have valuable knowledge and experience that would benefit the minister in any future decisions he may make.

Finally, we understand that being minister of fisheries today is not an easy job. Indeed, some people would suggest that it is punishment for something one has done wrong. However, having spent some time with the new minister, I am sure he has done nothing wrong and appears to have the best interests of fishermen and Canadians in his heart.

We will not always agree with the government or the minister of fisheries, and at those times we will let them know loud and clear. In those instances where we do agree, no matter how controversial the stand, we will be there firmly beside him.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

12:50 p.m.


Fernand Robichaud Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, following consultations with the opposition parties, I think that there would be agreement to revert to Statements by Ministers, so that the Minister of Transport could make a short important statement.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

12:50 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

Would there be unanimous agreement to revert to Statements by Ministers?

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

12:50 p.m.

Some hon. members


Air CanadaRoutine Proceedings

12:50 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst New Brunswick


Douglas Young LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleagues on all sides of the House for the unanimous consent granted in order that I may make this announcement.

I am announcing that, as Minister of Transport, I intend to designate Air Canada as the second carrier to Japan following completion of negotiations with the Japanese government. Under the current Air Services Agreement between Canada and Japan, Canada has the authority to designate more than one carrier to serve that country. We have advised the Japanese government that we want to resume air negotiations as soon as possible.

On September 1, 1994, a new airport is to open in Osaka, Japan's largest air transport market after Tokyo, of course. With a population of over 20 million, the Osaka region offers important opportunities for Canadian carriers in the Asian market.

A number of desirable landing and takeoff slots at Kansai Airport have been provisionally reserved for Canada. The federal government must now move quickly to finalize the details of an agreement to use these valuable slots.

The Japanese air transport market is large and profitable. It is in Canada's best interest that our two major carriers have a presence there. Canadian Airlines International will continue to have exclusive access to the largest Japanese centre, Tokyo.

Air Canada stated yesterday its clear and unequivocal undertaking that all litigation that prevents Canadian Airlines from closing its deal with AMR Corporation will be stopped immediately. Air Canada's announcement yesterday was an important one for restoring stability in the airline industry.

I understand that today's decision is a difficult one to accept for Canadian Airlines. However, I am looking forward to a new era for the airline industry in Canada.

Our government is committed to a viable, competitive airline industry. Canada's two great airlines can now get on with their business. They are in a position to move forward with confidence into the future.

I could not let this occasion pass without expressing my sincerest gratitude to Rhys Eyton of Canadian Airlines and to Hollis Harris of Air Canada for having been able to move with great courage toward this resolution of a problem that has plagued the Canadian airline industry for far too long.

Air CanadaRoutine Proceedings

12:55 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

Before proceeding, I simply want to advise all members that having reverted to statements by ministers I will recognize a spokesperson from both the Bloc Quebecois and the Reform Party and extend a duration equal to the minister's intervention.

Air CanadaRoutine Proceedings

12:55 p.m.


Michel Guimond Bloc Beauport—Montmorency—Orléans, QC

Mr. Speaker, like many Quebecers and Canadians, I was very glad yesterday when the media announced the end of the conflict between Air Canada and Canadian International. This news shows light at the end of the tunnel, which is good for both air carriers and their employees.

I am also pleased with the statement by the Minister of Transport on allowing Air Canada access to the Osaka airport. However, since this airport is not a hub for the Japanese market, the Official Opposition would have liked the government to end the exclusive rights which Canadian Airlines International has to the Tokyo airport.

It is essential to promote competition, for the good of consumers, especially in a growing market like Tokyo.

We hope that the government will recognize Air Canada's needs and that these will be taken into consideration in bilateral discussions which the government intends to begin to settle the question of Hong Kong and China in the near future, for the sake of many jobs in Quebec and Canada.

Air CanadaRoutine Proceedings

12:55 p.m.


Jim Gouk Reform Kootenay West—Revelstoke, BC

Mr. Speaker, the end of litigation is a positive thing both for the aviation industry and the Canadian travelling public. It might also be mentioned that it will not break the hearts of government that it will not have to get further involved in this dispute. That having been said, it is my opinion that the government has been involved in Air Canada's withdrawal from the litigation process.

I believe that the announcement by the Minister of Transport is as a result of a unilateral deal between his department and Air Canada. I have many concerns if these types of arrangements are being made without proper input from all the major parties concerned. The deal appears to be done. I am not convinced it is in the best interests for Canadian aviation, however it is done.

With the dispute between Air Canada and Canadian Airlines ended, both airlines should now be proceeding to build their respective companies. This is done by competing with foreign carriers, not with each other. Air Canada has a major portion of the market in Europe and the U.S., and Canadian has always had a major portion of the Orient. That balance has now been shifted.

I call on the minister to confirm that it will go no further, to pledge that there are no further deals to hand over Hong Kong or the People's Republic of China to Air Canada. The deal has been made. It is now time for the government to get out of the manipulation process and let free enterprise operate as it should.

The House resumed consideration of the motion for an address to His Excellency the Governor General in reply to his Speech at the opening of the session.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

1 p.m.


Glen McKinnon Liberal Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am most pleased to rise on this occasion and add my congratulations on your appointment to the Chair of this House.

First I would like to thank the electors of Brandon-Souris riding for allowing me the distinct pleasure to serve them in this Chamber. I would further add my congratulations to all the hon. members who were elected in the most recent election.

On a personal level, I wish to thank most sincerely my wife, Karen, in Virden, Manitoba, and my daughters Corleen, in Edmonton, Alberta, Richelle in Victoria, British Columbia, and Lindsey in Winnipeg, Manitoba, who have all shown unwavering support. As one can see, my family is well represented by the multi-party process in this House.

Like most of my colleagues, I would not be here without the presence of a strong and effective campaign team. To all of you, a team too numerous to mention individually, I salute you and I thank you.

I come from the riding of Brandon-Souris which is nestled in the extreme southwest corner of Manitoba. Most of my staunch supporters would never dream to have lived long enough to have seen the vanishing of the political support enjoyed by two of my predecessors, Mr. Walter Dinsdale, who served and represented the riding for over 30 years, followed by Dr. Lee Clark, a member for almost nine years up to and including the 34th Parliament.

My riding was colonized in the 1880s as the CPR spawned a string of towns across southern Manitoba. At approximately 16-mile intervals towns sprang up, roughly the same, along Brandon, Kemnay, Alexander, Oak Lake, Virden and Elkhorn on the northerly end and a second branch line of Crystal City, Killarney, Boissevain, Deloraine and Melita at the south.

As I mentioned earlier, the towns in general conformed to the CPR square mile survey system with 18 blocks to the mile. Grain elevators and lumber sheds were on one side of the track and the residential area on the other. Fairgrounds and stockyards were on the extremities of these hamlets and schools were located several blocks back so as not to disturb or endanger the children in attendance.

The colonists were largely French, Belgian, Scottish, Irish and English, with a predominance of the latter three. They were experienced farmers from Ontario who had capital and equipment and who were well educated and extremely self-confident. They soon came to dominate the province politically, economically and socially, a domination that some would argue has lasted to this day.

My riding is approximately 100 kilometres square in dimension. It has roughly 70,000 people, 45,000 of its citizens residing in the city of Brandon and 25,000 to 30,000 outside. We are not without unemployment, recession, high costs, low prices and a shrinking rural economy and population. Like most rural Canadians we are optimistic about our future with a new government in power, a government committed to rebuilding our economy and the revitalization of the elements that support our quality of life: jobs, roads, technology, education, personal integrity and social security.

The riding is home to numerous significant components, not the least of which is CFB Shilo, the home station of the Royal Regiment Canadian Artillery of Canada and the best artillery range in Canada. Shilo is the seventh largest community in the province of Manitoba and the fourth largest employer. To illustrate the breadth of activity in Shilo are the peacekeeping duties in Cyprus and the IRCHA and augmentation of the UN forces in former Yugoslavia. Shilo also serves as a training centre annually for 5,000 armoured troops of our NATO ally, the Federal Republic of Germany.

In Brandon-Souris we incorporate two aboriginal communities, Sioux Valley and Oak Lake, both of which are well positioned to assume greater responsibility under self-government.

At the most southerly end of this constituency is the International Peace Gardens located 10 miles south of Boissevain. This is a spacious park and a recreational centre dedicated to the peaceful relations between Canada and the United States and is part of the longest undefended border in the world.

Brandon University is another important component in the riding. It is an outstanding facility and I am proud to say it is my alma mater. It has a tradition of academic and social service spanning over 100 years and is well represented in this House by the Hon. Stanley Knowles, our chancellor emeritus.

Brandon University is home to the Bobcats, three times national university basketball champions, and is the producer of the Canadian Journal of Native Studies and a new innovative partnership program in education and business administration. Maclean's magazine called Brandon one of the ten best cities in which to live, an observation which I would extend to the other communities I mentioned earlier.

There are several issues of major concern to the Brandon-Souris constituents.

Agriculture is the most important industry in Manitoba. It has diversified greatly in the value added process. There are strong views about the intent to expand or diminish the role of the wheat board and allow more choices to market products on a niche basis.

Every town and city in Brandon-Souris has a list of infrastructure projects that are necessary in rejuvenating our rural economy. The city of Brandon is proposing bridge, water and flood protection projects that are desperately needed. Other specific infrastructure projects from the rural components of my riding are also being submitted.

Communication and transportation infrastructure will increase the job opportunities and ability of rural Canadians to compete internationally and be employed locally. Brandon-Souris is the only riding in Manitoba that has an oil resource. Oil has been a key player in our local economy, particularly in my home town of Virden, Manitoba.

Brandon-Souris also wants to develop a stronger tourism base aimed at its natural attractions and world class sporting events. I am honoured to say that Brandon-Souris will be playing host during the life of this Parliament to national and world curling competitions, Canada games and world junior baseball.

In the area of transportation, another concern we have is the absence of air service and VIA rail service. This is of major concern to all rural and city residents of Brandon-Souris. We must try to re-establish the ties that first brought our country together. Also the high cost of western grain transportation is an item of concern.

The state of our postal services and how they affect rural Canadians, specifically senior rural Canadians, is an area which should be investigated before any further cutbacks take place.

I come to this House after completing a 33-year teaching career mainly at the high school level and I have the greatest empathy and respect for the students in this country. I wish to pledge my efforts to them in creating a long term bursary and student loan program which currently is not addressed in government policy.

As a proud father of three wonderful daughters I am and will continue to be sensitive to women's issues relative to employment, health and equity.

As a former educator I still get involved in school visitations. I was at Virden Collegiate on January 6 and met with a wonderful grade nine class. I subsequently received a letter from a student of that class, Leslie Bunn. It somewhat shows how I feel about being an MP and working for the betterment of students:

Dear Mr. McKinnon:

When you came and spoke to my class last Thursday you answered a lot of my questions I had concerning your position as MP. You made me realize some important facts about your position.

I realize that being an MP isn't all that easy. You are away from your family and travelling lots. You are in early meetings and it isn't easy to keep it up. It made me think that if I ever did become involved in politics, it would be a rough road to hold.

You told us the amount of money you make and I thought it was a lot. Then as you explained the sacrifices you make and will have to make I realized it still may be a lot of money, but it didn't seem quite as bad as before. This also made me think that if I became a politician I would be well paid but it would not be too much out of reason.

I think it wouldn't be so bad living close to Ottawa, but it would be horrible living somewhere in British Columbia where I would be doing nothing but flying back and forth.

Even after all the sacrifices I heard you have to make, I don't think I would mind being an MP.

Thank you.

Leslie Bunn, Virden, Manitoba.

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to represent the constituents of Brandon-Souris and to work toward bringing about dignity to rural Canada. My constituents have sent me, the first Liberal in 42 years, to represent Brandon-Souris in the House of Commons, to be part of the Liberal team, to help solve the problems caused by eight years of failed economic policy.

My constituents want to be part of the new vision of Canada, a vision which includes all of the wide and diverse mosaic which is Canada today, a vision which includes jobs for Canadians, a vision of equitable regional development, a vision of renewed integrity in government, a vision of economic renewal and social security and finally, a vision of a safe Canada. In short, it is a Liberal vision of Canada.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

1:10 p.m.


Nic Leblanc Bloc Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Brandon-Souris, in Manitoba, focused on the infrastructure program. I would like to ask him the following: Does he not think that it would be a bit cumbersome if the federal, provincial and municipal governments all sat down to set priorities for an infrastructure project, for roads, sewers and small bridges for example? Does he not think it would make management a bit too cumbersome if civil servants from Ottawa were to meet with their provincial and municipal colleagues to make decisions on such a project? To me, that seems to go against management efficiency.

We all know that our country is faced with an enormous debt, which exceeds the 500-billion mark, and we all realize that if the federal government gets involved in such a project, it will become more difficult to manage and a high percentage of the expenditures will go for management, or should I say mismanagement.

I would like to know, just like Quebec wants to know, how the federal government will manage to hand the money over to the provinces, who consider the municipalities a bit like their equals and work with them to review various projects and set priorities, and refrain from interfering, making the management of the infrastructure project more complicated and boosting cost of the management.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

1:10 p.m.


Glen McKinnon Liberal Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for asking the question regarding infrastructure. In my preamble I left out my personal involvement. I did serve as mayor of a community of a town of 3,000. I have had some background in that area.

I would say to my worthy colleague that in many respects in my experience the ability of a municipality to go it alone on some of the projects would be very difficult to start with. If we can get other financial assistance from more senior levels of government, it will make many projects extremely viable.

Second, in terms of administration, those costs are certainly going to be there no matter who does it. I would suggest that there is not the perceived advantaged of simply handing the money to the lower levels of government and allowing them to run with the ball. I think we are best served as a country when we have some standardization in terms of the administration and the allocation of projects.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

1:15 p.m.


John Williams Reform St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, first my congratulations to the member for Brandon-Souris for his first remarks in the House. It was an excellent speech.

My question concerns the summation of his speech where he told us about his Liberal vision for Canada which included equality, regional development and various other things.

One of the things that he omitted-I hope he forgot-was to include the fact that Canada is a nation of small business people and that the engine of growth is from small entrepreneurs and medium sized businesses in this country. We have a history of entrepreneurial spirit and capitalism in this country which has brought this country to the stage it is at today. We must recognize that small business and entrepreneurs in larger businesses are the engines of growth. That is where the jobs are going to come from rather than just more programs such as infrastructure programs.

I would ask the member for Brandon-Souris whether he is willing to recognize that capitalism and the entrepreneurial spirit are the job creation factors in this country rather than Liberal policies such as infrastructure programs.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

1:15 p.m.


Glen McKinnon Liberal Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. friend for his question. I would suggest that yes I do recognize and yes I do see a strong assistance to our nation if government and small business work together on projects. I agree wholeheartedly that small business is the engine.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

1:15 p.m.


Derek Lee Liberal Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

I want to congratulate this speaker, along with all my other colleagues who have done this for the last few days, on his appointment. I want to congratulate the Speaker on his election. I know he will serve us extremely well.

At this juncture as well in Parliament it is very appropriate for me to acknowledge the political forces that returned me to Parliament as the member for Scarborough-Rouge River. I want to acknowledge all those who participated in the process. I thank certainly those who worked selflessly for me in our campaign, but I also want to acknowledge all the other candidates and their workers in a way that reflects my pride in a political system that really works.

A throne speech is an attempt by a government in Parliament to articulate its legislative goals and its policy goals and it hopefully does it in a way that reflects what the electorate wants.

In this particular case as we open up Parliament, of course the agenda of the throne speech has no excuse in the world for not reflecting what the electorate wants. My leader, our Prime Minister, and all of our members are only days and weeks away from the front doors and meeting places of Canadians. We have absolutely no excuse for not knowing what they want. I suppose it is fair to say that my government has no excuse for not having a reasonable game plan in addressing that.

Today I would like to make an attempt at relating my government's throne speech to the issues and matters that were put to me in the campaign by my constituents. I am happy to say that the throne speech does address almost all of those issues and matters. I would like to take some time to elucidate on that just a bit.

First, the biggest issue that my constituents put to me was the issue of jobs and the economy. That is clearly the thrust of this government's throne speech and, as it will unfold in the weeks to come, its legislative and policy agenda.

Our economy was hit very badly by a recession in and about the year 1990. In addition to that, we had a free trade adjustment which took a toll. We knew it would take a toll. Perhaps it took a greater toll on the economy than we thought but we adjusted. I think we have been through the bulk of that. There may be more to come but I think we have seen the worst of it.

Second, monetary policy overshoot, as it has been called, describes the zero inflation target that the Bank of Canada had for a period of time under the previous government. It did not meet its zero per cent. It never really had a hope of meeting its zero per cent.

Chasing that goal has slowed down our economy even more than it would otherwise have done. Canadians everywhere have paid a significant price for that.

In 1994 there has been a change. The economic fundamentals are much improved. We have low inflation. We have low interest rates. The worst of the free trade adjustment I hope is over. Balancing that we have the new trade opportunities provided by the free trade agreement and the North American Free Trade Agreement.

My constituents are very much waiting for the new jobs that this recovery will bring. While no government really runs the economy out of its hip pocket no government can hope to do that because the economy is driven by many forces in the private sector.

It is clear that my constituents will judge this government on how well it fosters the economic growth for Canada in the

months to come. They are watching and waiting. I believe that my government can do the right thing. It along with the economic forces at play, will deliver.

My government has already discussed and put into motion an infrastructure program, the residential rehabilitation assistance Program. We have yet to begin work on the youth service corps. That will happen shortly.

In the longer run we will focus on fostering the small and medium sized business area. We want to see improved access to capital. I was pleased to see a modest response by the banks and the newspapers over the last couple of days.

Our Liberal caucus in opposition met with the banks last May. I think they know the writing is on the wall. They will either have to serve small and medium sized business, as they have tried to do for a century, but they have to do it better. If they fail to do it without stating anything specific-I am merely a humble backbencher here-Canadians and this government will have to do what must be done to ensure that small and medium sized business have the financial tools they need to grow.

We want to improve the access of small business to technology and to increase their participation in research and development. We also want to reduce the regulatory burden. In all of these objectives I know we can make substantial progress and have some success.

The second major issue was the deficit and taxation. I cannot do the issue justice. Every person in this House knows exactly what we are talking about. It is a debt in the vicinity of $500 billion and a deficit way over $40 billion.

My government and our finance minister is committed to taking hold of it. It is not like there were not other ministers who tried in the past. I just think Canadians believe now and we believe that we cannot afford to fail now. We cannot fail to grab hold of that.

We must reduce spending in a strategic fashion. We must increase revenues without building in new taxes. We can only increase our revenues by having growth in the economy. The two are very much tied together.

There is also room for some modest growth in revenues by reducing what are called tax expenditures. Those are the field of deductions available under the Income Tax Act. We are committed to those goals.

The third issue of major significance was crime and public safety. I would note, and I am sure other members have noted, the relatively few number of references in the throne speech to this significant Canadian issue. It is mostly urban in context but the references are clearly there. My government is committed to introducing measures to enhance community safety and crime prevention.

There is a lot more to that issue than that one sentence. We must reduce the incidence of crime. We must reduce the fear of crime. We must also admit that crime is like a penalty tax levied on our society for our failure to effectively manage our human resource and we have plans to address these issues.

The last question was one dealing with immigration levels. This is a question that will have to be debated in this Parliament. I do not know when the debate will begin but I assure you, Mr. Speaker, that other colleagues and I will want to debate that in Parliament.

I am proud to serve my constituents in this place. I look forward to working with colleagues on both sides of the House to achieve these and the many other goals that Canadians have placed with us in trust for this 35th Parliament.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.


Jan Brown Reform Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to acknowledge the presentation by the hon. member today. I listened with a little bit of concern about the lack of specifics that he brought to the issue of crime.

I know that when I ran during the election we had a very specific platform for dealing with issues of crime such as the criminal justice system and the parole board. Just in the last couple of days we have seen some very serious issues on this very subject.

I would ask the hon. member to please, if he could, clearly specify for me some of the areas of change that his government intends to bring forth in this 35th Parliament.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.


Derek Lee Liberal Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her question. What she is looking for quite reasonably is a list of particulars, a good solid list of specific initiatives that can be brought to bear to address the issue of public safety and crime.

She has already noted some of the generic hot buttons, if I could put it that way. Let me acknowledge right away that the references in the throne speech are purely generic and in fact I read one sentence that perhaps covers a couple of pages of particulars. It is not possible to put into a throne speech all of the particulars that one might want.

However, I note that the whole area of sentencing is yet to be dealt with by a federal statute. There has never been a codification of sentencing in this country. That is still to be done. There was a bill in the last Parliament. It was consensually not proceeded with because members from both sides believed it was not a good and effective bill.

I would look for a sentencing bill relatively soon. I would look for a bill to modify elements of the Young Offenders Act. All of the areas have been discussed publicly. What the justice minister will bring forward remains to be seen. I hope the hon. member will create her own list and send it immediately to the justice minister.

There needs to be changes in the Parole Act, the Corrections and Conditional Release Act. We need to pass very specific amendments to the area involved. Most of it involves accountability.

A very interesting and useful meeting was held during the last Parliament between the outgoing chairman of the National Parole Board and members of the justice committee. The chairman had to get the permission of the minister to appear before the committee to tell us personally what he believed should be done for the parole board to better perform its job. He spoke to us very frankly at that meeting which was held in camera but all of what he said was duly noted.

We have covered the Young Offenders Act, the Corrections and Conditional Release Act. There are elements of the Criminal Code that need to be refined. We are just beginning to deal with long run strategic crime prevention. Regrettably it requires a bit of money to get into this area but it is a long running investment on a long running basis to make everybody in society a stakeholder and reduce the tendencies to break the law.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

January 27th, 1994 / 1:30 p.m.


Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the throne speech raises the employment issue in a very vague way. The government also tells us that it does not want to discuss the constitutional issue and will certainly not propose possible solutions. Our party, on the contrary, constantly raises this issue in the House of Commons. We do so because it is at the root of all the debates on every other issue.

We cannot seriously discuss the problem of employment without asking who has the power to act and who controls the political and economic levers necessary to tackle unemployment. Unemployment is the major problem, not only in my riding, but also for the whole region of Montreal.

The Liberals tell us that the constitutional issue must be set aside if we want Montreal to develop and get a new start. However, the municipal authorities of Montreal came to the following conclusion during the hearings of the Bélanger-Campeau Commission, and I quote: "Not only is the constitutional status quo obsolete, but it has disqualified itself, not only for Quebec, but for the rest of Canada." The municipal authorities in Montreal came to that conclusion because, as they said, and I quote again: "In the current political context, Montreal finds it difficult to have access to the levers which would enable it to contribute the way it could to the development of Quebec and of Canada."

Thus the city of Montreal proposed the adoption of a national policy for Quebec, a policy which demands the patriation of just about every jurisdiction for Quebec. Two solutions were possible: either a sweeping reform of federalism or a sovereign Quebec. It has now been demonstrated that Canadian federalism cannot be renewed. As for the status quo, we agree with the municipal authorities that it is harmful to Montreal. And, Mr. Speaker, uncertainty and the refusal to decide are the worst possible things for investors and for the economy in general. The brief submitted by the city specified that the choices made by Quebec would be endorsed by Montreal. Quebec has only one option left, sovereignty, and the future of Montreal is contingent upon that choice.

We must talk about the future and we must change the present situation. Let us not forget that Montreal was once the metropolis of Canada, as well as the industrial, financial and banking centre of the country.

Today, Montreal is the poverty capital of Canada. Thirty per cent of Montreal families live below the poverty level, and that is simply unacceptable. But does this mean that until Quebecers can democratically decide to have their own country, there is nothing to do? We, Bloc Quebecois members, do not think so, but it seems that the government does.

Yet, when the Liberals were in the Opposition, there were quite vocal when it came to defend the interests of the citizens of Montreal. One need only recall their fight against Bill C-113 on unemployment insurance.

The Liberal members from Montreal were telling us then, and rightly so, that the combined effects of the unemployment insurance reform of 1990 and that of 1993 would cost, over five years, close to $490 million to UI claimants in the Montreal region, adding that those figures did not take into account the impact of past and future employee contribution increases.

And what have the Liberals done now that they form the government? They were quick to increase those contributions without cancelling the anti-social measures of the previous government. The two governments are like two peas in a pod. And let us not forget also that those $490 million which are not being distributed to claimants is also money which is not being poured back into the Montreal economy.

The Minister of Human Resources Development told us that all social programs will be reviewed in the next two years. The men and women who live in poverty in Montreal cannot wait two years. They need help now and they demand it immediately. There are solutions to the problem and the Liberals know those solutions.

For example, there is the Program for Older Worker Adjustment or POWA, which is a program for older workers who have been laid off in large numbers following plant closures. To be eligible for that program, the workers in Montreal must have worked for companies employing more than 100 people. Why should it not be 20 employees as is the case in the vast majority of regions? After all, this is what the Liberals demanded when they formed the Opposition.

The Liberals now form the government but they are simply pursuing the policy of the Conservatives. No, the appropriate solutions are not to be found in the throne speech. Rather, those solutions were put forward by the Liberals when they were in the Opposition.

Let us take social housing. How many times have I heard the Liberal members from the Montreal region criticize the decision made by the Conservatives to eliminate all forms of subsidies in the social housing sector? Yet, no corrective measures are proposed in the throne speech. The lack of such measures means that all the social housing projects for the city of Montreal are in jeopardy.

I also think of those grants in lieu of taxes, which the federal government froze last year. The Montreal urban community criticized that decision, just like the Liberals did when they formed the Opposition, because it translates into a shortfall of close to $10 million for the taxpayers of the Montreal urban community. What are the Liberals proposing now that they form the government? Nothing. Is this not a very bad example to give to taxpayers in general? How can a government which is a bad risk demand of taxpayers that they behave like good citizens? Should that not be an easy decision to make? And this is not a measure that would not require any constitutional reform, I assume.

Does this government realize that, to quote the Minister of Finance and member for LaSalle-Émard, a Montreal riding, Montreal as the economic heartland and major engine for development must be put back on track, because otherwise, its economic decline will signal that of Quebec.

Is remaining silent on the high-speed train project going to help Montreal? This project was an opportunity for Quebec and Canada to get a head start in this new technology. We must not forget that the North American market for this type of train is said to be worth more than $200 billion over the next 20 years. This means spin-offs totalling an estimated 120,000 person-years in strategic industrial sectors. It would be a smart way to fight unemployment, because these are durable jobs involving advanced technology. The project also means tax revenues in the range of $1.8 billion during the construction period alone. Would reducing the deficit by increasing tax revenues not be better than taking money away from the neediest in our society? There would also be indirect economic spin-offs for the Quebec-Windsor corridor, in services, trade and, of course, tourism. In fact, this kind of transportation is available at rates that are cheaper than the conventional air fare, and it is also environmentally friendly.

Do we need more consultation on top of the many studies that have already been done and which all agree the project is viable? This government seems to be suffering from acute "consultationitis", a disease that was already endemic among the Tories. After striking the Conservatives, the Spicer syndrome is now spreading among the Liberals. Nevertheless, the high-speed train project meets all the criteria for genuine economic renewal aimed at the future.

The same applies to the conversion of our military industry. We all agree that the international situation has changed. The cold war is over. The role of Canada's armed forces must be reviewed. The Bloc Quebecois proposed a 25 per cent cut in the budget of the Department of National Defence. However, such a decision must be accompanied by a policy for conversion of the military industrial complex, as was done by President Clinton in the United States, and by France and Great Britain. The issue of converting our defence industry directly concerns Montreal as a major centre for the production of defence equipment. And Montreal has also become increasingly dependent on contracts from the Department of National Defence.

However, we must not forget that Quebec never received its fair share of government spending on the equipment procurement, defence payrolls and maintenance of military bases. The government certainly did the right thing when it cancelled the helicopter contract. It is no good wasting money, in Quebec or anywhere else. However, the Bloc Quebecois asked and is still asking the government to compensate for the cancellation of this contract by injecting the same amount of money in military conversion and advanced technology projects; two sectors that create durable jobs. Montreal cannot afford to lose the jobs of the future because the military industrial complex is shrinking. The government must table an industrial conversion plan, as it promised during the last election campaign.

I would like to give you another example of the harmful effect of the Canadian federal system on the development of Montreal: the environmental co-operation commission under NAFTA. Montreal, must we point it out, has acquired through its academic institutions significant know-how in the field of environment. Let us not forget the agreement on the ozone layer or the role played by the mayor of Montreal at the Rio Summit. Yet, the Minister of the Environment hesitates, pussyfoots, strikes a committee-one more, Mr. Speaker-instead of making the right decision and setting up this centre in Montreal. Are we going to see a remake, a repetition of the stupid decision to establish the head office of the Canadian Network of Toxicology Centres in Guelph, Ontario, when the critical mass of knowledge in that area is in Montreal. The same kind of decision was made about the banking centre. The Montreal business community had expected an international banking centre to be established in Montreal, but the federal government decided that there should also be one in Toronto and another in Vancouver. In the end, there was to be one centre and three peripheral centres. This a somewhat geometric expression of the Canadian federal system. Imagine that, one centre with three peripheral centres. The

banking centres are not working effectively, not in Vancouver, not in Toronto and not in Montreal.

Basically, nothing in this throne speech meets the needs of Montreal, except maybe for the infrastructure program, provided that-and this is important-the Government of Quebec reaches an agreement with Ottawa on the major issue of project management. But an agreement has yet to be reached by Quebec and Ottawa, while many are being signed with the provincial capitals outside Quebec. At any rate, this program alone cannot give Montreal the thrust required to escape the horrendous cycle of unemployment. More needs to be done, and better. But it cannot be done if we do not find a way to change Quebec society on the one hand, and Canadian society on the other.

I will conclude on this common finding made in 1992, a rarity, as it is, in Canadian politics. The Liberals, the Reformists, the Bloc members as well as two parties that were official parties at the time, the NDP and the Conservative Party, all agreed on the eve of Charlottetown that Canada was unable to face the challenges of the new global economy with its present political structures. Everyone agreed on that, but responses varied. Charlottetown demonstrated that our responses were totally at variance. Canada rejected the Accord because it gave Quebec too much, while Quebec rejected it for the opposite reason, because there was too little for Quebec in it. The finding still holds and we still have the same structures. The constitutional status quo has been maintained and we are no better equipped today than we were in 1992 to face modern-day economic challenges. And that is what we will be emphasizing during this entire session.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.


Barry Campbell Liberal St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Laurier-Sainte Marie makes a comment about international banking centres and somehow believes that the designation of other cities in this country has contributed to problems in Montreal in the financial services sector.

I would like to point out that Toronto is not an international business centre, so whatever the cause of the member's concerns about that it is not because the federal government designated Toronto as an IBC. It did not.

Second, I cannot fail but detect in listening to the historical litany described an internal inconsistency. On one hand there is a great concern for an economic decline in Montreal which all of us who represent major cities lament. Cities are very much the economic engine of this country. We all lament the economic decline of our cities.

There is an internal inconsistency in the logic in the hon. member's comments if he believes that continued constitutional wrangling, reopening discussions, indeed the very election of the Bloc, does anything other than contribute to a continued lack of investor confidence in this country.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.


Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, it can only be one of two things: either the Liberals held an untenable position before the 1992 draft agreement because your leader, your party was saying: "Canada's political structures do not enable us to meet the current economic challenge."

Today they tell us that there is no need to change our structures to meet this challenge. Either you were telling the truth in 1992 and you are lying today, or you were lying in 1992 and you are telling the truth today. It is one or the other but it cannot be both. That is obvious.

We see two great trends in the world: one where peoples and nations become countries that co-operate. That is what is now preventing Canada and Quebec from functioning. Canadians want a strong central state with national standards, a stronger regional presence in the central state. That is the triple-E Senate demand. Canada needs it, but Quebec does not feel comfortable with it, will never be able to work with it, will never accept it. That is one demand that will never be met as long as we are here.

We are preventing you from functioning just as you are preventing us from functioning. We should be thinking about agreements similar to Maastricht; must I remind you of it?

I favour the European Economic Community model but I would like to hear the Prime Minister go to Westminster and say to the British people that Canadian-style federalism is the way of the future and that Great Britain will no longer be a sovereign country in ten years or so. I would like to hear him deliver the same speech in the French National Assembly or go to the Bundestag and tell them that Germany will no longer be a sovereign country ten years from now. Just you try!

I am telling you that agreements such as Maastricht are the way of the future.