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.

Topics

Business Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

10 a.m.

Kingston and the Islands Ontario

Liberal

Peter Milliken LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, there having been discussions among the parties, I think that the House will unanimously consent to the following motion:

That the ordinary hour of daily adjournment be extended to 10 p.m. this day and that, during the extended sitting, no quorum calls or dilatory motions shall be received by the Chair; and

that if, on Friday, January 28, 1994, at the conclusion of the debate on the motion for an Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne, a division is demanded and required, such division shall be deferred until 6 p.m. on Tuesday, February 1, 1994, notwithstanding the provisions of Standing Order 45(6).

Business Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

The Speaker

Does the parliamentary secretary have the unanimous consent of the House to move the motion?

Business Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Business Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, our party has indeed granted consent, and I would like to point out that we may have created a precedent in holding the vote in the evening of Tuesday. I hope that we will have an opportunity to discuss, within the framework of parliamentary reform, the issue of concentrating votes on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays so as to allow hon. members of this House the opportunity to work in their respective ridings on Mondays and Fridays, which would make it a whole lot easier for all of them to do their job.

Business Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

The Speaker

Is it agreed that we have unanimous consent?

Business Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Business Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

The Speaker

The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Business Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

(Motion agreed to.)

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

Jim Jordan Liberal Leeds—Grenville, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure for me this morning to present a petition signed by residents of my riding of Leeds-Grenville; residents from places such as North Augusta, Addison, and Spencerville.

The petitioners are expressing their abhorrence at the crimes of violence which, as we all know, are on the increase in Canada. These petitioners are asking for amendments to be made to our laws to prohibit the importation and the distribution and sale of what is known as killer cards.

The petitioners would like to have the manufacturers of these killer cards informed that they will be stopped at the border and destroyed. The manufacturers should be so informed before they try to export these things into Canada.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

Ronald J. Duhamel Liberal St. Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, I have one petition to present this morning. The petitioners point out that single income families with special needs children should be eligible to claim child care expenses on their income tax. They feel these families are discriminated against for their decision to remain at home with their children.

They point out that there is often a significant cost incurred by families advised by physicians to place their children in day care centres catering to special needs children and these costs remain the same whether the family has a single or double income.

The petitioners believe this policy is unfair and discriminatory. They ask that it be reviewed and if possible that something be done in the forthcoming budget.

The House resumed from January 24 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

10:10 a.m.

Laval West Québec

Liberal

Michel Dupuy LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, the Throne Speech contains a paragraph that is devoted to culture, heritage and the Canadian identity. The paragraph states that the Government will announce measures to promote these essential national values.

One might wonder how such a short paragraph can respond to the challenges facing a department that is as wide-ranging as the one I am honoured to head. So a few words of explanation seem to be appropriate at the beginning of this parliamentary session.

Straight away, the very name of the Department of Canadian Heritage poses a problem. What do we mean by "Canadian heritage"? How can we justify grouping together in a single department elements as diverse as communications, the status of women, cultural industries, official and heritage languages, multiculturalism, national parks and sites, State protocol and amateur sport?

If we take the term "heritage" in its widest sense as meaning all of the combined property that enables each of us to see ourselves as an individual who belongs to a group or country, we can see that the department's name is fitting.

Today we can no longer restrict the meaning of heritage to the legacy of the past. Far more than a simple collection of traces left by history, the country's heritage is first and foremost the manifestation of the connection among members of a community and of its distinctiveness inside the global environment. Thus it is closely associated with the question of a country's identity.

In this perspective the seemingly vast range of activities supervised by the Department of Canadian Heritage is justified.

I can see three broad structures that will lead us to the same goal. First, the management of our natural and physical heritage: our national parks, our historic monuments, and our heritage canals.

Second, the management of programs that protect official languages, that promote the status of women and amateur sport, and that enhance our society's culture in other ways.

Third, the management of cultural development in Canada, and of means of communication which are of the utmost importance, not only in ensuring that we remain independent, but also as potent tools for economic development.

I would like to describe each of these three structures in greater detail. Our heritage appears at first glance to be a collection of historic sites, composed of 36 national parks, 750 historic sites and nine canals, located in all parts of the country. This sector is of enormous economic importance as it generates annual revenues of more than a billion dollars and provides jobs for around 30,000 people.

This sector lies at the very heart of our tourism industry and it is the envy of the international community, as we are at the forefront of what is known as "eco-tourism". One single statistic illustrates the popularity of these sites among tourists: in 1992, some 27 million people visited Canada's national parks and sites.

They are, of course, associated in our collective psyche with the beauty of our country. But they are also benefitting from the growing emphasis that western societies are placing on environmental quality. I feel, therefore, that they must follow the principles set out in the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.

Choices will have to be made and all parties, including the federal, provincial, municipal and territorial governments, will have to work together to make these choices. For instance, we want to make progress toward our goal of establishing land and marine base parks in all our distinct ecological zones. We also want to increase the number of historic sites which must serve as witness to all facets of our history.

In this respect I will encourage the unveiling of new areas of our collective history such as those related to women and native people, but we are facing as well severe financial constraints.

Some degree of self-financing might well open up some interesting avenues, but we must avoid the indirect consequences of over-commercialization. My role in this will be to safeguard the ecological and commemorative integrity of this important component of our heritage, as well as to make judicious decisions about its development.

I wish to share a few thoughts regarding the benefits that lie with a diverse society such as ours.

The history of our country is closely linked with successive waves of immigrants and the interaction between newcomers and the existing society. How immigrants adapt to the Canadian way of life will always be a major factor in the development of the Canadian identity.

The challenge is how to integrate diverse cultures with our existing cultures without melting them down into a single mould, thereby assimilating them out of existence. We must promote the development of a wholly Canadian identity as a rallying point for diverse cultures in support of a blueprint for a society based on consensus and continuity with our history.

Let us face the facts. The coexistence of cultures throughout the world is one of humanity's greatest challenges as this century draws to a close. Every day we hear people talk about racism or ostracism, both of which are exacerbated by hard times. This is a global phenomenon from which Canada is not exempt. We must consider the dangers inherent in self-centred attitudes. We must keep in mind the benefit Canada can derive from the diverse cultural makeup of our society.

In a world increasingly focused on economic and cultural globalism, our diversity could be to our great advantage as we strive to maintain our place in the community of nations.

We have to respond to this wave of intolerance that has swept western countries with better information about the advantages of cultural diversity. Perhaps we should begin with the very young and, together with the provincial governments, as they have jurisdiction over education, explore new ways of responding to the irrational violence that a fear of someone from a different culture may engender.

A foundation on race relations will be established precisely in order to throw new light on productive exchanges between the numerous ethnic groups that make up our population, the old and the new, and to unite the forces of multiculturalism around a cultural identity that is specifically Canadian. It might also be worthwhile to make more effective use of gatherings like the Canada Games and transform them into an authentic illustration of Canadian diversity by incorporating a cultural component.

I take this opportunity to remind the House that athletes from coast to coast are getting ready for the Lillehammer Winter Olympic Games. We all know how exciting it must be for them to represent their country at such an outstanding event. I am sure the House will join me in wishing them all the success in the world.

I might add that, in my opinion, the preservation and the promotion of our official languages does not turn Canada into a tower of Babel. Let us keep the individual freedom to use the language of our choice, but recognize that the English and the French languages give us access to two of the greatest sources of world culture. They are part of our national heritage that the government must maintain and develop.

Allow me finally to express a few thoughts on cultural policy. Culture is neither an abstraction nor a decoration. It is above all a viewpoint on the world and a manifestation of our civilization. There can be no identity without culture and this is recognized in the Liberal Party's plan of action: "Culture is at the very core of our national identity. It is the basis of our sovereignty and the pride of our nation".

In an era of trade globalization and fantastic breakthroughs in information technology, our cultural resources have become powerful tools of economic development. In 1992, the cultural sector contributed about 22 billion dollars to the gross domestic product. It employed nearly half a million people, which represents an employment growth rate of about 21 per cent between 1987 and 1992.

As impressive as it may be such growth must not mask the problems facing our cultural industries. These industries do not have access to the capital and market they need to compete on their home turf with the major producers of mass culture, mostly our neighbour to the south, the United States. This is why I think it is of paramount importance for Canada to maintain its freedom of action under the international agreements linking us with the United States, Mexico and our GATT partners. We achieved success in this respect and we can now bring new policies to the forefront.

In the past we have set policies in place to stimulate production, strike a better balance with foreign products and pave the way for greater creative expression from our artists. We made great progress. Nevertheless I do not think our traditional policies alone will be enough to surmount the challenges presented by the globalization of cultures, by financial constraints and by the revolution of the communications field. We will still be called upon to adapt our policies and to be innovative.

Our new policies will always seek to stimulate the production, the marketing and the distribution of our cultural products at home and abroad. We are preparing legislation which should allow our authors, producers and performers to earn a decent living.

I hope to update the Copyright Act so as to take into account new technologies that have changed the way cultural products are distributed and to recognize the rights of creators. We must also diversify the funding sources of our cultural industries. We absolutely need a better marketing plan for our cultural production at the international level.

In addition to being composed of two linguistic groups, the Canadian market is too small to ensure that our producers and creators survive and thrive. A global cultural market is coming into existence and Canada must promote in that market its unique production whose international reputation is well established.

I wish to remind the House that the department of heritage also has the mandate to ensure Canadian participation in international exhibitions. I was thrilled to learn that the last Canadian manifestation of this kind, which took place last year in Taejon, South Korea, has proven to be most profitable because for the first time Canada relied on the economic partnership.

Furthermore, the evolution of our society prompts us to review the operation and the mandate of our great cultural institutions. Among them, broadcasting is without doubt the most popular and most powerful cultural tool. More than 99 per cent of Canadians own a radio, 99 per cent a television set and more than 75 per cent a VCR. That shows the immense power which these media have at their disposal.

In this perspective, it is important that the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation find its proper place as a public broadcaster and that a funding mechanism better suited to the present situation be put in place.

The government will announce shortly the appointment of the new president of the CBC.

The government's commitment to Canadian strategy for an information superhighway is a good sign for our cultural industries. The information superhighway will be more than a technological infrastructure. It will be a powerful vehicle for Canadian content. It will enable us to distribute our cultural products more effectively and make them accessible to all Canadians.

This initiative will naturally be in keeping with our Canadian cultural policy. I will soon begin working on this project with my colleague, the Minister of Industry.

Just as important for our creative industry is the Canada Council. Cultural products are not just consumable and exportable goods. They are, first and foremost, the works of artists, creative men and women without whom the cultural industry could not survive.

The Canada Council's function is to support those artists when they start on a project or do experimental work. It also provides a fund that offers financial stability to the performing arts, theatre, ballet and orchestras. It is therefore vital that we ensure maximum efficiency on the part of this institution which is essential to the promotion of the creative spirit in Canada.

Given the shift toward globalism which marks the end of this millennium, we must rely more than ever on our creative men and women to provide us with a feeling of identity and a sense of belonging.

It is clear that the mandate of the Department of Heritage is a challenging one lying at the very heart of the major issues facing our country today.

Now more than ever Canada's cultural complexity must be seen not as a problem but as an asset at a time when opening up to the rest of the world is just as important as preserving our own identity.

Whether it is our historic sites, our national parks, the achievements of our athletes, the influence of our artists, the diversity of our population or the success of our cultural industries and institutions, all these things highlight our willingness to excel as a people.

I intend to bank on this huge wealth and particularly on the younger generation to ensure our country holds an enviable position at the dawn of the third millennium.

It is no doubt clear by now that the Department of Canadian Heritage, far from being obsessed with the past, is instead looking toward the future. It is resolutely concerned with the important challenges which face the societies of today.

I have faith in Canadian men and women, and I call upon them to take up these challenges and help our country to advance in the world of tomorrow.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

Bloc

Nic Leblanc Bloc Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, first of all I must congratulate the member and minister on his election in Laval-Ouest. This time he was luckier than in 1988, when he was my opponent in Longueuil. I am pleased to ask him some questions in accordance with his responsibilities as Minister of Canadian Heritage.

First, as he spoke about multiculturalism, it would seem that multiculturalism has not necessarily been a success, because we seem to have created ghettos between cultures instead of promoting the integration of citizens. We know that it takes about twice as long to integrate new arrivals in Canada as it does in the United States.

There is definitely a major problem with multiculturalism. I know that in Montréal at the moment there are conflicts between different cultures and it is my impression, and also the opinion of some experts, that multiculturalism is something that has created ghettos instead of promoting integration.

Second, he also spoke about creators and copyright. I think that Canadian legislation may not protect creators' copyright adequately. If we want to make it possible for our creators to do more, we must First protect what they create. We must promote what they create; that is how we are going to improve productivity and create new products from both the cultural and economic points of view.

My third question has to do with the national parks. We know that for a long time Quebec has been calling for equity where national parks are concerned. We do not have our fair share of parks, and each time Quebec asks for new parks, there always seem to be a lot of problems. However, we have great open spaces in which excellent parks could be created, but it never happens.

What is the problem, and will the minister make the necessary efforts to ensure that we in Quebec can have our fair share of national parks?

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

Liberal

Michel Dupuy Liberal Laval West, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Longueuil for his congratulations. I am delighted that we can continue a dialogue.

About multiculturalism, basically I agree with him. I feel that multiculturalism, the government's policy, must not create ghettos. It must not fragment our country. Basically, it must try to use its extremely rich and extremely valuable contributions to forge a grand Canadian culture. This Canadian culture will not be uniform. If we look at what is happening in the world, it is the countries that are managing to reconcile diversity whose progress is the most successful.

About copyright, I also agree with the member for Longueuil. I feel that the existing legislation is a bit outdated. It has not kept up with changes in technology, and that is exactly why I announced this morning that we intend to amend our copyright legislation.

Last, about the national parks. Quebec has remarkable natural and ecological areas and we want to develop national parks in Quebec. What may have slowed down the development of these parks is the fact that there is legislation in Quebec that does not allow the Government of Quebec to assign parcels of land to federal jurisdiction. That means that everything we do in Quebec, we do in co-operation with the Quebec government. As you know, when there are two governments that have to negotiate to get something done, things usually take a little longer.

That, then, is the main reason why plans for parks in Quebec may not have advanced as quickly as the MP for Longueuil would like.

However, I can tell him, for example, that there is a marine park we are developing at the mouth of the Saguenay that will be a model, not only of this co-operation between the two levels of government, but also of environmental protection.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

10:35 a.m.

Reform

Randy White Reform Fraser Valley West, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the hon. minister on his speech.

There are areas in Canada today that feel the government's policy on official bilingualism is expensive and unnecessary. In light of the comments of the hon. minister I would like to ask him whether he is aware of the real costs of the official bilingualism program. I would also like him to comment on whether another form of regional bilingualism would be more effective than universal bilingualism.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

10:35 a.m.

Liberal

Michel Dupuy Liberal Laval West, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am of course aware of the cost. There will be opportunities later in the course of the year to look at estimates, discuss the figures and give them a close look.

I believe the Canadian model, if I may call it that, is a worthwhile model. In another career I lived in Belgium. I have seen there how the division, the linguistic border between two linguistic groups, has created many problems.

My vision of bilingualism in Canada is not to force every Canadian to be bilingual. It is a matter of personal choice. Those who want to be able to use their language in Canada should be given a chance to do so.

If we accept this as a principle, the issue which my friend is raising is really a matter of how you reconcile this with a decent control of expenditure. I shall be pleased to discuss this with him in the context of the estimates.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

10:35 a.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Reform Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, my question for the minister is with regard to the definition of a multicultural Canada. It appears to me to be somewhat contradictory to state that immigrants under the present system are being integrated into Canadian society.

My understanding of what integration means is that an immigrant embraces the Canadian way of life and Canadian culture, while having the freedom to preserve his own culture, but if he chooses to do so he should have to do at his own expense, on his own time without government assistance.

Multiculturalism as it is now practised, emphasizes differences and tends to separate the different ethnic communities, while being funded by the federal government. I would like some clarification from the minister as to what he means by integration. There seems to be a problem with the definition. Multiculturalism and integration should mean two different things.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

10:35 a.m.

Liberal

Michel Dupuy Liberal Laval West, QC

Mr. Speaker, we must of course be clear in our minds on the distinction between integration and assimilation. The comments I made earlier in my speech were very much addressed to assimilation.

In my view integration means that you enable the people who are newly arrived to become fully operational in our society. This is what they want and this is what is probably best for the existing community because they become active and productive members of that society. If we do not want to achieve that result through assimilation, we have to find ways of enabling them to contribute to our society while at the same time preserving their inner values.

This is not easily done. However, I think it is a public responsibility. We cannot leave every one of these people to fend for themselves.

We have been able to see how the attitudes of other governments create difficulties and ghettos as we were talking about earlier. If we can see it that way, integration is a desirable goal. It needs some government support. I doubt that assimilation will be achievable in our society today. We enjoy too many personal liberties and freedom to be totally assimilated and moulded.

There is a public responsibility. At the same time we are being humane toward people who want to retain some cultural values of their own.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

10:40 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Jean Charest Progressive Conservative Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, first of all, I would like to congratulate you on your appointment to the Chair and wish you every success in your new duties. The very fact that you were elected shows the admiration and esteem in which you are held by members of this House.

I would not want to miss the opportunity, during this reply to the speech from the throne, to thank the men and women of Sherbrooke who, for a third time, placed their confidence in me under circumstances in which the outcome was rather uncertain. I was elected for the first time in 1984, carried by a Conservative wave. This time, I was re-elected on the undertow, with the wind blowing in the opposite direction.

To new members of this House, I have to say, and my colleague from Beauséjour knows exactly what I mean, one has to go through both experiences to fully appreciate the privileges, the rights accorded to members of Parliament.

To the people of Sherbrooke of whom I am so fond and for whom I work relentlessly, I say thank you.

I am speaking also on behalf of a political party that occupied a different place in this House before October 25. Some members may have noticed our circumstances were quite different.

I want to speak very frankly and honestly about that because it is important for us to recognize and acknowledge the magnitude of that defeat. On October 25 a lot of Canadians went to the polls with a very clear determination to put aside the government and a political party that had been there for the last nine years.

I do not need to expand on the fact that they did it with a great deal of determination and with very little equivocation on October 25. That being the case it puts us now in a position is which even though we had 16 per cent of the vote, we have only two members in this House.

I do not quarrel with that. Those were the rules before the campaign. We did not complain about them then and I am not going to complain about them now. It also means that we have found a level of freedom that we had not anticipated.

I am the first to recognize that how we deal with that as a political force in this country and as the political force that founded Canada will determine our own future.

It is now up to us as Progressive Conservatives throughout Canada to live up to the high expectations that Canadians have set for us in the past and into the future. It is up to us to rebuild our party and to present ourselves as a national-I want to stress national-alternative to the governing party by the time the next election campaign comes around.

What I do know, having spoken to Canadians across this country, is that a lot of them, whether they are Progressive Conservatives or not, do feel it is very important that there be a national alternative to the governing party. They are concerned about the way Canadians view their country and that is something I feel very strongly about.

It means that our party will continue to stand on the principles it has always lived by. One is fiscal conservatism. We are a party that will promote fiscal conservatism because we do want a country that is able to afford social programs and continues to have a strong social conscience and also a flexible view of federalism. We think it is critically important in this country. We proved in our last nine years that we were able to practise a method of governing in the area of federalism that responded to the different needs of the regions of this country.

It was far from being perfect. I want to be clear on that. Anyone who would pretend that certainly would not meet with the approval of most Canadians, but there are real accomplish-

ments there and this new government will build upon many of them.

As I looked at the speech from the throne, and in responding to it today, I have to admit I had mixed feelings, very much so. I was a bit surprised.

I want to start by congratulating the members on the other side for their election and their success, in particular the Prime Minister. I do not share his views on a lot of issues, but beyond that I think a lot of Canadians have gained a certain admiration and respect for the fact that in difficult times he held tough. He made it through and won the confidence of Canadians. I want to congratulate him sincerely for that success. From a personal point of view I think that is quite an accomplishment.

As I read the speech from the throne I had mixed feelings for the following reasons. There are a lot of things in it that were left over by our government and were taken up by this new government, things that quite frankly the Liberals were not very enthusiastic to support when they were on this side of the House.

I went through the speech from the throne and had mixed feelings as I read the things the government was putting forward. In the seventh paragraph the speech reads: "In order to achieve this agenda integrity and public trust in the institutions of governments are essential". In the next paragraph the speech goes on to say: "My ministers will insist upon integrity, honesty and openness on the part of those who exercise power on behalf of Canadians".

This House has not sat for very long and already this commitment has been put to a very strong test. We have heard the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs has been using government flight services and it has met with some controversy. We find today that the Minister for International Trade is in some difficulty over a fund raiser and the way it was presented. We also know that another member of that caucus has run into some difficulty regarding things he had done in the past.

I am not passing judgment on any of them, but is it not unusual that after only about 10 days I can stand in this place and recite three different areas in which the government has run into difficulty and with this in the seventh and eighth paragraphs of the speech from the throne?

I am not passing judgment but let us be very clear. Is it not very different sitting on that side of the House dealing with these matters from what it was sitting on this side? I see members on the other side nodding, admitting that is the case. Well, it is.

I hope that Canadians who are now going to look at this government will maybe see the previous government in a different light. I am not in any rush for that. I just know that the passing of time will deal with a lot of those issues.

Let me rapidly go over the things proposed in the speech. The second page refers to lobbying. On August 9 the then Prime Minister, the Right Hon. Kim Campbell, made a speech and in it promised a lobbyist registration act. How could I disagree with any action in that area?

The paragraph that follows talks about the credibility of Parliament and how we have to reform Parliament. In the same speech the same Prime Minister also made a commitment to parliamentary reform and the things we had to change. She gave a very detailed list of things we had to do. We have yet to see what the details of this government will be in this area, but I look forward to hearing what this government has to say, so I cannot disagree with that.

The third measure was about reform of MPs' pensions. Would we not know that on August 9 the previous Prime Minister also made the same commitment? However, she went a little further and said that we would change the pension system not only double-dipping but also pensions being taken before the age of 55. Therefore, we will wait to see what the new government proposes in this regard.

On the same page of the speech from the throne there is some allusion to small business and the Canada investment fund. In a speech given on August 27 by the then Prime Minister there was also an announcement made of the venture capital fund.

A venture capital fund was announced by the previous government on August 27 and later established. The Small Business Loans Act was also changed at that time.

There is a paragraph in the speech from the throne that really made me feel good, the paragraph relating to trade. I know my colleague from the NDP will appreciate this one because he has his views on trade and I do not think he has changed them. The hon. member has indicated he has not changed his views. Has he changed his view on NAFTA?

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

10:50 a.m.

NDP

Nelson Riis NDP Kamloops, BC

Not at all.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

10:50 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Jean Charest Progressive Conservative Sherbrooke, QC

The NDP has not changed its view on NAFTA. The paragraph reads: "Job creation and economic growth also require Canadian firms, especially small and medium sized businesses, to adopt an aggressive trading mentality to take advantage of export markets". I know my colleague does not agree with that. Mike Wilson has said that very often, in fact. Then it goes on to say: "With the successful conclusion of the Uruguay round and the implementation of NAFTA, the government will assist Canadian companies to translate improved market access into greater export sales". Well those were stock Tory speeches for the nine years I was in government and now they are taken on lock, stock and barrel by the new government.

To all those people who during the election campaign were told by their Liberal and NDP candidates that they were opposed to NAFTA, that they would renegotiate NAFTA and would change NAFTA, ladies and gentlemen, they were just kidding. They adopted NAFTA lock, stock and barrel. Not a paragraph, not a word, not one single dot was changed in the law that was passed in this place. The new Liberal government adopted the whole thing.

Do I disagree with that? No, I do not disagree. I support the government members in their change, in their transformation on the road to Damascus. What I find extraordinary is how little time it took them to do it. What a feat to be able to fight this in the House of Commons for years. Some members were not here at the time but I can tell them because I was on that side. They fought this. There were screams in the House. It was extraordinary. How many days did it take them? Was it 10 days, 20 days? Twenty days after being sworn in, NAFTA was the greatest thing since sliced bread. The conversion was extraordinary.

I want to be honest about this. Our colleagues from the NDP, although I disagree with them, did not change their minds. They have been consistent. I am sorry, I cannot say the same for the government side.

The same speech talks about internal trade. Internal trade is an important issue. I wish the government well because quite frankly it really points to the fact that this country is doing better at trade with other countries than it is within its own borders. In the end it does not make sense because Canadians are paying the price for unfair and unreasonable trade barriers in this country.

The new government proposes to deal with that issue in its speech from the throne. It meets exactly with the commitment we made during the campaign. It builds on what the previous government had done to complete negotiations of a committee of ministers of internal trade to eliminate trade barriers, to free the movement of goods, services, people and capital within Canada by June 30, 1994.

Last week I was delighted to hear the Minister of Industry, after meeting with his colleagues, reiterate and take up that commitment. It is a good idea. I agreed with it when we were the government. I still think it is a good idea.

To get back to trade, there is allusion to the Pacific Rim and Latin America. We had announced we were going to establish a foundation for the Pacific Rim and Latin America. It is the same thing.

It just goes on. We had also announced changes to the Young Offenders Act.

There is another very interesting paragraph: "A centre of excellence for women's health will be established to ensure that women's health issues receive the attention they deserve". I am sure many members from the Reform Party agree with that. Probably totally.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

10:50 a.m.

NDP

Nelson Riis NDP Kamloops, BC

Who wrote this throne speech?

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

10:55 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Jean Charest Progressive Conservative Sherbrooke, QC

I suspect the same public servants who wrote our speeches from the throne with us probably shared their notes with the new government because on August 23, 1993 would you not know it, the previous minister of health announced that she would put forward a new bureau for the health of women. This was before the campaign and there is exactly the same commitment. I cannot disagree with that.

The last one I want to point to is the overlap in government. On September 2, 1993 the same commitment and type of initiative was put forward.

I am not going to quarrel with the government on those issues. I will support the government. On NAFTA, GATT, Latin America, Pacific Rim, all those issues, let us go right ahead. I will be happy to support the government in any way I can.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

10:55 a.m.

An hon. member

How does it differ from you?

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

10:55 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Jean Charest Progressive Conservative Sherbrooke, QC

The government differs in key areas. How jobs should be created in this country is one example. That is an issue that the government campaigned on but that is where there are a few disappointments in the speech from the throne. The best question is where is the meat?

Where this government seems to have made a commitment is for the infrastructure program. It was going to build sewers and roads. What we are finding out is that the money is now going to convention centres. I do not have any problems with that but the municipalities wanted the money for roads and sewers.

Who exactly is going to make the decisions and how will that happen? Is there going to be an infrastructure program or not? Or is it going to be a slush fund, as seems to be alluded to in this secret memo I made public two days ago? The ministers of public works and human resources were fighting not only for direct control over the program as stated in the memo written to the Prime Minister by the Clerk of the Privy Council, but they also wanted federal control over all projects.

There was a question on this in the House yesterday and the Prime Minister did not answer. We know they are responsible for ACOA and western diversification. The Clerk of the Privy Council does not have to write to the Prime Minister to ask him whether they were responsible for ACOA and western diversification. They know that. We know that. He felt this issue was so important that he had to write to the Prime Minister to find out whether their mandate was to have control over all federal

projects. We have yet to know whether it is the minister from Nova Scotia who will decide whether New Brunswick gets this money there or elsewhere, not just for infrastructure but for other programs as well.

I have to admit I may agree on some things but there is a discrepancy between what was said during the campaign and what seems to have happened behind closed doors since this government was sworn in.

I was disappointed about a few things in the speech. There was no mention of agriculture or very little. I have concerns also about natural resources. I am very concerned this government may be considering taxes on petroleum products or a carbon tax. It may be tempted to go that route, but it would have to think very carefully because we already tax our resources in this area. We do that now. Any thought about such an initiative has to be very closely looked at.

On the deficit and debt there is a general statement but I guess we will have to wait until the budget comes forward to really find out where the government's mind is on this. What I do know and what I can say is that the government up until now has not been very forthcoming in the way it has masqueraded or camouflaged the numbers. There is quite evidently a deliberate move to increase the amount of the deficit for this year, to pump it up, to make the previous government look bad and make itself look better. That move is quite obvious.

I ask hon. members to take a second and think about one thing. Let us assume the situation is as the government says it is. We have had these situations before. I remember when we were in that same position as a government. What did we do? We froze spending for the rest of the fiscal year. That is what we did. Why is it that this government has not frozen spending, if not because it wants to pump that number up for political reasons?

Where does the Canadian interest lie in all of this? Where is the interest of the taxpayers?

I see the member for Chicoutimi. Let us ask him where lies the interest of Chicoutimi voters in all this if the government, instead of freezing expenditures, lets the deficit run unchecked as is the case right now. This is nothing new, I am not imagining it.

There is no need to worry that I will spring some new theory on him. The concept is simple enough. All the government needs to do is declare an immediate freeze on expenditures for the rest of the fiscal year, instead of letting the deficit grow to astronomical heights. This, however, it has chosen not to do. Why, do you ask? For political reasons.

Mr. Speaker, you are signalling that I only have one minute left. With your permission and leave of this House, I will end my comments promptly so as not to omit anything important, after which I will be pleased to answer questions and respond to comments. With your consent, I will then take five more minutes to discuss other subjects.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

11 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

I must ask for unanimous consent. Is there unanimous consent?

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

11 a.m.

Some hon. members

Yes.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

11 a.m.

Some hon. members

No.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

11 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Jean Charest Progressive Conservative Sherbrooke, QC

Our friends in the Bloc and the Reform Party are consistent in their refusal. I will therefore use up the minute that is left to finish my comments, to tell briefly how worried I am by the new turn taken in this House, by the accent that is being put on regional views as a result of the elections when Canadians democratically made their choices.

We end up with, on one part, an official opposition party dedicated to breaking up Canada-it has the right to represent this view, I do not object-and on the other part, a Reform Party which just as legitimately represents a view, but a view that is not national. It did not field candidates in all ridings in the last election.

Facing them, we find a government seemingly determined to let events run their own course. I am worried. This country and this Parliament must squarely face this challenge to our future. Our duty requires that we better stress what unites us as a people. That is what a country is all about, not this expression of narrow viewpoints which tends to blame others for everything that goes wrong.

I do not agree with this type of nationalism, this rather narrow and simplistic view which has nothing in common with my own vision of our country. Canada is badly in need of a sense of its future and of a shared project.

In the next few years, I will be fighting to preserve this country's integrity and to bring out what exactly we have in common.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

11 a.m.

Liberal

Eugène Bellemare Liberal Carleton—Gloucester, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the stand-up comic from Sherbrooke on such an entertaining presentation. Members of the Progressive Conservative Party really missed out last June by electing someone else as their leader. They certainly made the most monumental mistake of their lives because history has proven that our gentleman from Sherbrooke is now a leader in opposition, a leader of the former Progressive Conservative Party.

I said "opposition" because he sees himself as the official opposition. The hon. member should recognize in his usual jovial manner that he is leader of absolutely nothing, but he is obviously a very good entertainer.

He talks of Canadian citizens. For five years straight I have heard the member for Sherbrooke, previously minister of this and that, talking about Canadian big business without ever mentioning Canadians. Today he remembers them.

I know the member is a grassroots politician. All of a sudden, he is forced to start all over again, to go from door to door. I congratulate him on his door-to-door campaign. It is a good start. Maybe, 25 or 30 years from now, the Progressive Conservative Party will become the official opposition.

I am not particularly attempting to reply to the member for Sherbrooke who seems suddenly to have taken it upon himself to change the rules of the game. I have always thought, during the five years that I was here, that one was not to address other members directly in the House, that one had to address the Speaker. The rules seem to have changed. I would like to comment on the House rules. Following the speech by the minister for Heritage Canada, opposition members were allowed to speak.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

11:05 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

I would just like to remind the member for Carleton-Gloucester that when a point of order has been raised the Speaker deals with it after questions and comments.

The member for Sherbrooke's speech seems to have aroused a lot of interest. In order to allow members on both sides of the House to comment or ask questions, I would ask the member for Carleton-Gloucester to confine himself to the speech. Later, we could certainly discuss any other matter which he might want to raise.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Eugène Bellemare Liberal Carleton—Gloucester, ON

Mr. Speaker, agreed. I give notice that I would like to raise a point of order as soon as questions and comments are over.

I wish to go back to our comedian from Sherbrooke and tell him that the difference between the new government and the old governement he was part of is that: there are glib talkers and then there are people of little action. The member for Sherbrooke has become one of those glib talkers.

The member for Sherbrooke for whom I have much affection and admiration, has made great progress. I would like to have heard him use the same tone to defend the public good over the course of the last five years. I must then congratulate him on his speech. He has finally seen the light. At long last, he is talking about people from Sherbrooke, from Chicoutimi. He has not mentioned the citizens of the national capital region but he has spoken of the westerners and the Reform Party. He referred to the Bloc Quebecois and to Canadians in general. He did forget to ask for absolution for the great sin he committed while in "another world" during nine years; that is, being spokesperson for big business rather than for Canadian citizens.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

11:05 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Jean Charest Progressive Conservative Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, allow me to return the compliment to my friend from Carleton-Gloucester. I know him well and have great affection for him, but I hope the showering of my affections on him will not be quite so painful as his on me.

I can accept the member's reproaches. I do believe the Canadian people passed judgment on October 25, as I recall, and that judgment was quite harsh. I do not know how long the hon. member intends to rehash the fact and harp upon it. There are two members left in the House representing the Progressive Conservative Party. My colleague still feels the need today to rise and strike another blow. What can I do? Such is human nature.

All I can say is that I have also seen that feeling. The member's comments, when he says that I am the leader of nothing, border on scorn. I heard him clearly. That is his point of view. About 16 per cent of the Canadian population would disagree with him. I do not need any advice from my colleague about going door to door or about winning people's faith. I wish to remind him where he is. He is in a Parliament in which each person present has been elected by his or her riding. I was thus elected and I defer to the good judgment of the citizens of my riding. I leave it to them to decide if my presence here has any less value than his own, as he seems to think.

If this is an example of his feelings and attitude to come during his tenure in government, I can only wish him luck. I have seen it before, and I have also seen the results over time.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

11:05 a.m.

Bloc

Jean H. Leroux Bloc Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have listened with keen interest to the speech by the former Deputy Prime Minister of Canada. Obviously he has told us that in this House or in this Parliament, it is six of one and half a dozen of the other.

During the last election, Canadians elected a new government and Ontario has majority representation in this government, luckily for Canada and for its regions. In Quebec, we had another choice and the majority voted for the Bloc québécois. The same thing happened in the West where voters elected a majority of Reform Party candidates.

I think we must give the government a chance to prove itself. Obviously, it will soon have to tackle job creation and deficit reduction. It is true that the former government showed us clearly that it was incapable of solving the serious problems confronting Canada and Canadians let them know clearly what it thought of them.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

11:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

11:10 a.m.

Bloc

Jean H. Leroux Bloc Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, I think we must be serious in this House, and even if my honourable colleague from Sherbrooke rose to speak to this House, as he has the right to do, his speech reminded me of the death of a swan or, should I say, the agony of a swan. As far as we are concerned, in Quebec we had a choice and the majority prevailed.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

11:10 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Jean Charest Progressive Conservative Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is always comforting to see that in our democracy people have choices to make and that they can make them freely, albeit for different reasons. There are some in the hon. members ranks who claim that he was elected to achieve the independence of Quebec. Others will say that maybe his mandate was a bit wider and that many people who voted for the member from Shefford also wanted a change of government. It is hard to judge after the fact, but time will tell.

I want to say to the member from Shefford, while thanking him for his advice, which is always useful, that he has just arrived here. I too know what it is to be elected with the wind at my back and on a wave. When you arrive here in those circumstances, you are always full of confidence and very happy. Here is what I have to say to the member from Shefford for what it is worth, since I do not seem to have the benefit of his vast experience. If he is forecasting our demise, the swan's song, he surely knows things that I do not. I do not know him very well, but he must have a lot of parliamentary experience to be able to say that.

In any case, I can say to the member from Shefford in all humility that like him the member from Sherbrooke was once elected with the wind at his back and that the member from Sherbrooke has also been elected with the wave running in the opposite direction. When he has lived both experiences, maybe he will share with us his thoughts and his great wisdom.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

11:10 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

There is a short time left and I would ask for the co-operation of members.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

11:10 a.m.

Broadview—Greenwood Ontario

Liberal

Dennis Mills LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I will be very quick indeed. As the member knows, I have deep affection for the member for Sherbrooke.

When he was going through the litany of policy initiatives he agreed to in terms of supporting the government, I wondered if it was some type of early olive branch and that he might like to consider coming over here and joining us.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

11:10 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

Just as short an answer from the hon. member for Sherbrooke.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

11:10 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Jean Charest Progressive Conservative Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am a little surprised by the comment. I have a lot of friendship for my friend from Broadview-Greenwood, but I think it would be the reverse. We could form the government pretty fast and continue the agenda. I look forward to sitting with the member for Broadview-Greenwood and forming a new Progressive Conservative government who knows?

I know the member for Broadview-Greenwood will acknowledge that I sat on that side of the House for a period of time. I would be curious to know whether he shares the view that things are a little different, the perspective on fund raisers and other things.

I heard the Prime Minister yesterday make a very good explanation on using government aircraft. Why did he not give that explanation when he was on this side of House? I look forward to working with him in this Parliament.

Point Of OrderGovernment Orders

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Eugène Bellemare Liberal Carleton—Gloucester, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I was extremely disappointed a short while ago when you did not recognize me after the Minister of Canadian Heritage spoke. It has been my experience in the House and my observation of years before that when someone spoke in the House the Speaker would recognize people from different parties.

I understand full well that if someone from the government makes a speech, especially a minister, it would be good parliamentary manners to accept comments or questions immediately from opposition members of Parliament.

However, when members of the government wanted to make a comment or question to the minister I believe in the past they have always been recognized. A member may agree or disagree with his own minister. A member like myself may want to make a comment. I may want to make a comment about something that affects my riding. I may want to question the minister.

Are we changing the way we have been operating in the House whereby after someone's speech there is an alternance between parties so that backbenchers, members of Parliament, can have their say in the highest court of the land?

I beg you, Mr. Speaker, not to change that good practice. There should be an alternance among the five parties. We on the government side should not be muzzled as ordinary members of Parliament because of possibly a new practice of which I have not been made aware to date.

Point Of OrderGovernment Orders

11:15 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

I thank the hon. member for Carleton-Gloucester for raising his point of order, particularly at this early stage in this 35th Parliament. I will quote for him two precedents that will enlighten us all, certainly including myself in the chair at this moment.

In the first instance I will refer to the Annotated Standing Orders of the House at page 144:

-preference in this period is to be given to Members of parties other than that of the original speaker, but not to the exclusion of Members of other parties-amendments to a bill cannot be moved-

And so on. In effect I largely founded my decision in the selection of members for questions and comments following the intervention of the hon. Minister of Canadian Heritage on the basis of my limited knowledge according to that annotated text.

On the same point of order raised by the hon. member, I have learned that there is also a greater latitude given to members from both sides-in this instance from the government side-when a minister of the government speaks.

I will refer him to the January 17, 1983 edition of Hansard as follows:

-the Chair will try, as much as possible, to give priority to Members representinga party other than that of the Member who made the speech. However, backbenchers on the Government side will also be entitled to ask questions following a speech by a Minister.

The point raised by the member for Carleton-Gloucester is an important one, as I said earlier, at the beginning of the 35th Parliament. I thank him for raising the issue at this time and making us in the chair even more sensitive to this procedure so that in effect we will address the matter with even greater justice in the days ahead.

I thank the member for Carleton-Gloucester for raising this point.

Point Of OrderGovernment Orders

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Eugène Bellemare Liberal Carleton—Gloucester, ON

Mr. Speaker, I understand your reading from former Debates . When you mentioned that preference would be given to MPs of other parties and so on, I did not hear the word exclusive or must. I heard what I interpret as words like may and good practice and good custom.

I appreciate very much your diligence in checking to see what the proper practice should be. I also say that I do respect that you are new on the job, as it were, and I respect your position.

However you have just informed me, Mr. Speaker, that I was right but too bad, member of Parliament for Carleton-Gloucester, you could have had your day in court; you were right but sit down and we are going to go on with whatever we are supposed to go on with today.

Since I have not been hanged, as capital punishment does not exist any more, and I am still alive and standing, perhaps the Chair, as a gesture of penance or whatever it might be called, would allow me to have 60 seconds to comment on whatever I would like to say to the minister.

I think it would be fair to allow me as a backbench member of Parliament to make comments that would affect my riding after a minister has spoken.

Point Of OrderGovernment Orders

11:20 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

We have heard the request of the hon. member for Carleton-Gloucester. I do in the first instance as the Speaker at this time humbly submit to the member that I erred in my judgment, not being fully aware of all of the rules and procedures of the House.

I would ask the House for unanimous consent so that the member for Carleton-Gloucester might at this time make those comments.

Point Of OrderGovernment Orders

11:20 a.m.

NDP

Nelson Riis NDP Kamloops, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have no difficulty giving my friend 60 seconds to make a comment. If he is simply reflecting the frustration he feels about not having ample opportunity to make interventions, I am sure it is something that we all feel.

The Standing Orders restrict us to 10 minutes for questions and comments and yet you will notice, Mr. Speaker, that at the end of that period there are still, almost inevitably, four or five members standing.

I simply want to say I respect the frustration my hon. colleague feels, but I remind him that it is probably a frustration that we all feel a good part of the time. We are restricted by the Standing Orders. However, if he has a comment which he feels compelled to make now and requires 60 seconds, I certainly would give him unanimous consent to do so.

Point Of OrderGovernment Orders

11:20 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

Is there unanimous consent?

Point Of OrderGovernment Orders

11:20 a.m.

Some hon. members

No.

Point Of OrderGovernment Orders

11:20 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

Unanimous consent having been denied, the debate resumes.

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

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Yvan Bernier Bloc Gaspé, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am a new member of this House. I have had the good fortune to listen to the remarks of the member for Sherbrooke. I admit that I am perhaps a less experienced orator than he, but I have just as much fire in my belly. A Latin tag comes to mind, although I am not big on Latin, which sums up what I have heard Asinus asinum fricat means that as a junior MP I have to expect verbal sparring matches, quite virulent ones sometimes, in the House.

Since I am speaking after the member for Sherbrooke and he talked about riding in on a wave and being elected with the wave

running in the opposite direction, I shall start my remarks in the same vein, coming as I do from a maritime riding, by pointing out that the member for Gaspé has continued, unlike his party, to ride the wave that the people of Quebec directed toward that party in 1984. In 1984 we talked about le beau risque, the gallant gamble. In 1988 they talked about returning with honour and enthusiasm. The riding of Gaspé has taken the same wave, and perhaps the Conservative Party was not listening to it.

As a member of the Bloc Québécois I intend to continue to repeat what the people of the riding of Gaspé and of Quebec said in the recent federal election.

The House of Commons is for me a place to speak out for the residents of the great riding of Gaspé. It is one of the most beautiful parts of Quebec. Whether my fellow members from Quebec agree or not, I would say it is the most beautiful part of Quebec. It is such a jewel that in the early 1970s the Liberal Party decided to create Forillon National Park on the tip of the Gaspé Peninsula.

It was in the Forillon National Park affair that the man who is now Prime Minister of Canada first took up arms against Quebec. In 1972, the member for Shawinigan expressed his delight at having gone over the head of the Bourassa government to create Forillon Park, and I quote his remarks at the time: "I used the Park to break the Quebec government and I'm proud of it!" Our new Prime Minister started his career fittingly.

We have a saying where I come from: you can take the Gaspésien out of Gaspé, but you can't take the Gaspé out of the Gaspésien. To a Gaspésien, having land expropriated forges character. As the motto of Quebec has it, we remember.

This maritime riding developed to a great extent thanks to cod. Centralizing federal management of this marine resource leaves a bitter taste in our mouths, just as the Forillon Park affair did. Management imposed from outside dismisses local attempts to solve the industry's problems. This is not the first time the fishery has undergone a crisis.

In the early 1970s, the cod stock was in about the same state as it is today, but the resourcefulness of the fishing folk of the time turned them toward other species. When in the early 1970s they could catch no more cod, they went after crab. Crab fishing was no gold mine then, but it is now.

A little later, around 1976, it was the turn of the ocean perch fishery in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence to decline. The people who had been catching ocean perch started harvesting shrimp instead, because shrimp was not so well known. Their resourcefulness enabled them to get through a crisis.

I would conclude that these maritime communities have the ability to adapt as long as they have the freedom to work together. They can let each other know when there are other species around that are undervalued and could be marketed. For that to work there have to be channels of rapid communication between the decision makers and the ordinary people, the fishermen on the front line. The ability to make rapid feedback possible was lost by Quebec under its Liberal government in 1982 when jurisdiction over fisheries was returned.

It is high time the federal government opened its eyes. In 1986, rapid feedback would have enabled the people who fished for cod inshore and saw the stocks were declining to adapt. While cod stocks were declining, other species, wrongly thought to be undesirable, should have been promoted.

The problem goes a lot further than the exhausted stocks the department has proclaimed. It is the whole structure of the industry that has to be rethought. Instead of getting on with the structural changes needed to react to cyclical variations in cod stocks, the throne speech is still looking for someone to blame for their disappearance.

In order to get the economy going again, the government must set directions for the future of the fishing industry. I will address two important aspects of this issue; harvesting the resource and protecting workers.

Cod fishing is older than Canada. Since the fishery began, fish have been harvested using the preservation methods we knew. In the beginning, we salted and dried cod. With the arrival of electricity and freezers, we made blocks of frozen cod. That is what we are still doing, or were until the minister turned off the tap.

These types of harvesting resulted in the setting of an implicit standard on the length of fish caught. In order to meet these standards, which were set for a specialized industry, fishermen had to throw back undesirable fish solely on the basis of length.

The restructuring of the fishing industry, or rather, the revolution of the fishing industry, was not addressed in the speech from the throne.

Despite decades of intervention by the federal government, the structure of the fishing industry is still at the elementary school level. What does the government intend to do in order to upgrade it to the university level?

University is the top of the line. We must no longer limit our efforts to the traditional mass market. Instead we must seek out new market niches, such as those for fresh fish and under-utilized species. This means that we must support the fishing communities so that they are able to meet these new standards. We must enable them to make more money while catching fewer fish.

In order to reach this objective, the government should apply business methods to the fishing industry; in other words, it should bring the sales operation closer to the harvesting operation.

If all the steps or all the links in the industrial chain are respected, fishermen will be able to sell everything they catch. At present, they depend on overspecialized plants and as a result what they harvest is overspecialized.

In the past, the government pinned all its hopes on harvesting the natural resource. Today, we must rely on human resources, the grey matter of the people in the communities, to make more money while being more respectful of the marine resource. These people are familiar with the problems, they have solutions. Is the government prepared to support their efforts?

These communities need concrete measures like those put forward by the Bloc during the election campaign, which I will list. One such measure was the creation of landing warehouses, in order to group together underutilized species and promote the sale of fish turned down by traditional plants.

The second measure put forward by the Bloc was the creation of a provincial clearinghouse to implement the logistics of transportation to the various markets because they will be new.

The third measure, which I will mention but about which I will be speaking again later, was returning the management of fishing licences to the provinces.

What I mean to say is that the government, instead of looking to the future, set up short focus programs that did not address existing problems. Meanwhile, the situation has deteriorated and workers have found themselves without work.

The government is proposing pointless training programs. Rather than forcing workers to bend over backwards to meet the requirements of these programs, we should be listening to them and taking their tastes and their skills into consideration. We have to rely on people's experience and help them to put their ideas into practice. It is up to Ottawa to understand how people think, not the other way around. As I said during my election campaign, there is a local solution to a local problem. Real solutions will not come from Ottawa.

However, a transition period is necessary in order to revitalize industry. Since it was the government that allowed the situation to get worse over the years, it is up to the government, if it wants to be a responsible government, to support the people who are now unemployed. The current minister of fisheries has already made an attempt to simplify access to assistance programs for workers in the industry. It is a step in the right direction.

However, a great deal remains to be done. Words are wasted on a starving man. Throughout this transition period, the government must make sure that the people affected have bread and butter on the table. It is not the fault of the people in the coastal communities if the previous federal government preferred to waste public funds rather than investing in projects that would create jobs. Coastal communities are in shock. Now is not the time to let them down and force the residents to find a job that does not correspond to either their inclinations or their skills.

Those who live in coastal communities have passed on their fishing practices from father to son, from mother to daughter, and have never had to change their way of doing things.

The Gaspé poet, Maurice Joncas, described their lives in the song " Les expropriés de Forillon '':

Their universe was filled with these: Fishing boats upon the seas, Trees to fell in winter snow, Pleasures that were theirs to know.

I think these lines are a fitting description of past life in the communities which now, because of the federal government's management mistakes, have been turned upside down. For them, life will never be the same. They have to reinvent a way of life. All this cannot be done by waving a magic wand, and the government must respect the rate at which the communities are able to adapt. This revolution requires that the various levels of government give the coastal communities new development tools.

These tools will have to enable coastal communities to take stock of the human and natural resources in their surrounding area, because all too often the government has acted unilaterally.

Now is not the time to boast and brag about the merits of federalism. We really have to work together and ensure that the coastal communities feel they are full partners in the enormous changes to come, changes that affect them. It would be irresponsible to act otherwise.

The appalling collapse of the Atlantic fish stocks is the direct result of federal intervention in the fishery. The Liberal government does not have a spotless record in this area. Early in the 1980s, the Liberals gave out a large number of subsidies for shipbuilding that sometimes reached to 60 per cent of the price of the boat. They contributed to the current situation of overcapacity. Instead of diversifying the industry, the federal government of the day-we will see what the new one plans to do-made the problem worse.

For their part the provincial governments had no choice but to assist the processing sector to adapt to the higher volume of catches. They invested money while the resource itself, the cornerstone of the industry, slipped away.

There cannot be a valid and coherent fisheries policy unless the provinces share in managing the resource. The vulnerability of Quebec and the other provinces regarding fisheries arises from the fact that the final decision making power rests with the federal government.

Quebec and Newfoundland are perhaps closer on the issue of managing the fishery than we might think. In Quebec, we say Newfoundland is more separatist than we are. In the context of fisheries and oceans' reform-the research carried out last year-Newfoundland has asked for exclusive management of the resource and exclusive authority to issue licences for fishing in its waters.

I would be in favour of returning licensing management to the provinces. However, because fish stocks are migratory, the provinces cannot claim exclusive jurisdiction. If Newfoundland believes that the federal government is managing the resource inadequately, we hope it will support us in working to achieve joint management among the provinces. With joint management the resource would be managed more efficiently and we would have a better chance of preserving it.

However, a sovereign Quebec, with a seat on the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization, could achieve a degree of rational management more rapidly. A sovereign Quebec would determine total levels of allowable catches just like any other sovereign state. It would distribute its share by issuing Quebec fishing licences.

This approach would enable Quebec to voice its opinions, as a people, at the international level and to manage its biomass jointly as it saw fit, without the federal government acting as an intermediary.

I want these remarks to be a plea for common sense, plea for respect for the maritime communities and their respective provinces. I have always tried to be fair. My remarks are not inspired by short-term interests but by a desire to counter the trend toward centralization in Canada that is responsible for the collapse of our fish stocks.

It is thus with a profound respect for the parties concerned that I submit my vision to the House. This is my reply to the speech from the throne, which in my opinion showed no understanding at all of the problems endured by maritime communities in Canada and Quebec.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

11:40 a.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask for unanimous consent so that the House can continue with its business during the lunch break, between one o'clock and two o'clock.

I would also like to ask that the ministerial statement scheduled for this morning be delivered between speeches, after one member has finished speaking and before another begins, so that neither need interrupt his or her remarks.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

11:40 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

I will start with the request for unanimous consent to continue over the lunch break. Have I the consent of the House for the proceedings to continue over the lunch break?

Is there unanimous consent to continue through the lunch break between one o'clock and two o'clock?

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

11:45 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

11:45 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

As to the hon. member's second point, I will check with the Clerks to make sure it is in order and let him know.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

11:45 a.m.

Bloc

Nic Leblanc Bloc Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, I wish to congratulate and pay my respects to the great member for Gaspé, a devoted member who has proven his interest in the citizens of the Gaspé Peninsula.

He did not have only negative criticism to give in his speech. I notice he also suggested several solutions to improve the welfare of the citizens of that area, particularly regarding fishing. He also said that if Quebec had full jurisdiction over fishing, the people of the Gaspé Peninsula would not be in the terrible slump they are presently experiencing. As he put it so well, the Gaspé Peninsula is probably the most beautiful region of Quebec. It might be a bit cold, but it is still a most beautiful area which I had the opportunity to visit as recently as last year.

To the hon. member for Gaspé, I want to say that listened to his speech with great interest. I congratulate him and urge him to keep up the good work.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

11:45 a.m.

Bloc

Yvan Bernier Bloc Gaspé, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for Longueuil for his remarks. I will often take the floor in this House to defend the interests of fishermen, Quebec fishermen certainly, but also fishermen in general. I have a motto, and when we want to be impartial and show fair play, as we used to say in my former business, to be able to defend our own, we must determine what is our fair share of the resources and be respectful of our colleagues on the other side so as to agree on regulations and achieve administrative agreements that will ensure long-term harmony for the good of the communities as well as of the resources.

It is in that frame of mind that I extend my hand today to the members opposite and ask them to work with me, to take me seriously and not dismiss my remarks on the pretext that I am a sovereignist. I may be a sovereignist but I am not a racist. I want to work for the good of the fishermen. In my speech I endeavoured to show the government that if it intends to make communities which have nothing to do with it carry the can for a situation they have not chosen, the members and ministers will find that I will stand in their way and they will come to know me and learn what it is to deal with a quick-tempered son of the Gaspé Peninsula.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

11:45 a.m.

Reform

John Williams Reform St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the member for Gaspé on his first speech in the House. I noted his concerns about his constituents, especially with regard to fish and the fact they derive their livelihood from the sea.

In his speech he mentioned that if the province of Quebec were more involved in the determination of the potential solutions to the lack of fish and lack of cod in the Atlantic region, somehow that would alleviate the problem for his constituents.

I do not think having the province of Quebec become involved in the negotiations for the allocation of fish quotas will create any more fish to be harvested. Is he suggesting that the province of Quebec be given a larger share of the quotas available, or is he suggesting some other alternative that we are not aware of, whereby more fish could be harvested and in that way improve the prosperity and the livelihood of all the fishermen on the Atlantic coast?

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

11:50 a.m.

Bloc

Yvan Bernier Bloc Gaspé, QC

Mr. Speaker, I wish to thank the hon. member for St. Albert for his question. When I spoke a moment ago, I did not mean to say that Quebec could make fish appear out of nowhere at this moment. What I meant was that in the past, because we had the right to jointly manage the stocks, we were entitled to manage them in Quebec. The process for feedback, as it occurred in a field as complex as that of the fisheries, was implemented much faster.

In that sense, I understand that all Canadians, including Quebecers, must tighten their belts and participate in reconstituting the stocks. When I spoke a moment ago, I meant to invite the government not to make the mistakes of the past all over again. Since a man grows when he learns from his mistakes, I believe we all have a great opportunity to grow, because the federal government has made a lot of mistakes in the past, and I wish we could learn from them.

If we jointly managed the stocks, it would be so much easier to harmonize the industrial policies of the provinces in the field of fisheries. At the present time, we take advantage of the fact that the decision will be made at the federal level, and that everyone will pull uncle Prime Minister's sleeve to get a little piece of the pie, whereas if we all sat around the same table as equals in mutual respect, we would achieve harmony, but it would be for the better of the resource. We must never forget that people depend on that resource. Their survival is linked to that of the stock, they need it to eat, to earn their living, to maintain their lifestyle because the Canadian fisheries industry, including that of Quebec, is an export-oriented industry. We therefore owe it to ourselves to take good care of the stocks. They are a gold mine and I wish we could all work together to that end.

I am 5 feet, 10 inches tall and I am a sovereignist but that is not all there is. The most important thing is that we come to agree on the management of the fish stocks, and I would be extremely happy if we could achieve that.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

11:50 a.m.

Reform

John Cummins Reform Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the member for Gaspé on the positive tone of his speech. I suggest to him there is no doubt the federal government has mismanaged the east coast fisheries.

The member seems to suggest that the solution to what ails the east coast fishery lies in turning jurisdiction of the fisheries over to the provinces. Would this not just exacerbate the problem and simply lead to endless bickering between the provinces rather than a real solution?

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

11:50 a.m.

Bloc

Yvan Bernier Bloc Gaspé, QC

Mr. Speaker, when someone wants to find solutions to a problem, should he be afraid to say what he really thinks? Should he be concerned that it could start a squabble? I certainly did not speak with the intention to cause an argument. I simply invited the members collectively to improve the condition of the industry and the sharing of resources so we could perpetuate these resources.

I do not expect to start a constitutional squabble. If that were the case, I would face the music. With all my colleagues sitting here, I think I am strong enough to do that. Nevertheless, that was not my intention this morning.

I understand that the riding of Delta is in British Columbia. I would like to give my regards to the people of British Columbia and to apologize for not having mentioned their province when I talked about fisheries.

This morning I wanted to take a stand and respond to the speech from the throne. This speech overlooks many serious points. Two things were mentioned: find the reason for the

depletion of stocks and create an emergency program for Atlantic fishermen who are at the moment greatly affected.

I would like to tell my hon. colleague from British Columbia that I intend to visit the fishermen from his province once my English has improved somewhat.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

Jane Stewart Liberal Brant, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour and a privilege for me to rise in my place as a new member for the riding of Brant and participate in this throne speech debate.

Before I make my comments in that regard, I would like to thank the people from the riding of Brant for electing me as their representative to this House. As well, I would like to recognize the contribution made to this House and to my riding by my predecessor, Mr. Derek Blackburn. I wish him well on his appointment to the Immigration Board and thank him for accepting that appointment prior to the call of the 1993 federal election. Certainly that is one political appointment that I will not argue with the previous government.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to recognize you and congratulate you on your appointment to the Chair and on behalf of the people of Brant congratulate the Speaker for being elected as our presiding officer. I have every confidence in his ability to keep our House in order and I offer all my support and my co-operation in that regard.

There are a couple of things I would like to share with the House this morning. First of all, I would like everyone to know why I so strongly support the speech from the throne as it was presented to us by the Governor General on the opening of this historic 35th Parliament.

Second, I would like to offer to the government an idea. It is not a new idea, but it is one which, if implemented more broadly, would help us effect real change in government.

Why do I support so strongly the agenda that has been presented to us in the speech from the throne? In a word, it is because it is practical. The people of Brant are tired of smoke and mirrors. They want no nonsense. They want a common sense approach to the challenges that face us. What we find in the speech from the throne is just that.

Take, for example, the infrastructure program. It is a program that can be used by municipalities all across the country. My riding of Brant is a wonderful mix of rural and urban. Brantford and South Dumfries townships boast some of the most fertile and productive farm land in Ontario and they are dotted with beautiful historical villages like Glen Morris, Mount Pleasant, Harrisburg and the community in which my family has been for over six generations, the village of St. George.

We need road improvements to connect our rural residents with these villages and with our urban centres, the town of Paris and the city of Brantford. Paris is a wonderful town, located between the rivers Nith and Grand. It needs new sewers for their residential areas. On the other hand, the city of Brantford needs support to improve its landfill site, its water treatment facilities and its roads if it is going to compete for the economic development that we so sorely need. The infrastructure program makes sense. It is practical for the people in my riding and I believe members will find it is practical for the people in theirs.

When we look at the government's approach to small and medium sized business we see yet another set of practical strategies. In my riding we have historically depended on the manufacture of farm implements and farm equipment. Companies like Cockshutt, then White, Massey-Harris, then Massey-Ferguson, are the companies that employed the people of Brant.

Not very long ago the city of Brant boasted having 5,000 of the highest paying manufacturing jobs in North America. However, those jobs are all gone. Those companies are all closed and we, like many communities, are now trying to rebuild our economy. We know that it is small and medium sized businesses that are going to do that for us. My employers are very supportive of this government's understanding that they need better access to capital and less government red tape. They need support if we are to build local economic, industrial clusters.

As a final example of our government's practicality let us look at the approach to youth and youth employment. Again, two very practical programs have been suggested. The national apprenticeship program is one example. It is a very important strategy for us because we need to transfer our young people more effectively from school to the work place.

It might interest members to know that the city of Brantford, despite a population of over 100,000 people, does not have its own post-secondary educational institution. This is a real liability for us. It means that we do not have a history of lifelong learning. It means it is very difficult for us to attract new high tech investment.

When we think of the apprenticeship program we see some possibilities for partnerships to be forged between the private sector and government, perhaps in starting technological institutes that can help with apprenticeship training. Of course, we believe Brantford is a perfect place for such an institute.

We talk about the national youth services corps, an idea that received great support in my riding over the course of the campaign. There are a number of organizations in my riding that could provide opportunities for our young people. One of our great natural resources is the Grand River. It is a wide, slow moving river that comes right through the centre of my riding.

The Brant Waterways Committee, I am sure, has environmentally related jobs that would help our young people get that very important first work experience.

There is also a vibrant seniors community in my riding and the opportunity for inter-generational work, training and experiences exist. Our schools need young people to help younger people learn to read, write, do math and improve their computer skills.

When I read the speech from the throne I saw all kinds of opportunities for me as a member to go back to my riding and work with the people to make things better and to improve our local economy.

However, there is one idea that is not included in the speech from the throne and I would like to suggest it to the government for consideration. It is the idea of government decentralization; of taking certain government agencies, ministries and departments and moving them out of large urban centres like Ottawa and Toronto into smaller centres like those in my community.

The people of my riding are very supportive of this notion. In fact, we had been promised the relocation of the computer and telecommunications services department of the provincial government into our riding early in 1993. This made a lot of sense to us because Brantford is the telephone city. It is where Alexander Graham Bell made the first long distance phone call between Brantford and Paris.

We were very excited about the possibility and expected this relocation to occur. Unfortunately, with the change in government, there was a decision made to cancel that program. With that cancellation came depression, not only economic but social, to my community.

Decentralization is an interesting idea. It is not new. However, it can help us meet a number of our priorities. It can help improve economic equality across the country. It can help improve the physical and social well-being of Canadians. It is a strategy that we can use as we look to streamline the public service and increase participatory democracy. It certainly would require us to make quantum leaps in the development and use of the electronic highway.

Whether the federal government chooses to utilize the strategy of decentralization by itself or in concert with the provincial governments, as we try to affect reduction in duplications of government servicing or in new and innovative ways by working with the private sector in out-sourcing models and concepts, I believe that government decentralization is an idea whose time has come. I would encourage all our ministers as they look at their departmental management to consider this strategy. If they find that they have opportunities, particularly in the area of telecommunications, agriculture, the environment and others, I hope they would think of the riding of Brant.

I have enjoyed the opportunity to share with the members of this House a little bit about the riding that I represent. I also appreciate the opportunity to share with them the reasons why I so strongly support the agenda that has been put before us in the speech from the throne.

I would ask them all to vote in favour of the motion that is on the floor, put there by my colleague, the member for Bruce-Grey, and seconded by my colleague, the member for Madawaska-Victoria.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

12:05 p.m.

Reform

Randy White Reform Fraser Valley West, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the hon. member from Brantford. I was in that community numerous times and it is indeed a beautiful community.

I am interested in asking the hon. member about the infrastructure program which she so adamantly supports. The question I have is, what does the hon. member see as the longest term effect on her community for infrastructure? Is it the bill that the taxpayer picks up from the municipal, federal and provincial portion or the short-term job that may be arranged as a result of the program itself?

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

12:05 p.m.

Liberal

Jane Stewart Liberal Brant, ON

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question.

I do not see these projects as only being of value in the short term. We are very anxious of course to get the shovels in the ground in my community because we do need job creation.

Certainly in the discussions that I have had with all my municipalities there is a true expectation that this work will provide longer term opportunities. It will provide economic benefits to Brantford, Paris, South Dumfries and Brantford township.

I have been extremely excited by the energy that all the municipal councils have shown toward the project. They feel they do have the moneys and can reallocate moneys collected for these projects.

I have no hesitation in supporting the program and encouraging it to other municipalities.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

12:05 p.m.

Liberal

Harold Culbert Liberal Carleton—Charlotte, NB

Mr. Speaker, I too want to congratulate the hon. member on an excellent presentation to the House. I was extremely impressed.

I want to follow up on one area that she touched on toward the end of her presentation concerning government offices moving out to, I assume she was suggesting, various parts of the country.

In that light, I would ask the hon. member if it was her thought to do this only after investigation might take place as to the economics of making that transition and the economics of where they were going compared to where they are at the present time.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

12:05 p.m.

Liberal

Jane Stewart Liberal Brant, ON

Mr. Speaker, absolutely. There is no question that not everything can be moved. There is no question that we have to look at the economics. However, I think we have to look at the longer term.

While there may be costs associated with the physical move and with restructuring and organizing particular agencies or departments selected to move, in the longer term there is a tremendous advantage to be held. It would be a very broad advantage for the country. I mentioned several reasons why that is important.

I do not want the hon. member to get me wrong. Certainly there is a reason for many government departments and ministries to stay centralized.

As I look at our need to stabilize economies across this country, in my area and particularly in the east, I think of the money that we put in in terms of unemployment insurance and social services and think maybe we should also be providing government jobs.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

Nick Discepola Liberal Vaudreuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, I welcome this opportunity to support the motion on the address in reply to the throne speech and to explain how the government intends to dedicate its resources and energy to the future of our young people.

First, however, I want to thank those hundreds of volunteers and the people of Vaudreuil who elected me to speak on their behalf in this venerable institution, the House of Commons. I will represent them with great pride, integrity and a sense of purpose, to defend our common goals.

To my friends and fellow citizens from Kirkland, selected as one of the top ten towns in Canada, thank you for your confidence, your support and trust over the past ten years. I have been honoured to serve you in my capacity as councillor and mayor. I am now proud to include you in the new family of the riding of Vaudreuil where I hope to serve you with equal dedication.

I also want to express my love and gratitude to my wife Mary Alice, to our four children, Lisa, Laura, Michele and Marco, for their patience and unconditional support. They have been a true source of inspiration for me. To my parents, Domenico and Immacolata, thank you for teaching me the values and the importance of education and family values.

To you, Mr. Prime Minister, I would like to say that I admire your setting down a code of ethics for politicians, in order to restore the dignity of public office. Your great integrity is an example to us all. I thank you for it.

To you, Mr. Speaker, I offer my sincere congratulations upon taking up your new duties.

As a Quebecer, I always felt the opportunities for myself and members of my family were unlimited. Thirty-seven years ago, four Discepola brothers left the village where they were born, Volturara Irpina in the Campagna region in Italy, to settle in Canada with their families. Their dreams came true.

Today, their children include judges, one doctor, teachers, engineers and accountants. One of them even wandered off to become a member of the House of Commons. I do not know of any other place in the world, any nation, any country where this would have been possible.

The riding of Vaudreuil has many concerns and a number of priorities, but I have decided to use my maiden speech in the House of Commons to talk about the government's program for the future of our young people, because like all Quebecers and all Canadians, I am concerned about the future of my children and my children's children.

It is a pleasure to have this opportunity to explain what the government intends to do to ensure that our young people have a decent future.

Canada is proud that it can give its young people a wonderful place to grow up in. They enjoy the kind of life that is the envy of the whole world. Like the generations before them, these young people are looking for rewarding jobs, a comfortable standard of living and a satisfying family life. The ideals of youth have changed very little, although the circumstances have changed dramatically.

The recession, high youth unemployment and the prevailing uncertainty in the work force put enormous pressures on our youth, pressures that older Canadians have never had to experience.

Today, students who graduate with a high school graduation certificate and choose not to further their studies seriously limit their future. In the 1990s, 60 per cent of available jobs will require grade 12 education or better. It is evident that our youth are not very well prepared to penetrate the work place. Their lack of competency will have tremendous social and economic consequences for us all.

Science and mathematics are the two engines that power innovation and progress that in turn will determine our survival in the age of technology. According to international studies, Canadian high school students are barely average in science.

Compared with other OECD countries, Canada has a low percentage of graduates in science and engineering. There is no question that we must improve our performance. As the 21st century fast approaches, Canada must find the way to make its labour force more competitive. We believe that co-operation at all levels among governments, the provinces, management and labour will enable us to find solutions to our country's human resource needs.

Canada spends in excess of $55 billion per year on education and training. Of this total, $13 billion comes from the federal government, which represents 7.4 per cent of our Gross Domestic Product. This puts us well ahead of all OECD countries in this area.

Not only is this government determined to promote education and the acquisition of knowledge, it also wants young people to get the best possible training to fill the jobs of the future.

Despite the current high rate of unemployment among young people, some employers are still having trouble finding skilled workers. Serious gaps exist between school and the work world. With the emergence of new technologies, training in traditional fields has become outmoded. Many young people continue to opt for careers in fields which have become saturated, ignoring others in which workers are more in demand.

Within the context of the new economy, there is a shortage of training programs in emerging fields in which job opportunities are plentiful. I am thinking here, for example, about information technology and telecommunications.

Governments, labour and business leaders must join forces to revitalize our training system and create new apprenticeship opportunities geared to new, rapidly growing sectors of the economy.

This recession has dealt a harsh blow to the aspirations of our youth. After years of study and part-time work, they cannot find work, even with a degree in hand.

We have to come up with better solutions. It is clear that our country's social security safety net is not working in its present form and does little to encourage integration of young people into the labour force and develop their full potential.

The hon. Minister of Human Resources Development will be consulting with the Canadian public and working with the provinces to ensure that together we are able to adapt our social programs to the realities of the nineties. Our social security system is the envy of the entire world. Whether it survives and remains effective, however, will depend on its ability to adapt to the new labour context.

One of the options that the government is presently considering is the development of more and improved training programs geared to employment in order to ease the transition into the labour force for young people and help them acquire the skills in demand by employers.

The second option under review by the government involves setting up a program in which young people would have an opportunity to serve their community. The government has made a commitment in this area by announcing plans to create a Youth Service Corps to give young people who are out of work the chance to gain some experience.

The goal of the Youth Service Corps is not only to enhance the quality of life in our communities, but also to give young people back some hope and sense of accomplishment. Young people up to the age of 25 who participate in the Youth Service Corps will gain some on-the-job experience, have a head start on finding work and maybe even have a chance to break out of the vicious cycle of social dependency which destroys ambition and wastes talent.

The Minister of Human Resources Development is determined to improve the Canada student loans program. He will consider making some changes which would increase the amount of short-term assistance provided and will hold consultations with the provinces and the other interested parties.

The government also wants to increase the level of support provided to the co-operative education program which it sees as a way for students, the provinces, labour and business to work together to build a highly skilled workforce.

Canada's future rests with our young people who need an opportunity to become productive adults. In its pursuit of this objective, the federal government will vigorously support programs that enable young people to acquire the know-how to get good, well paid jobs and to look to the future with optimism.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

12:20 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Rocheleau Bloc Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank and to congratulate my hon. colleague from Vaudreuil for his speech. Obviously, he is deeply concerned with our youth, especially with respect to job training. I would like to ask him-and this may take a lot of courage on his part, considering his political affiliation-to tell me where he stands as a Quebecer on the issue of job training.

If there is an issue for which there is a consensus today in Quebec, where public opinion is often divided, it is job training. The Conseil du Patronat du Québec, the CNTU, the FTQ, the government of Quebec all agree. The Liberal Party of Canada may well be the only one not to agree that the jurisdiction for job training should finally be given back to the government of Quebec and its natural allies, which are labour and management. Given that, where does the member for Vaudreuil, who has

proven to be sensitive, stand on the whole issue of young people and job training?

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

Nick Discepola Liberal Vaudreuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, first of all, I think that our government has clearly stated its intention to review the entire subject of social programs, including job training.

As far as I am concerned, as the member for Vaudreuil, I think it is in the interest of all Quebecers and all Canadians to make sure that future programs are well structured and clearly meet the needs of the public in general.

It is also clear that our government did not take a stand against manpower training. What we said is that we were not prepared to sign the agreement immediately. We want to review the programs first, but I am fairly confident that the member will soon get the answer he was hoping for.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

12:20 p.m.

Reform

John Williams Reform St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, while the member talked about the envy of the world of our social programs it would seem to me that our social programs in many ways have been part of the destruction of the economic viability of this country. We are now $500 billion in debt and I think it is past time that we took our social programs and re-evaluated them to ensure that they are focused only on those who are in need rather than those who have collected by virtue of being part of a specific group.

The hon. member also talked about the right or the relationship between study and work and one particular situation that was posed to me by a constituent a few weeks ago was that we seem to have a situation in our labour training in which we pay unemployment insurance to people who are in the apprenticeship training program while they attend school. This appears to be a good move yet we deny unemployment insurance to those who are going to university for a longer period of time.

The point being made to me was that here we have someone on a training program who has a guaranteed job because he is on a release from his employer who is entitled to pick up unemployment insurance. Someone going to university has to fight for a summer job in order that he may continue his studies.

It seems to me there is a vast divergence between the two attitudes toward the two different kinds of qualifications of study. I would think that university training has to be encouraged as much as possible. How do the hon. member and his government think we can ensure that money is available to enhance and motivate and pay for the education we so greatly need in this country?

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

Nick Discepola Liberal Vaudreuil, QC

Mr Speaker, I could not agree more with the comments made by the hon. member. I think that when it comes to youth training programs and experience, it has always been my experience-having had in my other life a small computer business-that I was able to hire young students coming out of CEGEP, which is a pre-university entry program.

I must say that in hiring those young students I was able in my own humble way to give them the experience that is so lacking when one is trying to find permanent employment.

I think those kinds of programs are the initiatives that our minister, Lloyd Axworthy, is trying to put into place. What I am hearing from my two daughters who are in CEGEP is that once they graduate they cannot go anywhere. That is what our government has to do and what we have to respond to. Those are the needs of our youth. It is essentially this: "Give me the ability to get some experience and I will show what I can do as a youth". That is what I have done in my whole career and that is what I think we owe our youth.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilbert Fillion Bloc Chicoutimi, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the two previous government speakers, the hon. members for Brant and for Vaudreuil, for their very pertinent comments on youth employment. These two hon. members told us that they were willing to take a lot of steps and participate in a lot of discussions to allow our young people to work, and I congratulate them on their position.

On the other hand, I thought that the hon. member for Vaudreuil gave a very evasive answer to the question posed by my Bloc Quebecois colleague concerning the decentralization of job training in Quebec. His response gave me the impression that he was not ready to transfer all this responsibility to the Quebec government. We are perfectly aware that the people who know best what our young people need are those closest to them. As a teacher I can say that to offer our young people an interesting lifestyle and lasting employment, we must bring them closer to the decision centres, namely the schools, or to the government that is more attuned to their needs.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

Liberal

Nick Discepola Liberal Vaudreuil, QC

Once again, I think the important thing for the youth of today is to get the training that they so desperately need. I do not think it is really my job as a member of Parliament to decide who delivers that service. I think it is incumbent upon our government to make sure that it is delivered and done with the most efficient cost possible and that we respond to the aspirations of the youth of today. We should not get into another quasi-constitutional debate on who has jurisdiction over what.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Reform Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am going to address my comments this day to the speech from the throne on the matter of health.

Let me first, however, make my traditional comments as a novice member of this House to thank the electors of my riding of Macleod who sent me to this august Chamber. Macleod is in southwest Alberta and extends from Calgary down to the U.S. border from the mountains to far out in the grain farming country. Macleod has a fine group of people I intend to represent as best I can.

I would also like to thank my children for their sacrifice and my wife, Sue, for her support and the sacrifice that she is making in sending me here.

I would like to congratulate the Speaker on his performance in the chair and pledge my support.

I would finally like to thank the members who sit in this House, for I believe that they deserve some applause, each one of them, for serving this country by a contribution to public life.

I am a novice in Ottawa. When I first came to Ottawa I was interested in looking at the call letters for the Ottawa airport, YOW. I am not sure what this means in French but in English YOW has an interesting connotation. I will leave one to imagine what my connotation was for the call letters for the Ottawa airport.

What does the throne speech say about health? There are four items in the throne speech relating to health. The first is a commitment to the Canada Health Act and a rejection of measures that would undermine that act. The second suggested that there will be a national forum on the renewal of Canada's health system led by the Prime Minister. The third talks about a centre of excellence for women's health. The fourth is a pre-natal nutrition program for low income women. To these four statements I extend my compliments to the Government of Canada.

However, is this system sick? Is our health care system in trouble and does it indeed need renewal?

Let me go through a few specific items on Canada's health care plan. First, Canada spends more on health care than any other country except the U.S. We are spending over $60 billion a year on our health care system, yet we are less healthy than many other countries that spend less. If we consider life expectancy, perinatal mortality and morbidity statistics then Canada does not stand at the top of the heap. Almost daily as well we read of bed closures, hospital lay offs and longer waiting lists for urgent surgery.

Here is an interesting recent statistic that I read. In 1992 Canada lost 689 highly trained physicians who emigrated from Canada. That is approximately the output of five medical schools. This is a resource that Canada should not be losing.

In the short time I have available today I would like to suggest what I think is wrong with our medical system. Canada is truly in a debt crisis that threatens all our social programs. With over $30 billion spent on interest alone on the debt and with no end in sight our social programs are in serious jeopardy.

There are many internal problems in health care that I could address, but those internal items are primarily a provincial responsibility. I will not speak of those at all today, but I will speak about what we can and I think must do federally.

The Canada Health Act has five principles: universality; portability; accessibility; comprehensiveness; and public administration for necessary medical services. I underline the words: "for necessary medical services".

When the program was started, established program financing provided 50 cents of every dollar back to the provinces for medical services. These funds have been allowed to slip until today when on average 29 cents on the dollar is all that the federal government is providing in cash transfers to the provinces. This slide of transfer payments must be stopped.

Reformers say to the Government of Canada that the number one issue on health care is to stop the slide of transfers. That can be done at this federal level. In real dollar terms the transfers must be frozen.

Second, I spoke of necessary medical services. Necessary, as I underline it, means a definition of what in our country is truly needed. Here I say that the federal government should be standing up and setting national standards for our health care. These national standards would define what is necessary and would also imply what is unnecessary.

Might I suggest a few things that in my view are not necessary under the terms of universal health care: vasectomy reversal, cosmetic surgery, routine circumcision, tattoo removal and I could go on.

Finally, another issue that in my view deserves federal government attention is the issue of medical malpractice. At the start of my career my medical malpractice premiums were $300. At this point in my medical career they are up to $3,400. I cannot say what engine drives medical costs like the threat of suits in Canada. Many tests are ordered and X-rays are ordered just to be on the safe side.

In my view this is a spot where the federal government could step in. I personally favour a no fault medical malpractice system that could save untold millions of dollars.

The real threat to our social programs is the debt-deficit crisis. Ignoring this problem will surely see us on the path that New Zealand followed. It ignored its debt-deficit crisis and lost its health care system in one day. Now it has new measures like advertising on its ambulances simply to pay for the fuel.

This should be a truly non-partisan question in my view and one that transcends all party lines since health care is number one for Canadians, Reformers and the member for Macleod.

Just before taking my seat in this House I delivered by Caesarean section a 6-pound, 15-ounce baby boy, Zachary David Birney. As I held that little child in my arms and washed him off and handed him to a delighted father, nothing could be happier. That infant, however, owes to the federal treasury over $17,400. This debt is wrong. This mortgage on his future is immoral. We in this House are the guardians of that debt. I dedicate my service in this House to the physical and financial health of all the Zachary David Birneys.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

12:35 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

In fairness to the hon. member for Macleod, I was simply indicating that he had approximately one minute left. If you have any other remarks or comments you would like to make in the one minute remaining, I will be glad to give you the floor. Otherwise we will go back to five minutes of questions or comments.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

12:35 p.m.

Liberal

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.

Reform

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.

Bloc

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.

Reform

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.

Reform

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.

Liberal

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

Agreed.

Air CanadaRoutine Proceedings

12:50 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst New Brunswick

Liberal

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.

Bloc

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.

Reform

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.

Liberal

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.

Bloc

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.

Liberal

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.

Reform

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.

Liberal

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.

Liberal

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.

Reform

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.

Liberal

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

1:30 p.m.

Bloc

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.

Liberal

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.

Bloc

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.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Reform

Stephen Harper Reform Calgary West, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Laurier-Sainte-Marie for his speech. I met him over two years ago, after his first election, and so far we have had a good experience, I think, working together on the Board of Internal Economy.

The member is an important person in his party and he made a couple of references in his speech similar to things that were said by his leader.

I would like to ask him on behalf of his party to clarify for me a couple of questions. I wish I could put them to his leader but the rules of the House do not make that terribly easy.

First, the member as well as his leader has stated that the federal system does not work and of course this Parliament is part of the federal system. Although he may believe the federal system does not work, does he and his party see it see it as their obligation in their role as members of this Parliament to do their best to make this Parliament work and by implication to make the federal system work as long as they play this role?

Second, I would like to ask him about his position in the future constitutional debate that may take place in Quebec. He has categorized that debate as between independence and the status quo as represented by the current constitutional arrangements.

If a referendum like that was rejected by the people of Quebec, would he follow through on the consistency of that argument and see that rejection as an acceptance of Quebec's role in Canada and of the 1982 constitutional arrangements?

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I too have learned to work together with the hon. member and, yes, I think that we can co-operate on many things.

We want to make this Parliament work as well as possible. We have made suggestions for this purpose and I think that with this election, we have just created a real dialogue for the first time in the history of this country, because, you know, a dialogue cannot be based on anything but the truth.

I am not saying that all Quebecers are for sovereignty, but I do say that pro-sovereignty feeling exists. For the first time we can debate it here. I think that it is something new for Canadians to hear it discussed here. It puts the debate in its proper place, so that it can be done right. In that sense, such a contribution, with Parliament working better, would ultimately lead to a better attitude to the political problems we face. It does not mean that federalism would work better because, as I said, I do not believe that federalism in itself is bad, but the federal arrangement in the present political context cannot be reconciled with the needs of Canadian people and Quebecers.

We must move towards a political and economic framework involving both national sovereignty and common markets, as we see in Europe and will see, I am sure, with NAFTA, which will grow and not be limited to Mexico and the United States but within fifteen or twenty years will include all the countries of Central and Latin America. We must move in that direction.

On the other question, what will we do if the referendum is defeated? I answer you: what will you do if the referendum passes?

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Broadview—Greenwood Ontario

Liberal

Dennis Mills LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to the remarks of the hon. member and share his view that he has some legitimate grievances with the way the political structure is operating right now. The people in my community who are without work and children who are without nourishment are no different in their feelings than those in his community. I am sure he shares that view.

But if we address in a constructive way some of the issues which he is talking about, and if we develop national standards in health care, education and training so that all Quebecers benefit as all other Canadians benefit, is it still his position that in spite of that correction he still wants to give up on Canada?

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, when you talk about national standards, to really understand what Quebec feels about Canada, I must tell you right away that our society, the country that we want, will in no way be superior or inferior to Canada, just different.

To properly understand how we react to national standards, ask yourself why you have national standards that are different from the Americans'. You will answer, "Because we are Canadians, because our national sovereignty is important to us, because we have different values, not better or worse than the Americans, just plain different." It is the same for Quebec.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Reform

Jack Frazer Reform Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I listened with interest to the remarks of the hon. member for Laurier-Sainte-Marie regarding a 25 per cent reduction in the defence budget.

I am sure the hon. member is aware that over the past 20 years Canada has been second only to Luxembourg in per capita commitment to defence. In fact, we have been recognized in NATO and other agencies as being very much remiss in our contribution to defence.

Over the next four years we are scheduled to see a $6 billion reduction in the defence budget already announced. I would ask the hon. member if it is realistic and reasonable to suggest a 25 per cent reduction in a budget for a force that we do not really know yet what we are going to ask it to do? Would it not be more appropriate to await the outcome of the defence review before we establish a budget to operate that force?

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Of course, we want to review the whole role of the Canadian armed forces before making these 25 per cent cuts.

It is not simply an accounting exercise. Of course, we must think before we act. Nevertheless, I tell you that we will come to a conclusion. We must set a target of a 25 per cent cut; otherwise, more and more defence-related jobs will be lost, because the arms market throughout the world is shaky. That is exactly what Bill Clinton did in the United States. He made incredible cuts in the defence department, but set up an industrial conversion fund of some $29 billion. France and Great Britain are doing the same. Remember that 50 per cent and more of the weapons made here and exported went to the American market. Since they cut their spending, and given state secrecy surrounding national defence, they will buy at home and that is quite normal. We cannot blame them. Now we have unemployment here. If we do not cut, we will have more unemployment, and that is exactly the opposite of what my hon. colleague wants.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

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.

JusticeStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

John Harvard Liberal Winnipeg—St. James, MB

Mr. Speaker, a secret trial was held in Brampton, Ontario last month. We know that the presiding judge was one Mr. Justice John Webber who closed the court and sealed the trial records at the request of the accused who felt that public knowledge of the case would have endangered his family. That is all we know.

Consider what the public does not know. Canadians do not know the name of the accused, the charge against him, or the sentence he got. As the Globe and Mail observed, we do not know what evidence was presented and what testimony was given. We do not know the nature of the accused's appeal for secrecy, the nature of the arguments against it, or the quality of the judge's decision in granting it.

This is going too far. Gag orders under the Criminal Code prohibiting publication of some evidence may have their place, but a whole trial entirely in secret? That is unacceptable. It arouses suspicions unfortunately about the judiciary.

Canadians deserve a full explanation.

The Late Gérard ParizeauStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Bloc Terrebonne, QC

Mr. Speaker, on my behalf and on behalf of the Bloc Quebecois caucus, I would like to offer my sympathy to Mr. Jacques Parizeau, leader of the Parti Quebecois and MNA for L'Assomption, in my riding, as well as to his family, following the passing of his father, Mr. Gérard Parizeau.

The late Mr. Parizeau had a full and meaningful career. His pride, honesty and integrity should be a model for all of us. Besides working in the insurance business, he taught at the École des Hautes Études commerciales for almost 40 years. He also wrote several books on French-Canadian society.

For his dedication to society, he was made a member of the Royal Society of Canada, dubbed Knight of the Legion of Honour and awarded the title of High Officer of the Ordre national du Québec. Such tributes are evidence of the significant contribution he made to the development of Quebec society.

Again, our deepest sympathy to the Parizeau family. We wish them all our best in this difficult juncture in their lives.

Small BusinessStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Reform

Jim Hart Reform Okanagan—Similkameen—Merritt, BC

Mr. Speaker, speaking on behalf of the small business owners in Okanagan-Similkameen-Merritt these people are forced to spend long hours dealing with government paperwork and regulations.

Even before the imposition of the GST, over 60 per cent of small business owners in Canada spent up to 10 hours a week complying with government regulations and red tape. This time is better spent marketing their products and doing business. This situation has become much worse with the GST.

This government promised to review the impact of regulations and paperwork on small businesses and their ability to comply. Government and the public service must live up to their names. They must serve Canadians by removing unnecessary and duplicate regulations.

Let us make compliance with the needed regulations as convenient as possible. I believe this will help restore the public confidence in government and allow small businesses to do what they do best: create jobs.

PeacekeepingStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Larry McCormick Liberal Hastings—Frontenac—Lennox And Addington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate all the members of this House on their thoughtful comments during Tuesday's historic debate on Canada's peacekeeping role.

The decisions that we take on the future of peacekeeping in Bosnia cannot be divorced from the broader issue of Canada's overall future in international peacekeeping.

Like many of my constituents and many Canadians, I support the UN peacekeeping role. Peacekeeping is so vital to international security. Therefore we must examine, reconceive and perhaps reconsider our present involvement in Bosnia-Hercegovina. In my opinion there is no one right answer. There are only options to be weighed and there are only best possible choices.

I trust that our government has every intention of making the right choices. I thank the government for its sincere efforts to consider all the options and insights put forward in the House during the course of that historic debate.

Cruise Missile Testing DebateStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Reg Alcock Liberal Winnipeg South, MB

Mr. Speaker, I want to draw to the attention of the House a phone call I got last night from a young man in my riding, a Mr. Don Shay.

Don is apparently a fan of the parliamentary channel. He phoned last night to say that for the first time in all the times he has been watching that channel, he felt he learned something.

He asked me to congratulate the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, the leader of the third party and all members of the House for a debate that was truly informative. He looks forward to more of them.

Blood Fractionation FacilityStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Mary Clancy Liberal Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to support most strongly the proposed Canadian Red Cross blood fractionation facility in Nova Scotia.

Currently, 96 per cent of our fractionated blood products, which are used by 300,000 Canadians, are purchased abroad. This situation makes us uniquely vulnerable to foreign safety standards, international shortages, export restrictions and fluctuations in international prices.

This facility will ensure that all Canadians derive, first and foremost, important health benefits. It will provide safer and less expensive products and will generate savings of up to $575 million in the next decade to the Canadian health care system.

Moreover, the economic benefits of this facility are of importance to Nova Scotia. It will produce $11 billion in economic spinoffs for the Atlantic region in the next decade and create over 400 jobs in the high-tech sector.

This plant represents a significant step toward the goal of self-sufficiency in blood products, which has been deemed essential by the World Health Organization.

Nova Scotians and all Canadians must be allowed to reap the benefits of a Canadian fractionation facility.

Canada Post CorporationStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, when the Auditor General of Canada examines Canada Post activities in 1994, I invite him to check the relevance of this agency's advertising budget, sponsoring costs and contract allowance methods.

This should also help us to appreciate the effectiveness of the Canada Post privatization policy, which is based solely on the postmasters' age of retirement rather than on the number of customers.

Last, the Auditor General could evaluate the impact of such a policy on the development of our rural communities.

AgricultureStatements By Members

January 27th, 1994 / 2:05 p.m.

Reform

Leon Benoit Reform Vegreville, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today on behalf of farmers who seek sound programs that balance their interests with those of consumers and taxpayers.

Reformers will promote the following changes to agriculture:

Consolidation of over a dozen uncoordinated programs into three: a trade distortion adjustment program; an income stabilization program; and an improved crop insurance program;

Reform of the transportation system so that products may be moved by any route, any mode and in any state of processing;

Improved private sector participation in research, education and job training;

Better targeting of research funds to meet the goals set out by farmers and agribusiness; and

Improved regulations relating to safety, fair competition and dispute settlement.

These changes and others will allow farmers to build a much brighter future.

Unemployment InsuranceStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Warren Allmand Liberal Notre-Dame-De-Grâce, QC

Mr. Speaker, during the last Parliament there were large demonstrations and intense opposition to the Conservative amendments to the Unemployment Insurance Act which denied benefits to persons who were obliged to leave their employment for serious reasons but who could not prove just cause as defined in the act.

I continue to meet individuals who were obliged to quit their jobs because they were exploited or harassed and who are now denied all benefits. Their alternative was to continue working as slaves.

Since this party at that time strongly opposed those amendments as being unduly harsh and excessive, I would urge the government to initiate amendments as soon as possible to correct this injustice.

Official Languages ActStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Jean-Robert Gauthier Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, 1994 marks the 25th anniversary of the first Official Languages Act in Canada adopted by this House. Under the nine year Tory regime we saw fading interest in and commitment toward official languages. Too few Canadians understand what it is all about.

A serious study should be undertaken by an individual to determine whether the Official Languages Act is working as intended. The mandate of the study should include federal institutions, the courts, education, training and development, language minorities, culture, the national capital region, volunteer organizations, et cetera.

I hope the government will support this proposal and come to an early review of the implementation of this act so that Canada can move on to other things.

High Alcohol Content BeerStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Beryl Gaffney Liberal Nepean, ON

Mr. Speaker, on December 14, 1993 the city of Nepean passed a resolution supporting restrictive pricing and marketing measures with respect to high alcohol content beer.

The Traffic Injury Research Foundation, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the Addiction Research Foundation, and the Canadian Medical Association all have demonstrated their opposition to high alcohol content beer.

Research shows that for a typical 19-year old, two drinks in one hour would produce a blood alcohol content sufficiently high to violate the impaired driving provisions of the Criminal Code.

I ask that the federal government express to the Ontario legislature the need to regulate high alcohol content beer.

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

François Langlois Bloc Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to bring to the attention of the House and the Minister of the Environment the need to add to the Canadian fleet a ship equipped to respond quickly and efficiently in case of a spill in the St. Lawrence River or in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

It is common knowledge that Quebec is totally unprepared to respond to an environmental disaster that would have disastrous consequences on the river's ecosystem.

This type of ship would fill a real need in addition to helping the shipbuilding industry.

As the member for Bellechasse, I know that many of my constituents who work at MIL Davie, in Lévis, are expecting a quick decision on this matter.

JusticeStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Reform

Randy White Reform Fraser Valley West, BC

Mr. Speaker, the people of Fraser Valley West and others in Canada are concerned about safety in the streets. It is especially troubling when criminals slip through the cracks in the system and are allowed to roam free due to technicalities.

Michael Lawrence Drake was convicted of molesting a young girl in Bellingham, Washington in 1992. He is now roaming the streets of greater Vancouver, a free man, while his immigration inquiry is adjourned. This man was born in the United States and has resident status in Canada but he is not a Canadian citizen.

I wish to ask the members of this House to work toward giving the law enforcement officers in this country the power to detain people like this and the courts the power to deport them immediately.

Reform of the criminal justice system has been a high priority of the Reform Party. It is my hope that this government makes this reform a high priority as well so we feel good about leaving our families in a safe environment.

Magna InternationalStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Dennis Mills Liberal Broadview—Greenwood, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise under Standing Order 31 to clarify and confirm my wholehearted support for Magna International's proposed $200 million development project.

This project, which includes a world-class research and training facility, will create 1,100 jobs immediately in Aurora, Ontario, and will create 10,000 spinoff jobs throughout the entire southern Ontario economy.

I would urge the municipal and regional authorities to consider this as a massive investment in infrastructure that requires no taxpayers' money to create.

I am sure in light of this massive proposed investment in the greater Toronto area and in light of the fact that all or part of this project may have to be moved to the United States if it is not approved that all necessary planning and environmental issues will be resolved quickly.

I urge the provincial, regional and municipal authorities to consider this project in an appropriate and timely manner.

Cigarette SmugglingStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, our country is faced with a serious smuggling problem. As a non-smoker, I am generally in favour of high taxes on tobacco to help discourage young people from smoking.

However, the reality in Canada today is completely different. Because of the smuggling problem in our country, almost any young Canadian can buy cigarettes cheaply, even illegally. Moreover, those same young people can participate in and profit from this illegal activity controlled by the undesirable elements in our society. We have no choice, Mr. Speaker. We must put an end to this illegal activity by reducing, however temporarily, taxes on tobacco. We have to work together to enforce the laws of our country.

Tobacco SmugglingStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Independent

Gilles Bernier Independent Beauce, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the last Parliament, I rose three times in this House to denounce the flagrant unfairness of double standards, the inaction of what was then my government and the Quebec government in the unfortunate saga of tobacco smuggling, where they turned a blind eye for many years by allowing the mafia to get rich on the backs of honest people.

I have always said, and I will say it again today, as the only independent elected member of the Parliament of Canada, that tax reductions are the answer to the smuggling problem. Greedy governments have led people to become smugglers, criminals and outlaws.

Today, we want to ask questions such as: Who is protecting who in the government and the police force? What public servants, politicians or organizers would profit from showing such sordid tolerance? We have now reached the point where these questions need to be asked, Mr. Speaker.

Native CommunitiesOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Bloc

Lucien Bouchard BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, in the absence of the Prime Minister, my question is directed to the Minister of Indian Affairs. A year ago, images of six young Innu sniffing gas vapours horrified public opinion, as we became aware of the terrible living conditions of the native population in Davis Inlet. A year later, nothing has changed. Drugs and suicide are still a serious problem, as shown in a report televised last night on Radio-Canada's Le Point . On the same program, we also saw that conditions were similar in a native community, in Quebec, at Lac Simon.

My question is this: Does the minister agree that if the government is serious about its fiduciary responsibility for these people, it must develop a joint strategy for putting an end to the obscene poverty in Canada's native communities, including Davis Inlet and Lac Simon?

Native CommunitiesOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Sault Ste. Marie Ontario

Liberal

Ron Irwin LiberalMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, I quite agree. The hon. Leader of the Official Opposition was once a member of another government which spent $1.7 million to send these children to Poundmaker. Of the 17 families who went there, 16 of the kids are back in trouble. So that did not work.

We are back in there again working with the leadership. As I said last week, three of our people have been working actively. Hopefully we can have a package some time in March that addresses these things.

I do not think there are quick solutions and I do not think the hon. member thinks so either. I think we have the responsibility to be there to do whatever we can as far as healing, health, housing, and trying to solve the situation in a pragmatic step-by-step process.

Native CommunitiesOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Bloc

Lucien Bouchard BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I have a supplementary for the Minister of Indian Affairs. This week in response to a question from the hon. member from Saint-Jean, the minister said that he was about to make a proposal to the people of Davis Inlet that would deal with issues of justice and health care, a proposal that he felt was acceptable. Does the minister realize that the problem is escalating, since RCMP officers are being denied access to Davis Inlet to investigate cases of sexual assault and violence against women and children?

Native CommunitiesOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Sault Ste. Marie Ontario

Liberal

Ron Irwin LiberalMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

After the initial incident when I was down in the area the leadership took another position. They invited the RCMP in. They came and collected the prisoners and then left. I think the situation is much better at Davis Inlet now than it was when I was there. The leadership wants to work with the RCMP, wants to work with the government in Newfoundland, and wants to work with us. I think together we can find solutions.

Native CommunitiesOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Bloc

Lucien Bouchard BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the minister should have watched the television program last night. He should ask his staff to show it to him because it is really terrible to see. You cannot watch this program and report without feeling sad about the situation of those people in Canada.

I would like to ask the minister if he is prepared to agree to the request of the Innu in Davis Inlet who want to leave the island to go back to the Labrador mainland to recover their ancestral hunting grounds?

Native CommunitiesOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Sault Ste. Marie Ontario

Liberal

Ron Irwin LiberalMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, I have heard some crazy figures like $80 million. I am at present getting hard figures on it. I am very sympathetic to that move but I want to make sure it can be done within our budget. I am sure the Leader of the Opposition realizes we have budget constraints and I have to work within that budget.

In my heart I want to make that move. I hope we can do it within the constraints of government these days with the heavy deficit.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question deals with the incidents which occurred last Friday in Kanesatake, and about which the Minister of National Defence is constantly changing his version of the facts. He first talked about the Sûreté du Québec, which proved incorrect. Then he said that he had been informed that the Sûreté du Québec was investigating, which also proved incorrect. Finally, yesterday, he said he did not have time to ask the Sûreté du Québec to investigate.

Could the minister tell us whether anyone is investigating the events in Kanesatake? If so, will the minister give us the assurance that he will table the report once the investigation is completed?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, perhaps the hon. member is unaware that the chief of the band involved at Oka, Chief Peltier, gave a press conference a short time ago. In that press conference he said, first, that he was completely satisfied with the explanations given by the Department of National Defence.

Second, as far as he is concerned the matter is closed. Third, bearing in mind what I said the other day about members on the other side inflaming the situation, he has accused the members of the Bloc Quebecois of deliberately inflaming the situation for their own political ends in Quebec. That is a shame. The member should be ashamed of that action.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister does not seem to understand that his first obligation is to answer questions in this House where he sits as an elected representative, rather than satisfy some people, people who might be involved in that affair.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

The truth hurts on the other side.

Could the minister tell us whether the mysterious signal received by the Canadian Forces could have come from a plane used for cigarette or arms smuggling? Can the minister give us any information on that?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, my first obligation is to answer legitimate questions posed in the House and to expose the truth. The chief of the band made the statement that I referred to a few moments ago.

I find it rather ironic that a couple of days ago the hon. member was posing as an advocate of natives at Oka. Now he is attacking them. Please be consistent.

Government ExpendituresOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Reform Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance. Last week the Reform Party proposed a spending cap that would have reduced federal spending next year by a modest 6 per cent. Yesterday the minister described this proposal as savagery.

This weekend the minister is attending a pre-budget conference in Calgary where resource companies have had to downsize 10, 15 and 20 per cent in order to remain competitive.

Will the minister tell the House how he intends to explain to workers and investors in those companies why the federal government cannot cut its spending by even a modest 6 per cent and prefers instead to expand the tax base?

Government ExpendituresOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance and Minister responsible for the Federal Office of Regional Development -Quebec

Mr. Speaker, the reference I made yesterday to savagery was to not only the motion made in this House but to the program put forward by members of the Reform Party during the election. They put forward a series of recommendations concerning old age pensions which they said would affect families above $54,000 but in fact affected families below $35,000, going down.

It is certainly not the case that we are reluctant to cut spending. We are very desirous of cutting spending and in fact we intend to do so. But it is precisely because we are not prepared to ignore the cause and the plight of laid-off workers that we are not going to cut spending the way the Reform Party would want us to do.

Government ExpendituresOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Reform Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, a supplementary question for the Minister of Finance that relates to the helping of workers.

A recent publication by the minister's department entitled Canada's Economic Challenges shows that Canada's total public debt as a percentage of GDP is higher than that of our major trading partners.

This weekend the minister will be told that the higher taxes paid by Canadian exporters to service that debt are already a competitive disadvantage, killing jobs in the export sector. Does the finance minister agree that this is so, and if so will he explain how further expanding the tax base can possibly stimulate job creation in the export sector?

Government ExpendituresOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance and Minister responsible for the Federal Office of Regional Development -Quebec

Mr. Speaker, broadening the tax base and filling in the tax loopholes will simply remove inequities in the tax system and make it a great deal fairer. Then Canadians will be far more prepared to support it. That is what we are dealing with.

In terms of export sales we stated unequivocally in the red book that the ultimate aim of any government, certainly this one, must be to reduce taxes. But this party, as the Reform Party certainly claims to be, is also worried about the financial condition of the public finances of this country. We also know that unless we attack the deficit we are not going to get interest rates down. Unless we get interest rates down we are not going to have a competitive economy. If the member would like a lesson on the deficit I would be prepared to give it.

Government ExpendituresOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Reform Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, one further supplementary question for the finance minister so that we are clear on his position.

The airline industry in Canada pays about 20 per cent of its gross revenues in direct charges and taxes to governments compared to about 10 per cent paid by the American carriers to their government. Will the finance minister acknowledge that the high levels of these charges and taxes are already killing jobs in the airline industry and again explain how expanding the tax base can possibly improve the job situation in that industry or any other industry?

Government ExpendituresOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance and Minister responsible for the Federal Office of Regional Development -Quebec

Mr. Speaker, we are talking about equity, making sure that one group of Canadians does not benefit more from the system and the services that this country provides than other groups of Canadians. We are trying to build fairness into the system. That is crucial.

I fail to understand the objection of the party opposite to that kind of fairness. However we are going to continue to do it despite the objectives of the party opposite.

In terms of the competitiveness of our system there is no doubt that our airlines, our farmers, the inputs to fertilizers, the interest rates that this country has had to bear over the last five years; there has been a great deal of unfairness in this country and that is why we were elected, to try and make that right.

Cigarette SmugglingOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Bloc Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Solicitor General. Yesterday, the Prime Minister, justifying the reluctance of the RCMP to lay charges against cigarette smugglers, claimed that it did not have enough evidence to take action, and I quote: "-when it has compiled valid evidence, it takes quick action, as it must."

How is it that the RCMP does not yet have enough evidence to lay charges when, every night, we see smugglers strutting their stuff on TV?

Cigarette SmugglingOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, it is up to the RCMP, in consultation with Crown prosecutors, to decide when there is enough proof not only to lay charges, but charges that will lead to convictions.

I do not think it is for me to interfere in these operational decisions of the force. I think that courts in the past have demanded more than nightly television programs on which to base findings of guilt.

Cigarette SmugglingOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Bloc Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, in view of the fact that it has been going on long enough, will the Solicitor General be forthright and tell the House why the media are able to compile such evidence and show it live on our TV screens, while the RCMP, with the tools at its disposal, is unable to gather evidence of this kind, and go after the real criminals?

Cigarette SmugglingOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the press plays a very useful role in this country, but it is not the equivalent of proof on the basis of which charges can be laid and on the basis of which after a trial where the burden of proof is on the Crown there will be convictions.

I will draw the attention of the RCMP to my hon. friend's suggestions. I am sure they will take them into account in doing the work for which they are world famous.

International Maritime OrganizationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Reform Fraser Valley East, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance in the absence of the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

By way of preamble I would like to say that a lesson in deficit cutting from a Liberal finance minister is like a lesson in firefighting from a pyromaniac.

International Maritime OrganizationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

International Maritime OrganizationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

Order. I know the hon. member will want to change his statement about the pyromaniac and rephrase it just a little bit.

International Maritime OrganizationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Reform Fraser Valley East, BC

Yes, Mr. Speaker.

Over the last four years the government paid a housing allowance of more than $400,000 to a UN bureaucrat working for the International Maritime Organization. In the dying days of the Conservative administration the government further agreed to pay up to $12,000 a month, for a total of $580,000, in housing allowances for the same official for the next four years.

My question for the Minister of Finance is this. At a time when thousands of Canadians are homeless, will the Liberal government reverse this Conservative decision that gives this UN official the equivalent of about $500,000 a year?

International Maritime OrganizationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Brian Tobin Liberal Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte, NL

Shame on the Tories.

International Maritime OrganizationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance and Minister responsible for the Federal Office of Regional Development -Quebec

Mr. Speaker, it does not help when you mess up your preamble, does it.

I will take the question as notice and I will certainly speak to the Minister of Foreign Affairs. I can assure the member that we are dedicated to reversing a great many Conservative decisions.

International Maritime OrganizationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Reform Fraser Valley East, BC

Mr. Speaker, the recent musings of this government that it may move to eliminate double-dipping has been appreciated and applauded I think by all Canadians, and certainly on this side of the House.

Will the government move to eliminate this example of triple-dipping as well?

International Maritime OrganizationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

I am not sure to whom the member is directing his question.

International Maritime OrganizationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Brian Tobin Liberal Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte, NL

Ray Speaker.

International Maritime OrganizationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Sergio Marchi Liberal York West, ON

Let Ray answer it.

International Maritime OrganizationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

Order. Would the hon. member just repeat the question.

International Maritime OrganizationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Reform Fraser Valley East, BC

I will speak slowly. Will the government move to eliminate this example of triple-dipping from the government as well?

International Maritime OrganizationOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

I think that is for the Minister of Finance.

International Maritime OrganizationOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance and Minister responsible for the Federal Office of Regional Development-Quebec

Mr. Speaker, I am told by my colleague the Solicitor General that we will certainly be dealing with that and I think that my preamble answers the question.

Cigarette SmugglingOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health.

The Prime Minister said yesterday that he was ready to consider lowering taxes on tobacco products, unilaterally if he had to, in order to put an end to the smuggling that is causing problems in Quebec and Ontario and the Minister of Finance declared that lower taxes would help stop the smuggling.

I ask the minister if she concurs with the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance on the necessity of lowering those taxes?

Cigarette SmugglingOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Sudbury Ontario

Liberal

Diane Marleau LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, my first obligation is to protect the health of Canadians. The smuggling of tobacco products is also a health problem.

You know that about 300 children start smoking each day. Tobacco smoking also causes 40,000 deaths a year in Canada. Therefore, I feel it is absolutely essential that we convince all Canadians that they should stop smoking.

Cigarette SmugglingOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, if I understand correctly, the minister is in favour of maintaining the tax. Therefore, since she does not agree with her government, what would she recommend to stop the increasing number of young people who smoke contraband cigarettes?

Cigarette SmugglingOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Sudbury Ontario

Liberal

Diane Marleau LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, we are very concerned with the problems of contraband and cigarette smuggling.

The government and I as Minister of Health are extremely concerned with smoking and the effect it has on the health of Canadians. Not only do young children start smoking every day, but those who purchase cigarettes on the black market do not pay the taxes which help us fund the health care system. And, believe me, we are very much in need of as many dollars as possible to fight the kinds of problems that are caused by smoking.

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Ed Harper Reform Simcoe Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of National Defence.

On January 25 the minister told the House that he is seeking further clarification on the discrepancy between the accounting principles of his department and those of the Auditor General. Also on January 25, when the minister was asked about civil servant accountability in his department, the minister stated:

I do not think that is a question that should be addressed to me. That is a question for government, and I do not know who can answer that.

The minister says that he is not responsible for the actions taken by the civil servants in his department. On this basis, could the minister explain to this House his concept of ministerial accountability?

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member will realize that the way the supplementary question was asked by his colleague left some in doubt as to what he was actually trying to get at. No one disputes the fact that public servants report to their political masters as elected and members of the government.

With respect to the actual question on costing, which is serious, I know the hon. member would like to get to the bottom of the differences which we feel exist between DND accounting and the Auditor General. If the House will give leave early next week I will make our report public and table the document here in the House so all can see the Department of National Defence's reasoning. We have nothing to hide.

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Ed Harper Reform Simcoe Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, a supplemental for the Minister of National Defence.

It was only yesterday the Prime Minister explained to this House that sometimes the figures of the Auditor General are misleading.

Does the minister believe that in this case the Auditor General has again misled the House?

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister was referring to the same discrepancy between what we feel are accurate costing figures. I think he did a very good job at explaining in graphic terms the difference between our concept of how these costs should be arrived at and that of the Auditor General.

As members of the government we are quite entitled to have legitimate disputes with whomever about accounting methods.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Osvaldo Nunez Bloc Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.

The inquiry by professor James Hathaway of Toronto on the Immigration and Refugee Board, commissioned by his own department, concluded this week that the minister is failing in his duty, that the board is disregarding the most elementary rules of fairness toward refugee claimants, and that incompetent commissioners have made dubious decisions based on questionable grounds.

When is the minister going to reform the board to restore its credibility? What does he intend to do about decisions already made by these incompetent commissioners?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

York West Ontario

Liberal

Sergio Marchi LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question the hon. member raises.

Late last year we had an opportunity to make our first appointments to the Immigration Refugee Board. We wanted to assure ourselves that the government meant what it said when we were going to bring back integrity and competence, not only to government but to the appointments of boards and commissions under the government.

With respect to the Immigration Refugee Board we made 33 appointments which were heralded across the country with very positive accolades. In fact the hon. member himself said that the government was on the right track and improved the Immigration Refugee Board.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Osvaldo Nunez Bloc Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, the media were saying today that the board is a privileged haunt of patronage appointees and incompetents. Could the minister commit himself, today, to changing the rules of appointment, so they are based on qualification rather than on political affiliation?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

York West Ontario

Liberal

Sergio Marchi LiberalMinister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I just finished saying that the hon. member actually applauded the first appointments that we made, as did the Reform Party of Canada.

What we have laid down is an unprecedented consultation process with respect to the Immigration Refugee Board. We consulted with NGOs across the country. We consulted with lawyers across the country. We consulted with advocates across the country.

Even before the Hathaway report was tabled this week, I suggested as minister we should elaborate that system of consultation with the view of setting up committees of interested Canadians from a variety of disciplines to begin to vet a number of names that come through the system and to recommend individuals who would be capable of discharging the responsibilities and the important mandate of the Immigration Refugee Board.

The hon. member should also distinguish what took place in December from what took place for nine years under the Conservative Government of Canada.

YugoslaviaOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

David Berger Liberal Saint-Henri—Westmount, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

I believe Canadians would insist that as a complement to our military role in the former Yugoslavia we contribute to the efforts to arrive at a negotiated settlement.

Could the minister tell us whether the government plans to take a more active role in diplomacy? As part of our contribution to the negotiations, would the minister consider convening a meeting of knowledgeable Canadians to explore ways to bring an end to the conflict in the former Yugoslavia?

YugoslaviaOral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Michel Québec

Liberal

André Ouellet LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his questions and for his interesting suggestions.

I would like to indicate that a diplomatic avenue should be pursued to complement the tremendous contributions of Canadian forces and the humanitarian aid that we are bringing to the area.

I have been in touch with our ambassador in Geneva and have conveyed to him our feelings following the debate that took place in the House, that every avenue has to be explored in order to bring peace to the area.

With regard to the suggestion to bring a number of prominent Canadians to advise and assist us, I want to remind the House that there will not only be a parliamentary committee struck to review our foreign policy in which parliamentarians in a traditional way will ask witnesses to appear before it, but in keeping with our promises in the red book we will hold a two-day national forum at the end of March to review our foreign policy.

It is in that context that people across the country could be invited to participate and give us their advice.

Unemployment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, businesses and employees are fed up with never ending hikes in UI premiums. My question is for the Minister of Human Resources Development.

Will the minister agree to turn over control of the UI program to the businesses and employees who fund it?

Unemployment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member will know, the minister of human resources is on his way to Winnipeg in anticipation of further discussions about the whole review of unemployment insurance. The social policy review is considering all options.

I am sure he would be very happy to have the input of the hon. member and other members on this important issues.

Unemployment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have a supplementary question. As the minister knows payroll taxes actually cripple the ability of business to create jobs.

Could the minister tell the House which labour and business groups were consulted about the 1 per cent training tax that both the Prime Minister and the human resources development minister have said is under consideration by this government?

Unemployment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member will know that under the previous government certain statutory obligations were laid out.

The current government has moved to freeze unemployment insurance premium payouts by employers in the short term. In the long term we are undertaking a complete review in which the member will be welcome to participate.

We are looking for his participation. We are looking for the participation of all Canadians. Indeed that is why just 10 minutes ago my colleague left for Winnipeg to begin the process of participation outside Ottawa.

Infrastructure ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Bloc

Gérard Asselin Bloc Charlevoix, QC

My question is for the President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure. To date, Canada has signed agreements with six provincial governments: Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, New-Brunswick and, more recently, Ontario. Since Quebec has already received a first contribution from the federal government, as confirmed by the announced construction of a new Convention Centre in Quebec City, one can only wonder why there is no formal agreement between the federal government and Quebec.

My question is this: Is it possible that the agreement everyone is waiting for in Quebec has been postponed because the federal government refuses to give Quebec full leadership in that case and absolutely wants to keep an eye on the selection of projects?

Infrastructure ProgramOral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure

Mr. Speaker, when the provincial premiers were here at the first ministers' conference on December 21 they all agreed in principle to the program, so Quebec is indeed a part of the program.

What we are attempting to do at this point in time is to dot the i 's and cross the t 's on the framework agreement. As soon as we have that done we will be signing the agreement.

Everything is going well in that connection. In fact I note in Le Soleil this morning that the hon. André Bourbeau is quoted as saying that he is quite happy. He is the minister responsible for the program in the Government of Quebec and he is quite happy with the progress. So are we.

Infrastructure ProgramOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Gérard Asselin Bloc Charlevoix, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have a supplementary question for the Minister responsible for Infrastructure.

Can the minister tell us if ratification of an agreement with Quebec is delayed because Ottawa is reluctant to give Quebec full authority and wants to have a say in the choice of projects in Quebec?

Infrastructure ProgramOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure

Mr. Speaker, the short answer is no.

Pearson International AirportOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Paul Forseth Reform New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the minister answering for the Prime Minister today.

The January 24 issue of Maclean's magazine reports that the Prime Minister ``has hired Toronto lawyer Robert Wright, his chief fund raiser for the 1984 Liberal leadership campaign, to negotiate the cancellation of the contract to privatize two terminals at Pearson International Airport''.

Will the minister explain to the House why the Prime Minister has appointed one of his Liberal fundraisers to dismantle a deal he vilified during the election campaign because it involved a Tory fundraiser?

Pearson International AirportOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I am astounded the hon. member would not understand that the cancellation of Pearson airport and the negotiations that have been undertaken to deal with the compensation would be led by such an experienced lawyer as the one I as Minister of Transport appointed.

Mr. Wright is a former chairman of the Ontario Securities Commission and an outstanding legal mind. I am sure the entire question of compensation arising from the cancellation of Pearson will be addressed in his usual professional, very thorough and competent manner.

Pearson International AirportOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Reform

Paul Forseth Reform New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, I admit that I am new to Ottawa and fundraiser politics, but could the minister please explain to me what ethical criteria distinguished the appointment of Liberal fundraisers from Tory fundraisers?

Pearson International AirportOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

I think we are getting into little different areas here. I will permit the minister to answer the question if he so desires.

However I would encourage hon. members not to impugn anything, if they possibly could, along the way. The hon. minister, if he would like to answer.

Pearson International AirportOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, in view of the comments of the hon. member alleging, as I understood them, that there would be anything that would put in question the ethics of Robert Wright is totally unacceptable to me. This man has an impeccable reputation.

As it happens, and the. hon. member will learn this as he spends some time in the House, the Prime Minister has many friends in this country.

Kemano ProjectOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Anna Terrana Liberal Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.

Many people in my riding, including representatives of environmental groups and First Nations, have voiced their concerns to me regarding the completion of the Kemano project.

Earlier this week the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans hinted that he might be able to shed some light on how and when the government intended to honour the commitment made by the Prime Minister to participate in the current British Columbia Utilities Commission review of the Kemano completion project.

Will the minister provide the House with some details today? If not, when will he be ready to do so?

Kemano ProjectOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Brian Tobin LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for the question. Indeed her question gives me an opportunity to announce on behalf of the government that today the government has decided to participate in the British Columbia Utilities Commission review of the Kemano completion project.

The government will make documents, evidence, officials and scientists available to testify in these provincial hearings in accordance with the Prime Minister's commitment given to the people of British Columbia, to aboriginal groups and to environment groups during the course of the election campaign.

It is in this government's interest to ensure a full airing of opinion on the contentious technical issues involved. We shall comply in every way, shape and form to keep the commitment given by the Prime Minister.

High-Speed TrainOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Beauport—Montmorency—Orléans, QC

Mr. Speaker, in 1991, the Ontario-Quebec rapid train task force agreed it would be appropriate to establish a rapid train service in the Quebec-Windsor corridor. The task force did a very thorough preliminary feasibility study, listing the many economic spin-offs connected with the project.

The present Prime Minister's chief of staff, former Quebec City mayor Jean Pelletier, was the co-signer of this report. The task force also held wide ranging public consultations, in the course of which intervenors stressed that cities in the corridor would have to become more efficient if they were to succeed in a competitive market.

My question is directed to the Deputy Prime Minister. Could she tell me what she would prefer: spend taxpayers money to proceed with the abandonment of railway lines or spend it on an innovative project that would create jobs, jobs, jobs and increase our exports of technology to the United States?

High-Speed TrainOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environnement

When people mention jobs, jobs, jobs, it reminds me of that statement by Mr. Bouchard's friend. I think the Liberal Party made it clear that we are going to work with the private sector, as suggested in the study to which the hon. member referred. We want to improve public transit to promote the use of advanced technology in Canada for Canadians, but also to maintain an infrastructure that will give our economy a chance to expand. We are working on a number of measures, including the proposal put forward by the bipartite committee. I am sure that when we have a chance to discuss our budget priorities, the Bloc Quebecois will indicate whether this is their priority for the budget.

High-Speed TrainOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Beauport—Montmorency—Orléans, QC

Mr. Speaker, I assumed that when the Deputy Prime Minister referred to the Leader of the Opposition by name, it was an oversight.

High-Speed TrainOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

Ray Speaker Reform Lethbridge, AB

Order. I realize this is the beginning of the session, but it would be preferable to refer to each other by the names of our ridings. I would urge all members to do so if at all possible. The hon. member for Beauport-Montmorency-Orléans.

High-Speed TrainOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Beauport—Montmorency—Orléans, QC

I assume the Deputy Prime Minister's answer means that she does not endorse what was said by the Minister of Transport, who said last week that establishing a rapid train service was not one of his priorities.

High-Speed TrainOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environnement

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada is anxious to work together with the private sector on all modes of transportation that can be helpful as part of the infrastructure and provide applications for advanced technology. It is true that we are experiencing a budget crisis, as the hon. member's friend, the member for Saint-Jean, said in this House. Next month, when the Minister of Finance announces his budget priorities, the hon. member will see whether we are able to create jobs and at the same time meet our budgetary responsibilities. It is a difficult balancing act, but we are convinced that as a long term goal, public transit is good for the economies of both Quebec and Canada.

JusticeOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

Val Meredith Reform Surrey—White Rock—South Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Justice.

On Tuesday afternoon in a Vancouver courtroom Dale John Hicks was found guilty of manslaughter in the killing of Caren Rainey and Laurie Wood.

The charge was reduced from second degree murder to manslaughter. The reason given for this reduction was that Hicks had not shown an intention to kill the two women but merely to assault them. Their brutal deaths, with one being stabbed 17 times, was blamed on the cocaine that Hicks had taken rather than on Hicks himself.

On behalf of the families of these two victims and millions of other Canadians, will the minister consider changing the law so that substance abuse does not constitute an excuse for murder?

JusticeOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I must say that I am not familiar with the details of the case referred to and I will withhold comment on it specifically until I have an opportunity to investigate it further. If the hon. member wishes to have me comment on that specific case, I will be happy to do so after I have had an opportunity to examine it in detail.

As to her broader question, the issue of whether substance abuse can be taken into account in determining the degree of culpability or the nature of the charge, may I simply say that the Criminal Code at present, and defences that are available to those accused of criminal acts, provide and have provided throughout the history of our justice system that all circumstances be taken into account, including the question of whether the individual accused was acting under the influence of an agent.

This is a question which is more complex than can be dealt with in a short response. I assure the member that once I am familiar with the facts of the case to which she has referred in particular I would be happy to discuss it with her at greater length.

Port GranbyOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Liberal

Alex Shepherd Liberal Durham, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the Minister of Natural Resources.

Durham includes a site known as the Port Granby nuclear dump only 100 yards from Lake Ontario, the tailing site of the former Eldorado nuclear, a crown corporation.

After committing up to $16 million of taxpayers' money this site continues to leach contaminates into Lake Ontario. What are the minister's plans to address this threat to our community and the Great Lakes?

Port GranbyOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Edmonton Northwest Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, I acknowledge the importance of the question just posed by the hon. member for Durham to the residents of Port Granby.

It is clear that we must find a permanent location for the low level waste referred to by my hon. colleague. We have an independent siting task force working with the communities involved to find an acceptable permanent site. Once that process is completed we will begin the clean up of the Port Granby dump.

Business Of The HouseOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, as provided for in the Standing Orders, I would ask the Leader of the Government in the House to tell us what the business of the House will be for the rest of the week and next week.

Business Of The HouseOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, today we will continue with debate on the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne. As we know the House will sit until ten o'clock this evening. There will also be a continuation of the throne speech debate tomorrow.

If there is to be a vote on the motion, the vote will take place if necessary at 6 p.m. this coming Tuesday. On Monday the House will be asked to consider the motion of the Minister of Human Resources Development to establish the timeframe for a study by a committee of social programs. This motion and the text of it will be on the Notice Paper this evening. On Tuesday we will have a special pre-budget debate to enable members to state their views on what should be in the forthcoming budget.

On Wednesday, depending on the extent of our consultations with other parties on this matter, we could debate a motion on parliamentary reform.

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

3 p.m.

Liberal

Derek Wells Liberal South Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate you on your election to the chair. I noted in your opening remarks that you quoted Disraeli. I know your comments reflect the feeling of many new members present in the House.

I know we all have the best of intentions and I hope that together with your guidance, Mr. Speaker, we will be successful in restoring dignity and respect to both politics and politicians. I am also mindful of your advice that we must remember we are not here because of personal merit, although that surely is a factor, but because free men and women have faith in us and in the principles we put forward during the election campaign. I appreciate those comments.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

Order. Would hon. members please take their discussions behind the curtains.

Is this the hon. member's maiden speech?

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Derek Wells Liberal South Shore, NS

Yes.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

3:05 p.m.

The Speaker

I wish you well in it.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Derek Wells Liberal South Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, I hope all members will remember your comments. The reality is that we must all perform to the best of our ability and work toward restoring respect and dignity or, come next election, there will be another record number of new members sitting in this Chamber.

I congratulate all members on their election to the House. I am sure it is for them, as it is for me, an honour and a privilege to represent their constituents and bring their concerns forward to this assembly. I look forward to working closely and co-operatively with all members, regardless of party affiliation, during the next four years.

I thank the people of South Shore, Nova Scotia, for putting their trust and faith in me on October 25. My riding, as were many others across Canada, was represented by another party for many years prior to the past election. In fact the last Liberal to represent the South Shore in Parliament was the late Robert Winters. He last served South Shore in 1957.

I do not purport to be another Robert Winters, but I can promise the people of the South Shore that I will represent each and every one of them to the best of my ability. I will fulfil my commitments to them as they were stated over the long and very arduous nomination process and election campaign.

The riding of South Shore is one of the great coastal ridings of Canada. It is presently the home of the largest fishing constituency in all of Canada. In 1992 there were approximately 5,000 active fishermen and 126 licensed processing plants in my riding alone. The value of the annual catch is close to $200 million per year, for a market value of approximately $375 million.

In my constituency there are three counties, all of which have resource based economies. Shelburne County is the fishing capital of Canada. Queens County is known as the forestry capital of Canada, and Lunenburg County is known as the Christmas tree capital of Canada. One could say that the South Shore is the capital capital of Canada with all those capitals.

My riding extends from the community of Hubbards in the east to Charlesville 150 miles to the west. It extends 50 miles inland from the Atlantic Ocean to the communities of New Ross and New Germany in Lunenburg County, Caledonia and Greenfield in Queens County, and to Upper Ohio in Shelburne County. Its bays contain thousands of islands from East Ironbound and Tancook in the east to Seal Island and Cape Sable Island in the west.

The historic towns of Lunenburg, Mahone Bay, Bridgewater, Liverpool, Shelburne, Lockeport and Clark's Harbour are all located on the South Shore, as are many quaint and beautiful villages such as my home of Chester and other communities such as Blandford, New Ross, Riverport, Port Mouton, East Green Harbour and Barrington Passage. I could go on and on. I would like to name them all but I understand I am limited in time.

I still remember the Friday morning 10 days before the past election when the Prime Minister visited historic Lunenburg, home of the Bluenose, the Bounty and the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic. This was a proud occasion for the people of the South Shore, one which I am sure left many people touched by his honesty and humanity.

It goes without saying, as we hear the names of these historic towns and villages, that tourism plays a major part in the lives of my constituents. We must continue to promote tourism as it is serving to revitalize communities devastated by the downturn in the fishery. It generates more than $100 million annually and provides employment for thousands of people on the South Shore. It is an industry that can and will play a leading role in the economic recovery we are all anticipating.

As I said earlier, the economy of my riding is primarily resource based. My constituents are affected by and concerned with the downturn in the fishery, the challenges in the forestry sector, particularly those of the pulp and paper industry, and the difficulties and uncertainty being experienced in the agricultural sector.

I for one believe the fishery can be prosperous once again if we properly manage the change. I have faith, and I know that faith is not misplaced, in the present minister of fisheries. I applaud his willingness to listen and his courage to act. Once we set aside special interests in favour of community interests practical solutions will be found.

One of the first steps we must take is to curtail foreign overfishing on the nose and tail of the Grand Banks. I must say I was encouraged by the comments of Reformers earlier today when they said that they would be supporting the Liberal Party on that initiative.

With regard to the forestry sector I have every faith in the Minister of Natural Resources with whom I, along with my constituent, Mr. Rick Lord, president of the Canadian Christmas Tree Growers' Association, and the Prime Minister, presented a Christmas tree to the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario.

The minister is aware of the size and scope of forestry in my riding. There are 270 established companies within our forestry sector which employ directly or indirectly upwards of 5,000 people. The annual value of all forest exports from my riding alone is in excess of $150 million. The minister is no doubt aware of how important the extension of the federal-provincial forestry agreements are to the future viability and management of this resource.

Not everybody in the riding has resource based employment. There are many who are looking forward to the benefits that can be realized from the Canada infrastructure works program implemented recently by the Minister responsible for Infrastructure. The introduction of this program was well accepted by all 12 municipal units in my riding. Not only is this initiative necessary but its premise that all levels of government in Canada can work together toward a common and beneficial end is sound. I sincerely hope that this is a positive indication of things to come.

There are many issues and concerns to be discussed. Thankfully we have four years in which to deal with them. However there is one further concern I would like to bring forward. It is one that I addressed continually throughout my nomination and election campaign. My concern is for the future of the youth in this country.

In addition to my responsibilities to my family and my business, over the years I have focused some of my energies on the young people in the communities of the South Shore. I have enjoyed working with young people and I have been repaid many times over through my experiences with them.

It saddens me to see so many worried and troubled young men and women in our society today. They have become alienated as their concerns were overshadowed by those of our generation. Their lives are difficult, their futures insecure. We should all be aware of the fact that the changing times, the state of the economy and the seemingly bleak prospects for their future are taking their toll.

Their hours are not always easy to fill. There are few of the simplistic pastimes that most of us remember from our youth. I know I never had to compete with the televised or computer generated games that assail the youth of today. None of my distractions came from drugs, alcohol or idleness.

Today the need for continued education is greater than in the past. Jobs are fewer and costs are higher. It is not easy for them even to begin to compete in the global marketplace.

Where do they find hope? They find hope in our faith in them. The Liberal Party demonstrated its belief in the young people of Canada during the election campaign by introducing the concept of the Canadian youth corps and the Canadian apprenticeship program. I was pleased to hear a reconfirmation of that former initiative in the speech from the throne.

The youth corps program will afford our youth the opportunity to make a positive contribution to the country while building self- esteem, developing skills and gaining experience. The apprenticeship program will give young people the skills needed to succeed in growing economic sectors, will forge strong schools to work linkages and will result in making apprenticeship a valid career option.

In closing, I would like to note that I am fully committed to the program outlined in "Creating Opportunities". The government of which I am proud to be a part was elected to implement this program and the speech from the throne reflects its intention to do so.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

Reform

Jim Silye Reform Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the member for South Shore. First of all I congratulate him on his maiden speech.

With respect to the resource industry of which the hon. member said his riding has a cross-section, specifically in forestry, he said there were over 270 companies employing 5,000 people. When these companies strip the trees, are they forced to replace them at intermittent stages during their contract? Or, is it like some other companies in Canada that are allowed to wait until the last days of their contract and walk away from that commitment?

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Derek Wells Liberal South Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, a lot of reforestation is taking place in my province and in my riding. As we discuss this matter with different people in the forest industry there is a difference of opinion sometimes as to whether or not we should let natural forces come into play. If the cutting is done properly and we leave enough, nature will run its course and natural regeneration will occur.

The supply of wood and wood fibre is sufficient. It is perhaps sufficient for another major industry. Certainly at this point in time our forests are relatively well managed. There is no major concern with wood supply or wood fibre at this time.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Ron MacDonald Liberal Dartmouth, NS

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate the member for South Shore. Indeed it is a pleasure to have him as a colleague from Nova Scotia in the House of Commons. I have known the member for many years. The area has made a very wise choice in sending him here to be its representative in the House of Commons. On a personal note, I am very pleased

that a friend of mine has pursued this noble occupation of being a member of Parliament from South Shore.

The member comes from one of the most beautiful parts of Canada. Perhaps he can let people who are watching this debate and people who are in the House know about some of the beautiful spots and tourism events in his riding. Tourism is a major industry in the riding of South Shore. Perhaps he could elucidate for us some events that take place there so that some of the people in the House and the people watching can take him up on an offer and maybe we will see them there in the summer.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

I do not doubt that the member's riding is as described by the hon. member for Dartmouth. I would be very surprised if the member for South Shore, in the short time left of approximately one minute, could do justice to the beauty of his riding, as any other member would find almost impossible to do. I am sure we will get a valiant effort from the member for South Shore in the little time he has left.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Derek Wells Liberal South Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, I guess the greatest risk when we try to do answer a question in one minute is to be concerned about what we might leave out.

When we run summer election campaigns we learn that in my riding which is 150 miles long and 50 miles wide there are many exhibitions from the big exhibition in Bridgewater, to the fisheries exhibition in Lunenburg, to the exhibitions in Barrington and Shelburne, to the folk festival in Lunenburg, to Chester Race Week. Again, with the limited time, I have left many out.

During the summer I will not say South Shore is the tourism capital of Nova Scotia because I notice other members here who may take objection to that. Certainly tourism and all the events that take place are big draws and more and more are being developed all the time.

I thank the member for the question. I hope over time I can expand more fully on some of the major events that place in my riding.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Roseanne Skoke Liberal Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, the people of Central Nova have authorized me to represent their many diverse and urgent interests in the House of Commons; to speak on their behalf with courage, determination and integrity; to ensure that their families are protected and safeguarded; to ensure that their right to work with pride and dignity is restored; and to ensure that our country remains united, independent and free.

My people in Central Nova, by electing me as their member of Parliament, have bestowed the highest honour upon me and have placed me in a position of trust. I pray that God will grant me the wisdom, knowledge and understanding to fulfil my duties in this office with justice, integrity and equity.

The people of Central Nova must not be underestimated. They know the issues. They see the problems. They feel the heartache, pain and anxiety. They have experienced firsthand the devastating social and economic effects of government policies and decisions. Many are unemployed. Others are what I refer to as the working poor.

The speech from the throne and the initiatives and programs outlined therein offers hope to the people of Central Nova. Already initiatives are being implemented in my riding, such as the municipal infrastructure program. Hope has been offered for employment and hope for new opportunity. This is as a result of the speech from the throne and the initiatives set out in the red book, Creating Opportunity.

Let us look at the unemployment situation. Every day jobs are lost or being threatened. Unemployment, job security and job creation must be and will be the priority issues for this government. Unemployment is the scourge of mankind. It robs the person of his or her dignity. It has a crippling effect on the entire community and our nation as a whole.

The causal effects of unemployment can lead to the breakdown of the family unit, leads to family violence, suicide, alcohol and drug dependency, increased crime, theft, insurmountable financial and emotional problems, and dependency on social assistance. The effects are unlimited. The price society and the taxpayer pays in the cost of support services for family breakdown is also immeasurable. The price the family pays is immeasurable.

I am proud to represent Central Nova. Central Nova is known as the industrial heartland of Nova Scotia and rightly so because the industrial revolution in Canada began in my home town of Stellarton. It came about with the advent of steam power and the usage of the 40-foot thick Foord seam of coal in Stellarton. The steam power was applied to industry in Central Nova including shipbuilding, steel making, sawmills and railroads.

The first steel railroad ever built in Canada was built in Stellarton and is still in existence today.

New Glasgow, a town in Central Nova, built the first iron sailing ship ever made in Canada.

The development of the Pictou coal deposit created an industrial complex in the town of New Glasgow which in 1883 broadened into the opening of the first steel making plant in Canada. Today we have Maritime Steel and our New Glasgow foundry.

The first steel ever successfully made in Canada was produced in the town of Trenton. Since then, the town of Trenton in Central Nova has been referred to as the birthplace of steel in Canada. It was known as Trenton Works at one time and manufactured railway rolling stock. The plant is still in existence today but it is known as Lavalin.

Westville, a coal mining town, was incorporated September 1884 and became known as the friendly town. Coal mining began in 1865. As the town of Westville celebrates its centennial of incorporation this very year, once again it will look to its coal mines for another resource; that of geothermal energy extracted from the warm waters of flooded, abandoned mine workings.

The town of Pictou is an historic town in Central Nova that overlooks the best harbour in northern Nova Scotia. The Scottish immigration to Pictou began in July 1773 and the early economic base centred around the sea. Shipbuilding was and still is a very prominent part of Pictou's economy with our Pictou Industries.

The municipality of Pictou consists of geographically Pictou east and Pictou west. Located therein is the north shore which has a multi-purpose fishing industry and agriculture.

We have the eastern shore fishing industry in the county of Halifax. The eastern shore is an unscathed environment with a beautiful coastline and the most wonderful people you would ever want to meet.

Central Nova is now facing a fishing industry crisis that has devastating effects on our people and their livelihood both on the north shore and eastern shore of Central Nova.

We have the First Nation Micmac community of Pictou Landing with a population of approximately 420 band members living on about 250 acres of land. Although the area around Pictou has been settled by the Micmac for thousands of years, official status of reserve land has only been granted for a little more than 100 years. Education and high unemployment are issues of concern and our Micmac nation is open to the concept of self-government.

It is interesting to note that Central Nova, the birthplace of the industrial revolution of Nova Scotia, must now prepare for the technical revolution. It is imperative that we be strong in science and technology. To survive this technological revolution our people must be educated, for part of the oppression of our people lies in the failure to provide quality education and literacy skills for our youth and labour force.

Although education is a matter of provincial jurisdiction, I wish to remind the federal government that I feel that it has a major role to play in initiating the necessary changes to provide quality education for the common good of our country.

Our youth are without jobs. Our youth are without hope. The youth apprenticeship training program and youth services corps are two government programs that will provide hope.

In my 17 years of practice as a litigation lawyer, I have experienced first-hand the oppression, manipulation and abuse of many people arising from the abuse of power, abuse of authority and abuse of the process within the systems of government.

The system of government is not working as it should. The three branches of government, namely the legislative, the executive and the judicial, require reform to ensure justice and equity to all Canadians.

With respect to the legislative branch of government, it is time that we as legislators put responsibility and morality back into the law. Justice, law and morality go hand in hand. They are inseparable.

With respect to the executive branch of government that administers the law, it is time to diminish the authority, power and discretion of the bureaucracy and make it more accountable for its decisions and attitudes that affect our individual Canadians.

With respect to the judicial branch of government that interprets and enforces the law, it is time that perhaps consideration be given to electing our judiciary. The people must live with the decisions of the courts and therefore it is time that the people elect the decision makers.

In conclusion, the greatest investment we can make as a nation is in our own people. Our people are the human resource required to make it all work. The family unit is the basic institution of life and the solid foundation upon which our forefathers built this great nation. The protection of families, family life and family values must be a priority with this government. The family is where life begins. Life begins from the moment of conception and continues until natural death. The family is where our purpose to live, to work and to prosper is nurtured.

The conventional terms of debate in matters of political, economic and legal issues tend to focus on individual rights and the state, not the family. This is unfortunate and must change, for the family is the most important reality in our lives.

Remember, Canada was made for families. Families were not made for Canada. When families prosper so too will Canada prosper. When families are strong so too will our country Canada be strong.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

3:25 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, I wish to congratulate the hon. member from Central Nova for her excellent speech which I found particularly touching and

humane. It is not often that we see in this House such a humane approach. But I would like to ask the hon. member a question since she is from a resource based area, the riding of Central Nova. Given the way she talked about her riding, it seems that its economic activity is mainly dominated by fisheries and agriculture.

I would like the hon. member to explain how she can feel comfortable in a party like the Liberal Party of Canada, a party that during the GATT multilateral negotiations abandoned one of the pillars of Canadian agriculture, especially the dairy sector so important in the riding of Central Nova. How can she feel comfortable in a party that has sacrificed a good part of the safety net, at least for the Canadian dairy industry, and which is also known for its negligence and its inability to deal with Atlantic fisheries?

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Roseanne Skoke Liberal Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, I would like to assure the hon. member that I feel very at ease and very much at home with the Liberal Party. I think the principles and the philosophy of the Liberal Party certainly augurs very well with respect to our principles of justice, fairness and equity for all Canadians. I chose the Liberal Party for those reasons.

With respect to the issues of agriculture and fisheries, I am very confident that our party will do what is best, within its powers and within the limits it has available, to ensure that the dairy farmers, and particularly our fisheries, will be taken care of.

I am also pleased to have the opportunity to work with the hon. ministers in ensuring that my constituents, with respect to those issues, will be taken care of.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

3:30 p.m.

Reform

Randy White Reform Fraser Valley West, BC

Mr. Speaker, I too would like to congratulate the hon. member for Central Nova. Having been raised in Nova Scotia myself, I have travelled the areas that she was elected in many, many times. It is indeed beautiful.

The member has spoken very earnestly and sincerely about unemployment in her area, but unemployment has been a problem in the maritimes and in her area for decades. I believe that the infrastructure program is once again more taxes-federally, provincially and municipally-on the constituents in that area. The infrastructure alone will not cure the problem of unemployment in that area and training in itself will not help the situation either, or at least will not cure it.

I am wondering if the member would perhaps suggest a new industry that could perhaps turn the tide in that area. Other than infrastructure and training, what new changes would help the people in Central Nova?

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Roseanne Skoke Liberal Central Nova, NS

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

Throughout my speech I talked about the oppression of our people. It is correct for the member to say that the people in the maritimes and the Atlantic provinces have been unemployed more so than in other parts of the country. In my opinion there has been a form of oppression.

I think the answer to unemployment is quality education. Although I know education is a matter of provincial jurisdiction, I feel that the federal government has a responsibility under industry, science, technology and trade, and certainly for the common good of all Canadians, to intervene with respect to the issue of education.

Perhaps our youth and those people in the labour force, be it the fishery or whatever, who may have to look for new employment, are not properly educated in the basics of reading, writing and literacy skills.

One way to oppress people is to ensure that they cannot read or write. Then they cannot understand what is going on or that they are going to continue being manipulated and deceived by hidden agendas.

I feel that the answer and what this government should be looking at is education. It does not cost extra money to educate your people. What it takes is ingenuity and the basics. I think it is time we go back to the basics in our education system.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

3:30 p.m.

Reform

Jim Abbott Reform Kootenay East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am proud today to stand as the member for Kootenay East constituency.

In the October 25 election the constituents expressed their confidence in the agenda that I and the Reform Party were to bring to the Parliament of Canada. The topic of my speech today is really directed to my constituents. My topic would be entitled demand less.

It is critical in my constituency, indeed in Canada, that citizens give clear direction to their politicians at all levels of government.

Political decisions are not made in a vacuum. Decisions to spend money and deliver services and social entitlements to citizens are made as ordinary citizens make their demands known to the politicians. Any politician who wants to get elected or re-elected must respond to those demands and so I say to my constituents we must demand less.

Following my election I made two immediate activities my priority. One was to open lines of communication and accessibility to my constituents. The second was to grapple with the issues surrounding mining-especially coal mining-and how it relates to my constituents in the Elk Valley.

The Elk Valley which is east of Cranbrook is a magnificent area of my constituency with beautiful mountains, the Snow Valley ski area in Fernie and the districts of Sparwood and Elkford. There is no area in Canada which has been more

adversely affected by ill advised taxation, blatant tax revenue grabs and overregulation than the Elk Valley.

The area suffers with a 30 per cent unemployment rate. In the last couple of years there have been significant mine failures with as a many as 2,000 people out of work severely depressing the commercial community.

It was interesting that in a recent news article in the Kimberley Bulletin a headline read: Cominco irked at city tax rate''. The complaint of the mining company was that the major industrial tax rate in Kimberley is 69 per cent higher than the tax rate in Cranbrook. In justifying the position of the city, the mayor of Kimberley agreed that Cominco taxes are high but said the tax rate is justified. He said the mining company has had it easy on taxes because it did not start paying taxes until 1968 when Cominco was incorporated into the city limits. The mayor said:That is when Cominco started shutting down plants and laying off people''.

I am not criticizing the mayor of Kimberley for his comments. I simply cite that quotation as an accurate representation of what happens when an industry is taxed. The fact is that when taxes go up then jobs and an industry decrease.

Capital for mining is fleeing Canada. The country of Chile is one of the greatest beneficiaries of this flight. It has an effective tax rate of 15 per cent. The countries of Mexico and Papua New Guinea have a mining tax rate of 35 per cent. The Philippines and even the United States has a tax rate on mining companies of 38 per cent whereas the mining companies in the province of British Columbia suffer under a mining income tax rate of 50 per cent. That is hard rock mining.

In coal mining, although it is hard to believe, in four years between 1987 and 1991 the B.C. coal industry paid $454 million dollars, almost half a billion dollars, in direct taxes while net returns to the industry believe it or not were only $8 million.

Citizens must demand less from the federal government, provincial government, regional district, cities, towns and even the school boards because I say that taxes kill jobs.

For example property tax rates charged on coal mines are three times higher than residential rates. These taxes pay for municipal services. The ministry of environment of the province of B.C. has made a decision to require the East Kootenay region to implement a solid waste disposal program. To put solid waste disposal into normal terms, it is simply people's garbage.

The annual cost of this program is $3.2 million. The share of the costs of Sparwood and Elkford combined would be about $940,000 annually. The coal mines in these municipalities would pay $717,000 of that $900,000.

Yesterday Fording Coal announced that following a 4 per cent decrease in the selling price of their top grade of coal in Japan in 1993, they are suffering a further 8 per cent decrease in their selling price in 1994. This solid waste management program as desirable as it may be will remove an additional $700,000 from coal producers' cash flow while prices in the world market are dropping.

Citizens must demand less or we will continue to see bankruptcies, job losses and potentially the total disintegration of B.C.'s export coal industry.

The problem is not confined to the East Kootenay area. The coal must move from the mines in my constituency to port.

We have a world class facility with our transportation services to the coast. The coal car repair shop in Golden is state of the art. The railway company and its workers just as with the workers in the coal mining producing plants are going flat out to be efficient. However, we are going to tax them out of existence at every level of taxation.

In 1981 the selling price of coal was around $67 a tonne. In 1991 it had dropped to $60 a tonne. However, in real dollars, that is converting 1981 dollars into 1991 dollars, the $67 a tonne revenue in 1981 became $35 a tonne revenue in 1991.

The companies responded and the workers and the companies have driven their operating expense from $41 a tonne to $22 a tonne or, again in real costs, to $13 a tonne.

In other words operating costs have been reduced through diligence and hard work and significant capital investment driven down by 70 per cent since 1981. The workers in the coal industry and transportation have shown extreme dedication in this quest to reduce costs while at the same time demands for additional services and social entitlements by Canadians has pushed politicians to increase taxes and outright revenue grabs at an alarming rate.

As weird as it may seem some of the bridges on the rail line over the canyons and through the mountains between the Elk Valley and Roberts Bank attract tax levels of tens of thousands of dollars each. One bridge classified as an improvement costs the railway over $100,000 annually in taxes simply because the canyon exists and we want to get the coal over the canyon.

At the federal level fuel taxes on diesel use by the railway stand in the way of our coal producers in British Columbia being able to ship clean burning coal from B.C. to Ontario. The fuel taxes on the diesel used by the railway locomotives are for the purpose of building highways. This is totally unrealistic and unfair in the application of taxes. It is taxing one method of transportation to subsidize another.

On the coast at the Roberts Bank terminal, charges to put coal into the ships for export have tripled over the last ten years and the Vancouver port authority, a part of the federal government, has direct responsibility for the fees which are continuing to rise at a rate of 10 per cent a year. This is at a time when coal prices are crashing.

Yet I read in the newspaper yesterday a headline which said: "Our finance minister says Canada can stand more tax". Canada cannot stand more tax. Taxes kill jobs.

If the Liberals wonder why western Canadians are uptight about the potential imposition of a carbon tax they need only look at the results of the national energy plan which was only a thinly disguised revenue grab from western Canada to central Canada. We still suffer from the residue.

Coal mines are subject to higher mineral taxes than hard rock mines in British Columbia. It is unclear but it appears as though this is simply a leftover from the bad old days of the era of the national energy plan that was imposed by the former Liberal government.

The fact is that our coal mines supply world markets and the Japanese steel industry will lose $3 billion U.S. in the current fiscal year. There is a continued oversupply of coking coal in the world market. That is world reality. We Canadians have to face reality and so again I say to my constituents that we Canadians must demand less service and entitlements from our politicians or we will tax our jobs out of existence.

I say to the trustees of the schools boards, the mayors and councillors of our towns and cities, the regional district directors, the MLAs Corky Evans and Jim Doyle and the hon. minister of mines Ann Edwards that we must be prepared to lead cutting government costs so that we will not tax our jobs out of existence.

I challenge members of the House of Commons to follow the example shown by the Reform Party members and take a 10 per cent cut in their pay not because they are not earning it but clearly to show leadership by example. It is only by demanding less that we will have more jobs, more security and more future for ourselves and for our children.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

3:45 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague from the Reform Party for his excellent speech, which contained views on taxation that I do not share but respect nonetheless. In fact, I would have a comment to make about the tax system and I would also like to ask a question.

From the moment the election campaign began and from the moment this House resumed sitting, I have been hearing members of the Reform Party refer to uniform cuts of 10, 12 or 15 per cent depending on the speaker, because it would seem to me that there is no party line where this matter is concerned. I wonder what the rationale is for requesting such drastic cuts across the board. I would like to know if the Reform Party could not suggest some other alternative like broadening the tax base to make the Canadian tax system fair again.

Let me explain. In 1991, the very rich, some of whom probably live in my hon. colleague's riding, were said to have paid tax at an actual rate of about 18 per cent, while the basic tax rate was 29 per cent. Other statistics show a flight of capital from very large Canadian corporations, which means that Canadian businesses-very large businesses, not the small and medium-sized or the very small ones, but the very large ones that turn a profit year in year out-are transferring their profits to some tax haven without paying a nickel in taxes in Canada. Yet, the same businesses transfer to Canada the losses they post abroad because they can get a tax deduction for those. I wonder if we could not recover billions in lost tax simply by broadening the tax base. I think that we are starting to get a clearer picture of where we are going in terms of the budget. There might be a way to get these businesses and these very rich taxpayers to pay their fair share, thus achieving the very objectives you have been talking about since this House resumed its business.

Clearly, Mr. Speaker, and I will end my comment on that, there is a need for effective spending control. The Auditor General of Canada did mention a certain laxness about the budget when he tabled his last report. But to suggest such drastic cuts, across the board, do you not think that this could affect the poorer taxpayers or the middle-income earners who are already overburdened by a tax system that has become unbearable, especially since 1984? I put the question to the hon. member.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

3:45 p.m.

Reform

Jim Abbott Reform Kootenay East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question because it gives me an opportunity to speak to some of the confusion that the member refers to.

There seems to be a lack of ability of being able to get hold of our documents from the election campaign. I would be very happy to provide them to any member in the House. We are not talking about uniform cuts of 10, 12 or 15 per cent. We are not talking about lateral cuts.

We are talking about selectively making sure that we have the ability to be able to fund exactly the people at the end of the member's question to which he was referring. They are the most disadvantaged within our society.

If we do not have the resources or the funds, truly it will be those who cannot take care of themselves who will be disadvantaged. Therefore we have a very specific program that I would be very happy to share.

Let us take a look at the overall principle that has been very clearly put out by other members of the Reform Party in this debate. It is that 25 cents out of every dollar put out by the government goes out as an interest payment for overspending we have already done. That money is gone. There is no way of recovering that money.

Even if we were to take all of the cost of running the government, fire every member of Parliament, let every civil servant go and shut down the entire government we would still not be able to balance the overspending by the government.

With respect to the members of the BQ, when the party is talking about protecting social programs, I suggest that they also give consideration to how they are going to protect the social programs unless they are going to be prepared to selectively make sure that people who have the most needs are protected.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

3:50 p.m.

Reform

Lee Morrison Reform Swift Current—Maple Creek—Assiniboia, SK

Mr. Speaker, a former member once told me that I would probably be making my maiden speech to an almost empty House. I did not believe him. This must be what it feels like to address an NDP election rally.

Mr. Speaker, I wish to begin by congratulating you on your appointment. I would also like to congratulate all hon. members for their election to this House. It is my earnest hope that in spite of the philosophical gulf that separates some of us that we will be able to sit down and reason together to address the problems, the almost overwhelming problems, that are facing us.

I want to sincerely thank the people who sent me here, the electors of Swift Current-Maple Creek-Assiniboia. I made only two election promises to them: to faithfully represent them and their views in this place; and to work with every means at my disposal toward the restoration of fiscal sanity in this country.

Swift Current-Maple Creek-Assiniboia is a western rural constituency. The majority of my constituents are people who take their living from the land: farmers, ranchers, coal miners and people who work in the oil patch, the sort of people who political, cultural and media elitists sometimes dismiss as rednecks. I have been called a redneck myself and it is a label I wear with considerable pride.

What is a redneck? A redneck is someone who does not belong to all the right clubs and who does not subscribe to trendy social and political doctrines. We rednecks strongly believe in the concept of public service, that governments, civil servants, politicians and political parties exist to serve the people and not the other way around. We believe that individual rights are sacred, that they supersede group rights, and moreover that you cannot protect and enhance the rights of some groups at the expense of other groups. Rights are indivisible.

We believe in the virtues of hard work and personal enterprise. We strongly believe that the producers of real wealth are entitled to keep a reasonable share of the fruits of their labours, that their standard of living should not be lower than that enjoyed by the multitudes of non-producers who the taxman requires them to carry on their backs.

Taxation in this country is so high that working people are beginning to have difficulty differentiating between taxmen and highwaymen.

We believe in the spirit of community service. It made our communities liveable long before the tentacles of central government began to strangle us a couple of generations ago. Neighbours helping neighbours.

We tend to speak the Queen's English without embellishment. Among my friends and neighbours even in this day and age it is not at all uncommon to hear such phrases as: "It's a deal," or: "That is none of your business".

I have staked out my philosophical position. I believe that it fairly represents the views of the people who sent me here. However, there are a few people, a very few, in Swift Current-Maple Creek-Assiniboia who are as politically correct as any hon. member might wish and I shall never forget that it is my duty to represent them, too.

The future of our country appears more bleak now than at any time since the second world war. The former government has left us a legacy of debt, deficit and national disunity for which the Progressive Conservative Party has been consigned to well-deserved oblivion. However, we must never forget nor allow the government to forget that seeds of these problems were sown by Liberal governments in the 1970s. The PCs watered and fertilized these weeds but they did not plant them.

Therefore when I realized that we face 177 Liberal members my heart sunk a little but then I remembered that more than half of them are like me. They are new to this place and they bear no responsibility for the disastrous Trudeau years. I optimistically hope and expect that many of them will have fresh new ideas. They did not write the speech from the throne which is remarkably short on new ideas and contains no serious initiatives to control the deficit. Perhaps that shortcoming will be rectified when the government presents its first budget.

If the government does make a serious effort to kill the deficit monster, I pray that the weapon of choice will be a knife to cut costs and not a gun to extract more taxes from the people.

In Swift Current-Maple Creek-Assiniboia with our farm economy flat on its back we are very dependent on fuel production for our economic survival. We have several small oil fields, some natural gas and one of the biggest coal mines in the country.

For more than three years federal politicians, including some members of the present government, have been musing about the imposition of a carbon tax, a tax on fossil fuels which would be cleverly disguised as an environmental levy.

An independent study commissioned by the government last year indicated that a carbon tax high enough to effectively inhibit the use of fossil fuels would adversely affect almost every measure of economic activity, including the gross domestic product, the level of industrial investment, consumer price index and the unemployment rate.

All we need in Saskatchewan is another fuel tax for our hard-pressed farmers. Thanks to taxes, including a 12 cent per litre federal tax, fuel produced and refined in Regina can already be purchased in Montana 50 miles from my home for two-thirds of what I pay.

I mentioned our coal mine. Its entire annual output of 3.6 million tonnes is sold to one customer, the Poplar River Power Station at Coronach. A tax on that coal would increase the consumer cost of electricity not only in Swift Current-Maple Creek-Assiniboia but throughout Saskatchewan.

Meanwhile electricity costs in Quebec with mostly hydroelectric generation and in Ontario with its massive nuclear stations would be scarcely affected. It is the national energy policy all over again but wrapped in the fuzzy green blanket of environmentalism.

I am not day-dreaming. I may be having a nightmare, but I am not day-dreaming. The rumours of an impending carbon tax are persistent and they are consistent with statements made by the hon. Minister of Finance when he sat on this side of the House.

The second energy industry nightmare, and this one applies more to Alberta than to my constituency, is that government will move to restrict natural gas exports, thus strangling the most vibrant sector of the Canadian economy but creating a market surplus and forcing down prices in Ontario and Quebec where the votes are.

In closing I wish to reiterate my party's position that the path to effective deficit reduction is through spending cuts, not through tax increases. During the election campaign Reform made two dozen deficit reduction proposals. No doubt many of them would be ideologically unacceptable to the government but surely not all of them.

Last October 25 the people of Canada clearly demanded a change of direction. The government has a clear mandate. It has an obligation to take action. If it follows the course of least resistance the bumbling course of the last 20 years and this country with all of its enormous promise and potential finally gurgles down the drain, this government will never be forgiven-never.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

4 p.m.

Liberal

John Bryden Liberal Hamilton—Wentworth, ON

Mr. Speaker, I quite enjoyed the hon member's remarks. They help me indeed in understanding a lot of things. I must say also though that I am one of those new Liberal MPs the hon. member mentioned in his remarks. There are some things I do not quite understand and I hope the hon. member can clarify them for me.

I have heard consistently through the day from other hon. members of the Reform Party that the Reform Party appears to be universally against higher taxes. Indeed the proposal, as the hon. member has said, is to lower taxes. Juxtaposed against this consistent theme is the idea that MPs should take a 10 per cent salary cut. I am quite interested by this juxtaposition.

My question therefore for the hon. member is when we put these two things together, am I to understand that the hon. member and the party of which he is a member would support a 10 per cent tax surcharge on all those earning $60,000 or more?

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

4 p.m.

Reform

Lee Morrison Reform Swift Current—Maple Creek—Assiniboia, SK

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question. The answer to the question is no, of course not. We do not advocate or agree with the increase of taxes of any kind on anybody.

When I talk about members of this House taking a 10 per cent, and I am one of them, we are doing this as a gesture to set an example to this government to cut spending. This is what I have been saying over and over again. Cut spending.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

4 p.m.

Liberal

John Harvard Liberal Winnipeg—St. James, MB

Tell the truth, not all of you.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

4 p.m.

Reform

Lee Morrison Reform Swift Current—Maple Creek—Assiniboia, SK

To my knowledge, all of us, but you are talking-

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

4 p.m.

Liberal

John Harvard Liberal Winnipeg—St. James, MB

I just want you to tell the truth. You stand there so sanctimonious-

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

4 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

I know there is a tremendous amount of interest in today's debate and some strong views on either side, but I would remind hon. members to direct their comments to the Chair, please.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

4 p.m.

Reform

Lee Morrison Reform Swift Current—Maple Creek—Assiniboia, SK

Mr. Speaker, I believe that it is the custom of this House that one does not accuse other members of not telling the truth. Is this not correct?

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

4 p.m.

Liberal

John Harvard Liberal Winnipeg—St. James, MB

I said tell the truth.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

4 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

Yes, there is a tradition in this House that we regard each other of course as we are, honourable members.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

4 p.m.

Reform

Lee Morrison Reform Swift Current—Maple Creek—Assiniboia, SK

Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member would wish to come over and audit my books he will find that I have indeed taken this cut-

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

4 p.m.

Liberal

John Harvard Liberal Winnipeg—St. James, MB

I did not suggest you did not.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

4 p.m.

Reform

Lee Morrison Reform Swift Current—Maple Creek—Assiniboia, SK

As to any other members of my caucus, I have not audited their books, but to my knowledge they have taken it. That is all I know. If the hon. member has other knowledge, then I think he should present it to me.

Was there a question attached to this or was it just a heckle? Apparently there was no question.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

4 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

The question or the comment came originally from the member for Hamilton-Wentworth.

There are a few minutes left in questions and comments. The hon. member for Durham.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

4 p.m.

Liberal

Alex Shepherd Liberal Durham, ON

Mr. Speaker, I liked the presentation from the member for Swift Current-Maple Creek-Assiniboia.

I note he mentions in his dissertation the debt structure of Canada. I note the provincial debt of Saskatchewan is one of the highest per capita in this country. It seems to me that did not occur with the auspices of any Liberal support.

Also, I am very concerned about the aspect of cutting expenditures. I think everyone in this country wants to do that. I note one of the biggest expenditures that we have currently is subsidies to grain farmers. I would like to know what the hon. member's orientation is to that.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

4 p.m.

Reform

Lee Morrison Reform Swift Current—Maple Creek—Assiniboia, SK

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his comments. The Reform Party is on record as wanting to phase out all subsidies to all sectors of the economy, including grain farmers, but only in a step-by-step program with everyone else. There is hardly anyone in this country, probably including me, if I look back far enough, who is not getting a subsidy. I would suspect almost every member in this House if they have private business interests is getting a subsidy of some sort. We are opposed to that.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

4 p.m.

An hon. member

Speak for yourself.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

4:05 p.m.

Reform

Lee Morrison Reform Swift Current—Maple Creek—Assiniboia, SK

Check it out carefully, sir. I think the hon. member will find that we are all on the take, not because we want to be but because this is the way the system has grown. This monster has been created.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

4:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

George S. Rideout Liberal Moncton, NB

Ask him to withdraw. That is shameful.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

4:05 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

I regret I did not hear the comments of the member for Swift Current-Maple Creek-Assiniboia. I would ask for the co-operation of all members that if they want to seek the floor they do so on a point of order.

The time has expired.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

Dianne Brushett Liberal Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured that I have been asked today to rise in this House on behalf of my constituents in Cumberland-Colchester.

The roots of my constituents run deep into the history of Canada. Cumberland-Colchester contributed two Fathers of Confederation, Sir Charles Tupper and Sir Adams George Archibald. Sir Charles served Canada briefly as Prime Minister. My home town of Truro is the birthplace of that outstanding Canadian, Robert Stanfield.

Cumberland-Colchester contributed many of its young men in service and in many cases ultimate sacrifice for Canada in two world wars. Many veterans of the North Nova Highlanders were in that historic assault that began the liberation of western Europe a half century ago. Fort Cumberland, the first historic site one sees as one crosses into Nova Scotia from New Brunswick, has witnessed clashed between many nations. The early struggles were between the Micmac nation and British settlers. The treaty of 1752 finally brought peace and one of Nova Scotia's principal Micmac communities, Millbrook, is adjacent to Truro today.

In 1755, the Acadians, Cumberland-Colchester's first European settlers were forced into exile because they would not swear allegiance to the British crown during the seven years war with France. Some of the Acadian families through great diligence ultimately did return. Many of their present day descendants farm along the Minas basin in the communities of Joggins and Minudie. The famous dykes the 17th century ancestors built to reclaim salt marshland are still in place today, protecting farmland from incursions of the sea. Just over 20 years later, we had more civil unrest at Fort Cumberland when Colonel Jonathan Eddy of the continental army tried to foment an uprising on behalf of the American revolution among the New England settlers who replaced the French Acadians. If Eddy had succeeded, and he might very well have, Canada today would not have an Atlantic coast.

As well, Cumberland-Colchester has many black citizens with a long, rich history. Some of their ancestors helped build the Halifax Citadel as freed men from Jamaica. History knows them as the Maroons. Others came back later as black loyalists and still others came on the underground railway as fugitive slaves. Since Truro became an important railway junction many blacks settled in the town as railway workers.

As I travel through my constituency from the coastal communities of Pugwash, Wallace, Parrsboro and Advocate to the larger centres of Springhill, Truro and Amherst, the land is as diverse as its people. Its rich history is exhibited in the culture of its people and the beauty of the landscape. It is this land and these people that I love so much. I have a heartfelt thank you for each one of them for the honour and privilege of representing them in this magnificent House.

For many of my constituents the last 10 years have been the cruelest decade. They have witnessed a continuous erosion of government services that are basic needs to our rural lifestyle. Small communities across Canada, battered by economic

hardships, are struggling to retain their post offices, banks, rail lines and bus services.

We must remember that when our rural communities fail, these people end up in cities, many of them in homeless, pathetic situations. All statistics indicate that in the long run it is less expensive to live in rural communities. What this government needs to offer is a certain minimum level of service to ensure the survival of rural Canada.

For rural Canadians the community post office is probably the only federal presence in their lives. If you remove their local post office, as Canada Post has done in over 1,400 small communities, including seven in my riding, you virtually say to them: "You do not matter".

I was struck by the Governor General's remarks last week that public trust in the institution of government is essential to the attainment of the government's agenda for Canada. I am pleased that my government is committed to maintaining rural postal service as I have fought to save the Truro post office and restore dignity to rural Canada.

My constituents in Cumberland-Colchester are very sensitive to anything that threatens their standards and values. Until very recently they lived in communities where doors could be left unlocked and where vandalism, theft, murder, assault and robbery were very rare. Unfortunately that is no longer true.

Their concern about crime centres on the Young Offenders Act. Many believe that the Young Offenders Act is not working, that it does not deter nor does it reform young criminals. Above all else, they believe the Young Offenders Act must be changed to give the victims real justice.

In 1989 the family and friends of Andrea Rogers founded the Truro branch of Citizens United for Safety and Justice. Their main objective is to ensure that the safety of children and all innocent citizens of Canada takes precedence over the rights of criminals.

A hit and run driver in North Vancouver killed Andrea Rogers. Subsequently caught and convicted the driver, a young offender, received a suspended sentence of 100 hours of community service, one year's probation and lost his drivers licence for two years.

I would like to thank the parents of Andrea Rogers, Citizens United for Safety and Justice and the Truro branch of the Canadian Federation of University Women for their recommended changes to the Young Offenders Act. I wish to assure them that I have presented their recommendations to the justice minister and will defend them vigorously in this House.

I want us to meet our campaign commitment to bring meaningful gun control to Canada. We must closely consult with the provinces and respected shooting sporting groups so that we can disarm the criminal and the irresponsible without undue hardship on responsible, law-abiding gun owners.

I therefore welcome the government's stated intent to restore the Law Reform Commission. I trust it will also have the promised mandate to consult widely with the public on sentencing, parole and other criminal justice issues.

We Atlantic Canadians are perceived to have a deep-seated economic problems despite the fact that we have thousands of successful small businesses as well as some outstanding corporate successes such as the Sobeys, McCains and Irvings. Our problem is not a lack of enterprise, it is the lack of a sufficient capital pool.

Ironically, Atlantic Canadians do generate considerable capital through their savings, pension contributions and investments. Unfortunately this capital flows into funds that leave the region. That is why I welcome the government's pledge to work with our national financial institutions to improve access to capital for small business and long term job creation.

I applaud the throne speech proposal to foster technology partnerships between our universities, research institutions and the private sector. In my riding the Nova Scotia Agricultural College has been doing this for some time. Not only has this college provided expertise to Atlantic Canada farmers and food processors, but to developing countries and the eastern European nations as well.

The Nova Scotia Agricultural College bachelor of science degree in agriculture is widely respected and now the college proposes a new bachelor of science degree in aquaculture. I applaud the staff for the foresight in recognizing that as the marine fishery continues its decline, there is a considerable opportunity for Atlantic Canada to get its share of the world's aquaculture production, which by the year 2000 is expected to provide 25 per cent of the total fish harvest. I also salute the staff for their vision in planning new educational opportunities for our young people in a growing field with potential for real jobs. The aquaculture project is very much in the spirit of our government's commitment to promoting training and new technologies that I would like to publicly support it and ask my colleagues to do the same.

Cumberland-Colchester farmers accept with good grace the fact that the new GATT rules mean they will have to eventually alter the marketing structures under which they now operate. The north shore lobstermen know they must increase the carapace size of their catch to maintain a sustainable lobster fishery. Woodlot owners know that they cannot realistically hope to have

a new federal-provincial forestry development agreement similar to the one they have now.

Coming from a business background I always equate government to business. Just as business must stay close to its customers, so must this government stay close to the people we serve. Just as a business must have high quality employees, so must this government have members of integrity. And just as employee trust is essential to a company's success, so is the electorate's trust vital to our government's success.

This is a very exciting time to be a member of Parliament. I have the highest praise for our Prime Minister for scheduling all-party debates on major issues before and not after a decision is made. We saw this open process this week when debate was held on cruise missile testing and peacekeeping, and I look forward to the pre-budget debates next week. If we stick to the philosophy whereby economic policy must sustain environmental policy, must sustain social policy, then with continued open debate and responsible public spending we will succeed, we will win the trust of the electorate.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

4:15 p.m.

Bloc

René Canuel Bloc Matapédia—Matane, QC

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate my hon. colleague for speaking about rural Canada. She seems to be very fond of small communities. She also spoke about post offices and it is true that the post office in a small community is a vitally important institution.

In my riding we have the Ralliement populaire . Before that we had Opération dignité the goal of which was to save small communities, because if small communities are allowed to die out, surely the same fate will befall small towns.

Therefore I share my hon. colleague's sentiments and she can rest assured that she has an ally in me.

Now, regarding the question of post offices, one of my constituents called to tell me that new postal outlets were still opening up. And while there have been no further post office closures per se since a moratorium has or will be imposed, I would like the hon. member to tell me if in fact it is true that new postal outlets are opening up?

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

4:15 p.m.

Liberal

Dianne Brushett Liberal Cumberland—Colchester, NS

I thank the member for his question. Across the country people are concerned with closures of rural post offices. It was a mandate of our government to cease closing post offices. As he will recall, shortly after this government was elected the Minister of Public Works stopped the closing of post offices. A freeze was put on the closure of post offices. It is our mandate to ensure that freeze stays on post office closures until we have a complete look at restoring rural services across Canada.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

4:15 p.m.

Reform

Jack Ramsay Reform Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would like as well to congratulate the hon. member for what I thought was a wonderful speech. She can rest assured that she has much support for what she said in the Reform Party caucus.

It goes to show what I have believed for some time. It is that the reform that is sweeping across the country certainly goes beyond the borders of the Reform Party of Canada.

I would like to ask the hon. member if she would be prepared to elaborate her thoughts, time permitting, on two areas that she touched on, the Young Offenders Act and the gun control bill. Would she be willing to share with us her thoughts about the amendment to these two bills?

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Dianne Brushett Liberal Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for his thoughts that rural post offices transcend party lines and that all parties have the common thread in this House for us to seek to serve the people of Canada in rural areas because they are the backbone of this country.

Thinking of the Young Offenders Act and gun control, many constituents in my riding have brought forward their own thoughts. I spoke of the young teenage girl whose parents live in my riding. She was going to university in Vancouver and was struck and killed by a young offender. As I said in my speech there were very small reprisals for that offence.

They have brought forward numerous recommendations on the Young Offenders Act and on gun control and I believe without going into great depth that I am presenting them to the Minister of Justice and I will debate them in this House when those debates come forward. The whole purpose is to assure justice and some consideration for the victim and to ensure that we rehabilitate the young offender and not incarcerate him for a long period for a life of crime. He must receive proper punishment to suit the crime.

In terms of gun control we would like to not have a blanket obliteration of the use of firearms but let us be more severe in punishing those who offend rather than renege on all firearms across the board.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

4:20 p.m.

Bloc

Pierrette Venne Bloc Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, unfortunately the throne speech was silent on two particularly important issues. But, before addressing these issues, I would like to thank my constituents for their majority support of the sovereignty option in Quebec.

Saint-Hubert voters have unequivocally sanctioned my decision to join the Bloc Quebecois on August 12, 1991. My decision was endorsed by 56,6 percent of the electorate, or 15,000 more votes than my Liberal opponent.

The riding of Saint-Hubert is a high-tech aeronautical engineering and airport centre. Located on Montreal's south shore with an 84 per cent francophone majority, it includes the cities of Saint-Hubert and Lemoyne and part of Longueuil, as well as the city of Greenfield Park with its large and dynamic anglophone population.

I want to speak for every one of my constituents in my response to the throne speech. This speech is a universal disappointment because the economic solutions it proposes are unsatisfactory and because it lacks a clear message for the unemployed and for low-income Canadians.

In his speech, the Opposition leader denounced the lack of vision of this government, which is unable to give Canadians hope for a real economic recovery.

Others before me have already listed the wide gaps left in the throne speech with regard to taxation, public finances and the economy.

I want to deal with two questions raised by the national conscience, on which this government does not seem to have a position. Although we are concerned about the economy, social issues are equally pressing.

While Canadians and Quebecers are impatiently calling for vigorous state intervention on crime, the throne speech bitterly disappoints us by not addressing the urgent need to control firearms. Existing legislation, even laws that were recently improved, must be amended in order to meet objectives.

The throne speech was full of good intentions. However, where are the promised positive, concrete measures aimed at increasing public safety and crime prevention, as mentioned in the throne speech? Why have they not been identified?

The number of family incidents involving shotguns, pistols and revolvers is increasing. Women continue to be the most common victims of deadly assaults with prohibited or restricted weapons. Handguns are still the preferred weapon for committing suicide. There is a general consensus that the amendments brought about by Bill C-17 on gun control were a step in the right direction, but Canadians and Quebecers are telling us that we have not gone far enough.

Despite the new regulations calling for improved screening with respect to firearms acquisition, it is disturbing that civilians are still allowed to own semi-automatic weapons. Most of the firearms in circulation are not registered and all a person needs to acquire a pistol or a revolver is a certificate which can be obtained free of charge.

An Angus Reid poll conducted on September 15 and 16, 1993, revealed broad public support for the registration of all firearms. Such a move is supported by 86 per cent of all Canadians, including 91 per cent of all Quebecers, while 70 per cent of Canadians, and 79 per cent of Quebecers want an outright ban on assault weapons and handguns.

Where in the throne speech can we find any indication of a willingness on the part of the government to address these urgent expectations and to ease the concerns of citizens across the country? As we all know, the legislative priorities of this House are economic in nature given the serious hardships experienced by Canadians and Quebecers. However, fighting crime should top the list of the government's major concerns, particularly because of the social tensions and personal dramas stemming from the state of the economy.

Even with the recent amendments to the Criminal Code, it is still a simple matter to acquire a firearm and the cost involved is merely symbolic. This House should take courageous steps, setting aside partisanship, and give Canadians the protection they want. It is estimated that more than six million handguns are currently in circulation in Canada. This is indeed a frightening statistic.

What we need is a universal registration system for all types of firearms. The sale, trade and resale of weapons needs to be regulated. A genuine policy should be formulated for training dealers, who should be required to pay licensing fees to finance control programs. Restrictions should be placed on the acquisition of restricted weapons and users of these types of weapons should be required to obtain an annual permit.

A permit should also be required to purchase ammunition. All citizens should have the opportunity to oppose all applications for permits to acquire or carry weapons. A notice of application should be published in advance in the newspapers, as happens in the case of several kinds of licenses, including liquor licenses.

All automatic and semi-automatic weapons should be banned. Strict minimum sentences should be imposed on persons convicted of possession of illegal weapons. Local registrars should be given mandatory investigative powers. Finally, and most importantly, the cost of permits should be increased to give the provinces more money with which to enforce these controls, because without them, even the best of laws will remain nothing more than wishful thinking.

Had all of these measures been in place, I am confident that the Auditor General would not have made the comments he did in his report about weapons smuggling.

Our American neighbours are now realizing with dismay that the law of the Old West has produced an armed, defensive and criminalized society instead of protecting honest citizens.

It can never be said often enough: in two years, firearms have killed more Americans than the entire Vietnam war.

In the U.S., the dramatic figure of 24,000 murders committed with handguns every year has impelled the Clinton administration to pass new regulations to control the sale of weapons. In Canada, murders and deaths due to firearms have not reached the magnitude of the American slaughter, but every year 1,400 Canadians are shot dead.

Even with its flagrant flaws, our firearm control system, as opposed to the free movement of weapons American-style, makes all the difference when we measure the quality of life in Canadian cities and helps more than other factors to strengthen the fabric of Canadian life. And even if a single life is spared because an irresponsible or desperate violent individual was unable to acquire a firearm, we will have achieved our goal. As additional evidence, a July 1992 report by the Research and Statistics Directorate of the Department of Justice establishes a close correlation between the number of firearms in circulation and the suicide rate per 100,000 Canadians.

According to the authors of the report, since the adoption, in 1977, of legislative and regulatory measures to control firearms, the suicide rate has dropped substantially. We have here numerous briefs and reports establishing a direct link between owning a firearm and using it for illegal purposes resulting in loss of life. The Department of Justice has all these reports.

We must now go beyond these reports unanimously repeating the need for tighter controls. We must legislate to protect democracy. We must protect our democracy, which is not based on the force of arms but on the people's will allowing us to assemble in this House to express our differences in a civilized fashion.

The report published, a few days after the election, by the Baird Royal Commission unexpectedly set up by the previous government raised another social issue that is less current but equally relevant. How can this government totally ignore the widespread public criticism levelled at the Baird Report tabled by the Royal Commission on New Reproductive Technologies?

We have all seen that this Commission's mandate only led to a report that was outdated the day it came out and whose conclusions were widely criticized. We would have liked the government to tell us whether budget restrictions are still at the top of its priorities, to give us a policy statement on the futility of allocating public funds to such royal commissions.

The throne speech announces prenatal nutrition programs for low-income pregnant women. But did we hear any reference to a global policy on fertility that could be based on or move away from the report's conclusions?

On the positive side, this Commission, which tabled its report two years late, drew our attention to recent developments and warned us against abuse by big business and dangerous practices calling for immediate action. Its report also proposes measures encroaching on provincial jurisdiction in the health-care sector. The establishment of a federal agency to deal with the whole issue of regulating reproductive technologies would be akin to the proverbial fly in the constitutional ointment.

We think that this flawed report, produced at a prohibitive cost of $28 million in these tough economic times, is already outdated by new scientific facts.

This government has not yet denounced the Baird Report. There is every reason to believe that it will act like previous governments, preferring to leave it to a royal commission to deal with urgent questions raised by new social situations.

Infertility is a big issue for many women and the couples it affects. It is lived differently from one province to another and from one social milieu to another. It is a current issue which the industry and its powerful lobbies are trying to use for purposes completely unrelated to people's legitimate aspiration to reproduce in dignity and with respect for the person.

We believe that the government must act quickly to avoid legislating later when faced with a fait accompli . On these issues and all other social, economic and political concerns of Canadians, we were waiting for signs, messages and evidence of a real intention to act from the government. But with all due respect for all members of this Parliament, I would ask you to note my deep dissatisfaction with the governing party's abdication of its social responsibilities, its premature fatigue when faced with the government financial crisis and its obvious lack of perspective on all the expectations of Canadians and the regions.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

4:35 p.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Reform Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the hon. member about her firearms registration proposal. While I agree there must be changes to the gun legislation, does the member realize what she is asking the government to do? Does the hon. member not realize that such actions have been taken by other jurisdictions? I refer to New Zealand where it resulted in a total breakdown of the registration process costing the taxpayers millions of dollars and a logistical problem that was insurmountable.

Would the member please advise this House which study she is referring to that would back up her position to register all firearms. Realistically that is an impossible task. In effect would it not violate the right to own property?

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

4:35 p.m.

Bloc

Pierrette Venne Bloc Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I think that you yourself were on the firearms committee when we discussed firearms registration. The gun lobby kept coming and saying that we could not register all firearms because it would cost too much. However, I have firearms at home, so I can tell you how I bought them. With my firearms acquisition certificate, of course, I went to a gun dealer to buy the weapon I wanted. He immediately entered my firearms acquisition certificate number in a register, as well as a description of the weapon. Why could he not then simply record it on an electronic network connecting all of Canada, or just a provincial system, because it could also be done provincially, or, if you prefer, a duplicate could be made and sent to a central firearms registry. It is not expensive. The argument that an electronic system would cost too much does not stand up; it is completely wrong to begin with.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

4:35 p.m.

Liberal

Morris Bodnar Liberal Saskatoon—Dundurn, SK

Mr. Speaker, with respect to the comments of the hon. member, I come from the province of Saskatchewan where people cherish their independence very much and certainly do not appreciate the interference of government at most stages, including taxation, but I will not get into that.

Since most deaths occur in Canada on highways and not from the use of firearms, and many injuries in this country result not from the use of firearms but from the use of knives, are we not placing the wrong emphasis on further trying to control firearms? Are there not diminishing returns where further legislation will not result in further reduction of crime by the use of firearms?

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

4:40 p.m.

Bloc

Pierrette Venne Bloc Saint-Hubert, QC

At the beginning of his speech, the hon. member said no new taxes were to be expected. I was not talking about taxes. I was talking about permits, the purchase of permits and the fact that we always seem to be in favour of user fees. Currently, we simply allow people to buy guns. Right now, all you have to do is get a $50 firearm certificate valid for five years and you can buy an unlimited number of firearms. It is a little much to ask of those who eventually have to pay for the people who want to buy firearms.

All those permits, the permits to carry a gun or to own a gun, all of those firearm permits are free, except for the restricted firearm certificate. All the others are free.

Why could firearm owners not pay for those permits, and I mean pay a fair price for them, not just a token amount of $50 for five years? That is totally ridiculous.

The hon. member voiced another reservation concerning the fact that more people die of injuries caused by knives or cutting and stabbing weapons that by guns and firearms. I would like to see the statistics on that, because that is not what we heard in committee.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

4:40 p.m.

Reform

Lee Morrison Reform Swift Current—Maple Creek—Assiniboia, SK

Mr. Speaker, I was interested in the comment of the hon. member for Saint-Hubert on the ease with which an FAC can be obtained under the new legislation.

The problem I have to deal with the most in my constituency and the greatest single source of complaints I am getting is in the difficulty and the delay in getting FACs under this new act. I get more on that than I do on UIC, on income tax, on just about everything else put together. It is taking, believe it or not, up to five months to get an FAC which is supposed to be available in 28 days. When these people phone the authorities concerned, they simply say that there is a backlog and they cannot do it.

The other problem which is going to arise very soon is this question of the tests that have to be taken to determine whether or not one is suitable to have an FAC.

Most people in my part of the country own firearms, or have owned firearms from the time they were about 12 years old and they are quite expert and experienced in their handling and use. Yet anyone of those people will now have to go to some bureaucrat who probably knows less about firearms than they do and take a government sponsored course which will cost them a few hundred dollars before they will be able to get a new FAC. This is absurd.

When anyone tells me that this new law is working well, I have to from my experience take a lot of issue with that.

The other thing I would like to mention perhaps is more philosophical. The hon. member does have a certain mindset which is very common in this country, particularly in urban areas, with respect to the restriction of owning firearms by common citizens.

I spent many years of my life in Third World countries. This is basically the way it is done in the Third World. The only people who own firearms or who can easily get permission to own firearms are criminals and agents of the state and it sometimes is difficult to distinguish between them, but that is the way it is.

I would rather live in freedom in a country in which we do not have big brother looking over our shoulders at every respect than to live in one of those peaceful paradises that I have in which the ordinary citizen really does not have the right to that most basic of all human rights: to own arms to defend himself and his family.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

4:45 p.m.

Liberal

John Harvard Liberal Winnipeg—St. James, MB

Maybe you should move to east Los Angeles.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

4:45 p.m.

Bloc

Pierrette Venne Bloc Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, my colleague certainly has a well-developed sense of humour, but I would like to tell you about the famous 28-day waiting period.

In Quebec now, applications are mostly processed on time. Since the hon. member is from Saskatchewan, I think he should put pressure in that area. In my province, anyway, it is going very well.

As for the firearms handling certificate, in Quebec, we have a hunter's certificate. To go hunting, you need that certificate, which is good for two years. So that is a difference between Saskatchewan and our province, because it seems to me that they do not need a hunting certificate, since as he said, people have gone hunting for years without ever taking a course on handling firearms. In our province, you must take a course on handling firearms to obtain the certificate.

In closing, I wanted to say that there may be big differences between his province and ours in the way the laws are applied, unfortunately.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

4:45 p.m.

Liberal

Rey D. Pagtakhan Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, first allow me to echo the sentiments of my colleagues who have risen before me in this House and congratulate you on your appointment.

This new government faces a great number of daunting tasks, not the least of which is how to give Canadians a reason to believe in the dedication, perseverance and sound ethical judgment of their elected leaders.

Each of us was sent to this House because our constituents believe that we are the men and women most firmly committed to their concerns, their needs and their demands. However, we are more than our individual selves and we are more than our collective individual voices. We were elected to represent in this Parliament the collective voice of our constituents reconciling their competing and at times conflicting visions with the others.

The aim of Canada's House of Commons is not to serve the selfish and parochial interests of any one person or province to the detriment of others. It is to advance the well-being and prosperity of the whole country and therefore of all Canadians.

We were elected on this side of the House to fulfil the Liberal vision which was clearly articulated in our election platform, the red book "Creating Opportunity".

Everyday in my riding of Winnipeg North I talk with honest, hard working people eager to put their faith in hard working and honest politicians. For five solid years, from 1988 when I was first elected until last fall's election, I had fear.

I had a fear that 1.6 million Canadians, the unemployed in this country would remain jobless. I had a fear that the poor, particularly children, would continue to depend on social assistance. I had a fear that the sick, the elderly and all Canadians for that matter would continue to face the consequence of a threatened medicare system and the uncertainty that goes with it. I had a fear that the minorities, be it due to race, colour or creed and the disabled would continue to face unfair treatment and discrimination in the workplace.

I had a fear that the infrastructure of cities and municipalities would continue to decay without help from the federal government. I had a fear that the safety and security of persons and property would continue to be in peril. I had a fear that honesty and integrity in government would never be restored. I had a fear that Canada would close its doors to immigrants.

Last but not least I had a fear that Canada my adopted country and home to some 27 million Canadians was on the brink of national collapse. However, I had always hoped that my fears would not come to pass.

Now I am certain that there is much hope for this great nation. I have hope because this government has already taken significant strides to enhance its integrity by rejecting many of the unessential privileges parliamentarians had exercised for so many years during their tenures as public servants.

I have hope because each political party represented in this House has already voiced its commitment to seeking consultation from the public on a wide range of issues of great national importance.

I have hope because the finance minister has already made good on this commitment by talking to people across the country in an effort to formulate a federal budget that is both sensible and sensitive. I am confident that the minister will continue in the short number of days remaining before budget day to consult with all Canadians from all walks of life.

We must never let ourselves forget that each time we make fiscal decisions here in Ottawa we may be affecting the wallets and pocketbooks and the day to day budgets of individual citizens in ridings like yours and mine.

I have hope because this government promptly cancelled the questionable deal that was to lead to the privatization of portions of Toronto's Pearson airport.

I have hope because this government does not believe in allowing its leader to jet around in a $53 million VIP aircraft or a Porsche while many Canadians scramble to make both ends meet.

I have hope because this government has already put its infrastructure program into motion.

The moves we have made in the short time that has elapsed since the Liberals came to government have given me great hope. However, what assures me that we are on the road to recovery are our plans for the immediate future. It is our policies, ideals and blueprints for the years to come.

I am assured because we are committed to helping and supporting small and medium sized businesses that will create long term jobs in the country. I am assured because our plan to get youth working again will be realistic because we will be creating the youth corps service and national apprenticeship program. I am assured because this is a government that understands the importance of investing in people.

All Canadians use their work to varying degrees to define who they are. When they are not working their self esteem suffers, their relationships suffer and their dignity suffers.

I am assured that our health care system is now to remain as universal and free for all. I am assured because the speech from the throne reaffirmed our commitment and the plan to have a national forum on health care is underway. In fact, the plan to establish a centre of excellence for women's health and a prenatal program across the country is underway.

It was not long ago that in a moment of great anger I stood up in this House on behalf of one of my constituents and questioned whether the previous government had any heart at all. Today I am proud to stand before you. I am assured that this is a government with plenty of heart.

We are speaking for the first time in a long time the language of those we represent. In short our ideals are backed by plausible and realistic means of implementation.

We are also keenly aware that it is self-defeating to focus only on any one issue before us. The issue of the economy, social policies and the environment and many more are all interrelated and interdependent.

Mr. Speaker, I know you share with me the desire to see this Parliament mark a turning point in our great nation's history. I began by indicating the daunting task we all know the government has to face.

I mentioned the fears that plagued me during my first five years as a member of this House. Given those fears how is it possible for me to feel the hope and assurance I now feel after just a short period of time in government?

I have seen what we have accomplished so far. I know that we will follow through on our promises and thereby resolve the fears of Canadians. Give them jobs, reform and stabilize our institutions and in the end control the deficit.

Citizens will continue to demonstrate the kind of support that sent 177 Liberals to this House in October 1993. I hope that the people of Winnipeg North and Canadians everywhere sense that great changes are afoot.

The next four years will reveal a new kind of government, a new kind of leadership and a new Canada that is united, strong and prosperous and working for all Canadians today and preparing Canada for the 21st century.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

4:55 p.m.

Bloc

Ghislain Lebel Bloc Chambly, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is my first opportunity to speak in this House. I represent the riding of Chambly which, for those of you who do not know, is located on Montreal's south shore, between Mont Saint-Bruno and Mont Beloeil, along the Richelieu River, which flows from Lake Champlain into the St. Lawrence River.

I was listening to my colleague from Winnipeg North and, of course, his speech was in the best tradition of his party. I also realize that my hon. colleague was, it seems, almost traumatized by the previous Parliament in which he had the pleasure of serving as a member of the opposition.

When the hon. member for Winnipeg North talks about a new Canada, as a Quebecer I would like to ask him to clarify for me certain paragraph in the speech from the throne, and I quote:

The Government will work vigorously to fulfil its responsibilities to ensure that federalism meets the needs of Canadians, recognizing that all Canadians share in the responsibility for making Canada work. It will be the policy of the Government to seek to clarify the federal government's responsibilities in relation to those of other orders of government, to eliminate overlap and duplication, and to find better ways to provide services so that they represent the best value for taxpayers' dollars and respond to the real needs of people.

If this paragraph had been read to me outside this House, I could have easily believed, and with good reason, that it was written by the leader of my party. But since it comes from the government party, it is obviously a summary of their red book. My question to the hon. member is this: How can he reconcile his vision of Canada which he described earlier with his party's vision of a renewed Canada?

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

4:55 p.m.

Liberal

Rey D. Pagtakhan Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to respond to the hon. member's questions for which I thank the hon. member.

Certainly my vision of Canada that I just articulated is the very vision that we as Liberals have developed as we travelled around the country. We would like a Canada that exists for all Canadians irrespective of geography, race, colour or origin. Whether Canadians have been born in this country or whether they come from across the seas or across the oceans, we are all equal and ought to receive the benefits of our nation and

federalism would respond to the needs of Canadians. For that we must have federal institutions.

Institutions do not mean only buildings. Institutions refer to programs that we have in this country. Let me mention national medicare. That is the type of institution I see and the Liberals see that will continue to respond to all Canadians irrespective of geography and with no user fees to make it very specific.

There is the question of how we can avoid overlapping. This government has already announced its plan to eliminate trade barriers that in a sense also allow for duplication. We have plans to eliminate duplication so that small and medium sized businesses can thrive and thrive prosperously.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

5 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, may I begin by adding my voice to those of many others who have spoken to congratulate you upon your appointment as Speaker. May I observe that in the few days you have presided it is already evident through your leadership in the House that members will better achieve the objective we all share which is a forum of civility and decorum acting in the public interest.

I feel enormously proud to take my place in this Chamber as the representative of Etobicoke Centre. The riding I represent is a diverse and a vital one whose needs and strengths reflect to a great degree those of Canada in these challenging times. During the election campaign, as was the case with so many of my colleagues, I had the opportunity to visit over 30,000 doorways in Etobicoke Centre and among other things I learned first hand the extent to which Canadians everywhere feel strongly about the important justice issues of our day. For me it is a great privilege to be in this Chamber not only as the member of Parliament for my constituents but also as their representative in cabinet dealing with justice issues.

It has been said that justice is the first of the social virtues. In its absence all else seems contrived. When the scales are in balance the way is open for the best in our nature to emerge.

As Minister of Justice of Canada, I am fully aware of my duty to initiate the development of policies and proposals to strengthen our justice system, which without the shadow of a doubt is one of the best, most flexible and fairest in the world.

Canadians have a system of justice that is bilingual and drawn from two different legal systems; the international community considers it to be a model of tolerance, integrity and openness. Although two distinct legal systems are developing, at the same time, they serve to advance a single idea in Canada, the primacy of law.

During these past 10 weeks I have worked with members of the department of justice and my colleagues to identify the immediate priorities for this portfolio at this time.

I wish to take this opportunity to outline for the House at least in general terms the priorities which we see as the most urgent.

In recent weeks I have had the opportunity to meet with members of the parties opposite, or at least some of them, to discuss their perspectives with respect to justice matters. I have found that they have valuable perspectives, that I look forward to working with them and that we have really common objectives in the public service so far as justice issues are concerned. That will ensure that Canada has the best and most effective system of justice possible. I respect their perspectives and, as I say, I look forward to working with them.

The justice agenda I will describe today falls generally into three categories: first, measures to deal with violence and initiatives to prevent crime; second, proposals to ensure the law promotes equality in the diversity of today's Canada and provides for equal access to justice; and third, steps to modernize our laws so they reflect current values and meet the challenge of changing times.

Let me acknowledge at the outset that which must be evident. It will be impossible for us to achieve meaningful progress on any justice issues without collaboration with our provincial and territorial counterparts. So much that is on our agenda involves shared jurisdictions. It needs co-operative collaboration. We cannot succeed alone and I acknowledge that at the outset. I will work with my provincial counterparts in addressing the objectives which I will describe today.

Let me first deal with measures dealing with violence and initiatives to prevent crime. The speech from the throne contained a commitment to enhance community safety and crime prevention. Canadians are determined to preserve the peaceful, orderly and safe communities that reflect our society's values. One of Canada's defining characteristics is our deep sense of order and civility. Yet in a society that abhors crime and violence, there is increasing concern for the safe and peaceful communities we feel are being threatened by crime, and particularly violent crime.

The time has come for us to send the message loud and clear that violence in any form will not be tolerated. We shall not stand for it from any individual, from any group, of any age. Yet our response to the problems of crime and violence must also reflect the very values that we seek to preserve. We must not simply become harsh, although stern measures will sometimes be required. We must recognize and address the causes of crime and put appropriate emphasis on rehabilitation, on treatment where that is required.

Several recent and comprehensive studies have urged in the strongest terms that Canada develop a coherent national strategy for crime prevention.

Last year, the Standing Committee on Justice and the Solicitor General asked the federal government to take the lead and recommended that together with the provinces, territories and municipalities, it develop a national crime prevention strategy.

The special advisory committee on a Canadian strategy for community safety and crime prevention made the same recommendation. Crime prevention must take into account the fundamental causes of crime: poverty, sexual exploitation of children, family dysfunction, racial inequality and inefficient or underfunded social services.

Our government is determined to develop an integrated crime prevention strategy. Together with the other levels of government, the police, victims' groups and community organizations, we will make a priority of looking at the fundamental causes of criminal behaviour and eliminating them.

We will create a national crime prevention council and convene it at the earliest possible date to start preparing a comprehensive crime prevention strategy, and within that strategy, specific community based tactics to prevent crime. We will consult broadly on its mandate. We will ensure that it is not simply window dressing. We will make it meaningful. And we will need and we will appreciate the views of the members of all parties in this House as we put it together.

Turning now to another aspect of our response to violent crime, this government is determined to address squarely and openly the widespread concerns about the Young Offenders Act as it relates to violent crime among young people.

We will soon introduce legislation reflecting the commitments made during the election campaign to make specific changes to the statute: increased sentences for specific violent crime, the greater sharing of information about young offenders with those who need to know for reasons of safety, the creation of the category of dangerous youth offender for certain violent repeat offenders, adjustments to the provisions respecting transfers from youth to adult court and steps to ensure that treatment will be available for those young offenders who need it most.

At the same time, I intend also to initiate a thorough public review of the Young Offenders Act to ensure that it continues to serve the interests of justice in Canada. Canadians must be satisfied that the Young Offenders Act strikes the proper balance between, on the one hand, the protection of society, and on the other, recognition of the special needs of young persons in contact with the criminal justice system.

We will involve Parliament in this exercise of review in keeping with our commitments toward a consultative process contained in our election platform. As part of our review of the statute as a whole, we will have regard to the many helpful submissions that my department has received during the past few months as part of the public consultation process.

In addition, we shall demonstrate that Canada will not tolerate the manipulation and exploitation of young people by adults for criminal purposes. We will do this by encouraging law enforcement officials to make greater use of existing provisions of the Criminal Code which make it an offence to induce others to commit crime.

Still addressing the question of violent crime, I can tell the House that in the present session we will take steps to address concerns about the release of high-risk offenders into society at the end of their custodial terms.

Taking into account the imperatives of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, we shall find ways by which society can protect itself from individuals who may be unfit for release. In many cases this issue will arise at the intersection of the criminal justice system and the health care system. For that reason it will be essential for us to develop these responses in concert once again with our provincial counterparts and we will consult for that purpose with those officials.

The government will address the serious problem of violence against women and children, including domestic violence, not as a women's issue, but as a justice issue. We acknowledge that violence against women is linked to their lack of economic equality. I will work with others, among them the Secretary of State for the Status of Women, to develop and introduce measures to promote equality and safety for women, both in their homes and in public places.

In support of this commitment and as Minister of Justice, I will work with federal, provincial and territorial colleagues to introduce appropriate justice reforms. We shall sponsor public education programs to increase understanding of violence against women. We will increase levels of funding for transition houses that provide refuge for victims of domestic abuse. We shall introduce changes to the nature and effect of peace bonds and more effectively protect spouses from abusive partners. We shall work in collaboration with colleagues in the department of human resources to ensure that court ordered child support payments are made.

It makes little sense for a government that is having to come to grips with massive deficits to pay out annually extraordinary sums to single parents, mostly mothers, when they are the beneficiaries of court orders that are not being respected. We are determined to find a way to make those responsible for making payments under court orders comply with those obligations.

Finally in this category, the government will take steps to reflect the widespread public expectation that there will be stricter gun control in Canada. We shall act on our campaign commitments in that regard.

In co-operation with other departments, we will tackle the problem of illegal arms smuggling. We will see to it that better statistics are compiled on the criminal use of firearms. We will scrutinize the list of prohibited weapons to see if it should be added to. We will strengthen the current legislation which provides for a separate offense if a weapon is used for criminal purposes. But we will not however disregard the views of legitimate firearm owners who now have to meet certain requirements before purchasing such weapons.

We will review the types of weapons sold in Canada and we will consider measures to ensure that no weapon falls into the hands of criminals or unfit individuals.

The second broad category to which I wish to refer has to do with equality before the law. Equal access to justice and equal treatment in the justice system are fundamental principles in Canadian society, a society that is increasingly diverse. There is, however, mounting evidence that our justice system is falling far short of the high standards that Canadians expect.

A number of recent and authoritative studies have established there is a significant degree of gender inequality in Canada's justice system. The present government is committed to addressing gender issues both in the justice system and in society generally.

The Department of Justice acted on the recommendations made by the working group chaired by Madam Justice Bertha Wilson. As a matter of fact, the department has already received an internal report which lists in detail steps aimed at eliminating the systemic inequalities prevalent in its own organization.

I am sure all members of this House will agree with me that a strong and independent judiciary is a fundamental element of a free society. Canadians are justly proud of the high quality of our judges. For my part, I shall bring forward to cabinet recommendations for judicial appointments that reflect competence and merit in order to maintain the present high level of confidence that Canadians feel in the judiciary that serves justice in Canada.

Another important element of our approach to equality before the law in a diverse Canada is the search for better ways of ensuring that the justice needs of aboriginal peoples are recognized and acted upon. Canadians generally tell us that our system of justice, despite its strengths, could work better. They are right.

Aboriginal people, among others, say the law has become a system more about process than about justice and to some extent they are right. In many aboriginal communities there is now a remarkable will to actually try to do something about this challenge. It is a will to carve out new relationships with the justice system. The process of change will be gradual and difficult but we have an obligation to aggressively pursue this opportunity for change. We shall work closely in these efforts with our provincial and territorial colleagues and with the aboriginal leadership, with the communities and with aboriginal individuals, who are prepared to improve the administration of justice.

A further aspect of equality before the law in Canada has to do with the Canadian Human Rights Act. In the throne speech the Prime Minister's commitment made during the election campaign was renewed. We shall introduce amendments to the Canadian Human Rights Act. These amendments, among other things, will include sexual orientation as a ground upon which discrimination is prohibited.

The House has been committed to that principle for many years, and successive governments have expressed the intention to introduce the amendment. This government shall do so, not just to fulfil a commitment but as a matter of fundamental justice.

May I mention briefly steps we intend to take in connection with hate motivated crime. We shall make it clear that such crimes will not be tolerated. We shall introduce legislation that will expressly provide that hate motivation must be regarded as an aggravating factor in determining the sentence to be imposed for any specific criminal act.

Let me say also that we shall introduce changes in the criminal justice system that will help persons with disabilities participate fully on an equal basis.

May I turn now to the third and last broad category on the agenda for justice in the year ahead, modernizing the law.

We will soon table a bill re-establishing the Law Reform Commission. We are fortunate to be able to revive this commission which will serve a useful purpose as an independent body drawing attention to needed amendments to Canadian legislation. We will give it a new mandate and a new structure.

Last year a subcommittee of the standing committee on justice released a report on a recodification of the Criminal Code. We will be considering those recommendations, and we will undertake an assessment of the question of whether the present code is serving the interests of criminal justice in the modern age.

We shall also introduce legislation to deal with the sentencing aspect of criminal law. The legislation will clearly set forth the purposes of sentencing, provide for a full range of alternative sentences, focus on the desirability of non-custodial sentences for non-violent crime, and provide for a range of intermediate sanctions where they are appropriate.

The agenda I have described very briefly this afternoon is a broad and a challenging one. Nonetheless it is equally clear that the issues we seek to address are urgent and important. May I say that I look forward to working with my colleagues in government, my colleagues throughout the House of Commons, in meeting the challenges this agenda presents. In doing so, may we recommit ourselves to what must be our ultimate objective in justice: to furnish, provide and maintain the fairest and most effective system of justice for Canada and Canadians.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

5:20 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

I was just taking notice that many members are seeking the floor. I would remind all members that we will begin a 10-minute period of questions and answers. As short as the questions are is as many of you who will participate.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

5:20 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard St-Laurent Bloc Manicouagan, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the Minister of Justice. Naturally, it will be brief.

The Minister just announced in his speech the creation of a national crime prevention council. As everyone knows, councils such as this are often made of up of experts who are slow to report, so much so that when they do finally get around to releasing their report, all one can do is comment on the findings.

My question is this: Who will be appointed to this high-profile council?

Does the minister intend to take into account in the appointment process certain new elements which may not have been considered in the case of past councils. I am referring here for example to appointing certain individuals who through their work are familiar with criminals, indeed with hardened criminals. While it is natural that the council would include people whom we have come to expect to serve on such bodies, people such as lawyers and professionals who provide services to individuals in the corrections field, maybe it should also be made up of people who work with criminals every day. I am thinking about correctional services officers who in the course of their day-to-day jobs deal with those who have committed crimes and are serving time.

I know from experience that those who work inside correctional facilities are somewhat bound by professional secrecy. Understandably it is quite natural for them not to disclose everything that goes on. Some of what goes on is not very pretty and there is no need for everyone to know the details. The people who work inside these institutions and see firsthand how people in need of assistance live are, we have to admit, often overlooked initially, when in fact they may be in the best position to make a contribution to this high-profile council and to propose more pragmatic solutions.

Therefore, I will repeat my question to the minister. Has he given any thought to the make-up of this body? Who will be appointed to serve on the council?

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

5:25 p.m.

Liberal

Allan Rock Liberal Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the question the hon. member has raised strikes really at the heart of this council. If it is going to be effective, if it is going to achieve the objectives I have described, it cannot be academic or remote. It cannot be slow to report. It cannot simply research and write. It has to be community based. It has to be pragmatic, and it has to be government supporting communities to get action under way.

I am sensitive to the dangers he has identified. We cannot burden the council with a mandate that will result in it going on forever and achieving nothing.

Let me tell my hon. friend that my department will be mailing out during the next week or so to dozens of individuals and organizations throughout the country a discussion paper raising many of the questions he has touched upon. My hon. friend talked about the structure and composition of the council and the mandate of the council itself.

We will be seeking the views of police forces, community groups, other levels of government and individuals with the kind of practical experience to which my hon. friend referred in coming to grips with the design and creation of this council. We will also be grateful for his suggestions. I will be sending the discussion paper to my colleagues in the House as well. We will look forward to having the benefit of his views as we put it together.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

5:25 p.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Reform Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the minister for the consideration he has shown me when we first met and had a short exchange of ideas. I would also thank the minister for keeping the door open for submissions on the Young Offenders Act. I believe Canadians certainly do want input into this particular piece of legislation.

The question I have for the minister is in relation to his crime prevention program. I am aware of the document of which he speaks and the direction in which the crime prevention program is going. Was it not supported by all parties last year?

There appears to be one matter though that the report does not thoroughly address. I believe it is on the minds of many Canadians. Certainly thousands of my constituents and hundreds of thousands of other Canadians want to see a punishment that fits the crime outlined. I would suggest they want to see it reintroduced into the system.

Would the minister please satisfy the Canadian people in their desire to see such a stand taken by the government?

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

5:30 p.m.

Liberal

Allan Rock Liberal Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, in response to the question put by the hon. member for Calgary Northeast, with reference to the recommendation last year it was the Horner committee, an all-party committee of the House, that conducted extensive research and had lengthy hearings on the whole question of crime prevention. That committee unanimously recommended, among other things, that a national strategy including a national council be created for this purpose. We are really acting upon and giving life to recommendations that emanate from an all-party committee, as well as from other sources as I mentioned in my remarks.

In terms of sentencing obviously it must be the very purpose of the criminal justice system to ensure the sentence fits the crime. That is often, however, in the eye of the beholder. There can be controversy about whether a given sentence on a particular day in answer to a specific crime is the right one.

If I may be permitted to say so at this time, I recently reread a study done by Anthony Dube, a noted criminologist, who undertook as a research project to examine public reactions to sentences meted out to specific crimes first from the newspaper story and then after acquainting members of the public with all the facts of the case that went before the judge who passed sentence.

In his research Mr. Dube made the observation that when the citizens read of the sentence in the newspaper a given percentage thought it seemed like a very light sentence for such a crime. However when the same persons were given all the facts before the judge who actually passed the sentence, the percentage of those who agreed that the sentence was appropriate increased dramatically until it became almost unanimous.

The lesson we learned is that it is often misleading and sometimes dangerous to assess the appropriateness of a sentence from a brief newspaper report or a television report. Surely the justice system we want is one in which competent judges, on the basis of all the facts in the adversarial system, assess the appropriate sentence in keeping with appropriate principles in the courtroom where the case has been tried.

I do not wish to sidestep the question put by the hon. member for Calgary Northeast. Let me deal with it squarely by saying that I have already indicated we propose to introduce legislation on the subject of sentencing. I will be happy to have his reaction to it. In the process of committee hearings on that bill I am certain he will have an opportunity to develop his point further.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

5:30 p.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Reform Fraser Valley East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to start my maiden speech by taking a moment to thank the constituents of Fraser Valley East for the trust they have placed in me. I will be doing my utmost to earn their continued confidence in the months and the years ahead.

I also thank my own family for their ongoing sacrifice and support. If, as many people say, a nation is only as strong as its families then in this International Year of the Family we must emphasize the importance of the nuclear family in our own country. My own family, Deb and Karina, Mark, Loni and Kyla, can rest assured that for me every year is the year of the family.

Listening to the speeches in the House during the throne speech debate has been very enlightening. Each member describes their riding as the most beautiful one in all of Canada, representing the best that Canada has to offer. Each of these speeches comes from the heart. They bode well for the future of our country if the members of Parliament will emphasize the positive themes that make us distinctively Canadian.

As a proud Canadian representing a proud area of Canada, I will fulfil my mandate as a positive, constructive opposition member in the 35th Parliament.

I come from a constituency that has given much and yet has even more to offer to the Canadian way of life. We can all take pride in the 1 Combat Engineer Regiment from Canadian Forces Base Chilliwack, a regiment that has represented us so well in Croatia. Often during Tuesday's debate on our peacekeeping role my thoughts were with the soldiers of 1 CER and their families as they prepare to go back into that very dangerous arena. We salute them all.

I could talk for a long time about my riding. Our forest industry has provided jobs for a century and continues to offer exciting opportunities for the future. From farms to flowers, high mountains and hot springs, our area is so colourful that we call it rainbow country. Tourism, fishing, golfing, unmatched scenery and warm weather year round make Fraser Valley East one of the finest places in Canada to live, to work and to play. All members are invited to B.C. to see for themselves.

I want to bring the attention of the House to a matter of great concern for the people who live in B.C.'s beautiful Fraser Valley.

Most Canadians can take satisfaction in the successful conclusion of the recent GATT agreement. The Reform Party believes that much of Canada's future prosperity is dependent upon the security of our export markets. To the extent that the Liberal government has secured this access we commend it. Consumers and western grain producers will benefit. Lowering import barriers will allow in turn our high quality Canadian products into more world markets.

However, in any deal there are winners and losers. I want to express the concern of my constituents especially in the poultry and dairy sectors. They were the losers at the GATT table. They were left swinging in the shifting wind by this deal, uncertain of their future. Many of these hard-working people have invested heavily in land, buildings, equipment and livestock. Most have purchased the right to produce at great cost. However the value of their quota could now drop drastically. It depends on the American response to the proposed Canadian tariffs.

What if the U.S. challenges our tariffs under the NAFTA agreement and wins? It is going to try. Promises that everything will be fine made by the agriculture minister last week in the House ring hollow compared with the stirring election promises that they will go to the wall for our producers in the GATT negotiations. A poet once said that a promise made is a debt unpaid. Many farmers are counting on the government for an IOU given during the election, the promise of a secure future. Many are concerned that a lack of foresight yesterday and wishful thinking today may spell disaster for their system tomorrow.

It is not just a system we are talking about. In Canada, it is an $8 billion a year industry. It is a way of life for 100,000 families who stand to be stripped bare by the global market. They feel they have been left naked by a government spending too much time promoting its much ballyhooed infrastructure program and not enough time tending to the bread and butter businesses that actually generate wealth in this country.

Does the Liberal government have a plan for agriculture? As of last week, we still could not find out who in the Liberal caucus was a member of their own agriculture committee. It is unsettling when a simple request for information from the minister a month ago not only went unanswered but unacknowledged. Worse, we hear that officials in the agriculture department admit there is no contingency plan if Canadian tariffs should fall under a NAFTA ruling.

The Reform Party has had a detailed plan for over three years now. Let me share with this House just a few of the principles from our agricultural program that should guide this government in the months ahead.

The first is summed up in just one word: Order. For all its flaws, supply management ensured a stable, orderly production climate and the government must now work to ensure that the transition from a managed to an unmanaged environment will be orderly. Because of the long cycles of crop yields and livestock renewal, predictability on the part of the government is essential to the farmer.

The throne speech repeated the second important principle and I quote: "The government will assist Canadian companies to translate improved market access into greater export sales". Access to markets is the key to future prosperity and for that we support the successful completion of the GATT negotiations. What we do not need is another level of bureaucracy to grind this search to a halt. Let aggressive companies search out new markets and develop new value-added products.

The third and final principle is the most important. Although the Liberal government expressed a vague intention a few months ago to reduce agricultural input costs, the House will note that Preston Manning delivered a keynote address on this subject over three years ago. Input costs, especially input costs caused by excessive taxation levels is one cost area we can control within Canada.

We envisage a day when the government assists our industry to compete by eliminating the interprovincial trade barriers-recent agreements are a step in the right direction-and by pushing aside antiquated regulations that impede our producers, restrictions that our neighbours to the south do not suffer from, a time when the government levels up the north-south playing field and lets our industries score the goals for Canada.

Our farmers are among the world's most efficient, but even the best farmers cannot overcome taxation levels and costs that are higher than those faced by their American counterparts. The elusive level playing field will never be possible until the government cuts federal spending resulting in a lower level of taxation for all Canadians, including farmers. Our producers can do the job but the government must supply this tool of competitiveness.

Reformers were talking about this for years and marketing boards, farmers and small businesses throughout my riding are in agreement on this issue. They have repeatedly urged governments at all levels to reduce taxes and cut the red tape that impedes growth, to get out of their pockets and off their backs so they can do what they do best: create jobs, create exports, and create wealth for my riding, for all of B.C., and for all of Canada.

We have talked for years about this subject but it is time to actually do something. The Liberals have a clear majority in the House but it remains to be seen if they have the will to push through on these reforms. I remind the minister that the Canadian people are reluctant to accept talk any more. They are

judging this government and all governments every day by their performance.

Over the past two years we have repeatedly invited other party leaders to debate this important subject. We have repeatedly asked them to place their ideas on the table for discussion, to help our industry plan for the future. Those invitations were never accepted. Now we see why. The ideas just were not there. The opposition party of yesterday, today's governing party, did not take the time to develop a well-reasoned agricultural policy.

To conclude, the Liberal red book is over 100 pages in length yet it has devoted a full four sentences to its agricultural agenda. That is all, four sentences. The throne speech did not even mention the word agriculture and I hope along with my riding's farmers that this does not reflect the priority that the government places on our own agriculture ministry.

It is especially unfortunate because the essence of real leadership is setting broad goals with the input of all the stakeholders, making public a detailed agenda to meet those goals and then pressing ahead with the plan. Our producers can run with the best in the world, but they can never win on an undefined course.

If GATT and NAFTA form the new rule book that farmers must take to the field in the next few years they will need the right equipment. Only stability, lower taxes, less red tape and an even chance in the marketplace will equip our industry, including the agriculture industry in Fraser Valley East, to proceed with confidence into the 21st century.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

5:40 p.m.

Liberal

John Bryden Liberal Hamilton—Wentworth, ON

Mr. Speaker, I quite enjoyed the remarks of the hon. member for Fraser Valley East and I found them very edifying.

I come from a riding that is mainly suburban-urban so I cannot claim to have the expertise on GATT and agriculture that he obviously does have. However, I do have to say that some of his remarks do not parallel the kind of reading I am doing on this issue. In my mind, he seems to confuse ice cream and yogurt with other dairy products.

My understanding is that in the GATT round at Geneva what was at stake was a question of either sacrificing all the GATT or preserving marketing boards and in fact what subsequently occurred is that a deal was struck at GATT which is still to be ratified basically putting a tariff regime on most poultry and dairy products.

What has happened here is that ice cream and yogurt failed at the GATT panel some years ago. Now the Americans have come forward and questioned the tariff regime that we would like to see on ice cream and yogurt. That is what is at question here. Perhaps the hon. member knows something that I do not on this issue. As I understand it also from everything that I have read GATT takes precedence over NAFTA in every category involving this tariffication of dairy and poultry products, with the exception of ice cream and yogurt.

Given all these things, is the hon. member suggesting that the Reform Party's approach to agriculture policy over the last two months would be one where he would sacrifice, would do without the GATT agreement in favour of preserving marketing boards? That was the kind of choice we had. Is that what the member for Fraser Valley East would recommend?

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

5:45 p.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Reform Fraser Valley East, BC

Mr. Speaker, some of the points the hon. member brings forth are valid in the sense that we recognized several years ago the inevitability of the GATT negotiations and the ruling on article XI(2)(c). That was never in question in the Reform Party. In fact we campaigned vigorously on it and took a lot of flak from members of the Liberal Party at the time which said that would never come to pass, that article XI(2)(c) was safe in their bosom.

Really that is what I am arguing about when I talk about order. Farmers were willing and are currently willing to live with the proposed tariffication rules of the GATT. However starting on December 29 and every week since I have asked the Minister of Agriculture for a legal opinion of even why he believes that the GATT ruling will supersede NAFTA because the Americans say otherwise. I have yet to receive a response to my request.

There again, that just creates more indecision and uncertainty in the farming community which is really only looking for that stability. Farmers are willing to work under the new rules but they need to know what the rules are.

Two years ago we proposed that the GATT negotiations should be successfully completed and that we should have negotiated the proper tariffication protection for our farmers at that time. We feel that had we proceeded then while we still had some bargaining chips in our hands we could have made a good deal for Canadian farmers that would have been negotiated rather than brought through the courts.

Really I am not arguing with the completion of GATT. My argument stems from the fact that it should have been planned. I think even at this late date if we can somehow assure our farmers that GATT will proceed, that GATT will supersede NAFTA, then they will proceed with confidence and do the investing, exporting and so on that brings prosperity to that industry.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

5:45 p.m.

Reform

John Duncan Reform North Island—Powell River, BC

Mr. Speaker, a thank you is in order. We have a new Speaker in the House and a new speaker team and hopefully we are entering into a new era in the House of Commons.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the voters of North Island-Powell River who have given me the opportunity to represent them in this House. North Island-Powell River riding takes up the north half of Vancouver Island and half the mainland coast in British Columbia. The population within this large diverse area is evenly split between Vancouver Island and the adjacent mainland. It is a resource based riding.

The population has a very strong feeling that government decision making is not representative and sensitive to their interests very often. It is my pledge to bring their concerns to the House of Commons regularly. I pledge also to bring to the House of Commons constructive thoughts from my constituents on how to improve life in the riding and throughout the nation.

Within the riding we have a diversity of progressive aboriginal groups with a living culture. The Sechelt Indian Band took the initiative to negotiate unique legislation to replace the Indian Act for their band alone and as a result they have been operating under a municipal style of self-government since 1986.

The primary focus of my speech today is aboriginal affairs. As the Reform Party spokesman for aboriginal affairs, I want to discuss the current direction of federal policy in respect to Canada's indigenous peoples with a B.C. perspective.

British Columbia is in a unique situation. We have 15 existing treaties including 14 on southern Vancouver Island and one in northeast B.C. We have a predominantly non-treaty aboriginal situation and a very significant portion of the nation's aboriginal population.

In general there is a spirit of good will between the aboriginal and non-aboriginal populations. We all want aboriginal people to enjoy a standard of living and quality of life and opportunity equal to other Canadians. There is consensus that a self-government model is essential to create a climate of certainty for investors and to bring together the population at large.

The federal government has a paramount mandate and responsibility in the area of aboriginal affairs. It is essential that government direction and policy unify rather than divide the population.

The government has pledged to wind down the department of Indian affairs at a pace agreed on by First Nations. There is a consensus that a wind down is called for, replacing the current outmoded and outdated department with a system of accountability provided by self-government. Federally chartered municipal status on reserves such as the Sechelt arrangement is a good way to go, giving the bands autonomy to run their affairs.

I believe it is time for some new points of view. Some recent federal initiatives have been divisive, not uniting and I would like to offer a new perspective.

The aboriginal fishing strategy of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans is one area that needs overhauling. The commercial fishing industry in B.C. until 1992 was a colour blind industry with 25 per cent aboriginal participation. There is a longstanding aboriginal food fishery which remains unaffected.

The federal AFS policy implemented two years ago has created a separate aboriginal commercial fishery based on race. This is a two-year pilot project with agreements under the AFS umbrella expiring March 31, 1994. Implementation of these agreements has been very divisive within the industry and socially. Also it has not been conducive to conservation management. In 1993 several B.C. Court of Appeal decisions served to reject the necessity of a separate aboriginal commercial fishery. The promised DFO review of the AFS this spring must be carried out with transparency and sensitivity to the conflicts that the agreements have created.

We recommend avoidance of this conflict and new direction for our important fishery by orienting the AFS to the recreational fishery and to fisheries enhancement. No new commercial fishing agreements should be negotiated under the AFS umbrella.

There has been a great deal of recent discussion about the terminology "inherent right to self-government". According to my understanding the term "inherent" can mean that federal and provincial legislation would not apply to aboriginal people without their agreement. I also understand that it could be the basis for claims to international sovereignty which would signal aboriginal government immunity from all federal and provincial laws. This is unacceptable to most Canadians.

We believe that aboriginal self-government means a mix of federal, provincial and aboriginal laws to be worked out through negotiations. Regardless of the framework, it must work within the structure of Canadian society as a whole.

British Columbia residents want to resolve the issue of unsettled land claims so that the investment climate is improved and so that individuals, business, government and aboriginal groups can go forward with certainty. The recently formed B.C. Treaty Commission which is federal, provincial and First Nations is up and running, having already received 38 proposals from bands in British Columbia. The commission will be a positive influence on negotiations but there are major shortcomings. To overcome these shortcomings I have recommendations related to interim measures, third party interests and transparency.

Recent resource related interim measures negotiated between the province and aboriginal groups are eroding federal aborigi-

nal jurisdiction and the urgency of the negotiating process. It is in the federal government's interest to question the mandate of the province's negotiation of these agreements without federal participation.

Third party interests are not at the negotiating table. Philosophical objection to having them at the table is unfounded as they also want to remove the current impasse. They will expedite rather than delay the process. The whole question of government mandate would be much more clear if third parties were represented.

The population at large is increasingly suspicious of the entire negotiating process. This initiative of involving them is a bold step for the current players but it is an essential step in order to build consensus.

Philosophically I question and a body of legal opinion suggests that because of the fiduciary relationship, our federal and provincial governments are in a conflict of interest in negotiations with the First Nations unless third parties are at the table. Litigation is the likely result.

In conclusion, I call for new directions regarding aboriginal affairs. British Columbians want to end the climate of uncertainty, secrecy and divisiveness. This requires adoption of the measures I have outlined.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

5:55 p.m.

Liberal

John Richardson Liberal Perth—Wellington—Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, in this my maiden speech I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Speaker on his election to such a prestigious position and my personal congratulations to you for your appointment to an equally prestigious position.

I wish to thank the mover and seconder of the speech from the throne. I also wish to thank the people of Perth-Wellington-Waterloo for electing me to represent them in the House of Commons. I want to assure them that I will represent them and serve them to the best of my ability.

I would be remiss if I did not also thank my wife and family for their wholehearted support during my campaign.

The riding of Perth-Wellington-Waterloo is located in the fertile lands of southwestern Ontario. It looks like and produces as though it were the garden of Eden. It is the number one dairy and pork producing riding in Canada, and second in white bean and mixed farm acreage. The fact that this area is so productive is because of the dedication and efficiency of its farmers, and I congratulate them for their contribution to the wealth of our country.

I have received several hundred calls from dairy, poultry and egg farmers in my riding since the conclusion of the GATT negotiations. They feared for their survival because article XI has been removed from the treaty. I want to assure Canadian farmers in these supply management sectors that the Liberal government in Ottawa is committed to preserving the family farm, the Canadian agriculture sector and the supply management system.

Perth-Wellington-Waterloo's number one employer is the automotive related sector, with factories in Stratford, St. Mary's, Mitchell, Listowel and New Hamburg. The success of this sector depends upon a well-trained and hard-working labour force. This level of competence has been maintained through a commitment by both management and workers to improving their education and skill level in order to produce the highest quality product for consumers.

Finally, I must recognize the most famous institution in my riding, the Stratford Shakespearian Festival, North America's most esteemed repertory theatre which performs on three world class stages in town, a town that is renowned for its park systems, shops and restaurants. I am proud to live in Stratford, the home of Canada's national English speaking theatre, the jewel of southwestern Ontario. This is a cultural success story. The theatre achieves the highest artistic standards while attracting thousands of visitors to the region every year and pumping millions of dollars into the local economy. On behalf of the theatre, I invite every member of Parliament to visit Stratford and attend one of its several performances as my guest and theirs.

The Liberals won the federal election of October 1993 because we provided Canadians with a vision of hope, hope for improved job prospects, with initiatives such as improving the economic climate for small and medium sized businesses. I can assure everyone that my constituents support the proposals contained in the throne speech, proposals such as encouraging financial institutions to improve access to capital for owners of small and medium sized businesses. Consultations with bank executives by members of the government have already started to bear fruit.

The establishment of the Canada investment fund will help leading edge technology firms to obtain the long-term capital they need.

We Liberals will create a Canadian technology network to assist with the spreading of information about technological innovations, providing further assistance to these firms. The government will encourage partnerships between Canadian universities, research institutions and the private sector to strengthen the research and development required by entrepreneurs in order to establish their own businesses. This partnership will help to keep small business managers abreast of new technologies and strategic information vital to their long term success.

We Liberals recognize that the government often acts as a catalyst in the areas of economic growth and job creation, relying on the private sector to be the engine. We hope that the residential rehabilitation assistance program will encourage home owners to renovate their homes and thus stimulate what has been a sluggish building industry.

We also believe there are important programs a government can put in place to give hope and jobs to some of our youth, such as the youth service corps. It will put thousands of Canada's enthusiastic youth into the workplace on worthy community and environmental projects.

Governments in every corner of the globe recognize that the critical component of economic competitiveness in the global marketplace is a well trained workforce.

We Liberals propose measures to improve job training and the transition from school to the workplace. In these days of high unemployment thousands of jobs go unfilled in rapidly expanding industries such as telecommunications, computer services and environmental sciences because skilled labour cannot be found. While thousands of our youth are unemployed we cannot tolerate the squandering of their energy, talent and education.

We will in partnerships with the provinces and the private sector establish a national apprenticeship program. This program will establish national standards for apprenticeship programs and establish new programs for fast growing sectors in the economy. All of these programs are necessary. To simply stay with the status quo would be intolerable.

Just as the goal of Liberal economic policy is to ensure economic growth in the nation, the goal of our social policy is to ensure the social well-being of its citizens. Change is a relentless and often disruptive force in our modern society and has rendered some elements of our social safety net cumbersome and redundant. The role of the government is to design legislation that is current and relevant to meet the needs of the citizen.

Social planners who employ foresight in the designing of legislation will ensure that the revision and amendment of such legislation will require it to be amended in the future. We Liberals are committed to the carrying out of a major study in the social security system.

We will also study our highly prized health care system in co-operation with the provincial governments and in consultation with Canadians. The national forum on health will be chaired by the Prime Minister, the Right Hon. Jean Chrétien. We Liberals assure the people that our government remains deeply committed to the principles of the Canadian Health Act including the rejection of user fees in any form.

As I worked my way across the riding of Perth-Wellington-Waterloo last year, at the farm gates and the factory gates the most disheartening refrain I heard was from the people who had given up on government. Many others were just plain angry at politicians who they felt were dishonest or indifferent to their needs.

There must be some good reason why Canadians are so eager for honesty and integrity in government and why they universally demand fairness and justice. I believe that for too many Canadians the Canadian dream had become the Canadian nightmare. They feared the loss of their jobs, their social safety nets, their cultural identity and the integrity of their natural environment. We Liberals have promised and we must deliver on our promise to return honesty and integrity to Canada's federal government.

In conclusion we Liberals believe that the very essence of a civilized society is mutual interest, mutual forbearance and mutual co-operation. We believe that today Canadians are prepared to stand shoulder to shoulder to work together and make sacrifices to the benefit of each other and to Canada.

We Liberals believe that the government's policy as outlined in the speech from the throne will provide the road map for both legislators and the citizens to follow in their common mission. It provides hope through its many initiatives for job creation and economic stimulation. It provides leadership through reforms that will make the operation of government more transparent and accountable and it provides vision through the establishment of structures to examine and upgrade our social security system. It is what Canadians and Canada need today.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

6:05 p.m.

Bloc

Philippe Paré Bloc Louis-Hébert, QC

A few comments, Mr. Speaker. The hon. member started his speech saying that the Liberal Party was elected because it provided Canadians with a vision of hope. This is partly true, I suppose, but since that vision does not come across very clearly in the throne speech, I am afraid Canadians' hopes will be dashed fairly quickly.

There is nothing really significant in the throne speech: merely a string of very general projects and good intentions, with very little in the way of tangible proposals.

We must not forget that until the government has decided it will deal with the whole issue of the deficit and the debt, any economic recovery will be superficial. The debt and the deficit are a drag on the private sector because they absorb such a large share of financial resources.

The hon. member also referred to technological innovation. I agree this is important. It was said earlier in the House that Canada's contribution, participation or investment in research and development is well below that of other countries. We invest 1.4 per cent of GDP, while countries like Germany, Japan and the United States invest twice as much in technology, and that creates jobs. There is practically nothing in the throne speech to provide any hope in this area.

The hon. member also mentioned home renovation and the construction industry. In Quebec, we have a major problem with the underground economy. It is all part of the same problem, which is that taxes are too high, and until the government has given a clear signal in this respect, it would be wishful thinking to expect construction and home renovation to pick up.

And now a final comment on national standards for apprenticeship. It seems the Liberal Party, like the Tories, will not learn from past mistakes. National standards are a major barrier to regional development. The federal government likes to suggest and dictate national standards. Initially it provides subsidies to go along with those standards, and then it withdraws them, and the result, as we know, is that the provinces are left holding the bag of financial problems that were, in fact, created by the federal government. Occupational training is a provincial responsibility, and the federal government has no business regulating this area. The members of the Bloc Quebecois, reflecting the position of Quebecers, will demand full responsibility in this area.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

6:10 p.m.

Liberal

John Richardson Liberal Perth—Wellington—Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for his close attention to my speech. It helped to refresh in my mind what I had said.

I would like to pick up on one or two things about hope. Every one of us is in great need for a dose of hope whether we are from the party of the hon. member or from my own party. Every farmer every spring has some hope.

In the throne speech there were all kinds of seeds and those seeds were in the speech in the form of the things that I have mentioned and the things that you have reiterated. There was not anything tangible there but those seeds have to be scattered on the land. Given the right situation in the right environment they will sprout, grow and bear fruit.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

6:15 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Devillers Liberal Simcoe North, ON

Mr. Speaker, esteemed members of the House of Commons, it is a great privilege for me to speak in response to the throne speech which outlines the government's priorities for the first session of the 35th Parliament.

I would like to start by thanking my constituents of Simcoe North for entrusting me with the responsibility of representing their interests in Ottawa. I would also like to thank my wife, family and hundreds of volunteers without whose help I would not be here today.

Last October Canadians clearly told us that the policies of the former government and the way things are done in Ottawa had to change.

I am happy to see that the throne speech reflects the promises of renewal included in the electoral platform of the Liberal Party. As a member of this House, I will be happy to support these policies.

The 35th Parliament must do its utmost to restore confidence in the federal government among Canadians. Members of Parliament must be allowed a meaningful role in the development of public policy and legislation. During a recent election I campaigned on the slogan: "We need Simcoe North's voice in Ottawa, not Ottawa's voice in Simcoe North". I remain committed to that principle.

I am pleased that the government will take measures to enhance the credibility of Parliament but that is not enough. I believe that every member of Parliament must do whatever he or she can to restore confidence in the electorate and encourage their participation in the process. That is why I am seeking to create community advisory committees in my riding. These committees will provide me with advice and support on various issues of importance to my constituents.

Since the election I have met with a great number of individuals who represent small business, the agricultural sector, environmental groups, municipal councils as well as cultural organizations.

Their participation in these advisory committees will be crucial for me in delivering my message to Parliament from a generally grassroots perspective.

The government must address economic development and unemployment issues as soon as possible. By helping small and medium size businesses to obtain the capital they need to grow, by creating the youth service corps, by encouraging the development of a Canadian technology network and by rebuilding our infrastructure, Canada will be on the right track towards a vigorous economic recovery.

Simcoe North is the home of the Industrial Research and Development Institute whose physical plant will be built during the coming months. This organization will elevate Canada's technological expertise in tool, die and mould production to the highest standards in the world resulting in many spinoffs for the Canadian economy. IRDI embodies the partnership between

industry, academia and government called for in the speech from the throne.

We must be sure to continue to support our agricultural industry which is the backbone of the economy in many regions of Canada. Lately our farmers have had much to be concerned about with the recent proclamation of NAFTA and the changes that will occur as a result of the GATT. It is very important that the government continues to foster our agricultural industry using whatever tools it has at its disposal.

It is easy to realize that Canadians feel that they pay far too many taxes and that their money is being wasted at every level of government. The Auditor General's Report tabled in this House last week did not do anything to allay these concerns.

People hope that the new government will improve things; we must not let them down. They can already see that the government is trying to reduce overlap and duplication with the provinces and that we want to eliminate the GST.

But it is not enough to make a few changes here and there. Canadians expect a full review of the tax system and its inequities. Our government must ensure that, in the future, corporate and individual citizens, rich and poor alike, will all pay their fair share of taxes.

While Canadians demand substantial changes, they are also saying that they will not accept any watering down of our important social safety net, including medicare.

I am confident the government realizes we are facing a revenue crisis in this country, not a spending crisis.

It is evident that our country's fiscal difficulties can only be resolved by first addressing the unacceptably high level of unemployment in Canada so that the victims of the recession can contribute to our tax base. We need more people paying taxes, not people paying more taxes.

The government must also address important revenue drains such as capital gains exemptions, the family trust rules and tax loopholes associated with offshore affiliates of Canadian companies.

It is obvious that we must address the deficit but it must be done by augmenting revenues and eliminating wasteful spending, not cutting our social programs.

Canada's native population has been ignored for far too long and it is with a keen sense of excitement that I see the federal government begin its discussion on aboriginal self-government. The outcome of these discussions will be especially relevant to band members of the Chippewas of Beausoleil and the Rama First Nation, both of which are located in my riding.

Although most of my constituents speak English, there is a large francophone community whose language and culture continue to grow. I sincerely believe that if Quebec decides to leave Canada, the French language and culture outside Quebec could very well disappear. There are about 1 million francophones outside Quebec. Being one of them myself, I am proud to consider myself a Canadian and I am not afraid to say that all the regions of this country are well served by federalism. That is why I am asking the hon. members from the Bloc Quebecois not to abandon us.

Canadians want the government to get to work to make our country a better place. Our work must concentrate upon job creation and economic growth, not constitutional wrangling. We must reduce the deficit and debt.

It is true we have fewer resources with which to work but, as my hon. colleague from Madawaska-Victoria has said, a lean government does not have to be a mean government.

In conclusion, I pledge to represent my constituents and to work co-operatively with all members of the House to provide accountable and responsible government.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

6:20 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Paul Marchand Bloc Québec-Est, QC

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to thank my colleague from Simcoe North, whom I know very well, for what he said. I found it very interesting. However, I picked up something he said in his speech, that Quebec's separation would mean the end of French outside Quebec. He knows very well that French is not at all strong outside Quebec. The city he lives in is a perfect example of what happens to francophones outside Quebec, in Canada.

Rights are not respected. The schools which francophones were promised are not given them. They do not manage their own school system. Francophones outside Quebec do not have many things. The hon. member surely knows all that.

So I would like to end with this comment. I think the main reason that Quebec needs to become sovereign is to ensure the survival of French culture in North America.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

6:25 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Devillers Liberal Simcoe North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I expected such a question from the hon. member for Québec-Est. Personally, I cannot say that francophones outside Quebec have no problem getting their rights respected now, but in Penetanguishene, in the riding of Simcoe North, we have a French school for which we fought, and we finally had our French school. I believe that we can have our rights respected if we really want to.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

6:25 p.m.

Liberal

John Bryden Liberal Hamilton—Wentworth, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to add a few comments to this debate being someone who comes from southern Ontario, very much an anglophone region.

Ultimately, my question is: Is it a matter of language or is it a matter of other things that we might have in common? I would like to very briefly tell an anecdote for the benefit of the hon. members of the Bloc.

Some 15 years ago I was a journalist at a newspaper in southern Ontario when an event occurred in Quebec that some of the Bloc Quebecois members will remember. It was called the Saint-Jean-Vianney landslide that occurred in the region of Lac-Saint-Jean.

I, as the only reporter at my newspaper with only my school French, and very poor French I have to say, was sent to that area on the anniversary of the landslide to do a story on a year's aftermath. I had a great deal of difficulty, with my poor school French, to communicate with the people in the area because the accent was very different than the accent I had been taught in school.

However, I have to say that the people were very nice. They took me to their local club, an Odd Fellows hall, in which I must say I felt very much at home. I was able to communicate with the people through a person I had met in the club from northern Ontario. He was able to translate my bad French into the Quebeçois French-and possibly my very bad English as well-which was very useful for me.

What was so striking about this event was that even with the language problem I felt very much at home when I sat in this little Odd Fellows hall. We then went across to the beverage room, as we would say in English Canada in those days. I suppose Le bar is what they say in the Lac-Saint-Jean region.

As a journalist in those days, I very much favoured drinking Scotch. Journalists in those days drank scotch in order to show that they really were newspapermen. At the bar I asked if I could have a scotch. I was told that they did not have scotch, only rye, but I still felt very much at home. We really share a Canadian thing in that.

What I finally found out during my investigation of the landslide was that when the catastrophe occurred the majority of the people in Saint-Jean-Vianney were watching hockey. I felt very much at home.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

6:25 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Paul Marchand Bloc Québec-Est, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is a great honour for me, as I start my maiden speech here in the House of Commons, to speak on the subject of agriculture. Since I have the privilege of being the official agriculture and agri-food critic, and I am delighted because I know that agriculture is a very important sector. As the hon. member for Simcoe North said earlier, and I must say I agree, agriculture is the backbone of a number of regions in this country. Agriculture is a wonderful industry and an important one. Unfortunately, Canadians do not realize how important agriculture is.

There are approximately 200,000 producers in Canada with a gross income of about $23 billion, which is quite substantial. There are almost 2 million jobs, both directly and indirectly, in the agricultural sector in Canada. If I had more time, I could say a lot about the job creation potential of this sector. I will not have a chance to do so this evening, but there is considerable potential for job creation in the agricultural industry.

Agriculture is so important in Canada that if we include farm production and the entire agri-food chain in this country, agriculture is our most important industry. It is more important than the automobile industry, being worth another $8 billion. When I say the whole agri-food chain, I am referring to everyone involved, the distributors and manufacturers and everything in the agri-food sector in this country. This represents $838 billion per year as part of our GDP. In Quebec, agriculture is worth $4 billion more than the pulp and paper industry.

Agriculture is therefore a very important and a very significant industry. That is probably why we have a full House this evening, to listen to my speech on agriculture. It is also one of Canada's leading edge industries. We must not forget that. Going back in history, one could say that agriculture is probably one of the industries that form the basis of Confederation. It also contributed to Canada's image as the bread basket of the world. However, today, in 1994, it has also become a very modern and very progressive industry. In some sectors, such as Western grain and red meat, we rank number one in the world. Dairy production especially is very important. We have a highly developed industry in which advances in technology have been considerable. On the international scene, exports of genetic material are worth about $85 million, and this may include Holstein cows, for instance, for reproduction purposes.

Without getting into too much detail, I want to say that agriculture is a very important industry in terms of the economy and also in terms of the advanced technology that is being used. We rank among the first in the world.

The problem is that unfortunately, people underestimate agriculture. It is not fashionable. Agriculture may be misunderstood. To many people, agriculture is folklore. Farmers are still seen as potato producers. People do not realize how complicated a farmer's life is today. It takes a lot of technology and a lot of knowledge. He has to know about machinery; he has to know about herbicides and pesticides and fertilizer; he has know his animals, construction and whole lot of other things. He has to be an expert and a jack-of-all-trades.

The problem also is that farmers, although they account for a great deal of our country's total production and expertise, make up only about 3 per cent of the Canadian population, a very small proportion indeed. This only creates another problem, the fact that governments neglect agriculture.

I have the impression that consumers generally take food for granted in Canada. They do not take the time to appreciate how important this industry is to the country. My hon. colleague from Essex-Windsor said a few days ago that a country that cannot feed itself soon will not be a country. Self-sufficiency is an important, even fundamental, consideration.

The other problem is once again that the media in Canada are not very interested in agriculture, again because it is not fashionable. The media are more concerned about urban problems than they are about rural problems. Agriculture is therefore much neglected. And consequently, governments neglect this industry as well. That is obvious. My God, is it obvious!

The throne speech makes no mention whatsoever of agriculture. It is an obvious oversight. Fifteen years ago, I worked for Eugene Whelan when he was the Minister of Agriculture in the Trudeau Cabinet. I never learned so much about agriculture as I did then. Mr. Whelan was a great minister, maybe even the most important Minister of Agriculture in the history of Canada, and even he had a very hard time convincing his colleagues of the importance of this industry. Moreover, the Trudeau government was doing nothing, zilch, to help agriculture. Well, maybe it was doing something, but only the bare minimum.

I feel that nothing much has changed in the intervening years, even if we have changed governments. We had a Conservative government in power and now we have a Liberal government, with a Prime Minister who was a member of that very same Cabinet years ago.

Mr. Trudeau himself displayed open contempt for farmers. I remember very clearly one time when we were in Winnipeg where farmers had gathered to confront him about the grain export crisis in the West. The grain was not moving and they wanted to know what the Prime Minister was going to do to help them. I remember what Mr. Trudeau said to them: "Sell your own goddam grain"!

Which only goes to show that Prime Minister Trudeau had no patience when it came to agricultural issues. I think that the current Prime Minister also has a tendency to neglect, and dare I say it, to misunderstand, this industry. The recent GATT talks will have a major impact on the entire agricultural sector in Quebec and Ontario, including the supply management system. The dairy and farming sectors work with quotas and the GATT talks jeopardized the value of these quotas.

Quotas, by the way, account for approximately two thirds of the value of a farm. The Prime Minister of Canada was asked if the farmers who stood to lose as a result of the fallout from the GATT negotiations would be compensated. The Prime Minister's answer was no, because they had not paid for their quotas. His exact answer was: "There will be no compensation for farmers because they did not buy their quotas."

This is the statement made in French by the Prime Minister in an interview published by Le Droit , and I might add that this statement was not mentioned by the English Canadian press. I mention this minor detail, because it is nevertheless an important one: I am telling you that the Prime Minister's statement was only reported in French. Obviously, the Prime Minister was wrong about the quotas, because we know for a fact that farmers paid for their quotas and they paid dearly. In fact, this is the very basis of the borrowings they make. It is the basis of their credit. It is the basis of many very important things for farmers.

All these factors, which I mention very briefly, illustrate that in fact this government has no constructive and positive policies for the agricultural sector. This government does not have a vision for agriculture. In fact, Canada has never had a constructive vision for that sector. The truth is that our agricultural policy is nothing but a stopgap measure which has always been influenced by the Americans and the international community.

No initiatives are taken by Canada; we only react. The recent developments with GATT, the current situation and the agreements which are being negotiated with the Americans are blatant illustrations of this lack of vision for the agricultural sector in Canada. The facts prove that we only react. Right now, the situation is complex and worrisome for farmers, not only in the East but also in the West. Wheat production in the Prairies is second to none. We have a lot of durum wheat and other grain in the West, and Americans want to restrict exports to their country. It is true that exports have increased considerably since last year and the years before that. Wheat is very important for Western farmers, and Americans want to restrict that export.

When you think of it, Americans have no reason to do that. We signed a free trade agreement with them. The very basis of that agreement is to promote trade with Americans, including wheat, and now they want to be bad sports. They want to force Canada to restrict its exports. Once again, Canada is on its knees. It seems that we cannot, through the Minister of Agriculture, defend our rights and protect what is ours. Western farmers should be allowed to export as much wheat as they want to the

United States under NAFTA, and under the Free Trade Agreement signed with that country.

Another illustration of a government which is on its knees, which is always giving in, which is not able to protect us against Americans or foreign interests and events, is how we have lost under the GATT, an opportunity to develop agriculture. We have lost control over a system which may have been one of the best in the world. During the GATT negotiations, we wanted to strengthen Article XI, because Canada's supply management system-and I know you all agree with me-was the best one in the world. There are no two ways about it, it was the best in the world. With that system, there was no overproduction, no dumping; everything was controlled and, in fact, that system was a model for the rest of the world.

To please other countries, we have had to sacrifice that great system that we had devoted so much time and energy to building. Had Canada really wanted to protect itself properly, it could have had Article XI reinforced. The fact is, and the hon. member will acknowledge it, that many countries and the Americans themselves managed to get all kinds of exemptions under the GATT. So, Canada could have had the provisions of Article XI strengthened, but did not. Canada backed off, it caved in, making people believe it had been isolated. In the end, we were left without a leg to stand on when in fact the Canadian government could have better protected supply management if it had really wanted to. Basically, it was not interested, and not having Article XI reinforced caused us another worse problem in agriculture.

This other problem generated by Canada's lack of resolve at the GATT talks is that it is more difficult now to maintain, in order to protect our supply management system with regard to areas where quotas are applied, the tariff rates that are supposed to protect supply management. Because of our failure at the GATT, the least we can do to allow the system to exist for a few more years to protect the farmers and give them time to adjust to the new global market environment, is to maintain a tariff barrier high enough to give our farmers a chance to adjust. It is only normal. Agriculture is not like a toy factory. You cannot just shut down overnight when you are dealing with livestock. You have to plan over a number of years.

So, the problem is that this tariff barrier which is supposed to protect supply management for at least a few years has already started to crumble. So soon! The ink is not even dry on the agreement that the government is backing off, reneging on the promises made to the farmers. The Minister of Agriculture has repeatedly promised Canadian farmers that he would do his utmost to protect Article XI. He did not. Then, the Minister of Agriculture said: "I will do everything in my power to make the tariff barrier high enough to maintain the supply management system in Canada." That was just five weeks ago, but discussions are already under way with the Americans to eliminate the tariff on agricultural products such as ice cream and yogurt.

I could have gone on for another 20 minutes, but let me at least conclude my remarks.

In spite of the fact that the minister of agriculture for Canada is a very kind and well spoken lawyer and not a farmer, I am beginning to think we have a rather wishy-washy minister of agriculture, because in the great tradition of ministers of agriculture for Canada he is unable to say no to Americans. He is unable to stand and defend the rights and privileges we have won in negotiations with the United States and other countries. We have a minister who unfortunately because of this weakness puts into question a lot of the strengths of Canadian agriculture. It is most regrettable.

I think that there are many good things to say about agriculture, but I will have to wait for another day.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

6:50 p.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask a question of my colleague. He no doubt realizes that almost everyone wants him to explain his statement and most Canadians who were watching their television set will understand why. His message was, to say the least, a bit confused; it was as clear as mud.

At the beginning of his speech, he spoke about the rights of the francophones outside Quebec, like me. He then talked about agriculture.

I would like to ask him a question about the francophones outside Quebec since I am one of the 500 000 francophones living in Ontario. If I am not mistaken, the Bloc Quebecois position as it was explained to us twenty minutes ago is more or less as follows: Quebec should split from the rest of Canada because the rights of francophones in Ontario have not been properly respected. I must say I have a hard time understanding that statement.

If Quebec were sovereign, how would that improve the respect shown for the rights of francophones in Ontario? How would that improve the situation of Franco-Ontarians?

After that, maybe the member could explain- no. I will stop here and let my colleagues ask other questions.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

6:50 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Paul Marchand Bloc Québec-Est, QC

Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague is accusing me of being confused. He is the one who is confused since I did not mention the rights of Franco-Ontarians. In my speech, I talked about agriculture and, frankly, I am rather hurt that he did not ask any question on this very interesting topic.

However, I have a lot to say on the issue of Franco-Ontarians. It is true that I was born in Ontario and it is true also that I believe that if we are to preserve the French language in North America, Quebec must become sovereign. There is no doubt in my mind on that issue.

It is not because Quebec wants to reject francophones outside Quebec, that is for sure. Quebec does not want to do that. It is simply because, in the end, and the hon. member certainly experienced it, in English Canada, Canadian history is the story of the assimilation of francophones.

From the beginning, from Lord Durham on, Canadian history boils down to an attempt to assimilate francophones.

In the West, at the beginning of the century, they passed all kinds of laws to eliminate French. In my own province of Ontario, French was banned for 40 years. Today, there are anglophone provinces where, in spite of rulings by the Supreme Court of Canada, the established rights of francophones are being ignored.

There have been several rulings by the Supreme Court of Canada stating that Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba were wrong in not enforcing the francophones' acquired rights. Even now, this ruling is being ignored.

I want to say to my hon. colleague that if the constitutional rights of the English minority had not been respected by Quebec, there would have been a general outcry the very next day. However, in the rest of Canada, ignoring francophones' rights goes unnoticed.

The assimilation of francophones is a huge problem and I do believe that Quebec's sovereignty will solve it, at least for francophones in Quebec. This will ensure the survival of the French language in North America. I truly believe that it will give a sense of renewed hope to francophones outside Quebec.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

6:55 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Speller Liberal Haldimand—Norfolk, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will leave the French language question to the hon. member.

I want to ask him a question regarding agriculture because I was surprised by some of the comments he was making regarding the minister of agriculture and what we in the Liberal Party did with regard to supply management.

The hon. member must be aware that when his leader was on this side of the House representing the Conservative Party, it was his party and his leader at that time who told Canadian farmers they would be protected, that they were going to protect them under the NAFTA and they were going to protect them at the GATT. In fact he was being a little less than honest with Canadian farmers as was the previous government in terms of what they were doing at the GATT. Also, what they were saying internationally was a different story from what they were telling Canadian farmers at home.

I am somewhat surprised. I take it the hon. member is the agriculture critic. I am surprised during this debate when we were making representations internationally that in fact we heard nothing from the Bloc. In fact during the first week in Question Period there was no question directed toward the Minister of Agriculture from that whole side regarding this very important issue, an issue of great concern to Canadian farmers which is the issue of ice cream and yogurt.

I want to ask the hon. member who is an agricultural representative from the Bloc why it is that when his leader was on this side of the House he was telling Canadian farmers something different from what he is now saying on that side of the House.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

6:55 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Paul Marchand Bloc Québec-Est, QC

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member was probably absent from the House on Monday because there was a question on that very subject.

We asked a question last Monday on agriculture and ice cream and yogurt. Maybe the hon. member was not there.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

6:55 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Speller Liberal Haldimand—Norfolk, ON

I was there. That was a week later.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

6:55 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Paul Marchand Bloc Québec-Est, QC

A week later than what?

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

6:55 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Speller Liberal Haldimand—Norfolk, ON

Than when the House opened.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

6:55 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

I remind the hon. members that they must address their comments through the Speaker.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

6:55 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Paul Marchand Bloc Québec-Est, QC

I am sorry, Mr. Speaker. That could be attributed to inexperience.

The only reason the question was asked last Monday was mainly because negotiations are ongoing and we wanted to have it in good time.

Also, I think criticisms about the Conservatives and how the Conservatives did not do their job are cheap shots. It is so easy to say it is the fault of the Conservatives, that they did not do their job. Those are just cheap shots.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

6:55 p.m.

Liberal

Morris Bodnar Liberal Saskatoon—Dundurn, SK

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has made reference to certain quotations of former Prime Minister Trudeau indicating to the effect that he would not sell our goddamn grain.

The statement that he has attributed to the former Prime Minister is not accurate. The statement that was made by the former Prime Minister was: "Why should I sell your wheat?" He then proceeded to answer the question and told the western Canadian farmer as to why he would sell the wheat for the western Canadian farmer. I know this because I was there.

The hon. member commented about the agriculture minister being a lawyer but not a farmer. I am a lawyer too. I am also from a farm and I also own land. The agriculture minister, the hon. member for Regina-Wascana, is also from a farm. He understands Saskatchewan farm practices. He understands the agriculture industry in Canada.

The hon. member has also made comments about why sales of grain cannot now be made just across the border because of NAFTA and GATT, primarily NAFTA. Just sell grain across the border, sell all the grain we want into the United States. The United States is an exporter of grain except for one specialized commodity which is durum. Other than that they export. One state in the United States produces more wheat than the whole of Canada.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

7 p.m.

Liberal

Shaughnessy Cohen Liberal Windsor—St. Clair, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to stand in this place today to speak for the first time on behalf of the constituents of Windsor-St. Clair.

I congratulate you, Sir, upon your appointment to the Chair and congratulate all hon. members on their election victories. First I want to thank my supporters who worked for me and the electors of Windsor-St. Clair who have placed their confidence in me. I am grateful for the opportunity to represent them here.

Windsor-St. Clair is located in southern Ontario along the shores of the Detroit River and Lake St. Clair. Lake St. Clair is the smallest of our Canadian Great Lakes. Windsor-St. Clair is comprised of three communities: parts of the east end of Windsor; all of the town of Tecumseh; and all of the village of St. Clair Beach.

Our riding is an urban constituency but our location makes us one of the great water sports centres of the world. There are more pleasure boats per capita in our part of the Great Lakes than anywhere else and the pickerel fishing is hard to beat.

The commodore of the Windsor Yacht Club tells me that this summer the great Canada's Cup yachting race will be held on Lake St. Clair. The Canadian entry to that race and its crew will be hosted by the Windsor Yacht Club as they compete to return that cup to Canada.

The Tecumseh Corn Festival is held at the end of August every year. It is a tremendous event that brings close to a quarter of a million people into Tecumseh for a great weekend of food, fun and enjoyment. Tecumseh itself is a spirited historical town with a tremendous sense of community.

St. Clair Beach is a picturesque village at the far eastern edge of the riding. It is the home of that great Canadian athlete, Chris Lori, who is the captain of our National Olympic Bobsledding Team. St. Clair Beach will be watching closely as Chris Lori and his teammates represent Canada at Lillehammer next month. I suspect that we will be seeing Olympic gold in St. Clair Beach before very long.

Windsor-St. Clair is also an industrial riding. Many manufacturing endeavours make their home in Windsor which is known as Canada's motor city. Among them of course we have the big three auto makers: Chrysler, Ford and General Motors. Other industries exist there as well.

Any mention of Windsor-St. Clair industries must include one of our oldest manufacturers, the Hiram Walker distillery located in the Walkerville section of Windsor. Hiram Walker's of course is the home of the world famous Canadian Club whiskey.

Windsor-St. Clair was also the home of a very famous Canadian who once stood in this place. It is humbling to know that in coming here I am a successor to that great Canadian statesman, the late Hon. Paul Martin, Senior or "Oom Paul" as he was known at home, the architect of many aspects of our present day social safety net. He sat here as the Liberal member for what was formerly Essex East, in later years was Windsor-Walkerville and today is Windsor-St. Clair.

Paul and Nell Martin contributed unstintingly to the life of our constituency and to the country as a whole. It is quite a legacy and these are indeed some great shoes that I seek to fill.

Mr. Speaker, if you or other hon. members visit my riding of Windsor-St. Clair, you will undoubtedly travel along Riverside Drive through all three of our municipalities. As you do, you will be able to look not very far away casting an eye to the north to our great national neighbour, the United States of America. It is a unique geographic fact that Detroit, Michigan and its eastern suburbs are actually located north of Windsor.

It is also a unique geographical fact that we live in Windsor-St. Clair very clearly in the shadow of that great country which is so close that going to the States for lunch is a matter of course for some of my constituents. This is at once part of the charm and the advantage of our area. It also at times can be a great disadvantage.

Over the last nine years of Tory rule we in Windsor-St. Clair have often felt that Canada in the eyes of the former government stopped somewhere east of us on highway 401. However, that

has not stopped us or prevented us from remaining fiercely Canadian and fiercely proud of our heritage.

Under the former government's policies we suffered at home but we fought back. We fought back against fiscal policies that fostered the closing of our manufacturing plants. We fought back against taxation policies that encouraged the phenomenon of cross-border shopping and we fought back against cultural policies that resulted in events such as the closing of our only television station, CBC station CBET on channel 9.

Canadians discovered Windsor in December 1990 when 10,000 of our citizens crowded onto the river front to fight back against those cuts. They fought back again in 1993 when they voted overwhelmingly Liberal.

They voted Liberal because they read the red book and they recognized in it a plan that was practical and yet hopeful. They know that the Prime Minister is a man of his word and that his government, our government, is going to deliver for them. They also know that they can count on us to watch out for their interests.

In the near future the city of Windsor is about to embark on a great adventure as it becomes the home of the first Ontario casino. The last federal government refused to recognize that it had a role to play in ensuring that the casino project was a success in our community, but our government has moved quickly to make certain that we anticipate the needs of that community and that we can continue to meet them and that we can move quickly to do so.

The municipalities in our riding have appreciated the infrastructure program which is moving forward at a rapid pace. Windsor-St. Clair is poised to take advantage of these new jobs and this infusion of cash into our communities so that we can make them even better places in which to live and in which to make a living.

Windsor-St. Clair wants the kind of government that this side of the House has to offer. It wants a government that understands the need for economic growth as a tool for deficit control. It wants a government that cares about the quality of life of its citizens and that governs fairly, practically and with compassion.

These are the qualities that those in Windsor-St. Clair want and these are the qualities that this government has displayed in the throne speech last week. That is why I urge this House and these hon. members to vote in favour of the motion by the hon. member for Bruce-Grey and seconded by the hon. member for Madawaska-Victoria.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

7:05 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Progressive Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. speaker, the hon. member just mentioned in her speech that the Liberal government is worried about our people, it wants to do what is right for our people and it wants to have programs that are going to help our people. I would just ask the hon. member one question.

The RRSP homebuyers plan has helped more than 200,000 Canadians buy a home. These are people who could never buy a home before. This has helped to create many jobs not only on the construction sites but in areas like forestry, home furnishings and appliances. I know that we understand that spinoff effect. It has been done with no cost to the treasury.

Here is my question to you, dear. I am sorry, Mr. Speaker, it is my question to the member. Will the hon. member commit that she will try to get her government to extend this plan beyond its March 1 expiry date?

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

7:05 p.m.

Liberal

Shaughnessy Cohen Liberal Windsor—St. Clair, ON

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the terms of endearment from 50 per cent of the Conservative caucus. This is an incredible feat I think for a Liberal backbencher.

In any event I want to point out that question more appropriately might be put to the Minister of Finance but in his absence I am happy to answer it.

I can tell you that this government is very concerned about the tax program and taxation in this country. We have seen, over the past nine years, taxes become more and more unfair. It would be imposed more and more on the backs of the very people the member just referred to the middle class, the working class and homeowners in our country. This taxation has caused so many problems in my riding in terms of the loss of jobs and other results of their inherent unfairness.

The RRSP program and other programs I am sure are being looked at by the Minister of Finance and his people now. Certainly he is consulting widely in this area. I would suggest to my friend that any steps the Minister of Finance takes to make the former Conservative taxation system more fair in this country will result in more jobs for Windsor-St. Clair, more jobs for Saint John and more jobs for Canadians.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

7:10 p.m.

Bloc

Philippe Paré Bloc Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, part of the statement by the member for Windsor-St. Clair dealing with the importance of the automobile industry in her riding gives me an opportunity to recall that the auto industry in Ontario has an extremely important position compared to the auto industry in Quebec. Quebec makes only 7 or 8 per cent of all the automobiles assembled in Canada.

That part of the country surely had tremendous economic development due to the auto industry, among other things. In the last recession, the riding of Windsor found out what less well-off cities go through and what tough economic times are like. That does not please me, on the contrary. Perhaps since that part of the country, that part of Ontario, had such difficulties, Ontario may be a little more sensitive to the realities of other Canadian provinces.

I close with a question. It is widely agreed that the Conservative government's monetary policy was partly responsible for the economic difficulties that we are still in. I have trouble understanding, however, with regard to the Windsor-St. Clair region, which suffered a little from this monetary policy-why the Liberal government finally chose the previous governor's deputy to be the Governor of the Bank of Canada. I have trouble with that because it seems to me that their problems may recur,

since the same people or the same mentality will direct Canada's monetary policy.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

7:10 p.m.

Liberal

Shaughnessy Cohen Liberal Windsor—St. Clair, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am again happy to stand in and answer questions that might more appropriately be addressed to the Minister of Finance. However, I can say to this House in response to the comments by the hon. member that Windsor-St. Clair did indeed suffer during the recession as a result of the policies of the former Conservative government. However, Windsor-St. Clair and the entire region managed to survive in spite of those policies. That survival was in part because of the vision of our community leaders and because of the vision of our local people who realized the importance of diversifying the economy and moving into other areas.

The appointment of a new governor at the Bank of Canada will not, I do not think, significantly change the progress that is being felt at the present time in our community. However, the attitude of the new government will change that and will assist in growth that I believe will be unprecedented in the history of my community.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

7:10 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, this being my first speech in the House, I want to at this time congratulate the Speaker on his appointment to the chair and also congratulate the other Speakers so appointed.

Your job, Mr. Speaker, is a very important one and I think especially so in this 35th session of Parliament because this country really is at a crossroads. Given the mix of parties and given the mood of the public, the Speaker's position I think will be very important in terms of balancing the debates and keeping order.

I must admit that I am somewhat awed to speak in this House, and to be quite honest that surprises me. I will explain why. This is a place where I did not expect to be especially on this side of the rail because as little as 15 months ago I was completely disillusioned with the House of Commons, with the government of the day and with the bureaucracies that serve the various ministries.

I was completely disillusioned with the process and the House of Commons and the government because I had spent the last nine years going before committees to give our organization's point of view and felt that it had been a waste of time and I had not been heard. As experienced parliamentarians like to call it "this place", I felt this place had lost touch with the people that it was supposed to serve. The election of so many new members this time and of a Liberal government with a plan of direction via the red book signifies that.

However, through the course of this Parliament we must ensure that "this place" becomes "our place" from the perspective of Canadians. I think all of us on both sides of the House have a responsibility in seeing that this place becomes "our place" from the perspective of Canadians, whether it is from what we like to call the emerald isle of Prince Edward Island, the province of Quebec or Saskatchewan. This place must be where the voice of Canada and Canadians is heard.

As I mentioned a moment ago that certainly did not happen during the last nine years. The throne speech speaks of providing members of Parliament greater opportunity to contribute to the development of public policy and legislation. That is perhaps one of the most important things that we can do. We can change the direction from the past and give people the opportunity to speak and be heard. It is a very important direction and a direction in which ordinary MPs can be given the opportunity to have some power in the House of Commons to speak on behalf of their constituents and their country.

Certainly in that context, giving ordinary MPs some power, there are differences. There is debate. We have seen that in the House already. That is what a democracy is all about. It is about the thrust and pros and cons of debate and out of that debate coming up with the best solution possible.

I want to take a moment to very sincerely thank the people of Malpeque for giving me this opportunity to work with and for them. My riding really stretches from Summerside, Prince Edward Island, bypasses Charlottetown and goes to the community of Marshfield. In my riding farming, fishing and tourism are the major industries and agriculture is certainly the big one. We have many small industries and two large potato processing plants, but as an island we are very dependent in terms of exports, be it potatoes or other products from the island.

I think one thing that is significant about Prince Edward Island is that it is basically a community of communities and we believe strongly in community spirit and helping one another in times of difficulty. I think we have to relate that to Canada as well.

I come from kind of a unique experience in that I have travelled this country during the last 20 years, the last 10 as president of the National Farmers' Union. I just wish that every Canadian could have that kind of experience. We are great at criticizing our own country. I have lived about half the time in Saskatchewan, but I have travelled across the country and have seen its potential: how great a country it can be if it remains united. When foreign countries look at Canada they wonder why we are fighting among ourselves and think that with our tremendous resource base, land base and people base we should be using them to good advantage in building a nation.

The speech from the throne starts to build on some of our opportunities. Indeed there are many challenges before us as well. In the three months since the election the government has to a great extent been keeping its commitments. Last week in my province there was the announcement of a $36 million infrastructure program. It will develop critical infrastructure work and create direct and indirect jobs. Also the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans has indicated that he will be providing assistance to fishermen who are having great difficulty as a result of the cod crisis.

I recognize that we do, though, face enormous challenges that have been left with us as a result of the last nine years. I recognize the government has entered into NAFTA and GATT. I share the concerns of many Canadians about both these agreements. I worry that in these agreements there is a considerable loss of sovereignty. Will we really have the right to govern or will we just be administrators of the various trade agreements? The Prime Minister has spoken to this somewhat. He has given his commitment and the commitment of the Canadian government to ensure that these trade agreements work in the interests of Canadians. That is our objective and that is our commitment.

I take exception to the comment of a Bloc Quebecois member who spoke two speakers ago. I repeat what he said. He said that the minister of agriculture was negotiating to eliminate the tariffs. That statement is wrong. The minister of agriculture is negotiating in the interests of our dairy farmers to keep the tariff levels high so that we can enhance and protect the supply management system. The government is committed to agriculture. It is committed to the supply management system. It is committed to the Canadian Wheat Board. This government offers hope for the future.

In conclusion, we are faced with a challenge to take charge in these difficult times and institute our agenda as outlined in the red book. The throne speech and the progress made to date are good starts. I emphasize again the point that by giving power to MPs, as we have indicated in the throne speech, we bring democracy back to the country, give everyone their input and certainly work in the interests of people.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

7:20 p.m.

Liberal

Jerry Pickard Liberal Essex—Kent, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct a question to my colleague who just finished a very excellent presentation. Certainly he tried to clarify the major concerns we hear about the GATT negotiations the minister has successfully worked on for the Canadian farm community.

What are my colleague's thoughts with regard to the difficult job the minister inherited coming into the GATT discussions, putting in tariff barriers and making sure that much of the agriculture production under supply management has a fair amount of protection? Does he feel that our supply management system will be pretty stable and in a very positive direction?

That is a question many people in agriculture have asked. Certainly the minister has responded in favourable ways. What are my colleague's thoughts in that area?

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

7:25 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, certainly in terms of the GATT negotiations the retaining and the strenghthening of article XI(ii)(c) was the preferred direction of the government. It ended up that it was not in the cards. What we tried to achieve at that time was the tariffication approach and to establish very high tariffs to protect our supply management industry.

The agreement does not come into place until July or August 1995. That gives us some time in order to meet with the supply management groups and other groups and to set up the system in such a way that we can have a growing and prosperous industry in the future. The supply management system in Canada, I believe and we believe as a government, is a model for the world. It provides a high quality product at reasonable prices to consumers and is a great food security policy.

The minister of agriculture is very committed in his discussions with the secretary of agriculture of the United States to trying to achieve the objectives we set out during the election of protecting and enhancing the supply management system.

It is a difficult job. We were left with negotiations when so much had been given away by the previous administration. It is a very difficult negotiation, but I believe the minister of agriculture will prevail and the supply management system will indeed survive.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

7:25 p.m.

Bloc

Philippe Paré Bloc Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, just a brief comment, because I did not understand. The member referred to Mr. Marchand saying the Minister of Agriculture was negotiating the abolition of tariffs. I do not think the member for Québec-Est, critic for the Official Opposition, said that. According to me, what he said was the Minister of Agriculture is now negotiating with the United States and the negotiations deal with the abolition of tariffs. If one country is trying to do away with tariffs, it is certainly not Canada, it is the United States. Still, Canada has to face that first problem, merely five weeks after the signing of the GATT agreements.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

7:25 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, I agree with the last part of the questioner's comments. The record certainly will show what was said. What I copied down was that the minister was being accused of negotiations to eliminate the tariffs.

That is the opposite of what the Minister of Agriculture is trying to do. I want to emphasize that fact. The minister is very much in negotiations with the secretary of agriculture for the United States and is very definitely trying to negotiate an agreement to keeps tariffs high, which is our right and should be our right under the GATT. That is exactly what he is trying to do. He is trying to have them high enough to keep our supply managed system in place, in tact and secure.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

7:25 p.m.

NDP

John Solomon NDP Regina—Lumsden, SK

Mr. Speaker, this is the first opportunity I have had to speak in the House of Commons. I wish to commence by congratulating you, Sir, on your appointment and congratulating all newly elected members on their first venture to the House of Commons. It is quite an exciting place to be.

I also take this opportunity to pay tribute to the former member for Regina-Lumsden, Mr. Les Benjamin. Les Benjamin served his constituents and his country for 25 years. He was a very strong voice on behalf of the people of Saskatchewan and the people of Canada. In particular he was an ardent defender of issues such as the wheat board, the Crow rate and rail transportation. It is with some sadness that I report to the House that he is now in the hospital and is very ill. I understand he is doing well in spirit. On behalf of the constituents of Regina-Lumsden I pay tribute to his service to the country.

I represent a district which has the capital city of Saskatchewan, Regina. It is an urban area with some rural parts to it, including the farms and towns of Lumsden, Regina Beach, Grand Coulee and Pense. There is also a major steel and pipe producer in our riding by the name of IPSCO. It employs a substantial number of people and is a significant contributor to the economy of both Regina and Saskatchewan.

I thank very much the families and the voters of Regina-Lumsden who have given me their support and their confidence during the last number of months, and in particular during the election campaign. I am honoured to be their representative. I am proud to speak in the House on their behalf. My commitment to them is to work as hard as I can on their behalf to ensure they have a voice in Parliament and that they have someone who will speak about their priorities.

Their priorities are the priorities of the majority of Canadians. They want a government that is open, honest and accountable for its actions. They want a government that does all in its power to ensure that more Canadians are working and that we have a strong economy. These people in my district-and I think it is throughout Canada-want more fairness in taxation policies. They want social programs which meet the needs of our people. I will work as hard as I can to ensure that the priorities of the people of Regina-Lumsden are the priorities of the government and of Parliament.

The throne speech was one of the shortest throne speeches ever. It is 17 minutes short if it is read very slowly. It leaves Canadians to wonder if this means the government does not want to tell us what it is going to do or that it does not know what is going to happen next. What concerns me is that it is probably the problem.

This new Parliament is faced with a job crisis in Canada. Over two million people are out of work. Unemployment is at record levels, even worse than during the great depression of the 1930s. Underemployment is widespread and much of the blame has to rest on the shoulders of the previous government. The previous Conservative government chose to deregulate industries causing lost jobs. It chose to have a high interest rate policy. It cancelled the manufacturers' federal sales tax. It brought in the GST and implemented other monetary policies which drove jobs away from Canada.

As well the previous government chose to sign the U.S.-Canada Free Trade Agreement and the North American Free Trade Agreement, both opposed by the Liberals in opposition but endorsed and embraced by that same party while in government. The FTA and NAFTA have not only cost Canadians hundreds of thousands of lost jobs but have reduced our ability as government to make sovereign decisions which affect our lives.

As we go through some of the policies of the previous government one concludes they were all meant to serve the corporate agenda that allows the powerful corporations the ability to make their own economic decisions unfettered without contributing their fair share to the economy. This Conservative agenda has increased corporate profits, created high unemployment, driven up government deficits and debt, and jeopardized our ability to provide the population with jobs and decent social programs.

What is the answer to the serious problems in our country? By reading the speech from the throne the Liberal government's answer appears to be that it does not know. Canadians had better brace themselves because it looks like the job crisis and the corporate agenda will continue. What the government must do is put people first in its agenda rather than the wealthy corporations and the wealthy families.

It seems to me the government has already shown its lack of concern for jobs by backing down on NAFTA and by flip-flopping on the U.S.-Canada Free Trade Agreement which weakened our economic well being and our manufacturing sector in particular.

In their throne speech the Liberals have backed down on their promise of jobs, jobs, jobs by not announcing the apprenticeship program. An apprenticeship program is desperately needed across the country by 400,000 jobless young Canadians. Does this mean the Liberal promise of jobs training for these young people has been forgotten? It may be forgotten by the Liberals

but not by New Democrats or by 400,000 jobless young Canadians.

There was no mention of creating jobs in agriculture. In fact, there not even a reference to agriculture in the speech from the throne. This was an incredible omission considering the recent GATT decisions in Paris and since the Minister of Agriculture, the member for Regina-Wascana, has worked so earnestly in cabinet on behalf of farmers throughout Canada. It is unbelievable there would be no reference to agriculture after all his work.

No reference was made to the natural resources sector. This is a sector that built this country. It was totally ignored in the speech. It is clear that not only western Canada was ignored in the throne speech but that unemployed and overtaxed Canadians everywhere were left wanting as well.

This speech made comments about major overhauls to the social security system but gave no details about one of the latest acts of Parliament, Bill C-91, which extended the patent on some prescription drugs for up to 20 years and guaranteed drug manufacturers monopoly prices and substantial profits at Canadians' expense.

Prescription drugs in Canada are the most expensive in the world as a result of this bill. Yet the Liberal government has taken no steps to repeal it. Repealing Bill C-91 would reduce the financial burden on health care consumers in need of prescription drugs and on provincial government drug plans which are under great stress as we speak here today.

Repealing this devastating law would also stimulate the creation of new jobs in the Canadian generic drug manufacturing sector. As long as this act remains law, Canadians will continue to suffer life-threatening hardship.

Since this bill was given royal assent, the cost of prescription drugs has dramatically increased. People using prescription drugs are being forced to decide between buying life sustaining drugs or buying life sustaining food, in particular those people on fixed or low incomes in my riding.

We cannot allow this unfair monopolistic law which allows international drug companies to charge whatever they want without competition to continue to hurt those people who through no fault of their own need help the most. Bill C-91 must be repealed and must be repealed immediately.

We in the New Democratic Party applaud the recognition by the government in the throne speech that in some countries today: "Democracy is under stress, its future uncertain". Canada is under stress too, particularly those Canadians who are jobless or who are worried about losing their jobs. Canadians are also anxious and under stress because of their concern for the possible loss of their social programs which provide a sense of security to them and their families.

Historically the New Democratic Party has strongly supported initiatives that build and strengthen democratic governments and promote peace. We in the New Democratic Party are Canadian nationalists. We do not believe in a regional nationalism or an ethnic nationalism. We believe both these manifestations of nationalism are destructive to our Canadian unity. We believe strongly that the government should balance the economic powers in the country to ensure that there is fairness in the programs for our people.

We have always believed in a strong central government but it has to reflect the changing realities of our times. We believe government works best when people are working. If people are not working, democracy is under stress.

It is hard to talk to people about national unity when they are unemployed or under employed. When people cannot afford to have things which they need to live, democracy will always be under stress.

I am putting this government under notice that the NDP will not permit the Canadian agenda to be set until the jobless are working. These are important issues to us and to all Canadians.

I hope the government will follow the quote I have taken from somebody who said this before with respect to organizing the government and putting together a program to rebuild our country. Somebody once said the true test of our democratic society is not whether we add to the abundance of those who have much but whether we provide enough for those who have too little.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

7:40 p.m.

Bloc

Antoine Dubé Bloc Lévis, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to the speech by the hon. member from the New Democratic Party. His statement about regionalism caught my attention. He also said that he favoured a strong central government.

I just want to tell the other members that the only NDP member ever elected in a by-election in Quebec did not run again in the last election because of his party's insensitivity. I think it is worth underlining that aspect to show the insensitivity of a so-called democratic party towards people from across the country and particularly towards Quebec. In the end, I think that the population judged them on that.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

7:40 p.m.

NDP

John Solomon NDP Regina—Lumsden, SK

Mr. Speaker, I missed the end of the member's question. I would appreciate it if he would repeat it.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

7:40 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

I would ask the hon. member for Lévis to briefly repeat his comment and question so that the hon. member for Regina-Lumsden can respond.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

7:40 p.m.

Bloc

Antoine Dubé Bloc Lévis, QC

Thank you for giving me more time. I basically said that only once in Quebec's history was an NDP member, the former hon. member for Chambly, elected in a by-election. Despite his potential, this devoted and dynamic person decided not to run again in the last general election and, in our opinion, his decision was due to his party's insensitivity towards what was happening in Quebec.

Does his party, having noted the results of the democratic vote held last October 25, want to review its position regarding a strong central federal government?

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

7:40 p.m.

NDP

John Solomon NDP Regina—Lumsden, SK

Mr. Speaker, the member has put a very important question. The New Democratic Party believes in democracy. We went through an election campaign and ran candidates in every constituency in this country on the basis of a jobs plan that we felt would work. I thought the jobs plan was very attractive and popular with many people. As a matter of fact it was so popular that the Liberal Party basically took it and put a red cover on it and sold it as their own. Unfortunately it had a little more success in marketing its program, which was based on ours, than we did.

I agree with the hon. member that I am not very well versed in all of the dynamics in Quebec. However we as a party really believe that government does work. Liberals and Conservatives fight campaigns on the basis that governments do not work, elect us and we will prove it.

We believe that government does work. New Democrats have been in government in Saskatchewan for 36 of the last 50 years and nationally we have adopted many of their programs, one being medicare. If we were of the view that government did not work we probably would not let our names stand to try to become the government. We want to ensure that government serves the people from which it derives its power.

I very much believe in the public service. I believe that all of us in this Parliament have come here with honourable intentions. I believe that truly. I think all of us want to see something better for our country after four years in this Parliament than when we first got here.

I still believe that government has to have certain authority and certain influence and certain economic instruments to use in tough economic times. When the economy is very difficult and there is a lack of jobs, it is extremely important that government take the initiative and use whatever economic instruments it has as a central government to create jobs. I still believe very much in a strong central government. Perhaps it is not understood across the country as much as we would like, and that is one of the reasons I made reference to it tonight. I thank the member very much for the question.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

7:45 p.m.

Reform

Jake Hoeppner Reform Lisgar—Marquette, MB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you on your appointment to the chair. I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate my fellow MPs on their election or re-election. I would especially like to express my appreciation to my constituents in Lisgar-Marquette who have put their trust in me to represent them in this 35th Parliament and to my good wife, Fran, who has been my constant support and friend for the last 32 years.

The constituency of Lisgar-Marquette is a very diversified area. Agriculture is the prominent industry and we grow everything from vegetables such as commercial potatoes, onions, carrots, to fruits such as apples and blueberries. We also grow all coarse grains plus special crops such as lentils, sugar beets, yellow mustard and oil seeds like canola, sunflower and flax. We also have beef, dairy, egg and poultry producers.

In manufacturing we produce everything from small line machinery and grain trailers to recreational vehicles.

Beautiful scenery abounds in Lisgar-Marquette. We are blessed with the Pembina Valley which offers an abundance of recreational activities. From the fertile land of the Red River Valley to the beautiful and unique desert in Spruce Woods Park at Glenboro, Lisgar-Marquette is truly a rare and exceptional place to live.

The voters of Lisgar-Marquette sent me to the House of Commons with one strong message: that the House of Commons again become the voice of the people and that politicians and bureaucrats become accountable to the Canadian taxpayers.

The people of Lisgar-Marquette have become very disturbed about the moral, financial and political state of our country. What took our forefathers 100 years to build has been mismanaged to the point of bankruptcy by Liberal and Conservative governments in the last two decades. The ordinary working people of this country have continually increased production so that our country has not had a manufacturing trade deficit for the last two decades. During one of the most productive times in our history the elite of our country have not only mismanaged our

economy but have mortgaged the future of our children and grandchildren.

It is very sad and unacceptable to see two million Canadians depending on food banks during this past Christmas season as a direct result of a quarter of a century of political malaise.

In Manitoba a recent survey stated that 20 per cent of the school children go to school hungry. A United Nations children's fund report notes that Canada has one of the highest child poverty rates among the wealthy industrialized nations. In 1989 this House passed a resolution pledging to eliminate child poverty by the year 2000; in fact, more than 1.2 million Canadian children were living in poverty in 1991, a 30 per cent increase in two years in the number of people under 18 whose families can scarcely afford the essentials of life.

Given that 1991 and 1992 were recession years, it can be safely assumed that the rate is now even higher. Teachers see it. Police see it. The courts see it. We all see it, if we dare, the result of governments' economic mismanagement. Poverty that leaves our children disadvantaged, apathetic and often hopeless; poverty that brings Canadian families to turmoil. The cost to our country is beyond value.

While we in the Reform Party have been given a mandate by the electorate to streamline government spending and slash the deficit, an even more important impetus comes from the single most important future resource, our children. It is on behalf of these future generations that the Reform Party has accepted the task of changing some of the policies that have denied Canada the prosperity it deserves and has cast doubt on the promising futures that our children deserve.

Only through an influx of new attitudes can we build this new Canada for future generations. Imagine a fiscal reform initiative where public funds are regarded by governments as funds held in trust instead of assets that must be spent too often unwisely.

Simply put and speaking as a farmer, it does not seem right that a banker can tell farmers they will have to pay higher interest rates because their products are being sold for a bargain basement price, a price which they have no control over.

At the same time, because of the bank's bad investments in foreign countries for projects like Canary Wharf, they will again pay higher service charges and interest to cover the bank's financial mismanagement of the country's wealth. Where is the justice in this type of reasoning? How can our youth translate this type of logic into a promising future?

I heard the Prime Minister say the other day that MPs' salaries were still far below that of professional hockey players. Well hockey players are paid for their performance. How should we rate the performance of MPs over the last two decades? They have stick-handled their way through the taxpayers' pocket-book resulting in taxes that are eating up half of their pay cheques. Any farmer or businessman who continually puts his or her operation into debt year after year for a quarter of a century would have long ago been bankrupt and not rewarded with a gold plated pension.

I have never gone to sow a field in spring from which I have not expected a bumper crop. As a new politician I also expect a bumper crop of positive changes in this 35th Parliament. If these changes do not happen in this Parliament there are 52 very capable Reform MPs determined to make those changes in the 36th Parliament from the other side of the House.

The Reform spirit was born at Beaver River, has spread into Ontario and will not be deterred until it reaches the east coast of Newfoundland. It is only through political, financial and judicial reform that there will be a future for this great nation of ours, a future that our children will be anxious to embrace.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

7:50 p.m.

Bloc

Antoine Dubé Bloc Lévis, QC

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate the hon. member for his concern for young people. In my party I am the critic for youth, and I would say that the problem is the large number, more than two million, of young people living in poverty. I think it is extremely important not to forget this fact.

However, a little further in his speech he says that the way to improve the situation is to lower taxes. He does not even mention any program that could help people, especially young people, get out of poverty. Could he comment on that?

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

7:50 p.m.

Reform

Jake Hoeppner Reform Lisgar—Marquette, MB

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member sure has my feelings along the line of child poverty.

During my years of farming I saw hundreds or thousands of farmers go bankrupt because of interest rates as high as 24 per cent. Today, these farmers are either taking away jobs from people who are living in the cities or supplementing their farm income if they have been able to hang on to their land. When one reads the statistics that over 50 per cent of net farm income today is received from off farm jobs, we can see why there is such a problem of destitution among young families, small and large.

I think it is very important that we correct this situation or there will be no future for this country even if we do clear up the deficit or whatever we do.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

7:55 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Progressive Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, I would ask the hon. member for Lisgar-Marquette if he and his party, the Reform Party, have reviewed the throne speech to see how much of it was ongoing items and initiatives that had been recommended or adopted by the previous government?

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

7:55 p.m.

Reform

Jake Hoeppner Reform Lisgar—Marquette, MB

Mr. Speaker, I do not know if there have been too many adopted. There is an old saying on the farm that kind words and good intentions do not feed any critters. That is pretty well all I have heard in this Parliament during the first few weeks I have been here. I think that is all the farmers and the unemployed heard in the last Parliament.

I think it needs action, not just words and good intentions.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

7:55 p.m.

Reform

Garry Breitkreuz Reform Yorkton—Melville, SK

Congratulations, Mr. Speaker, on your election and appointment. I also wish to congratulate the Prime Minister and each of the members elected to this House.

I pledge to support the positive reforms the government introduces and condemn any and all policies and legislation which does not have the support of the majority of Canadians or my constituents.

I have lived in a number of countries in the world and I always keep coming home to Yorkton-Melville, the heart of Canada's parkland area.

An issue which has been raised in the House more than any other is which riding is the most beautiful riding in Canada. I suggest, when the more pressing issues are behind us, that this matter could be resolved once and for all in a special day-long debate.

The voters of Yorkton-Melville deserve a special thank you for their participation in the democratic process and for electing me as their servant. I pledge to faithfully represent my constituents' views in Ottawa regardless of the party or candidate they supported. I am their spokesperson. Through me their voices will be heard in this Chamber.

I saved my most important thank you for the last, that being to my wife Lydia, my family and friends. Without their support I would not be here.

The throne speech mentions a lot about the need for reform of the social security system. Unfortunately our so-called safety nets have been catching more people than the fish nets in Newfoundland have been catching cod in the last few years. In fact, in addition to the 1.6 million unemployed there are another 869,000 workers who are so discouraged that they have given up looking for work. If this is not discouraging enough, the Globe and Mail reported last week that almost a third of Canada's work force is locked into insecure jobs. The end result: unemployment insurance now costs employers, workers and taxpayers almost $20 billion a year.

Between 1972 and 1992 the number of welfare recipients has more than doubled to over 2.7 million people. In 1992-93 it cost the federal government $7.3 billion. Taxpayers get hit again and again as the provincial and municipal governments have to pay their share as well. These statistics are clear evidence of a failing economy.

In Newfoundland it seems that the only nets that are full are the safety nets. The system, not the people, is to blame.

The replacement of both unemployment insurance and social assistance with an income supplement plan which would direct over 85 per cent of the money currently spent on these programs to the people in Newfoundland who are most in need was recommended by the Economic Recovery Commission report recently published.

The report is a condemnation of the existing social security system. Page 6 of this report states: "On the whole, the current system has induced an unconscionable degree of dependency which is unfair to contributors to the unemployment insurance fund and, in light of recent fiscal restraints, is not sustainable".

In Saskatchewan our safety nets are also full and overflowing. In the last 20 years the amount of money spent on social assistance programs has increased seven times. In 1991-92 the case-load was over 28,000 people, 47 per cent were considered fully employable. The taxpayers would not feel so bad if they saw that the money we were spending was actually solving the problem. But it is not.

It does not matter whether you live in Cornerbrook, Newfoundland or Yorkton, Saskatchewan, the system is sick and getting sicker.

I would like to commend the government for the commitment to announce an action plan for a major reform of the social security system within the next two years and for its commitment to involve Canadians in the consultative process.

I also wish to commend the provincial governments that are leading the way on income security reform in this country, particularly the provinces of New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Alberta. The time for protecting each other's turf is long past. The time for true innovation and common sense solutions is at hand. Canadians not only expect this of us, they deserve it.

While we are encouraged by the government's commitment to undertake a consultative process for the next two years, we are surprised by the lack of detail about what direction modernization and restructuring might take. Yes, Canadians want to be directly involved in the process of change, but they expect some leadership when we are embarking on what appears to be a complete overhaul of our income security system.

If the government's action plan is to succeed it will have to pass several tests. First of all, will our social programs be financially sustainable or will we keep mortgaging our children's future?

Second, will unemployment insurance be returned to the principles of a true insurance plan?

The third test is will the government's restructuring address the weaknesses identified by the Newfoundland Economic Recovery Commission?

The fourth test is, considering our forty-five billion dollar deficit this year and our half trillion dollar debt, why is it necessary for this process to take two years when so much data, analysis and public input already exists on the subject?

The Reform Party's blue book provides some leadership, direction and grassroots input. Principle 10 of the Reform Party Constitution states: "We believe that Canadians have a personal and collective responsibility to care and provide the basic needs of people who are unable to care and provide for themselves". Our blue book goes on to state that government should first, develop a family or household oriented, comprehensive social security system administered through the income tax system. Basically, one system would replace all others.

Second, explore all the options including a guaranteed annual income, security investment fund and a negative income tax, to name a few.

Third, design several programs that would encourage families, communities, non-governmental agencies and the private sector to resume their responsibilities in the social service areas.

Fourth, target social service benefits to those who need the help the most.

Last, ensure that our social programs are financially sustainable in the long term.

In closing, I would ask all members and parties to co-operate and collaborate as we reform our social safety nets. A net can have two uses. Nets can stop a person from getting hurt when he or she falls, but a net can also trap its victims so they cannot get out. Let us help release many of the people who are trapped in our safety nets.

In 1989 a report issued by the Economic Council of Canada said: "We need to turn our safety nets into trampolines. People want and need work not welfare. People want and need to be trained and retrained to survive in this global economy".

Judith Maxwell, former head of the Economic Council of Canada, was quoted last week saying: "Measures to encourage skills training and mobility could create ladders to help people climb out of low paying, insecure jobs. Canadian workers need to know how to hitchhike down the new information highway".

I also believe Canadians have a right to live anywhere they want in this great country, but they do not have a right to become permanent wards of the state. We need to create incentives in the new system that make people independent of government, not dependent on it.

Let us help people help themselves. Let us eliminate the duplication of effort by federal and provincial bureaucracies. Let us provide help to the people who need it most. Let us make sure our social spending is an investment in the future. Most of all, let us show the voters of this country that their tax dollars are being well spent.

I appeal to the House to support freer votes so that all members have the freedom to vote as their constituents wish and I appeal to all members to support any and all motions before this House that reduce the tax burden on all Canadians.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

8:05 p.m.

Bloc

Philippe Paré Bloc Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to comment on what the hon. member for Yorkton-Melville said. Granted, certain aspects of Canada's social programs and health programs could be reviewed. But to do so at the expense of UI and welfare recipients is akin to blaming the present economic situation and government finance problems on the have-nots of our society, when we know full well that this is not the case. The system is allowing abuse to continue. Just this week, more cases were identified. Reference was made to tax shelters being commonplace and family trusts being tax exempt. We could also question the $12 billion Canada invested in national defence. Another very concrete example was given this week when the leader of the Reform Party asked why it was that the Governor General did not pay taxes when he is earning something in the neighbourhood of $97,000. It looks good to ask a question like that, but the same people are denouncing social programs as the cause of our current economic problems. That makes no sense. I think that Canadians should be made aware of the need to show compassion for the less fortunate. I am not saying that there is no abuse. There probably is. But, goodness gracious, let us not sacrifice what makes Canada the envy of other nations.

Just this week, we were told that the health care system in Canada represented 7 or 8 per cent of the GDP, while in the US, it was 12 to 15 per cent. It is simply not true that our system is expensive. What is true, on the other hand, is that our public debt is costing us a lot. In fact, it is too expensive and it is the ultimate reason why we apparently have to go and cut social programs. That is the easiest area to make cuts in, because it affects the less fortunate.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

8:05 p.m.

Reform

Garry Breitkreuz Reform Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, I am not exactly sure if a question was asked or whether a statement was merely made, but I would like to pick up on something that member said.

It is precisely because we are sympathetic to the disadvantaged and poor, those who are less fortunate in society that we need to redesign these programs. That is because we cannot continue to run deficits and continue to build up our debt to the

point where everything will collapse and we will be left with nothing.

We need to redesign these programs, to streamline them so that they meet the needs of Canadians. This is what I am advocating. It is precisely because we are trying to protect that element in society which will remain unprotected if we do not try to do something.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

8:05 p.m.

Liberal

Dianne Brushett Liberal Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the member for Yorkton-Melville on his maiden speech and say it was a pleasure to hear it.

My question regards the blue book. I wish the hon. member would elaborate a little on the negative income tax and financial fiscal management in that regard.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

8:10 p.m.

Reform

Garry Breitkreuz Reform Yorkton—Melville, SK

It would take a bit of time to elaborate on the negative income tax. Basically something like that would work in this way: If a person was below a certain income, instead of paying income tax he would receive a certain percentage. I must say at the outset that the purpose of this is to create an incentive for people to work and earn money, not that the minute they do this they are penalized the amount they earn by not receiving a certain amount in social security payments or Canada assistance or whatever it is.

That is the purpose of a negative income tax. A level would be developed. If someone did not reach that level he would get a certain percentage. If someone went over that level of course he would begin to pay income tax. In that way an incentive to find work is built into the system and people are not penalized for finding work.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

8:10 p.m.

Liberal

Warren Allmand Liberal Notre-Dame-De-Grâce, QC

Mr. Speaker, before and during the election campaign we in the Liberal Party, and several other parties as well, criticized the Conservative government for promoting high unemployment and pursuing the wrong policies for debt reduction. We said that the government's obsession with inflation and government spending was wrong. The economy went into recession, we had record bankruptcies, unemployment soared to 11 per cent and the national debt tripled.

We said that while some expenditures had to be cut, especially wasteful and non-productive expenditures, the principal emphasis had to be on job creation and economic growth.

Under the Tory approach, people were put out of work, tax revenue declined, welfare and unemployment insurance payments increased, and the deficit grew.

Under the plan put forward by the Liberal Party, Canadians would go back to work, companies would make profits, both would pay taxes and there would be less unemployment insurance, welfare and bail-outs to certain companies, and the deficit would be reduced.

In the speech from the throne the Liberal government committed itself to these goals, and I quote: "The government attaches the highest priority to job creation and economic growth in the short term and the long term."

We have put forward our commitment for the municipal infrastructure program; the residential rehabilitation assistance program, which is a program to restore our older housing and thereby create jobs and leave us with a better bank of housing; the youth service corps, which will help young people build the bridge between school and the workplace; better access to capital for small business; the Canadian investment fund to develop new technology; more research and development; and improved training and retraining.

These are only some of the things that have been put forward in the speech from the throne. During this debate the various ministers have come forward to explain in greater detail some of those programs.

While I am a strong proponent of training, retraining, advanced education and lifetime learning, we cannot presume that this alone will solve the unemployment problem. Some people have suggested that a greater percentage of the unemployment insurance fund should be used for training. However, I must remind them and others that a substantial number of unemployed Canadians are already fully trained. Their problem is not training but the lack of jobs.

Furthermore, we must assure that the training programs are directed to the real economic needs of the country. On the one hand too often we are training people for trades that no longer are demanded by business and the public sector and on the other hand we have no courses for trades that are often in demand. I have seen that very often in my own city of Montreal where people are taking training courses. They finish the courses and there are no jobs available. On the other hand employers and businesses are looking for people to train and there is no one being trained in those areas.

In any case I welcome the review of income support and social security programs such as proposed in the speech from the throne to be initiated by the Minister of Human Resources Development. I believe we will be debating that proposal on Monday.

I would now like to deal with some of the objections that we hear with respect to the government's economic program to create jobs and stimulate growth. First we heard during the election campaign, and we still hear it today, that the infrastructure program is simply a large scale attempt to fix potholes and will not create any permanent jobs.

To begin with this program has the support of all the provinces in Canada and the great majority of all the municipalities. It is much more than fixing potholes, which is a very simplistic response to a very important program.

The minister and the Prime Minister have said that the interpretation of infrastructure will be a very wide one. It will apply to roads, highways, ports, airports, sewage systems, public transportation, communications systems, water treatment facilities, bridges, and so on. These public works will create direct and indirect jobs while being built. The indirect jobs of course are those which will be supplying the construction materials, all the materials that are needed in bringing about the renewal and building of such infrastructure projects. We also at the same time create a better environment for private investment in the renewed, better equipped cities and towns.

This is what attracts tourists, attracts business and attracts economic growth. Such a restoration of our infrastructure will also help restore confidence which is an important ingredient in stimulating investment and growth.

Another objection was raised in this House, and it was raised by several members of the Reform Party, but in particular by the leader of the Reform Party on the first day that we had a Question Period. I refer to a question which he asked of the Prime Minister. He referred to a question which had been sent to him by Dr. Dean Eyre of Ottawa who said, and I am quoting from Hansard :

The government proposes to spend $6 billion on infrastructure and create 65,000 jobs. Has the government calculated how many jobs might have been created if that $6 billion were simply cut from the taxes of individuals, property owners and small businesses?

To begin with, as I stated a few minutes ago, all our cities and provinces need up to date infrastructure if they are to operate efficiently and attract private investment. We need highways, we need railroads, we need canals, we need the St. Lawrence Seaway. Mr. Speaker, that was a great infrastructure program many years ago and it is very close to your constituency. We need airports, we need telephone and telecommunications systems, we need schools, we need universities, justice systems and police forces which are all part of what might be called in a broader sense our infrastructure. If we do not build and keep our infrastructure up to date we become a third-class nation.

As I said earlier not only do we create direct and indirect jobs in building and restoring our infrastructure, but once we build a modern infrastructure system we attract investment for still further jobs.

However there is a supposition in the question put forward by the leader of the Reform Party on behalf of Dr. Eyre, that if we return $6 billion to the taxpayers we would have even more jobs. There is certainly no guarantee of that. Every society has to guarantee that it has the essential infrastructure to operate as a modern state.

We are not at all what sure would happen if we simply returned this particular $6 billion to Canadian taxpayers. I want to make it clear that I believe a very good percentage of our incomes must be left to spend as we wish as individuals and as consumers. On the other hand, as a society we have to ensure that we have the social capital to exist as a modern state.

Some of the people might spend a good percentage of that money, if we returned it to them, outside the country either as consumers or investors. Some might use it entirely for consumption, for consumer goods. Some might use it for illegal cigarettes or other types of illegal products, drugs and so on. Some might put it in their drawer or their sock. No doubt there would be some investment. There would be some private investment if that money were returned to taxpayers.

However there would be no guarantee that it would be invested in jobs, while society through its government can ensure that it is used for basic essential infrastructure that will attract business and in the long run will put more money in the pockets of our citizens.

We in the Liberal Party believe in a mixed economy. The greatest eras of prosperity in Canada, the United States and Europe have been accomplished under mixed economies. Experience shows us that the extremes of socialism or the extremes of free market systems do not work as well.

That is the message in the speech from the throne. Jobs and economic growth are our highest priority. We believe the Government of Canada, along with the provinces, has an important role to play with business and labour in achieving these goals.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

8:20 p.m.

Reform

Jake Hoeppner Reform Lisgar—Marquette, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am wondering if the hon. member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce remembers the early eighties when we had 24 per cent interest rates that were caused by his government. We also had a transportation policy formed by his government that did away with thousands of miles of railway track. It put thousands of farmers out of business. It closed oil drilling rigs.

I am wondering how all of a sudden infrastructure is so dear to his heart. Would he please explain that?

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

8:20 p.m.

Liberal

Warren Allmand Liberal Notre-Dame-De-Grâce, QC

Mr. Speaker, I remember well the eighties. I remember the seventies, the sixties and the fifties as well. To attribute the interest rates of the eighties entirely to the federal government is an extremely simplistic approach. There were high interest rates in many western countries at the time. It was immediately after the OPEC oil crisis. Many other pressures were brought together in the world at the time. All governments were struggling to deal with the high interest rates and the conditions that were described.

If the member wants to remember periods of Liberal government, I remember the period of Mr. Pearson in the early sixties when we had 2 to 3 per cent unemployment for four consecutive years. As a student I can remember the period under Mr. St. Laurent when we had five to six years of full employment. I can remember the period under Mr. Trudeau when we averaged between 5 to 7 per cent unemployment.

I am saying that there is a role for government in our economy. I am not a socialist. I do not believe in a fully controlled socialist economy. Nor do I believe in the approach taken by the Reagans, the Thatchers, and the Mulroneys who believed they could withdraw altogether and just wish that things would go well.

I believe there is a role to play by governments with labour and business. Under those types of governments we had the highest eras of prosperity in Canadian history and Canada has become a great nation because of that approach.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

8:20 p.m.

Bloc

Philippe Paré Bloc Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I was very pleased to hear the hon. member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce remind us that, in the end, the high cost of social assistance and unemployment insurance is directly related to an excessive unemployment rate. Really, it is a lack of jobs, I do not think I misinterpret him when I say that. There is, indeed, a lack of jobs, which means that people are not necessarily unemployed because of a lack of skill. He was right when saying that.

Representing a riding with includes Laval University, an institution centuries old with over 35,000 students, I am rather aware of that reality.

I have a question for the hon. member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce. Does he think that work-sharing could, in the future, be a way to get trained young people, full of enthusiasm but unable to find a job, out of unemployment and social assistance? If we shared better what we have, would that not be a solution?

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

8:25 p.m.

Liberal

Warren Allmand Liberal Notre-Dame-De-Grâce, QC

Mr. Speaker, a very interesting proposal which is now under serious consideration in many countries of the world is the fact that we share our employment more equitably among various people. For example, several European countries are now discussing the shorter work week or the shorter work day so that they could spread employment more fairly among a greater number of people.

In this modern age our production for the most part is achieved through technology, machines and robots, not simply by the sweat and blood of workers but by the use of their brains, their intelligence, their imagination and through high training.

As a matter of fact that is what will happen. There will be a greater sharing of work and there are many means to achieve that. I would hope the committee on human resources which will be established in the House in a week or so will examine that as one of the possibilities in looking at a better distribution of work and a better approach to income support and social security.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

8:25 p.m.

Liberal

Beth Phinney Liberal Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate you on your new position in the House. I would like to let you know that the Speaker and his deputy speakers can count on my support as I have counted on your friendship over the past few years. As you preside over lively debates in the years ahead, I hope we all remember how lucky we are to live in a democracy in which lively debates are not only allowed but encouraged.

I also welcome the 205 new members of Parliament.

As the Prime Minister was saying last week, the unprecedented number of new members brings to the House of Commons a tremendous energy for renewal.

Most of all I thank the voters of Hamilton Mountain for giving me the honour of representing them again in Parliament. I shall do my very best to fulfil their trust.

Indeed the issue of trust is central in the throne speech. I remember well when the Prime Minister came to Hamilton during the election and held up his now famous red book entitled "Creating Opportunity: The Liberal Plan for Canada". The Prime Minister promised that if elected he would make the red book the basis for a Liberal government. With this throne speech the Prime Minister has kept his word. He has honoured the trust of the voters.

Frankly I am surprised to hear opposition members complain that the throne speech is merely a restatement of our election promises. They should be applauding the fact that the Prime Minister is going to do what he promised to do. They should applaud the fact that the Prime Minister is keeping faith with Canadians.

From the day he was sworn in, the Prime Minister has kept his word. We can look at his record in the first two months. The Prime Minister said that he would cancel the $5.8 billion helicopter deal, and he did. He said that he would have the smallest cabinet ever, and he has. He promised to cut $10 million from the offices of the cabinet ministers, and he made those cuts. The Prime Minister said he would reduce the expenses of Parliament, and he has already reduced those expenses by $5 million. The Prime Minister stopped the costly privatization of Pearson airport. He is stopping excessive spending overseas by integrating our embassies with those of Australia. He appointed a new Governor of the Bank of Canada. He is reviewing the pensions of members of Parliament. He is selling the prime ministerial airbus.

In the House we have seen major changes in the first three weeks of the first session of the 35th Parliament. We have had debate in which we could all participate before a bill is presented by the government. We have debated peacekeeping and nuclear arms. Next week we will be debating social policy. Also for the first time we will all be able to participate in a pre-budget debate.

Those are all major accomplishments but, even more important, the government has already made major changes to our country's policies for economic growth. The new economic approach will make a real difference for my constituency and my city of Hamilton.

The government is implementing the national infrastructure program. We will sign agreements with every province and projects to put Canadians back to work will start in a matter of weeks.

In the very first Question Period of this new Parliament the Prime Minister pointed out the support he had received for the infrastructure program from the mayor of Hamilton. New municipal projects mean new construction jobs. New construction jobs mean new steel jobs. That is what Canadians want, and that is what the government is delivering. That is what Hamiltonians want, and that is what the government is delivering to Hamilton.

Canadians do not expect miracles from the government but they do expect realistic hope and realistic job policies. That is why the infrastructure program is so important. It provides a kickstart for our economy at a time when the economy most needs that kickstart.

This same sound approach is at the heart of the government's policy with respect to trade. The Prime Minister said that he would only agree to implement NAFTA if he obtained an agreement from the United States and Mexico to negotiate on the issue of subsidies, dumping and countervail. This new government obtained those agreements.

The new NAFTA working groups on dumping and subsidies are a major step forward in stopping American harassment of Canadian exports. The road ahead is not going to be easy, but it is very important to note that this government has managed to get the United States to agree to a two-year timeframe to deal with the critical issues.

The new working groups are particularly important to the city of Hamilton since there have been more American trade actions against steel than against any other Canadian export during the last several years. The added benefits is that Mexico will also be party to these negotiations, a significant advance when we consider that Canadian steel is currently facing four separate trade actions by Mexico.

I do not pretend that the government has solved all of Canada's problems in our first two months in office, but I do believe that the government has taken major steps and we have acted quickly to make good on our election promises. Job creation and integrity in government were the Prime Minister's electoral commitments and he is carrying through on those commitments. Of course there remains much to do.

We need better access for small businesses to capital funding. We need to eliminate interprovincial trade barriers. We need to create the Canada investment fund to support leading edge technology firms. We need to reduce the regulatory burden on business. We need to reduce the deficit through more measures for long-term job creation. We need to protect and strengthen our health care system. We need to make our communities and our streets safer. We need to bring in a youth service corps. We certainly need to replace the GST.

We cannot do everything at once but we can and we must take those actions necessary to give every Canadian the opportunity to be the best that he or she can be. We can and we must treat every Canadian with dignity, fairness and compassion. We can and we must ensure that Canada is competitive, tolerant, independent and proud.

There is much to do in Parliament. During the last two months and in the speech from the throne, the Prime Minister has demonstrated his leadership qualities.

As I said at the outset I think we are extraordinarily fortunate to live in a democracy where we can have lively debates. I hope that we remember as we have those debates that we are here to represent Canadians who expect us to put job creation and integrity first. I look forward to working with all members of Parliament as we pursue those goals.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

8:35 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Bloc Verchères, QC

Mr. Speaker, first I want to congratulate the hon. member and thank her for her speech. In fact, we have something in common. I am referring to a shared concern about the steel industry, which is important in my riding as well. We have two big steel mills, Sidbec Dosco and Stelco McMaster.

I found the feverish enthusiasm with which the hon. member described the achievements of her government, so far, and those of the Prime Minister, almost moving. She mentioned several, starting with the cuts in the House of Commons budgelt.

At this point I think I should remind the hon. member that theoretically the House of Commons is entirely independent of the government and that not the government but the parties represented in the House made these budget cuts. Members themselves reduced the House budget-at the request, of course, of the Prime Minister, but in any case, the consent of the parties was essential. I may add the Bloc Quebecois did its share in this respect.

The hon. member also mentioned the debates we had Tuesday and Wednesday on the presence of Canadian peacekeepers in Bosnia-Hercegovina and Croatia and on cruise missile testing on Canadian territory.

The hon. member will also remember that yesterday we protested the fact that these debates were held before the government announced its defence policy. What was said yesterday may no longer be relevant if the government decides to take a different stand. I think the debate itself was entirely appropriate but the timing was wrong.

The hon. member also talked about all kinds of other so-called successes which I will not mention here. I would rather emphasize what this government has not done or rather where it has failed so far. Did the hon. member forget that the government failed miserably on the issue of free trade, for instance? During the election campaign, the Liberals said they would not implement the free trade agreement unless they obtained a certain number of guarantees on the environment and resources, and unless they were given a definition of the word subsidy. They did not obtain any of these guarantees or definitions before the agreement was implemented.

Similarly, on the subject of GATT, the government caved in miserably and failed to protect Article XI which is so important for farmers. I imagine the hon. member does not have any farmers in her riding. I do have a few, in fact I have quite a number of farmers in my riding, and that is one difference. So I would say we are a little disappointed in the government's performance.

Finally, I would like to ask the hon. member, since she mentioned the government's achievements, whether it will take very long for the government to do something about cigarette smuggling and then about tax equity.

Could we have some answers on these issues which are still pending?

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

8:40 p.m.

Liberal

Beth Phinney Liberal Hamilton Mountain, ON

I thank the hon. member for his kind words. I do not think we are going to have to wait very long for very many decisions. The decisions and the problems that the government is looking at right now are going to be handled with the help of all Canadians.

Most of the ministers have spoken already in the House and talked of the process where they are going to be opening up the decision making. The changes that the Canadian people have asked for are going to come about by their input and by all the people in the House of Commons participating.

I am interested that he has a steel industry in his community and I hope that he will participate even further in what is going on in the House of Commons by joining the steel caucus.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

8:40 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank the people from the riding of Drummond for their confidence in me; I will try to discharge my mandate to the best of my knowledge and with total dedication.

What I heard last Tuesday in the Senate does not reflect in any way the strong program that Quebecers and Canadians had a right to expect to regain a feeling of hope and confidence in the future. That is why I want to convey to this House and to the government my concerns and those of my colleagues concerning the throne speech, and the health care system in particular.

Unfortunately, the meagre content of the throne speech in this respect creates more fears than hopes. Our fellow citizens are expecting solutions to the problems associated with our deteriorating health care system, such as bed closures, crowded emergency wards, higher drug prices, and so on. Let us take for example the acute crisis prevailing in Sainte-Croix Hospital of Drummondville in my riding. Inadequate funding and severe budget cutbacks have led to obsolete equipment, a lack of specialists, frequent service cuts, split shifts and patient transfers. All this makes life harder for staff and patients alike. What hope does the throne speech give us that these unacceptable situations will be resolved? Very little, I'm afraid, Mr. Speaker.

Let us talk about federal transfer payments and established programs financing. We must first recognize that the finance minister's commitment to improve equalization payments every five years is certainly reassuring for all provinces.

But we must not confuse equalization payments with transfer payments. In 1986, the previous government, criticized on many occasions by the current Prime Minister, started to reduce federal transfers for established programs financing. In 1987, the Tories announced that Canadian provinces and Quebec would receive $270 million less for health care and post-secondary education.

Worse still, they announced in February 1991 that per capita transfer payments for established programs financing would be frozen until 1994-95. All these measures were applied unilaterally, without the consent of Quebec and the other provinces, despite the formal agreement reached by the parties in 1977. So, between 1978 and 1993, the federal government's contribution

to health care and post-secondary education programs in Quebec fell from 47 to 34 per cent.

As we all know, whenever transfer payments are reduced, it is the poorest provinces that suffer the most. What we are talking about is fairness for the provinces and Quebec. A freeze in federal transfers for established program financing is in itself a serious threat to the principles set forth in the Canada Health Act.

Therefore the Official Opposition intends to promote a review of the transfer payment procedures, in a way that will respect the financial capacity of Quebec, the provinces and Canada.

We must also stress that as the federal government got out of funding this program, the provinces and Quebec faced increased costs for health care. This growth is due to several factors, like the aging population, the appearance of costly advanced medical technology and higher drug prices.

The taxpayers of Quebec and Canada entrust the federal government with large sums of money, part of which has always been intended for health care under the 1977 agreement. The problem is that for 10 years, the federal government has not given the portion due back to the provinces and Quebec and thus diverts funds meant for health care. Instead, what it transfers to Quebec and the provinces is its deficit, a consequence of the previous government's inability to control its spending. We are talking about a reduction of nearly a third in transfer payments here. This has had major consequences on the financial health of Quebec and the provinces. If the present Liberal government just froze transfer payments, it would mean a cut equal to the increase in the cost of living.

The federal government would be making the choices which Quebec and the provinces have to make more difficult as they try to cover their shortfall and reduce their tax burden. Since greater efficiency is unlikely in the short term, Quebec and the provinces would be faced with two equally unpleasant options: reducing the quantity or quality of services or going further into debt. In either case, we are not telling anyone anything new when we say that it is still the poorest people who will suffer the most.

Let me point out to this House that neither Quebec nor the provinces are asking for charity here. They are only demanding the money which is their due under an official agreement, remember.

Furthermore, we question the federal government's right and justification in requiring the provinces to maintain certain health insurance procedures, after the Conservative government in its nine years in power systematically went back on its financial commitments with respect to transfer payments.

As a result, the provinces and Quebec have been forced, in spite of themselves, to propose various so-called palliative measures in recent years, such as user fees, service charges, deductibles and so on. All these alternatives have one thing in common: they make health care and services less accessible.

The federal government must be sensitive and above all aware that by increasing the financial burden of Quebec and the provinces, a two-tier system will be created: on one hand, those who can afford access to health care and services, and on the other, those who for financial reasons will delay treatment or even do without necessary care.

We believe in the great principles of universality, comprehensiveness, accessibility, portability and public administration. What we oppose is that these great principles are seriously threatened in all provinces and Quebec by the federal government's very inability to meet its commitments.

As my hon. colleagues realize as well as I do, in Quebec like elsewhere, it is always the same people who have to foot the bill. In terms of transfer payments, the federal government takes money out of the pockets of the taxpayers and transfers it to the provincial government. Basically, the taxpayers' money is taking a round trip to Ottawa.

But this trip has a price. In Ottawa, the bureaucracy takes its cut. Consequently, some of the taxpayers' money does not come back. That part is kept here to satisfy the appetite of the federal administration.

Just last week, the Minister of Finance warned us not to expect any gifts when transfer payment agreements expiring next year are renegotiated.

Would it not make more economic sense and make the taxpayers feel safer if they were to pay directly to their provincial government the money they owe for health care, thereby eliminating the federal intermediary, the additional costs and, more importantly, the risk that the federal government will grab this money to reduce its deficit?

In view of the fact that the federal government did not manage to make good its promises in the past, we are convinced that the people of Canada would be better served in terms of health care if each of the provinces and Quebec took things in hand and looked after implementing the Canada Health Act themselves.

This way, the bureaucratic load would be significantly reduced and management would be exercised much closer to home and be much easier to adapt to the specific requirements of the situation, as it would be more responsive and effective in the short term. It would also take away the sword that hangs over the heads of Quebec and the other provinces with every new federal budget!

Health also calls for prevention. As we all know, an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure, however good the care system is. This is to say that in terms of prevention, any budget cut that is not immediately compensated by an equivalent increase in the efficiency of the programs affected would translate into a cost increase higher than the expected savings.

The best prevention with regard to health is to enhance the socio-economic condition of the people of Quebec and Canada. A large segment of the population could be negatively affected by the precarious state of the economy in Quebec and everywhere in Canada.

From Saint John's to Victoria, women and men, young and old, live in socio-economic conditions that do not allow them to develop their full potential. We all have in our ridings families living under the poverty line and barely surviving.

Pregnant women are not eating appropriately, preventing the foetus from developing normally. Several newborns are underweight and require prolonged hospital care. Others are born with diseases due to deficiencies in their mothers' diet and require treatment during several years. The prenatal nutrition programs announced in the throne speech will have to provide a real solution to this important problem.

School children are even reported to be starving because the fridge is almost empty at the end of the month. These children often do badly in school and drop out before getting a diploma. We must do something for these children.

People who cannot find decent housing are even worse off. As it was pointed out in the health and welfare policy issued in 1992 by the Quebec government, living in a run-down apartment with poor heat and poor ventilation is particularly harmful to the health of young children and seniors.

Therefore, the social housing problem is extremely serious in every province, including Quebec. This situation cannot go on forever.

One of the best ways to reduce health costs is to enable everybody to live in adequate and decent conditions. And it is by providing decent jobs that we will be able to improve the situation.

Also, even though we agree with the efforts of the Department of Health to reduce tobacco consumption, we deeply regret the program implemented by the previous government to increase taxes on tobacco. This program, which is a disaster, has generated four major adverse effects.

First, the creation of a contraband network and a black market which have generated uncontrollable and unnecessary illegal and criminal activities. Second, tobacco sales have dropped everywhere, resulting in a sharp drop in profits for businesses. Consequently, tax revenues have also been reduced drastically. Finally, and this is both unfortunate and ironic, the emergence of this black market has not only prevented the expected reduction in tobacco consumption, but has in fact provoked an increase in consumption among young people, if only because of the appeal of cigarettes as a contraband product.

It is a real shame that this House is responsible for having provoked such a serious and unnecessary crisis when there are so many real problems to tackle. Therefore, we ask the new government to reduce drastically taxes on tobacco products.

The throne speech states in less than two lines that a Centre for Excellence for women's health will be established to ensure that women's health issues will receive the attention they deserve. This project is certainly commendable, but will it be a true program for support, research and action for women's health or will it be merely a documentation centre as the Liberal government program seemed to suggest?

What funds will be targeted to research on women's health? There are deficiencies in the research on breast cancer, gynaecology and obstetrics, chronic and degenerative diseases, mental health, violence and occupational illnesses. If it is the socio-economic situation of women which determines their health needs, what concrete measures are needed to eliminate these unfortunate conditions? It is urgent to act and to go to the roots of the problem. Women are poor and that is the reason for a lot of their health problems.

Everybody has a brother, a sister, or a friend struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction. We urge the government to give special support to organizations which work for the detoxication and rehabilitation of those who are affected by such problems.

The throne speech mentions a national forum on health to foster a dialogue on the renewal of Canada's health system. We can only praise the government for this initiative but, at the same time, we are concerned that this type of exercise might take too long to get under way, might cost too much and might end with a report which will be shelved. The Bloc Quebecois will strongly criticize any attitude which would lead such an initiative to flop.

The Bloc will also ensure that the government does not use this forum to justify unilateral changes in transfer payments which would be to the detriment of Quebec's and the other provinces' interests. Indeed, the Bloc Quebecois' mandate is to

ensure that the poor will not have to suffer from changes made for fiscal consolidation purposes.

This is why, as some of my colleagues have pointed out, we are adamant that the government must set up a House committee whose mandate will be to review each budget item in order to eliminate unnecessary and frivolous expenses.

In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, in order to protect the health of Quebecers and Canadians, the government must guarantee to all the provinces that they will get their fair share of the money paid by taxpayers to this end, as well as the all services which Quebecers and Canadians desperately need.

The Official Opposition intends to intervene in a useful way and, if necessary, as energetically as required, to ensure that each citizen of Quebec and Canada has access to the health care and services which they need.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

9 p.m.

Kingston and the Islands Ontario

Liberal

Peter Milliken LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Government House Leader

Mr. Speaker, I must congratulate the hon. member for Drummond on her maiden speech to the House. It is obvious that she has some interesting ideas.

First of all, I have a comment. I think she should put some questions about the issues raised in her speech to her leader, since he was a member of the former federal government and, as she well knows, that government was responsible for almost all of the cuts that were made and for causing serious hardship to people across Canada. Her leader often supported this government in the House, as did many of his colleagues. I think she should be putting the questions about the problems the country is now experiencing to him, not to this government.

I believe the hon. member also broached the subject of the tax on tobacco products. What course of action does she advocate? Would she prefer to see the tax remain in place, along with the associated loss of revenues, or would she prefer that it be replaced with another tax? The former government tried something else. It imposed an export tax on cigarettes. Obviously there were some problems with this decision because the government later suspended the tax. What would the hon. member have the government do now? Impose a new tax, suspend the tax altogether or what? She was not very specific. I would like to hear her answer.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

9 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague on the other side for his remarks. What the Bloc Quebecois is calling for is the removal or elimination of federal taxes on cigarettes. The black market is thriving and this is the only way to curb the illegal activities now taking place.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

9 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, I want to agree with the hon. member's comment that the social economic condition is extremely important to health care. The Minister of Human Resources Development is certainly looking at ways of improving the social safety net and making better use of every dollar spent.

The hon. member made a comment that I am intrigued and curious about. It was along the lines that a return trip to Ottawa is at a cost, I think implying that the trips of MPs and others coming to Ottawa that you leave dollars here and it is a drain.

The perception is that Ottawa is English Canada and it is a drain on all the taxpayers of Canada. Now I am not a lover of the bureaucracy by any means, I am a critic of it and we have to make improvements there.

However has the hon. member given any thought or does she know the economic spinoff in terms of the central government's efforts, Parliament and all the ministries, that go to Hull as a result? What would the losses be to Hull and to the province of Quebec if the Bloc ever got its desire to separate Quebec from Canada?

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

9:05 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to tell the hon. member that he did not understand me at all when I referred to the return trip taken by taxpayers' money. As you know, health care is paid for by taxpayers, by the provinces, including Quebec. Taxpayers send money to pay the federal government for health care. The federal government administers and manages; the department of health administers and provides health care to pay for medicare. But the federal government does not do a favour to taxpayers. Taxpayers pay their share. What I am saying is that when the money which comes from the provinces, from the taxpayers, goes to the provinces who then send on here the taxes paid by people for these services, it costs a lot of money to administer. The federal government takes its share, it takes its money, and then gives some back to the provinces so that they can administer their health programs.

And it is this administration by the federal government which costs a lot of money. If each province was in charge, and if taxpayers gave their money to the province, which would manage its own health care program, it would be cheaper and hospitals would not have a deficit such as is the case right now. That is what I wanted to say.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

9:05 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Bloc Verchères, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to start with a comment on the presentation made by the hon. member for Drummond who is to be commended for her excellent speech.

First of all, I entirely approve of her proposal that the provinces should themselves raise, and be allowed to keep, the amounts they need to operate the health care system. However, as we know, under the present system this is unthinkable. So we must ensure that transfer payments to the provinces are not affected, so that the provinces can continue to be responsible for and provide health care services to their residents. I may remind hon. members opposite that during the election campaign, the Prime Minister promised that he would not tamper with transfer payments to the provinces.

The hon. member also made a very careful analysis of the two perverse consequences of a possible reduction in transfer payments for health care. First of all, there would be a reduction in services. And, as she so astutely pointed out, the neediest members of our society would suffer most because they are unable to pay the user-fee or health tax that might be introduced by the province if transfer payments were cut. They would either postpone medical appointments or not go at all.

Furthermore, as I pointed out myself, this might increase the tax burden, because if the federal government reduces transfer payments to the provinces, that does not necessarily mean it will lower its tax rates. Consequently, the provinces will have to pick up the slack, either by increasing their own tax revenues or by asking residents for a bigger contribution to the health care system. And this illustrates the other perverse effect I was mentioning previously. It is a kind of vicious circle: increased burden for the taxpayer on the one hand, and reduced services on the other. I believe, therefore, that the perverse consequences are too important to even consider a reduction of transfer payments to the provinces.

Besides, I would like to point out, Mr. Speaker, that the Prime Minister promised not to cut transfer payments to provinces. However, we will have to watch carefully to make sure that those payments are not frozen at their present level, since that would amount, in the long run, to a reduction equivalent to inflation. The government will have to keep the promise it made during the campaign and index transfer payments to provinces to the consumer price index.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

9:10 p.m.

Liberal

Harry Verran Liberal South West Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate you on your appointment to the Chair. Your guidance and leadership will be appreciated by all in this House.

I appreciate the opportunity to speak in this first session of the 35th Parliament as a duly elected representative for the riding of South West Nova. It is a pleasure, indeed an honour to have been elected by the people of South West Nova to represent them and to bring their concerns to the government and to this House.

The Prime Minister and this government have been given a clear mandate by the people of Canada to implement the programs as outlined in the now famous red book.

South West Nova is a riding in the southwestern part of Nova Scotia. It was represented by Coline Campbell for many years. Coline did not seek re-election this time and I want to wish Coline and her husband Ron, God speed and good health in the future.

South West Nova is a riding rich in history and dates back to Champlain's landing in 1604. The riding has a diverse cultural mix of native Canadians as well as English and French speaking people. As a matter of fact, the Acadians in South West Nova proudly celebrated their 225th anniversary this past year with festivities mainly centering in and round the University of St. Anne at Church Point in the district of Clare. This small degree granting university has the distinction of having the best immersion program in this country.

I want to say that I intend to maintain a close personal relationship with the people of my riding and to the best of my ability give them personal service.

For generations our people have made their living through the use of natural resources, the sea, the land and the forests. However, in recent years our people have found it difficult to make a living from those resources. The fishing industry has been crippled mainly because of mismanagement.

Our ground fishermen are second to none in this country and have co-operated with management to help keep this fishery alive. The thanks these same fishermen received in return for their co-operation from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans was a mid-season quota cut which resulted in great monetary loss for bought quota and a reduction of 40 per cent in their catches.

These fishermen were betrayed and lost all trust in the department of fisheries. Our fishermen want better management of these fishing industries where justice and fairness play leading roles. The fishermen of South West Nova want to work and they want to fish.

Recently I had the privilege of meeting with the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to voice my concerns for those fishermen of South West Nova. I am pleased the minister indicated to me and to the deputy minister that he too wanted fairness in his fisheries policies so that the people in the industry could regain that lost trust.

The fishermen want to co-operate but insist they must have some input into the decision-making process. I am pleased that at a meeting with the minister of fisheries just today he again reinforced his commitment to visit the fishermen in South West Nova in the very near future. I will be reminding the hon. minister when the near future is here.

In the forest industry our riding is also experiencing some problems. Small woodlot owners have great difficulty trying to

survive. Years ago when a small woodlot owner ran into difficulty and when things were tough and hard, he was allowed o go into the woods and cut a few cords of wood and sell it to the local people. Under the present regulations a man cannot even do that in order to bring bread to the table for his family. It is time to realize that this is also a problem. We have to work to rectify it.

The only mining activity in our riding was centred around the tin mine in Yarmouth County. This mine is closed because of falling world tin prices. The result is 400 more people out of work. This, together with the closing of the textile mill in Yarmouth has left the town and area with over 600 more people unemployed. The people of Yarmouth, Argile and Clare are working together in an effort to bring new business and industry to the area and are in great need of this government's assistance.

In Bridgetown, the friendly town, one of the two main industries has closed with the loss of many jobs. The people of Bridgetown will not give up as they continue to try to attract new business.

Farming in the constituency continues to survive reasonably well even though the traditional family farm is slowly disappearing and with it the opportunity for young men and women to live and work at home. Because of this we need to find alternative ways to keep our children employed, one of which could be the expansion of small business.

Small business in South West Nova has provided employment for many of our citizens but has depended largely on the success of our natural resources. The decline of these natural resources automatically means the decline of others and this is a situation we are currently facing.

Our government must look closely at the rural areas and small towns of our country and encourage small businesses. We must provide the economic climate necessary for people to risk their time and capital.

Last but certainly not least is the issue of CFB Cornwallis, an issue that is very near and dear to my heart. As a young sailor I served at CFB Cornwallis and it has always brought back fond memories for me. South West Nova has been the home of this base for over 50 years. Since 1949 it has served as the only English speaking recruit training centre for Canada.

In December I had the opportunity to meet with the Minister of National Defence with regard to this issue. I explained to the minister the history of CFB Cornwallis as a recruit training base and I spoke to him about a recently developed peacekeeping training plan. I explained to the minister that this peacekeeping plan was developed entirely in South West Nova by the people in and around Cornwallis.

I explained to him the work, the time, the research and the money spent by the community on this plan. I informed the minister that this was our plan and we would be upset if the military tried to steal that plan and implement it in any other part of this country.

I explained to the minister the necessity of blending the advice of military officials with the concerns of the people of Cornwallis and the surrounding area.

The Minister of National Defence has heard from me exactly how the people of South West Nova stand on the issue of Cornwallis. I hope that the minister will seriously consider the input of the local people when the final decisions are made.

Before concluding, I want to say that the most important resource we have in this country today is that of our youth. As a father of seven children and the grandfather of 25, I have great concern. I am pleased to hear that our government is working to implement the youth training corps to begin putting young Canadians back to work.

In conclusion, before coming to this House I made a commitment to the people of my riding that I would fight as hard as I could to ensure that their interests were represented. To the people of my riding, I pledge accessibility and accountability.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

9:20 p.m.

Bloc

Antoine Dubé Bloc Lévis, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listened with interest to the hon. member for South West Nova. I have confidence in his description of the problems in his riding caused by the introduction of fishing quotas, the difficulties experienced by the mining and textile industries, the decline of farming, the small and medium sized businesses that are also struggling.

He talked about problems but his speech did not suggest any solutions to these problems. What he described could apply to several regions or sub-regions across Canada; this problem, in my opinion, is due in part to the distance separating these regions from the central government.

Since I am the critic for Youth and he spoke about the Youth Service Corps, I would like to draw his attention to the concerns expressed so far during the consultations held with the organizations responsible and ask him whether he thinks, for example, that $61 a week for young people could be a solution for his region from an economic standpoint?

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

9:20 p.m.

Liberal

Harry Verran Liberal South West Nova, NS

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

Yes, we probably do have similar rural areas in our constituencies in the provinces of Nova Scotia and Quebec. There is no doubt I feel certain parts of the government are too centralized. They should be partly relocated to the areas where they generally would fit into the activities of that area.

As for the youth of the country, the hon. member heard me say that I am deeply concerned about youth as a person with so many grandchildren of my own. At the same time, I realize that the minister has made a great effort and is putting the youth training plan into place.

To a large degree, it would be a real benefit compared to what we have had in the past. It may not be everything at the start of the program but it will certainly be a start that was not there. I am sure it will grow and prosper. Our young people will prosper by it.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

9:20 p.m.

Liberal

Jerry Pickard Liberal Essex—Kent, ON

Mr. Speaker, first I want to congratulate you on your appointment to the chair.

I know the citizens of Stormont-Dundas, which you represent, are very proud of the effort you have put forth to help them solve their problems throughout the time you have been here. I know that will continue but they can be equally proud for the leadership that you will show in this House. I congratulate you for that. Some comments have been made jokingly about what is the most beautiful riding in this country. To me there is no question that the most beautiful riding in this country is where the heart is and my heart is in my home riding of Essex-Kent. Essex-Kent is the most southerly riding in this country, southwestern Ontario, and very much a rural, agricultural riding, one that has a smattering of small towns like those throughout rural Canada.

There is a great deal of concern in rural Canada about agriculture and agricultural problems. It is really one of the only industries that is so controlled by the weather, by outside forces that governments or others do not control. As a result sometimes they run through very difficult times, although they use the very best technology available to them. Although they are excellent producers they do run into rough times.

Just this past week we had severely cold weather in our riding and much of the soft fruit industry production is in jeopardy because of that hard freeze. That is the reality that agriculture faces. It is not protected from the elements many times and so the economy of much of rural Canada has to be looked at very critically and very carefully by governments.

Certainly Essex-Kent is an area where the people are vibrant. They work hard. They are well educated. They do the very best they can to make sure that their opportunities are fulfilled. There are times when government must be there with support. I feel that it is a concern in rural Canada today and we should make sure that their voices are heard and they are represented well.

I believe this Liberal government will address those concerns as well as all of the other concerns that I heard over the time that we were campaigning for election.

The red book has been mentioned a million times if it has been mentioned once. That red book was not just something that was grabbed out of the air at election time. Three years of consultation, hard work, round table discussions and efforts to develop policy went into that red book and the statements it contained.

The red book tried to address as best it could in 125 pages the concerns and many of the solutions that Canadians would see a Liberal government follow. Quite frankly, there is no question as the Canadian people became more aware of that red book they were quite happy with the solutions the Liberal Party put forward. That is why there are 176 members of the Liberal caucus here in government today.

I believe that the speech from the throne was a very strong reflection of the document that was put in place during the election. There is no question that the document was the blueprint of the direction we shall go. The speech from the throne was not a big political paper of 50 or 60 or 80 pages. It was as reasonably short, concise document that reflected the red book very carefully and brought forward the concerns this Liberal government has. It is important that governments go ahead.

The number one issue that I heard in my riding and as well colleagues across the country whom I have talked to heard was jobs. Certainly we feel that there is a definite direction to fulfil those jobs. A national infrastructure program was put in place so that each community across this country could see some immediate support from the federal government, the provincial governments and municipal governments to make certain that new jobs are brought into their areas.

Every member of this Parliament will see programs in their riding which will reflect this new job development. I have no doubt that when the list came out in my riding just two days ago of the number of dollars that were available for communities to motivate and start up new job creation programs, moneys that will eventually build into longer range job creations, they were very content and very happy. The communication that I received back just two days ago was extremely positive throughout my riding.

The national apprenticeship program, which is a program to help those who are unemployed retrain and redevelop, is there. It is certainly strategic to bring the skills of Canadians up to the levels required by business. It is very important that business, government and the labour force of this country work together as a unit in order to bring about job creation and job training

which will benefit those businesses, benefit the workforce and benefit our country in general.

That is the type of program that comes forth in national apprenticeship programs.

A youth service corps is contemplated in order to get young people into the labour force. Young people who are now presently at 19 per cent unemployment need to find a beginning, need to build resumes of work established. They have that opportunity through this youth corps. It is wonderful when I stop and think of the opportunity they will be provided with. We look at the high unemployment rate and know the government is taking a positive step to make certain the youth corps does develop.

Business has always had major problems in accessing capital when times were very tough. That is one of the complaints I have heard from business and one of the areas where this government will do its very best to make certain that there is capital accessible to them for development, for improvement and for dally functioning.

It is also important to realize that one of the major complaints of business is the huge amount of paperwork they have to do. The paper trails are getting greater and greater and greater. By putting programs in place to reduce this paperwork is the direction this government intends to go and a direction that will be welcomed by the business community throughout this country.

Last of all it is important to mention the Canada Investment Fund to support the leading edge of technology. We know that jobs of the future are going to be created if we do support that leading technological edge and move forward as the new horizons develop.

The debt and deficit have been a major concern across this country. The Reform Party has been talking very much about the debt and deficit. I believe the Prime Minister has not only talked about the debt and deficit, but he has actually taken very strong and major steps within his own operations.

I believe that the Prime Minister riding in a Chevrolet rather than a limousine is a true message to Canadians. I believe when he cut his support staff in the Prime Minister's office, sold the air bus, created a smaller cabinet, started on public consultations about the budget with the finance minister, is now talking about restructuring some of the tax issues that are there, eliminating overlaps in government services, cancelling the helicopters were all actions of which we can be very proud. They are actions which are going to bring us into a better financial situation. They are also actions that give the Canadian people something to believe in, something to say yes, this government is ready to move in a positive direction.

Integrity was very strong concern voiced by the people in my riding. I believe that we need a tremendous amount of parliamentary reform in order to bring about a better image of this Canadian Parliament. You do not change your image by promising things, you change your image by taking action. I believe that the appointment of an ethics counsellor to stop the open lobbying, or at least bring out in public the lobbying that is going on, is of major importance.

We also know that opening up debates here in this House, allowing MPs more input before the legislation is passed or presented in the House, gives MPs a much better say in what is going on.

We saw it in the peacekeeping debate and the cruise missile debate and in the future we are going to see a pre-budget debate giving MPs their opportunity to have their say before the issue is placed in a motion so that one does not have any opportunity to change it.

Committee structural change is also very important to this place. As I look upon things that have been brought about not only in the financial area but in the area of government operations and I look upon the challenges that this government faces in the future, just to wrap things up, I believe we are looking for consultation with the public, better opportunities for MPs to put their concerns forward and a much better representative government for the people of this country.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

9:35 p.m.

Reform

Jan Brown Reform Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, I was very interested in what the hon. member had to say especially in the final remarks of his comments.

Through you, Mr. Speaker, to the hon. member, I congratulate him on his presentation. I think he spoke very much from his heart. There was much eloquence in what he said. It is wonderful to be able to stand up here and speak without lots of notes. I have not quite reached that point yet but I certainly do acknowledge that.

The hon. member did say something that I would like to clarify in my own mind. When he talked about changing his image he said: "You change your image by taking action".

I would very much like the hon. member to tell me his opinion of the mechanism of recall as we have suggested in our caucus and how he thinks we can move forward to implement a mechanism such as this.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

9:35 p.m.

Liberal

Jerry Pickard Liberal Essex—Kent, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is a very important point to make at this place and at this time.

We have had government that has not projected a very positive, open image to the Canadian public. We have certainly not supported the policies that have come down year after year in this place. Canadians have felt left out. They felt that they were opposed to many ideas and yet those thoughts were never listened to as carefully as they should have been.

The difference between a Liberal government and the previous government that we had was that we consulted with people for three years. We asked them what their concerns were. We tried to formalize round table discussions and openness with the public. That is the reason why we came up with a very concise, consolidated red book.

It is important at this point in time to realize that this government now is opening up debate in the House of Commons to allow members of Parliament to bring forth every concern they have from their ridings before the legislation is formulated and put in front of us. It is a total change of direction to allow members to represent the people in their ridings in this place and have some input ahead of time.

I am not into the Reform policy directions. I am not buying into its directions. I do believe our directions are those of openness, consultation and acceptance of ideas before we take action. That is extremely important. It gives the members of Parliament more power in this place and it gives the people they represent a way for their voice to be heard before the legislation comes down.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

9:35 p.m.

Reform

Paul Forseth Reform New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege for me to rise before this House for the first time and give my maiden speech.

I would like to also express my gratitude to the constituents of New Westminster-Burnaby for choosing me on October 25, 1993 to represent them in the House of Commons. Mr. McVey, a grade school teacher of mine, must be smiling today.

New Westminster was the former capital of British Columbia. In fact it was given its name specifically by the Queen. It is now proudly referred to as the royal city. The city of Burnaby is a large urban community and residential area lying between Vancouver and New Westminster.

Situated on the banks of the Fraser River, New Westminster has seen history pass its shore. There was the gold rush of 1858 and the massive town fire that unfortunately destroyed its downtown core. In more recent years it has been a centre for the processing of forestry products. With the prospect of urban sprawl New Westminster's geographical significance was eclipsed and now the revitalization of the waterfront and sky train connections brings a tremendous amount of growth to the city.

New Westminster is a city of proud history from the early days of the province to its re-emergence as a prominent place in British Columbia. Burnaby has seen a tremendous amount of growth in recent years primarily with the emergence of Metrotown along with a pleasant mix of parks, recreation centres and libraries.

I am pleased to say that while there is snow and freezing temperatures in Ottawa today, in my riding the lawns are green. The flowers are starting to come up. Although we have not seen snow in my riding this year let it be known that it does not rain every day in New Westminster-Burnaby.

Like other communities the issue of safer streets and the equitable performance of the justice system to properly balance the issues of the victims as opposed to that of offenders continues to fester.

To focus my remarks I wanted to comment on a paragraph in the throne speech referring to community safety and crime prevention. Listening to the throne speech my reaction was one of stunned disbelief for misplaced priorities. Across Canada one particular issue has been the Young Offenders Act, yet it did not rate a mention in the speech from the throne.

There was no outcry in New Westminster-Burnaby for changes to the human rights act or demands for the court challenges program to be restored. It took questioning of the minister from our side to hear any comment to do with the Young Offenders Act. I heard that in just the last few hours the justice minister did hint at a direction but not very precisely.

Let me say clearly that in my riding the folk are upset about deficits and the conspicuous consumption by government and the lack of fiscal leadership by example. However, if one wants to identify one particular statute that is in disrepute then it is the Young Offenders Act.

As a criminal justice professional I participated in the national consultations leading up to the act being passed in the late days of the previous Liberal administration. I recall that in 1984 the government of the day was quite verbose in promoting the efficacy of the compromise achieved with the provinces. However, I also recall other voices predicting that it was a flawed piece of legislation.

The verdict of my community is in. There is little community support. In fact I have never met one policeman who supports this legislation. We have now had about ten years of implementation and during that time the act has acquired very few defenders.

The flawed act was subject to a number of court appeals for clarification. It was also amended several times by the Conservatives. However, the Young Offenders Act remains today the single piece of legislation that is most vilified by the public.

The Young Offenders Act has a title which implies its application. I say to the government as a professional who has been left in the community to administer this act, let the Young Offenders Act truly deal with young offenders and not youthful adults.

If the justice minister does nothing else about this act and all its tangled provisions, it can do one thing to change the mood of this country concerning young offenders. Consider specifically section 2(1) under definitions of a "young person". What if we change the number 12 to 10 and the number 18 to 16? It is just two numbers.

The government needs to change just two numbers in the beginning of this statute and that would then fundamentally change the administration of justice across this nation. However, I doubt that the government has the courage. The throne speech indicates misplaced priorities. The answers of the minister so far outline a plan perhaps to tinker only with the internal technical points of the Young Offenders Act.

However, the thrust of this act has never achieved acceptance in my community. I am also getting calls on what the government really means by its throne speech reference to this: "Amendments will be proposed to the Canadian Human Rights Act". There are a few newspaper articles but not much else.

Where is the political mandate for that? I do not believe there is any specific reference to it in the infamous Liberal red book. Where does this come from, left field? Where is the political mandate to perhaps fundamentally alter how Canadians define themselves? If there is a sleeper time bomb in this throne speech then this is it.

I ask the government to be open now and test the marketplace for ideas on this one. The implications of this measure to policies, to Revenue Canada, the social safety net, insurance companies, pension plans and union contracts is sweeping.

If the government is hiding the intent until the last moment I challenge to issue intent now and if there is national-wide protests then so be it. It just seems that pursuing this agenda is a misplaced priority from what my community wants. It begs the question what special interest group has the ear of the government?

In our let the people speak phase of the election it was clear that my community wanted fiscal reform. Specifically in justice issues it was the Young Offenders Act that was of concern, not the human rights act and definitely not the court challenges program.

I remind the government to pay attention to what the people want rather than what it thinks the people need or should want. Specifically in the field of criminal justice, reform bring forward legislation on the Young Offenders Act first, especially in line with what I have mentioned rather than window dressing.

I also want to commend this government for permitting open debates on peacekeeping and on cruise missile testing. I am sure the varied moods of the communities were reflected by the members, much to the confusion of members of the media who all seemed to want the old style of being handed a set paragraph policy statement that is the formula set position of the day.

Now fiscal reform has been and is being dealt with at least at the talking level, albeit some ministers have not yet got the message with their use of government aircraft. There are indications that the Criminal Code matters will be heard.

That leaves parliamentary reform. I am encouraged as I have said about the open debates so far but I ask if the Prime Minister could go just one bit further and say to this House that the government will not consider the defeat of a government motion including a spending measure to constitute an expression of non-confidence in the government unless it is immediately followed by the passage of a formal non-confidence vote.

The genie is out of the bottle concerning the public's expectation to be heard on issues that fundamentally alter the way Canadians define themselves. The referendum was the watershed for that, but criminal law is part of it.

But more than appreciating the 199 new members of Parliament who have never been here before the fresh air that is needed is an attitude change by just one man, the Prime Minister, who can gather the courage to usher us into a new age of democracy. The Prime Minister is looking to make his mark in Canadian history. I believe that this is where he can do it.

It is not a strategic question of caucus support or insider concerns, all of which were the same arguments used by the British Prime Minister many years ago in his reluctance to abolish slavery. The main thrust, the change was right. Then as now the national mood was right but a consideration for a united caucus and parliamentary manoeuvring delayed too long what that nation wanted. I think the nation wants this measure from the Prime Minister to free us from the slavery of caucus solidarity. This one step could open the House to a new meaning in relevance to those who have sent us here.

In closing I pledge my co-operation and constructive advice on legislation. I will minimize my personal philosophies and emphasize what my constituents desire as I will attempt to represent the broadest of political views. For this House does not belong to parliamentarians. It is not our private club. It belongs to the people. I pledge to conduct myself accordingly for in the long run I trust that if the people are given the truth and the whole story more often than not consensus will emerge that is wiser than any technocrat can devise.

Finally, as the government brings forth its legislative program let the people speak and we will have fulfilled our duty. May the government hear what has been tested in the marketplace of ideas and it will not go wrong. Lead by example and sacrifice and the nation will support it.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

9:45 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

I would like to ask the House to consider the following. We will be adjourning shortly at 10 p.m. The hon. member for Elk Island has been seeking the floor. If there was consent to forgo the five minute question or

comment period to the last intervention from the member for New Westminister-Burnaby I could immediately recognize the member for Elk Island before we adjourn this evening. Would there be consent?

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

9:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

9:50 p.m.

Reform

Ken Epp Reform Elk Island, AB

Mr. Speaker, I will begin in the traditional manner by congratulating you on your position and assuring you of my respect and co-operation. I consider it a great privilege to have been chosen by the electors of Elk Island to serve them as their member of Parliament.

As most other speakers have done I will also express thanks to the many people who voted and worked to give me this honour. Especially I am grateful to my wife Betty and my family for their sacrifice, support and trust.

The Elk Island constituency lies immediately east of Edmonton in Alberta and is noted for the fact that it contains Elk Island Park, a national park operated by Parks Canada.

The constituency has approximately 85,000 residents. Many live on acreages and farms. Our people earn their living by working in our industrial and chemical plants, by farming, by operating numerous small businesses and by many other forms of endeavour which add to the economy and well being of the community and the country. In addition many work in the city of Edmonton.

I am very proud and thankful to be a Canadian. I remember as a youth hearing my immigrant parents, grandparents and their friends talk of the hardships and the lack of freedoms which caused them to look to this land for hope.

More recently our son Brent has been working as a volunteer in a relief agency in the countries of Sudan, Kenya, Somalia, Bosnia and Croatia where he was helping to give aid to the tremendously disadvantaged because of war. We have been deeply touched by his first-hand accounts of children, young people, women and men who are starving or suffering intensely because of the inhumanity of selfish aggressive people. I am very grateful that in this country we govern ourselves with ballots and not with bullets.

It is in this context that I give my address today. While we have it so good, I am committed to doing my part to ensure that we do not lose our freedoms and privileges. I hope also that we will be able to continue to share our abundance and our help with many other unfortunate people in our hurting world.

It might sound as though I am complaining when I draw attention to the shortcomings of our past governments. I am very concerned that we run the risk of losing it all here in our wonderful Canada because of the mismanagement of government over the last 30 years.

It seems so obvious to me that the policies of the Liberals and the Conservatives of the past have taken us into the slavery of debt. I hope against hope that this new government will be able and will have the political will to begin to turn this around.

Just think there is no country in this world as blessed as ours. We have a wonderfully rich heritage of natural resources from fish to forest, from bounteous grain fields to plentiful energy in oil, gas and water, from beautiful scenery attracting tourists from all around the world to our wonderful land from Newfoundland to British Columbia to the far north.

I could go on and on. Add to that the enormous wealth we have in our people. We are all immigrants, even those who we proudly call our natives. Our first nations originally came here from a different part of the world. We have of course the French and the English, but we also have many others including the Scandinavians and the Orientals, the Europeans and the Africans. The list is endless. Over the years we have lived together in harmony and co-operation.

Mr. Speaker, you do not know how it hurts me to hear some who are working toward tearing up this country. If there is not room for all of us here in Canada, how can we expect the other nations of the world to stop warring with each other on this planet?

I would like to say to my friends sitting next to me how we wish they would change their minds about leaving Canada. How we wish that they would give it one more try. How we wish that they would stop saying Canada and Quebec and would start saying Quebec and the other provinces of Canada.

Will they consider doing what we have done in the west? For years and years we have paid much more into Confederation than we have received in dollars. For those same years we have been practising what many of us learned in Sunday school, that is to share and not be selfish, to give and not always to expect returns.

At the same time I must be honest. The patience of our position has on occasion been tested. We are looking forward seriously to the day when all the provinces will be able to better make it on their own and to decrease their dependence on others. It is very encouraging to see the generosity and benevolence of others too. We desire deeply that all Canadians and all provinces live together in peace and harmony as equal partners in Confederation.

That little diversion from the topic of debt was intentional. I thought that it would be a good idea to highlight our wonderful advantages, but let me now return to the topic of our burgeoning debt. How can it be that with this vast legacy of natural and human wealth our governments of the past have managed to dig us so deeply into debt? Is there any hope for the future?

The government is proposing in the throne speech to borrow more money in order to produce jobs. It will say it is not borrowing more, just spending money that it saved on the helicopters or other areas, but the fact is that there is still a huge deficit predicted for the next fiscal year. That means that we are doing what we are doing with borrowed money.

It is clear that the collective wisdom of the citizens of this great country is moving more and more toward a demand to live within our means. I wish I knew of a way to communicate this forcibly and convincingly to the point where the majority government opposite would actually change its fiscal policies to reflect this reality.

I was elected largely on the merit of the Reform Party's deficit and debt reduction commitment. In my constituency there were five voters who voted for Reform's plan of fiscal restraint for every two voters who chose the Liberal's plan of borrow more, spend more. Even in Ontario where the government received a rather overwhelming number of seats, almost one million individuals expressed themselves in their vote for fiscal restraint.

I would have been so pleased if we would have had at least a commitment from the government to set some realistic written goals and to cap spending. It is very doubtful if we will ever achieve a goal if we are not even willing to state it.

During the campaign a simple fact struck me forcibly. We have no mechanism actually to control spending. We have no means of ensuring that the wishes of our constituents, the taxpayers, are expressed and enforced in the workings of government. I appreciate the new openness of the government. It is breaking with precedent in actually having pre-decision debates on various issues including the budget.

However, we will not have true freedom of expression on behalf of the people we represent until we have true, free votes, even on the budget. This can only happen if we can agree that the defeat of a bill, even the budget, does not automatically mean the defeat of the government. There is no choice if we can only vote yes, even when we disagree.

I respectfully and forcefully request that the government allow all members on both sides of the House, the democratic representatives of the people who elected us, the freedom to send the budget back to the bureaucrats if it is not good enough. Let them fix it and not bring it back until the unencumbered majority of members of the House agree that we have reached a satisfactory decision.

I end my speech with a pledge not only to this House but to the people in Elk Island who elected me, the people of Canada who are looking to Parliament for leadership. I will do all I can to participate in bringing fiscal reality and responsibility to this place. I will exert all the influence I can in changing the way Parliament works so that it can become a better and more democratic place.

In the end I believe we will be a better country. We will not only have increased prosperity and well-being for ourselves, but we will also have the freedom and ability to do more for others.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

9:55 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

It being ten o'clock p.m., pursuant to the order made earlier this day, this House stands adjourned until tomorrow at ten o'clock a.m., pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 10 p.m.)