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.