House of Commons Hansard #10 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was riding.


Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.


Bill Gilmour Reform Comox—Alberni, BC

Madam Speaker, the member is correct that under the British North America Act resources belong to the province. However they do not belong to the province, they belong to the people within that province.

We are talking about the allocation of natural resources. It goes back to what I was saying. We have to strike a balance. If we do not strike a balance then we are putting one segment of society against another. We need to find the land use balance.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

Mount Royal Québec


Sheila Finestone LiberalSecretary of State (Multiculturalism) (Status of Women)

Madam Speaker, at the outset I really would like to congratulate you on your accession to the throne, as we put it. As my friend and my colleague and as someone who I know will bring dignity and respect to the chair and to the role you are playing, I wish you well, good health, and good judgment. I would like you to accept the sincere wishes of all your colleagues in that regard.

As we begin this new mandate and at a time when I am entrusted with new and challenging responsibilities, my first thoughts go to my fellow citizens in Mount Royal and I wish to express to them my deepest respect. Once again they have put their trust in me to represent them in this House and I want to thank them for their support, confidence and friendship.

It is an honour for me to represent the riding of Mount Royal in this distinguished place. Mount Royal will be the focus of my daily activities for the next four years as it was during my first two mandates.

Just looking around me in this House, I can tell how much change there has been and how much progress we have made. The people of Canada have chosen to represent them men and women from a variety of political parties. The make-up of this House reflects much more accurately than before the sociological reality and rich diversity of our country.

When I was first elected to this House in 1984, I was one of only 26 women. Today, 53 women are sitting in this 35th Parliament and, I am proud to say, 36 of these women are from my party. There are still too few of us, but it is an improvement, a big improvement. Also, never in its history has this place seen such a varied and fascinating cross-section of races and cultures. This new reality is the result of several factors.

First of all, I want to thank and to congratulate our Prime Minister who, in the last election, made it a point of honour to encourage and support the candidacy of women and members of ethnocultural communities. His resolve and tenacity have been rewarded.

We must also recognize the leadership of our Deputy Prime Minister, the member for Hamilton East, who has worked very hard to seek out and recruit women of great talent to represent Canadians in this House, and you will note that throughout the course of the next four years.

There is no doubt that the contribution of women and more members from different ethnocultural communities will bring a perspective to the proceedings of this Parliament that is more representative of the nation as a whole.

I must say that I am humbled and challenged by the responsibilities the Prime Minister has chosen to give me as Secretary of State for Multiculturalism and for the Status of Women. These new responsibilities fit well with my past experience as I have spent the better part of my life working for equality for all, for minority rights, for freedom of expression, for freedom of religion, for freedom of the press and more recently for the rights of linguistic minorities in Quebec and throughout the rest of Canada. I intend to continue these efforts as a Privy Councillor.

Madam Speaker, I became involved in politics somewhat like you did as a matter of fact, first in the voluntary sector and then moved on, because I believed that the political realm belonged to all citizens. It is here in this place that the policies are made that affect the lives of each and every one of the citizens of Canada.

Today, governments must deal with very complex issues, with change, but they must do that in partnership with Canadians. The accelerated pace of change in the ongoing process of global restructuring will have significant implications for all of us, and in particular for policymakers, as we sit in this House.

As we deal with the forces of change, one of the key elements that will need to be weighed and better managed at all levels will be that of the cultural mix and gender equation. We must ensure that the needs and concerns of women are integrated into the development of all our policies and programs and are reflected in our institutions. Women can and must be full partners in our society, both economically and socially.

We will reach that goal not only through legislative change and government initiatives but also through changes in the Canadian attitude, for each and every one of us have a contribution to make. Canada will continue to prosper only if we make full use of all our citizens.

The bottom line is building a fair partnership and working together. Our government is going to work with openness and with transparency. We will be accessible. As a matter of fact we are not going to need too many lobbyists. We will listen to Canadians and provide them with the means to be informed. We want them to be involved in the discussions and the decisions concerning every aspect of their lives.

Under past Liberal governments women have made great strides. This administration, under the strong leadership of the Prime Minister of Canada, is committed to building on that rich heritage. The willingness of the government to address the concerns of women is clearly reflected in the throne speech.

We know that Canadian women and men will not be satisfied with words alone. From now on we will simply put and follow a critical path, and that path is action, action and action.

The speech from the throne is indeed our blueprint for action and change, with many positive initiatives for women. It sets out the early priorities from the red book for this session with specific legislation and specific initiatives to follow.

Economic independence is critical to women's equality and a strong economy is the key to that independence. We have therefore put job creation and economic growth at the forefront of our plan.

This government intends to build on the creativity and intellectual talents of all Canadians, women and men of all backgrounds, in furthering Canada's economic growth.

In the short term the infrastructure renewal program will create immediate direct and indirect jobs and long-lasting benefits for all Canadians. Women will be participants in and beneficiaries of the infrastructure program and will have a role to play in encouraging municipal infrastructure projects which include the physical improvement that women need for safe homes and safe streets.

I urge women to speak to the mayors-and, by the way, many of our cities have women sitting as mayors at their helm and some of those women now sit in the House of Commons-across this country about the selection of the projects.

The government will focus its efforts in the long term on small and medium sized businesses which account on their own for 85 per cent of the new jobs created in recent years. No less than 30 per cent of these businesses are run by women and their success rate is twice as high as that of their male counterparts. I do not want to brag, Mr. Speaker, this is the plain truth.

It is also very important to realize the impact of our ethnocultural communities on small business. Thousands of entrepreneurs of all ethnic backgrounds start up small businesses. They work hard and, like women, they are innovative and their success rate is very high.

Not only have they created jobs for themselves, but they have also provided work for thousands and thousands of other Canadians. All the progressive initiatives the government is proposing in support of small business will inevitably go a long way to redress social injustices and promote equal opportunity for all Canadians.

For example, the throne speech provides for a training program for small business managers. We will also facilitate their access to the Canada investment fund and to the Canadian technology network. We are committed to reducing the regulatory and paper burden on small businesses.

Believe me, those are heavy and difficult obstacles to success.

The youth service corps and the national literacy program will help young women as well as young members of our ethnocultural communities acquire the required skills and experience to find a job and achieve financial independence.

I, and I think we in this House, believe in greater equality of social conditions for all Canadians. We will therefore be conducting a review of our social security system to ensure that it is responsive to the economic and social realities of the 1990s.

I will work with my cabinet colleagues to ensure that the voices of women, immigrants and visible minorities are heard in these consultations on the modernization and restructuring of our collective social security system and in the job market.

I am, as I believe all my colleagues in this House are, deeply committed, certainly on our side of the benches anyway, to the principles of the Canada health care system and so is our government. The national forum on health, chaired by the Prime Minister, will provide an opportunity for Canadians to be involved in a national dialogue on the future of our health care system. There is ample evidence that our system has not given sufficient attention to women's health issues. I know you will agree with this, Madam Speaker. That will change now. We will work with all our partners to create a system that includes a greater focus on the health and well-being of Canadian women in the context of women's different attachment to the work market, their social and economic reality.

The centre of excellence for women's health and the Canada prenatal nutritional program are two immediate initiatives that will have an impact on women's health.

All it takes is an orange, an egg and a quart of milk to make sure that low birth babies do not become more and more a part of the problems that women have to face in this society. It costs very little to see that the situation is improved.

A major preoccupation for Canadians is violence. In particular, violence against women and children concerns us all. Addressing all types of violence is a priority for our government.

On November 18 I announced the results of a federal study conducted by Statistics Canada which revealed that 51 per cent of women had in their adult lifetime been victimized by a man. Those of us who have worked with women and within women's groups have long suspected that high level of abuse.

Anecdotal before, clearly identified now through the very narrow lens of violence as defined in the Criminal Code, this reality is chilling. I know that our partners, the men in this society and in this room, will enable the kinds of legislation that can fight this kind of pervasive and unacceptable behaviour.

It reduces the quality of life. We must find ways to overcome these obstacles which limit access by women to full and fear free participation in the economic, social, cultural and political life of Canadian society.

I said then that I would address this issue. I intend to be true to my word and I know my colleagues will support that. We will take a number of initiatives in the fields of public relations, elimination of pornography and removal of abusers from the home.

Abused women should have the choice as to whether they wish protection so that they can stay in their home or whether they wish to seek support and refuge in another place.

All these issues will be considered as my department, Status of Women Canada, works toward creating a non-violent society for all Canadians. I count on the support of all members to enable that to happen. This will be done in collaboration with the Minister of Justice. The Minister of Justice is going to be a very busy man, as is the Solicitor General.

I am going to work with my provincial and territorial counterparts, with all other federal departments and with our partners in the public and private sector.

Another area that deserves our attention is the situation of aboriginal peoples. We know they face discrimination. The needs of the aboriginal women have long been neglected and the lives of the younger generation will not improve without proper access to education.

The aboriginal head start program and post-secondary education assistance for these students will be the foundation of the future independence and economic well-being of the aboriginal communities.

Finally, we will work to reinforce social justice and equality, two of the core values that underlie Canadian society. In a country founded on democratic principles, there cannot be degrees of citizenship or special status for some and not for others.

At a time when we have to compete with nations around the world, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that our collective prosperity depends on our capacity to discover and use the skills, creativity and expertise of all Canadians. Our diversity, both social and cultural, is not a stumbling block. It is a building block for our nation.

New measures will be taken to combat racial discrimination and prejudice. The Canadian Human Rights Act will be amended and the Canadian race relations foundation act will be proclaimed. The new race relations foundation will bring Canadians together to foster a sense of shared identity and purpose. It promises to be the focal point for the promotion of social equality and mutual respect.

I am particularly pleased that the court challenges program and the law reform commission are being reinstated. The restoration of these two programs are the legal mechanisms for making our justice system work and accessible to all Canadians.

Initiatives to deal with hate crimes will also be introduced. Hatred based on race, religion, gender or sexual orientation has no place in Canada. We are all part of the same society. Each person of every background and culture brings to this nation unique experience and talent and we profit from them.

To quote the speech from the throne: "Job creation and sustained economic growth require an investment in people". That means all people. "This investment in all Canadians is what Canada is all about".

For years we have welcomed numerous immigrants to our shores in the hope that by building a new life in this great and rich country, those women and men would also contribute not only to the fabric but also to the richness of our society. We have not been disappointed. A unique Canadian identity has been forged, drawing upon this wellspring of talent and potential. Every sphere of Canadian life has benefited and been enriched.

In Canada we stand firm in our convictions that people need not abandon their culture in order to join us. We believe that all cultures enrich us as individuals and as a nation. This is the Canadian way.

I said at the beginning that the speech from the throne is a blueprint for change. It is also, if I may say, a very tall order. As one great Canadian has said: "We have work to do". However, work and challenge surely do not scare our Prime Minister who has been at the forefront of change for the last quarter century.

His passion for Canada, its unity and its future are only matched by his high standard of honesty and his powerful desire to serve Canadians and all creeds.

We must follow the lead of our Prime Minister and act with courage, determination and perseverance to ensure that the major changes we have put forward to improve the quality of life of all Canadians can be achieved in a spirit of harmony and goodwill.

Finally, I urge my colleagues of all parties to join with me and the government to ensure that together we can implement this substantial plan of action. Fighting against discrimination, promoting social justice and equality of opportunity is not a partisan goal for any of us in this House. It has to be and is a basic and essential principle for anyone who has been granted the confidence and the trust of the people who now sit in this House to make it a reality.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

12:45 p.m.


Chuck Strahl Reform Fraser Valley East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I really enjoyed that speech. There were parts that I thought were particularly good. The admonitions to all of us in the House to fight inequality and discrimination are well taken and I think she will find widespread support on all sides of the House for those kinds of sentiments.

Many of us who sit at this end of the House come from a region of Canada that was deliberately populated by an immigration program that brought a lot of immigrants into Canada at a specific time. Therefore there is a lot of support for an immigration program and a wide acceptance of a large variety and degree of different backgrounds. I applaud those sentiments and I think they are well taken.

I particularly liked the comments about no special status. There is a large degree of support in western Canada and in my riding for the idea that there is no special status, that all people are Canadians regardless of their race, colour, language or background. That concept has wide acceptance.

What I would caution the minister about is how we fight inequality and discrimination. She should use with much caution this idea of an affirmative action plan. In Ontario Premier Rae tried to move into a realm where he was going to force something on to people they felt was unacceptable and he had to back down. The reason is that people want to be treated equally, not with special status.

That is my caution to the minister. I would ask her to comment on the idea that affirmative action sometimes does not bring about the result that I know she is trying to achieve.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

12:50 p.m.


Sheila Finestone Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for his question. The issue is one that has been troubling to me for a number of reasons.

As the mother of a son and a daughter who were given equal access to education and to a sense of equal worth, I can tell him that until very recently my son would have done well, but my daughter would not have had the same opportunities, would not have had the same pay, and would certainly not have been given the same kind of treatment.

The purpose of an affirmative action program, if that is what you are referring to, which is found in section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, looks at mechanisms to remove discrimination that has been endemic within our population.

I believe the way that legislation was pursued was totally unfair and uncertainly unpopular with me. I believe that fairness, equality of access, equality of opportunity based on the merit principle, based on ability, is the focal point.

We still have ongoing discrimination. There is racism. There is homophobia to be found in our society that must be combated. That is why the programs of the multiculturalism department are so valuable. That is why they are worth any kind of investment; monetarily, intellectually or with the commitment and involvement of people in our communities.

We all know the insidious hatred that is out there and the misunderstanding in the minds of some people has a negative impact on moving toward, as you and I believe, an equal and fair and open society that is built on trust, understanding and respect for difference.

Treating people differently does not mean they are being treated outside the parameters of equality. Women's entry into and attachment to the workplace is very different from that of men because they have the procreative role that renews our society. They are in their childbearing years. They are in and out of the workplace and have that different attachment. We also have the fact that whether we like it or not women are the caretakers of elderly families, of their mothers and their fathers. They are sort of sandwiched in between. Whatever policies are adopted with respect to the job market, pay and the organization of the time within the job market must reflect women's reality as different from men. However I would never want to say that I will hire only a woman or only an ethnic minority because that is what fits the target market. I would say that given equal merit, because there has been this systemic discrimination on equal

principle, I would certainly tend to hire that person who has suffered discrimination under section 15 of our charter.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

12:55 p.m.


Philippe Paré Bloc Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, like the Secretary of State for Multiculturalism and the Status of Women, I am pleased to see a greater number of women in the House of Commons. I personally think that if, in the past, the number of women had been higher in this place, Canada would probably be a different country and would have faced the economic and human problems differently. I therefore invite all the women in this House, regardless of their affiliation, to sometimes rise above party lines and form a common front, because I believe that men need to see such a demonstration.

I am also very pleased to see a number of members representing different cultural communities. I think this also reflects the nature of our country, which is a good thing in this House.

I appreciated the remarks of the hon. member for Mount Royal and I really hope that she did not not just make a speech. I am not insinuating anything, but I know that the hon. member is tackling a very big problem. She will undoubtedly need a great deal of courage and also a lot of support from both sides of the House.

I believe she should concentrate her efforts on two aspects: the economic independence of women and zero tolerance toward violence. Too often still, in fact every day and every week, the newspapers are full of intolerable stories about women. We often see that men who wield some power, for example judges and policemen, and who have to deal with unfair situations or violence to women, react like men.

I have two questions. First, regarding the economic independence of women, I find it hard to see how women will fit in the infrastructure program designed to create jobs. The Secretary of State suggested that women should make proposals, but it is not certain that they will be the ones who will build the infrastructures, and I am a bit disappointed by that.

Second, the Secretary of State also referred to the protection of minorities. Given the fact that she represents a riding from Quebec, does the hon. member intend to explain outside Quebec, in the other provinces, how the fate of the anglophone minority in Quebec is different from that of the francophone minority in the other provinces?

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

12:55 p.m.


Sheila Finestone Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for his comments. There is no doubt that I count on the support, not only of the women from all sides of the House, but also of the men, because without the support and help of our male colleagues, we will never succeed in improving the status of women and in showing that their cause is a just cause.

I truly appreciate the comments made by hon. member and I hope that his colleagues will indeed give me their help and support. I also noted that there are three women in his caucus whom I know very well, since I have had the opportunity to work with them during the last parliamentary session and also in Quebec.

I am convinced that when a women's caucus is set up in this House-which is something I will try to do soon-that caucus will help me, because its members will share my ideas on equal access for people, men and women both, whether on a economic, cultural, social or political level.

As for your questions on economic independence, I must say that when we think of public works, we only think of the so-called non-traditional work for women. But there are women who are just as capable as men. Some men are strong, but others are not so strong. Therefore, it is possible to find women who can work in these projects.

Let us not forget that on the eve of the 21st century, we have all kinds of technological support. Who uses the little computer? Who is behind the scenes? It is always women. And I have to say that you need women in order to promote infrastructure projects.

Basically, what I meant to say when I asked women to go and talk -

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

1 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. LeBlanc)

I would ask the hon. minister to end her sentence, but I must point out that questions and comments are now over.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

1 p.m.


Sheila Finestone Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I just want to assure the members opposite and my colleagues that first the infrastructure program does include and will benefit women even if they just fix the parking lots and the lighting in our subway systems across this land.

With respect to minority rights, I assure that equality of opportunity, equality of access and the merits of bilingualism is something I will talk about across this land. I have done it in the past. I have been a guest speaker for the francophones in Saskatchewan and Alberta and I will continue to do so. I will also speak to the rights of anglophones in Quebec as integral to the whole Quebec picture.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

1 p.m.


Myron Thompson Reform Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, may I take this opportunity to congratulate you on your appointment. I see there is a change in the Chair again. I have already congratulated Madam Speaker. I do wish the both of you the very best in this 35th Parliament.

As I stand here today I want everyone to know how proud I am to have this opportunity. My very special thanks goes out to the Wild Rose voters who put their faith in me last October 25. I would also like to thank those who worked so hard to get me

elected. A special thanks to my wife Dot for her faith and love during the campaign which remains with me today.

I am proud to be a Canadian by choice. When I arrived in Alberta 26 years ago along with my wife and my one-month-old boy I knew in a very short time that Canada was the place that I wanted to call home.

When I took my oath of citizenship in 1974, that was one of the highlights of my life. I never dreamed for a second at that time that I would have the honour to sit in this Chamber as a member of Parliament. However now that I am I pray that I might always speak the voice of some 45,000 that put me here.

Today I take pleasure in doing just that by addressing the topic of justice. As I recall and think about the values and the principles upon which this great country was founded, I have to ask myself what happened. Why is it today as we hear the voice of Canadians all across the country crying out for justice that their voices seem to be going unheard? Why is it when I walk to this place each day past the Department of Justice building that I feel the key word of justice has lost its meaning in this country? Justice appears to be in the minds of thousands of Canadians as a word that applies only to the rights and the protection of the criminal while the rights and the safety of law abiding potential victims goes completely unaddressed.

I believe that the government must immediately set its focus on the latter group. It should stop listening to the voices and the pressures of small interest groups crying out for criminals and refocus on the victims with a message that violence in this country will no longer be tolerated. People have the right to feel safe and be safe in this great country and we must aim for that goal.

The red book along with the throne speech alluded to the idea but I would suggest that it does not go nearly far enough in many areas. I admit I coughed once during the throne speech and may have missed something but I listened to about 10 or 15 seconds on justice.

I would like to offer some suggestions. Is it known that in the last five years 32 people have died in this country at the hands of 23 repeat offenders who were paroled from our penal system? This is the number that I know about. I really do not know what the true number is but that is how many I know about.

If we had a plane crash and 32 people died then this House would stand and mourn. If we had 32 people die on a bus or train collision then we would stand and mourn. When hear about 32 people dying at the hands of repeat killers we continue to do nothing. It is time to wake up and address this problem. If even one person had died from the hands of a repeat killer then as far as I am concerned that is one too many.

My suggestion based on the thousands of other comments from people would be to stop automatic parole. The frightening thing is that there will be approximately 80 more early parole hearings for first degree killers during the life of this 35th Parliament.

I quote from one of these repeat offenders: "The only thing crazier than me is the system that allowed me to kill again". This whole affair suggests to me that there is an element of incompetence that exists in our parole board, possibly through patronage appointments. Let us fix this incompetence problem and let us fix it now.

I have worked with young people for 30 years of my life, as a teacher, guidance counsellor and a junior high school principal. Since my election I have attended several meetings with parents, community members, school administrators to discuss what to do about the violence in schools.

Most of us here will remember the days of spitballs, getting out of line and chewing gum. These present day meetings are addressing drug abuse, rape, assault and murder. We have certainly come a long way. Yet when we have legislation such as the present Young Offenders Act there simply is no deterrent.

Our judicial committee has made a submission regarding not just our views but the views of thousands of Canadians who have given input through our recent task force of changes that must be made to the Young Offenders Act.

We encourage the Minister of Justice to seriously consider these changes which would bring accountability, restitution and punishment back to the forefront in dealing with criminal youth. Most of all it would return justice in dealing with acts of crime.

We further suggest based on the voice of the people that non-citizens of Canada convicted of a serious crime be immediately deported. Never again should there ever be another Charles Ng in this country. When I hear the minister of human resources say that thousands of Canadian children live in poverty and I think of the millions of dollars we spend to protect the likes of Charles Ng, I am flabbergasted.

I could go on for hours discussing the many things the people of this country want changed. However one change that must be implemented is the opportunity for the people to voice their concerns through a national, binding referendum on capital punishment.

Enough is enough. Now is the time to do something that will truly make this country a safer place to be for our law-abiding citizens. Let us not procrastinate or pussyfoot around any longer with these problems as the last three or four Parliaments have done.

In conclusion, I seriously believe there is not one member of the 295 in this Chamber who has not heard the cry from his or her constituents to do something about the justice system. We have

heard the people speak. It is our duty to act upon that voice and begin working immediately to return the word justice to our country.

Only this morning in Question Period we heard that a sexual perpetrator of children has been released and is roaming the streets in British Columbia. He is a non-citizen. Why are we not rounding that individual up and getting him out of this country? We do not need him in Canada, nor do we need the likes of him. We could do it today, but it is my understanding that he has been released until February 16. What could happen between now and then?

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

1:10 p.m.

St. Boniface Manitoba


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

Madam Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for his passionate address with respect to a very important issue.

I have three brief questions that would perhaps help the discussion. He pointed out if my memory serves me correctly that 32 people have been killed by 23 individuals who had been paroled. As he indicated, even one death is one too many. Does he know how many overall have been paroled? In other words, these 23 parolees he speaks of are what percentage of all parolees? I do not know if he has that information.

There is another point I want to raise as a question. He indicated a need to improve the system. Of course all colleagues from all parties would agree that that is so. In fact, we made a commitment to do that in our electoral platform and it was repeated again in the speech from the throne.

Is he indicating that better appointments and better rules are necessary? I thought it was a suggestion that appointments would be the main ingredient there.

Finally, I had an independent study group of qualified individuals look at rates of crime in an attempt to see whether or not they correlated with capital punishment. In other words, in countries where there is capital punishment and in those where there is not, was there a correlation between rates of crime? It varied up and down. Sometimes it was yes and sometimes it was no.

I was wondering whether or not the hon. member had any credible studies which showed that if there were to be capital punishment in this country that all of a sudden violence-quite apart from the violence that the state of course would become involved in-would decrease.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

1:15 p.m.


Myron Thompson Reform Wild Rose, AB

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for his questions.

Regarding determining the percentage of people released from the penal system who kill again, we have just begun that process. It is a difficult thing to get our hands on. We have identified who they are and so far our research shows that 32 people have died at their hands. As we continue I know that number will grow.

With regard to appointments, if we are going to have a parole board the last reason for appointment to a parole board should be that they were the good old boys or good old girls with some political party, doing political favours. Yet that seems to be the impression Canadians have. It certainly is the impression I have about some of them. I am not saying they are not qualified and cannot do the job. I am saying that there ought to be a better way of selecting these individuals and making certain that those who are appointed to that board know what they are doing.

The first thing we have to do is get an understanding that there is no such thing as automatic parole. Section 745 of the Criminal Code is one that must be repealed. Twenty-five years has to mean 25 years and 15 years has to mean 15 years.

On the issue of capital punishment, I am not sure what the stats are. I am saying that people out there are crying for justice. Let us give it to them and let them decide through a national binding referendum.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

1:15 p.m.


Jane Stewart Liberal Brant, ON

Madam Speaker, just a short comment. Congratulations to the hon. member for Wild Rose, a marvellous name for a constituency and for a very impassioned speech.

I would like to point out that as we look through the total throne speech there are only very short references to all the important aspects this government will be focusing on.

We had the pleasure of having almost every single minister stand up in this House and broaden their perspective, including the Minister of Justice yesterday. I point that out to the member. If he did not hear it yesterday I hope the hon. member will read the speech by the hon. Minister of Justice, his lengthy dissertation on all his points of focus, many of which were mentioned in the hon. member's speech today.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

1:15 p.m.


Myron Thompson Reform Wild Rose, AB

Madam Speaker, very briefly I do know of several members in the present government who feel exactly the way I do. I would be pleased to work alongside them.

I also know that we cannot continue to talk, talk, talk, rhetoric, rhetoric, rhetoric. Let us get to work. Let us get the job done now.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

1:15 p.m.


Jean Payne Liberal St. John's West, NL

Madam Speaker, it is indeed a pleasure for me to speak for the first time in this great Chamber and to congratulate you on your appointment to the Chair.

I would like to begin my remarks by thanking the people of St. John's West for their support on October 25. I am greatly honoured to serve as their member of Parliament and I look forward to working with my constituents over the next four years.

My riding represents a mix of both the old and the new. In St. John's West the fishery is the largest industry and has been a way of life for the past 500 years. At the same time there are many small businesses in the district, some of which are at the leading edge of high technology research. Others are traditional types of businesses which have been employing people for many years.

The people of my district are honest and hard working. They count back the generations of people earning a living from the sea. Business operators recall years of good and bad times. Newfoundlanders have a reputation for sticking together and finding solutions and I have just found that my colleagues in this place also stick together.

Today the people of St. John's West face a number of problems. The decline in the fishery has had a devastating effect on most families in my district. Small business operators are trying to cope with a decrease in sales and the burdens caused by the GST and other taxes. Young people were looking to the future, only to see despair.

During the election Liberals campaigned on a platform of hope and opportunity. The decline in the Newfoundland fishery has struck at the very heart of our province. Under the previous administration foreigners were stealing our fish and laughing at us overseas, while our fisher people at home took empty nets and came home with empty boats. Short-term political concerns were given priority over the long-term health of the industry.

The people of St. John's West were not satisfied with the way the former government dealt with these important issues and that is why fisher persons and plant workers in my riding voted for a Liberal government.

In the throne speech the government made special mention of the challenges facing the east coast fishery. At this time, I would like to say thank you to our Prime Minister who has demonstrated such foresight and wisdom in the appointment of his ministers, in particular the appointment of our very knowledgeable and capable Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. A fellow Newfoundlander and colleague, his reputation for working hard is well known and I can personally vouch for the long hours he dedicates to his work.

The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans has been hard at work dealing with foreign overfishing, with measures directed toward rebuilding fish stocks and providing income support programs for those who are displaced by the close out of the fishing industry. The road to recovery in the fishery will be a difficult one but the people of St. John's West are up to the challenge and are prepared to make the necessary sacrifices.

I look forward to playing my role as member of Parliament in working with the minister and my colleagues in helping our number one industry come back to the levels it once enjoyed.

Also in my riding we have what was once considered to be one of the most affluent areas of our province. That area is a town called Argentia. This town is now facing a bleak and uncertain future as the U.S. navy prepares to close its station in that community. The American presence has been a daily fact in Argentia for about 50 years and their pull-out will have a lasting impact on the local economy.

The people of Argentia did not lie down and give up when the American announcement came two years ago. They have been working hard to create opportunities in their own community. The "Agenda for Argentia: A Study on Re-Use", is a testament to the town's determination to prosper. Negotiations are presently under way with the Americans on issues relating to the U.S. naval station and I have met with our ministers on the issue to ensure that these concerns are addressed.

The federal government has already provided funding for the consultant's report on the future use of station facilities. I was pleased to announce recently on behalf of the minister responsible for ACOA that an entrepreneurial training program would be implemented. A key recommendation of the consultant's report was the long-term redevelopment of the port facilities at the station. Such redevelopment would provide needed jobs in an area of increasing unemployment. These efforts will help ease the transition for Argentia.

Today I want to again assure the people of Argentia that they can count on my support as they explore development opportunities.

A decision by Marine Atlantic recently to reduce its scheduled ferry service from North Sydney, Nova Scotia, to Argentia is another blow to the town. The six-week reduction will have a double impact on Argentia. The shorter season will mean that fewer truckers and tourists will come to visit the town, to eat in the local restaurants and to buy fuel. It will take money out of the local economy. As well, the shorter season will mean less work for Marine Atlantic employees and a greater reliance on unemployment insurance throughout the fall and winter.

This is a backward move by Marine Atlantic and I would call on the company to reverse its decision and I would call on this government to encourage it to revisit its plans for the area.

Small businesses in St. John's West face many challenges. The long recession has hurt sales. Then in 1991 came that infamous tax, the goods and service tax, a tax to end all taxes. It was imposed by the previous government and has created a paper burden that many business administrators and operators find impossible to deal with. In addition, the high interest rates

followed by the previous administration limited funding opportunities for small businesses.

Small businesses are vital to the future prosperity of the residents of St. John's West. Most jobs created in the province of Newfoundland are created by small businesses. As a business operator, I know firsthand the difficulties faced by this sector. During the election I listened to the pleas of small business owners asking for some relief from the problems they experienced.

The Liberal Party has given its promise to help small businesses. I am pleased to hear, in the speech from the throne, the government's determination to fulfil its commitments in that area. The Canada investment fund will also help high technology companies secure funding for product development, improving market access and obtaining long-term capital.

The Prime Minister's commitment to replacing the GST is greatly appreciated by the business people in St. John's West. The GST has been a disaster that has either driven businesses underground or simply forced them out of business altogether. As I have said before, it has increased the paper burden and costs to businesses and forced many to lay off staff in order to reduce their costs. This is an unacceptable situation and I am very pleased with the government's determination to correct it.

Business operators from St. John's West will have an opportunity to participate in a study on a tax to replace the GST. Businesses were not consulted the last time, but they will certainly be consulted by the government this time and by our Prime Minister.

The government's commitment to improving the literacy skills of Canadians is a great step forward. There are people in my district who are not able to take advantage of training programs because they lack the basic math and reading skills. Renewed funding for the national literacy program will enable the people of St. John's West to make better use of government training programs.

The theme of the Liberal Party during the election was creating opportunity. Before the election Canadians felt frustrated with their government. They felt out of touch and felt that their government was not listening to them.

On October 25, Canadians and the people of St. John's West spoke with a loud, clear voice. The government has received the message and it will listen to Canadians. The new Liberal government will provide the people of St. John's West with the opportunities they need to earn a decent living and prosper in this great country.

Once again I wish to thank the people of St. John's West for their overwhelming support. I look forward to the next four years to be their voice in this great Canadian House of Commons.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu)

Before going to the questions and comments portion, I would like to apologize for making a mistake on your riding. My list was not in order.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.


Beryl Gaffney Liberal Nepean, ON

Madam Speaker, I would like to congratulate the member for St. John's West for her maiden speech in the House of Commons. At the same time, I would like to congratulate her and the people of St. John's West for electing her to the House of Commons. As stated previously by the secretary of state, I welcome all the new women in the House of Commons. It will be a pleasure to work with you for the next few years.

I visited the province of Newfoundland on a couple of occasions. It is one of the most incredibly beautiful provinces in this country. I know the people of Newfoundland are going through very difficult times, especially in the fisheries industry. Through my experience of going from door to door and talking with families who had a family member unemployed, I know the amount of despair being felt by each household. Yet the level of unemployment here in central Canada, as a member for central Canada, is not nearly as high as what the province of Newfoundland, and in particular the member's riding of St. John's West, is experiencing.

I would like to ask the member for St. John's West if the people of her riding have a sense of hope. Do they see that Canada is going to be able to pull out of this recession or economic morass we appear to be in? The fisheries industry is certainly down, but are they prepared to move in other directions and re-establish themselves in other distinct fields within Newfoundland?

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.


Jean Payne Liberal St. John's West, NL

Madam Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for her comments and her questions. At this time I would like to extend an invitation to her to return to Newfoundland.

I have to say that during the election one of the common themes was the need for employment. Almost every constituent I met asked if this government would provide more employment.

They were very happy with the new infrastructure program that our Prime Minister put forward in our red book. They are certainly looking forward to having that put in place. As a matter of fact I have already met with some of the people on the municipal councils in my riding and they certainly are very willing to participate. I do not think there is one community council that is not looking forward to participating in that program. They are certainly looking forward to having greater access to jobs and job opportunities.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

January 28th, 1994 / 1:30 p.m.


Jim Abbott Reform Kootenay East, BC

Madam Speaker, I too would like to congratulate the member on her speech, particular-

ly on the passion she brings to it. I think her constituents obviously are going to be served well.

I am interested primarily because I have some very wonderful friends from Newfoundland living in my constituency and I am looking forward to the opportunity to travel to Newfoundland. I have had the opportunity to be in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island but have not travelled to your island. I am very much looking forward to that.

The hon. member mentioned an income support program. I think I would support the concept of an income support program depending on its definition. I would support that by contrast to what seems to have been going on in terms of the unemployment insurance program.

In recent programs on television, I have noted that there are times when one day is considered to be a week and we get into the so-called 10-42 program where people can work for 10 days and get 42 weeks of unemployment insurance.

I wonder if the member would agree that it would be better to come up with some kind of specific income support program for the people who are particularly disadvantaged by the collapse of the fishery rather than continuing to work with a band-aid approach with respect to unemployment insurance.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.


Jean Payne Liberal St. John's West, NL

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

I have to say that we have quite a number of people from western Canada in our province, particularly working on the Hibernia project, which I am sure the member is familiar with.

As to the member's comments with regard to the income support program, I have to agree that when this program was put in place by the former administration it was poorly conceived and implemented. I do not think that is any secret to anybody in this House or in the previous House.

I believe the hon. member probably made a mistake when he said a 10-day program, or 10 days of work to qualify for a year of unemployment insurance. I think the hon. member might have meant 10 weeks of work which is so in some cases.

We certainly do support a better support program for the fishermen who have been displaced by this terrible tragedy in our province and I think we should work toward that goal.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

Kingston and the Islands Ontario


Peter Milliken LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Government House Leader

Madam Speaker, my very first duty is to congratulate you on your appointment as Deputy Chairman of Committees of the Whole House. I am happy to see you in the Chair now and I hope that your term of office will be long and very happy.

I also congratulate the mover and the seconder of the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne, the hon. member for Bruce-Grey and the hon. member for Madawaska-Victoria. Both as new members of the House did a credit to their constituents and all their electors by the speeches they gave in moving and seconding the address. They were excellent presentations. They clearly spoke from the heart about the beautiful parts of the country they represent. I congratulate them thoroughly for what they have done.

My third obligation is to thank the electors of Kingston and the Islands who once again have done me the honour of electing me to represent them in the House. I enjoyed my first five years in Parliament immensely. I am very grateful the electors have seen fit to choose me once again to represent them. I look forward to doing so on a different side of the House this time and I hope more effectively than last. I certainly will work as hard as I did last time and will continue to work in their best interests in Parliament, and indeed for the best interests of Canadians as a whole.

I thank the Prime Minister for giving me the opportunity to serve as a parliamentary secretary, particularly to the government House leader, the dean of the House and one of its most distinguished members of this House. It is a privilege to work with him. I look forward to my continuing work as parliamentary secretary, at least for the next period of time.

For those of us who sat in the Chamber for the last five years-and I am sure I could extrapolate from that and say for those who were here for the last nine years-the election results could hardly have been a surprise. We sitting in opposition at the time watched a government that stumbled from blunder to blunder. I know the evidence of its errors and of its failures was amply borne out in the electoral result and of course was borne out by the fact that the Progressive Conservative Party, which was once one of Canada's great national parties, was destroyed electorally in the election on October 25 last year.

The seeds of its destruction were sown in the course of the Parliament that had carried on since the election in 1984. As a party it consistently ignored the wishes of the people of Canada and persistently did its utmost, it seemed, to betray the trust that had been placed in it as a government, in that it was elected on a certain platform which it failed to deliver on.

We have seen a significant change, I submit, in the political climate. The Liberal Party of Canada which won the last election came forward with a platform that was reasonable, clearly acceptable and offered a real possibility that it could be implemented. That cannot be said of all the promises of all the other parties. The argument was made and made forcefully throughout the campaign that in putting forward the red book the Liberal

Party was offering a policy alternative to Canadians, one that was reasonable and that could be implemented. In other words, it was a believable program.

Everything the government has done so far since it took office in November has been in fulfilment of those promises and has indicated to Canadians that it is a government committed to fulfilling its promises and that it is able to do exactly that because its promises are reasonable. I know that some of them will be difficult. We know that financial circumstances are worse than predicted, but the government is committed to trying to solve the problems that it was elected to solve and will continue to do that.

What were those problems? What were the problems that we were elected to resolve? There were two. I know the Reform Party likes to harp about the deficit. We acknowledge that is a problem. I call it problem number two. However the first and foremost and most difficult problem is that of unemployment in Canada.

Unemployment has reached what I would call crisis proportions because it has removed hope from Canadians. It has removed it from principally two categories of Canadians: first, our young people and, second, older workers who have lost their jobs and have no hope of getting another one. They have lost them prior to retirement age, prior to pension time. They have real despair with a lack of income and a breakdown in the normal earning pattern that their lives would have given them had things carried on in the usual way. It was a complete change in expectation. It was a totally unexpected downturn in events in terms of their prospects.

Most people who are working can manage some period of unemployment, but they do not expect to be out of work permanently for years just because their job has disappeared. That is what has happened all across the country as a result of the prolonged recession we have been through, a recession which I need hardly remind members was induced by the previous government. The previous government boasted about how it had induced that recession because it thought the best thing was to slow the economy down.

Here we are with these two groups of unemployed people. I turn particularly to the young people because, as many members of the House will know, Kingston is home to two of Canada's universities: Queen's University and the Royal Military College. I have spoken of this before in the previous Parliament and I am pleased to be able to do so again today.

There are thousands of graduates from these universities. RMC graduates fortunately at the moment still have employment in the Canadian Armed Forces, but the graduates from Queen's University are finding it extremely difficult to get jobs. I am sure there are members of the House who have had applications for employment from people across the country, people with masters of arts degrees and people with doctorates who are unable to get another job and will take a low paying job in order to get work. It is happening all the time.

I told this story many times during the election campaign. On a drive back to Kingston one night about a year ago I stopped at a gas bar. The young woman who was working behind the cash recognized me when I put down my credit card. She asked if I were not the member of Parliament for Kingston and the Islands and I said yes. How did she know? She had two degrees from Queen's University, a bachelor of arts and a bachelor of education, and she was selling gas. She could not get any other job. That is a national tragedy; that is a national disaster.

It is a tragedy for her because she is unable to get work for which she is well qualified. It is a disaster for us because we have invested big money in her education and now we are unable to get it back in terms of tax revenue. She should be working at a good job that pays a good wage and paying taxes so that we can afford to keep other people in school longer and we can provide for the sick and the helpless in our society who need money. Instead she is in a very low paying job, probably at minimum wage, and not contributing to society in the way that she has been trained to do.

That is a disaster for us. It is happening all around us and all the time. In its election platform our party committed itself to changing that around and creating jobs for people and keeping people at work. That is the fundamental mission the government is committed to. It has to be committed to it. Members of our party are working to achieve that goal.

I know that the members of the Reform Party say: "You have to be able to represent your constituents; you have to have free votes". I have no concern about voting for policies that support the principles enunciated in the red book. Indeed I consider it my duty to support those policies. I suggest to hon. members in the Reform Party that they have a similar obligation. They ran on a platform. Throughout the campaign I was pressed to read and look at copies of publications that enunciated Reform's solution for all of Canada's problems: all the deficit cutting figures, all the reductions in government expenditure that was going to bring salvation to Canadians.

I disagreed with them, and I said so. I expect Reform members in the House will support very strongly the policies put forward in those documents. If they do not support them there will be people to call them to account, because that is what they were elected to do. If their constituents decide in their wisdom later that those policies were the wrong ones and tell them so, what are the Reform members going to do? Are they going to listen to their constituents or are they going to stick by their promises? I predict if the cuts in the Reform package were made and their

constituents objected, there would be howls and cries from their constituents and they would want to change their minds.

In my view we have an obligation as a party to support the principles and policies we were elected on. Our policies were clear. Our policies were set forth in the red book. I know it is much talked about, and some laugh at it, but the fact is that it was the only major policy document issued by any political party in the campaign that comprehensively dealt with the issues. It was the benchmark by which every other party's platform was measured. I can safely say, given the numbers in the House, that it was clearly the best. None of the others measured up anywhere near to the standard set by the red book.

We have that set of policies that will guide the government in its work. We have heard speeches from many of the ministers in the course of this six-day debate. They have all spelled out in detail other policies that were given in sketch form in the red book. Those have been made manifest in the House and indeed to the country.

Members of the opposition say they want details. I suggest the details have been provided. The budget will provide further detail.

This is a government on the move. It has established its priorities. It has made its commitments and it is living up to them. I am very pleased to be a part of it and to support it.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.


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

Madam Speaker, I begin by sincerely thanking the hon. member for so lucidly explaining to us our duties and obligations to our constituents as if we really did not understand them at all.

With respect to his thesis on the relationship between taxation and jobs I would respectfully submit that if governments could create jobs and if raising taxes and increased government revenue would create jobs, his university student with two degrees would have two jobs.

We have had 20 years of wildcat government spending, attempts by governments to manage the economy and to give jobs to people where there were no jobs to be had. It is time to discard this old and discredited philosophy and realize that we cannot continue to selectively bleed portions of the corpse of our country to bring in more and more revenue until we finally finish off everything.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.


Peter Milliken Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Swift Current-Maple Creek-Assiniboia for his comment. I felt it was time to give him a lecture on his duty to his constituents because almost daily we get a similar lecture from members of his party. I thought it was time to correct the imbalance and perhaps give a more accurate statement of those principles.

However, that aside, I also suggest to him that the matter of revenue is not the only issue involved in deficit reduction. I am sure he would agree with me when I say that if more people are working government revenues increase. When a person goes back to work who was previously either drawing unemployment insurance or welfare, the person starts paying taxes again which increases government revenue. At the same time the person stops drawing unemployment insurance or welfare which decreases government expenditure. That helps bring about a fiscal balance between revenue and expenditure on the government side.

We stated throughout the campaign that our aim as a party was to create jobs so that Canadians who were costing the government money start paying the government money. We would then achieve a greater balance. It is quite simple. It is simply a matter of ensuring that it happens. It does not all have to happen by lavish expenditure of public funds. There are other ways of achieving it. Encouragement and inducements can be given to people in business to hire people. Inducement can be given to small business, which is our principal job creator, to hire people.

If these things happen and Canadians start spending their money and buying more consumer goods then more people will be employed. It follows as night follows the day. If more are employed then more pay taxes and fewer draw from the government treasury in other expenses.

That is how one brings about fiscal balance. We can cut and chop until the cows come home but every time one cuts and chops without doing something to get people to work then one throws more people out of work. If that keeps happening then there are fewer and fewer paying taxes so how do we get the revenue?

There is something that has never been costed in the package of the Reform Party. I challenged the candidate in Kingston to come up with this but of course Reform does not want to because it would be so damaging to their case. Can they tell us how many jobs will be lost because of the cuts they are proposing? That has never been explained. How much revenue would the government lose with the cuts they are proposing? That has never been explained.

If that revenue is taken off, the deficit stays big. The chops will not reduce the deficit. It will grow under those changes. That is the problem with the Reform agenda and the Canadian people saw through it and they voted this party into office. That is why the Reform Party is sitting on that side of the House. Their agenda frankly was unbelievable.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.


René Canuel Bloc Matapédia—Matane, QC

Madam Speaker, since this will be my maiden speech in the House, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all members on their election. It would have been nice to see more members opposite, because it may be the only time I have cause to congratulate them. The Bible says that on the seventh day, God rested, but I see my colleagues opposite start resting on the fifth.

If all members of this Parliament are imbued, as I am, with a desire to serve our constituents, during this session we should be able to put in place all that is necessary for genuine economic recovery. Economic recovery is essential for this country and even more so for my riding.

Voters in the riding of Matapédia-Matane expect a lot from their federal member. At the beginning of this mandate, my constituents are delighted they finally have a member who will be able to speak his mind, and speak it more often, in this House and in the riding.

I also want to take this opportunity to offer my constituents my full co-operation and thank them for their support. I will do everything in my power to give them what they are entitled to expect of a federal member, especially a sovereigntist member in Ottawa.

In fact, voters in Matapédia-Matane made a very clear choice on October 25. My opponent, whose party is on the government side today, received the full support of the party machine, but voters made a clear decision. Once again, I want to take this opportunity to thank them.

For me, to participate actively in politics is part and parcel of my longstanding commitment to my community. I believe in this wonderful region, in the energy and determination of the people who live there, and that is the main reason for my commitment.

My presence in the House today as a member of the Bloc Quebecois also arises from an act of faith in the sovereignty of Quebec. To be sovereign means to be free to do things one's own way and it also means to be in charge of one's own economic and social development.

People in the riding of Matapédia-Matane have the energy and determination to take charge of their own lives. People consult each other and share the tools they need to develop the impressive potential of their region, whether we are talking about forestry, tourism, mining or other sectors of the economy. The men and women of this riding have set up consultation tables where they share their experience.

In my riding, we have industry and business people who believe in that region and who do their share for the development of that new social contract. It is with those people that I want to work. It is for those men and women that I came to this House.

So, my goal is twofold: the development of my riding and the sovereignty of Quebec.

Let me introduce you in a few words to the riding of Matapédia-Matane. I live in a community of about 5 000 people that have provided the Church with three bishops who are still alive.

They are His Grace the Archbishop Louis Lévesque, who was born in Amqui, His Lordship Belzile, who is now in Africa, and His Lordship Dumais, who has just been appointed to the Gaspé diocese. He is a friend and I am very proud of that. Perhaps a new Guinness record has just been established in my riding.

The main resource in my riding is forestry and, because people believed in them, we managed to keep several villages from closing in the early 1970s. Forest business owners got together to establish a management company and used known forestry methods to develop their forests. They were so successful that twenty years later, in 1993, the Canadian Forestry Association bestowed upon the 17 MRC municipalities of the Matapédia Valley the title of forest capital of Canada. I take this opportunity to congratulate its president, Mr. Daniel Lamarre, and all his team.

The commitment towards forest management as an economic development tool for ensuring the survival of the small communities of my riding is well underway. We owe it to those workers and owners who once believed that it was possible for them to continue living in their communities.

On the north shore of the Gaspe Peninsula, there is also a fishery industry. It is going through an unprecedented crisis, and it needs help. Everyone here has heard about the delicious Matane shrimp and has feasted on them.

In that part of the riding there is also aquaculture, a fast-growing industry which shows considerable promise, because of the constant crises in the fisheries.

There is also the Maurice Lamontagne Institute, in Sainte-Flavie, where they carry out interesting and much needed research on sea products. By the way, the institute is still waiting for funds to finish the breakwater in order to dock its research boat. Unfortunately, funds for this project were reallocated by the former government. It is costing the institute extra money each year to dock the boat elsewhere.

In Mont-Joli, the regional airport has been waiting almost ten years for millions of dollars. Let me says that I will keep asking for those funds.

In my riding there is a shipyard managed by a very dynamic team of women employing a highly skilled labour force. That industry is also going through a crisis. It too needs help.

The tourist industry is big in the riding of Matapédia-Matane. We have ski resorts with a skiing season longer than anywhere else east of the Rockies, and using only natural snow. Come and see us some time, come and ski with us, hon. members.

I could not fully describe the riding of Matapédia-Matane without mentioning its wildlife. Hunters and fishermen come from all over Canada, and from abroad to practice their favourite sport. Our salmon rivers, like the Matapédia and the Matane rivers, are renowned worldwide. All these sectors must be recognized as part of our regional economy.

Matapédia-Matane used to be an agricultural riding, but unfortunately agriculture is waning. There are fewer opportunities for the young generation since farms have become small and medium-sized businesses or large corporations. Fine, you say! Perhaps. However, it is far from easy to find people willing to assume such a heavy financial burden. The way things stand now, young people simply cannot respond to the challenge.

In the past, even though they worked hard, our ancestors knew very early that there would be someone to carry on. Nowadays, there is no one willing to carry on because the burden is much too heavy. So people auction off their farms. What a pity! Lands with high quality topsoil lay fallow and are invaded by weeds or spruce. Even well-established and hard-working farmers have enormous problems.

Both the GATT and NAFTA have given rise to many concerns! The removal of export quotas creates others, for those who unfortunately have to work endless hours over the years. While farmers in the past were a great source of pride to rural communities, they are now disappearing before ours very eyes.

Instead of giving out millions of dollars worth of unemployment benefits in my riding and others within Quebec or Canada, is a responsible government not supposed to fight for and get globally a fair price, an equivalent value for our farm products? For years the Liberals and the Conservatives have had no consideration for the rights of small communities. Is this government going to keep neglecting those farmers? They start by overtaxing them, then they shut down their post offices and they deprive them of their means of communications by closing down television stations, and so on. I will ask for a new review of the case of Radio-Matane.

In my riding, there are some cattle farms. Yet, no slaughterhouse is to be found within 250 kilometers. Is this not unbelievable? So much for the village, so much for the city. Is the minister of Agriculture well acquainted with rural areas? Is he really concerned with the real problems? Villages such as Les Méchins, Saint-Charles-Garnier, Petite-Matane, Val-Brillant, Saint-Damase, Saint-Noël, Sainte-Jeanne and Sainte-Irène are charming areas that have a right to survive and where people have the right to work. It is a matter of dignity. Yet, for more than 20 years, these small villages have had problems.

The question I am asking myself and my colleagues in this House is whether people in these small villages still have the right to live at home. As long as these rural people pay taxes to the federal government, I will fight for them. That is why they elected me. They are not getting their due. These men and women have spent their lives in forestry, fishing or farming; they spent all their energy to raise a family and now, at 55, tired, exhausted and even sick sometimes, they have no pension fund. Should they be considered as pariahs of our society? No, Madam Speaker!

I will plead for those men and women who have preserved true family values, values so important that 1994 will be the International Year of the Family. I will also fight for the young people, a human resource of great richness, for those young people who have to leave their region after high school or, in some cases, after college. Unfortunately, most of them never come back.

I ask all the members of the House to be more receptive, more understanding of the rural way of life. The same thing could happen to forestry in the near future. The former government had announced it was withdrawing from the subsidiary agreement with Quebec on forestry and from the forest development program in eastern Quebec.

The non-renewal of these two programs will affect more than 18,000 foresters in eastern Quebec. In the lower St. Lawrence region, more than 50 per cent of private woodlot owners take part in development whereas that figure is about 12 per cent for the province as a whole.

During the campaign, the Liberal Party acknowledged the positive impact of these programs and promised it would examine its financial contribution and bring it back to previous levels. I will personally see to it that they fulfill that commitment. The Minister of Natural Resources can count on my co-operation. These programs must be re-evaluated and she must consult all stakeholders. It is those involved in the area who can best advise her.

At a time when, on a global scale, there is so much talk of sustainable development and the protection of ecosystems I can assure this House that, in my riding, forestry workers are ready and eager to meet the challenge.

More that 20 years ago, pool management came to my riding. Two thousand producers are still on the waiting list to take part in this collective effort.

The area set up the necessary structures to carry on. We have a forestry school and a research centre in Causapscal. Our workforce is better qualified and increasingly competent.

When the previous government decided to make cuts in those two programs, it did not understand that putting money into private woodlots yields returns far in excess of the initial investment.

Investing in forestry is investing in the industry's future. Investing in private woodlots is bringing raw material closer to the processing industry. Investing in private woodlots is ensuring the survival of dynamic small businesses, but also the creation of thousands of jobs in rural communities. Investing in forestry is investing for the long term in an industry which has always brought pride to this country and the 370 Quebec communities it supports.

Can the government ignore the efforts made by the forestry producers in my riding, who have done so much to promote forest development? Now is not the time to let them down. On the contrary, now is the time to streamline those programs to increase their efficiency. We must support the full development of the forestry industry, in Quebec and Canada. To stop investing in private woodlots would mean the certain death of all small remote communities.

We must increase research into new technologies, and speed up their transfer to those who really need them to make our industry more competitive on the world markets.

We must develop new products which will bring to the regions new small businesses which create so many well-paying jobs.

Resources must be processed locally. We no longer want to be drawers of water and hewers of wood. People in my riding deserve much more than that.

We must develop new markets for these products. And last but not least, we must aim at quality. People in my riding know what quality is.

Those are the very realistic mandates that we, in this House, can give ourselves. It is what my constituents are asking.

Men and women in the riding of Matapédia-Matane want to be actively involved in meeting the challenges of the 21st century.

Experts agree that if a major effort is not made in the next five years to rescue the forestry industry in Canada, it will be too late. This means that what was once a flagship Canadian industry will drag down in its fall hundreds of thousands of jobs, and hence hundreds of small communities depending on forestry.

I was deeply disappointed that the speech from the throne did not even mention the natural resources sector.

Let's not forget that we do not inherit the land of our fathers, we borrow the land of our children. I believe that the people of my riding, those of Quebec, British Columbia and the Maritimes need help to make our natural resources more and more productive and more and more profitable.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

2:10 p.m.


Louis Plamondon Bloc Richelieu, QC

Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Since this is the last day, I thought I had the concurrence of the Liberal and Reform parties to allow for speeches of a full 20 minutes and that for the next three speakers we would forgo the questions and comments period so that all those who are on the roll for this afternoon could address the House.

Is the hon. member agreeing, as the member for Beauséjour seems to be?

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

2:10 p.m.


Bill Graham Liberal Rosedale, ON

Yes, I agree, Madam Speaker.