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House of Commons Hansard #104 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was children.

Topics

Space ProgramStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Ronald J. Duhamel Liberal St. Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, 10 years ago today Canadians watched with pride and awe as Dr. Marc Garneau blasted into space and into history, becoming the first Canadian to orbit the earth.

This was quite a step forward for Canada. Until then, Canadians had had to content themselves with the role of spectators where space exploration was concerned.

But everything changed when Marc Garneau, a Quebecer and a true Canadian went up in the space shuttle Challenger .

Just recently, following the successful flights of Dr. Roberta Bondar and Dr. Steve MacLean in 1992, another Canadian, Dr. Chris Hadfield, has been selected to participate in a mission which will see the American shuttle using the Canadian robotic arm dock with the Russian space station. This is an example of true collaboration among the nations of the earth and beyond.

South AfricaStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Maud Debien Bloc Laval East, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the new President of South Africa visited Washington, where he was not only greeted with all the honours due to him as a head of state but also as a champion of racial equality. President Mandela is living proof that justice, law and democracy can and must triumph over tyranny and oppression.

The Bloc Quebecois is delighted at the progress made by the citizens of South Africa since the first free elections and the end of apartheid. But the struggle is not over and we must now work with them to build a new South Africa.

Canada must make available its assistance and its support for economic development and for President Mandela's fight against the poverty and destitution afflicting the people of his country.

Health CareStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Reform

Jay Hill Reform Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw the attention of the House to the health care crisis we are currently experiencing in northern and rural Canada.

The government is proud to talk about the sanctity of our universal health care system. However, when one of the towns in my riding advertised to replace a retiring surgeon for over a year it met with no success.

By and large Canadian doctors seem unwilling to settle and work in the north. Consequently northern communities have had to increasingly rely on foreign physicians who must weigh the opportunity of working in Canada against an uncertain future caused by short term work visas.

Our patient to doctor ratio is around 1,700 to 1, compared to about 160 to 1 in Vancouver.

Northern natural resources contribute billions to government coffers, yet our hospitals are being shut down or their services drastically cut back, resulting in northerners travelling hundreds of miles to receive adequate health care.

Is this an example of the accessibility promised by the Canada Health Act?

PovertyStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Pat O'Brien Liberal London—Middlesex, ON

Mr. Speaker, children are this nation's most valuable resource and it is our responsibility to eliminate the poverty that creates barriers for 1.25 million Canadian children. Lack of food is affecting their growth, health and ability to learn and has led to an increasing number of young people resorting to crime and suicide to escape poor living conditions.

In London-Middlesex the three levels of government, the school boards, businesses and community organizations have come together to form the kids count program, an innovative project aimed at breaking the cycle of poverty that hinders a child's development. I commend this community-wide co-operation that seeks to give every child the opportunity to do his or her best.

The government is committed to the elimination of child poverty through job creation and the reformation of our social security system.

Verdun Optimist ClubStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Raymond Lavigne Liberal Verdun—Saint-Paul, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate and thank Mr. and Mrs. Bérubé, presidents of the Verdun optimist club, as well as all of the club's past presidents, for the excellent work they have done.

The Verdun optimist club provides assistance to many young people in need of help in the riding of Verdun-Saint Paul.

I would also like to congratulate Mr. Pierre Lamarre on his recent appointment as president. I wish him much success in his new functions and look forward to working with him to help our young people.

Canada Post CorporationStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Pierrette Ringuette-Maltais Liberal Madawaska—Victoria, NB

Mr. Speaker, a few months ago, I commended minister Dingwall warmly for imposing a moratorium on post office closures in our small communities.

It is not enough to keep post offices open. Our small communities must also be provided with modern written communication transmission services; our rural post offices must have faxes and electronic mail.

Again the status quo is not good enough for our small communities. Time has come to modernize their communications network.

Social Program ReformStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

André Caron Bloc Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, these past few days, the media have been outlining social program reform proposals the Minister of Human Resource Development had not yet tabled. Before parliamentarians even had a chance to review these proposals officially, the public was informed of the highlights of the minister's reform.

In fact, everyone but parliamentarians was informed.

So, why all the secrecy today, seeing that the minister's reform is making the front page of all newspapers?

I do not know if this is a new way of launching trial balloons that the minister is experimenting with, but one thing is sure: he will certainly not win any award for discretion and respect for Parliament.

Government ExpendituresStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Reform

Jan Brown Reform Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, last Friday the Prime Minister answered a question from my colleague from Calgary West regarding the reimbursement of $34.5 million to the Government of Quebec for its 1992 provincial referendum.

In his answer the Prime Minister stated he was committed to pay the Quebec government $34.5 million because of a promise made by the previous Tory government.

It is interesting that the present Liberal government arbitrarily chooses the contracts, whether verbal or written, it will respect. It chose to permit the sale of Ginn Publishing to Paramount on the basis of a verbal agreement but cancelled the Pearson International Airport contract and the EH-101 deal which were both written legal agreements.

The carryover process for contracts negotiated by the Tory government remains very unclear. The government has an obligation to Canadians to explain what criteria are taken into consideration when respecting or abrogating a contract. This action will haunt it. The Canadian taxpayer has a right to know on what basis the government makes its decisions.

Violence On TelevisionStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Brenda Chamberlain Liberal Guelph—Wellington, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians recognize that television has a powerful impact on their lives. Despite efforts to raise awareness and decrease levels of violence on television some studies have indicated an actual increase of incidents of violence over the past few years.

Television plays a central role in our society. It can deeply influence those who watch it, especially our children. Our young people watch television in order to understand the world around them. Parents must be mindful of the responsibility and be aware of what is being watched. Advertisers should be encouraged to be selective and we as members of Parliament should encourage non-violent programming through funding and education.

By working together we can all ensure that television, which is a guest in our home, can be a positive influence on our young people.

Bloc Quebecois FundraisingStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Robert Bertrand Liberal Pontiac—Gatineau—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, last week, the hon. member for Richelieu presented a motion to change the party fundraising process at the federal level. In fact, this was nothing but window dressing to conceal the Bloc's own fundraising habits and lack of transparency.

While all federal political parties comply with the Canada Elections Act and make their list of donors public, the Official Opposition hides behind a special provision of the act to avoid disclosing information that the public is entitled to.

This guilty silence on contributions received by the Bloc Quebecois and its list of donors lets an uncomfortable element of doubt hang over its funding sources.

Swearing In Of Lise Bacon In The SenateStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Eleni Bakopanos Liberal Saint-Denis, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to speak on behalf of all Liberal members from Quebec and point out that Lise Bacon is now a senator.

Mrs. Bacon is one of the most respected and credible politicians in Quebec. She was elected in 1973 to the Quebec National Assembly, where she did a brilliant and effective job in the most senior positions.

For a long time, the former Deputy Premier of Quebec has recognized the benefits for Quebec of belonging to the Canadian federation and she never hesitated to promote federalism.

Mrs. Bacon's presence in the Canadian Senate will mean one more voice for all those who do not identify with the Bloc Quebecois's separatist stance.

Welcome, Lise, and thank you for joining us in promoting a united and prosperous Canada that is the envy of all the world.

Criminal CodeStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, members of the Bloc Quebecois reacted with amazement to the Supreme Court decision, based on the Charter of Rights, which admits extreme drunkenness as a legitimate defence for sexual assault.

From now on, someone accused of sexual assault who can prove that he was so drunk as to be almost insane or acting on impulse will be able to evade his responsibilities.

Nevertheless, common sense tells us that someone who commits a crime as serious as sexual assault after he has voluntarily consumed too much alcohol or drugs cannot use his state of mind as an excuse or to seek lenient treatment from the court.

On behalf of the thousands of women who have been raped, will the federal government amend the Criminal Code? That is the question which the Minister of Justice must answer as soon as possible!

Reform PartyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Reform

Ken Epp Reform Elk Island, AB

Mr. Speaker, next week the Reform Party will be holding its democratic assembly here in Ottawa. In sharp contrast with this place, voting will be fast and easy. The expected 1,500 delegates will vote electronically and the results will be known in about 30 seconds.

Although I cannot invite all members of the House to come to observe, I extend the invitation to you, Mr. Speaker. Please come and see how a modern, efficient organization operates. Come and see for yourself that in policy and in process we are ready to form the government and to bring a new measure of efficiency, competency and accountability to the governance of this great country.

With the national debt now at $533,082,058,000 and the dollars and cents growing more rapidly than I can speak, Reform has become the only hope for the country.

Canadian Human Rights ActStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Barry Campbell Liberal St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government made a commitment to add sexual orientation as a prohibited ground of discrimination to the Canadian human rights code. It has already introduced Bill C-41 which would address the issue of sentencing in crimes where hate is a motivating factor.

We have done these things because they are right and decent things to do. Amending the code is a matter of fundamental justice and equality. The goal of the Canadian Human Rights Act is not to confer special rights on anyone but rather to ensure equal rights for everyone. These measures are consistent with our commitment to attack hatred and discrimination and promote tolerance in our society.

In this House where our currency is words, we must never forget their power. They can be used to empower and embrace or

to attack and incite. Words have an impact. Free speech is not free of consequences. I will never use the holocaust as a metaphor but there are lessons to be learned. As Eli Wiesel said of that time: "It began with words".

When we add sexual orientation to the Canadian Human Rights Act and when we pass Bill C-41 we will be using words to embrace and all Canadians can feel proud of that.

National Family WeekStatements By Members

October 5th, 1994 / 2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Bethel Liberal Edmonton East, AB

Mr. Speaker, this week is National Family Week. In fact, it is the 10th anniversary of this very special week. Thousands of Canadian families and over 25,000 organizations and agencies are celebrating it across the country. Special events are being organized under the theme of the International Year of the Family.

As part of National Family Week, the federal secretariat of the International Year of the Family will spearhead a national awareness campaign to encourage federal government employees to spend time with their families and if possible to donate time to community organizations of their choice.

I am sure all my colleagues join me in celebrating the importance of family life for people across Canada and around the world.

Minister Of JusticeStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Audrey McLaughlin NDP Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, Yukoners were treated to the sight of what Liberal consultation really means when the Minister of Justice visited Whitehorse, Yukon, and refused to have public meetings but only closed door-sessions with certain selected individuals.

In fact, when independent and NDP members of the legislature in the Yukon asked to be privy to these meetings, they were told they were not allowed by the president of the Liberal Party. The Minister of Justice said that the meetings in Yukon were unique because Yukon does not have a Liberal member of Parliament.

Consultation on gun control or any other area that affects all Canadian citizens should be done with every member of this House, not just Liberal members, not just run by the Liberal Party. Shame on the Minister of Justice for not having enough gumption to-

Minister Of JusticeStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Criminal CodeStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Reform Fraser Valley East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am receiving letters from concerned constituents about section 43 of the Criminal Code, the section that allows parents to administer reasonable corporal punishment to their children. The Minister of Justice indicated that he is considering the matter.

Two studies his department has paid for advocate abolition of this basic parental right. One of these studies says: "It is almost impossible to isolate corporal punishment as a causative factor" of increased aggression, yet this study still advocated the repeal of section 43. Why, I wonder, when there is no proof that reasonable correction is harmful?

Interest groups with a leftist social agenda have the ear of the government. Together they would replace the authority of the parent with the authority of the government. Parents have a right to be concerned about this disturbing trend.

The government should be looking at ways to enhance the authority and responsibility of the family, not trying to bring it under submission to the state.

Loving parents know better than bureaucrats or judges how they should raise their own children.

TourismStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Guy Arseneault Liberal Restigouche—Chaleur, NB

Mr. Speaker, tourism plays a very important role in the Canadian economy. Every year tourists from all over the world visit our country and discover its diversity and beauty.

More than half a million Canadians representing 5 per cent of our workforce are involved in the tourism sector. Tourism also represents about 4 per cent of Canada's gross domestic product.

I support the work done by our government and the Department of Industry to maximize the benefits derived from the tourism industry in Canada. In New Brunswick, for example, the tourism industry had a great summer, thus helping to improve and revive our provincial economy.

A healthy tourism industry will certainly help revitalize our economy.

Family TrustsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Bloc

Lucien Bouchard BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, at a time when the Toronto Star announces that social programs may be cut by up to $7.5 billion and when the poor are justifiably worried, the government makes a point of reassuring the rich who have family trusts and do business in countries seen as tax havens. The chairman of the finance committee said yesterday that he did not see anything unfair in maintaining these tax shelters.

My question is for the Minister of Finance. Are we to understand that the chairman of the finance committee acted yesterday as the minister's scout and that the minister, despite what he said back when he was in opposition, has decided to overlook the continuation of the privileges granted to these trusts?

Family TrustsOral Question Period

2:15 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 government's attitude toward family trusts is very clear. That is why we asked the finance committee to hold public hearings on this issue. We eagerly await the committee members' findings.

Family TrustsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Bloc

Lucien Bouchard BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the government's complacent attitude goes against what they promised to do when they sat on the opposition side. The finance committee did not prove anything. It simply showed that the Minister of Finance does not want to review the issue, does not want to know how much money is kept in these family trusts or what our tax losses amount to. Obviously, lobbying efforts by the rich have paid off, Mr. Speaker.

Is the minister suggesting that the possibility of using these family trusts, this powerful, outrageous tax planning instrument, to defer paying capital gains taxes for 40, 50, 60 or even more years is not an undue privilege?

Family TrustsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, what raised the issue at the outset are certain amendments to the existing legislation that were made by the previous government, the Tory government.

If pressure has been exerted by lobbyists for the rich, it is very clear that this was done while the Leader of the Opposition was a member of Brian Mulroney's Cabinet. If there was such lobbying, if figures are available, it is his government and the person who took his place following his resignation that really changed the law.

Family TrustsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Bloc

Lucien Bouchard BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I think I will have to send my c.v. to the Minister of Finance so he will know that I left the government in 1990, while the privileges granted to the rich by the Liberal government in 1971 were extended in 1992.

Family TrustsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

The Minister of Finance does not know how to count.