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House of Commons Hansard #144 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was french.

Topics

Via RailStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Progressive Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker,

'Twas the eve of Christmas recess, And all through the House, Not a member of the rat pack was stirring, not even a mouse. The statements were chosen by the Speaker with care, In hopes that all House members would be fair. The MPs were nestled all snug in their seats, In hopes of receiving some Christmas treats. I rose from my chair to see what was near, When, what to my wandering eyes should appear, But the Minister of Transport with no VIA, But eight tiny reindeer. With a little driver, so young-like and slick, I knew in a moment it must not be Saint Nick, More rapid than a Challenger the cuts they came, And he snorted and he stomped while shouting, No train! No train! But I heard the good people of Saint John exclaim, Don't worry, Elsie, the PCers will return, And we will have the VIA train once again. Merry Christmas everyone.

CanadaStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Anna Terrana Liberal Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, the holiday season is drawing near and I would like to extend to Canadians my very best wishes for a very happy holiday season.

Next year might bring the separation of Quebec, and this is why I would like to take this opportunity to tell Quebecers that Canada is a great country and that their presence in Confederation is extremely important because of the cultural dimension Quebec brings, and especially because of what the Quebec people mean to Canada.

I hope that next year will bring the welcome news that Canada will remain united and that this unity will not be challenged again.

Canada must remain united. Anglophones, francophones and allophones must all work together in a harmonious country as Canadians. We cannot erase years of history and camaraderie between provinces. Canada must keep its state of Confederation with its ten provinces and two territories. Our strength is in unity, not in separation.

Today we are also celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Canadian flag. May it continue to be our symbol of unity and harmony.

Happy New Year to all.

The EconomyStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Jean H. Leroux Bloc Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, after 10 successive weekly increases, the central bank rate set by the Bank of Canada went up 71 basis points yesterday. With this decision, the Bank of Canada will slow consumption and investment, and will paralyze the housing market, a sector crucial for the creation of jobs, especially at a time when the reduction of unemployment is a major concern of Canadians and Quebecers.

Unfortunately the employment crisis is not a priority in Ottawa. The government does not have the courage to seriously tackle government spending in order to reduce the deficit and the debt which are responsible for these pressures on interest rates. There is no job creation policy and the Bank of Canada is allowed to maintain an anti-inflationary monetary policy which undermines the economic recovery.

Meanwhile interest rates are going up and the unemployed remain without jobs.

Saint-Jean Military CollegeStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Reform

Bob Ringma Reform Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, a couple of months ago I watched in amazement as the government caved in to pressure from the Bloc and Parti Quebecois when it agreed to pay $34 million to Quebec for the 1993 referendum. The decision was based almost solely on the word of the most distrusted Prime Minister in Canadian history.

For the past month I have been even more amazed as the Bloc and its PQ allies try to force the renegotiation of a signed deal on the military college at Saint-Jean. This is not some vague verbal guarantee from a former politician; it is a signed agree-

ment. The Bloc and PQ are being totally hypocritical in their demand. The government must not acquiesce to this absurd request.

The government has finally agreed to Reform's request that British Columbia be treated equally as regards Royal Roads. Let us hope that we have now seen the end of this charade.

Cable RatesStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Roger Gallaway Liberal Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Mr. Speaker, as consumers many Canadians believe that their home cable rates are set by the CRTC.

Due to the complexities of the cable companies' sales vocabulary, the truth is that basic cable rates are controlled but that extended cable rates float at whatever the local supplier demands. Certainly I am not opposed to open market pricing if the market is truly open.

Let me invite all present or who are watching today to call their local cable companies to request the basic cable service as defined by the CRTC and not extended cable service as defined by their local cable companies. Next, try to find another cable carrier in your neighbourhood to give a competing bid.

After you have realized that the marketplace limits that type of competition, get out your chequebook because you are about to pay for six new channels that have been authorized by the CRTC. This is an open market with no choice. Pay up or look for the rabbit ears.

Air India Flight 182Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Colleen Beaumier Liberal Brampton, ON

Mr. Speaker, during this Christmas season my thoughts are with the families and friends of those who perished in the tragic bombing of the Air India flight 182 on June 23, 1985.

This will be the 10th Christmas since that tragic day on which 329 passengers and crew lost their lives as a result of the bomb blast aboard the airliner just 120 miles west of Ireland. Although some arrests have been made, this terrible crime remains shrouded in mystery.

As the families and loved ones of those who perished aboard Air India flight 182 face their 10th Christmas since this tragedy, I ask all members to join with me in expressing our deep sorrow at their loss which continues today.

Christmas is a time when we are sharing love. We should make them feel warm.

Former Yugoslav RepublicStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Ted McWhinney Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, the former Yugoslav republic, FYROM, in Skopje seeks international recognition as the republic of Macedonia.

Only thirteen states, seven from the former Soviet Union and east Europe and three Asian communist states have recognized the Skopje republic as that. Twenty-six other states have recognized Skopje only as FYROM and another twenty-two have recognized Skopje as FYROM but without diplomatic relations. The remaining 124 members of the United Nations including Canada have not recognized Skopje in any form or opened diplomatic relations.

Canada's position is in full accord with the international law on recognition.

Pearson International AirportStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Bloc Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, the former ruling party, which is left with only two members in this House and 53 senators, has managed to make the government backtrack on the issue of the Pearson airport privatization cancellation. Both parties, which have mutual friends working for the Pearson Development Corporation, agreed to let the consortium sue for up to $80 million in possible compensation.

But worse still, we did not get to the bottom of this scandal and taxpayers will never know why the government is getting ready to squeeze all this money out of them for the benefit of its cronies. In view of the vast amount of public funds wasted in this ugly mess, the government must get to the bottom of it and set up a royal commission of inquiry to examine all the aspects of the deal which are still unclear.

The way this government is handling this issue reveals quite clearly the strange kind of ethics which can be found in both the Liberal Party and the cabinet.

Governor General AppointmentsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Reform

Jim Silye Reform Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to present my first instalment of the Liberals copy Reform awards.

Just when we thought the only two types of Liberals in Ottawa were the appointed and the disappointed, the hon. member for Durham restored our faith in the political process. In a letter to

the Ottawa Citizen the member supported Reform common sense policies when he proposed two solutions for Governor General appointments.

Remember our leader was booed in the House when he suggested this very idea. The first was to submit a list of names to the House of Commons to allow all Canadians through their MPs to have a voice in the selection. The second solution was a vote by all people of Canada in a general election.

It gives all Reformers a feeling of great pride when we hear Liberals choosing to quote the PM from Calgary Southwest and not the PM of Canada.

RacismStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Jag Bhaduria Liberal Markham—Whitchurch-Stouffville, ON

Mr. Speaker, racism breeds intolerance in society. One would think educational institutions in our multicultural society would be the last place where racism would exist. This is not the case.

Three weeks ago Mahendra Gupta, a teacher at Toronto's Humberside Collegiate, was deliberately pushed down a flight of stairs at the school. He was later found unconscious at the bottom of a concrete stairwell.

It was a cold and calculated attack. School officials were aware of racist correspondence sent to five non-white teachers but chose not to inform students and staff.

Racism still permeates the Toronto school board. According to Rick Kollins, a Toronto board superintendent, the attack was "not a good news story but a sign of moving in the right direction".

Years of inaction and window dressing by the Toronto school board have resulted in a teacher being racially attacked and the attack is perceived as a positive development by senior officials. It is not.

Stratford FestivalStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

John Richardson Liberal Perth—Wellington—Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate the Stratford Festival, Canada's national English language theatre, on the conclusion of its 1994 season. All 10 plays enjoyed outstanding critical reviews and for the first time since 1990 the season was a financial success.

The festival realized in excess of $17 million in box office receipts, $3.5 million through fund raising and received only $900,000 in federal grants. In return, the theatre generates $150 million worth of business in the community and generates $25 million in taxes.

I wish all those associated with the Stratford Festival another successful season. I encourage all members of the House to join with us in 1995 when, in the words of the festival's artistic director Richard Monette, the Stratford adventure continues.

Port Of VancouverStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Liberal Vancouver Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, I stand to recognize a jewel in the crown of western Canada, situated in part in my riding: the port of Vancouver.

Vancouver stands as the gateway to the Asia-Pacific. The port of Vancouver is the guardian of that gateway, serving the western regions as a point of entry and departure of all goods to the Pacific.

The port of Vancouver is the largest port on the west coast of North America. Its annual throughput is approximately 70 million tonnes.

As a fully self-supporting crown corporation the port serves all of B.C. and western Canada. It supports 9,000 jobs in the lower mainland as well as another 62,000 employees from the rest of Canada who produce, transport and process the goods that move through the port. The port's cargoes exceed $38 billion annually.

As the sleeping tiger of Asia awakens, the port of Vancouver has the unique opportunity to become the hub of trade for the northwest. The U.S. ports of Oregon and Seattle vie for the prize. Perhaps all western Canadian provinces should claim ownership and mould it to become the Pacific jewel that it can be.

Venture CapitalStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Tony Valeri Liberal Lincoln, ON

Mr. Speaker, our government must be committed to assisting innovative small and medium sized enterprises. An industry which may help us to meet our objectives is the venture capital industry which searches out businesses that are young, innovative and operating in a growth market.

The FBDB recently concluded a baseline survey of 259 companies which secured venture capital financing. Despite the effects of the recent recession these venture backed companies still increased the number of people they employed at an annual compounded rate of 40 per cent.

The global economy is becoming increasingly specialized. High tech firms once considered the wave of the future are here today. In order that Canada not be left behind it is essential that the government assist in creating a positive environment for the venture capital industry to support small and medium sized businesses which will have a positive impact on our economy as a whole. The venture capital investment industry is an important

means by which we can support young companies while ensuring that Canada remains competitive in the global market.

Clearly the venture capital industry provides a great potential. As our government is committed to rejuvenating the economy this is one vehicle that should lead the way.

Rogers CableStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Minister of Canadian Heritage gave us another demonstration of his now infamous lack of courage. Following the decision by Rogers Cable to change access to its French-language channels TV5 and Météo Média, and to cancel Musique Plus, as of tomorrow, the minister avoided his responsibilities.

Obviously, the heritage minister understood nothing yesterday, neither the question he was asked, nor what is at stake. Francophones in several regions are outraged by Rogers' decision. These channels are an important part of their cultural environment, especially among young people.

We hope that the Pontius Pilate of cable television and francophones outside Quebec will emerge from his torpor and take action so that Rogers and all the other cable television companies do not reduce their services in French.

Pearson International AirportStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Reform

Jim Gouk Reform Kootenay West—Revelstoke, BC

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-22, a bill denying the rights of Canadians to due process before the courts, is coming back again. This time it is the Liberals in the other place who are trying to find an eleventh hour solution to the mess which the Liberals in the House now find themselves in.

Our Liberals are in trouble due to their insistence on using the Pearson airport as a smoke screen to hide the real issue: the rule of law. They are trying to rewrite the rules of this land to suit their own purposes. This is a precedent we cannot allow to occur. If it does, what can we expect next? Expropriations without compensation, a change in the basic concept of innocent until proven guilty?

The government needs a conscience. This is often portrayed as a small person sitting on a shoulder. In the case of the Liberals their conscience is sitting on this side of the House.

I offered the Minister of Transport a solution to this mess back in October but he did not even respond to it.

The Reform Party has been consistent on the issue. It is nice to see the Liberals finally agreeing not only with us, but the respected legal opinions throughout this country.

Rural Post OfficesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Len Taylor NDP The Battlefords—Meadow Lake, SK

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to ask the government to maintain its presence in rural Canada through the operation and ownership of federal buildings in these small communities.

In my own constituency at least three communities, the town of Wilke, the town of St. Walberg and the village of Loon Lake, have federal buildings on their main streets that currently house the post office. On several occasions over the last four years these buildings have been offered for sale by the department of public works but no buyers have been found.

It appears that the federal government wishes to jeopardize postal services in these small communities by selling off the buildings that house those post offices giving Canada Post the opportunity to relocate into retail franchises.

The public works department and Canada Post have the same minister. I call on him to support rural Canada.

Violence Against WomenStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Stan Keyes Liberal Hamilton West, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government is committed to the elimination of all forms of violence in our society.

In particular, members on this side of the House are truly concerned about the incidence of violence against women which has often been dismissed as unsubstantiated and exaggerated.

The recent ruling of the Supreme Court of Canada admitting drunkenness as an allowable defence for a man accused of sexually assaulting a 65-year old woman is an indication of the insensitivity that currently exists in the country.

Furthermore, as recently as last week in reference to the incidence of male violence against women the member for Lisgar-Marquette stated they were always taught at home as kids that when they went to get the cattle out of the pasture not to wear red because it would infuriate the bull in the pasture.

I fail to see the connection between violence against women and the herding techniques of the Reform Party member opposite.

It is my hope we will all work toward eliminating this type of insensitivity in our society.

Canadian FlagStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Ben Serré Liberal Timiskaming—French-River, ON

Mr. Speaker, 30 years ago tomorrow, members of the House of Commons adopted the Canadian flag.

The final date of debate was December 14, 1964 and the final vote was held on December 15.

Her Majesty the Queen gave royal assent in February 1965.

[English]

On this historic day I recite my pledge of allegiance to the Canadian flag as authored by Alexandre Cyr: "To my flag and to the country it represents I pledge respect and loyalty".

Wave with pride, From sea to sea, And within your folds, Keep us ever united. God keep our flag. God protect our Canada.

I am proud to be Canadian. Long live a united Canada.

Long live a united Canada.

Canadian FlagStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Canadian FlagStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

I would hope that as much as possible we would abstain from using any props. One usually goes with the other, but I would be hard pressed in any way to say that we should not be proud of our flag.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, for the past 14 months the Minister of Finance has promised he will reduce the deficit. We are still waiting.

Disappointed by his failure to act, the financial community and investors are becoming increasingly concerned about the government's failure to reduce the deficit. In fact, in a situation where we can expect the U.S. economy to start overheating, failure to reduce the deficit will always cause interest rates to rise in Canada.

Will the Minister of Finance admit that his weak-kneed approach to fighting the deficit and the miscalculations in his own budget plan are increasing concern in the financial community and among foreign investors, and that his failure to act is largely responsible for the rise in interest rates in this country?

The EconomyOral 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, I am certainly prepared to admit that this year, we will reach our goals as far as the deficit is concerned, the first time in ten years the federal government has done so.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister is a deficit expert. Everybody knows that. We all know the figures.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.