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House of Commons Hansard #26 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was petitions.

Topics

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Eugène Bellemare Liberal Carleton—Gloucester, ON

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Elk Island talked about the motion making petitions the subject matter of debate, which I find totally ridiculous, especially the part where it says that petitions will be brought to a vote at the end of the debate.

If Reform members had sat here for the last five years, as I have done, they would realize all the problems this would create. Reform members keep saying that this government and this Parliament spend too much. Does he not recall that the last referendum cost more than a quarter of a billion dollars and does he not realize that holding referendums on almost everything, year in and year out, will cost billions of dollars?

The Reform Party is suggesting that for every petition there be a major debate and major vote. That kind of law or rule could be absolutely divisive. We have heard the Reform Party contest the official languages, for example. It is trying to divide the country further? That is the intent of the Reform Party.

If any of you have ever sat on municipal council, you would probably remember that homeowners on a single street-

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

I know the hon. member would want to address the Chair in his question.

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Eugène Bellemare Liberal Carleton—Gloucester, ON

Mr. Speaker, they would experience, sitting on a city council or municipal council, that often when petitioning a street people are divided on the same topic. They could get 100 people signing the petition, signing yes. Yet on the same street people would be signing on the no side.

How do we verify the correctness of the signature or the age of the people? Who does all of that? What kinds of expenses would we get involved in trying to make sure that every signature was bona fide, that every person signing was of age, that every person signing was not half drunk, or that we are not getting a bunch of loonies or bigots constantly signing petitions who do not believe in the proper process?

We have seen in the case of the member from Markham that people are banding together like lynch mobs in a village trying to hang someone without due process.

Maybe lynching was good in the thirties or sixties of the 19th century in Alabama. In Canada this is not what we want. We are not made up of bigots.

SupplyGovernment Orders

2 p.m.

Reform

Ken Epp Reform Elk Island, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would simply comment that if the member for Carleton-Gloucester insists on demeaning his

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electors and saying they are bigots when they present their petitions or when they vote on a referendum, that is his choice.

I would choose rather to listen to my constituents, to take very seriously what they say in terms of a referendum or a petition which they present. There may be some difficulties administratively but they can certainly be overcome in our modern technological age and there is great gain to be made by listening more and more to the people who sent us here.

SupplyGovernment Orders

2 p.m.

The Speaker

It being two o'clock, pursuant to Standing Order 30(5), the House will now proceed to statements by members pursuant to Standing Order 31.

[English]

Acadia Centre For Small Business And EntrepreneurshipStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

John Murphy Liberal Annapolis Valley—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to extend my congratulations and support for the Acadia Centre for Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

Today this centre kicks off a week-long conference at Acadia University for people considering a career in self-employment.

The conference, entitled "Exploring Your Future: Learning About Entrepreneurship", will allow participants to determine if self-employment is right for them and if so how they go about starting a business.

Following this conference, 35 participants will be selected for a 14-week employment training program.

Not only does such a conference play an important role in promoting the local community network but it also provides valuable services and information for those wishing to get their new ventures off the ground.

I fully support the efforts of the Acadia Centre for Small Business and Entrepreneurship and ask that the members of this House join me in congratulating the organizers of this important conference.

Snow Surfing World CupStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Beauport—Montmorency—Orléans, QC

Mr. Speaker, for the second year in a row, the Parc du Mont-Sainte-Anne in the magnificent riding of Beauport-Montmorency-Orléans will play host to the Snow Surfing World Cup from March 9 to March 13, 1994.

The 1993 world cup drew more than 10,000 spectators to the site and the event received extensive media coverage.

Millions of television viewers in Europe, Asia and America watched the competition and in the process, they became better acquainted with Quebec, and in particular with Côte-de-Beaupré and the Parc du Mont-Sainte-Anne.

The second Snow Surfing World Cup at the Parc du Mont-Ste-Anne should once again focus world-wide attention on Quebec as a region, highlighting its distinctive character and the extent of its sports and tourism facilities.

From March 9 to March 13, 1994 the whole world will be watching the Parc du Mont-Ste-Anne.

The BudgetStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Reform

Jim Hart Reform Okanagan—Similkameen—Merritt, BC

Mr. Speaker, my constituents have overwhelmingly opposed any reduction in the RRSP contribution limits. Reducing these limits is increasing taxes for those ordinary Canadians such as small business owners and employees who use RRSPs as their sole means of preparing for retirement.

I have also received literally hundreds of letters of support for the home buyers plan which is due to expire at the end of this month. This plan utilizes the RRSP program to make home ownership a viable option for many Canadians and has been that rare bird, a successful government program that does not cost the treasury a cent.

I hope that the finance minister has considered these voices of ordinary Canadians as he prepares his upcoming budget.

On behalf of my constituents in Okanagan-Similkameen-Merritt, I ask the finance minister to stop speaking in code. Broadening the tax base means raising taxes.

National Heritage DayStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Eleni Bakopanos Liberal Saint-Denis, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to address my colleagues in the House on the occasion of National Heritage Day.

The diversity of our country and of its people is expressed in many ways and makes us unique within the community of nations.

Our wealth of cultures, languages and traditions enrich the everyday lives of all Canadians.

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National Heritage Day is an opportunity for all Canadians to reflect upon the meaning and richness of their heritage.

On this Heritage Day Canadians should take this opportunity to remember with pride the contributions of those who have helped to form this great land, appreciate and share the diversity in which our heritage is expressed, strengthen and celebrate the multicultural fabric of Canada.

We in this House have much to celebrate since we are very much an example of that multicultural fabric.

Girl Guides Of CanadaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

John Cannis Liberal Scarborough Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, last Friday evening the Girl Guides of Canada in the city of Scarborough awarded the Canada Cord to five young women from Scarborough Centre.

The Girl Guides' Canada Cord recognizes an individual's dedication and contribution to the Guiding movement, their community and our country.

The five young women are Jennifer Barnes, Analese Campbell, Jandy Morrow, Kristi Tumbling and Jennifer Wright. They have committed their time and efforts over the past three years to earning this award. As valued members of our community, they can be regarded as fine examples of what every young Canadian can aspire to be and I congratulate them.

Kate PaceStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Wood Liberal Nipissing, ON

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of all Canadians and in particular on behalf of the people of Nipissing I would like to congratulate Kate Pace of North Bay, Ontario for her outstanding performance in the women's Olympic downhill race this past Saturday.

As the reigning world champion, Kate once again finished among the best downhillers in the world and is looking forward to competing in the remaining World Cup races to defend her world championship title.

A capacity crowd of over 1,000 people jammed the North Bay Art Centre at four o'clock in the morning in order to watch Kate compete in her race. This show of support for Kate Pace by the people of North Bay and area is due to Kate's commitment to her sport and to her community and to her country, Canada.

I am very proud to congratulate Kate today after a terrific performance at the Olympic Games and I wish her all the best as she defends her World Cup downhill title later this year.

Fonds De Solidarité Des TravailleursStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Rocheleau Bloc Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is with great pride that I inform the House that owing to an investment from the Fonds de solidarité des travailleurs du Québec, the Trois-Rivières plant of Canadian Pacific Forest Products Limited will reopen on February 23 under the name of TRIPAP after having been closed for two years and will start producing paper again, thus giving jobs back to 300 workers.

Over the past few years, the Fonds de solidarité has made it possible to create or maintain more than 700 jobs, in particular at FABRON of Trois-Rivières, Cadorette Marine of Grand-Mère, in the Prime Minister's riding, and Nova Quintech of Pierreville, a total investment in excess of $41 million.

On the 10th anniversary of its setting up the extremely useful role the Fonds de solidarité des travailleurs du Québec has played in the Mauricie-Bois-Francs region had to be brought to the attention of this House.

National DebtStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Reform

Ken Epp Reform Elk Island, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am very excited about an initiative being taken by several women in my Elk Island riding. Maralyn Benay and her colleagues are undertaking the formation of an organization which will receive voluntary donations by citizens to be applied directly to the national debt. They are receiving a great deal of positive publicity and the momentum for the plan is growing by leaps and bounds.

While warning her about the magnitude of Canada's debt and over-spending problem, I compared the efforts with spooning water into a rain barrel while ignoring the fact that the bottom is out of the barrel.

We have citizens who are ready to tackle our huge debt problem with the same fervour as we accepted the emergency situation of our country during World War II. How wonderful it would be if we here in Ottawa could do our part by stemming the flow out of the bottom of the barrel.

Mrs. Benay and her group deserve all the encouragement they can get and all the people who are ready to donate, whether a small amount or a large, are to be commended as Canadian heroes.

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BilingualismStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

David Berger Liberal Saint-Henri—Westmount, QC

Mr. Speaker, last Friday, it was very amusing to hear the statements made by two members of the Bloc Quebecois.

The member for Richmond-Wolfe condemned those who oppose official bilingualism. I am very happy to hear that the Bloc supports official bilingualism.

For his part, the member for Louis-Hébert congratulated Isabelle Brasseur on winning a bronze medal. But he did not even mention the name of her partner, Lloyd Eisler, who comes from Ontario. Does he think that Ms. Brasseur would have won in pairs skating by herself?

This reminds me of the Canada Cup tournament held a few years ago when we won with Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux. Many people said that we could not have won without both of them, for is it not true that unity is strength?

These statements by two members of the Bloc Quebecois show the contradictions and weaknesses in that party's positions.

Heritage DayStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Gurbax Malhi Liberal Bramalea—Gore—Malton, ON

Mr. Speaker, today is Heritage Day.

It comes as no surprise that Canada would choose to celebrate diversity among its peoples. This is a country where cultural differences are considered a strength rather than a weakness. It is just one of the reasons Canada has acquired a sterling international reputation for fairness to all people.

While some Canadians may take their freedom for granted, those who worked hard to emigrate here will never do so. Canada is secure enough in its own virtues that it allows and encourages new Canadians to retain their own culture.

We should remember that most countries force immigrants to purge themselves of their heritage. Canada, however, sees the value of heritage and celebrates it from coast to coast.

Happy Heritage Day, one and all.

Heritage DayStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Rey D. Pagtakhan Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, Heritage Day holds great significance for our country. Today we reflect on the many faces of Canada and celebrate diversity and unity.

I am reminded of my own immigration and of how my wife and I have been blessed with four sons born and raised in this great nation. I am privileged to live in Canada, honoured to serve the constituents of Winnipeg North and proud to be part of the beautiful diversity that is the Canadian mosaic.

Heritage Day is also about our national institutions, our railways, schools, parks and system of government. It is about the building of our nation which touched generations of Canadians' lives in numerous ways, politically, economically and socially.

It is also about governments playing a major role in preserving our cultural landscape, fostering closer relationships with our First Nations peoples and sustaining official bilingualism in a multicultural framework.

The sum of all defines our national values-democracy, freedom, social justice and peace.

ImmigrationStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Paul Marchand Bloc Québec-Est, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to denounce an inhuman situation experienced by a Romanian family from my constituency, Mr. and Mrs. Maraloï and their two sons, who have been in Canada for three years. As soon as they arrived here, they started the procedures with the department of immigration to straighten out their situation in Canada. These people made a lot of effort to integrate themselves to the Quebec community. They never asked for any form of government assistance. The academic successes of the children illustrate how well integrated they are. This is a model family.

Yet, the applications made by that family have been rejected because authorities feel that there is no proven risk of persecution if they return to Romania. So, after three years in Canada, they are told they must go back. This is inhuman. Are we going to celebrate the International Year of the Family by uprooting these people from the community in which they have settled and are appreciated, and by deporting them to a country where they no longer have anything and where they have every reason to believe they will be in danger?

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ForestryStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Reform

Jim Abbott Reform Kootenay East, BC

Mr. Speaker, last week I had the privilege of taking part in a series of meetings in Vancouver with the Canadian European Parliamentary Association. We had an extensive field trip in the air and on the ground at Clayoquot Sound.

As the House may know, the Europeans had brought forward a resolution to the European Parliament which would have seen a boycott of up to $2 billion worth of Canadians softwood lumber products. They had based their tentative decision to boycott on the basis of information and representations made by certain B.C. protectionist forces and they are to be applauded for taking the time to view first hand the practices which are so soundly denounced by those certain protectionist groups.

I am pleased to report that after thorough discussion and observation we have arrived at a reasonable approach to the resolution of their concerns. The environmentalists should consider the progress that has been made in sustainable forestry management practices. I suggest they consider compromise instead of confrontation and co-operation instead of controversy.

Electoral ReformStatements By Members

February 21st, 1994 / 2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Nick Discepola Liberal Vaudreuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to express my total disagreement with the proposed electoral redistribution and ask that steps be initiated to halt the process immediately.

Last Friday over 30 municipal leaders of my riding, as well as the West Island of Montreal, were consulted. They agreed unanimously that the proposal does not reflect the reality of our region. In these difficult economic times, when tomorrow once again in this very House Canadians are going to be asked to make difficult sacrifices, can we really afford the millions of dollars that this reform will cost, let alone ask ourselves what it will accomplish?

I have consulted with many of my colleagues from Ontario, Quebec, the west and the Atlantic provinces, and we all agree it is our duty to be frugal with the taxpayers' hard-earned money. We can save millions of dollars by simply passing a bill to delay electoral reform until the next census.

I do not believe Canadians are under represented by the current 295 MPs. Allow me to conclude by reminding the House that it is quality, not quantity that should be the focus here.

Canada ScholarshipStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Patrick Gagnon Liberal Bonaventure—Îles-De-La-Madeleine, QC

Mr. Speaker, allow me to express in this House my most sincere congratulations to eight young students in Bonaventure-Îles-de-la-Madeleine who received scholarships from the Canadian government to maintain their academic excellence in post-secondary science, engineering and mathematics.

These fields of learning are important to the economic future of the region and of Canada and I count greatly on the professional contribution of these scholarship students from Gaspé and the Magdalen Islands for our economic future. I offer my sincere congratulations to Frédéric Aspirot, Nadia Bouchard, Julie Cummings, Anik Henry, Pascal Poirier, Steve Renaud, Stéphane Thériault and Serge Vigneau.

With this Canada Scholarship worth up to $10,000 at the university level and $7,500 at the college level, these young people will be able to excel in their studies.

These scholarship recipients will help maintain Canada's scientific excellence and I am very proud of that.

Canada ScholarshipStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

Dear colleagues, for several weeks, some of you have been asking me about Standing Order 31.

You have addressed the Chair and asked if I could give some kind of indication as to the length of Standing Order 31s. I am happy to report to you that after five weeks, if the statements are about 150 to 160 words, everyone seems to be able to get them in. So I report to you that this seems to be going well.

I would like to thank again those of you who have prepared statements and sent them to the interpreters. It does help in the translation and I do thank you on behalf of all colleagues.

BosniaOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Bloc

Lucien Bouchard BlocLeader of the Opposition

My question is directed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Yesterday, NATO and UN leaders decided against authorizing air strikes at Sarajevo. It seems that UN peacekeepers are taking control of Serb positions and that at last peace will come to Sarajevo.

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I want to ask the minister whether he could report to the House on the situation today in Sarajevo and give us assurances that the withdrawal of Serb heavy artillery was sufficient to justify cancelling the air strikes.

BosniaOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Michel Québec

Liberal

André Ouellet LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker the withdrawal of heavy artillery or its transfer to UN control has improved the situation very substantially, and the process is definitely producing the results expected by UN and NATO members.

The demilitarization of Sarajevo will continue, and that is why we felt it was important to maintain the threat of air strikes for the use in cases where either the Serbs or the Muslims would be inclined to bring back and use this heavy artillery.

However, we think the diplomatic initiatives produced results and the peace process has definitely been started and we hope that no air strikes will be necessary under the circumstances.

BosniaOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Bloc

Lucien Bouchard BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I must agree that this is good news and that the government was right to join its partners in order to produce the results we see today.

However, the war goes on in other parts of Bosnia. I would like to ask the minister whether he could tell us what strategies are being considered by Canada and its partners to end the fighting in Bosnia and thus prevent the Serbs from taking the heavy artillery withdrawn from Sarajevo and using it to fight elsewhere in Bosnia?

BosniaOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Michel Québec

Liberal

André Ouellet LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we feel that diplomatic initiatives by the Americans and the Russians helped to create a climate that is far more promising than has been the case so far. We feel that these diplomatic initiatives must continue and should be pursued in order to get the three parties involved in this conflict-Serbs, croats and Muslims-to agree to a peace process that would extend to all of former Yugoslavia. Meetings will be held in Europe tomorrow and at some time during the next few days in order to put in place, at the highest levels, a mechanism that will bring a durable peace to the region.