House of Commons Hansard #31 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.


Borrowing Authority Act, 1994-95Government Orders

1:25 p.m.


Stan Keyes Liberal Hamilton West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to begin my first formal speech of this 35th Parliament with a message to the constituents of my home town of Hamilton who put their trust in me to represent their views and concerns here in the highest court of the land. I thank them. I consider it a privilege and an honour to serve.

To you, Mr. Speaker, I extend my congratulations and to the man we call Gibby. People in the Golden Horseshoe are very proud of him because we know him to be a man of patience and kindness. I pledge my full co-operation and support.

On the bill that is before us, Bill C-14, the task of keeping Canada's fiscal house in order should have nothing to do with merely preparing oneself for re-election. On the contrary, the fiscal responsibilities facing our government today require us to have the courage to make prudent decisions that are in the long term social and economic interest of our nation. In doing so, as stated by the right hon. Prime Minister, government should be lean but not mean.

After conducting the most exhaustive and open pre-budget consultation in Canadian history the federal government has managed to substantiate its commitment to job creation and economic renewal while reversing the trend of tax and spend economics that has gripped Canada's economy.

During the past nine years of careless government spending under the previous administration Canadians have watched the public debt balloon from $168 billion in 1984 to over $460 billion in 1993. This represents an increase of almost $300 billion or an average of about $30 billion per year.

To give everyone an idea of how enormous that figure is, picture the public debt as a hole in the ground. A $1 coin is a mere two millimetres thick. Two millimetres is rather thin in comparison with the thickness of the earth, for example, which is 6,411 kilometres from the surface to the centre.

However, if the previous finance minister were to dig a mere two millimetres into the ground every time the deficit increased by $1 he would have reached the centre of the earth after his first month in office. If the former finance minister continued digging at that rate until 1993, he would have tunnelled right through the centre of the earth, would have penetrated the opposite surface and would have continued flailing hopelessly in outer space for another 587,178 kilometres. Of course the space odyssey would have been cut short by the October 25 general election.

The government has an obligation to ensure that both the public debt and deficit are kept under control. We can no longer continue to mortgage the nation's future and the future of our children.

By restructuring and streamlining various government operations we will be able to reverse the growth trend of Canada's spiralling deficit and reduce it from $45 billion in 1994 to $32.7 billion in 1996.

In the process of reducing the debt the Minister of Finance has taken some serious measures by cutting government expenditures by $5 for every $1 of net revenue increases. That is worth repeating. Through reductions in defence spending, reductions in government handouts and the creation of a responsible social security system, we will achieve our goal of $2.1 billion in spending cuts by 1995, $5.4 billion in 1996 and $7.3 billion in 1997.

Although these are bold measures they appear to be supported by the majority of Canadians. I raised this issue in the House a little earlier. The following appeared in the Ottawa Citizen of February 18, 1994:

Canadians show a high support for the federal Liberals even after a budget that tightened restrictions on unemployment insurance and closed military bases across this country.

The Gazette of February 26, 1994 indicated: ``The Angus Reid-Southam News survey says that 55 per cent of respondents nationally believe the Liberals are on the right track with the February 22 budget''.

How about the Canadian Medical Association news release or communique? It indicated: "Budget provides health care stability, says doctors. Canada's doctors are pleased with Finance Minister Paul Martin's decision not to make any changes to existing federal government health transfers to the provinces". It is so much good news I am not sure members opposite can stand it.

As part of our commitment to deficit reduction we have gone so far as to freeze our own wages for the next two years. The extended public sector service salary freeze announced by the Minister of Finance on February 22 also applies to the Prime Minister, all cabinet ministers, every senator, my 294 fellow MPs in the House, as well as all appointed federal officials and employees of various crown corporations. Clearly the government is putting its money where its mouth is. As a result we will save over $3.1 billion during the next three years in government operations alone.

What about investing in people and stimulating the Canadian economy? I am proud to say that the budget presented by the Minister of Finance has stayed true to the so-called red book platform on which we were elected.

Under the $6 billion Canada infrastructure works program the federal government, in co-operation with the provincial and municipal governments, will be able to accelerate economic recovery by creating short and long term employment through investment in local communities while enhancing Canada's infrastructure at the local level. Speaking of which, the following appeared in the Gazette of February 23, 1994: ``Provincial Finance Minister André Bourbeau is giving the federal budget a passing grade because of Ottawa's job creation plan''.

Through the infrastructure works program my riding of Hamilton West and the surrounding region of Hamilton-Wentworth will see an investment of over $27 million in federal funding. This will translate into hundreds of new jobs created in the region.

The government is committed not only to job creation but also to education and the training of Canada's youth. Last summer youth unemployment reached a startling 22 per cent for young Canadians between the ages of 15 and 24. Through the Canada youth service corps and youth internship and apprenticeship programs, we will provide thousands of young people across this great country with meaningful work experience through public service in their local communities. Furthermore the budget will provide $800 million over the next two years to test innovative new training techniques in co-operation with the provinces for re-entry workers. This can only strengthen our human resource base in the long run by providing Canadians with valuable skills and retraining. When we said we would invest in jobs and in people we meant it.

It is a well established fact that a key component of a strong national economy is a well educated workforce. In light of this the federal government will be restoring $5 million in funding cut from the national literacy program by the previous administration. We will also maintain regular levels of EPF funding for post-secondary education over the next two years.

As we approach the 21st century it is becoming increasingly apparent that Canada must remain on the cutting edge of science and technology in order to stay competitive in the global economy and to tap into the emerging high-tech growth industries. To this end the government will be investing $60 million in new science and technology programs.

The government has also decided to maintain funding for Canada's research granting councils. The Ottawa Citizen of February 25 indicated:

"They (the Liberals) appear to understand the importance of science", said Howard Dickson of the Coalition for Biomedical and Health Research- "Overall it is good news", said Claude Lajeunesse, president of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. "Research has been identified as one area-and there aren't many of them-where the government will put additional money in over the next few years", Lajeunesse said.

In keeping with a fair and balanced approach to fiscal policy the government has shown support not only for science and technology but for the arts as well. The Globe and Mail of February 23, 1994 pointed out:

"The government has affirmed the importance of the arts", said Keith Kelly speaking from the Ottawa office of the Canadian Conference of the Arts. "It appears the art community's message has found receptive ears. It is almost too good to be believed. Ottawa seems to have kept its promise to give the CBC stable multi-year financing".

In terms of stimulating the economy one area that is often overlooked is small business. The government believes in small business and recognizes the important role played by small businesses in the national economy in terms of job creation and innovation.

By initiating the creation of a task force to address lending policy for small business the government has proven its willingness to exercise leadership and challenge the banks and other financial institutions to develop concrete ways to help small and medium sized Canadian businesses to find the capital they need.

My time is short. I want to conclude by saying that people across the country told us not to place a new tax on group health and benefit plans and presented us with compelling and well researched reasons to support their arguments. We listened. Canadians advised us that lowering the RRSP contribution would harm those who have insufficient levels of funding for their retirement. We listened. We were told to close off tax

loopholes and try to eliminate frivolous government handouts. We listened.

The people who elected us did so on faith, that we would stay true to the platform, to the agenda we outlined in the so-called red book. It seems only fair that we should be reflective of our commitment to those principles and ultimately to the people of this great country.

In closing I simply point out this is not a budget for a single province, a single region or a single interest group; this is a budget for Canada.

Borrowing Authority Act, 1994-95Government Orders

1:35 p.m.


Pierre De Savoye Bloc Portneuf, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listened to the hon. member's speech with attention and interest. At the beginning of his speech, he made the following statement:

"The government has been putting its money where its mouth is". With all due respect the government does not have any money. It is in the red. It has only debt.

Am I to understand that the government has been putting the people's money in its mouth? That is a great concern to me.

Furthermore I listened carefully to the hon. member when he said that Mr. Bourbeau gave us a passing grade. I was a teacher and a passing grade is nothing they should be proud of. They should be doing a lot better. That was what I expected from the Liberal government.

For years, I have heard budget forecasts claiming that the deficit would be reduced year by year. I remember a Conservative government about ten years ago saying similar things to what we have been hearing for several days. I remember a Conservative government then telling us year after year that the deficit would be reduced within five years. We will be able to judge a year from now if this budget was on target. In a year, we will know if the deficit was indeed kept below $40 billion. I am far from convinced by the rhetoric of our colleagues opposite that we will get there, that they will succeed.

In conclusion, they talked about job creation. The real test will be how many new jobs will be created in a year. I am concerned and I remain concerned and I am waiting to hear what the hon. member has to say.

Borrowing Authority Act, 1994-95Government Orders

1:40 p.m.


Stan Keyes Liberal Hamilton West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague opposite for his question. With the deepest of respect, the money we are spending is the money provided to the government by our tax dollars and the tax dollars of our constituents who are sitting at home watching this debate. I get the same money as my hon. colleague opposite gets. There is no difference in the money. It is all coming out of the same pocket, and that is the pocket of Canadians.

He went on to mention the passing grade given to us by provincial finance minister André Bourbeau. I sat in the House for the previous five years. The marks the previous government got on budgets past were so dismal that to come all the way up from negative to a passing grade is a great achievement.

I might go on in the article the member mentioned. On February 23 the quote from Mr. Bourbeau was: "It contains interesting job creation measures". Then he brushed aside criticism from the Parti Quebecois that the budget was short on any new ideas on helping the jobless. That is a pretty good answer to the hon. member's question.

Borrowing Authority Act, 1994-95Government Orders

1:40 p.m.


Darrel Stinson Reform Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, I listened with some interest to the hon. member's talk. I have a question for him.

Our country is far in debt. The deficit is running high and the government is asking for trust from the people. How can we trust a government that spends millions topping up their own pension plan while the rest of society suffers?

Borrowing Authority Act, 1994-95Government Orders

1:40 p.m.


Stan Keyes Liberal Hamilton West, ON

Mr. Speaker, unless the hon. member has been on holiday for the last hundred days he would know that the party which I am proud to represent and the government of the land are committed to a review of the pension the hon. member is talking about. A majority of us not just on the government side but on all sides of the House of Commons are sitting back and asking exactly how it works and how it compares to other industrialized nations of the world.

Hon. members take great pride in saying: "I cut my pay by 10 per cent". I do not know about that hon. member, but I serve between 70 hours and 80 hours a week for my constituency here and at home. With all the telephone calls and extra hours I put in-and I am taken away from my family, et cetera-I have to tell him that our job function here and the responsibility given to us to serve in the highest court of the land do not compare favourably-it is not even close-to someone in the private sector with that level of responsibility and serving that many hours in Ottawa and in the constituency. There is just no comparison. A 10 per cent cut on a pay that really does not compare is no big deal.

Borrowing Authority Act, 1994-95Government Orders

1:45 p.m.


Len Hopkins Liberal Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

You give that away and don't brag about it.

Borrowing Authority Act, 1994-95Government Orders

1:45 p.m.


Stan Keyes Liberal Hamilton West, ON

Yes, of course. I will not repeat the remark. It was a brilliant remark by my friend from Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke.

Borrowing Authority Act, 1994-95Government Orders

1:45 p.m.


George Proud Liberal Hillsborough, PE

Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege to enter into the debate today, after listening to all of the eloquent speeches that have gone before I have had the opportunity to take part in it. By taking part in this debate I am taking part in a process which marks the beginning of a new era.

We were presented with a budget document on February 22 which shows a fundamental change in the attitude toward the future of the country and shows the government means what it says and says what it means. The address was a triumph of reality over rhetoric and it laid out in clear and concise terms the direction the minister and the government wishes to take the country.

As has been said in the last couple of hours that I have been listening, everybody knows the state of our financial affairs. They showed in the October election their belief in us by the majority they gave this party in the House. Now that that issue has been settled for a good many years to come, it is time for a realistic and pragmatic approach to the governance of Canada and a time to turn away from the ruinous economic policies which brought us to the state we are in today.

Canadians told us during last fall's election that the first issue we must address is jobs. The unemployment rate is completely unacceptable. Canadians are a proud, industrious and hard-working people who will not accept a continuing double digit unemployment rate.

The national infrastructure program will create jobs in the short term. The measures announced in the minister's budget will contribute to a more positive environment for businesses to create jobs in the future. The $800 million budgeted for strategic initiatives will test new ways for social programs to help people get back to work and will reduce duplication.

In my own region more emphasis will be placed on training and getting people and communities back to work. In my province of Prince Edward Island, and in my region, one of the greatest problems faced over the past few years has been the uncertainty faced by provincial governments with respect to what they could expect in federal transfer payments.

I know that many people in the House are opposed to the system of transfer payments. Many people believe that they should not happen. However, as one who comes from a part of the country that has been devastated over the last few years with various disasters-the latest in the fishery-transfer payments are a must. Under this budget there will be a period of stability so that provinces can rationally plan for the future.

The sad state of the federal financial scene has significantly contributed to problems being faced by the provinces where, without exception, they too are forced to look at many long term policies and programs with a view to reform.

The Liberal Party has always been at the forefront of reform and this time we are showing that fact has not changed. There have to be changes made to some of our social programs. We know that and we are working on it because they are not working as well as they should be. They are getting older and it is time to change them. In making changes though, the minister has, as always, remembered to protect the weaker and more vulnerable members of our society.

It is no secret that unemployment insurance is an extremely important factor in the economy of my province. The interim changes announced recently are causing a great deal of discussion. I can assure everyone that last week when we were out of the House that the topic was brought to my office and to my house, through phones calls and by personal contact on many occasions.

The changes will better protect low income earners and will strengthen the link between work history and unemployment insurance. They will continue to provide assistance to regions such as mine of high unemployment, but they do foresee the day when we must become less dependent on unemployment insurance and other government programs.

I firmly believe that the residents of my province would gladly forgo the benefits afforded them by UI if there were more opportunities for them to work. Our unemployment rate approaches 20 per cent during some seasons and this is indicative of the challenge facing each of us. It is also facing the minister.

No one thought unemployment insurance would become a guaranteed annual income and very few people thought the unemployment rate would be as high as it is today. Nobody ever thought that. That was never planned for, certainly by the people who are drawing unemployment insurance.

Another major problem in my region has been the total collapse, as I have mentioned, of the groundfishery. Close to 50,000 people are potentially affected by this disaster and new, innovative solutions must be found to the problem. The government must, in consultation with the Atlantic provinces, find a solution based on sustainable development and restoration of the environment. I hope Canadians realize the magnitude of the problem and how vitally important it is that long term solutions be found.

The other issue of great importance in Atlantic Canada has been the closure of some military bases. The adjustment assistance promised will help the affected communities set up redevelopment plans and fund alternative economic activities. The closure of a base is a traumatic event for a community, but it does open a window of opportunity for the community to get involved in economic activity which will grow and develop in the years to come.

As we all know, this was only the first step in the process of rebuilding the economy. There will no doubt be changes in our social programs over the next few years, but they will be changes which will come about as a result of careful and compassionate planning. Those people who most need the facilities and services to be provided will be treated even better in the future than they have been in the past because the government cares and will see that all Canadians regardless of where they reside receive equal services.

The challenges faced by the minister are huge. The economy of Canada and indeed much of the world is going through a very difficult period. News reports this morning said that world-wide unemployment is at its highest rate since the 1930s and it is the most pressing problem facing the G-7 nations.

I feel we are most fortunate to have a Minister of Finance and a government prepared to squarely face the problems and dedicate themselves to finding solutions. As I said at the beginning of my remarks, Canada is entering a new era with the presentation of this budget. It is not an era which will be easy. It is one which will see the country grow and develop and finally reach the full potential for which we have been striving.

No one expects the answers to our problems to be found easily. No one expects to have a free ride. Canadians have always been ready to put their shoulders to the wheel and get the job done. The challenges facing us are many. The first step has been taken. Under the guidance of the Minister of Finance, the other ministers and our leader we will move along very quickly.

I support this borrowing bill. I thank you, Sir, for allowing me these moments to put forward my case.

Borrowing Authority Act, 1994-95Government Orders

1:50 p.m.


Ian McClelland Reform Edmonton Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate the hon. member opposite for his presentation this afternoon. I have a question and would appreciate his comments. The budget presented by the Minister of Finance indicated there was a $5 reduction in spending for every dollar increase in revenue.

Would the hon. member care to comment on the fact it would appear that much of the $5 decrease in spending is merely a reduction of spending anticipated by the former Tory government and not a reduction in actual spending.

Borrowing Authority Act, 1994-95Government Orders

1:55 p.m.


George Proud Liberal Hillsborough, PE

Mr. Speaker, when the Minister of Finance put forward his budget, as has been said here many times today, it was put forward after many consultations with the people of the country.

The program we put forward in the fall that everybody refers to as our famous red book said that we would be fiscally responsible. We have said that the formula just alluded to would be one we were going to live with. I believe the minister is doing this. He has laid down his plan and it is not a program adopted by the former government. This is a Liberal program which will lead the country-it is not going to be easy at first-back to the time when unemployment was down. We will see government spending decrease and we will see less government. We will also see an economy that is much more healthy than in the last decade or more.

Borrowing Authority Act, 1994-95Government Orders

1:55 p.m.


Pierre Brien Bloc Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to make a comment followed by a question.

During the election campaign, we heard at every turn that job creation would be the number-one priority of a Liberal government. Now that we have a Liberal government, this should be reflected in the budget. Furthermore, the Liberals have often spoken of the infrastructure program announced since the election as the key element of their job creation plans.

My question to the hon. member is this: How does he explain the fact that, despite this much-praised program, the unemployment rate forecast for next year will only go down by one tenth of 1 per cent. The rate will be reduced from 11.8 per cent to 11.7 per cent, if I am not mistaken. In any case, it will only go down by one tenth of 1 per cent, with an infrastructure program in which a lot of money will be invested. Why did we not get something else to raise the employment level after being told "jobs, jobs, jobs" during the election campaign? Is he satisfied with the unemployment rate going down by only one tenth of 1 per cent, and how does he explain this in the Liberal government's budget?

Borrowing Authority Act, 1994-95Government Orders

1:55 p.m.


George Proud Liberal Hillsborough, PE

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for his comments and his questions.

No one feels great about an unemployment rate in the double digits. I said that during my remarks. The member says it is only going to go down by a certain percentage point. It is better to have it going down than what was going on in the last number of years when it continually rose.

The government has come forward with an infrastructure program which we predict will create as many as 65,000 jobs. Along with that the Liberal government is committed to working with the private sector, the banking industry, to make sure that capital is there for small business to do the things they have been

trying to do for a number of years. If the hon. member has not already had them calling at his door, he will have the small business people coming to his door looking to get funding made available to them. They are not asking for it for nothing. They are willing to pay the going rate, but they are asking to have capital loosened up so they can get working capital and put people back to work.

This is the jobs, jobs, jobs creation we talked about during the 1993 election. This is what is going to happen. The infrastructure program is a short term program. The small business sector is the one that is going to pick it up and really bring the jobs into creation.

Borrowing Authority Act, 1994-95Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Charlesbourg has the floor for a few minutes; he will be allowed to resume his speech after question period.

Borrowing Authority Act, 1994-95Government Orders

1:55 p.m.


Jean-Marc Jacob Bloc Charlesbourg, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would have preferred to make my speech uninterrupted. But if I must, because of the schedule, I will start now.

I listened to the hon. members speaking on the budget this morning, but I will address only budget cuts in defence spending, the only area where cuts were visible in this budget.

First of all, I would like to congratulate the Minister of Defence for standing bravely by the cuts made in the defence budget. He even took offence with some questions other members of the Bloc and myself have asked him. I must however point out to the hon. Minister of Defence that, unfortunately, he thinks he has the monopoly of consistency with regard to the role the Bloc Quebecois members have given themselves. He said: "I seldom get angry, but when I hear this kind of partisan remarks, I cannot help but react. When they speak like that, they-he is referring to us, the Bloc Quebecois-have only one thing in mind, and that is to destroy our country. We refuse to have anything to do with their game".

I am generally considered in my riding as a moderate, not a fanatic sovereigntist, or separatist as the Prime Minister prefers to call us, one who tries to base his analyses on facts and figures. I quoted the Minister of Defence because he has decided to get involved, in conjunction with members of the Bloc Quebecois-

I will continue later, Mr. Speaker.

Borrowing Authority Act, 1994-95Government 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.

Vision Awareness WeekStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Rey D. Pagtakhan Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, March 6 to 12 is Vision Awareness Week in Canada. Its theme, "Good Vision and Literacy: There is a Clear Connection", is timely. Canada faces a staggering 25 per cent rate of illiteracy.

One of the major roadblocks standing between citizens and their ability to read is poor vision. Since one in six children has a vision problem and since at least 80 per cent of learning is visual, early detection of vision problems becomes an important part of preventing illiteracy.

Let us work to make certain all of Canada's citizens are literate for this wondrous information age.

With literacy comes access to information, employment and prosperity. If Canada is to realize its vision of a prosperous future it must ensure that in the future its people have good vision.

The Late Melina MercouriStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Bloc Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, March 6, 1994, will always be a sad day for Greece, as well as for Quebecers and Canadians who value democracy, freedom and justice.

Melina Mercouri died yesterday after spending her life fighting oppression. Convinced of the importance of the influence of Greek culture, she also contributed to the international heritage and that of the French-speaking community.

A feminist with an exceptional destiny, as well as a woman of many talents who had a passion for life and justice, Melina Mercouri was sensitive to the survival of the French language in America.

On behalf of my colleagues, I want to tell Quebecers and Canadians of Greek origin that we share their grief and, like them, are proud of this great woman.

Official OppositionStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Dick Harris Reform Prince George—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, Her Majesty's Official Opposition sits in this House of Commons with a stated objective of separatism for the province of Quebec.

This travesty of our system was heightened in the past week by the visit to Washington of the Leader of the Official Opposi-

tion to further his party's quest for independence, a trip unwittingly supported by the Canadian taxpayer and with the tacit approval of the Government of Canada under the guise of amenities traditionally extended to the Official Opposition.

This government has the obligation legally and morally to represent all Canadians. Quebecers are very much a part of Canada and I am sure they share the deep concern of other Canadians at this unprecedented occurrence.

Canadians are not living in traditional times. I call on the Prime Minister to exercise strong leadership in government and perhaps even withdraw some of the traditional amenities extended to the Official Opposition.

Women EntrepreneursStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Sue Barnes Liberal London West, ON

Mr. Speaker, in this International Women's Week I would like to highlight the contributions of women entrepreneurs in Canadian society.

An important priority of this government is the implementation of measures to stimulate small and medium sized businesses which we know have accounted for 85 per cent of new job creation since 1979.

Between 1973 and 1993 the number of self-employed women skyrocketed from 89,000 to 323,000. In 1991 over 30 per cent of the self-employed workforce was made up of women. The success rate of women entrepreneurs is twice that of men.

We have every reason to applaud the women in this land who have taken the plunge into self-employment, thereby providing themselves employment and employment for others. Despite obstacles, many more will join their ranks.

It is important that we have identified the issues and that this government support where it can self-employment for those in Canadian society who take on this challenge and opportunity.

Governor GeneralStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Alex Shepherd Liberal Durham, ON

Mr. Speaker, our Governor General has come under criticism recently. I believe that the people of Canada want and deserve a greater voice in choosing our head of state.

While I realize that the Governor General is the Queen's representative, I also note that the Queen generally accepts the advice of the elected Government of Canada.

In order to heighten the legitimacy of this office, I believe that the time has come for the Governor General to be elected by all the people of Canada. I note that the vast majority of the industrialized countries that are our trading partners elect their heads of states.

Currently our system is one of appointment which I feel has outlived its usefulness.

Electing the head of state would be an excellent opportunity for the people to be involved in our nation's affairs and, at the same time, would make the office directly responsible to all the people of Canada.

PeacekeepingStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Herb Dhaliwal Liberal Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, over the past 10 years I have watched the tragic situation in the occupied territories unfold. The situation in this region is both fragile and explosive. The February 25 massacre of Muslims praying in a Mosque in Hebron makes this tenuous peace initiative even more elusive.

Canada has long favoured diplomacy and negotiations to bombs and bullets. Canada has a long and internationally recognized record for its contributions toward the support of human rights and global peace. We have served in a peacekeeping capacity in the Middle East in the past. Our efforts in the Sinai in 1967 and the Golan Heights in 1973 were successful and did serve to alleviate tensions.

I believe that Canadian peacekeepers can again serve an important role in this region protecting human rights and promoting global peace.

I recommend to the hon. minister that Canada explore options which will allow it to contribute to a peaceful means to resolve this conflict and restore peace to the Middle East.

Université Du Québec In ChicoutimiStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Gilbert Fillion Bloc Chicoutimi, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Université du Québec in Chicoutimi is celebrating its 25 years of existence. In its first year, back in 1969, this university had 857 students, including 521 full-time students, and 336 part-time students. Four university-level institutions were grouped together: the École de commerce, the École de génie, the Centre de formation des maîtres, and the Grand Séminaire de Chicoutimi.

Today, some one hundred different programs, including 15 at the master and doctorate levels, are offered to more than 7,500 students. It is important to have a university in our region.

We want to wish a long life to the Université du Québec in Chicoutimi, which is truly a development tool in our region.

McDonald's RestaurantsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Ted White Reform North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, McDonald's Restaurants of Canada has made all 253 of its company operated restaurants, including the three in my riding, smoke free as of today. In addition, approximately half of the 422 restaurants not directly controlled by McDonald's of Canada are also becoming smoke free.

The health consequences of exposure to secondhand smoke are well known and the establishment of smoke free environments in family restaurants is to be congratulated. McDonald's will help tremendously in the move to prevent children from taking up smoking.

Ronald McDonald should be adopted as the mascot for the Canadian Lung Association. I congratulate McDonald's for taking a giant step toward the eventual elimination of smoking in all restaurants in Canada and I ask members of this House to join with me in identifying this day, March 7, 1994, as McDonald's smoke free day in Canada.

The Late John CandyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Derek Lee Liberal Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

Mr. Speaker, today we mourn the sudden death of Canada's John Candy, an actor and comedian who entertained us here as well as people around the world.

He is one among us who invested his many talents in the entertainment industry and left an indelible contribution. His legacy includes over 40 feature film credits.

As those of us who knew him will attest, John's brand of humour reflected his roots, his neighbourhood in east Toronto and even the hallways of Neil McNeil High School in Scarborough where I first met him and his brother. He was a powerful example of determination and success to all of us.

Amidst his career success he never stopped being the kind and compassionate person he was, a husband and a father. We extend heartfelt condolences to his wife and family.

The fun and laughter John Candy has created for all of us will forever outweigh the tears we will shed at his passing.

Canadian Olympic Hockey TeamStatements By Members

March 7th, 1994 / 2:10 p.m.


Jean Payne Liberal St. John's West, NL

Mr. Speaker, it is with great pride that I rise today to pay tribute to the Canadian Olympic Hockey Team that made us all proud to be Canadians.

The Canadian hockey team displayed the true meaning of sportsmanship in the final game. Its silver medal performance was outstanding and allowed Canada to finish the Olympics with 13 medals. This was the best Canadian Olympic effort ever.

I would like to offer special congratulations to Dwayne Morris from the riding of St. John's West. Dwayne is the first Newfoundlander ever to win an Olympic medal and his effort in setting up the winning goal in the game against the Czech Republic sent Canada to the medal round.

I extend to Dwayne and to the Olympic hockey team and all Canadian Olympians heartfelt congratulations for making us so proud.