House of Commons Hansard #61 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was aboriginal.


Sahtu Dene And Metis Land Claimsettlement ActGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.


Dick Harris Reform Prince George—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased today to address the House in relation to Bill C-16. This agreement was signed on September 6, 1993 and tabled in the House on March 10, 1994.

I know the Sahtu Dene and Metis overwhelmingly supported the bill in a ratification vote. It appears that they are more than satisfied with this settlement. However I believe we would be negligent, as parties in the past have been, if we did not address some of the problems contained within Bill C-16.

Certainly my colleagues and I in the Reform Party are willing to obtain concepts of aboriginal self-determination, but only in situations in which aboriginals will clearly come to a position of self-sufficiency within the Canadian society. Unfortunately Bill C-16 does not address this situation.

Bill C-16 in fact calls for more bureaucracy, huge settlement moneys, continued DIAND programs and extensive future negotiations on self-government. The bureaucracy which will be spawned by Bill C-16 is in a word overwhelming.

There will be seven new boards, panels and councils established to manage the resources of 2,200 people. These new entities will have representatives from the Sahtu Dene, the Metis and the government itself.

One wonders why aboriginal representatives could not be incorporated into existing DIAND boards which manage the resources in the settlement area. The agreement, Bill C-16, appears to propagate bureaucracy in so far as it overlaps existing regulatory boards and threatens to turn a very small population into a community of regulatory bureaucrats.

The potential for bureaucratic havoc in this new regime appears to be very serious, and this is something we want to address. We must take the resource management arrangements in this settlement as something that will set a benchmark for future and existing management agreements in other areas.

As all members can appreciate the resources governed by these boards will traverse a wide area. Accordingly matters concerning wildlife or water would affect a number of distinct settlement areas all sharing in these resources and all having their own regulatory regime, a formula for bureaucratic havoc.

Moreover, the various regions may have different attitudes as to how to deal with a particular problem. Certainly that they have exclusive rights over the resources in their area, claims of mismanagement arising from governments or neighbouring bands may be difficult to establish and address.

In short, there is a huge potential for an interbureaucratic tangle among the various boards in the various settlement areas. The government's position with respect to the decisions of these boards is very unclear and may contribute to the bureaucratic bog already created under the agreement.

The new boards, the territorial government and the federal government will all have input into the process of resource management. The new bureaucracy in Bill C-16 will be responsible to, and I quote the minister, "as the context requires". This could be a minister of the Government of Canada or a minister of the Government of the Northwest Territories.

Aboriginal boards, ministries of the Northwest Territories and ministries of the Government of Canada will all grapple with and decide on such issues as transport, the environment and natural resources. Moreover, bureaucracies within settlement areas and bureaucracies within various levels of government will all vie for the ability to regulate in their respective fields.

The net effect of this bureaucratic web is increased cost, increased confusion and increased time to enact any necessary measures. Further, we must consider the potential harmful

effects of all this regulation and consultation, the effect it may have on future economic development in the country.

Under Bill C-16 companies that may wish to develop subservice resources would have to consult with this bureaucracy, would have to consult with the Sahtu tribal council on such matters as environmental impact and Sahtu employment opportunities. I would suggest that this new extensive bureaucratic structure that is bound to be set up, is destined to be set up under Bill C-16, and the processes established in this agreement may discourage many firms from investing in that region.

In all we create an enormous bureaucracy with a small economic base to support it. This bureaucracy and the control that goes with it are far from this government's notion of self-government. Despite the large settlement area, despite compensation to the tune of $130 million, despite regulatory authority, and despite royalties derived from gas and oil production the Liberals are committed still to the establishment of self-government for the Sahtu as stated in appendix B of this agreement.

An inability to define the term inherent self-government seems to in no way deter the government from undertaking negotiations to implement it.

This voluminous, complicated, expensive agreement is simply the introduction to a more voluminous, more complex, more expensive round of negotiations on self-government. I believe it is our duty to question what type of structure this new level of government will take, what will be its duties and powers.

Is self-government even appropriate for a population of 2,200, of whom some 982 are adults? Does the federal government recognize the time and cost involved in separate self-government negotiations with every native band in Canada as it is committed to? Will the government continue to deny the reality of the situation as it has in not believing that a definition of self-government is necessary before negotiations start to take place?

The government has no definition of aboriginal self-government and yet is prepared to embark on this journey without a map. The government will not be able to sweep this one under the rug. Provisions in this agreement and future self-government negotiations will hit Canadians where they will feel it the most: in their pocketbooks.

Since 1990 the budget of the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development has increased approximately $400 million a year, the largest increase of any of the ministerial budgets. In 1994-95 DIAND will spend some $5 billion, of which 68 per cent or $3.38 billion are grants and contributions to band and tribal councils, a process which the Auditor General himself criticized in 1991 as faulty since the department could not ascertain whether the funds were used for the purposes intended or managed with due regard to the economy, to efficiency and to effectiveness.

Despite this agreement, despite Bill C-16, it is clear that the Sahtu Dene and the Metis will continue to have access to every DIAND program that is currently offered. This is in addition to the settlement terms of this agreement.

This agreement and the parameters for negotiations on self-government do not address the spiralling inefficient expenditures of DIAND. The government does not address the issue of financial self-sufficiency for the Sahtu. As it now appears future self-government negotiations will do very little to assist aboriginals out from under their continuing dependency on DIAND.

By not addressing the issue of self-sufficiency it seems to me that self-government will simply represent a different instrument for the dispersal of government funds to aboriginals. I would suggest the taxpayer can no longer afford DIAND's huge and inefficient expenditures and I would suggest that aboriginals as well no longer wish to live in the dependency of a federal department.

Bill C-16 does not deal clearly with this issue. The bottom line is that this agreement creates more bureaucracy and thereby more expenditures for DIAND. Furthermore, since this settlement does not concern itself with aboriginal self-sufficiency and since the beneficiaries of this agreement are entitled to all benefits continuing derived from DIAND's programs, agreements such as this will simply push this country further into debt.

I believe it is time to settle all land claims as quickly and as fairly as possible. However, with consideration as to the current financial state of Canada I believe that these claims, every claim, must be settled with an eye to removing aboriginal dependency on government funding. I would apply the same criteria to any negotiations surrounding self-government. Otherwise DIAND simply will become a larger sinkhole for government funds.

We do not need agreements such as this one guaranteeing government funding well into the future. We need a strategy that will break the cycle of dependency. That is what the Canadian people want. That is what the aboriginal people want. I look forward to the day when aboriginals stand as economic equals with all other Canadians. Unfortunately agreements which create more bureaucracy and more expenditures will only exacerbate the dependency that these aboriginals have on the federal government.

This settlement is just one such agreement and I therefore must opposite it.

Sahtu Dene And Metis Land Claimsettlement ActGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Nunatsiaq Northwest Territories


Jack Iyerak Anawak LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

[Editor's Note: Member spoke in Inuktitut.]

It is obvious listening to the hon. member that he really does not support any aboriginal self-determination and does not really understand the nature of what the Sahtu Dene and Metis are trying to do through this agreement.

For the last couple of hundred years the aboriginal people in those land claims have been at the receiving end of the generosity of a different group of people who did not have the understanding that they were dealing with a totally different culture when they were dealing with aboriginal people in the country.

It is obvious from his remarks that this hon. member does not understand nor does he want to understand what the aboriginal people want.

It is all very fine to say: "Well, it would be very nice for the aboriginal people in that area to have economic self-sufficiency". It is years of being under a system like the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development that has created that so-called dependency which we would not necessarily have to be dealing with today if so-called well meaning bureaucrats had decided that these people were much better off making their own decisions and the bureaucrats implementing those decisions for those aboriginal people.

I would like to ask the hon. member this question. Has he ever met with the Sahtu Dene and Metis and has he discussed at length the concerns of the Sahtu Dene and Metis? Has he discussed at length the concept of self-government with the Sahtu Dene and Metis? What is his understanding of the inherent right of self-government as we understand it? If he is that much in support of economic self-sufficiency, does he agree that the aboriginal people's inherent right of self government should be recognized? If so, how would he see that recognition through the House of Commons?

Sahtu Dene And Metis Land Claimsettlement ActGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.


Dick Harris Reform Prince George—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, in reply to the hon. member opposite, unfortunately what I have just heard is the standard answer when someone dares to criticize aboriginal programs. That standard answer is: "You simply don't understand the aboriginal people".

I live in an area of British Columbia where there are many aboriginal people. I have talked extensively with many of them and I have listened to their concerns. The one concern they have is they want to break this dependency on the federal government. They want to be able to provide for their own self-sufficiency.

This is a good direction to go but Bill C-16, as I stated earlier, does not break the dependency. It only provides an obligation for continued dependency on the federal government.

I believe that any agreement the federal government enters into with aboriginal people respecting settlements or land claims must lead to an ending of continued federal government funding. The aboriginal people must be permitted to enter into an economic base for themselves that will create self-sufficiency.

The member opposite asked about my definition of inherent right to self-government. My understanding is inherent right to self-government means that it always existed and is answerable to no other authority. I consider every inhabitant of the country a Canadian. We have a federal government, provincial governments and municipal governments. My vision of self-government for the aboriginal people is that they get to a position where they are Canadians within the existing federal, provincial and municipal laws.

I do not support new governments being established within my country that would operate outside the established laws to which every other Canadian is obligated.

Sahtu Dene And Metis Land Claimsettlement ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

There are still about two or three minutes left in questions or comments.

Sahtu Dene And Metis Land Claimsettlement ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.


Jack Iyerak Anawak Liberal Nunatsiaq, NT

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member does not understand. I did not ask a standard question. That may be what he thinks if he gets a question from somebody who is not of that culture. I asked those questions from the intimate knowledge of what I am talking about. That is why I asked the questions, not because I read it in some magazine or some newspaper. I asked them from the point of view that I know what I am talking about. That is precisely why I asked those questions.

As far as self-government is concerned I do not think the hon. member has an understanding of the aboriginal people who want to have the opportunity to exercise that inherent right of self-government.

I would also ask the member how many aboriginal people and from what particular area in British Columbia area are saying to him that they have great concerns and, if so, would he be prepared to say that this particular group opposes those things that we are attempting to do as a government? I find it very hard to believe that a large group of aboriginal people would be saying that whatever we are trying to do is contrary to the wishes of the aboriginal people in Canada.

Sahtu Dene And Metis Land Claimsettlement ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.


Dick Harris Reform Prince George—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I said in my earlier statement that the response that we do not understand the aboriginal people or their concerns is a standard response when someone dares to criticize any form of agreement or any form of structure that is proposed within the aboriginal and federal government negotiations.

Perhaps the hon. member is right. Perhaps I do not understand or possess the intimate knowledge of the aboriginal people that he may have. That is probably quite natural, seeing that I am not an aboriginal person. What I do understand is this. The government and even the aboriginal people themselves have no clear definition of what the outcome of aboriginal self-government would be.

We have asked that question in British Columbia. It has been asked in almost every province. It has been asked in the House. I asked it of the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and he had no answer to that question. That is the gist of what this is all about today. This agreement will provide for an immediate settlement of sorts but still opens the door for further extensive, complex negotiations of aboriginal self-government. There is no clear map. There is no clear direction. There is no clear agenda for where these negotiations will go or what they will end up with.

That is like starting a journey in a totally unknown territory and hoping you get to where you are going.

Sahtu Dene And Metis Land Claimsettlement ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.


Jack Ramsay Reform Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, I see that two o'clock will arrive before I will have finished so I will continue until you shut me down.

I want to thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity to participate in the debate on Bill C-16. As do many of my colleagues, I have a particular interest in the proposed legislation. During my career I have had opportunity to work directly with native people as a labour foreman on a hydroelectric project in the territories, as an ombudsman for the Alberta region of the department of Indian affairs under Harold Cardinal and as a business consultant.

I have seen the problems of these people firsthand and therefore I speak from experience if not empathy for the plight of these people.

The Dogrib Indians of the territories I found to be some of the hardest working and capable individuals I have ever worked with. They were more than willing to work under adverse conditions of weather and isolation when the jobs were available. However the opportunity to work is not always there and when this occurs these willing and capable people are unemployed.

I was appointed ombudsman by Harold Cardinal who was regional director general for the department of Indian affairs in Alberta. Mr. Cardinal was a prominent aboriginal leader in Canada and president of the Alberta Indian Association for a number of years.

In this position I dealt with many of the concerns and complaints of the Indian people. As a consultant I have received many complaints from band members across western Canada accusing their band council leaders of corruption and expending funds improperly. Seldom if ever did the department of Indian affairs look into these complaints.

Therefore, like many Canadians I want to see Canada's aboriginal peoples given the opportunity to become economically and politically independent. I want to see their dependency on the taxpayer ended. If an agreement provides these ingredients it should be supported. If not it should not be supported.

This agreement fails to meet these requirements and therefore I cannot give Bill C-16 my support. The Sahtu land settlement area covers 280,000 square kilometres with a population of approximately 1,700 people. I am prepared to support this part of the agreement, although extremely generous, because it is clear that these people must have a land base from which they can draw resources in order to become economically independent and self-reliant.

When we compare this to the land base of P.E.I. and Nova Scotia which have much larger populations, it is evident that the land base requirement for self-reliance is adequately provided for in the Sahtu nation in this agreement. In addition, this agreement provides not only for subsurface resource rights but for royalties on resources presently developed within the Mackenzie River valley.

These aspects of the agreement are essential for future economic self-reliance of the Sahtu nation. I submit that a strong, economically self-reliant Sahtu nation will be a benefit to all Canadians. This agreement also provides for a transfer of funds from the Canadian taxpayer amounting to-

Sahtu Dene And Metis Land Claimsettlement ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

I note that the hon. member still has approximately 15 minutes to speak. The hon. member will be given the floor as soon as we resume debate.

It being 2 p.m. pursuant to Standing Order 35 the House will now proceed to Statements by Members pursuant to Standing Order 31.

Ozone LayerStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Charles Caccia Liberal Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, the latest figures from Environment Canada on the ozone layer are disturbing. Measurements of the atmosphere above Toronto shows the ozone layer was 7 per cent to 9 per cent thinner in April than it should be. Approximately the same situation was reported for Montreal and Vancouver. The ozone layer filters ultraviolet rays from the sun, as we know. These rays can cause skin cancer, cataracts and possibly immune system damage.

The layer has been eroded by chlorine from chlorofluorocarbons used in air conditioners, refrigerators and some electronic and plastic industries. With 3 per cent less ozone that normal forecasted for this coming summer, it is important that Canadians, particularly children and young ones, protect their skin and eyes from harmful ultraviolet sun rays.

The message therefore is clear: Protect your health by protecting yourself from the sun.

International Workers DayStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Jean-Paul Marchand Bloc Québec-Est, QC

Despite the inclement weather, over 30,000 men and women gathered in Montreal and in Quebec City on International Workers Day, also known as May Day, to express their disappointment over the federal government's lack of genuine job creation policies and to denounce the erosion in social protection and equity.

The distress call was sounded clearly yesterday. The federal government should focus its efforts on restoring hope by implementing a real job creation policy, instead of imposing social program reforms which could very likely mortgage the future of many Quebecers and Canadians.

The members of the Bloc Quebecois join with workers in Quebec and in Canada in expressing the hope that the federal government will finally hear this distress call.

South AfricaStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Keith Martin Reform Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to congratulate the people of South Africa in holding the first free elections in the history of their country, thereby eliminating 350 years of oppression.

Best wishes must also go to Nelson Mandela and the ANC as they are poised to take over the reins of power and guide their country through a minefield of troubles.

I implore our country to help to achieve a prosperous society for all. For South Africa can be the economic giant that drives the whole southern half of the content. To let it fall would commit this region to decades of civil strife and destitution.

I hope the leaders of the new South Africa and perhaps we in our country can learn from the gross mistakes of other countries on that continent.

Special status for one group over another and affirmative action are discriminatory and only create divisions in the society. But equal status for all and preferential status for none is a bond-

South AfricaStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Mississauga East.

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Albina Guarnieri Liberal Mississauga East, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are proud of the international recognition the CBC has so deservedly received of late.

I am delighted to pay tribute today to the English CBC TV network, which has just won the prestigious "Rose d'argent" at the Montreux festival in Switzerland.

The CBC has won the Rose d'argent for its fine production of "Kurt Browning-You Must Remember This".

It was also announced at a press conference last week that Radio-Canada had won the most prestigious prize at the Banff Television Festival. This prize, which was awarded for the first time to a Canadian broadcaster, honours the overall achievements and especially the quality of serial dramas on the French television network of our public broadcaster. Congratulations!

International Children's GamesStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Beth Phinney Liberal Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, on June 16-19, 1994 Hamilton will play host to the International Children's Games, the first time in its 25 year history that these games have been held outside Europe.

The participation age 11 to 15 is ideal for the children to learn the values of competition and fair play and to appreciate the cultures of other countries. The theme of the games "Tomorrow's Dreams" symbolizes the aspirations of all young athletes to develop into tomorrow's future leaders.

Hamilton is understandably proud and excited to be hosting this special event, and we look forward to making these the best International Children's Games ever. To date we have 38 confirmed cities from around the world with a total of 750 children participating, 150 from Canada alone.

All those who have been working to prepare these games are to be congratulated. Hamilton looks forward to giving the youth of the world an opportunity to participate in a multi-sport event in a spirit of friendship and competition.

Cultural MinoritiesStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Alfonso Gagliano Liberal Saint-Léonard, QC

Mr. Speaker, finally the truth is out: a Quebec government led by the Parti

Quebecois will not protect cultural minorities in an independent Quebec. The party's vice-president, Bernard Landry, confirmed on the weekend that his party rejects the idea of multiculturalism and wants minorities to integrate into Quebec's melting pot.

In a speech before the council of citizens of Haitian descent, the PQ's vice-president also stressed that Quebec's public and common culture is that of Quebecers. It is obvious that the Parti Quebecois has no desire to honour its commitment to the various minorities in Quebec society.

Now we just have to find out whether or not the Bloc Quebecois agrees with Mr. Landry's comments. If the BQ agrees with him, it should say so; if not, it should denounce him!

South African ElectionsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, the first free elections in South Africa were held last week, allowing millions of blacks to vote for the first time in their lives. After so many years of apartheid and repression, this striking victory of democracy shows the courage and determination of those who fought for equality for all South Africans.

By clearly rejecting the political parties calling for violence and vengeance, South African voters turned the page on a dark chapter in their history to embrace a democratic and peaceful future. This rejection of violence brings hope to all Africans.

On behalf of all members of this House, I congratulate the newly elected representatives of South Africa on their victory and their determination.

Unemployment InsuranceStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Ted White Reform North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, I often receive letters from constituents who are frustrated by certain aspects of the UI system because they do not understand the limits of their coverage.

Most complaints are about restrictions on training or the taking of temporary jobs that beneficiaries felt would have improved their chances of finding more permanent work.

Anyone who insures a home or a car receives a written policy which lists entitlements, deductions and restrictions. A lot of misunderstandings and frustration could be avoided for workers if a similar document was available which listed entitlements and deductions for the UI system.

I urge the minister to produce a printed insurance policy for UI which could be posted in places of work or supplied to workers when they begin paying UI premiums. This could lead in time to a range of UI policies being available at different premium levels which would better meet workers' needs and would introduce some flexibility into the UI system.

Mrs. Margaret McCainStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Harold Culbert Liberal Carleton—Charlotte, NB

Mr. Speaker, it is with great pride that I rise in the House today to extend congratulations to a distinguished and worthy citizen from Carleton-Charlotte constituency, Mrs. Margaret McCain, who was recently appointed Lieutenant-Governor of my home province, New Brunswick.

After many years of dedicated service to several provincial and Canadian organizations, Mrs. McCain of Florenceville, New Brunswick, the mother of four grown children, will become the first woman Lieutenant-Governor of the beautiful picture province.

I know you will want to join with me on behalf of all members of the House to extend our heartfelt congratulations and best wishes for a successful tenure to Margaret McCain, New Brunswick's new Lieutenant Governor, and to offer our thanks to His Excellency Gilbert Finn for a job well done.

FisheriesStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Joe McGuire Liberal Egmont, PE

Mr. Speaker, last week the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans announced measures that will return over 500 frozen licences to groundfish fishermen who have demonstrated a long-term attachment to the industry. Over 200 of these restored licences belonged to fishermen in the province of Prince Edward Island.

This whole sorry mess was the result of an arbitrary decision by the previous "no-Tory-us" government. Sad to say it is only one of such messes in the fishery that we have inherited.

I want to commend the minister, not only for correcting this injustice but also for the establishment of a consultative process which in this case involved 11 different fishing organizations.

Even though it is a very difficult period in the Atlantic fishery, this type of co-operation between the minister and the stakeholders in the industry will go a long way toward alleviating pain and anguish while the industry is being restructured.

This new spirit of co-operation and negotiation bodes well both for redefining the concept of professional fishermen and for establishing the framework of the fishery of the future.

In conjunction with the sentiments expressed by the P.E.I. Fisherman's Association, I once again commend the minister for his work in resolving this situation.

National Forest WeekStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Guy Arseneault Liberal Restigouche—Chaleur, NB

Mr. Speaker, I wish to point out to the House that we are celebrating National Forest Week this week.

Forests are our greatest natural resource and contribute more than anything else to our balance of trade. From coast to coast, the forest industry provides some 800,000 jobs, directly and indirectly.

Our forest industries provide the economic foundation of some 350 Canadian cities and towns. The people who live in these forest dependent communities know the value of forests, the vital role they play in their lives and the critical need to ensure that our forests remain healthy and flourish into the future so that future generations will enjoy the same benefits in terms of employment, recreation, and a healthy environment.

Canada is an exception among forested countries because over 90 per cent of our forests are majority-owned by the people. The forests belong to us. It is up to us to take care of them.

High Speed TrainStatements By Members

May 2nd, 1994 / 2:10 p.m.


François Langlois Bloc Bellechasse, QC

Mr. Speaker, last Wednesday, the Prime Minister mocked the Bloc Quebecois's proposal to go ahead with building a high speed train between Quebec City and Windsor. According to the Prime Minister, it would be hard for a high speed train to have to stop at the border of a sovereign Quebec.

Perhaps the Prime Minister has never taken the Amtrak train between New York and Montreal. If he had, he would have realized that the train does not stop at the Canada-U.S. border. For the Prime Minister's information, planes do not stop at the borders of sovereign countries either. In fact, the Bloc Quebecois does not see why it would not be the same for a high-speed train between Quebec and Ontario.

If some people wanted to build walls around a sovereign Quebec, it would certainly not be Quebecers themselves. Quebecers seem to be more aware than the Prime Minister that the future development of nations depends on openness to the world. Let us stop this demagogy and discuss rationally the real issues for Quebec and Canada.

AidsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Jan Brown Reform Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, picture a virus that attacks a baby's brain, destroying any ability to crawl, to walk, to speak. Imagine a virus that can kill a child before its second birthday, the body completely overrun by infection. There is no vaccine, no cure for this virus and babies can get it in the most tragic way: from their mothers.

White heterosexual females are the fastest growing demographic group to fall victim to AIDS. Many do not know that they have the disease. In fact they even believe this could not possibly happen to them.

Reported pediatric cases of AIDS have been rising steadily since the early 1980s. The latest statistics show that 93 children have been diagnosed with AIDS in Canada. Sixty-three of them have already died.

In Quebec one out of 80 pregnant women has AIDS. Experts agree that the only way to curtail the rise in pediatric AIDS is to prevent transmission of the disease to women.

I urge the government to support aggressive public education campaigns, including women focused efforts. AIDS in children is a problem that will not easily disappear.

RwandaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Mark Assad Liberal Gatineau—La Lièvre, QC

Mr. Speaker, the world's worst tragedy is currently taking place in Rwanda. In a country of about five million people, 100,000 are reported dead so far, while 250,000 have taken refuge in Tanzania or Burundi.

A call for action is necessary and urgent. The UN forces were reduced from 2,000 to less than 300. The bishop of South Africa, Edmund Tutu, made a plea for help, asking for the return of UN forces to Rwanda, to implement a ceasefire and help a population subjected to unprecedented violence.

Young Offenders ActStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


John Nunziata Liberal York South—Weston, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday 16-year old Marwan Harb was brutally murdered in Hull, just across the river. Mr. Harb was the second cousin of our colleague from Ottawa Centre.

The Harb murder is the latest in a series of violent crimes committed by young offenders. The Young Offenders Act is crying out for change. It is in desperate need of reform.

Earlier today we had the opportunity to discuss the Young Offenders Act in Parliament. Regrettably the Bloc Quebecois denied unanimous consent to have the subject matter of the bill referred to committee.

I would encourage and urge the Bloc Quebecois and all members and the government to immediately address that very serious issue. I would urge the government to immediately introduce a bill amending the Young Offenders Act and to assure Canadians that a bill is passed-

Young Offenders ActStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.