This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #98 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was board.

Topics

Canada Communications GroupStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Reform

Ken Epp Reform Elk Island, AB

Mr. Speaker, recently publicized internal memos have drawn the attention of Canadians to very unethical accounting practices between government departments and Canada Communications Group.

It is incredible that Canada Communications Group would enter into illegal contracts in order to hide money from the scrutiny and accountability of Parliament. We intend to hold the government accountable for this scandalous practice.

The ministers involved have promised a full investigation. We will be watching for the reports with great interest. I am informing the House, as I have informed the ministers, that should this investigation not provide full disclosure I will be calling for further public review before the government operations committee.

Our debt is currently $532,098,154,000 and has grown by $88,000 since I started speaking. We cannot tolerate any more mismanagement of our precious tax dollars.

Spruce Glen Public SchoolStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Andy Mitchell Liberal Parry Sound—Muskoka, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to pay tribute to Spruce Glen Public School's graduating class of 1994. These students are now in their first year at Huntsville High School and they carried with them the tutelage of Susan Hawkins, teacher extraordinaire.

Ms. Hawkins, while teaching at Spruce Glen Public School, undertook a class project entitled "Rescue Mission; Planet Earth, a Children's Edition of Agenda 21".

The students participated in the rewriting of environmental plans for the future which arose from the 1992 earth summit in Rio de Janeiro. This led to a teleconferencing project involving the Spruce Glen students and others from around the world. Spruce Glen was designated as Canada's focal point.

I want to take this opportunity to congratulate Ms. Hawkins and the grade eight students for their proactivity in undertaking this important initiative and commend them on their continued support in educating others on the importance of the environment.

Kingston FrancophonesStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Dan McTeague Liberal Ontario, ON

Mr. Speaker, last Wednesday, during Question Period, the hon. member for Rimouski-Témiscouata said that the problems in obtaining from the Kingston city council a piece of land on which to build a French-language high school confirmed the Commissioner of Official Languages' statement to the effect that it will be difficult to turn Kingston into a bilingual place.

The Prime Minister assured the hon. member that the problem, which is related to finding a piece of land and is not a linguistic issue, will be solved and that a French-language school will be built in Kingston.

It is sad to see how the Bloc Quebecois has a distorted perception of the reality. The Bloc should know that the million francophones living outside Quebec are alive and well.

In my riding, we are proud of our French-language schools. Indeed, in spite of the fact that French-speaking people account for only 2 per cent of the total population, we have one high school and three elementary schools for francophones. I myself benefitted from that school system, as did many other Canadians, thanks to the policies implemented by the Liberal Party over the last 25 years.

JusticeStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Herb Dhaliwal Liberal Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, on Thursday, September 22, a member of the Reform Party stated in the House opposition to Bill C-41. I would like to state for the record that I am deeply disappointed with the member's opposition to such a well conceived bill.

Given that the Reform Party continues to campaign on a law and order, get tough platform, demanding strong justice legislation from the government on a daily basis, I am particularly surprised that it is not supporting the government's efforts to increase the severity of punishment for crimes motivated by hate, crimes even more reprehensible than random acts of violence because they are clearly premeditated based on the offender's hate for his victim.

This is just another example of the Reform Party's empty rhetoric, inconsistent messages and lack of substance.

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Bloc Terrebonne, QC

Mr. Speaker, last weekend, the Canadian Environmental Network held its general meeting. The organization consists of a number of ecological and environmental groups from Quebec and the other provinces and territories. The work they do in educating the public and in making governments and industry aware of the need to protect our environment is essential, although the government often fails to appreciate this fact.

At the meeting, a number of network representatives told us of their concern about possible cuts in grants by the Department of the Environment. The government must not abandon agencies that remind us daily that the environment concerns everyone and that recognizing our responsibility for our environment is the key to sustainable development.

The BudgetStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Reform

Jim Abbott Reform Kootenay East, BC

Mr. Speaker:

Cautiously, wisely,

Canadians had thoughts

That investing in RRSPs

Meant a future without knocks

But comes the finance minister

year after year,

Teasing and punishing

and

creating such fear.

Pension consultants have said: it is wrong!

To punish Canadians for being wise and strong.

But the finance minister says:

"We must take steps

In order to meet

Our budget deficits"

Reformers agree

The deficit's bad

But reducing expenditures

Would make us so glad

Its the expenditure rocks

Not in our socks!

Hands off our pensions, Mr. Minister, we say

Stop all the rumours, long before budget day.

Softworld '94Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Andy Scott Liberal Fredericton—York—Sunbury, NB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to advise the House that the aggressive promotion by Fredericton, New Brunswick, of the information technology industry has resulted in a first time, major international conference being hosted by Fredericton.

Softworld '94, Canada's premier international conference and showcase for the information technology sector, has attracted over 480 delegates from 28 countries around the world. These delegates are senior executives from across North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Africa, and Latin America.

Softworld '94 is not a typical conference and trade show. It is specifically designed to encourage deal making and investment between Canadian and international firms.

The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency has played a substantial role in organizing and funding the conference. I thank the Government of Canada for its support. This major initiative once again illustrates the important place of Fredericton and New Brunswick in Canada's information and high technology sector.

Health CareStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Rey D. Pagtakhan Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Institute of Child Health today released its report "The Health of Canada's Children". Based on 1990-91 data, it paints a dark portrait of the poverty, illness and death that afflict so many of them.

In Manitoba the child poverty rate and deaths during infancy and among pre-schoolers remain alarmingly high, exceeding the national average. Almost 1,000 Manitoba babies were born underweight.

It is therefore timely to remind the House that since the election of 1993 the government has launched initiatives for First Nations children and a nationwide prenatal nutrition program.

I am optimistic that a reformed social security system will win big for the 1.2 million poor children of Canada. This is crucial. Children are less than 30 per cent of our population but they represent 100 per cent of Canada's future.

Conference On UkraineStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Ronald J. Duhamel Liberal St. Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to convey the pride felt by Manitobans because we have been selected to host the upcoming special G-7 conference on partnership for economic transformation of Ukraine.

Canada has had a long and rich Ukrainian presence. Between the two world wars some 70,000 Ukrainians immigrated to Canada for political and economic reasons. Although 80 per cent of Ukrainian Canadians are native born, today there is a strong and significant attachment to Ukraine and to its socioeconomic wellbeing.

In order for Ukraine's political independence to be sustainable and stable, economic prosperity is a must, and Manitobans of all backgrounds are proud to be a part of this process.

May the special G-7 conference on Ukraine lead to further co-operation between our two great countries.

LobbyistsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Gilbert Fillion Bloc Chicoutimi, QC

Mr. Speaker, when they were in the opposition, the Liberals demanded that the government introduce stringent and effective measures to provide better regulation of lobbyists' activities.

According to documents from the Department of Industry, the government gave in to pressure from lobbyists even before Bill C-43, which was supposed to implement Liberal commitments, was tabled. The bill does not include, for instance, the obligation for lobbyists to reveal their fees, nor does it do away with the corporate tax deduction for lobbying expenses.

These specific provisions were intended to restore public trust in government. Dropping them without further ado, as the Liberal government has done, is irresponsible, in our opinion.

The SenateStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Reform

Elwin Hermanson Reform Kindersley—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, many times in the House members are reminded to show due reverence for the other place, also known as the Senate.

Our unreformed Senate is an out of date, undemocratic institution filled with out of date patronage appointees. To date there has been only one elected senator, a Reformer, the late Stan Waters.

Until the membership of the Senate is chosen directly by the people of Canada, the democratically elected representatives of Canadians should not feign deference to it.

Canadians have indicated that they have very little affection for the Senate. As elected representatives of the people-

The SenateStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

The Speaker

That statement is out of order.

Wine And Grape FestivalStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Walt Lastewka Liberal St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker, from September 16 to September 25, St. Catharines celebrated the grapes and wines of the Niagara region.

My riding of St. Catharines hosted the 43rd annual wine and grape festival. The festival is an annual harvest tradition of elegant gourmet dinners, outdoor events, concerts, winery tours, parades, children's events, a royal ball and a wide variety of winery hosted events.

The grape, wine and juice industry in Canada is a vital part of our economy. In Ontario alone the industry represents thousands of full time and seasonal jobs. Canadian wines with its VQA, vintage quality alliance, have won many international awards for excellence.

I would like to take the opportunity to honour the excellent wines of the Niagara region and of Canada, and congratulate this year's grape and wine king, Dr. Clair Wiley.

Referendum On Quebec SovereigntyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, last week I rose in the House to ask the new Premier of Quebec to keep his promise about holding a referendum on Quebec's political independence not later than eight or ten months from now.

Following his swearing in yesterday, Mr. Parizeau said, in referring to the 1995 timeframe, that it was too early to be either more specific or more undecided. This is an obvious sign of ambivalence.

The Leader of the Bloc Quebecois used the symphony as a metaphor for the position of the two sovereignist parties on a referendum date in 1995.

Unfortunately, today Quebecers are not getting much in the way of harmony from the two sovereignist maestros on a definite referendum date. Ignoring the wishes of the public and the solemn commitment by Mr. Parizeau regarding a referendum, some of our separatist stars, showing a total disregard for promises and democratic values, want to postpone the referendum date and thus penalize Quebec by not letting it exercise its right to choose.

Young Offenders ActStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Reform

Sharon Hayes Reform Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, on Sunday, September 25, 1994, over 3,000 people gathered in Coquitlam to send a message to the government that they want real change to the Young Offenders Act.

On August 13, Graham Niven, a 31-year old man stopping by a Mac's Milk store, was brutally and senselessly kicked to death by two teenagers, one of them just 15 years old. This is just one of a recent number of tragedies in the Vancouver area.

Addressing the rally were the voices of citizens from our community. Diane wants the government to know that its rules have tied her hands as a caring parent. Her 14-year old daughter is a young offender. The discrepancies and inconsistencies of our youth justice system were voiced by the school board, the RCMP, the mayors, a provincial cabinet minister, the Cadman and Niven families and young people themselves. Neither the YOA nor Bill C-37 are enough.

Yesterday alone my office received over 500 faxes to add to our community petition for real changes to the Young Offenders Act. "YOA give the people a say".

JusticeStatements By Members

September 27th, 1994 / 2:15 p.m.

NDP

Chris Axworthy NDP Saskatoon—Clark's Crossing, SK

Mr. Speaker, concerns still continue in the Patrick Kelly case.

In spite of the fact that 10 months ago the crown's main and in fact only witness recanted her testimony saying that she was forced to give this testimony by investigators in the Metropolitan Toronto Police Force, the minister still is acting without any great sense of urgency.

Why is the minister and his department so casual about this matter? Why has so little been done by the minister and his staff over the last 10 months? Why are charges of corruption and dishonesty on the part of the investigating officers not regarded as serious by the minister?

Why have officers involved in this case not been suspended pending an outcome of the investigation? Why has evidence that would clear Patrick Kelly not been made available to his lawyers? Why has it taken eight months to contact the one single witness on which his freedom in this whole case depends? Why is the same investigating officer whose honesty and motives are under serious question involved in the new investigation?

It is time the minister acted with some sense of urgency in this case. The Canadian justice system is under attack as a result.

Social Program ReformOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Bloc

Lucien Bouchard BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, after promising an action plan for social program reform, the Minister of Human Resources Development said yesterday that next week he would only table a discussion paper.

He also made it clear that social program reform would again be postponed, when he said that the government's position would be presented next spring or next fall. In other words, a year from now.

My question to the Prime Minister is this: Should we see these successive delays as an attempt by the Prime Minister to put off the cuts his minister wants to make at the expense of the needy?

Social Program ReformOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we are trying to find out what Canadians think about a reform that is extremely important. The paper will be released to the public, and a parliamentary committee will travel across the country to hear what the public has to say. That is democracy at its best.

Social Program ReformOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Bloc

Lucien Bouchard BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, this looks more like hesitation at its best than democracy. I want to ask the Prime Minister whether we are to infer from all this that postponing the reform was motivated by the Prime Minister's reluctance to take unpopular measures before a referendum is held on the sovereignty of Quebec?

Social Program ReformOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, our job is to give Canadians good government, and that is what we intend to do. Good government involves consulting people.

A few months ago, the Leader of the Opposition criticized us for going too fast, but now he says we are not going fast enough. We were elected for at least four or probably even five years, if we look at the precedent set by the Conservatives. So we have plenty of time, and we will take that time to do a good job, which is what Canadians expect from their government.

Social Program ReformOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Bloc

Lucien Bouchard BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, good government means a government that governs and does not spend its time consulting, publishing white papers and travelling all over the place and making speeches.

I want to ask the Prime Minister whether he realizes that by postponing social program reform indefinitely and restraining his minister's urge to make cuts, he is actually asking the unemployed in Quebec to wait at least another year until the training issue is settled.

Social Program ReformOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, anyone who says this government is not doing anything should look at what we have done since we came to power. The helicopters were out in half an hour. Then we dealt with the problems around article XI at GATT. We dealt with the problems around NAFTA. We dealt with the problem of fraud in the cigarette trade. We brought down a budget. We made cuts, we made changes and we intend to go on being an active and responsible government. I am sure that a year from now, if the Leader of the Opposition is as good as his word, when they have lost their referendum, he will no longer be a member in this House.

Registered Retirement Savings PlansOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Brien Bloc Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance.

The Minister of Finance has intentionally not ruled out the possibility of taxing RRSPs in his next budget. This is what Alain Dubuc, an editorialist at the daily newspaper La Presse , had to say about this:

"-a tax that would affect the living conditions of present and future retirees counting on this income in good faith is immoral."

He goes on to say:

"It is the most outrageous idea conveyed by a minister of finance in a long time."

In the interest of the already overtaxed middle class, I give the Minister of Finance another chance to end the speculation about taxing RRSPs. Can he undertake today not to tax RRSPs in his next budget?

Registered Retirement Savings PlansOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the idea was not conveyed by the Minister of Finance but by Bloc and Reform members who raised it many times here in this House. So if there is a "trial balloon", they are the ones responsible.

Registered Retirement Savings PlansOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Brien Bloc Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, the simple fact that he does not automatically rule out this possibility poses an unacceptable threat to middle-income taxpayers.

Does he not agree that it is totally immoral to change the rules in the middle of the game and create a kind of retroactive tax by taxing RRSPs in his next budget?