House of Commons Hansard #240 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-64.


Employment Equity ActGovernment Orders

1:15 p.m.


Deborah Grey Reform Beaver River, AB

Mr. Speaker, I appreciated the story about Agnes Macphail. She realized that we are not going to get anywhere by somebody saying we are going to give Agnes special treatment or we are going to give babysitting money to someone when they are running as a candidate.

When I ran as a candidate I ran thinking that somebody somewhere might elect me on the basis that they thought maybe I could string two or three sentences together, that I love my country, and that I am committed to being a member of Parliament. I am glad to say that it happened not only once, in 1989, but again with a larger majority in 1993. I appreciate that, but never once would I be able to go around and say I am a woman, so elect me or re-elect me; or that I am getting special funding from my party; or if somebody wanted to challenge me for the nomination in the constituency of Beaver River that my party leader would say: "No, you are not able to challenge Deborah because she is the sitting MP and I want her there". That is ridiculous.

We need to encourage wide open nomination meetings for people who want the job. It makes for a good race and it is democratic. What could be worse for true democracy than a party leader saying no, sorry, you cannot run because I have so-and-so and she is going to run in this riding?

We have to put our energies into educating people. That is far and wide the most beneficial thing we can do. We are not going to legislate all the problems out of Canada. That is simply bizarre. We have seen any number of times that it simply does not work. It does not work when a government says we know best and we are going to do all of these wonderful things, especially when the whole idea of employment equity has just blown up in its face. The Ontario members know that. They just saw in their own province that it did not work.

How do we think we can legislate these things? We have to spend our time educating. That would involve such things as starting here in the House of Commons, where we would not see political hanky-panky going on and party leaders engineering and telling us who we will have as candidates and as MPs. Surely the House of Commons would be a good place for education to start.

Some Wednesday, because almost everyone is here for question period, I would love to see a show of hands from people who did not have anyone challenge them for their nomination. Would that not be a great educational tool to see how many people were anointed or appointed as candidates? I bet members would be too ashamed to put up their hands. I know I would.

If my party leader said: "Deb, we are going to put you in here and no one else can run against you", I would be ashamed. If a news reporter ever asked me how many people challenged me for the nomination, I would have to say there were going to be two or three, but I was anointed as the candidate so they were not allowed to run. Can you imagine how pathetic that would be? Imagine the signal that would send to the rest of the country. My friend knows about it. What kind of signal would that send to the country? It is pretty pathetic. Those are the kinds of educational things we need to get going.

I would like to correct something I said earlier about the fact that there would be employment equity or equity police for those of us who are hiring our staff. I was wrong on that and I admit it. But this bill does not even extend to the House of Commons. I ask some of the experts over there if I am correct on that. Does it extend to the House of Commons staff?

Could anyone, even in the gallery, explain to me how in the world the House of Commons becomes exempt from this? Well, it is good enough for everyone else in the public service, but this group is exempt. By the very fact that the people who are working here are exempt from it, we have the sin of omission again. As soon as there is a sin of commission because we commit names and groups to people, then there is the sin of omission and it does not even extend to the House of Commons. I think people watching us on television today should be well aware of that. It is absolutely incredible that the House of Commons is exempt. All of a sudden we are special again.

If anything takes us down the road of something that is dangerous and divisive, it is that it is good for everybody else across the country but we are exempt from it here. It sort of makes me smell the MP pension issue all over again, as a matter of fact. We are cutting out all the pensions for all these people and we are sorry that we have to lay off 45,000 public servants, but we MPs will keep our pension plan. Instead of $6 to $1 for employer to employee contributions, we are just cutting back, folks. We are just slicing the fat off this. Now our employers are only going to give $4 to $1. So MPs are exempt.

There is another group of people who all of a sudden become special. I am sure my friends are well read and I am sure they remember the novel Animal Farm by George Orwell. I am sure they will remember the phrase in there that all animals are created equal but some are more equal than others. If anything smacks of that, it is Bill C-64. If anything smacks of that, it is the MP pension plan, which no other person in the country is able to get.

My friend the President of the Treasury Board knows it full well. I have spoken at public meetings and I know he has as well. If he had asked for a show of hands from any of those groups he spoke with asking if anyone qualified for this kind of a pension plan, there would not have been a hand up in the place. But it is okay to tell everyone else across the country they have to tighten their belts.

My friend over here just hollered out that I was going to get $100,000 instead of $1.4 million that I am eligible to collect. I do not know where he got that number. Let me put it on the record that I am getting back only the contributions I have made. The President of the Treasury Board told me: "You take all of your pension or you take zero". Those were my options. He would not even grant me a one to one contribution like anyone else would get. We were exempt from the federal civil service pension plan, that act where

the employer would have to put in at least 50 per cent of the money. I am not getting that. I am getting back $32,000 of my contributions at 4 per cent. No mutual fund would ever give that little money since 1989. I get $32,000 back that I can roll over into my RRSP, and some $16,000, much like he gets, except he is not rolling it anywhere, except into the trough for a very large pension because we are about the same age. I get $16,000 back, which I will have to pay tax on at 46 per cent, which is my tax bracket.

There it is. If it were a hundred grand I would love it, and I would do what I could with it, but because I have opted out of that pension plan, I will be exempt. I know I will certainly sleep with a clear conscience, knowing that at least I am not ripping the taxpayer off for that much money.

Employment Equity ActGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.

York Centre Ontario


Art Eggleton LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise as a co-sponsor of this piece of legislation, in so far as it relates to the federal employees, the Public Service of Canada.

Let me first of all express my gratitude to my colleague, the Minister of Human Resources Development, for bringing forward this legislation, bringing the private and public sector together under one piece of legislation, and for members on the Standing Committee on Human Rights and the Status of Disabled Persons for their significant contribution to the debate.

The committee's main report reflects the collective wisdom of those who testified.

Together they described employment equity as a sensible and balanced measure that strengthens our social fabric.

Canadians have an excellent understanding of what equality is all about. They appreciate that for there to be a harmonious and well-balanced society, all of its members must have an opportunity to contribute to it as well as share in its benefits. That is what employment equity and this legislation are all about.

Employment equity has been criticized, we have heard it in just the last few minutes, on the grounds that it introduces discrimination into the workplace. In fact, the opposite is true. Employment equity helps individuals compete for employment on an equal basis. Nobody receives special advantages, nobody receives special privileges under this legislation. To claim that anyone does represents a serious misunderstanding of the principles involved in Bill C-64.

Employment equity simply seeks a diversity in the workplace similar to what can be found in society. Therefore, we must remove barriers to employment opportunities to better reflect the population as it is today. These barriers are frequently buried in systems and longstanding practices.

For example, if for no particular good reason except tradition all police officers must be six feet tall, then most women could not compete. This sort of systemic barrier was once commonplace in this country, yet there would be few today who would argue that it makes much sense now, if in fact it ever did.

Let me give another example, rather less obvious perhaps. If a recruitment or promotion board were composed of three people, all males, all graduates of the same university, and all about the same age, one could be forgiven for wondering if this board would be much open to the perspectives of persons with different values, different experiences, different traditions. Selection boards require greater diversity to ensure that no candidate's talents are overlooked.

We must take measures to encourage equitable access to opportunities for employment and opportunities for advancement in the public service. This may mean, for instance, establishing training positions, so that those who are disadvantaged can develop skills and acquire experience to compete on an equal footing. When we make full use of all available human capital, then our society will truly benefit.

The face of Canadian workers has changed.

It has changed dramatically. Women, aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities, and people in a visible minority now represent the largest share of new entrants to the labour market. In just 10 years the representation of women in the labour force has risen from 40 per cent to 45 per cent. This 5 per cent shift represents some 750,000 women. Employment equity helps the labour market adapt to changes of this magnitude.

It might be helpful to speak in more concrete terms about creating an environment that takes advantage of diversity. The Public Service of Canada is a good example. Diversity within the workforce means more than just having people of different backgrounds working together. It is not enough to hire an employee with a disability without helping to build the employee's relationships with his or her colleagues. It is not acceptable to ignore the support and training that women need to advance within an organization. Diversity within an organization calls for the acknowledgement and accommodation of differences.

The Treasury Board has issued a publication called "Alternative Formats Access for All". It provides guidance on how to produce material in alternate formats for persons with disabilities. An alternate format might be large type on a page or a cassette recording of printed material. The alternate format not only helps public servants but at the same time better serves the public.

The Treasury Board has also published a series of best practices as well as guides to assist public service managers to implement employment equity. Two most recent best practices that have been published deal with women and persons with disabilities. Both draw on practices that have proven effective in a range of organizations across the country.

Also we have just printed guides concerning the management of employees with psychiatric and developmental difficulties. We have also produced guides with respect to retention of aboriginal employees.

To ensure that employment equity is implemented effectively, departments and agencies must prepare an employment equity plan with goals and timetables. These are not quotas but goals they will strive to achieve. However the merit principle still prevails.

The plans are public documents as are the reports on what has been achieved under them. The plans will not be effective unless they build on the advice that the diversity of employees can provide. Some of this advice is provided by consultation groups reporting to the Treasury Board but much of it comes from advisory committees set up within departments.

The views of the public service unions are also important. I want to acknowledge the spirit of co-operation that inspires public service unions on employment equity matters. We are mindful of the need for continued collaboration with them. We are confident the provisions of the legislation will bear fruit.

We have established the framework to help the advancement of employment equity in the public service of the nineties. The framework places employment equity firmly within the practice of good human resources management and business planning. The legislation in front of us will continue to provide a solid legal foundation. It is not a radical break from the past; it is indeed a bridge to the future.

It is important to remember that although we tend to speak of diversity in terms of groups the focus is actually on the individual. It is not the group that is recruited as a filing clerk or that is considered for promotion to executive ranks. It is one particular person. Can anyone object to the need to reach out to all members of society based on their individual qualifications and merits? Some people would argue that employment equity encourages candidate selection to be made on the basis of sex or ethnic origin or a disability rather than merit. I beg to differ.

As a matter of fact the essential point is that appointments to the public service are governed by the Public Service Employment Act which enshrines the merit principle. It is far different from the kind of legislation that was talked about earlier by the member for Beaver River with respect to the province of Ontario. Our act enshrines the merit principle. The administration of the act rests with the Public Service Commission, an independent agency that reports directly to Parliament.

Progress in the area of employment equity has been made in full respect of merit. It is the principle on which a non-partisan, highly professional public service has been built. This cornerstone of human resource management will not be eroded.

Employment equity is not about preferences. It is a method of creating a fairness that might not otherwise exist. Several years ago the Conference Board of Canada issued an interesting paper on employment equity. The introduction revealed that women, visible minorities and persons with disabilities make up close to 60 per cent of the new entrants into Canada's labour force. It then went on to say that the full participation of these entrants to Canada's labour force constitutes a vital resource and that their full participation in the workplace will be fundamental to the ability of organizations to understand and respond to the needs of the rapidly changing marketplace. That is what the conference board said.

To achieve this goal organizations need solid policies and fair practices. For example, the same board found that if we want to attract minorities it is a good idea to advertise job openings outside the mainstream media and put them into the ethnic media. The conference board finding related to culture was of significance because organizations which implement interviewer training considered it a particularly effective measure in raising employment levels for designated groups.

I have made it clear that employment equity is not about introducing discrimination. It is not about reverse discrimination in the workplace. Rather, employment equity is about providing opportunities by removing barriers and establishing policies and programs to address the needs of designated member groups.

Employment equity is about including everyone, not excluding certain individuals.

No one should be excluded from access to employment opportunities for reasons unrelated to competence, for reasons unrelated to ability. That is what Bill C-64 is all about and that is why I stand to support it today.

Employment Equity ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.


Ian McClelland Reform Edmonton Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest to the comments of my colleague opposite regarding the legislation, in particular his comment in our other official language which I thought was very well done. While I appreciated the language I sure have a problem with the content.

It is interesting the minister opposite just finished talking about how the employment equity legislation has fairness as its cornerstone, has no quotas and has to do with providing opportunity, not providing opportunity to people specifically because of their race, their gender or the colour of their skin.

Let me read into the record from the employment equity guide of the Department of Justice some of the non-quota targets. The heading of the chart is "New Employment Equity Targets". They are not quotas. They are targets. The legislation will make these targets into quotas because it has penalties for companies that do not meet the target requirements. Somehow that seems like it could be a quota. As a matter of fact the legislation repealing the Ontario employment equity act of 1993 which the Government of Ontario is using is the job quotas repeal act. It is strange, is it not?

In any event I will quote from the employment equity targets in a Department of Justice document: "Women by occupational category, promotions 93 per cent; aboriginal people, promotions 1.7 per cent; persons with disabilities, 2.8 per cent; and visible minorities, 2.7 per cent".

I will continue: "Recruitment for aboriginal peoples, 2.2 per cent; persons with disabilities, 2 per cent; visible minorities, 4.4 per cent. Recruitment for women, 43.8 per cent; administrative, 39.9 per cent; technical, 49.3 per cent".

I ask the minister opposite whether these numbers that are targets have the force of law behind them and a penalty for non-compliance through the equity police of up to $50,000 if companies are not in compliance. What are they? Are they quotas or targets? If this is not a quota, what is?

Employment Equity ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

Before giving the floor to the hon. minister I advise the House we have now passed five hours of debate at third reading of the bill. From here forward members will have 10 minutes without questions or comments when we resume debate on the bill.

Employment Equity ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.


Art Eggleton Liberal York Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, numerical targets have long been established as part of employment equity programs. They are not quotas. It is not the same as the American system where they are obligated to try to reach certain numbers. They become goals; they become objectives. However for various reasons they may not be able to be met. If an honest try or an honest effort is made and they cannot be met, there are no fines involved in that.

It is expected that an organization will take a look at its composition to see how it relates to the workforce in general and will take some measures to try to have a balanced workforce. That is what we are trying to do here. We do not have that at the moment.

In terms of aboriginal peoples, people with disabilities and visible minorities, they are under-represented in the federal workforce. They are under-represented in the federally regulated companies that are also part of the legislation. We have greater numbers in the workforce. They are having a hard time getting into the system.

The bill is all about giving them the opportunity to get to the door. On their own merit they still have to make it into the job. None of that has changed in terms of the principle that guides the employment service act of the federal public service.

Targets become a goal and objective. I am sorry the member does not understand that. It has long been established. I can remember when I was mayor of Toronto that we established those kinds of goals. Sometimes we made them and sometimes we did not but there were reasons why we did not. People put out the best effort they possibly could.

Over time we make progress. It will not happen overnight, particularly now that we are into downsizing. It takes more time to reach the goals. It helps us to focus without getting into quotas, without in any way abandoning the merit principle. It does not relate to the province of Ontario legislation which it has now decided for whatever reasons to repeal. This is not the same kind of legislation at all. This clearly upholds the principle of merit.

Employment Equity ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.


John Williams Reform St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, it was rather ironic that the President of the Treasury Board would stand to tell us that this is always about merit. When we think back to his nomination we think of the fight he had. He was picked by the Prime Minister to fight the election in his riding rather than having to go through the competition of a real nomination process so that he could demonstrate to his constituents that he deserved their merit by winning the nomination.

I would like to ask a question of the President of the Treasury Board. If he is to try to achieve these quotas or targets that he speaks about-he can choose his word-basically he can influence only two opportunities in the make-up of the federal civil service: first, when people are hired and second, when people are fired. He has no control over those who go of their own volition.

Does the President of the Treasury Board intend to advance the civil service toward achieving the targets he talks about through the early departure incentive program, through the early retirement incentive program, where he will end up with a different ratio or mix in the civil service as we advance toward the numbers and targets he has set out?

When he and Treasury Board go through this exercise of downsizing, are those who dominate the civil service at this time likely to find a pink slip on their desks because he wants to move toward achieving the targets that he has set out?

Employment Equity ActGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.


Art Eggleton Liberal York Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the nomination process in York Centre has nothing to do with employment equity goals. However, I have fought and won a lot more elections than the hon. member has ever even thought about, some 11 of them. In this past election the people of York Centre gave me a plurality of somewhere over 20,000. I won every single poll. The voters of York Centre spoke quite well, as they have in most parts of the country, by electing a very solid Liberal majority government to represent every aspect of the country, not just some portion of it.

With respect to the downsizing, we are not being detracted in terms of the employment equity goals by that. It is obvious that a lot of people in those four target groups are going to be part of the downsizing. Given that we operate on the merit principle would indicate the reverse order of merit as being paramount in that case.

The situation is being monitored very carefully to try to maintain the numbers as best we can. After all, we do not have enough aboriginal people, the disabled, or people who are in the visible minority groups, as well as women in executive groups. Therefore, I do not want to make the situation any worse if we can help it by staying within the principles of merit which the Reform Party keeps telling us we should. We are monitoring the situation carefully.

I am pleased to say that as a result of the report issued last week by Treasury Board, of the over 8,000 positions that had been removed, there has been no change of that balance. In fact in some of the groups a little bit less has been reduced. The one exception to that would be people with disabilities. This would be largely because a number of them are going out under the early retirement incentive, people who are closer to retirement age perhaps, more than disabilities, but those are people who are taking a very conscious, positive decision about leaving.

I am very pleased to say that of the over 8,000 people who are gone and in particular those who were in the indeterminate or permanent positions, none of them went involuntarily. They all went voluntarily. That shows we are trying to treat people who are departing the public service in a fair and humane way, as well as those who continue to stay to operate the programs and services.

After all, we have to bring about that reduction. We do not particularly like it. The hon. member is critical of it but, at the same time, he and his party are critical of the deficit. This is all part of getting our fiscal house in order and reducing the deficit. We are treating people in a very fair and reasonable way. We are keeping a very close eye on our employment equity goals at the same time.

Employment Equity ActGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.


John Williams Reform St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak about Bill C-64 dealing with employment equity.

Equity is one of the most important things that Canadians should, and I believe do, stand for. However, there is a major difference between the equity being proposed by the government and the equity Canadians would like to see.

I think back to the pioneer days and the days the west was developed because I am from St. Albert just outside Edmonton. Equity back in those days was opportunity. If we are going to talk about equity we should always talk about opportunity rather than results. Tens of thousands of people came to this country, and still do, for the opportunity to succeed, the opportunity to prosper and the opportunity to make the mark that would have been denied them in other countries. That is the type of equity I believe Canadians want.

Through the hard work of pioneers, they built a country of which we are proud. They built a country that recognizes the equality of all our citizens. That is one of the great platforms of the Reform Party. It says we are not into hyphenated Canadians. There is only one kind of Canadian and that is the ordinary Canadian who works hard and makes the country work.

A letter on employment equity appeared in the Edmonton Journal a few weeks ago. In some ways one might think it superficially drew the situation out to the extreme. It talked about the hypothetical situation of an Olympics with men and women being equal. Of course 51 per cent of race winners would have to be women and 49 per cent men. How would that be achieved? By putting weights on the legs of the men and so on. While the point is ridiculous there is a moral to this story. To have equality of results, somebody has to be penalized. That is the point I want to drive home. To have equality of results the obvious winners have to be penalized in order to allow others to win their share.

Our position is that rather than penalize the winners, we should do our best to give everybody the opportunity to win through education. It is education that determines whether or not someone is going to succeed. It is not because they are black or white, or male or female, or handicapped or crippled, or whatever. The point is if they are educated they have a chance to succeed.

Last week, a study was released which indicated that of the top 10 per cent of income earners in this country the vast majority attributed education to their success, not who they were, not what they were, not their family background, not whether they came from a rich background. Education was the dominant factor which determined whether they were able to succeed or not. That is why the House should focus on making sure people have the opportuni-

ty to succeed through education, not by introducing quotas that will penalize those who have the desire to succeed, those who have the willingness to work hard to succeed, those who go far beyond the others and want to succeed. Why hold them back? Unfortunately that is the nature of the government's way of doing things.

We want to ensure we can get back to the days where hard work is equal to prosperity rather than having it guaranteed by government legislation.

If failure is to be eliminated, as this legislation tries to do in many ways, it comes at a cost. The cost of eliminating failure is equal to the price of success. If we do not let some people succeed because we want no one to fail, then we will bring everyone down to the lowest common denominator. We saw what happened in eastern Europe in Russia. They refused to allow anyone to succeed and the whole country failed.

While this legislation is but one small piece along that road, Reform Party members feel that Canadians will be far better pleased and a lot more confident that this country can dig itself out of the hole if those who have the will to succeed are allowed to move ahead and help the rest of us and to provide education to those who need to get their feet on the ladder.

I have a constituent who has been in to see me several times. He would like to be a Mountie. In the west the Mounties are a revered police institution. Everybody knows the Mounties. They are known throughout the world as that great Canadian police force. They are recognized and revered around the world.

This constituent wants to be a Mountie. Every year he does 600 hours of volunteer police work with the RCMP. He sat the exams and met the minimum standards. He has a university education. The only thing that stops him from being a Mountie is the fact that he is a white male. Other family members are in the force. He would dearly love to be in the force but because he is a white male he cannot be what he dreams to be. That is because this government brings in what it calls targets, which I call quotas, and denies someone who would be a first class policeman. We have denied him his dream.

That is why we have to recognize that this legislation is out to lunch and the fact that we need to build people up, not hold them down.

This past week while we have been away I attended three graduation ceremonies in my riding. At a couple of them I presented the Governor General's award. I had an opportunity to talk to people about education. I cannot encourage them enough because in this complex and technological age we live in we need all the education we can get.

If we tell people that it does not matter how much education you have, how much motivation you have, how much will you have to succeed because you just happen to be in the wrong category, then we are sending the wrong message to young people and we have received the wrong message from the people who built this country. In many ways that is part of the reason we are so far in debt. We have lost our way and that is a great shame.

In an earlier debate the member from Beaver River talked about the fact that this legislation is going to be forced on businesses, forced on the civil service, but the House of Commons is exempt. Why would the House of Commons be exempt? Why would we in typical fashion tell the people to not do as we do but just do as we say?

This is why the Reform Party is totally opposed to this legislation. I would gladly support anything the government would do to ensure that education became the reason for equity.

Employment Equity ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

It being 2 p.m., pursuant to Standing Order 30(5), the House will now proceed to Statements by Members pursuant to Standing Order 31.

Royal MintStatements By Members

October 16th, 1995 / 1:55 p.m.


Elijah Harper Liberal Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, as the member for Churchill, the polar bear capital of Canada, I would like to commend the Royal Mint for choosing the polar bear to appear on the back of our new $2 coin.

In addition to being a distinctly Canadian symbol of strength, the polar bear also represents one of Manitoba's best known tourist attractions. I would like to invite all members of this House and all Canadians to come north to Churchill and see for themselves the inspiration for Canada's newest coin.

Quebec EconomyStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


René Laurin Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, according to this morning's Le Devoir , the American computer industry giant, Ameridata, intends to increase its share of the Quebec market, regardless of the outcome of the referendum. The president of Ameridata Canada, Jan Kaminski, stated that the company was in business, and the results of the referendum were of little importance.

The Toronto firm Falconbridge is not worried about the outcome of the referendum either. It has just announced an investment of $500 million in Quebec. Mr. Pugsley, the president of a subsidiary of Falconbridge, summarized the situation by saying that the company had been doing business in Quebec for 50 years, it was a

good place to do business and, as far as the company was concerned, it was business as usual.

Some businesses are responding to the campaign of fear being waged by Mr. Johnson and the no side by deciding to invest.

Canada Volunteer Award Certificate Of MeritStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Hugh Hanrahan Reform Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, as the member of Parliament for Edmonton-Strathcona, I was very pleased to learn that Mrs. Therese Chicoine, a constituent, has been selected to receive the Canada Volunteer Award Certificate of Merit. This certificate is awarded each year to recognize those who have made valuable voluntary contributions toward improving the health and social well-being of their fellow citizens.

Mrs. Chicoine is a key player in both the administration and the delivery of the emergency services response team of the Canadian Red Cross Society. She was also instrumental in the establishment of the unrelated bone marrow donor clinic. Her list of volunteer achievements seems endless and is a testament to Canada.

I know that my hon. colleagues would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Mrs. Therese Chicoine on her award.

New Democratic Party ConventionStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


John Solomon NDP Regina—Lumsden, SK

Mr. Speaker, I am very proud today to stand in the House on behalf of the NDP caucus to extend warm congratulations to our new leader, Alexa McDonough.

Alexa was elected at the NDP convention held this weekend in Ottawa. Over 1,800 delegates along with 1,000 visitors and guests joined together to boost the NDP on their road to renewal.

We give notice to the Liberals and the Reform Party that New Democrats across the country are rising up in solidarity and unity to fight against their demolition of medicare and other social programs and are renewing our efforts for jobs and fair taxation for Canadians.

With our new leader, Alexa McDonough, Canadians have a reinvigorated voice to hold this government accountable for the destructive measures it is inflicting on Canadians. Canadians do have a choice. It is to join us in recovering a more caring and sharing Canada and reclaiming Canada for Canadians.

Breast CancerStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Jean Augustine Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a time for all of us to remember that in 1995 an estimated 17,700 Canadian women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 5,400 will die from this terrible disease.

The leading cause of cancer deaths among women, breast cancer can be eradicated through education, awareness, good health, and with the support of our community. The collaboration of survivors, health professionals, and governments must also continue in order to address breast cancer issues and to ultimately find a cure.

Chances are we have all known someone who has had breast cancer. I therefore invite you to visit the Canadian breast cancer memorial tribute this week in the foyer of the House of Commons. With this memorial we will remember the many Canadian women who have battled courageously but have lost to this disease. In their memory we must continue to provide support to those who are fighting for their lives.

Woman Entrepreneur Of The YearStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Alex Shepherd Liberal Durham, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw the attention of the House to an award that was presented on the weekend to the woman entrepreneur of the year. This award is an initiative of the University of Toronto Faculty of Management and it counts organizations such as the Financial Post among its sponsors.

For the category of international competitiveness, my constituent, friend, and client, Paula Lishman, was the recipient. I have known Paula for many years. Her intuitive designs in reversible furs are respected throughout the world.

Paula exemplifies the fight of small and medium sized businesses, and women in particular in the country to get established and win the confidence of the financial community. Trading internationally and creating meaningful jobs in Durham and in Canada have been the results of her efforts. I know about her struggles because I was her accountant and sat with her on the other side of many bank managers' desks.

Paula's perseverance in the face of adversity is a lesson for all small and medium sized business operators. I am proud and happy that Paula Lishman has earned the recognition she so justly deserves.

Governor General's AwardsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Shaughnessy Cohen Liberal Windsor—St. Clair, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am sure that I am joined by all members of the House in paying tribute to the six outstanding women who are the recipients of the 1995 Governor General's awards in commemoration of the Persons case, which were presented this morning at Rideau Hall.

We recognize Marthe Asselin Vaillancourt of Jonquière, Quebec for her continuing efforts to prevent violence against women, children, and the elderly.

We recognize Dr. May Cohen of Burlington, Ontario for her leadership and pioneering work in the field of women's health.

We recognize Dr. Ruth Flowers of Makkovik, Labrador for her community activism and dedication to improving the quality of women's lives.

We recognize Sheila Kingham of Victoria, British Columbia for her belief in the power of collective action and her tireless advocacy on behalf of rural women.

We recognize Carolyn G. Thomas of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia for her courage as a human rights activist.

We recognize Alice E. Tyler of Edmonton, Alberta for her promotion of women's advancement through her art.

Our congratulations from this House go to these remarkable women who have each contributed substantially to the furtherance of women's equality.

Governor General's AwardsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

The Speaker

Would these outstanding women please rise in the House. We would like to recognize you.

Governor General's AwardsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Jean Landry Bloc Lotbinière, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada is inundating us with subliminal advertising in the midst of the referendum campaign, which is not a problem for Radio-Canada. The no side's messages state that the sovereignist leaders are claiming to the be only real Quebecers, when in fact they have never said such a thing. And yet, Radio-Canada is airing this message.

However, the message of the yes side showing how the federal government has systematically refused to listen to Quebec's demands is not acceptable. Radio-Canada suddenly remembers its advertising standards and refuses to air this message. This decision is incomprehensible and surprises even the Telecaster Committee, which approves its broadcast.

The truth is that the yes side's message was so effective government officials demanded it be rejected. This is the behaviour of a side in a panic and with nothing to offer Quebec.

Grants And ContributionsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


John Williams Reform St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, the government has lost control of the public purse. Once again I stand in the House to ask the Liberal government why it does not practise fiscal restraint in these tough economic times.

While the government refuses to allow Parliament to reduce public expenditures, it continues to curry favour by handing out $11 billion in grants and contributions largely without the knowledge of the Canadian public.

I have published the first issue of my waste report which highlights some of these expenditures, many of which cannot be justified. Examples are: United Steel Workers of America, $108,000; Canadian Labour Congress, $10,000; Canadian Chamber of Commerce, $4.5 million.

The Reform Party advocates eliminating all funding to special interest groups and sees no reason why $11 billion in grants and contributions cannot be cut at least in half.

Referendum CampaignStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Paul Devillers Liberal Simcoe North, ON

Mr. Speaker, to compensate for the weakness of his separatist arguments, the leader of the Bloc Quebecois decided yesterday to resort to drastic measures. He stated, and I quote: "There is something magical about a Yes vote. With a wave of our magic wand, we will stir up a feeling of solidarity among Quebecers".

The leader of the Bloc Quebecois has just traded his pilgrim's staff for an all-powerful magic wand to convince the people to vote in favour of Quebec's separation. This silly statement by the separatist leader is a good indication of how desperate the Yes side is two weeks before the referendum.

The way things are going, it would not be surprising to see the separatist leaders criss-crossing Quebec astride witches' brooms before the campaign is over.

Quebec EconomyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Ben Serré Liberal Timiskaming—French-River, ON

Mr. Speaker, there is an article in today's La Presse about a study done by the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington

on the economic impact of Quebec's separation and its effect on existing trade agreements.

The author of the study starts out by announcing that an independent Quebec would have none of the rights and obligations resulting from Canada's membership in several trade agreements with the U.S. including NAFTA, the World Trade Organization and the Auto Pact. A Quebec separated from Canada would have to negotiate access to all these treaties.

This study confirms what our Minister of Finance recently said. An independent Quebec will have to renegotiate all international treaties it is already a part of because of its status as a Canadian province.

The price to be paid for the separatist obsession is much too high and, on October 30, the people of Quebec will say No.

Referendum CampaignStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition has suggested that magic powers would help bring Quebecers together again after the referendum.

He told participants in a meeting at a CEGEP: "There is something magical about a Yes vote. With a wave of our magic wand, we will stir up a feeling of solidarity among Quebecers. They will no longer be divided into sovereignists and federalists, and I will be confident of negotiating on behalf of all Quebecers". Abracadabra, says the opposition leader.

We are pleased to see that the separatist leader is now taking an interest in what comes after the referendum, when the magic vanishes. Of course, we would like him, with his magic wand, to have the same attitude and preach the same virtues of reconciliation the day after a No victory.

Referendum CampaignStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, last week, Senator Jacques Hébert displayed an unspeakable lack of respect for Quebec women, in calling political scientist Josée Legault a "separatist cow".

By heaping such abuse on women with convictions, Mr. Hébert once again shows them that the Liberal Party of Canada and the No side would not be able to meet their expectations in any way after October 30. The number of women in favour of a sovereign Quebec is growing day after day, and rude remarks like these can only strengthen them in their decision.

Mr. Hébert, a member of the Liberal Party of Canada and the government whip in the Senate, must publicly apologize to women in Quebec, and take back his offensive comments.

The SenateStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Deborah Grey Reform Beaver River, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Reform Party presented its new confederation proposals, 20 measures to modernize and decentralize Canada.

One of the proposed changes is to the Senate of Canada. All future appointments to the Senate would be made by means of elections based on the model of the 1989 Alberta Senate selection process.

Stan Waters made Canadian history twice on this day, October 16, 1989. He was the first elected senator in Canada and he was the first Reform Party member to sit in the Senate. His passing in September 1991 left that seat vacant and the Prime Minister filled it with a typical patronage appointment.

Canadians are tired of this old Liberal lament that we hear time and time again that because the Charlottetown accord failed Canada can never have an elected Senate. I say bunk. It has already happened in Alberta. It can happen in every province in Canada.

I know traditional parties will not want to see the house of patronage disappear. Where would they put the old boys and girls like the last four Liberals appointed to the Senate? I know where they should go. They should be put out to pasture.

The 21st century is coming. Let us democratize and have an elected Senate.