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House of Commons Hansard #236 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-64.

Topics

Employment Equity ActGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

Reform

Ian McClelland Reform Edmonton Southwest, AB

He said that it was not necessary.

Employment Equity ActGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Milliken Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

I hear the hon. member. That may be so because so many have complied with the rules already. Why not leave the rules in place? If everyone is complying and the rules are in place, fine, it does not do any harm to have them there. Yet the hon. member for Calgary Centre spouted absolute rubbish. He suggested that we did not need the bill at all and that we should scrap it. That is what these amendments do and I am not in favour of the amendments.

City police forces, national chartered banks, multinational computer companies and more and more Canadian employers are enjoying the benefits of workplace inclusiveness and fairness, with good reason. Margaret Wente wrote in the Globe and Mail that employment equity programs were ``spreading, not shrinking. Their biggest boosters are powerful, middle aged white men-.They need diversity in their work forces, not to remedy past injustices but to be more successful''.

The business argument for employment equity is straightforward. As our population becomes more racially diverse, it is essential that a company's workforce reflects the market it wants to sell to. This is increasingly true in the international marketplace. Business organizations ranging from B.C. Hydro to North American Life Assurance and the Bank of Montreal realize this reality and fully endorse equal opportunity employment. Many of those employers appeared before the committee. The hon. member for Winnipeg North who is chair of the committee heard those

witnesses. He has spoken about it and will continue to speak about it in the course of the discussion on the bill.

They and other progressive employers have instituted employment equity programs in their workplaces not out of benevolence but out of good business sense. They have discovered that the best argument for employment equity is the bottom line.

Black & McDonald, the Toronto based mechanical and electrical services contractor, is an example in point. Many of the people hired as maintenance mechanics and building supervisors over the past few years were recent immigrants due as much to a skill shortage in Canada as to the firm's employment equity efforts. The company reports that the performance of this division has improved dramatically, which it credits to its highly skilled, hard working visible minority employees and the market potential they represent. More and more satisfied customers have resulted in more and more contracts for Black & McDonald.

A recent Conference Board of Canada study found that half the employers surveyed capitalized on Canada's ethnocultural diversity to expand their market share. That trend will only increase. By 2001 visible minorities should form 48 per cent of the consumer market in Toronto, 20 per cent in Montreal, and 39 per cent in Vancouver. Firms that fail to act quickly will be left behind in a country experiencing huge population growth among designated groups.

Upwards of three-quarters of new entrants into the workforce by the turn of the next century, which is only five years from now, will be members of the designated groups. At a time when human capital far outweighs location or physical resources, it is imperative that employers maximize their people potential in the workplace.

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce chairman Al Flood put it very well when he said:

The issue of underemployed intellectual capital is a major one for Canadian business in a competitive global society. A business in a complex, changing world needs more than one point of view. Those diverse views will only flourish in an environment uncontaminated by notions of ability based on gender, race, religion and so on.

The key word in that quote is ability because employment equity is really about assuring equal opportunities to individuals qualified to do the job. We are not talking, as the previous speaker said, about quotas. We are talking about ability, about assuring equal opportunities to qualified individuals. It is no coincidence then that half of all CIBC managers are women. Canada's banks have one of the best records in the economy for building diversity into their workforce. Yet never do we hear that such progress comes at someone else's expense.

While I am on the subject of someone else's expense I quote again from the little green book of the Reform. I have a quote here from the hon. member for Beaver River that will be instructive. Perhaps it explains in part the silly amendments of the hon. member for Edmonton Southwest. She said: "Women are just trying to lift themselves up to the detriment and expense of men". This is what the hon. member for Beaver River says. I presume she believes this nonsense. I suspect what happened is that she has been sitting there listening to her seatmate, the hon. member for Calgary Southwest, telling her that is what happens.

When the hon. member for Halifax or the hon. member for Nepean start speaking to me about lifting themselves up or changing their roles, I do not feel it is at my expense. I have never felt that it was at my expense. I am sure my male colleagues on this side of the House would share that view.

Our female colleagues are not getting additional rights at our expense. If they get any additional rights we are all improved by them. There is not a finite supply of rights. Rights are created because individuals are there. Because individuals get rights does not mean the rights of someone else are necessarily diminished. Some may feel that way, but I suggest it is not true that they are necessarily diminished. The extension of the rights granted by this legislation have benefited all our society enormously.

I do not know when the hon. member for Beaver River made this quote. Unfortunately the little green book, or "The Gospel According to Preston Manning and the Reform Party" as its other title reads, does not tell us when the quotation was made. Nevertheless the words are written down and I am sure the hon. member for Beaver River could not explain them away.

Another very short quote from her is: "I am basically a Tory". I do not know why she is in the Reform Party if she is basically a Tory. She should help the hon. member for Saint John. Then we have a famous quote of her leader, the hon. member for Calgary Southwest: "Deborah Grey is the prairie Margaret Thatcher". What a fire that is.

Employment Equity ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

Order. I know the member is a very experienced member, but from time to time the Chair must remind members of certain rules of the House.

Although he might be quoting from a text, those words are still attributed to whoever has the floor in the House. I would encourage the member to refer to member's ridings as the tradition and the rules of the House call for and not by proper names.

Employment Equity ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Milliken Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, I was being very careful only to use the proper name when it was in the quote. I was being very careful not to use it in any other sense. That is why I said the hon. member for Calgary Southwest used the words: "Deborah Grey is the

prairie Margaret Thatcher". I do not think he said at the time that the hon. member for Beaver River was the prairie Margaret Thatcher. That is all I was doing.

Employment Equity ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Kilger)

On that point, I am of the understanding at this time that when any member in the House reads a quote it is just as attributable to that person as if he or she were saying it.

If I have erred I will gladly come back to the House and make that correction before all my peers, my colleagues here. However I am of the understanding at this time that any quote is attributed as if the person himself or herself is saying it. I will come back to the House if necessary.

Employment Equity ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Milliken Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, that is fine. I accept the admonition. I have finished my quotes in any event.

Those with the most experience with employment equity are usually its staunchest defenders. With nearly two decades of equity programs in the workplace Sun Life Assurance vice-president Lucy Greene says: "It is just part of our thinking. It is good business sense. Everybody should be doing it".

Few would agree more than Troy Peck, a 25-year old administrative assistant with the planning department of the city of Vancouver. His employer adopted employment equity in 1976 when Troy was still a little boy with a spinal tumour whose future employment prospects did not look promising. Thanks to employment equity this qualified young man who uses a wheelchair found his job on the basis of merit. Troy told the Vancouver Province this past summer:

Employment equity gives you the chance not to be automatically dismissed as an applicant because of your disability. It gives you the chance to show you are skilled and able to perform.

That is all any member of the designated groups is asking of the House. They just want an opportunity to prove that talent comes in all kinds of packages. They ask us to remember that what is important is not the package but the gift inside it. Our gift to future generations in the country must be the assurance that we will give every last young woman and man that chance. With Bill C-64 unamended we can do exactly that.

I urge hon. members of the Reform Party to withdraw these amendments and proceed with the bill as it stands.

Employment Equity ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Liberal

John Maloney Liberal Erie, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased today to rise in the House to speak in support of Bill C-64, the employment equity act.

The fourth United Nations world conference of women concluded recently. An event like that one has many benefits for Canada. One is that it gives us an international context to assess how well Canada has done and how far we have to go.

During my remarks today I want to place Bill C-64 in that same international context and to look at our international obligations and how Bill C-64 will help us to meet them. I want to consider some relevant international experiences with employment equity. I want to show that the bill puts teeth in our commitment to equality and shows the kind of leadership that is badly needed around the world.

Let me begin by discussing a recent landmark in understanding the issue. On August 17 the United Nations development program released its sixth human development report. In addition to its overall assessment the report focuses on the situation facing women around the world.

I am certain that every member of the House took pride when once again Canada earned the highest ranking on the human development index. It told the world what Canadians already knew so well, that this country offers a quality of life that is second to none.

However I am certain that each of us knows that Canada placed ninth on the gender related development index. Our track record on the place of women in society is not good enough. One might ask why it is that low. One factor is the economic gap between women and men. Money talks and in Canada right now that means men shout while women whisper.

Some in the House say there are very good reasons for this gap. They say we should just stand aside while the market works in its mysterious way. That is not what the authors of the United Nations human development report says. They point out that trickle down theories and laissez-faire approaches do not work particularly well to raise the economic status of women. I quote:

The free workings of economic and political processes are unlikely to deliver equality of opportunity because of prevailing inequities in power structures. When such structural barriers exist, government intervention is necessary, both through comprehensive policy reforms and through a series of affirmative actions.

The government understands the need for real action. The bill will help address that need by making markets work better. It will help women enter occupations that traditionally have excluded them. It will help women make their way from lower wage occupational ghettos. It will help organizations remove the glass ceiling that restricts women in many workplaces. It will do the same for aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities and members of visible minorities.

Bill C-64 is consistent with our international obligations. For many years Canada has been a signatory to international agreements on discrimination, human rights, women's rights and labour force issues. Let me touch on a few of them.

The UN has a number of conventions that cover equality issues. The convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women commits us to pursue the equality of the sexes. Article 24 reads:

State parties undertake to adopt all necessary measures at the national level aimed at achieving full realization of the rights recognized in the present Convention.

This includes modifying:

-the social and cultural patterns of conduct of men and women, with a view to achieving the elimination of prejudices and customs and all other practices which are based on the idea of the inferiority or the superiority of either of the sexes or on stereotyped roles for men and women.

To do that means taking real steps such as an active program of the type we have introduced in Bill C-64.

A similar commitment exists as a result of the UN's International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Article 7 touches on conditions of work. It reads that states that are party to the covenant recognize the right to:

Equal opportunity for everyone to be promoted in his employment to an appropriate higher level subject to no considerations other than those of seniority and competence.

This bill is about finding and removing the barriers that prevent designated group members from realizing their legitimate aspirations in the workplace, the barriers that still prevent people in designated groups from competing fairly for promotions they want.

There are other similar conventions that our country has signed and ratified over time. I will just name a few: the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination; and a number of international labour organization conventions.

I would like to refer to the second article of ILO Convention No. 111 concerning discrimination in respect of employment and occupation which states:

Members undertake to declare and pursue a national policy designed to promote equality of opportunity in respect of employment and occupation.

Article 3 of the same convention states:

-each member undertakes to enact such legislation as may be calculated to secure acceptance and observance of those policy.

Canada takes its international commitments seriously. We negotiate, sign and ratify these agreements with the intention of living up to them fully. That is certainly true with conventions on human rights and workplace issues such as these.

We can and do point with pride to Bill C-64 and the existing Employment Equity Act as its predecessor as an example of the government at work to make the equality of opportunity we all want a real goal. Canada is not alone in this process. Other countries have signed these conventions and many are dealing with many of the same issues in society and the economy as we are.

For example, Australia is a country with which we have much in common. We are both senior members of the Commonwealth. We share similar constitutional and legal traditions. We both have significant aboriginal and visible minority populations. Persons with disabilities have become prominent advocates for their own cause. Women are taking on leading positions in society. Like Canada, Australia has an employment equity act. Like us, it recognizes an obligation to break down barriers and it is doing so.

Another interesting case is that of the Netherlands. The celebration of the 50th anniversary of its liberation by Canadian soldiers has reminded us of our close ties. It reminds us of the many Dutch people who have made new homes here over the years.

When the Dutch government looked for a legislated approach to promote the full integration of its immigrants into the labour force and therefore society, where did it turn? Which country provided a model of effective and appropriate legislation? The answer is Canada.

Examples such as that show why Canada can attend international conferences with real pride. Regardless of the issue, we can point to initiatives we have taken at home, co-operation with other countries and a commitment to results. Certainly that is true on workplace issues and on human rights issues.

While we have much to do, Canada has consistently tried to do more to meet some minimum standard. We have been motivated by the caring and tolerance of a society to do better. We realize that equality of opportunity means much more than the absence of formal discrimination. It means building a climate that encourages everyone to participate in our society and our economy.

That is becoming a lesson to the world. Many countries are coming to grips with equality issues. They know we are leaders. Canada has a distinguished history in human rights in the international community. Countries that are looking for effective ways to improve human rights within their own borders are looking to Canada. Countries that want to recognize their growing multicultural nature are looking to Canada.

The Canadian approach to employment equity is a real contribution to the international community. It starts with the idea that all Canadians share a commitment to opportunity and the willingness to find solutions. It speaks to the finest qualities in our national spirit.

Passing this bill will send an important message to a world that needs more of this spirit.

Employment Equity ActGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Brent St. Denis Liberal Algoma, ON

Mr. Speaker, in offering my comments on Bill C-64 and the report of the standing committee, I want to go back to the fall of 1993.

At the time, Canada was in the middle of an election campaign, and the Liberal Party published a campaign program in which it formulated its commitments.

This campaign document explained the philosophy behind these commitments. At the beginning of the red book, our leader, the man Canadians chose as their Prime Minister, set the tone for a program I was proud to defend.

This is what he said, and I quote: "The result is a Liberal plan for Canada firmly anchored in the principle that governing is about people, and that government must be judged by its effectiveness in promoting human dignity, justice, fairness, and opportunity. This is our approach, and this election is about presenting that choice to Canadians".

Consider those words: "Our platform was one of jobs and growth but it was not a narrow economic platform. It spoke to a vision of society in which growth reaches everyone. It spoke to a vision of society in which everyone has opportunities in practice, not just in theory".

On this side of the House when we think about the kind of Canada that we are engaged in building, we see a united people building a great country. We see a Canada with opportunity for all. Our Canada would have a strong and sustainable economy. Our economic pie would grow bigger through the skill, commitment and innovation of Canadian workers. From the chief executive officer to the newest employee, everyone would help create the opportunities of tomorrow. The government would work with them to take on the challenges that markets alone cannot.

The workplace, always according to the Liberal vision, must reflect the diversity of the population. It must never raise barriers to prevent someone from doing a job of which he or she is proud and participating fully in the development of this country. The Canadian workplace should emulate the best of what can be found in the rest of the world.

That competitive economy would exist hand in hand with a tolerant and generous society. It would live with the golden rule that exists in all faiths that I have seen. Our culture, our race, our sex, none of these would be a barrier to friendship or to contribution. We would learn from each other and grow richer in the process.

In our vision of Canada people would resolve differences in a spirit of goodwill. They would know that a reasonable people can usually find common ground to work out agreement. Our Canada would be one that builds on our traditional core values of equality, justice and fair shares of the opportunities that build better lives and a better country. It would recognize, as the red book did, that we exist in this society together and not apart.

Canadians are far more than individuals driven by impersonal economic forces and narrow self-interest. We support and are supported by our families, our communities and our country. That has always been true. From the earliest days of human settlement here we have always worked best when we have worked together. It remains true to this day.

The Liberal vision of Canada mirrors the aspirations Canadians have for our country. We want to live together in progress and in peace. In a troubled world Canadians recognize just how much we have accomplished in reaching for this vision. Our ranking in the United Nations human development report is a tribute to that.

Still we know we have more to do. The situation of aboriginal people or our lower ranking on the equality of women in the UN report testify to what more we must do.

Employment equity is a basic part of making our vision real. It recognizes that equality of opportunity is a goal that we have not yet reached. It brings us closer to the ideal caring society that I believe we all want.

In other words, if the concept of employment equity did not exist, we would have to invent it. In fact, it is an essential step towards ensuring that all Canadians have equal opportunities, are aware of that fact and take full advantage of this equality.

Certainly there has been progress both in numbers and attitudes. For example, the Bank of Montreal's president and chief operating officer, Tony Comper, noted that representation had increased significantly in that bank between 1993 and 1994. However, what was every bit as important was the extent to which employees of that bank have bought into the equity process. They have come to understand that diversity is a business plus in our times.

The same is true at Union Gas in southwestern Ontario. A company with a traditional workforce of technical and office workers has built a very successful equity program. Why? Because

the company has been committed to making it a success. It trains staff on issues that arise in a diverse workforce so they can understand the new expectations of customers, co-workers and the company. It builds bridges, not walls, between employees in the name of equity.

Let me quote the company's human resources manager, Maureen Ghettes: "We often look at the cost of something and not the benefit. The cost of an employee who is not interested in working with a certain group or who does not take time to understand an accent is far greater".

These business people are telling us that employment equity is both a strategic social investment and an economic investment. It is consistent with the kind of targeted action the government has adopted across its agenda. It is an action we need more of.

As the red book pointed out and as our experience tells us, people in the designated groups still have a long way to go. In the years since the original Employment Equity Act was passed, progress has been slow for women, people with disabilities, aboriginal people and members of visible minority groups.

The standing committee heard from many groups with personal stories of barriers that have not given way despite years of trying. Representatives of the Filipino Technical and Professional Association of Manitoba describe the experiences of well-trained people whose credentials were simply dismissed on arriving in Canada. These people were not even given partial credit toward professional and technical designations despite their training and years of experience.

Spokespersons for the disabled described the professional ghettos to which persons with a mental deficiency are confined. They explained the problems encountered by even the best trained people who suffer from other disabilities. There may be various reasons why it is difficult for this group of workers to find a job.

All of these groups are telling us that they believe in Canada. They believe this country and its citizens have the generosity of spirit to see what needs to be done and to do it. They are asking for us to continue the great mission of diversity that has enriched this country from its beginnings.

Employment Equity ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

It is almost two o'clock. The hon. member will have the floor when we come back to debate. It being 2 p.m., pursuant to Standing Order 30(5), the House will now proceed to statements by members.

National Family WeekStatements By Members

October 3rd, 1995 / 1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Rose-Marie Ur Liberal Lambton—Middlesex, ON

Mr. Speaker, for 12 years now in the week leading up to Thanksgiving, Canadians have made a special effort to celebrate National Family Week.

This year, from October 2 to October 8, all Canadians will be encouraged to look inward and to contemplate the fundamental importance of our families and the relationships we have with the loved ones around us. This year's theme "Families are Forever: Enjoy Family Times" builds on the concept that families, like precious jewels, are forever and need to be enjoyed, treasured and celebrated.

The family unit is an essential building block of all societies. The ties that bind us to each other are reflections of the ties that keep the greater family, the global community, together. During this National Family Week and indeed all year long we should enjoy the time we spend with our family members and enjoy the memories of good family ties.

Automotive IndustryStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Mercier Bloc Blainville—Deux-Montagnes, QC

Mr. Speaker, the federal Department of Industry has made a complete list of pressure tactics Ottawa could use to persuade the automotive industry to campaign for the No side.

To convince Hyundai, it is hinted that the government might want to recover the federal contribution for the construction of the plant in Bromont. To convince GM, there would be a reference to the $110 million loan approved by Ottawa for the Boisbriand plant. To convince other parties, there would be references to federal programs to help industry and facilitate access to the U.S. market.

It seems that the people they are counting on to do the job include Yves Landry of Chrysler Corporation, identified as the spokesperson for the automotive industry, and Maureen Darkes, the Canadian President of General Motors who is responsible for the Boisbriand plant. Leaders of the automotive industry should not give in to this federal blackmail.

Nuclear TestingStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Reform

Bob Mills Reform Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, many Canadians are outraged by the continuing French nuclear tests in the South Pacific and are demanding our government take a stand. While other countries have strongly condemned the French behaviour, the Liberal government reaction has been pathetically weak.

Instead of recalling our ambassador from France for consultation as the Reform Party demanded, the government lamely expressed its regret and yesterday the Minister of Foreign Affairs told a member of the House that the nuclear tests were nothing to get excited about.

Instead of standing up to France, the Minister of Foreign Affairs has chosen the path of appeasement over principles, just like the leader of the Bloc Quebecois did on this same issue.

Unlike the government and the Official Opposition, the Reform Party does stand up for its principles and will continue to condemn the French nuclear testing because the people of Canada demand it.

Nuclear TestingStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

NDP

John Solomon NDP Regina—Lumsden, SK

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are extremely disappointed at the weak response our government has taken with the Government of France on nuclear weapons testing in the South Pacific.

Last week I had the opportunity to address the Council of Europe to convey the unhappiness of Canadians with France for undertaking these tests. Delegations from Canada, Australia, Japan and Mexico condemned France for its actions.

Today I am calling on Canadians to boycott products from France such as wines, perfumes, bottled water, cheeses and clothing until the French stop testing nuclear devices. A boycott will pressure French business to lobby French President Chirac to end testing sooner.

The government and Canadians must take a firmer stand on this issue. It is incredible that on the 50th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki France should resume nuclear testing. It is equally incredible that the Liberal government has been silent on this issue which impacts negatively on world peace and on our environment.

Communities In BloomStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Gary Pillitteri Liberal Niagara Falls, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Ontario Parks Association through its Communities in Bloom program has announced that Niagara-on-the-Lake, a town which I am proud to represent federally, has been named prettiest small town in Ontario.

Competing in the category for communities with a population of between 5,000 and 30,000, Niagara-on-the-Lake prevailed over places such as Coburg, Collingwood, Dryden and Elliot Lake.

What struck the judges was the originality of the town's landscaping. For this, much of the credit is due to the town's parks and recreation department and to its residents.

Now Niagara-on-the-Lake will be concentrating its efforts on achieving the national title, due to be announced in Ottawa next fall. This is calling for the active participation of the town's residents, who I am sure will rise to the challenge.

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

John Finlay Liberal Oxford, ON

Mr. Speaker, all of us have a role to play in protecting our environment. The federal government is in a position to create policy which will protect the Canadian environment and the environment of our neighbours.

This past July the Minister of the Environment introduced measures to protect the environment of lakes, rivers and wetlands across North America by banning lead shot under the authority of the Migratory Birds Convention Act.

Lead shot, which can be fatal when ingested by water fowl, is released into the Canadian environment by water fowl hunters at between 1,500 and 2,000 tonnes per year. This action taken by the minister will end the poisoning of our waters and will protect important species in our ecosystem. This measure will not only save our environment, it is one small step toward maintaining biodiversity and giving future generations an environment they can live with.

MiningStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Brent St. Denis Liberal Algoma, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada's mining sector continues to provide jobs, investment and the impetus for new technological development. Canada's mining companies and mine workers are among the best in the world when it comes to efficient, cost effective and safe mining practices. Important for all Canadians, environmental concerns have become a high priority for Canada's mining industry.

Government red tape is a big problem. As a member of the government's rural caucus and especially as a northern Ontario MP, I emphasize the importance of streamlining the regulatory process which faces the mining industry.

The current system creates unneeded duplication, slows the approval process and wastes both industry and government time and money.

I am pleased the government has recommended that the process be made to serve Canadians, not hinder them, and that we have agreed with industry, aboriginal and environmental groups and others about what needs to be done.

I ask my colleagues to support action which will lead to the streamlining of the regulatory process and I call on provincial governments to co-operate to ensure that both senior levels of government work together to make regulatory efficiency a priority.

Agricultural ResearchStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, the 1995 federal budget announced the closing of the La Pocatière agri-food research centre, the only centre specializing in research in sheep farming, with sheep production in full expansion.

Neither Quebec nor the regional community was consulted about the closure, which was hidden away in the appendixes to the budget. The comité de survie de la ferme expérimentale thought it had succeeded in extracting a moratorium, enabling it to revive agricultural research in the cradle of farming research in Quebec.

Unfortunately, despite the minister's promise, the department has begun to remove the centre's equipment, in spite of the community action. Data provided by the federal government reveal that Quebec receives less than 15 per cent of the federal department of agriculture's spending on research and development.

Does the agriculture minister believe, just like the defence minister, that he cannot afford the luxury of treating Quebec equitably? This is another good reason for Quebecers to vote yes.

Government GrantsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Reform

John Williams Reform St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, in his February 1994 budget speech the Minister of Finance stated: "Fiscal reality requires that the government review its policy on the funding of interest groups".

In a letter to the President of the Treasury Board, the Minister of Natural Resources agreed that grants should be given only to those groups that provide important services to the Canadian public.

I give some of the results of this promise. Natural resources gave a grant of $35,000 to the United States Department of Energy, $5,000 to Sears, $70,000 to Superior Propane, $40,000 to the Saskatchewan Trucking Association and $5,000 to the Omineca Ski Club.

In total natural resources approved grants of $282 million. Canadians are fed up with the Liberals buying favours with taxpayers' money and this outrage must stop.

Canadian UnityStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Gar Knutson Liberal Elgin—Norfolk, ON

Mr. Speaker, today I rise in the House to add the federal riding of Elgin-Norfolk to the important debate on national unity. Recently I had the opportunity to meet with a constituent of mine, Mr. Tom Savage of Port Stanley, Ontario.

Mr. Savage, an artist, has created a national unity T-shirt. This shirt truly represents all of Canada: a large red maple leaf with a fleur de lys of Quebec and the sacred hoop of the First Nations.

In the wake of the crisis in both Ipperwash Beach and Gustafsen Lake and the constant debate on the Quebec referendum, Mr. Savage is one of many Canadians who feel Canada includes Quebec and aboriginals.

It is frightening to envision the possibility of Canada's breaking up and therefore I commend the work of Tom Savage and hope that more Canadians step forward to voice their concerns. There is no room for complacency. It is time for all Canadians who together form our cultural mosaic to embrace our differences and stand united. This will ensure a strong and prosperous future for all of Canada.

Referendum CampaignStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Robert Bertrand Liberal Pontiac—Gatineau—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, the separatist leaders spent much of last week frightening seniors by claiming that, the day after a no vote in the referendum, their pensions would be cut.

The federal government is being financially responsible by reviewing all its programs to see how they may be made more efficient and less costly. The PQ government and its separatist allies, on the other hand, continue to promise the world ignoring the fact that an independent Quebec will face a deficit of between $7 billion and $15 billion in the first year.

Seniors, like the rest of the people in this country, prefer a government that states its intentions clearly over one that irresponsibly wastes money it does not have just to win its referendum. Seniors will say no on October 30 to the campaign of fear by the PQ and the Bloc.

Referendum CampaignStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Bernard Patry Liberal Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, there are some paradoxes in politics that cannot be ignored. Last Sunday, like thousands of other Quebecers, I saw the new Yes signs spring up in my riding.

Two of them in particular caught my attention. The first one showed a nice big flower as the promise of a healthy environment. The second one showed the peace sign which, in my opinion, speaks for itself.

While separatists were busy putting up their signs, a horrible drama was unfolding on the other side of the world as France set off its second nuclear explosion.

While the whole planet is mobilizing against these nuclear tests, Quebec separatists remain silent to avoid endangering the support France has promised them and continue to post their flower and peace signs.

Referendum CampaignStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Pierrette Venne Bloc Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, Senator Lise Bacon took offence at the treatment of Standard Life chief executive Claude Garcia by the Quebec government. Mr. Garcia became an instant celebrity at the start of the referendum campaign when he said: "We must not only win, we must crush". The Quebec government then remembered that Standard Life had been awarded important contracts without tenders and decided to issue a call for tenders, as should be done in any case.

Instead of taking offence, Mrs. Bacon should feel stifled as part of the No side, as Quebec businesspeople have been targeted by the Operation Unity centre and blackmailed by the federal government. Mrs. Bacon's principles are quite elastic. Why does she not in turn denounce the unacceptable practices used by her own side?

JusticeStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Reform Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, last Thursday it was discovered that two of the most notorious, violent criminals in Calgary have been on parole for over a year after serving seven of their twenty-two and twenty-nine year sentences.

Since the parole board gave them a second chance, one of them is now back in custody for assaulting his girlfriend.

When the Reform Party asked for amendments to Bill C-45 which would make dangerous violent offenders like Jean-Luc Dipietro and Oresto Panacui serve the full term for their original sentence plus the full term for the offence they committed while on parole, the Liberal government said no way and voted the amendment down.

Jean-Luc Dipietro and Oresto Panacui did not deserve to be released. Their criminal records include attempted murder, kidnapping, escaping custody, robbery and family violence-prime candidates for parole according to the parole board and the government.

Bill C-45 was the government's opportunity to really get tough on criminals but it refused to do it. The people of this country deserve and demand better.

Referendum CampaignStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Pierrette Ringuette-Maltais Liberal Madawaska—Victoria, NB

Mr. Speaker, the chairperson of the Centrale de l'enseignement du Québec, Lorraine Pagé, just sent a letter to members of her union, asking them to support the Yes side and make a financial contribution to the sovereignist campaign.

This invitation by the CEQ to subsidize the Yes side comes less than one week after Bombardier was lambasted by Quebec's separatists, including union leaders, for asking its employees to support the No side.

It seems more and more obvious that an independent Quebec will be a Quebec split in half, in that the right to freedom of speech and freedom of association will only be granted to those who support separatism and the PQ government. Quebecers do not want that kind of a country and they will vote No.

Young Trainees ProgramStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Eleni Bakopanos Liberal Saint-Denis, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian government has long recognized the need to provide more help and support to young dropouts and unemployed. Through the federal program for young trainees, 12 young people from my riding of Saint-Denis are currently participating in a training program that will teach them the job of inspector of mechanical products.

Thanks to this initiative, these young people, whose future was said to be bleak, have an opportunity to fully develop their potential. Our government is proud to endorse this project, because it meets the real needs of young Quebecers and Canadians by helping the unemployed and the dropouts. Our young people need this kind of initiatives, not a separatist dream which, quite obviously, would be a dead end.