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House of Commons Hansard #199 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was liberal.

Topics

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:20 p.m.

Liberal

Derek Lee Liberal Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

Mr. Speaker, I must say at the outset that I certainly would never take a view as pessimistic of the role of Parliament and the work of the new Liberal government as my friend opposite has. Perhaps we simply see things from different sides of the House.

I can assure my constituents and other colleagues in the House who would care to listen that my experience in Parliament is much more positive than my friend articulates. Again, by another dimension of measurement, my experience in Parliament is much more satisfying and fulfilling to me, to

Parliament, and I hope to my constituents than was my experience in the last Parliament.

Hopefully we can continue to make things better. To be sure, things are not yet ideal. All of us in the House are working to improve the way the House represents Canadians in debate and in the generation of legislation and in that other area, which often goes unnoticed in the House, the area of delegated legislation; the field of creation of statutory instruments and regulations.

The government has made great strides in fulfilling our red book commitments for a more open and accountable process based on fair play and other principles that they know Canadians will endorse. We have made a commitment in the red book to review the appointment process to ensure that necessary appointments are made on the basis of competence, not political affiliation or other criteria.

My friend opposite has listed a number of appointments and made reference to their relationship and affiliation with the Liberal Party. He failed in almost every instance to make reference to the abilities of those individuals.

As the Prime Minister has said, and I support him wholeheartedly on this, one is never going to be prejudiced from serving in a part time or full time position for the Government of Canada just because the person happens to be a Liberal.

We promised accessibility and transparency. I accept that things do not necessarily happen overnight around here. One does not simply push a button and get exactly what one wants. But the process has been in place for over a year and we have produced some excellent results.

We also undertook to examine the size and relevance of existing boards and commissions to achieve cost savings and to fill the remaining vacancies in relation to some of these agencies, boards, and commissions by way of an improved appointment system. The first step to establish an efficient appointment system was by means of a thorough review of the agencies. More than 350 agencies, boards, and commissions were examined, which involved 500 full time positions and 2,000 part time positions.

As a result of the review, 30 per cent of federal boards, agencies and commissions have been wound up or streamlined. Wound up means gone. We want to eliminate overlap, duplication, and to simplify government. Again, this is easy to say, tougher to do. We are still working on it. We will continue to wind up those agencies that no longer serve a purpose. This agency review has improved the accountability regime for governor in council appointments, and this enables the government to manage these agencies more effectively.

The second part of this process, after streamlining the agencies and reducing the number, was to improve the appointment process. There also the government has done a thorough review of the process. We want to make it more open and accessible.

The role that boards and agencies are expected to play is clear and appropriate. When that is the case it is possible to be more precise in identifying the qualifications needed by appointees. This in turn permits improvements in the recruiting process. In this respect the government has made changes in the process for these appointments, always keeping in mind accessibility, transparency and confidence.

The appointment process has been made more open and transparent through the advertisement of vacancies for full time GIC positions in the Canada Gazette . I know a lot of Canadians do not wake up with the Canada Gazette on their doorstep, but it is one instrument that publicizes for the public record all these openings and is disseminated across the country, including to all the libraries on the list. All these openings are advertised there. People who have an interest will be able to find out when the vacancies come open.

In order to place the advertisements it is necessary to develop job profiles that contain job descriptions and selection criteria. In those notices there are references to job descriptions and selection criteria. All federal agencies are required to provide job profiles and these same selection criteria for full time fixed positions. The selection criteria are then used to find the most competent people to fill these positions.

The advertisement of vacancies in the Canada Gazette generates a greater pool of candidates and contributes to better appointments. Interested individuals send their CVs either to the agency or to the minister's office. Some people even send it to the Prime Minister's office. At the end of the day these resumes and CVs end up in one pile. Each CV is then evaluated in accordance with the established selection criteria.

This particular process has been in place for nearly a year. As I say, it was not in place when we first took over government. It may be some time before all of the wrinkles and variations in the process are fully dealt with. The improvements have begun. I can testify to that.

As a Liberal member of Parliament in the last Parliament I sat in opposition and watched the appointment process as it was. While on the opposition benches we noted what we regarded as deficiencies in the process. We did not have much impact on it.

In this Parliament we have made a change in the process. What is remarkable to me is that after nine years on the opposition benches and as a person active in Liberal politics, having ended the nine year mandate of the previous government, I have had more than one Liberal come to me and

question me as to why it is not possible for Liberals to get appointed to agencies, boards and commissions.

To be sure there are many Liberals being appointed. People I have worked with in the party have taken note of the fact that being a Liberal and just being there is no longer the way one gets appointed to an agency, board or commission. One has to have the competence. I have passed that message on to many. It is a change from what has happened in the past, going back five or 10 years.

The other part of the motion today has to do with parliamentary reform. It is a subject I have always taken a great interest in. I have said to my spouse and friends that I would be willing at the appropriate point in time to lay my career on the altar of parliamentary reform. I have not had to do that yet.

Parliament is changing. It is reforming. This government made a commitment to be a part of the reform process. I have to point out something that is very fundamental in understanding what drives parliamentary reform. It is almost impossible for a government to say that it will and that it does take full responsibility for parliamentary reform. A government does not own Parliament. A government does not at all times of the day drive Parliament. Parliament belongs to its members and through them to the electorate of Canada.

People must realize that this Parliament is a distinct branch of government, distinct from the executive. The lay person who has not spent time around the House of Commons or who has not studied it in great detail in high school or university might miss some of the more obvious distinctions between the executive branch of government and Parliament.

Let me record my perception that there is a huge difference. If Parliament is to be what Canadians expect it to be, it is important for members of Parliament and Canadians to understand that distinction and to understand what drives Parliament and parliamentary reform.

The government has gone on record as wanting to play a role in the restoration of confidence in Parliament and confidence in government. The government can take care of the government but it is those of us in Parliament who have to take the responsibility for Parliament.

It has to be pointed out as well that all ministers of the government sit in Parliament. I hope that their focus when they sit here is as much parliamentary as it is governmental, but I accept that from time to time a minister's role is to account to Parliament for the management of his or her portfolio. The ministers will not, by the nature of their work, be fundamentally involved in driving parliamentary reform.

In any event, from the point of view of the government this is just not talk. We started with parliamentary reform very early in our mandate. In January 1994 we introduced quite significant rule changes to open up the parliamentary decision making process.

The objectives of the reform were to make Parliament more relevant and to consult and work with MPs more in the day to day decisions of government so that MPs would have a greater impact on those day to day decisions. We have to keep in mind that outside of Parliament there is a vast public service which is loyal and operates 99.9 per cent of the time within the law in accordance with the mandate which comes to it by statute or by policy. We also wanted to give MPs a greater role in influencing legislation as it developed.

That is what the government said it wanted to give Parliament. I would like to repeat that it is not as much for the government to give than it is for MPs to take. The history of this place includes the history of all the British Parliaments. Over time, parliamentarians have given their lives to ensure there was a Parliament which would work. We in this country are the beneficiaries of that history. All of us ought to subscribe to the philosophy where we accept the burden of making Parliament work and take the obligation to reform it to make it vital and responsive to Canadians.

We made four changes in the rules of this place at the behest of the government. Committees of the House, which are a very vital part of Parliament, may now draft bills. Those are not just words. That was done.

Bill C-69 was drafted in committee. I sat on that committee. It was a tedious exercise. It is one which MPs are not used to, to actually meticulously draft a bill. We needed a lot of help but we got it done. It was a big job and there is room for more of that in this Parliament.

Bills can now be referred to a committee before the second reading vote. That is the point in time when Parliament approves a bill in principle. By referring it to a committee before the second reading vote, before approval in principle, it provides the committee with much more latitude to make changes or additions to the bill. The committee is not bound by the principles articulated in the bill which would have been adopted at second reading.

That is a very important change. We have already seen the benefit of it several times in this Parliament, including the Marine Transportation Security Act, the amendments to the Lobbyists Registration Act and the amendments to the Corrections and Conditional Release Act. I sat on that particular exercise and found it useful. There are a couple of other bills coming into the House where we believe colleagues may be so disposed as to refer them to committee before second reading.

Two of these are Bill C-62 and Bill C-84. My experience is that this is a very useful device.

Standing committees of the House will have the power to look at the department's future spending priorities. If there is one area of work in Parliament where I think Parliament and the government has let Canadians down it is in the review of the estimates. It is an institutional fault. The estimates procedure as it has evolved over many years has left this House almost functionless in carefully reviewing government's proposed expenditures.

The new rules turn the tide and provide another area of work for MPs. As a member of Parliament, I cannot say that MPs have taken up the challenge. The process is just beginning and the proof will be in the pudding. I do not know where it will end up. However, if MPs do not take the challenge and work with the new procedures, then we may be seen to have been as ineffective under the new rules as we were under the old rules. That is something which is coming down the pipeline. I for one will watch it closely and do my best to make the system work.

The finance committee was given the power to report on the budgetary policy of the Government of Canada. That was a specific mandate given to a specific committee. There is some historical precedent for that.

There used to be a committee and I think it was called the committee of the whole but it was not the committee in the House. It was a standing committee that used to review all of the estimates and put its stamp of approval on it at the very end. That ended about the time John Diefenbaker ended his career here. He was one person who regretted the demise of that particular committee and procedure. In any event, we are making an attempt to get back to focusing on government expenditure policy in the one committee. At least one committee will make some macroeconomic comment on it, if I can put it that way.

The last thing has to do with Parliament's right and ability to require disclosure from Canadians. In this place we call it the power to call for persons and papers. It basically consists of requiring people to attend, give answers to questions and produce documents much like the power a subpoena would have.

There are a number of things developing in this Parliament where we will have an opportunity as a House to reconfirm the rights and authorities that we have as a Parliament to require disclosure. Over the last decades we have not used it. We have accepted an ill advised view of the executive branch of government that we really do not have those powers. However, we do. Parliament does and at the end of the day we may exercise them at committee and on the floor the House.

I hope when these parliamentary tests both in the House and in the other place come up this year or next, MPs will make the right decision to confirm those powers which have been passed on to us over a number of generations of parliamentary history. It is a challenge and I hope my colleagues will not let us down. I am sure they will not, but the challenge will not be here until it gets here. I invite MPs to play a role in that vital element of parliamentary reform when it gets here.

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Reform Calgary North, AB

Mr. Speaker, I was glad to listen to my hon. friend. I have had the pleasure of sitting on at least one committee with the member and really respect his fair mindedness, hard work and good judgment.

I wonder if the member would comment on a situation that has been troubling me.

At times all members of a committee would like to see a policy or a decision go a particular way. There is general agreement. The hon. member in his years in Parliament probably has seen more than one instance of this in a committee.

However, word comes down from on high, from the minister or the department that it is not the recommendation that is wanted from the committee. Therefore government members on the committee tend to have to move in the direction they are told.

I wonder if the member, even without commenting on any instance of this, could propose or suggest a way that we could deal with the situation so that members on a committee have a greater ability to put their own judgment forward. Is there a procedure he has thought about, a reform or a change that could make the situation a little more workable?

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Derek Lee Liberal Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

Mr. Speaker, I had the pleasure of raising this question about two weeks ago. I asked a similar question of a former prime minister who was prime minister here for many years. I thought I could get a crisp answer. He gave a good answer but it did not help us at all. It does not have the easy answer.

Each MP sitting on a committee is part of a party. Members realize that they got elected as part of a party in many cases. When some direction comes from the team captain, they listen carefully.

I have found in my experience that as one gets experience in parliamentary work and as committees get experience and build up a sense of cohesion, a policy base and a policy focus, its members are more confident in the views they may take and put forward. As to questions that have come up at committee where there has been some tilt from the executive

part of government, I can honestly say that I have seen these things go both ways.

I remember on one committee a few years ago, I had to wait a whole year to get through a resolution on a matter where the government absolutely did not want that to happen. In the end colleagues on the committee on the government side saw the right way, acquiesced and it went through. That matter is still a matter for this Parliament. It is in the pipeline.

It is a matter of generating the self-confidence and the knowledge in the field. It is a matter of MPs themselves making the right decisions in committee, taking into account their team responsibilities and the public policy interests that may be involved in a question. In the end, there is no simple answer.

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Bloc

Gaston Leroux Bloc Richmond—Wolfe, QC

Mr. Speaker, in this debate on openness brought to us by the Reform Party, I heard the hon. member speak of his desire for openness, just as his own government dealt extensively with this issue in the red book.

I would like the hon. member to give me his opinion on the March 1987 report by the Standing Committee on Justice and Solicitor General, which recommended that the Access to Information Act apply to all federal institutions, including administrative tribunals, the Senate and the House of Commons.

I would like the hon. member, first, to tell me whether he endorses this committee report and, second, to explain to me why, after 18 months in power, his own government has not ensured openness and free access to information from the House of Commons, the Senate, and some public officials reporting directly to Parliament, including the Chief Electoral Officer, the Commissioner of Official Languages, and the Auditor General. None of these people is subject to the Access to Information Act.

How does he explain that, after 18 months of Liberal government and especially 30 years of Liberal rhetoric on openness, people in Canada and Quebec do not yet have access to basic information, which would ensure openness in public administration?

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Derek Lee Liberal Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

Mr. Speaker, this country has some of the most advanced access to information legislation in the world. I did not arrive in this place until 1988 but I did sit on committee with the chair of the committee who played a great role in the report referred to by the hon. member.

I believe there is a role to expand the ambit of access to information. By the same token I am sure the member opposite will agree there are some areas of government that simply are not conducive to full and complete access.

Where do we draw the line? Which agencies will be accessible via open access to information and which will be on the schedule as not being fully open to access? Even agencies that are on the schedule and cannot be accessed completely and comprehensively provide information with exclusion, for example, the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service. Many others will provide information with some exclusions.

Parliament has never been bound by access to information statutes or privacy statutes. Parliament in my view never did bind itself. Members need not feel restricted by those statutes. If a committee of Parliament wants access to an area of government, there are no restrictions on Parliament's ability to access them. That is something of which all members should be aware. These powers have been given to us historically over the past centuries. If members want the information, they have the ability on the floor or at committee to get that information. For heaven's sake, use it.

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

The Speaker

I understand that the hon. member for Richmond-Wolfe wishes to speak.

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Bloc

Gaston Leroux Bloc Richmond—Wolfe, QC

Mr. Speaker, could I perhaps have the floor right after Question Period? My time has not expired yet, but I would prefer not to interrupt my remarks. I would like to deliver my comments all at once.

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

The Speaker

Agreed. You will have the floor right after Question Period.

Report Of Auditor GeneralGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

The Speaker

Colleagues, I have the honour to lay upon the table the report of the Auditor General of Canada to the House of Commons, volume 1, dated May 1995.

I remind hon. members that, pursuant to Standing Order 108(3)(d), this report is deemed to have been permanently referred to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts.

Since it is almost two o'clock p.m., pursuant to Standing Order 30(5), the House will now proceed to statements by members pursuant to Standing Order 31.

The MediaStatements By Members

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Beth Phinney Liberal Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, the CBC has been spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in the name of free speech to get the permission of the courts to show tapes of the Bernardo trial.

Has it asked Canadians if they want to see these shocking visuals? I want to know and the people of Canada want to know what can be done to protect the families of the victims of the Paul Bernardo case from the media.

In light the CBC's refusal to respect the rights of the victims' families, perhaps the CRTC should be given the power to prevent the wasting of tax dollars on this sort of tabloid journalism. Some efforts should be made to stop the media from its selfish and uncaring attempt to make money and boost ratings at the expense of the privacy of the families of the victims with total disregard for the rights of Canadian children.

Official Languages ActStatements By Members

1:50 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Mercier Bloc Blainville—Deux-Montagnes, QC

Mr. Speaker, Bloc Quebecois members have always opposed any attempt to abolish the Official Languages Act.

However, some Reform, Conservative, NDP and Liberal members, including the Liberal member for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, gave their support to the Alliance for the Preservation of English in Canada, by tabling petitions asking the House of Commons to abolish the Official Languages Act.

The government is guilty of double talk. How else can we explain the closure of the only French speaking military college in Canada? How else can we explain the evasive answers to our questions on the insignificant attention given to French as a working language in the federal administration, in Ottawa and in Hull?

This government wilfully contravenes the Official Languages Act. That is confirmed by the reports of the Commissioner of Official Languages, and also by the actions of Liberal members.

Official Languages ActStatements By Members

1:50 p.m.

The Speaker

My colleague, I should point out here that, when tabling a petition in this House, a member does not have to support or reject that petition. In fact, the Chair asks members to refrain from making comments when they table petitions.

The FamilyStatements By Members

1:50 p.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Reform Fraser Valley East, BC

Mr. Speaker, because of a court decision yesterday, same sex couples can now adopt children in Ontario. Although the nuclear family is the basic unit throughout all societies on earth and standard throughout all ages of history, this definition can now be quashed at the stroke of a pen by one man acting in one court. This is a sad day for the family in Canada.

I remind the government that polls show that 67 per cent of Canadians believe that same sex adoption is a negative development. I would remind the government that the Liberal Party voted solidly against changes in the definition of the family. I remind the government that a provincial bill authorizing same sex adoptions was resoundingly defeated not one year ago in the Ontario legislature.

Who runs this country, one man in one court in one province, or the people of Canada? The courts are embracing a public policy shift far removed from the people. The federal government bears a solemn responsibility to do whatever it can to fight this trend, to fight to protect the institution that forms the basis of our society. We must continue the fight for the nuclear family.

National Forest WeekStatements By Members

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Len Hopkins Liberal Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada is celebrating National Forest Week from May 7 to May 14. However, there is nothing to celebrate at the Petawawa National Forestry Institute.

This forest research laboratory, surrounded by 41 square miles of its own recorded research forest and history, is closing. Not only is this institute the oldest recorded research forest in Canada, but it is known nationally and internationally by top scientists. Tourists have come from around the world to visit it.

With its impending closure, we are witnessing a brain drain. Some scientists have indicated their departure to other areas outside Canada and others will be obliged to take early retirement even though their interests and hearts are still with the Canadian Forest Service.

It is rather ironic that trees that have come to the MPs in both lobbies of the House over many years of celebrating National Forest Week have come from the Petawawa National Forestry Institute.

We are not celebrating. We are in mourning.

Cedarbrae CollegiateStatements By Members

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

John Cannis Liberal Scarborough Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, today a group of students from the student body of Cedarbrae Collegiate, located in my riding of Scarborough Centre, are visiting Ottawa. Along with my colleague for Scarborough West, I extend a warm welcome to them.

Cedarbrae Collegiate evokes fond memories to me of the occasions in the past when I visited the collegiate and participated in citizenship ceremonies.

I also thank the collegiate publicly for previous occasions when I and others were treated to some exceptional performances conducted by its excellent and renowned music department.

Congratulations to all the staff, administration and the student body. A special note of thanks and welcome to Mr. John Connors, also a member of the school administration.

Crime PreventionStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Glen McKinnon Liberal Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, I recently returned from the UN congress on the prevention of crime and treatment of offenders held in Cairo, Egypt.

I am proud to report that Canada continues to be recognized as an authority on human rights and a leader in attempting to identify the root causes of criminal behaviour.

Justice and Corrections Canada officials as well as participating NGOs combined their knowledge and expertise to establish a strong Canadian presence.

Our resolution which endorses the elimination of violence against women and children was supported by more than 55 countries. As well, during the Japanese sponsored gun control resolution Canada was commended for its leadership in establishing reasonable approaches to firearms legislation.

Other topical resolutions sought to discuss the standardization of extradition proceedings, the development of crime prevention strategies and to address juvenile and violent criminality and Internet protocol.

Quebec Finance Minister's BudgetStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Gilbert Fillion Bloc Chicoutimi, QC

Mr. Speaker, unlike his federal counterpart, the Quebec finance minister decided to tackle the deficit in his very first budget. In just one year, he will reduce Quebec's deficit by one third. By comparison, the Liberals only managed to reduce the federal deficit by 10 per cent with their first budget. The cuts in transfers to the provinces announced in last February's federal budget will deprive Quebec of $650 million in 1996-97 and $1.9 billion in 1997-98. Yet, the finance minister has the nerve to criticize Quebec's budget.

Did the federal Minister of Finance spend the first year of his mandate trying to figure out how he was going to tackle the federal deficit, only to come up with this idea of offloading it onto the provinces?

Human RightsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Beaver River, AB

Mr. Speaker, today we have leaned that an Ontario provincial court judge has ruled that laws prohibiting adoption by homosexual couples are contrary to the charter of rights.

The Minister of Justice has frequently insisted that including sexual orientation in the Canadian Human Rights Act as he has promised to do will be in accordance with the wishes of Canadians.

The courts and not the legislatures are making the law in the country. In the face of the Ontario court judgment, how can the minister be so confident about how his legislation will be interpreted?

A recent Angus Reid poll demonstrates conclusively two-thirds of Canadians disagree with the Ontario court and do not wish to extend adoption rights to homosexual couples. The Ontario legislature refused to do this last year. In the same way, Canadians overwhelmingly oppose the minister's plan to amend the human rights act.

The Minister of Justice must reconsider his promise to add sexual orientation to the Canadian Human Rights Act and represent the wishes of Canadians, unlike the provincial court has done.

Auditor General ReportStatements By Members

May 11th, 1995 / 2 p.m.

NDP

Vic Althouse NDP Mackenzie, SK

Mr. Speaker, on a day when the auditor general's report dominates the day's news let us not forget some basic realities. Canada is being governed by the bureaucrats, not by elected representatives.

A few examples are all I can give in one minute but there is the Hughes contract with Transport Canada officials, a $377 million contract that got way out of hand. Another Hughes contract is with the defence department which even the minister has not been able to figure out yet. External Affairs transfer costs were identified today by the auditor general.

Instead of acting as spokespersons for the bureaucracy, it is time for ministers to stop protecting management levels. Make deputy ministers and directors general directly responsible for their actions.

Because termination is currently very costly, the system keeps senior bureaucrats on even when they work at cross purposes with elected politicians.

If cabinet is prepared to return to responsible government, Parliament may eventually be able to do its job of protecting the public purse.

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Lyle Vanclief Liberal Prince Edward—Hastings, ON

Mr. Speaker, I extend my congratulations to one of Ontario's environmental groups, Fishermen Involved in Saving Habitat, FISH.

Environment Canada and FISH have been working together with the support of the environmental partners fund to carry out an environmental education project. This partnership has resulted in the development of the bronze level of the watershed report card, a management tool for bringing various stakeholders and community members together and collectively designing strategies for the protection of natural habitat. The bronze level is a crucial foundation which will pave the way for the silver and gold levels of the report card which will deal with the implementation of action plans for relevant ecosystems.

This project is possible because of the support of its community partners. These partners include the American Fisheries Society, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Energy, many volunteer workshop participants and of course Fishermen Involved in Saving Habitat.

Dr. Réjean MénardStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Paradis Liberal Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, the College of Family Physicians of Canada just named Dr. Réjean Ménard, who is from Granby, the family physician of the year.

This is the first time that this prestigious honour, sought by the 12,500 members of the college, is awarded to a physician from Quebec.

Dr. Ménard's dedication to his patients, his availability, as well as his interest in medical training and in teaching, make him a role model. We are very proud of him.

Dr. Ménard deserves our admiration and our gratefulness for his remarkable work, and I invite all the members of this House to join me in conveying our most sincere congratulations.

Dr. Réjean MénardStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Hearing Awareness MonthStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Gurbax Malhi Liberal Bramalea—Gore—Malton, ON

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Canadian Hearing Society and the one in ten Canadians who are deaf, deafened and hard of hearing, I am pleased to draw to the attention of the House that May has been proclaimed Hearing Awareness Month.

The aging of our population and the increase in noise pollution have made hearing loss the fastest growing disability in North America.

For many deaf people American sign language is their first language. We must ensure they have access to employment opportunities, places of worship, entertainment and services of every kind.

It is also important to remember a little informed courtesy goes a long way in building and maintaining bridges between hearing and deaf, deafened and hard of hearing Canadians.

Auditor General's ReportStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Maurice Dumas Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, today, the auditor general released the results of an audit by his office involving more than 300 public servants. The results are alarming. It appears that 33 per cent of federal public servants are afraid to lose their jobs if they blow the whistle on cases of conflict of interest involving their boss. Even worse, 60 per cent of senior managers would take no action if the process for awarding a contract to a single supplier was clouded in any way.

This is intolerable, and the government must show some leadership here. But how, when the Minister of Canadian Heritage and the Prime Minister constantly give preferential treatment to friends of the government? The Liberals, who said they would defend integrity in government, still have a long way to go to deliver what they promised in their red book. It will take more than words to restore the public's confidence.

GovernmentStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Reform Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker:

When the last election battle Was engaged the red book won The promises all there to see In plain talk they were put down A new way to do politics Make commitments that you'd keep The public would be reassured And go right back to sleep The problem's not the deficit Don't get hung up on the debt Just get everyone back working Jobs, jobs, jobs we need, you bet We'll save our social programs

And replace the G.S.T. The infrastructure program will Bring work for you and me To show we're really serious We'll give special attention To a symbol that the public hates We'll reform the M.P. pension But history won't be so kind The red book makes me choke a bit It gave us a brand new political phrase We now know the hypogrit