House of Commons Hansard #83 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was environment.


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1:25 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Ringuette-Maltais)

Question period has now expired. The period of 20-minute speeches followed by 10 minutes of questions or comments has also expired for this bill. We will now start the period of 10-minute speeches.

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1:25 p.m.


Francine Lalonde Bloc Mercier, QC

Madam Speaker, I had prepared a 20-minute speech, but still. Stimulated as I was by the hon. member for Dartmouth, I could have gone even longer. At the outset, I would like to say it is annoying to be called to order when, on the introduction of a Canadian bill, we, of the official opposition, claim the issue of power sharing is not relevant.

It is exactly because we are the official opposition that we have to point out that, in a bill like this one, the confusion is such that it can only cause major problems, or else, and this is another possibility, this bill does not mean anything.

Before continuing, I would like to remind the House that when provincial premiers met recently on the unity train, they were confronted with a new document on social union proposed by Ontario. A document by Mr. Tom Courchene proposing what exactly? The co-ordinated management of Canadian federalism by the provinces, without taking into account the province of Quebec and the willingness of a great number of Quebecers to achieve sovereignty and to negotiate a partnership.

There is a problem of distribution of powers within Canada. Our reform colleagues talk about it in their own way by saying there must be decentralization. Others, such as Ontario and British Columbia, talk about it differently, saying the provinces must manage Canada. And there is Quebec, which jealously wants to maintain its historic prerogatives for its people. I do not accept the lesson given by the hon. member for Dartmouth. And I think I can say on behalf of the Bloc that we do not accept it.

Let us talk now about this great bill, worthy of a Captain Canada, who has invaded territorial waters that were not his, to seize a ship he had no right to. The motive was noble, but the means amounted to taking justice into one's own hands. In international institutions, this is not particularly appreciated.

I would like to talk about the "whereases" that precede the bill and that seem to make it a proposal from a convention rather than a bill, even though Parliament is mentioned.

Since I do not have much time, I will go right away to the first and third amendment. We could talk about the others, but I think these are the most important.

It reads:

Whereas Parliament wishes to reaffirm Canada's role as a world leader in oceans and marine resource management;

Of course, no one will object to that. To wish to be a world leader is one thing, but to claim to be the world leader in oceans management is pushing it. What kind of actions back this statement remains to be seen. It is understandable to want to be, but to proclaim oneself is another story.

The third element reads, and I quote:

Whereas Parliament wishes to affirm-

in Canadian domestic law-

-Canada's sovereign rights, jurisdiction and responsibilities in the exclusive economic zone of Canada;

Does this means that Parliament is giving itself new sovereign rights on Canadian territory? Because it is not saying reaffirm but affirm. This could raise concerns about oceans, rivers and all waterways.

I raise this whereas clause because it seems to me that, like the rest of this bill, it is vague and opens the door to, at best, interdepartmental quarrelling. What does this bill say about the provinces? I just said that, at the social and economic levels, they have started to look at managing things together. I did not mention Quebec, however.

Historically, even before the days of sovereignist governments, Quebec has made it clear that it wanted to look after the economy and social affairs of the province, considered by many to be an "état", a future country. I am talking about the provinces on the ocean, because they are in this situation I am describing. How much attention is paid to the provinces in this bill?

Consultation has been promised. But consulting the provinces will not be a requirement, even in the cases where regulations are put in place that affect them. Suffice it to mention the regulations with respect to the fee structure, which would appear to come under provincial control. Even in this case, consulting the provinces will not actually be a requirement. Looking at the role of the provinces

in this bill reminds us that Canada, and I am excluding Quebec here, is far from having settled its problem of "governance" as it is called today in intellectual circles.

I wonder if the member who sponsored it at the time would still agree now that he is premier of a province that must deal with this issue on a continuing basis, but this bill leaves only crumbs to the provinces and shows that the will of the first Prime Minister, John A. Macdonald-who wanted to create an undivided country but was unable to do so because eastern Canada, which is now Quebec, objected-is still alive and well in today's Canada.

There is a problem in the division of powers and responsibilities. There is an effectiveness problem, which eventually becomes a money problem. Being a world leader in the management of oceans and their resources requires money. Where is the money to implement this bill?

I saw no money anywhere. The only money I can see will come from fees that are unfair to Quebec and to the ports along the St. Lawrence. I hope these fees are not the only way to finance Canada's intended role as a world leader in the management of fisheries and oceans.

This project is disturbing in several respects, including the environmental aspects. As we know, Environment Canada's budget will be cut by 32 per cent over three years. This bill allows the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to form his own department in this area. There is a serious co-ordination problem within cabinet, not to mention the co-ordination problem with the provinces.

Perhaps cabinet did not really review this bill, because we wonder how it can be managed jointly by the Minister of the Environment and the minister of fisheries. We will vote for the amendment, because I think we demonstrated convincingly that this bill is not worthy of its stated objective of making Canada a world leader in the management of oceans and their resources.

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1:35 p.m.


Philippe Paré Bloc Louis-Hébert, QC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to take part in the debate, at third reading, on Bill C-26. As you know, the Bloc Quebecois is opposed to this bill, which, like several others introduced in this House since the beginning of the second session of the 35th Parliament, does not at all take into account the interests of the provinces.

More specifically, this bill makes no attempt whatsoever to get the provinces involved in the management of fishery resources. During the debate at report stage, in June, the Bloc Quebecois tabled numerous amendments proposed by the hon. member for Gaspé, who sits on the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, precisely to ensure that the provisions contained in the bill would force the federal government to take into account the provinces' interests regarding the management of marine resources.

The bill does refer to the provinces, but merely to put them in the same category as any other organization such as a municipality, a public or private law entity, an aboriginal organization, or a coastal community.

In spite of the nice rhetoric used by the Prime Minister and his lieutenants on progressive and co-operative federalism, the fact is that this government, like its predecessors, is unable to renew federalism because federalism is not renewable.

So, in June, the Bloc proposed amendments to the bill that would have allowed the provinces to get involved in the management of marine resources even though, according to the Constitution of 1867, oceans comes under federal jurisdiction. A true federal-provincial partnership could have been established to ensure the sound management of our marine resources.

Instead of promoting such partnership, the government preferred to turn a deaf ear and flatly rejected all the requests made by the Bloc Quebecois. Clearly, the government is adamant about holding on to these areas of jurisdiction and has no intention of sharing them with the provinces.

What are the arguments used by this government to continue to refuse to share this responsibility with the provinces? One is the requirement to comply with the UN convention on the law of the sea, which came into effect on November 14, 1994. According to the comments made by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans during the June 10 debate, our proposed amendments went against this international convention.

In fact, on June 10, 1996, the parliamentary secretary said, as we can see on page 3606 of Hansard , and I quote:

Bloc Motions Nos. 15 and 16 regarding the continental shelf make the same erroneous implications, namely that the continental shelf could be within the boundary of a province. The continental shelf is well beyond provincial boundaries. To amend this bill as proposed by the Bloc would make Canada's new ocean statute contravene international law. This is neither proper nor legally correct.

It is important to note, by the way, that it is always easy for government members to accuse us of making erroneous implications rather than debate the real issues.

However, in the United States, the federation closest to Canada, at least physically, the central government shares with the States its responsibilities over part of its coastal territory. That does not mean that the United States are contravening international law. It does not prevent the United States from exercising unfettered jurisdiction over their coasts and territorial waters. It is rather a new vision of federation.

Another argument used to refuse to clearly state the role provinces could play in the management of marine resources is that it would go against the Constitution of Canada and it is not up to this House to make constitutional amendments. But that is nothing new. For the federal government, everything that is in Quebec's

interest goes against the Constitution. Again, I find such an argument rather astonishing.

Since the throne speech last February, the Prime Minister keeps on saying that Canadian federalism is constantly evolving, that we do not need constitutional amendments for the provinces to become more involved in various areas, that administrative arrangements are the way to go in the future.

In fact, when the time comes to adopt clear legislative provisions, when the time comes to share jurisdictions with the provinces or even to respect the provinces's jurisdictions, the federal government rejects Quebec's demands and falls back on a Constitution that is cast in stone.

Indeed the federal government shows little respect for the Constitution when it wants to interfere in areas under provincial jurisdiction. That was the main point I wanted to make concerning this bill which, like many others, does not show any willingness to co-operate with Quebec and the other provinces on the part of the federal government.

This government is showing us once again that it does not want things to change, and Quebecers will clearly express their feeling about that the next time they are consulted about Quebec's future.

Of course, I am concerned about other aspects of this bill, particularly about the impact they will have on Quebec ridings that have a port.

First of all, concerning the whole issue of fees for services provided by the Canadian Coast Guard, we feel the government is acting much too fast. The maritime industry is not totally opposed to some charging of fees, but it does want studies in order to find out the effects this would have. This is the reason the great majority of witnesses heard by the fisheries and oceans committee have called for a moratorium on coast guard fees. The impression we get from the government's attitude is that it wants to get its hands on considerable amounts of money without any regard for the consequences.

Another aspect of this bill which affects all ridings is the fees for pleasure craft. If such fees were charged, organizations in all ridings would be affected.

Non-profit organizations concerned with preserving the flora and fauna of our rivers and educating the public about these issues would be affected.

Funding of these organizations is partially public and partially private, and they will have to face the consequences. A group can own 10 war-canoes, 120 canoes or 20 kayaks, while another has 10 rowboats, 26 pedal boats, and so on. They will be affected by the fees provided for in the bill. The survival of these groups, which have always played an important role in the economic and social activities of the communities in which they are located, will be compromised.

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1:45 p.m.


Antoine Dubé Bloc Lévis, QC

I apologize, Madam Speaker, but I rushed in when I saw there were fewer speakers from the other parties than scheduled in this important debate. I welcome this opportunity to rise in the House to object to the adoption of Bill C-26. Among other things, the government wanted to put pressure not only on the opposition but also on the stakeholders in this area. For that reason alone, the bill is totally unacceptable.

We heard Liberal members say earlier that this was an historic bill, and we heard them brag about the broad impact of this bill on the lives of Canadians and Quebecers.

Before going any further, since I believe I will be one of the last speakers in this debate, I would like to congratulate the hon. member for Gaspé on a job well done. Thanks to his persuasive arguments and the groundswell they provoked-I am referring particularly to what I called the rowboat debate-he managed to make the minister backtrack temporarily. I say temporarily, because this should not be a reason for the hon. member for Gaspé to relax his vigilance concerning the registration of rowboats, pedalboats and light craft.

All Bloc members talked to their constituents, and as people heard about the government's plans, they said it was ridiculous and incredible. Since when is the coast guard interested in the light craft that navigate on our lakes? The presence of DFO makes sense if you are on the Pacific, the Arctic or the Atlantic ocean, and even on the St. Lawrence River. We are used to seeing them there. But on the tributaries of the St. Lawrence? People could not believe their ears.

The work done by the hon. member for Gaspé raised the interest of the media, so that the minister delayed the coming into force of the registration of light craft. I admit I am still apprehensive, because after all, this is a pre-election year. We do not know when the Prime Minister will call an election, and it is clear that the government is playing for time.

With this bill the minister wants to make it easier to issue such regulations. In a previous attempt, he used legislation on financial administration. In this case, he wants to make it much easier. This is exactly what people do not want.

The worst thing is certainly the lack of consultation, of listening, of understanding on the part of the minister as to what the participants said. He listened to them, but he did not take their suggestions into account, except for postponing registration of small craft. As for the rest, the minister wants to reaffirm Canada's

sovereignty on its inland waters but also extend and confirm the 200 mile zone. We have no objection to his speaking of sovereignty.

We Quebec sovereignists are well aware of the true meaning of the word sovereignty. However, when speaking of co-operation, the government says it is possible, but we know its habits. We did not have that many examples of co-operation between the federal government and the provinces up to now, over the past three years, and we have been following all the debates closely. There was some talk of co-operation, but rarely, and I daresay almost never, did it translate into action.

This bill is a further example of this bad habit. The minister wants to decide with his officials in Ottawa. Whatever the provinces may say, the minister will do as he pleases. He did not even listen to the Premier of British Columbia. In his last speech, the hon. member for Gaspé reminded us of the time when, during a first ministers' conference, the Premier of British Columbia-not Quebec-walked out, saying that he felt he was wasting his time, that it did not serve any purpose, they did not listen, they did not want to know.

So a bill was introduced. I see some members, for example the hon. member for Gander-Grand Falls who, with elections in the offing, wants to make a name for himself-he has a reputation as a dissident, even a critic, one of the rare ones within the government party to voice his opinions-and suddenly he has found a mission for himself: Bloc bashing.

That is a well known trick. It has been used many times. I am a fairly new MP. I have been here only three years. But the hon. members for Richelieu and Rosemont, who have more experience, have often told me that it has always been that way. What do MPs or government members do to make a name for themselves outside Quebec? They attack Quebec, they attack MPs, they sometimes try to insult them. This was not the case here. The hon. member did not stoop so low, even though his comments were not particularly appropriate.

Having sat on the opposition side for a long time, he should understand that members of the Bloc Quebecois are trying to do an important job in this place, to be the official opposition and as such to represent those who feel the government has not listened to them, or at least has not understood them.

But no, the government is forging ahead, passing this bill the member for Gander-Grand Falls called the most important piece of legislation since Confederation. I believe in his view it is, especially in his area bordering the Atlantic ocean. I can understand his point of view. But then, if it is that important, why not proceed more carefully and clarify many areas which are still grey.

I worked a long time for the former Quebec agriculture and fisheries minister and I remember that, up to 1984, the federal government was delegating part of its responsibilities regarding fisheries management to the provinces. And it worked. We were doing fine in those days. We know what happened to the fisheries after this was taken away from Quebec; we are actually looking for fish now. The stocks of just about every species are dwindling. Things have been going wrong since that time.

Instead of broadening its horizon in order to protect the fisheries through its strategy, the government is saying that it will be done in Ottawa, by Ottawa.

I remember a historic remark a politician made in Quebec to the effect that it was harder to have a bureaucrat leave Ottawa to go and see what was actually going on in the fisheries that to have a fish swim from the Gaspé to Ottawa.

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1:50 p.m.


Louis Plamondon Bloc Richelieu, QC

Madam Speaker, after those impressive speeches on the part of the member facing me and of the member for Lévis, I am surprised that our Liberal colleagues are not rising to approve these very sensible arguments.

The member for Quebec explained quite well the unfair situation this bill would create for Quebec. When a government is so irresponsible as to table a bill taxing pedal boats and rowboats, there is definitely something wrong, something out of whack in the operation.

By tabling this bill and not realizing that it will adversely affect all small touristic parks and outdoor recreational parks in regions like Quebec and other provinces, the government is showing to what extent it is oblivious of the day-to-day life of ordinary citizens.

We have seen that this fee for pedal boats and small rowboats will have an incredible financial impact on small outdoor recreational businesses which can barely make ends meet sometimes, particularly when we get rainy summers like we did this year.

Fortunately, the Bloc proposed some amendments and brought witnesses to be heard by the committee to make the government understand to some extent, maybe temporarily, that it was taking a wrong path.

In the documents the government used to explain its position, we can see that, once again, its actions are diametrically opposed to its red book commitments, where the government said it would reduce the public service, really streamline it, and it would legislate less in order to give businesses-

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1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

My dear colleague, as it is nearly two o'clock, you will have to resume after question period.

The House will now proceed to statements by members.

TeachersStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Beth Phinney Liberal Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, October 5 has been designated by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization as World Teachers' Day. I am sure that all members will join me in saluting the efforts of the men and women who devote their lives to teaching.

Educating our children is a vital task that often receives far too little recognition. Not only is education fundamental to our future economic success, it also lays the foundation for our successful democracy and the development of a more tolerant and caring society.

All too often we focus on the negative when discussing our education system and ignore the wonderful contribution of all the dedicated teachers who, despite all the challenges of a rapidly changing society, manage to instil a love of learning.

I am sure all members will join me in saying thank you to all Canadian teachers for their dedication and hard work educating our children.

Cranberry Interpretation CentreStatements By Members

October 8th, 1996 / 1:55 p.m.


Jean Landry Bloc Lotbinière, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to salute the management and employees of the Centre d'interprétation de la canneberge, or cranberry interpretation centre, which opened its doors last week in Saint-Louis-de-Blandford. This event, unique to Quebec, will fill with wonder those who visit the centre.

Since the centre is built in the middle of a cranberry production facility, visitors will be able to see how this fruit is harvested. Under a huge tent, many charts and pictures will help them get to know everything about this fruit.

The cranberry in a small wild fruit from North America. Natives had called it atoca.

At present, in Quebec, some 1,000 acres have been set aside to grow cranberries.

In fact, 95 per cent of Quebec's cranberries are grown within a radius of 20 km around the municipality of Saint-Louis-de-Blandford. Furthermore, the neighbouring municipality of Villeroy hosts an annual cranberry festival.

Consequently, the riding of Lotbinière is the best location for the production of cranberries in Quebec.

AgricultureStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Jay Hill Reform Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canadian farmers are noted as masters of understatement. Therefore suffice it to say that 1996 will not go down in history as a banner year for agriculture in western Canada.

Farmers in Prince George-Peace River are accustomed to tough years and hard conditions. As someone who has been directly involved in agriculture for most of my life, I am well aware of what a year like this means to a farm family.

After suffering years of low returns the future was finally beginning to look a bit brighter with the improvement of grain prices, but then crop year 1996 came along. A long cold winter and a late wet spring, followed by almost continuous rain over the growing season, have resulted in a dangerously late harvest.

Hundreds of thousands of Canadians from coast to coast depend on the successful grain harvest for their livelihood. Farmers not only in my riding but across Canada are struggling to bring in the crop. I ask all colleagues to join with me in wishing them the very best in their endeavours.

Rail LinesStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, the other day I asked a question of the Minister of the Environment with respect to rail line abandonment. I asked him if he was willing to bring forward an environmental assessment of the various abandonments which are affecting my home province of Manitoba, for instance the possible abandonment of rail lines in the north and the Lyleton subdivision in the south.

I got a cute answer. The minister got up and said: "Not yet". It seems that the Trudeau shrug is back in style.

The fact of the matter is there is a good case to be made for doing an environmental assessment of these various rail line abandonments and what effect they have on the environment by increasing truck traffic and a variety of other things which need to be considered.

I would urge the government, pursuant to its commitment to the Bruntland commission, to do these kinds of environmental assessments. That is what governments around the world committed themselves to do when they endorsed the work of the Bruntland commission to environmentally assess all major policy initiatives; not just the environmental ones, but transportation and all kinds of

other policy initiatives. That has not been done by this government and it should be done.

ViolenceStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Jan Brown Reform Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, one week ago today Morley Sangwais was convicted of murder in the first degree of his common law spouse Kelly Howe in Calgary.

I could stand here and reflect on the bitterness and the frustration that the victim's family has experienced through this whole traumatic episode, but rather I am standing here to urge women across the country who find themselves in situations of domestic abuse, who find themselves brutalized, terrorized, demoralized and compromised daily, to find a secure, safe haven for themselves and their children.

We can also talk about restraining orders and all the paperwork that abounds in supporting our legal structure, but for Kelly Howe that restraining order had about as much value as this paper airplane.

Parkdale Collegiate InstituteStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Jesse Flis Liberal Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, students at Parkdale collegiate in my riding of Parkdale-High Park deserve to be congratulated. The collegiate itself is found in a less affluent area of Toronto; however, this has not dissuaded the students from believing and living the Canadian dream.

According to Jim Craig, the high school English teacher, 99 per cent of his students go on to university despite the fact that most came as immigrants from non-English speaking communities. Sadly, many came as refugees from war zones.

Recently these students have compiled a collection of prose and poetry describing their views of life, Images of Parkdale . Images of Parkdale is truly unique in that it allows us to see life through the eyes of young people who have endured very difficult times and have yet gone beyond this by putting together a truly remarkable and inspirational book.

I fully commend the staff and the students of Parkdale Collegiate Institute for their excellent work.

Leonard BirchallStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Peter Milliken Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, over 400 people gathered at Norman Rogers Airport in Kingston Township on October 6 for the official opening of Len Birchall Way. The new street name, officially unveiled by Kingston Mayor Gary Bennett and Kingston Township Reeve Isabel Turner, recognized Air Commodore Leonard Birchall, a former commandant of the Royal Military College.

On April 4, 1942 Leonard Birchall was on air patrol off the coast of Ceylon, where the British navy was stationed. He was turning around when he spotted the whole Japanese fleet heading toward Ceylon. It is said the Japanese were planning an attack similar to the one at Pearl Harbour. Leonard Birchall managed to signal the British fleet before the Japanese shot him down. He was captured and survived four years of beatings and torture in a Japanese prisoner of war camp.

Sir Winston Churchill hailed Leonard Birchall as the saviour of Ceylon. Had the Japanese attacked, they could have wiped out the British navy, with unknown consequences for the outcome of the war. Air Commodore Birchall is truly a great Canadian war hero. He was well saluted last Sunday.

The FamilyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Eleni Bakopanos Liberal Saint-Denis, QC

Mr. Speaker, this week families all across Canada will be rediscovering family strengths, this year's theme for National Family Week.

In my riding of Saint-Denis I have organized a drawing contest for the second year in a row to encourage elementary school children to rediscover their family strengths. Last year's contest was a success and this year's will have even greater participation.

As members of Parliament, we have a responsibility to teach and show young people, tomorrow's decision makers, how important family is in our society.

Family values are our greatest resource. Without the love and support of our families, it would be difficult if not almost impossible to realize our full potential and achieve our own goals and those of our society.

Indeed, without the love, support and strength of my parents, my husband and my two daughters, I could not do my job as well as other colleagues in the House.

Let us rediscover our family strengths and rejoice in our families not only this week but all year long.

World Teachers DayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Jean H. Leroux Bloc Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, better known as UNESCO, has designated October 5 as World Teachers

Day in honour of the men and women who dedicate their lives to teaching.

For teachers, the vision of a world where people will live in a climate of harmony, tolerance and mutual understanding is more than a dream; it is a goal.

The president of the international educational association, Mary Hatwood Futrell, said this: "When a student's developed potential meets a teacher's liberating art, a miracle occurs". This miracle happens every day.

On behalf of all my colleagues, I want to thank the men and women who make this miracle possible.

Elizabeth RouxStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Art Hanger Reform Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, Elisabeth Roux, assisted by her mother, Senator Therese Lavoie-Roux, defrauded the Canadian government of thousands of dollars through unemployment insurance fraud.

The RCMP recommended that Elisabeth Roux be charged because she, by trickery, lies, or other misleading methods, defrauded the Government of Canada of more than $5,000. The justice department has refused to lay charges against the senator or her daughter even though federal employees point to the numerous examples where other Canadians have been prosecuted for UI fraud.

Consequently, by refusing to lay charges, this Liberal regime is sending a message to Canadians that the law applies to everyone unless you are a political friend of the government. In the senator's case she was a former provincial Liberal cabinet minister.

Shame on the justice minister for allowing two tier justice to reign in Canada. Shame on the justice department lawyers who quashed the RCMP charges. Shame on this Liberal government for demonstrating its contempt for the principle that all Canadians are equal before the law. Charge the senator and her daughter.

Expo 2005Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.


John Loney Liberal Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise in this House today as the member for Edmonton North to recognize and provide my support to the city of Calgary in organizing its bid for Expo 2005.

This international event will be an economic and cultural boon to Calgary, Edmonton and Canada, drawing tourists from around the world, and will serve as a showcase of our great country and people.

Traditional western hospitality will certainly transform all visitors into Stetson wearing, roving ambassadors of Canada who will proclaim to all who listen what a special country we are privileged to live in.

So widespread is the support for this bid that even the city of Edmonton, Calgary's traditional rival, is strongly supporting our southern neighbour's bid. Combine this support with that of the province of Alberta, the campaign for Canada sponsored by the Calgary Sun , and the future looks very bright for Calgary.

Once again, I applaud Calgary's bid for Expo 2005 and encourage my fellow members to take up this challenge for our country's benefit.

Land MinesStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Herb Dhaliwal Liberal Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, worldwide there are more than 110 million active land mines waiting to explode. These deadly devices claim 10,000 lives every year and more than 16,000 people are injured annually.

Five hundred land mines explode weekly. The vast majority of victims are innocent civilians, often women and children. At the IPU Canada worked to pass a strong resolution to have a total ban on anti-personnel land mines.

I want to congratulate the Minister of Foreign Affairs who has taken a leadership role in convening a conference here and following it up in December.

I wish him the best of success to have a total global ban on anti-personnel land mines.

Keith MilliganStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Joe McGuire Liberal Egmont, PE

Mr. Speaker, last Saturday, October 5, saw the largest political convention in the history of Prince Edward Island. For the first time, every member of the Liberal Party had the right to vote directly for the new leader. Almost 5,000 Liberals turned out to exercise their franchise.

This great demonstration of democracy in action resulted in the election of transportation minister Keith Milligan as the new leader of the Liberal Party and premier of the province of Prince Edward Island.

I want to take this opportunity to congratulate premier-elect Keith and his organization on a superb effort which produced his weekend victory.

I want to congratulate Wayne Cheverie, Tex MacDonald and Daniel Mullins for running great campaigns and making a major contributions to the revitalization of the Liberal Party on the island.

As the convention concluded it was heart warming to hear that all factions were united behind the new leader and anxious to contribute to a Liberal victory in the upcoming election.

I want to wish Keith and his family well and to give my heartfelt thanks to Premier Callbeck for a job well done.

World Teachers DayStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Maurice Dumas Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, like UNESCO, a number of provincial, territorial and municipal governments have proclaimed October 5 as World Teachers Day.

Having retired from teaching after 46 years, I wish to mark this day in a special way. Many members of Parliament, including some 20 members of the official opposition, a few ministers and yourself, Mr. Speaker, have worked in that sector. The vast majority of politicians used to come from professional environments. We now see how teachers can also influence the future of a country.

Teaching is the greatest profession in the world, since our social values and assets depend on its quality. On the eve of the third millennium, teachers assume a major responsibility.

On behalf of all my Bloc colleagues, I wish to thank them for their commitment and professionalism.

The EconomyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Herb Grubel Reform Capilano—Howe Sound, BC

Mr. Speaker, this government's fiscal restraint is a sham.

Fact one: the entire deficit reduction of $25 billion is matched by $25 billion extra collected from the taxpayer. Fact two: the cuts in program spending needed to pay extra interest on the debt were achieved mainly by downloading on the provinces. Soon cuts in transfers for health and education will account for 84.3 per cent of all the federal government's cuts.

Ontario's minister of intergovernmental affairs put it this way: "Well, Mr. Minister, it is time to come clean. You will reduce transfers to the provinces by 42.2 per cent while you have only reduced other federal program spending by 1.3 per cent".

Downsizing of government is largely a Liberal myth. Revenue grabs and deficit shifting are despicable facts.

Quebec Minister Responsible For International RelationsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Bernard Patry Liberal Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Quebec minister responsible for international relations, Sylvain Simard, recently illustrated how true the old saying about travel broadening the mind is.

Upon returning from a journey in Asia, Simard observed that, in Asia, the business culture relies heavily on governments and that government assistance is necessary to support the economic stakeholders. "Agreements must first be entered into by the various countries for the foreign business community to have access to this market. It is a matter of trust. That is the only way to do business in Asia", he said.

We are happy to see that the Quebec minister responsible for international relations recognizes how important the presence of and role played by Canadian first ministers was in Team Canada's first mission to Asia.

Hopefully, next time, they will be able to convince Lucien Bouchard to come along, in the best interest of all Quebecers.

Premier Of QuebecStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.


Nick Discepola Liberal Vaudreuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, the PQ premier of Quebec made an important speech in Laval at lunchtime today.

In essence, Lucien Bouchard reiterated the main economic principles that have guided our government since we came to office. Fighting the deficit must be our top priority in order to protect our social benefits, create jobs and improve the competitiveness of our economy.

However the separatist leader should not look too far for the reasons explaining his province's financial distress. Since his party took office in 1994, there has been one referendum after another and it is threatening to hold a referendum when the circumstances are favourable.

Lucien Bouchard must eliminate the climate of economic insecurity created by his plan to achieve sovereignty. That is the price to pay to ensure Quebec's future and prosperity. Two referendums is already two too many.

Premier Of QuebecStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

Colleagues, before we begin question period today, I noticed that in the statements over the last few days we have been using the term "you" as if speaking directly to another person or a minister. I have been loath to intervene, but we do not use that particular word when we are having questions or answers. I wonder if you would consider putting it in a more roundabout way rather than attacking directly.

Canadian Armed ForcesOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Roberval Québec


Michel Gauthier BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, we have just learned a few minutes ago that General Boyle, the chief of defence staff, has handed in his resignation.

We have known since yesterday that the discussions between the Office of the Prime Minister and his own department, the Privy Council, and General Boyle have been very lengthy and probably very difficult. However that may be, members will recall that, for over a month now, in response to our questions, the Prime Minister has been rising in this House and telling us time and again that he has confidence in his minister, in his former Minister of National Defence, and that he has confidence, every confidence, he said, in General Boyle.

How can the Prime Minister explain his sudden about-face today regarding the individual in whom he had such confidence a few days ago? What has changed?