House of Commons Hansard #95 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was cut.


The House resumed from March 5, 1996 consideration of the motion for an address to His Excellency the Governor General in reply to his Speech at the opening of the session; and of the amendment and the amendment to the amendment.

Resumption Of Debate On AddressSpeech From The Throne

10 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario


Don Boudria LiberalMinister for International Co-operation and Minister responsible for Francophonie

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today as Minister for International Co-operation and Minister responsible for Francophonie to add my voice to the debate on the address in reply to the speech from the throne.

Needless to say, it is a great day for a member of Parliament when he addresses the House of Commons for the first time as a minister. I feel especially honoured since it is the first time a francophone from outside Quebec has been appointed to the position of Minister responsible for Francophonie, and I intend to do a good job of representing Canada at the upper levels of the international French-speaking community.

First of all, I would like to thank the Right Hon. Prime Minister for appointing me, for giving the great honour and privilege of serving the people of my country.

I should emphasize the contribution of the people of Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, without whom, of course, I would not be here as either a member or a minister. I am very grateful to them and I would like to say that I will remain first and foremost the member for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell.

They sent me to Parliament as their representative and, even though I am now a minister, I will continue to represent them faithfully at every opportunity.

Last week marked the 30th anniversary of my arrival in the House of Commons. I have spent 20 years in politics and, as you know, I also used to work here as a public servant. As I said before, I first set foot in the House of Commons on October 25, 1966 as a waiter, and I was lucky. I now stand before you on this November 1, 1996 addressing the House as a minister.

In the past two years, I had the opportunity and honour to perform the duties of chief government whip. Again, I must tell you that it was for me an unforgettable experience, and I thank the Prime Minister for entrusting me with that task.

I take this opportunity to congratulate the hon. member for Stormont-Dundas, who was appointed chief government whip a few days ago, and wish him the best of luck. Needless to say, his personal experience in a previous incarnation will probably help him do a good job. I mean, of course, his personal experience as a hockey coach, not as a referee.

I also wish to congratulate the government on its excellent agenda as outlined in the throne speech, which can be summed up as putting government finances on a healthier footing, reviving Canada's economy and creating jobs. Canadian interest rates are now at their lowest level in 30 years.

Over 600,000 jobs have been created since the last election, and Canada will soon be able to function without borrowing money. This is a rather spectacular achievement for a country whose public finances were in poor shape just a few years ago.

I want to take a few moments to tell you about the francophonie. Whether at the municipal, provincial or federal level, I always did my best to show my commitment to the francophone community. In 1983, I was the founding president of the Ontario section of the Association internationale des parlementaires de langue française. Until my appointment, a few days ago, I was the parliamentary secretary general of the AIPLF in the House of Commons.

I also had the honour of receiving, on two occasions, the Ordre de la Pléiade from this illustrious organization. This says something about my will to help preserve and promote French language and culture at home and around the world. Representing Canada among the francophonie's official circles will give me an opportunity to pursue my commitment on the international scene and to continue the work of my predecessors.

As a Franco-Ontarian, I will stress to the international community the contribution made by all francophones in Canada, whether they live in Quebec or in Ontario, which is my home province and

that of other parliamentarians, including the members for Ottawa-Vanier and Stormont-Dundas.

I thank and congratulate the hon. member for Papineau-Saint-Michel for doing so much for the francophone community. I hope to rise to the occasion and to continue the work he has done since he first arrived in this House.

A few days ago, during my trip to Vietnam, my first one as minister, I had discussions concerning the francophone summit to be held in Hanoi next year and to which we will make a major contribution. I firmly intend to support a more politically involved francophonie.

We can do more than to protect language and culture. We can be a leader among French-speaking countries and do our share to ensure global security.

As pointed out in the speech from the throne, and I quote: "In an interdependent world, security means taking an active role on the international stage".

Why is it that Canada is so involved in international co-operation? Since our aid program started from the 1950s international co-operation has been a principal vocation for Canada. It has emerged from our shared values of justice, equity, democracy and freedom. International co-operation is our means of working together in practical ways to build a world that is safer, more prosperous and more humane.

This is a role that has manifested itself throughout the years. I remember as a child in school where missionary work was emphasized, where children were encouraged to contribute portions of their lunch money, instead of buying candy bars and soda pop. We were asked to make small contributions to missionary work at that time, many of them organized by the church of which I am a member. We were encouraged to do that, to aid people in Africa and in China and so on. I remember in particular the China effort. That is the heritage from which we undertake our work in international co-operation.

For a middle power such as Canada, development assistance is a way of protecting our values as well as contributing to global security. It is a way of contributing to the world community, a kind of ticket enabling Canada to play its unique role in the major international organizations, the United Nations, the Commonwealth, la francophonie, the IMF, the World Bank and the development banks of Africa, Asia and the Americas. It is a way of being a global citizen.

International co-operation also helps Canada influence events in the world in a positive way. This week, for example, the United Nations secretary general named Mr. Raymond Chrétien, Canada's ambassador to the U.S., as his own special envoy to central Africa. Mr. Chrétien will work with central African leaders on finding a solution to the conflict that now threatens hundreds of thousands of people in Zaire and in the great lakes region of Africa.

That kind of appointment shows that Canada and Canada's representatives have credibility where it counts. I would call that the Pearsonian heritage. That credibility comes from having made an international contribution through our aid program.

Since 1994 Canada has contributed money to organizations such as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the Red Cross, UNICEF and others to help ease the suffering of refugees and displaced people, to find homes for orphans following the genocide in Rwanda two years ago. Our peacekeeping efforts helped keep the airports open in Kigali during the critical period in 1994 which enabled relief flights to land, providing food, medicine and so on to the starving people and to the wounded. All this work means that we are listened to when we raise our voices in the international council. Other countries know that we walk our talk in the world.

However, aid is not only responding to emergencies such as the one in central Africa. Development assistance is also a long term investment which has already paid off dramatically. Let me give a few examples.

In literacy and life expectancy the developing world has achieved in 30 years what it took the industrialized world 100 years to accomplish. Eighty per cent of the world's children now have been vaccinated against the six most infectious diseases and small pox has been almost completely eradicated. Since 1960 life expectancy in developing countries has risen from 47 to 61 years. Two-thirds of the world's people now know how to read, which is up from half in 1960. We must keep this long term investment precisely because it is delivering results and because human development is the best guarantee to global security.

The safety of each and everyone of us is related to several national factors such as the economy, the environment, social security and political stability. In the long term, however, it is the world context that will shape the world in which our children will live. This context will be determined, to a large extent, by how we will have met the most serious challenge of our time: world poverty.

I encountered these realities as soon as I took up my new position. I saw that even countries with impressive economies like China have huge pockets of poverty, in particular in the northeastern area of that country, where the Canadian International Development Agency has set up its community projects.

Poverty reduction is a key element of Canada's development co-operation. Furthermore, it is partly as a result of Canada's influence that this has become a leading objective in international institutions. I intend to address this issue next November 7 with representatives of the World Bank when they are here to present their report on this serious matter.

In order to fight poverty effectively and contribute to sustainable development in developing countries, the Canadian International Development Agency has established 6 broad program priorities. The first priority is to meet basic human needs, and 25 per cent of Canadian assistance falls into this category. These basic needs are, of course, food, potable water, education and health.

According to UNICEF's own evaluation, our contribution of approximately $24 million to their programs meant that, in 1995, over 3 million children were spared the mental impairment caused by a lack of iodine in their diet. UNICEF's executive director personally congratulated the Prime Minister of Canada for his leadership and that of his government in this area.

The second priority is the integration of women. Whether you are talking about food production, health or education, all studies have shown that when women are helped, the entire family is helped. Canada is one of the countries taking part in efforts focused on primary education in Africa known as the education for all initiative. This initiative is designed to improve the quality of the instruction given young girls in 15 African countries.

The third priority is human rights, democracy and good governance. In a few days I am going to Haiti, where, under this heading, we are supporting the efforts of that country's society by providing assistance with elections, as well as with police training and reform of the legal system, among other things.

In the area of the environment, CIDA supports the tree growers co-operative project in India. India loses some 15,000 square kilometres of forest per year. That is an area of forest about the size of Prince Edward Island.

Since 1993 CIDA has funded local co-operatives to plant trees on marginal land and as a result of the tree planting effort Indian villagers now have new skills, improved health and greater food security.

The fifth area is private sector development. An example is the six year old Peru-Canada fund which does good development work and at the same time has positive economic spinoffs for Canada. It is a counterpart fund, which means that CIDA provides funds to Peruvian companies to buy the Canadian equipment they need. The Peru-Canada fund is a win-win combination. It is important for us to note this. It has stimulated economies in hundreds of impoverished Peruvian communities and at the same time it protects Canadian jobs by financing the export of Canadian goods.

The sixth area of priority is that of infrastructure services. This is an important sector because it emphasizes that with environmentally sound infrastructure services, emphasis on poorer groups and improving the building capacity of other countries we can make life better.

I want to speak briefly of the relevance of international assistance for Canada. International assistance is not simply charity. It also has short and long term relevance to the Canadian economy. Every dollar invested in the developing world yields over $5 of return in the form of Canadian goods and services, jobs, contracts and export sales, although that is not the reason for giving. Canadians should know that even on that score there is enormous benefit for Canada. Over 70 cents of every development assistance dollar is disbursed to Canadians and it results in over 36,000 jobs per year for Canadians. Canadian food aid alone contributes 5,700 jobs.

I would like to take the next few minutes to tell you about CIDA's partners. In order to implement our programs, we turn to the expertise, talent, and knowledge of partners known as NGOs, non-governmental organizations, which include universities, colleges-over a hundred-, co-operatives, associations, and of course certain companies. There are over 2,000 working with us in one way or another.

Partnerships between the government sector and other sectors that arise through international development efforts have, in turn, led to horizontal partnerships, alliances between organizations and agencies that enrich and consolidate the contributions of all involved.

I have outlined the development assistance program and what it is doing to help build a safer world and how it provides benefits both overseas and here in Canada. Now I would like to talk about how we as a government are managing the process. It is not enough to do good; we must do it well.

The Canadian International Development Agency and its hundreds of partners, organizations, firms and institutions have earned a distinguished reputation for doing good and doing it well. To help these partnerships endure and flourish and to help new ones take root, CIDA must be able to engage the Canadian suppliers of goods and services who offer the best quality and the best price. To ensure this happens I intend to do my best to improve the already good contracting procedures which have already been opened up by my predecessor and others and I will be pushing to modernize the process and push it forward.

Finally, CIDA also needs to find new ways to reach out and involve young Canadians in international development. Today's young people will lead the world in the next century and it is important that they be well prepared and that they be cognizant of our role as a nation and our role in international development. It will be up to them in the 21st century to carry forward Canada's unique role in international co-operation.

I want to conclude by reiterating my thanks to the electors of Glengarry-Prescott-Russell for the excellent opportunity given to me and to the Prime Minister who has assigned me this formidable task of Minister of International Co-operation and Minister responsible for Francophonie.

Resumption Of Debate On AddressSpeech From The Throne

10:25 a.m.


Ted White Reform North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member spent quite a bit of time patting himself on the back for what a wonderful job he has done representing his constituents and for the tremendous job the government has done, he claims, on reducing the deficit and getting the whole country into such splendid order.

The fact is that if the Reform Party had not been sitting on this side of the House opposite them, we would still be mired in the days of Liberal tax and spend. There is absolutely no doubt about that. Everybody across the country knows that if it were not for Reform having brought the issues of the debt and deficit to the notice of the public during the 1993 campaign, the Liberal government would not have done a darn thing about it.

I was at a meeting in the Vancouver area and the member from Halifax was present. I heard her say to the audience: "As a tax and spend Liberal, I crashed and burned with the way the Minister of Finance has handled the finances of the country". She crashed and burned. What a tremendously visual thing that is. Her entire being as a Liberal was destroyed by what was being done by the finance minister. He would not have done it had it not been for the public pressure built by the Reform Party of Canada, the Alberta government, following up with the Harris government in Ontario.

The Liberals have addressed the deficit to a degree and let us be sure, they certainly fiddled the figures a bit by increasing the deficit in their first year. Even if we agree they have done something, what they have subjected the country to is the torture of a thousand small cuts. It has been cut here, cut there, cut here. Nobody has had the time to heal and get on with their lives. The public resolve has been broken down to fix the problems. The Liberals should have done it rapidly and quickly the way it was done in New Zealand; amputate entire departments so that we could get the budget balanced quickly and get on with our lives. This was not done.

The Liberals take credit for some of this but in fact while they have fiddled and made this torture of a thousand small cuts, our debt has built up almost to the $600 billion level, and that has eaten away at our social programs. By the year 2007 they will have cut $7 billion from health care transfers because they will not get on top of the problem fast enough.

The Liberal claim that all sorts of jobs have been created is baloney to the 1.8 million people across the country who are out of work, the 18 per cent to 24 per cent of young people who are out of work. I am lucky because in my riding it is only around 4 per cent. I am in an area where the youth are well employed.

Since the hon. member is so proud of his representation for his constituents, could he please give me some examples of how he has represented his constituents in his votes? There are plenty of examples here of how he has suppressed his colleagues when he was the whip and forced them to toe the party line. I am sure his constituents would love to hear how he perhaps canvassed their views and represented them in this place as opposed to representing the party line.

Resumption Of Debate On AddressSpeech From The Throne

10:30 a.m.


Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is a rather interesting set of comments. The hon. member criticized the government for not cutting enough and for cutting over too many areas, as he put it. In his view, if I can summarize it, we should have cut an entire department at once. I believe he said that to amputate entire departments would have been better.

The member is entitled to his views. However, there should be a little consistency in the Reform Party. I know that is asking for a lot but let me remind everyone of the so-called taxpayers budget. This document is entitled: "The Reform Party's Plan to Balance the Federal Budget and Provide Social and Economic Security for the 21st Century". It has quotes from the leader of the Reform Party.

The document is best remembered as the budget that would not add up. The hon. member for Mississauga South, an accountant, did some mathematical calculations of this document a year or two back. As an accountant he knows how to count. He indicated to us that the numbers did not jibe but let us not dwell on that. Let us talk about the fact that the Reform Party says that we should have amputated an entire department and not cut all over the place. Here is what the so-called taxpayers budget in brief said.

Here are the cuts Reform wanted to make: social security spending cut 15 per cent; total cash transfers to the provinces cut 24 per cent; other transfers cut 6 per cent; equalization cut 35 per cent; Canada assistance plan, welfare, cut 35 per cent; health cut 11 per cent; post-secondary education cut 9 per cent. I am reading from the Reform Party document which states we should not cut all over the place.

Resumption Of Debate On AddressSpeech From The Throne

10:35 a.m.

An hon. member

How about seniors?

Resumption Of Debate On AddressSpeech From The Throne

10:35 a.m.


Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

I will get to seniors in a minute. My colleague asked about seniors. Seniors, excluding CPP, cut 15 per cent. The unemployment insurance cut 22 per cent. Aboriginal programs cut 24 per cent. Other social security spending cut 11 per cent.

Let us get into some of the other stuff here. Transfers and assistance to businesses cut 76 per cent. International assistance, my department presumably, to be cut 27 per cent. Other subsidies cut 24 per cent. The CBC to be cut 36 per cent. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation to be cut 24 per cent. Other crown corporations cut 21 per cent. Defence to be cut 9 per cent. All other department spending to be cut by 20 per cent. And the member across said we should have amputated in one place and spared everything else. The leader of the Reform Party wanted to amputate the head.

The member in his remarks asked me to prove to him that I have represented my constituents well. I do not intend to do that. The electors of Glengarry-Prescott-Russell do not need to justify to a member of the Reform Party their choice for their member of Parliament.

I would not have raised this but the member has raised the proposition so I will have to answer. In the last election in my riding the people blessed me with a support of 80.2 per cent of all votes cast. The Reform Party in my riding received 7 per cent of the votes cast. The Reform Party and the Conservative Party together would still not get the 15 per cent to get the electoral return back. I would not have bragged about this but he is the one who brought it up in terms of how I represent my electors.

My constituents have elected me at the municipal, provincial and federal levels continuously for 20 years; three times municipally, once provincially and three times at the federal level with the results I just enunciated. It is up to them, not the member across the way, to decide whether I do an adequate, satisfactory or better job. I intend to be accountable to the electors of Glengarry-Prescott-Russell and least of all to the Reform Party.

Resumption Of Debate On AddressSpeech From The Throne

10:35 a.m.


Jean H. Leroux Bloc Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the hon. member for Jonquière.

In 1994, the first throne speech by the present government made no mention of changing the Canadian federation. The Prime Minister had stated that he wanted to put constitutional quarrels on ice. Those are his words.

It is obvious today that he has changed his mind. In the throne speech of February 27, 1996, which we are discussing today, the government justifies the proposed actions by referring to the desire for change expressed by Quebecers in the referendum, stating that "this desire for change is broadly shared across Canada".

Here are a few of the changes announced by the federal Liberals in the last throne speech, which they have been attempting to implement ever since, without any great success, I might add. First of all, the government proposes to limit federal spending power in areas that are exclusively provincial. We are in agreement in principle, up to that point.

The conditions of application are where it starts to get complicated. They require new cost shared programs to have the consent of the majority of the provinces.

First of all, the government is not announcing its withdrawal from areas of exclusive provincial jurisdiction, as Quebec has called for. On the contrary, the federal government is imposing its right to interfere by setting certain limits, including consent by the majority of provinces. It requires the consent of six provinces before accepting implementation of any new program.

This limitation of spending power is much less than the proposal contained in the Charlottetown accord. In it, the federal government was required to have the agreement of seven provinces representing 50 per cent of the population. In addition, this limitation was entrenched in the Constitution.

Today, the federal government makes no mention whatsoever of putting this into the Constitution. It could be changed at the whim of some subsequent federal government, like any mere law. The provinces will never accept such an offer.

The most flagrant example is that of the daycare centres which the Liberals wanted to put into place. Although this program is included in the famous red book of the last campaign, the federal government has never managed to obtain the consent of the majority of the provinces. So, in order to justify the non-fulfilment of this campaign promise, the Prime Minister is dumping the blame onto the provinces, saying they are the ones turning it down. It is their fault because they cannot reach agreement. How did the Prime Minister expect to fulfil this campaign promise, knowing full well that the provinces would never accept such an offer?

The Prime Minister speaks of changing Canadian federation but he could not have done a worse job of it. Another change in the Canadian federation proposed by the Prime Minister is to entrench the concept of distinct society and a veto for all in the Constitution.

First of all, the distinct society proposed by the federal government was less than Meech and less than Charlottetown. To the Government of Quebec, the distinct society concept is obsolete.

Any new negotiations with Canada must, from now on, be from people to people, from nation to nation.

Furthermore, we will never go along with the compromise solution proposed in a bogus bill or some strategy to recognize Quebec as no more than the homeland of French language and culture. This interpretation means nothing at all. It provides no constitutional guarantees and certainly no legal powers. The federal Liberals would have been better off proposing nothing at all.

On top of that, there will now be a regional veto, snuggled through the House in Bill C-110. This bill takes us from bad to worse. To bring about any constitutional change at all, the federal government will no longer need the consent of seven provinces representing 50 per cent of the population but all the provinces. That is some constitutional change. There will be no more constitutional changes. It will be impossible.

Because of these recent changes made by the Prime Minister and the federal Minister of Intergovernmental affairs, from now on it will be impossible for Quebec to make any constitutional arrangements without the prior consent of all Canadian provinces.

Contrary to Quebec's stated expectations, other Canadians consider that if Quebecers remain in Canada, they should be just like other Canadians and submit to majority rule, without any special rights or status. To a Quebecer, this is unthinkable. All efforts of the past 30 years were focused on letting Quebecers make their own decisions on a number of important issues within the Canadian federation.

In the sixties, Liberal Premier Jean Lesage said we should be "maître chez nous", and his successor, Daniel Johnson senior of the Union nationale said it was equality or independence. Another Liberal Premier, the late Robert Bourassa, spent more than 15 years asking for cultural sovereignty and then distinct society.

Unfortunately, all these attempts at constitutional change were to fail. English Canada's no became progressively louder. Today, the Chrétien government is trying to make us go through this again. He keeps saying that everything is fine, everything is all right, but the results show the opposite is true. He even says he has done enough, and that now the ball is in the other court.

In spite of all these failures, undeniably, Quebecers want an independent Quebec within a strong Canada. That this phrase has became famous is no accident. There is an element of truth in it. Even if we have been unable to agree on fundamental political issues for the past 30 years, we and Canadians have established important economic ties. The jobs of hundreds of thousands of Canadians depend on Quebec, and vice versa.

In this connection, I would like to discuss a matter that is very important to me, and I am sure, could be instrumental in settling all constitutional quarrels once and for all. In its plan for sovereignty, Quebec is proposing to the rest of Canada a natural and democratic change that would lead to a new partnership agreement between our two peoples.

The plan for Quebec favours economic association with the rest of Canada, in order to maintain the unfettered mobility of goods, services, capital and individuals. Just think, every 15 minutes we in Quebec buy one million dollars' worth of goods manufactured in the rest of Canada. That is why it is important for both parties to maintain these economic ties.

The plan for Quebec also specifies that the Canadian dollar will remain Quebec's legal currency. That is the most beneficial solution for both Quebec and Canada, especially because of the significant volume of trade between the two states.

According to the latest estimates, trade between Quebec and Canada is worth over $65 billion, including close to $50 billion with Ontario alone. This would be a concrete way of ensuring trade stability for both Canada and Quebec.

Canada's economic space will be maintained, because it is in the interest of Quebec and the rest of Canada to maintain it. It could be managed by joint organizations, including a council of representatives from both parties, who would discuss issues of common interest. A joint tribunal would be responsible for settling disputes, including trade disputes.

There could also be a partnership council made up of Quebec and Canadian ministers equally, as well as a parliamentary assembly of delegates from both sovereign states. These two institutions would allow us to decide to act jointly in other areas and to share our resources.

The major difference with the current situation is that we would always have the choice of acting either independently or jointly with Canada, within the partnership, and neither party would be able to impose its rules and its views on the other. That is what a true partnership means.

To achieve this goal, we, of course, need the agreement of the rest of Canada. As far as the basic elements of the economic association are concerned, the vast majority of English-Canadians think an arrangement with Quebec is inevitable. It would be in everyone's interest to build an economic and political partnership in which there will be minimal friction and maximum co-operation to our mutual advantage, an environment in which we can all aspire to a better future.

That is the kind of arrangement the federal government should seriously consider, instead of proposing all sorts of initiatives that

are doomed to failure and dragging out the dreadful constitutional debate.

Resumption Of Debate On AddressSpeech From The Throne

10:45 a.m.


Jay Hill Reform Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, I listened with great attention to the presentation of my hon. colleague.

I wonder if he would care to comment on an article that appeared yesterday in the Toronto Star . The headline states: Bouchard's experts deliver a grim report''. The article reads:Quebec Premier Lucien Bouchard's own experts have told him what he didn't want to hear-language wars and political uncertainty are turning Montreal into an economic backwater''.

The article continued: "`The bottom line is that until the burden of political uncertainty has been lifted, one cannot reasonably expect Montreal to realize its economic potential to an extent necessary to create the number of jobs that it so badly needs,' the task force's report concludes".

It is clear by now that it is the separatists' own drive to take Quebec out of Canada that is creating the problem. There is a lack of jobs, specifically in Montreal, but I presume throughout Quebec. I wonder if the hon. member would be willing to support the subamendment of the Reform Party, which we are supposedly debating today, which states:

-and, in particular, recognition that it is the separatist movement in Quebec that threatens the economy of Montreal.

Resumption Of Debate On AddressSpeech From The Throne

10:50 a.m.


Jean H. Leroux Bloc Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his question. For the last 30 years there have been discussions between Quebec and Canada to try to find a decent settlement for Quebec. However, every time this has been tried it has failed because some parts of Canada refuse to recognize the distinct society and the distinct way of the Quebec people.

We have to find a solution. What we need now is a new deal between Canada and Quebec. That new deal, because it is a proposition, could be a sovereignty partnership between the two parts of Canada. Canada and Quebec could be allies.

When I visit the rest of Canada I always tell them that, yes, I am a sovereignist, yes, I think that some day Quebec will be a sovereign state. I also tell them that my second best country after sovereignty will always be Canada. People like that. People around the country are starting to understand.

The Liberal member on the other side of the House may not agree, but I have met academics around the country and discussed this with them. Some of them thought it made sense. People are sick and tired of 30 years of nothing going on.

To answer the hon. member's question, Montreal has always been left out in the cold. Historically, whenever the federal government has made economic decisions, it was always to the detriment of Montreal. The government wants to make a nice big village out of Montreal, but it is gradually taking away the city's economic powers and giving them to other regions.

I believe the solution for the future is a sovereignty-partnership between our two nations.

Resumption Of Debate On AddressSpeech From The Throne

10:50 a.m.


André Caron Bloc Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to take part in the debate on the address in reply to the speech from the throne.

The speech from the throne was delivered a long time ago. When asked to speak on it, I had to read it over again. I did so. I found a series of general comments, which sounded like political platitudes. I also found that a lot of things which should have been said were not mentioned by the Queen's representative, when he addressed the two Houses.

In order to find a little more substance, I read over again the budget speech presented by the Minister of Finance.

As you know, we are in an era of economics. Everything is in relation to the economy. Everything is calculated, whether it is the fuel consumption of automobiles, the cost of adopting a child, or the price of a child's kiss. This is the age of economics.

I read what the Minister of Finance told us in his speech and I compared it with the speech from the throne. I noticed that some terms kept coming back. The Minister of Finance talked about securing the future of Canadians, something also mentioned in the speech from the throne. The minister spoke about anxiety, a lifestyle that is in jeopardy, a medicare program that is threatened, and a pension plan that is in serious danger.

He told us about the fear of Quebecers and Canadians regarding their jobs and the future of their children. The governor general made similar comments in his speech from the throne. The minister added that his government wanted to find concrete solutions to these issues.

I will stop here for now and continue after question period.

Resumption Of Debate On AddressSpeech From The Throne

10:55 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

I thank the hon. member. He will have seven minutes left after question period. We now move on to statements by members.

Chedoke-McMaster HospitalsStatements By Members

10:55 a.m.


John Bryden Liberal Hamilton—Wentworth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Chedoke-McMaster Hospitals Foundation in Hamilton has expressed dismay that the recent $818,000 severance package awarded by the hospitals to a former administrator will hurt fund raising.

Indeed it might, especially if the public were to realize that according to its 1994 annual financial information return, the foundation raised $1.03 million in donations at a cost of $783,000 in fund raising expenses. In other words, out of a little more than $1 million received from the public, only $247,000 was available as a gift to the hospitals.

A bit of simple math shows that it could take more than three years of fund raising by the foundation and $3.3 million in donations to raise enough money to pay off the $800,000 severance package.

This is scandalous. Hospital beds are disappearing, nursing staff has been cut and the sick suffers while hospital directors squander the public money entrusted to them.

Reform PartyStatements By Members

10:55 a.m.


Margaret Bridgman Reform Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, my constituents in Surrey North are worried. They face uncertainty about their health care and pensions. They are concerned about their children's education for the 21st century. Taxes have gotten out of hand and they are deeply affected by violent crimes committed on some of their doorsteps. Yet this government does little or nothing.

On pensions Reform's fresh start platform puts security back into old age security. On health care and education Reform's fresh start increases funding from Ottawa by $4 billion. On taxes, when the books are balanced, Reform's fresh start offers individuals and parents of young children tax relief. And Reform's fresh start offers victims of crime a victims' bill of rights and all Canadians assurance that violent criminals will not be let loose to harm someone else.

This government does little or nothing except when it comes to its own pensions.

Dr. Gerald RooneyStatements By Members

November 1st, 1996 / 10:55 a.m.


Georgette Sheridan Liberal Saskatoon—Humboldt, SK

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to one of my constituents, Dr. Gerald Rooney, who has been inducted into the Humboldt and District Sports Hall of Fame. Dr. Rooney was born on Christmas Eve in Estevan and then had the good sense to move to Humboldt, Saskatchewan in January 1958 to raise his family and practise optometry.

Dr. Rooney's sports involvement in Humboldt started in 1959 coaching a bantam hockey team. Throughout the sixties, seventies and eighties he coached hockey, baseball, served on many community sport committees as well as on provincial bodies. In 1973 and 1974 he served on a five-person special government appointed task force on hockey in Saskatchewan.

In a special ceremony last week Gerry was honoured by the community for his longstanding commitment to the Humboldt Bronco's Junior Hockey Club. He has also managed and coached provincial and western Canadian championship hockey teams.

Sports are an integral part of prairie community life. We are fortunate to have people like Dr. Gerald Rooney who are willing to volunteer so much time and energy for the good of all.

The Aerospace IndustryStatements By Members

11 a.m.


Maurice Dumas Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, recently, National Metal Finishing, a company located in Mirabel, launched the second phase of its project, with the Quebec minister responsible for industry and commerce, Rita Dionne-Marsolais, in attendance.

The company, which specializes in drilling, wing coating and metal finishing, and which is the most modern in the aerospace industry, will provide Quebec and Canadian companies such as Bombardier-Canadair and Bell Helicopter with a competitive advantage. Mitsubishi, the big Japanese multinational, is another major client of NMF Canada. The third phase is already in the works.

In my riding of Argenteuil-Papineau, and particularly in the Mirabel area, the aerospace industry is a major employer. The Mirabel airport is undoubtedly a big promoter in the development of this industry. About 60 per cent of all Canadian jobs in the aerospace industry are found in Quebec, and the Laurentian region is definitely a leader in this field.

Fighter PilotsStatements By Members

11 a.m.


John Loney Liberal Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today as the member for Edmonton North to congratulate a team of Canadian pilots from Canadian Air Force Base Cold Lake, Alberta. These Canadian pilots won the prestigious NATO

fighter jet competition in the William Tell Air-to-Air Weapons Meet over six American teams.

This victory by Canada is evidence of the excellence in jet fighter training provided at CFB Cold Lake. A Canadian consortium which includes such major contractors as Bombardier, British Aerospace and CAE is promoting a plan to bring NATO pilots to Canadian bases for training. This could result in a $100 million infusion into local communities if their bid succeeds.

This victory by the Cold Lake team distinguishes our Canadian forces pilots as among the best in the world. We feel that the NATO authorities should give strong consideration to relocating the training facilities to Alberta.

The Fight Against UnemploymentStatements By Members

11 a.m.


René Laurin Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, last weekend at the biennial convention of the Liberal Party of Canada, the Prime Minister was crowing about what he has achieved over the last three years.

Yet the Liberal government's performance as far as reviving the economy and lowering unemployment is hardly impressive. It is too easy to blame the state of the country's finances or provincial governments for the way things are. When you make promises, you must be able to keep them.

Job creation should be this government's number one priority.

Urgent effort is required to bring about a significant improvement in the job market as quickly as possible. The Canadian government must take concrete steps to effect a substantial reduction in Canada's rate of unemployment. The rate of unemployment can be reduced.

John ReynoldsStatements By Members

11 a.m.


Jean Augustine Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to recognize the outstanding volunteer efforts of Mr. John Reynolds, a constituent of Etobicoke-Lakeshore who shared his years of Canadian experience in administration to help develop a farm administration bureau in China.

Mr. Reynolds had been asked to assist in reducing energy waste in the production of starch. After making an analysis, he initiated a program for dust abatement and general clean-up. He advised on changes in water use and heat recovery to reduce energy costs and to improve overall efficiency.

All Canadians, especially the residents of Etobicoke-Lakeshore are proud of the volunteer efforts of Mr. Reynolds as well as those of some 7,000 other CESO volunteers who since 1967 have completed more than 30,000 assignments in over 100 countries and in every Canadian province and territory.

Rocky Mountaineer RailtoursStatements By Members

11 a.m.


Nelson Riis NDP Kamloops, BC

Mr. Speaker, when VIA Rail cut back on its passenger rail service in western Canada, Rocky Mountaineer Railtours stepped in to offer first class passenger service to those who wished to see the Rockies, the interior plateau and the Coast mountains from a train. Unlike VIA, the Mountaineer travels through the western majestic mountains during daylight hours so that travellers can enjoy the breathtaking mountain vistas and experience the hospitality of the great city of Kamloops during their overnight stay.

Rocky Mountaineer Railtours has proven to be an exceptionally positive contributing corporation. It has provided hundreds of jobs in the Kamloops area and is presently investing heavily to expand its service and create more jobs.

A recent decision by VIA to offer unfair competition will seriously impact on the Mountaineer. I urge the Minister of Transport to come to Kamloops to meet with those affected in order to head off what could be a very serious blow to the local employment opportunities presently provided by Rocky Mountaineer Railtours. This blow would curtail much of the service which is enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of visitors to western Canada.

Stay-In-School ScholarshipStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.


Gary Pillitteri Liberal Niagara Falls, ON

Mr. Speaker, aware of the rising costs of post-secondary education and many challenges faced by their youth members, the Boys and Girls Club of Ontario started a scholarship program in 1992.

This year's recipient of the Stay-in-School Scholarship is Dana Vout, a constituent of Niagara Falls, who began her volunteer work with the club in 1990. Dana is now a third year student at Brock University in an honours psychology program and plans to attend teachers college upon graduation. She is the recipient of several other awards and has distinguished herself on several occasions. Moreover, Dana is a dedicated and capable young individual upon whom our community can always depend.

I am sure the House will join me in congratulating and commending Dana for her achievements and in thanking the Boys and Girls Club of Niagara Falls which had the vision to start this worthwhile program.

Veterans WeekStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.


Bill Gilmour Reform Comox—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is Veterans Week. On Monday, November 11 Canadians will mark a minute of silence for those who gave up their lives for the freedom, democracy and peace we enjoy in this country today. That minute of silence is only a reminder to us all of what many young men and women gave for us in the two world wars and the Korean war.

My father was one of those men. He was a navigator in the RCAF and never returned from the second world war. As a result, I grew up with only a photograph and the stories and memories passed on by my mother to tell me what a wonderful man my father was.

Many of us can only imagine what it was like for those men like my father. Their sacrifice was so great and so meaningful that we must never forget the contributions made during the wars. No words can convey that to anyone.

Therefore, in honour of Veterans Week, I ask that we take the time to remember that November 11 is not a holiday. It is a day to remember those who fought and died for this great country, a country we are all proud of, a country rated as the best in the world.

Crime PreventionStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.


Susan Whelan Liberal Essex—Windsor, ON

Mr. Speaker, November 1 marks the start of the 1996 national community safety and crime prevention campaign. The theme of this year's campaign sponsored by the Canada Safety Council is "Choices", the choices that we as Canadians make to help prevent crime, especially youth crime.

To make a real dent in youth crime we have to do something about the means of its production. That involves the serious social problems which often underlie criminal behaviour and how society responds to them.

Everything we improve today, every community problem that we can address before it leads to crime will result in building healthier communities later on. Rehabilitation and alternatives to imprisonment are most important components of the solution. These will help young people to get their lives back on track and become productive citizens.

That is why crime prevention is so central to this government's program for balanced and effective criminal justice reform. To succeed in our efforts to prevent crime and find practical solutions, we must not only work in tandem with our partners in the criminal justice system but broaden our partnerships to include communities and neighbourhoods.

I applaud the efforts of the Canada Safety Council and invite all Canadians to learn more about the choices available for responding to youth crime within their own communities.

The DeficitStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.


Maurizio Bevilacqua Liberal York North, ON

Mr. Speaker, a longtime Canadian foe is on its deathbed. I am speaking of course of the federal deficit.

This government's accomplishments in the area of finance are impressive. We have consistently met and even bettered our deficit targets. When we took office the deficit stood at $42 billion. Through balanced, effective spending cuts, by 1997 we will have reduced the deficit by $33 billion, nearly 80 per cent.

What does this all mean for hard working Canadians? It means lower interest rates. It means they are saving almost $500 annually on a $15,000 car loan. It means saving $3,000 on a one-year $100,000 mortgage. It means the economy is improving and jobs are being created. Most important, it means this government has delivered on its commitment to build a strong framework for jobs and economic growth which Canadians so rightly deserve.

The Diplomatic CorpsStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.


Stéphane Bergeron Bloc Verchères, QC

Mr. Speaker, on October 30 the periodical Diplomat hosted a luncheon for over fifty members of the diplomatic corps posted in Ottawa, at which they had an opportunity to listen to the Leader of the Official Opposition and to discuss the political situation in Quebec and in Canada, as well as their respective positions in the world.

This was a rare opportunity for diplomats to hear information that is not part of the Canadian government's official line on Quebec. As the Leader of the Official Opposition said, and I quote: "Quebecers have been waiting thirty years for the changes they would like to see and that have been promised them. The many negotiations and the resounding constitutional failures of recent years have made it plain to Quebecers that renewal of the Canadian federation to reflect their aspirations is impossible".

It is most fortunate that there are a large number of members of the Bloc Quebecois in Ottawa, thus giving the international community a better picture of what is really going on in Quebec society.

Liberal PartyStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Lethbridge Alberta


Ray Speaker ReformLethbridge

Mr. Speaker, the highly respected organization B'nai Brith Canada yesterday released a statement criticizing the Liberal Party's recent attack memo aimed at the Reform Party of Canada. Professor Stephen Scheinberg, the national vice-president, stated: "To call the Reform Party as a whole extreme right is to stretch the meaning of this term beyond recognition. The Reform Party has in the past been very quick to deal with extremists who have tried to infiltrate their ranks. It will be difficult to recognize real extremists if we apply this term to everyone on the right of centre".

A democracy thrives on a robust debate over ideas and principles; a democracy withers when the debate is deliberately warped by those who will use whatever means necessary to attain or retain power. A democratic debate should be a contest of ideas, not a name calling or mud throwing event.

Ideas and principles such as smaller government, private property rights, personal responsibility and lower taxes are not extreme. They are a sensible alternative to our present predicament. When we deliberately misrepresent our opponents' position, we devalue our own.

I call on the government to do the right thing and disavow the words and tactics used in its talking points.