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House of Commons Hansard #104 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was children.

Topics

Citizenship ActPrivate Members' Business

6:35 p.m.

Liberal

Warren Allmand Liberal Notre-Dame-De-Grâce, QC

Madam Speaker, I understand that if there are no other speakers, as mover of the motion I may close the debate.

Citizenship ActPrivate Members' Business

6:35 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Ringuette-Maltais)

Yes, you may close the debate. The floor is yours.

Citizenship ActPrivate Members' Business

6:35 p.m.

Liberal

Warren Allmand Liberal Notre-Dame-De-Grâce, QC

Madam Speaker, I simply want to respond to some of the speeches that were made in the House. They were very good speeches and very positive.

As I said in my opening remarks, I believe the oath must be changed to put an emphasis on Canada. I want to assure my colleagues from British Columbia and from Thunder Bay that I am not wed to the exact formula that is in my bill.

Unfortunately this is not a votable bill, but I believe the debate was important to give the minister, who is thinking about these things, a chance to hear the views of the different parties.

It seems there is strong support for changing the oath to put an emphasis on Canada. I have proposed that we pledge allegiance to Canada and to the Constitution of Canada.

I realize that the Constitution of Canada is not always an easy concept to grasp. In constitutional law we talk about the Constitution of Canada as including all constitutional documents. As my hon. friend from British Columbia pointed out, there are 30, 40 or 50 statutes which make up the Constitution, although the two principal documents are the Constitution Act, 1867, formerly known as the British North American Act of 1867, and the Constitution Act, 1981, the act that repatriated the Constitution.

This is not a votable item. However, it appears that there is consensus among the various parties of the House that a change is needed. Even my friend from the Bloc Quebecois admits that. He was on the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration. He reported to the House that in the hearings before that committee there was a consensus for changing the oath, although he does not like the present formulation. He and I have different views on this.

He would not want to pledge allegiance to Canada as a member of the Bloc Quebecois.

That is one of the reasons I am putting forward an oath of allegiance. I do not want any ambiguity for our new citizens to be in the oath. I do not want them to be unclear about what they are doing. I want them to be absolutely clear on what they are doing. I want people who come here and become citizens to know what they are pledging allegiance to. I do not want them to think on the one hand they are pledging allegiance to a Queen who is principally British and represents the United Kingdom, although as I said there is a legal fiction that she is the Queen of Canada, and then on the other hand to be pledging allegiance to Canada.

I think the time has come when we can clarify the oath, make it absolutely clear that when you pledge allegiance to Canada as a new citizen you are pledging allegiance to this country and to nothing else.

I understand the views of the Bloc Quebecois members. They have been elected to support a movement to separate Quebec from Canada and to break up the country and they do not want to pledge allegiance to Canada. As a matter of fact, when we sing "O Canada" in the House once a week they are significantly absent because they do not want to sing that anthem and they do not want to give allegiance to our flag either.

It is for those very reasons that I want people to pledge allegiance to Canada. I think our unity is under attack. Our unity is being threatened. I want to make clear to new citizens that when they come here and become citizens of Canada and pledge allegiance I want that pledge to be meaningful. I want it to be significant. I want to make sure that their loyalty is with Canada and not with any other country, that their loyalty is to the traditions, to the way of doing things in this country.

I thought the approach of the member for Thunder Bay was emotional. Mine was rather legalistic I thought he made a very good speech supporting the bill.

In closing the debate, I hope the minister and the government take notice of this debate and bring in soon a government bill which will give us a new oath of allegiance which will emphasize allegiance and loyalty to Canada.

Citizenship ActPrivate Members' Business

6:40 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Ringuette-Maltais)

There being no further members rising for debate and the motion not being designated as a votable item, the time provided for consideration of private members' business has now expired and the order is dropped from the Order Paper.

Do we have unanimous consent to proceed with deliberation on the motion to adjourn?

Citizenship ActPrivate Members' Business

6:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.

Citizenship ActAdjournment Proceedings

6:40 p.m.

NDP

Vic Althouse NDP Mackenzie, SK

Madam Speaker, two days ago I rose to ask some questions about the Canadian Airlines International situation and asked if the federal government had done any substantial analysis of that situation and what changes, regulatory or financial, the government was prepared to make in face of the potential losses that were described by some analysts on the west coast.

They had looked at the situation and had shown that if there are 16,400 jobs lost, which is the employment at Canadian Airlines, another 54,000 indirect jobs would be lost at airports, ticket outlets, agencies, fuel suppliers, caterers and so on. The total loss in contributions to unemployment and pension funds would be $314 million.

The total loss to the federal government in income taxes would be an additional $1 billion. The loss in GST rebates would be $21 million. The loss in fuel, airport taxes and other minor taxes would be an additional $225 million. The taxes lost to declining disposal income would be an additional $168 million. For those who are able to get jobs their income would decline. Unemployment insurance costs for all workers for one year would be $1.5 billion, making a total of $2.9 billion in losses to the federal treasury.

If 30 per cent of the employees find work immediately within a year, that loss is reduced to $2.5 billion. If two-thirds of them find employment, the loss goes down to about $2 billion, but there is still a new loss to the treasury for the first year after Canadian Airlines hits the wall, which is now expected to be the case about November 30 if nothing else changes.

The federal government will lose between $2 billion and $3 billion. I would have thought the government would have had a contingency plan available. According to the response I got that did not seem to be the case. That was strange because in June 1993, just prior to the last election, the Liberal leader of the day who is now Prime Minister said that the key features of his airline policy would be safety, competition and Canadian control. He went on to promise that he would do something to make the industry more stable.

This you will remember, Madam Speaker, was about a year after a previous restructuring of Canadian Airlines International and at which point the company successfully urged some of the employees to buy stock in the airline at $16 a share. Those shares are now worth about $1.80. We do not hear them offering shares any

more to employees, they are simply offering wage cuts of 10 per cent. Yet even the Prime Minister has said a loan would not make this company any more profitable, it just extends the problem a few more months or years. A 10 per cent cut in wages is equivalent to a loan.

I think the government, given that it has more than $2 billion at stake, should do a better job of handling this situation.

Citizenship ActAdjournment Proceedings

6:40 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Health

Madam Speaker, it is with some regret that I hear the information given by the member because he takes a position that is negative from the very beginning and continues that way. I am sorry because the member opposite is showing a lack of confidence in the ability of Canadian Airlines to carry out a successful operational reorganization.

The company has already identified the ingredients it needs to go forward successfully. The company plan does not include any government assistance. It also does not include any request for changes in the regulations. This company wants to make it on its own.

Those, like the member, who are calling for re-regulation of the air services sector fail to see how counterproductive such action would be. Turning back the clock would not be in the interests of the travelling public. Outlawing seat sales and shutting down discount carriers will not ultimately save a single job at Canadian Airlines.

Government policy is serving the interests of the travelling public. Look at what it has already accomplished. First, an increase in new routes and services into about 100 transborder markets, making air travel more accessible for more Canadians. Second, low discount fares, thanks to the arrival of new air carriers and increased competition. Third, Canadians are travelling in increasing number. Domestic travel this year will be up some 10 per cent.

The government continues to follow the situation closely and we have all the confidence that the management, the employees and the shareholders will take the action necessary and required for this company to turn in the right direction.

Citizenship ActAdjournment Proceedings

6:40 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Ringuette-Maltais)

The motion to adjourn the House is now deemed to have been adopted. Accordingly, this House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 10 a.m., pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 6.48 p.m.)