House of Commons Hansard #107 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was elections.


Canada Elections ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.


Andrew Telegdi Liberal Waterloo, ON

Madam Speaker, I would first like to say that we have some good representation coming from western Canada. Certainly the member for Vancouver East is one of those people. She has worked long and hard on the issue.

In terms of western alienation, I really have to take exception to the member for Lethbridge. Let us not forget that the member for Lethbridge, before coming to this House, was a member of a Progressive Conservative cabinet. While that member waxes eloquently in this House about all the evils of big government, let me tell him that since he has been in this House collecting a salary as a member of Parliament, he has also collected a pension of somewhere around $200,000 from the taxpayers in the province of Alberta.

All I can say to the member for Lethbridge is shame.

Canada Elections ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Lethbridge Alberta


Ray Speaker ReformLethbridge

Madam Speaker, as always, the hon. member's mathematics is as inaccurate and unaccountable as the budget of the Liberal government.

The hon. member did not tell my constituents back home that I have given them over $30,000 in donations out of my salary to a variety of things. Did he do that? Did this hon. member refuse to take a federal pension? Did this hon. member tell Canadians and his constituents he will not take a federal pension which will most likely put a million dollars in his pocket? No, he did not. Did he tell Canadians that 50 Reform members of Parliament have said they will not take a federal pension which will most likely save Canadians $50 million? Well, he should.

Canada Elections ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.


Chuck Strahl Reform Fraser Valley East, BC

Madam Speaker, it is interesting how this debate has evolved today. It is kind of like ever expanding circles. We start on one subject and pretty soon away we go. It is kind of fun here today to see the Liberals squirm as we talk a bit about western alienation and not just western alienation but about changes that are necessary to the democratic process, the electoral system and the parliamentary system in order to make this place accountable to the Canadian voters, the people who actually sent us here, and to make the parties more responsible to the people whose vote they are trying to woo.

What it comes down to of course is the basic supposition when it comes to elections in Parliament of whose chair is this anyway. I am not going to hold up the chair and use it as a prop but that is the basic question. Does this chair belong to a political party or does it belong to the people in the riding?

The basic question the Liberals should be asking is how can we ensure that this chair represents the views of the people, in my case those of Fraser Valley East. I would put forward the proposition that what has brought this House into such a low level of self-esteem and such a low level of public opinion is the fact that people who get elected to this place think they own this chair and if they do not own it then the political party that they are apart of owns it. Until they get that straight they are not going to be able to put to rest the fears of the Canadian people that this place is not representative of the Canadian people.

Why when we talk about western alienation and when I try to convince and talk to the minister in charge of our national unity portfolio that distinct society is driving the country apart instead of bringing the country together, he stands there and says he will go on a tour of this country again and convince western Canadians that they have to take this distinct society? He said in B.C. that they should just give a bit more and accept it.

It is no wonder they cannot get it straight over there about what the purpose of this place is and the purpose of representative government.

The purpose is to find those things that we have in common which draw us together, not to emphasize the differences of Canadians. I hear them say that we need to recognize the distinct society clause because it will put to rest the national unity crisis. This is the government that came within 50,000 votes of losing the country, the government that had no game plan, no plan (a) or (b), no plan at all to address the Quebec issue. Instead, it rolled along saying "we think it is okay and if we just push this distinct society thing down somebody's throat, somehow that will bring the country together".

The Liberals are not listening and they are not learning. They have yet to understand the principle at stake here. The principle is that the chair I sit in does not belong to the Reform Party; it belongs to the people of Fraser Valley East. And when I stand and speak on their behalf, I expect the government to listen and I expect the people to listen. If I am not doing my job, then I have not done it as I understand democratic representation.

There will be more about this after question period because I am not finished with these guys yet.

Canada Elections ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

I do not know about the rest of you, but I am coming back here at three o'clock.

Report Of The Auditor General Of CanadaGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

I have the honour to lay upon the table the report of the Auditor General of Canada to the House of Commons, Volume III, dated November 1996. Pursuant to Standing Order 108(3)(d), this document is deemed to have been permanently referred to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts.

It being almost two o'clock, we will proceed to statements by members.

EmploymentStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Alex Shepherd Liberal Durham, ON

Mr. Speaker, over 17 per cent unemployment among our youth ages 15 to 24 is a waste of Canada's precious resources.

Idle time in one's prime income earning years will negatively impact financial security for the individual and is a waste of potential energy for the nation as a whole. Couple this with the fact that representatives of our high tech companies tell us time and time again that they cannot find suitable entry level qualified applicants. Some say they need to hire outside of our country to fill these challenging and high paying jobs.

We have an enormous mismatch between places of work and places of education. Our government has recognized the importance of improving entry level skills by initiating a youth internship program, a program I am happy to say is active in schools in my riding. We also have Youth Services Canada and we have doubled the funding for summer employment programs.

It will be important for all levels of government as well as businesses to work together in finding intuitive solutions to what has become a tremendous detriment for our youth and our nation as well.

Technology FirmsStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


John Cummins Reform Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, the former head of the B.C. Science Council, Haig Farris, has dismissed the federal government's $30 million investment in Ballard Power Systems as political fertilizer that fails to deal with the real problems facing junior technology firms.

Those problems, he said, include a tax regime that makes it difficult if not impossible for young technology firms to attract capital to finance growth, making salaries less attractive than those in the U.S. Additionally, Farris said, Canadian immigration policies make it difficult to recruit top people to manage and grow advanced technology firms. He said the federal loan was political: "The government was just under so much heat to do something out west after giving that money to Bombardier." That is not the solution.

British Columbians and Canadians interested in developing the high technology sector need a tax regime sensitive to their special needs. Such a tax regime would make better use of taxpayers dollars than the present system of politically motivated giveaways that attempts to play one region of the country off against another.

Tri Media ProductionsStatements By Members

November 26th, 1996 / 1:55 p.m.


Georgette Sheridan Liberal Saskatoon—Humboldt, SK

Mr. Speaker, I rise to pay tribute to Tony Towstey and Tri Media Productions of Saskatoon.

Thanks to Tony's determination, corporate communication skills and a lot of hard work, Saskatoon can now boast its first ever feature film to be shot entirely in the city. The movie is called "Dead End". While that may be a good title for the film it is a poor description of many positive spin-offs its production means to Saskatoon.

The video post-production will be done on Tri Media's digital editing equipment, crucial for high quality projects in the future. Production will increase business for Saskatoon's hotels, restaurants and support industries. Local people will be employed on both sides of the camera developing a talent pool for future projects.

Tri Media Productions is another small business success story.

Rehabilitation Of Young OffendersStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Bernard St-Laurent Bloc Manicouagan, QC

Mr. Speaker, last week, the justice and judicial affairs committee heard stakeholders from every region of Canada as it toured the country. The purpose of its tour was to gather ideas about what changes should be included in the bill to amend the Young Offenders Act.

The Bloc Quebecois applauds this clear shift toward diversion programs. I do hope the minister will recognize that providing young people with rehabilitation opportunities is a key objective and that a justice system that tries to keep our youth out of prison really is the way of the future.

The people of Quebec are proud to see that Quebec's initiative in the administration of justice for young offenders has become an example that provinces and organizations in Canada have chosen to follow.

Bramalea-Gore-MaltonStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Gurbax Malhi Liberal Bramalea—Gore—Malton, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week I was at a press conference in the riding of Bramalea-Gore-Malton for the launch of a community-wide initiative to make Brampton "the safest city in Canada".

This announcement was made possible in no small part thanks to this Liberal government's willingness to keep its safe homes, safe streets red book commitments.

In July 1994, for instance, it established the National Crime Prevention Council, a body that works to unify crime prevention efforts across Canada. Organizations to be encouraged on the campaign include the Brampton Crime Prevention Association, Peel Regional Police, Bramalea Police Advisory Committee, Brampton Transit, Northern Telecom, Springdale Developments, Bramalea Jaycees, Block Parents, the Downtown Business Improvement Association, Business Crime Watch, Neighbourhood Watch, Brampton Family, and Girl Guides of Canada.

The Late Clarke RollinsStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Larry McCormick Liberal Hastings—Frontenac—Lennox And Addington, ON

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for this opportunity to share a few memories of a long serving elected politician, Mr. Clarke Rollins, who passed away on November 25.

Clarke Rollins was born on December 14, 1911 at Coe Hill in the county of Hastings where he grew up, was educated, married and raised his three children with his wife Beverley (Hurley) Rollins. Mr. Rollins began his political career at the municipal level where he served eight years as the reeve of the Township of Wollaston before becoming warden in 1950.

In 1959 Mr. Rollins was first elected to the Ontario legislature, remaining through five subsequent elections. Mr. Rollins was the self-described country member. Throughout his career he focused on the grassroots issues of importance to the people he served.

Mr. Rollins shared his insights and wisdoms with me when I tossed my hat into the ring in 1993. I am grateful for the kind advice and the hand of friendship he extended to a novice in the political arena.

I will remember the warm man who sincerely cared for the people of Hastings-Peterborough. I extend my sincere sympathy to Mrs. Rollins and family.

Oral Question PeriodStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Stéphan Tremblay Bloc Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, last Friday, during Oral Question Period, the hon. member for Saint-Jean stated, and I quote: "This may well be question period, but it is certainly not answer period".

The reaction of several of the ministers and members opposite who were in the House at the time was to reply: "You have been in Ottawa for three years but never realized that until today?"

The purpose of Oral Question Period is to request information from the government and make it account for its actions before the House of Commons. It is an important way of controlling democracy in Canada.

When I hear certain ministers boasting about not participating in this democratic process and making a mockery of it, I feel deceived by and disappointed in a government that respects neither the laws and principles of democracy nor, for that matter, the people of Canada and Quebec.

TorontoStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Ed Harper Reform Simcoe Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the lack of interest the Liberal government shows toward Toronto is a constant source of amazement to me. Recently the intergovernmental affairs committee of metro council held a meeting to discuss federal issues in the greater Toronto area.

There are 36 members of Parliament in the GTA, all Liberals. They were all invited to the meeting but only two showed up. The House was not sitting that week, so lack of attendance was not the result of these members being in Ottawa.

One can only assume that the dismal representation was a result of the Liberal government's indifference to Canada's largest city. Even their own supporters are annoyed by the Liberals' taking Toronto for granted. "I'm really amazed", said metro councillor Anne Johnston, "I'm saying publicly as a sometime Liberal how shocked I am about the lack of attention paid to Toronto".

This disinterest is not limited to the GTA members of Parliament. The Prime Minister, with 36 Toronto MPs to choose from, opted to have the hon. member for Windsor West as the minister responsible for the GTA. Surely there is at least one member from Toronto who could fill the job, or was no one interested?

Candu ReactorStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the Sierra Club and Energy Probe for taking the government to task and to court for the way the government exempted the sale of the CANDU nuclear reactor to China from all its environmental assessment procedures. The government has shown a certain form of arrogance and even authoritarianism in exempting this project from environmental assessment.

We have come a long way since the Brundtland commission when governments of the day continually talked about how they were going to assess everything for environmental consequences. Recently we have seen rail abandonments and all kinds of other policies being implemented without environmental assessment, but this is the straw that breaks the camel's back.

We have a government that has exempted this project and by so doing has set a terrible precedent. We can only wish that the Sierra Club and Energy Probe succeed in taking this government successfully to court and in having this decision overturned.

Kitchener-Waterloo Khaki ClubStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


John Richardson Liberal Perth—Wellington—Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to pay tribute to the Kitchener-Waterloo Khaki Club of Wellesley, Ontario, co-sponsors of the 1997 world horseshoe pitching tournament.

For the first time in 79 years the World Horseshoe Championships will be held in a location outside the United States. Organizers predict that some 1,500 Canadian players will join thousands of competitors from around the world at the Kitchener-Waterloo Khaki Club and the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium from July 12-27, 1997. At the same time, estimates suggest this tournament will have a positive financial effect in the area of over $25 million.

I encourage Canadians to make plans to attend the this exciting event and I wish the Kitchener-Waterloo Khaki Club all the best for a successful tournament.

Canadian Hemophilia SocietyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Colleen Beaumier Liberal Brampton, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Hemophilia Society has named November hemophilia month. Approximately 2,400 Canadians are affected by this inherited condition which is characterized by a failure in the body's blood clotting mechanisms.

The Canadian Hemophilia Society is dedicated to providing persons with hemophilia and other inherited bleeding disorders with information and support. The society also raises funds for research to find a cure and provide more effective treatment.

A number of my constituents suffer from hemophilia. The challenges they face are considerable. They are member of a community which must deal with three chronic disorders: hemophilia itself, hemophiliacs infected with HIV and hemophiliacs with hepatitis C.

The Canadian Hemophilia Society is performing a vital service by providing sufferers of this condition with support and education. The federal government has an important role to play. We can ease the suffering of hemophiliacs by ensuring that we are responsive to their needs, by actively seeking their input on government policy and by making it a priority to deal with issues they identify as being of greatest concern.

Please join me in congratulating the Canadian Hemophilia Society for its work and in wishing the organization a successful campaign during hemophilia month.

Freedom Of ExpressionStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Nick Discepola Liberal Vaudreuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, some Montreal residents were recently the victims of vandalism when the Canadian flags they proudly displayed in front of their house were burned.

These incidents are sad in that the freedom of expression of those citizens was violated. Such incidents reflect an intolerance which must not, regardless of the price to pay, become more prevalent in a country known for its respect for democracy.

I ask my colleagues, particularly the Bloc Quebecois leader, and also the Quebec Minister of Justice, to join me in condemning these acts and immediately.

Should such incidents become too common, they would likely jeopardize some of our country's basic assets, namely the freedom of expression and the freedom of speech, which are both closely associated with a modern society such as ours.

Liliane Macdonald-StewartStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Maud Debien Bloc Laval East, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday evening, Liliane Macdonald-Stewart was dubbed Knight of the Legion of Honour in Paris.

The generosity and dynamism of the chairperson of the Macdonald-Stewart foundation are well known. In addition to chairing the Stewart museum on Île Sainte-Hélène, and the decorative arts museum in château Dufresne, the foundation also supports medical and university research.

The Legion of Honour was awarded to Mrs. Macdonald-Stewart in recognition of her remarkable involvement in presenting and preserving the cultural and historical heritage of France and Quebec.

Members of the Bloc Quebecois congratulate this great Montrealer for a well deserved recognition.

Tobacco LegislationStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Grant Hill Reform Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal legislation on tobacco to stop our kids from smoking hits a major cabinet snag that looks like they were joking.

The reasons for the hold-up are pretty plain to see The list prepared would have one scared if not for Minister D. So powerful and confident that he could state no joke If Liberals do not bring this bill into law Liberals don't deserve your vote.

But problems have arisen; big lobbyists strike home And cabinet in-fighting leaves our Mr. D alone.

Swinging from a shaky limb He'll attempt to bring tobacco back like a rocket Hoping that we don't notice the secret stogies in his pocket.

Nuclear TechnologyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Bernard Patry Liberal Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister of Canada has announced today, in Shanghai, the sale of two Candu reactors to China.

As the Prime Minister said, this sale confirms Canada's leadership role in the area of nuclear technology.

This contract is a direct spinoff of the work done by Team Canada in 1994.

It is estimated that this $4 billion contract, including $1.5 billion in Canadian content, will generate direct and indirect jobs equivalent to 27,000 person-years in Canada over the next six years.

Here is another concrete measure that shows job creation is our government's number one priority.

Freedom Of ExpressionStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Clifford Lincoln Liberal Lachine—Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, a few days ago, a young francophone couple from my riding who had displayed both the Canadian flag and the Quebec fleurdelisé flag in front of their house had their Canadian flag burned.

A week earlier, James Healy, from Montreal, had received a warning that his Canadian flag would be burned if he did not take it down.

There is nothing more precious in our lives than freedom of expression and our freedom to live and act peacefully as free citizens in a free country. Threats and intimidation are the stuff of bullies and of cowards. All of us here represent the very freedom of democratic life.

Let us join together to denounce intimidation in all its forms and to proclaim our faith in the fundamental rights and liberties of an open and free society. Long live freedom of expression.

Health CareStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Peter Adams Liberal Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am very concerned about the erosion of universal health care in some provinces, notably Ontario. A Canada-wide health net is more, not less, important in difficult financial times like these. Canadians need the confidence of knowing that they can get good care when they feel sick.

In Ontario fees have been introduced for prescription drugs. Many people arrive at the pharmacy without knowing that they have to pay. It is a shock to them that there is an extra fee and it is even more of a shock that the pharmacist appears to know their income. Now Ontario is going to charge sick people waiting in hospitals for a transfer to other care facilities.

I realize that the financial circumstances of the federal government are difficult. As a result, these are dangerous times for the only level of government that can enforce national standards in areas such as health. Difficult though it may be, I urge the federal government to do everything in its power to preserve universal, single tier health care in Canada.

JusticeStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.


Garry Breitkreuz Reform Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, when I was in grade 8 we studied the story of Jean Valjean, a hungry man who spent 19 years in jail for stealing a loaf of bread. Our hearts were pierced by that obvious injustice.

A similar story unfolds before us in Canada. Since July 7 Andy McMechan has sat in a Manitoba jail with murderers because he wanted a better price for his waxy barley. Liberals felt this was a crime and only the small, indefensible guys get picked on. After shopping around they found a sympathetic judge who would teach Andy a lesson and make an example of him to keep farmers in line.

This government lets child predators roam our streets and even sets murderers free. Is this Liberal justice? Is this freedom?

I introduced a property rights bill, but the Liberals would not even allow a vote on it. Do we not have freedom of contract in Canada?

The Prime Minister is afraid to challenge the atrocities in China but maybe he could look at the injustice here in Canada.

I support the Canadian Wheat Board as a marketing tool option for farmers, but surely it does not mean this. Let Andy go home for Christmas to be with his family.

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Roberval Québec


Michel Gauthier BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the auditor general has just released another report crammed full of extravagant expenditures, expenditures that are the result of federal mismanagement. In fact, more than $2.5 billion in needless expenditures are itemized in the auditor general's report for 1996 alone.

Does the President of Treasury Board realize that, if he had done his job properly, if the government had managed the taxpayers' money properly, it would have saved almost half the money it swiped from the UI fund surplus?

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec


Marcel Massé LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Infrastructure

Mr. Speaker, I myself met with the auditor general yesterday morning for a briefing on his report.

He pointed out to me once again that his report was essentially positive and optimistic. He also indicated that for the first time he could say there was improvement in nearly every area. Perhaps it is coming about a bit more slowly than he would have liked, but the situation is improving.