House of Commons Hansard #99 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was throne.


Speech From The ThroneRoutine Proceedings

1:05 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Milliken)

I hesitate to interrupt the hon. member but I have been trying to signal him. His time has expired. I believe he is splitting his 20 minute segment with the hon. member for Kootenay East.

Accordingly, there is now five minutes of questions or comments.

Speech From The ThroneRoutine Proceedings

1:05 p.m.


Jake Hoeppner Reform Lisgar—Marquette, MB

Mr. Speaker, how did this lady respond to the help that she finally got from this medical person? Could the hon. member fill us in on that, please.

Speech From The ThroneRoutine Proceedings

1:05 p.m.


Cliff Breitkreuz Reform Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, there just was not any help available. He could not help her.

The case does not end there. Read received a seven year sentence. He was let out after six years and only a few years later, after he was let out on early parole, which happens again and again across this country, he again committed a heinous act that is tough to describe in this House.

In British Columbia, where he ended up, he went into a house where a 9-year old girl and a 12-year old girl were sitting. He beat them up, dragged them into the basement and, with a knife, cut their vaginas to their stomachs. He did not kill them but he certainly inflicted something upon them that will follow them the rest of their lives.

At the present time there is no provision of any kind in this country to look after the victims of violence. Hence our colleague's private member's bill to deal with that. It covers the things I have related thus far.

Speech From The ThroneRoutine Proceedings

1:05 p.m.


Jim Abbott Reform Kootenay East, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is very interesting as we are undertaking the continuation of this throne speech to take a look at the number of things that have changed and the number of things that have not changed.

Clearly the things that have not changed have been on the Liberal side. One of the most interesting things last year, when Canada came within 50,000 votes of no longer being Canada, was the reaction of the Liberals to that situation.

There is an old saying that if it ain't broke, don't fix it, but in this case it is broken and we must fix it.

There are three heads on a very bad penny here, the Progressive Conservatives, the Liberals and the NDP. None of them have any new ideas. None of them are bringing any new information. None of them are taking any role of leadership to do things differently.

My colleague mentioned that the Prime Minister, in the three days before the vote, came up with the absolutely brilliant but totally discredited idea of distinct society. He did that and then brought it into the House of Commons. He forced it through the House of Commons. He also wanted to have a veto for Quebec.

Not being able to do that, we now have a veto for five regions which fundamentally gives a total constriction of any ability to ever change our country and the way we govern ourselves. That is what the Prime Minister has done. One of his more imaginative ministers, the Minister of Canadian Heritage, the Deputy Prime Minister, wants to return to 1967 to rekindle the wonderful national spirit we had. She has come out with the fly a flag program which was originally, according to an official in her department, going to be costing between $6 million and $7 million.

As was reported in the Globe and Mail , suddenly they have turned around and said that it was going to be $23 million. We then had the brilliant news the other day that it was going to be $8 million less than that. All we know is that we have over 600,000 flags being distributed willy-nilly all over the country.

As a matter of fact, there is an article in Le Devoir today that indicates that 15 of these flags were sent to people who had no interest in having the Canadian flag. The writer of the article says: ``Thank you very much, but I am going to put it in my bottom drawer''. My office is being inundated by people who are either indicating they have received flags, do not want them or have sent them back. In fact, my office has been receiving these flags to return to the minister.

This is the old vision. This is the cheerleader we have for a heritage minister. What of a new vision, a new vision that the Reform Party has? I quote the leader of the Reform Party:

For the past few decades, Canada has been governed by an ideology which holds that an overpowering, overspending central government is the answer to every problem, including that of national unity. The Reform Party is not afraid to fundamentally rethink the way our government works. Through decentralization and a greater emphasis on local responsibility, we believe we have a realistic plan that will build a stronger, more united Canada. It will help us achieve our common objective of keeping Quebec in the federation.

Let us take a look at what happened in the lead-up to the last referendum. In 1995, of the people who were surveyed, this from the Globe and Mail dated October 30, 1995, 25 per cent of the people in Quebec still believe they could elect federal members of Parliament. Almost 30 per cent believed that they would be able to keep economic ties such as they have right now and over half believed they could keep their Canadian passports.

These things are not a given. They would have to be discussed and agreed to by all the people of Canada. There was no discussion about what was going to be happening should they determine that they were going to be voting in favour of separating from Canada. There was no discussion, no contingency plan and no explanation to the people of Quebec when they voted in favour separation what their vote would actually mean.

At that time, it must be noted, if we take a slice in time leading up to the referendum, the Reform Party was being vilified by all the old-line parties because this was a new way of thinking and they could not really get their mind around a new way of thinking. We were being vilified for saying: "Just a second, why are we not having an exposure to the people of Quebec as to what the facts are? Why are we not letting the people of Quebec know that this is not a free ride?"

We are being vilified because they think we are planning for their separation. No. I and my party are committed federalists who demand that this country stay together and we will do everything we can to keep this country together. However, it will be kept together by truth, by exposure of ideas and by straight, candid discussions.

In a new Canada that the Reform Party would see, we would see a reduction in the size of tax requirements of the federal government. Right now in our nation, people through an underground economy and all sorts of devious means are walking away from their tax obligations because they believe taxes are too high and they do not want to be a part of it.

Let me make it clear, particularly to anybody in the revenue department, that I am in no way condoning the actions of people who walk away from their tax obligations. I am simply reporting that there is a tax fatigue within the country and people are doing everything they can to get away from it. It is becoming a serious problem in the way in which we relate to each other.

We would refocus the federal government's powers on 10 areas of national importance. We would reform federal institutions to make them more democratically accountable and sensitive to regional interests. We would introduce a triple E Senate, one that would give a counterbalance to the House of Commons, which is after all at least something of a form of representation by population. Ontario and Quebec have two-thirds of the seats concentrated in this place. A triple E Senate, through its equal representation, would give regional compensation to the power of the House of Commons. We would decentralize other governmental powers to give all provinces the freedom and resources to develop as their citizens choose.

Quebec is not the only distinct society. When we look around the country, Quebec has the distinctiveness of its language, but truly, are the Acadians not as much a distinct society? Truly, are the people who arrived in northern Alberta from Europe in the early 1900s not a distinct society? What we are talking about here is the demand, and a very worthy demand on the part of people across Canada to have more say and to get out from under the stultifying

umbrella of the federal government. That is the positive side and the direction in which we want to go.

On the other side of the coin we would also say that secession negotiations must respect the principles of democratic legitimacy, the rule of law and the interests of Canada. The right of Canadians within a seceding province to remain part of Canada and to petition Parliament for that purpose must be respected.

I quote a gentleman, Gilles St-Laurent from Quebec City, Quebec: "I believe the people of Quebec would like to have more control over their own affairs and less influence from Ottawa. And that is why I think that Reform's plan to give more powers to the provinces is one of the most likely to keep Quebec in the federation".

Speech From The ThroneRoutine Proceedings

1:15 p.m.


Francine Lalonde Bloc Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his remarks, but does he agree that the recognition of Quebec as a distinct society was not requested by the Bloc Quebecois nor by the Government of Quebec. This was a promise made by the Prime Minister, who also promised to entrench the concept of distinct society in the Constitution, but has been unable to keep his promise.

Quebec is a people and a nation, not a province like any other. This is the basis for any discussion and, as far as we can see, only a referendum on sovereignty will provide the necessary basis for future discussions from people to people.

Speech From The ThroneRoutine Proceedings

1:15 p.m.


Jim Abbott Reform Kootenay East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I disagree on one point and I fully agree on another.

When the member suggests that Quebec is a nation of people not like any other province, with respect I disagree. The reason I disagree is that undoubtedly there are a lot of people who come from families in Quebec whose ancestry has been in Quebec for a long time. Canada is made up of a society that to a greater or lesser extent is like that but of the 29 million to 30 million people in Canada about nine million people are recent immigrants. To suggest that the province is a nation because of there being a certain number of people who come from families who have been in that province for a long time, I cannot agree with the member.

However I do agree that neither the Bloc nor the Parti Quebecois are asking for distinct society. It is very clear that what is going on here is the Prime Minister is attempting to fulfil a promise that is hollow and which has absolutely no value.

If we want to deal in reality, Quebec is a distinct society in many of its characteristics, in many of the ways in which people relate to each other and certainly in their joie de vivre, their joy of life. It is that joy of life in Quebec which I think adds to Canada's culture in a very wonderful way. Quebecers have a distinct society in that reality.

Here is the problem. The minute that we turn commonly used English words into law, those two words, distinct society, suddenly can become a club, a tool that can be used in ways we could never imagine. Because we put this into law in goodwill all of a sudden we might find that we are constrained.

For example if the CBC wanted to make cutbacks in programming, the CBC could be constrained. If distinct society was in the Constitution and was recognized legally, all of a sudden it could be argued that because the French programming was in support of distinct society and because that was constitutionalized, any cuts that were going to be made at the CBC could only be made in English services but not in French services in Quebec. I just cite that as one example.

The unintended consequences of the inclusion of the term distinct society in law is completely unknown. As a consequence it is a concept that should never ever be enshrined.

Speech From The ThroneRoutine Proceedings

1:20 p.m.

Perth—Wellington—Waterloo Ontario


John Richardson LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to participate in this debate and to outline and expand on the speech from the throne.

The Liberal Party is proud of its record over the past three years since it assumed its role as the government. Most of the commitments outlined in both the red book and in the first throne speech have been fulfilled or are in the process of being fulfilled.

The throne speech outlines our plan for action for the second half of the mandate. Yet it is not as much a new direction for the government to follow as it is an effort to build upon the accomplishments which we have achieved to date. In the first mandate the government laid the foundation for renewed prosperity. The throne speech contains the blocks on which we have continued to build. The speech from the throne concentrates on three main areas: security for Canadians; modernizing the federation; and jobs and growth. Without question each of these areas is of vital importance.

Security for Canadians addresses concerns which we all have about the future of our social programs. A secure safety net is of great importance to all citizens. When we ask Canadians what makes our country unique, they always point to the social safety net. Today programs such as medicare are part of the Canadian fabric and represent a fundamental value that Canadians cherish.

The Liberal Party understands the importance of the Canadian place in the future of these programs. It understands that for good reason it was the Liberal Party that brought these programs to life. As we all know, times have changed since their inception. As the throne speech rightly spells out, changes are necessary to ensure the continuing health of our social safety net. However, in the end

our reformed social programs must still protect those most in need and we will make sure of that.

The second major thrust of the throne speech deals with national unity. The memory of last October's referendum remains strong in the minds of all Canadians. Canada must never again be placed in the position in which it found itself last October 30. However, the referendum results reflected a clear message. It was a message for change and this desire for change is shared in all parts of the country. The federal government agrees that fresh approaches are necessary and it will work with the provinces to ensure that the federation is modernized.

The government proposes to work with all its partners to explore new options. The Prime Minister has called on all Canadians to demonstrate openness and to be a part of these changes. The federal government has already made substantial changes over the past two years. It will continue to do everything necessary to modernize the Canadian federation further. In the end it is important to remember that what unites us as Canadians is far greater than what divides us. The values which we share are as relevant as ever.

While the referendum served to raise many eyebrows, the current trend toward nationalism is not a feature unique in our country. History has shown that many countries have successfully dealt with similar circumstances. While the tide of nationalism was high last October, the separatist threat will recede and the waters will calm once again.

Jobs and growth was the final theme of the throne speech. It is the area I would like to talk about in some detail.

Since the Liberal Party took office in November 1993, over 600,000 jobs have been created. The unemployment rate has declined. I can speak for my own riding where the unemployment rate was at 7 per cent or 8 per cent. Presently the riding which I represent has an unemployment rate of 4.7 per cent. I know it is not the same across the country but it shows that the trend is getting better with the downward spiral of unemployment figures.

The government is not about to sit back and rest on its laurels. More work needs to be done. That is why the speech from the throne targeted three main areas: youth, science and technology, and trade. Those are the key elements for the continued success of jobs and growth in the future.

It does not take a genius to realize that youth unemployment is far too high. While it has been said before, it simply cannot be overstated: The skills of our young people are Canada's greatest resource of the future. Young Canadians need more help to make the transition into the working world and more help to get that crucial first job.

To address this problem, the federal government will work in conjunction with the provinces and the private sector to create new jobs and new opportunities for youth. The throne speech outlined plans to double the size of the federal programs aimed at creating summer jobs in the past summer as it will in the future. The government has also challenged the business community to create jobs for youth.

In partnership with the provinces, the private sector and young people themselves, we will work to create job opportunities for young Canadians. By working together, the youth unemployment problem can be tackled.

The second element of the jobs and growth theme outlined in the throne speech is science and technology. Canada has the distinction of being a leader in the field of innovative technology. In today's global marketplace, that means more jobs, sustainable jobs and quality jobs for Canadians. However, strong leadership is necessary to ensure that Canada remains a leader in this field.

To ensure ongoing success in the growth area, the government will continue to support development in aerospace technologies, environmental technologies and enabling technologies, such as biotechnology.

The government will honour its red book commitment to launch a Canadian technology network to support technology diffusion. Just recently the Minister of Industry made that announcement. We will see these new high technology features being set up on the information highway. They will reach into areas of Canada which have never been able to access the information highway. The government has worked to improve access to the information highway in northern and rural areas. By providing support and leadership in these areas Canada will continue to enjoy its competitive edge in the world's technology marketplace.

Another key element of the government's jobs and growth agenda is trade. In the last two years Canada's exports have soared. Month after month Statistics Canada has reported a substantial increase in our exports, but these good news stories have become commonplace in the business pages of our newspapers. If the figures are added up they reveal a true economic phenomenon.

In 1995 Canada's merchandise exports grew by over 20 per cent and its trade surplus by a dramatic 63 per cent over 1994. Adding to the good news is the fact that this rapid growth is diversified and is taking place in all major world markets. As a result of this robust expansion trade has become the single most important factor in creating jobs and growth in the past two years. We must now capitalize on our accomplishments and build on these successes. That is why the throne speech detailed a continuation of Team

Canada missions which to date have brought home more than $20 billion in new deals and as recent as yesterday this figure is continuing to climb in the billions.

As long as there are untapped markets Canada must be ever vigilant to seek new buyers for their goods and services. The government will also announce new measures to support export development in financing.

Finally, the government will continue to work to expand the NAFTA and work toward more world trade liberalization. More markets mean more sales and that means more jobs for Canadians. By taking a proactive role in creating markets for our goods, assisting growth sectors in the science and technology field and giving our youth the skills necessary to succeed we are ensuring the continued prosperity of our nation. That is what the speech from the throne is all about, continued prosperity. Each element of the throne speech deals with prosperity, and the success of each hinges on the others.

A modern and united Canada promotes stability. Stability enhances our potential for more jobs and growth. This continued prosperity allows Canadians to keep enjoying their cherished social programs and Canada as the envy of the world. By providing sound leadership and good government, as outlined in the throne speech, the Liberal Party is charting the course toward prosperity as we head into the 21st century.

Speech From The ThroneRoutine Proceedings

1:30 p.m.


Maurice Godin Bloc Châteauguay, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listened to the speech given by my colleague. I can assure you I do not fully share his satisfaction with the throne speech. If I may, I would like to recap in my own words the points he made and show the other side of the coin.

He spoke about safety, about modernizing the Constitution, about employment. He talked about social security in Canada, but he forgot to tell us whether social programs will remain unchanged despite all the federal cuts in transfer payments to the provinces.

On the subject of modernizing the Constitution, he spoke about national unity. He told us that, since the referendum, the government understands the desire for change. Not only has the government failed to table anything to meet Quebecers' demands, but the Prime Minister refuses to talk about the Constitution. He recently said he had done enough but, in our eyes, all he did was table a meaningless motion on distinct society.

As for employment, the government's record is not much better. They claim to have created 600,000 jobs, but the hon. member forgot to tell us that 800,000 have since been lost. And the unemployment rate proves it, averaging between 9.4 and 10 per cent.

The hon. member admits that many young people are unemployed but that they will create summer jobs. In fact, summer jobs simply enable young people to earn the money they need to pursue their studies. It is mainly young graduates who are unemployed. That is where the future starts for young people. There is absolutely nothing for them in this.

We are told exports have gone up. Many of these exports are natural resources. In fact, it is the value added to natural resources that will create jobs for young people. The hon. member speaks about prosperity but forgets to mention the debt. What is slowing the economy down? Why is our unemployment rate so high? Simply because of the debt. I would like the hon. member to talk about the debt and how it could be reduced in the near future.

Speech From The ThroneRoutine Proceedings

1:35 p.m.


John Richardson Liberal Perth—Wellington—Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member makes a number of points, but on two of them I would like to send him back to a couple of classes for his addition and subtraction. Certainly when one comes from double digits in unemployment down to single digits there is a significant increase in employment in the country.

One of the things that is causing the lack of direct input into some sections of our country is the feeling of instability. The destabilizing effect of referendums takes its toll on certain areas of the country. I believe those who are part of that destabilizing effect have to take some of the blame for that.

The member mentions some other features. When one looks at our export markets and what we are exporting, take a very good look and see how much of that really is value added. I think the member will be very surprised to see how much of that component is truly value added. In his own province in particular, some of the things that have been going out of the province are valued added products that are sold well on the foreign markets, such as the aerospace industry, the making of engines for the aerospace industry.

There are many good stories about Canada. It is a slow spin-out. As recently as the past two weeks the Bank of Canada and other major banks have had a surge of money coming into Canada to invest and there is also the driving up of our dollar. These are all good signs that the Canadian economy has turned the corner. It is predicted that we will lead the G-7 in the next year in growth.

Speech From The ThroneRoutine Proceedings

1:35 p.m.


Francine Lalonde Bloc Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is so interesting today, on November 7, to be discussing the throne speech delivered on February 27, 1996. While we suspected that what the government was announcing was mostly window dressing, we are now certain of that.

Let me briefly remind you that the throne speech delivered by the governor general, on behalf of the government, had three major themes: a strong economy, the security of Canadians, and a modern and united country. One might say that it was wishful thinking on the part of the Prime Minister.

We were just told again how strong the economy is. A major problem in this country, and not only in Quebec, is that a very large number-in fact an increasing number-of citizens do not think the recession is over, do not think Canada is the best country in the world, because life for them has become harder and their hopes have been diminishing.

What about the security of Canadians and Quebecers? This government managed to reduce its deficit, but who paid, who is paying and who will continue to pay? It is those who could least afford to do so, and it will continue to be these people. We can never say it enough: had it not made substantial cuts to unemployment insurance and social transfers, the performance of this government would not be the same, because this is where it took most of the money used to reduce the deficit.

Let me also remind you that we had two successive UI reforms, and that the government was elected by promising "jobs, jobs, jobs". But what did the government actually do? Its main initiative was to cut unemployment insurance and social transfers.

As for jobs, over 870,000 jobs would be needed to now have the equivalent of the number of people employed in 1990. A drop in the participation rate is a major reason for the lower unemployment rate. This is nothing to be proud of, since it not only means there are fewer people working, but there are also fewer people looking for work. These people did not all go back to school.

The result of these successive cuts to unemployment insurance is, and this bears pointing out, that in 2001 unemployment insurance benefits will drop by $1.2 billion in Quebec alone. These are official figures from Employment and Immigration, which has now become Human Resources Development, and the way it looked to me yesterday will become the Social Union Department. This means that those who are unemployed, in regions where unemployment is high, are helping to reduce the deficit. The regions and the people least able are contributing the greatest share.

What about the Canada social transfer? I would remind viewers that for years now we have been saying that we have seen fewer concrete investments, fewer research and development investments and less routine spending by the federal government in Quebec. Since the Conservatives dared to give the CF-18 contract to Canadair, the only other investment we have seen, accompanied by much fanfare, was an $87 million loan, which our colleagues beside us are still going on about.

They say we are irritated because we have more than our share of people on unemployment and welfare and what we want are concrete investments. But they cannot even say that any more because the more cuts we see to unemployment insurance and welfare, the less so-called interregional subsidization there is. This is true for Quebec and also for the Maritimes, and I have never been afraid to say so. The Maritimes voted largely Liberal. The first reaction was deep cuts, followed by more cuts.

If there are members here who think that people must not be helped out of dependence, I am certainly not one of them. But if dependency is going to be reduced, communities must have something concrete.

The Canada health and social transfer is replacing what for years had been a kind of redistribution among poor and rich provinces in order to provide minimum living standards in all regions. It does not give them all the same resources with regard to education, health or welfare. Since their inception, these subsidies have been steadily declining. However, since the 1995 announcement, they have dropped substantially: seven billion dollars over two years. Of this seven billion cut, Quebec is absorbing more than a quarter because it has more than its share of people on welfare.

The worst part about this so-called social union is that from now on whenever there is an increase in the number on the welfare roll, which is bound to happen, there will be no increase in financial assistance. The average citizen believes that the recession is not over and that another one is lurking on the horizon. It might not happen next year, but it will one day.

In spite of all the rosy forecasts that the Canadian economy is on the upswing, our growth rate is only 1 per cent. A one per cent growth rate is not very far from zero growth. We are bound to enter another recessionary period, maybe in two years, and more people will be on welfare again. Who will pay for the increased numbers on the welfare roll? Quebec will, because it will receive no special assistance, and the other poor provinces.

When we hear the federal government talk about social union and preserving the social safety net, and in the same breath, congratulating itself on the success of its deficit reduction program, we cannot help but feel extremely angry. In fact, in the current context, the cuts in the unemployment insurance and the Canada health and social transfer make life harder for the unemployed, who depend on government assistance. This is even more shocking and frustrating as these cuts caused directly by the Canada health and social transfer and indirectly by the cuts to unemployment insurance must be made by the provinces.

The cuts that are caused directly by the Canada health and social transfer, and indirectly by cuts to unemployment insurance, must be implemented by the Quebec government. Whether it is in the

area of education, health or welfare, putting an end to these subsidies will have serious effects.

The third part of the throne speech speaks about a modern and united country, but since social conditions have seriously deteriorated and nothing has been done for the recognition of the people of Quebec, of the nation of Quebec, I feel the speech from the throne is, at best, an exercise in fantasy.

I know that what I am saying might seem outrageous, but if some members here think that the situation we have had to put up with in Quebec is not extremely outrageous, they should think again. Since January, since the Liberal caucus, instead of a government which would make a place, a real place for Quebec and not merely enshrine a phoney distinct society in the Constitution when it cannot even be enshrined at present, a distinct society which we do not want and which is irrelevant to us, what did we get? We had to put up with a series of hidden, open, direct and indirect threats.

The only purpose of plan B, which we could say is called plan B after the billy club or the baseball bat, is to frighten us, to try to convince Quebecers they should not seek to become sovereign. The intent is not to make them feel better, to make a place for them, to give them some dignity in this country, but rather to frighten them. We know that, throughout history, this tactic has never worked.

Recently, probably because there is in election coming, they came up with plan A-"A" as in "attract"-a plan with little or no substance really. What is it all about? About entrenching the concept of distinct society in the Constitution and, to use the new terminology, creating a Canadian social union.

The Minister of Human Resources Development spoke in generous terms in his speech yesterday, but did not include Quebec in any way. Like the initiative taken by Ontario at the Jasper conference, this shows that Canadians, Quebecers excluded, want to renew Canada. I think it is great that Canadians discuss between themselves how their country could be run better and how social policies are managed. But one thing is clear: there is nothing in there for Quebec. Not only is there nothing for Quebec, but the two movements that have been developing for years: a movement for Canada's renewal by the provinces and a movement, which is getting stronger and stronger, of Quebecers that recognize themselves and want to be recognized as a people and a nation. These two movements are going in opposite directions.

But every basis for recognition is there. It is all there, except for one thing: recognizing Quebec as a people and a nation, so that the Canadian provinces looking to reorganize their country to their liking-and this is both desirable and necessary-can do so without Quebec getting in the way, while Quebec gets reorganized on its own terms, with full powers, without Canada getting in the way, and that both countries can share the same economic space as well as other aspects, if they so agree.

Therein lies the real future, beyond the speeches made here. The truth, even when hard to take, must help us understand each other. It must prevail and allow us to create conditions whereby all of us will work at what is essential and urgent, at what our young people want, whether in Canada or in Quebec.

We will soon no doubt hear another speech from the throne. How soon? I do not know. Certainly before the next election. One thing is certain though: we will keep a close eye, as you know, on what the government does about the needs of Quebecers. We will continue to say, not only for the good of Quebec but also, and we are convinced of that, for the good of Canada, that there is only one way to finally build a future that will allow us, in Canada and in Quebec, to respect and to help each other, and that is through Quebec's sovereignty.

Speech From The ThroneRoutine Proceedings

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

Dear colleagues, as it is almost 2 p.m., the House will now proceed to statements by members.

National 4-H WeekStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Lyle Vanclief Liberal Prince Edward—Hastings, ON

Mr. Speaker, this is National 4-H Week. As a former 4-H club member and leader, I want to again remind Canadians that our young people are one of this country's most important assets. Today's youth are tomorrow's farmers, business people, scientists and political leaders. But they can only reach their great potential if they have the opportunity to learn the skills they need as adults.

More than 42,000 young women and men are learning those essential skills by participating in 4-H clubs in rural communities across the country. As we celebrate National 4-H Week from November 4 to 10, we salute not only those young people but the 12,000 adult volunteers who are the backbone of 4-H.

"Learn to do by doing" has been the 4-H model for more than 80 years. Through 4-H activities, our rural youth are building skills such as leadership, independence, co-operation and responsibility.

As a member of the Canadian 4-H Council, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada is contributing to this effort. It will provide $300,000 over three years in support of national and provincial 4-H activities so our youth will get the chance to try new things, learn new skills and make lifelong friends.

InvestmentStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Nic Leblanc Bloc Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister and Liberal members keep saying that an end must be put to the political uncertainty created by separatist threats.

The reality is that they are entirely responsible for the political uncertainty, with their federalist threats, such as changing the rules of democracy to suit them, preventing Quebecers from deciding on their own future and encouraging the partition of Quebec in the event of sovereignty. Furthermore, political uncertainty exists only in the discourse of hard-core federalists.

For proof, we have this morning's announcement in the newspapers that Astra, a pharmaceutical company, has selected Montreal as the site for its first research centre outside Sweden. This project represents an investment of over $300 million over ten years.

Fortunately, foreign investors do not allow themselves to be influenced by the dire warnings of federalists. They know good places to invest and both Quebec and Montreal are excellent choices. They have our thanks.

AgricultureStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Dale Johnston Reform Wetaskiwin, AB

Mr. Speaker, like school yard bullies, the government likes to start fights with those it knows it can threaten and beat.

First it was the gun owners, ordinary citizens who will now have to pay to register their firearms or face criminal conviction for non-compliance.

Then the government, intent on its own version of crime control, turned its attention to grain farmers. A Manitoba farmer was sent to jail and about 150 others face charges for selling their grain in the United States.

Is it illegal for farmers to sell their crops? The courts said it was okay, but the agriculture minister, intent on protecting the wheat board's monopoly, secured an order in council to make it illegal.

This Liberal government will leave no stone unturned to stop farmers from getting a better price for their grain. Customs inspectors and RCMP officers have strict orders to apprehend these people. Meanwhile, the flow of contraband continues north and south across the 49th parallel.

National Diabetes MonthStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Bob Nault Liberal Kenora—Rainy River, ON

Mr. Speaker, as many members are aware, November is national diabetes month. We are all familiar with this disease and the impact it has on Canadians and their families. What many people are not aware of, though, is the alarming prevalence of diabetes in First Nations' communities.

A recent study of the Sioux Lookout zone population in my riding showed that the incidence of diabetes among aboriginal Canadians is far higher than the general population. Even more alarming is that over the five-year period there was a 45 per cent increase in diagnosed cases and that aboriginal people are affected at a much younger age than the general population.

Current efforts are proving inefficient to deal with the problem and the potential human and health care costs are staggering. In the light of this, I urge the Minister of Health and the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development to step up their efforts to combat diabetes in the aboriginal population.

Gasoline PricesStatements By Members

2 p.m.


John Cannis Liberal Scarborough Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, in the past I have made statements in the House pertaining to the gasoline and banking industries. Today again I wish to speak on the gasoline gouging that is presently going on at the pumps.

Many people are calling to express their disgust and dismay toward the gasoline companies and their unjustified and unacceptable increases.

Every time we confront the gasoline companies their rebuttal is: "Well, it is competition". I thought competition meant pricing the product downward to stay competitive. It would seem that with the gouging that is going on, the gasoline companies are indeed competing: competing to see which company can jack up the prices more.

I say get with it. Come into line with what is happening out there. Listen to what the people have to say for a change. The government has worked hard to bring interest rates down and have succeeded. They should do their share and bring the prices at the gas pumps down. The public is asking for it. The economy needs it. Just do it.

Remembrance DayStatements By Members

November 7th, 1996 / 2 p.m.


Bonnie Hickey Liberal St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, each year on November 11 when the veterans march past the memorials across the country, it becomes more apparent that the events they

have experienced by serving Canada are receding more and more into the past.

Our veterans are getting older and each year fewer are able to participate. Our veterans have much to teach the younger generation about the values that went into building this country and preserving democracy. We must encourage our veterans to tell their stories and to give our young people the occasion to listen.

As a step in the right direction, the Prime Minister has declared November 3 to 11 as veterans' week. I invite all Canadians, but especially the younger generation, to take time to listen to the stories of Canada's veterans of the first and second world wars and the Korean war. I hope that all Canadians will make an effort to record these stories on paper, video, audio tape and now the Internet so that they may not be lost to future generations.

RwandaStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Jean H. Leroux Bloc Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, the genocide that took place in Rwanda two years ago was one of the most tragic chapters in modern history. The International Court of Justice of The Hague is now putting together a multidisciplinary team whose mandate will be to hold an investigation and submit evidence against those responsible for the slaughter of thousands of Rwandans.

A team of 21 special investigators is set to depart shortly for Rwanda for a period of six months. Nine officers from the Montreal Urban Community police force have been selected for the team, including Denis Bergeron, a resident of Saint-Césaire in the beautiful riding of Shefford.

If there is to be lasting peace in this area of the world, justice must be done. I am therefore pleased to wish Mr. Bergeron and his colleagues all the best and good luck.

Such a tragedy must never happpen again.

Canadian AirlinesStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Jim Silye Reform Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, recent announcements that Canadian Airlines is having financial trouble should be of concern to all of us.

At a time when the Liberal job creation strategy has failed and unemployment is hovering close to the 10 per cent mark, we certainly do not want to see 16,000 airline jobs disappear.

Certain steps now need to be taken by Canadian Airlines. It is acting very responsibly in taking those steps. Once the steps have been taken we can then look at what other action is required.

A government bailout does not appear to be a viable solution. It has been done before and obviously did not provide a real remedy. What is needed this time is an effective plan that will work over the longer term.

The Reform Party is meeting with officials from Canadian, Air Canada and American Airlines to discuss possible solutions and to work toward protecting Canadian jobs, Canadian investment and the Canadian travelling public.

Canadian AirlinesStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Nelson Riis NDP Kamloops, BC

Mr. Speaker, if we listen carefully we can hear thousands of voices, primarily from western Canada, telling the federal government that it is now their turn.

We just heard that Canadian Airlines is in a very serious financial situation and 16,400 jobs are immediately at stake and thousands of related jobs are at risk. Many western and northern communities depend to a large extent on maintaining their connection with Canadian Airlines.

The National Transportation Act provides an opportunity for the Minister of Transport, giving him extraordinary powers to intervene to resolve the situation. Two or three suggestions would be to provide bridge financing for Canadian to allow it to restructure properly, involving all of those who are stakeholders in the airline.

May I suggest that with $87 million going to help Bombardier, it is now time for $70 million of bridge financing to help this western based airline.

Remembrance DayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Ivan Grose Liberal Oshawa, ON

Mr. Speaker, this coming Monday at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, Canadians across the country will pause to remember the sacrifice of Canada's soldiers, sailors, airmen and merchant mariners who died for them in the cause of world peace.

While the deaths of our friends and family members are very real and personal to those of us who have experienced them first hand, to most Canadians alive today this is simply a matter of history.

I want to remind all Canadians, especially the young who are our future, of the sacrifices made on their behalf so that they might

enjoy the freedom that was a gift to them from Canadian patriots. We must all work to ensure that their gift to us is not forgotten. We must and we will remember them.

Remembrance DayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Marlene Catterall Liberal Ottawa West, ON

Mr. Speaker, Remembrance Day is a solemn occasion when we recall the sacrifices of the many Canadians who fought for the cause of freedom.

This month Legion magazine pays special tribute to the contribution of Canada's servicewomen of World War II. In all three forces, nurses faced the same risks, hardships, burdens of command and front line service as other personnel. But in all three forces women also served in a variety of functions, both in Canada and overseas as enlisted personnel, NCOs and commissioned officers.

It was the Royal Canadian Air Force, however, that provided a stellar example of allowing both men and women to contribute fully to the war effort. Although women did not serve in combat, they fulfilled duties in over half of the 102 RCAF trades.

From 1942 until the end of the war more than 17,000 women served in the women's division of the RCAF, including some 600 officers.

During veterans week and on November 11, let us remember the significant contribution of the thousands of Canadian men and women who toiled and sacrificed in the name of freedom for all Canadians and humanity.

Silver Cross MotherStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Roseanne Skoke Liberal Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, Margaret Langille, a life-long resident of River John, Nova Scotia and a constituent of my riding of Central Nova, has been chosen to be this year's 1996 silver (memorial) cross mother by the Dominion Command of the Royal Canadian Legion.

As this year's silver cross mother, Mrs. Langille is privileged to represent all the mothers across Canada who have sacrificed their beloved sons in the war for our peace and freedom.

Mrs. Langille lost her only son Lawrence in World War II when he died during an assault in Falaise, France on August 16, 1944.

At 95 years of age, Mrs. Langille will make her first ever trip to Ottawa where she will take part in the national Remembrance Day ceremony.

I ask this hon. House to join with me in extending congratulations to Mrs. Langille for being chosen as this year's silver cross mother and a special thanks to our veterans for their sacrifices which have secured for us our current freedoms.

May God bless Mrs. Langille and all the mothers who have lost their sons in war.

Semaine Interculturelle Nationale 1996Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Osvaldo Nunez Bloc Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow, November 8, will mark the beginning of La Semaine interculturelle nationale in Quebec, around the theme "Gens d'ici, Québec 96: un avenir commun". This week will demonstrate the solidarity between Quebecers of all origins, and will foster understanding, dialogue and rapprochement.

The focus of this week will be what unifies all of the people of Quebec, what makes the people of Quebec open, democratic and respectful of the rights of everyone.

Hundreds of activities will be organized throughout Quebec, with a view to a greater understanding of cultural diversity, as they were last year.

Because this week contributes to strengthening the solidarity within our community, the Bloc Quebecois members wish this event focussing on rapprochement unqualified success.

SomaliaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Jim Hart Reform Okanagan—Similkameen—Merritt, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise on behalf of the constituents of Okanagan-Similkameen-Merritt to honour the Canadians who made the ultimate sacrifice serving our country.

Last year I was proud to attend the 50th anniversary of the end of the second world war in the Netherlands. I accompanied the veterans of the second world war. We experienced the tremendous affection of the Dutch people who were grateful for the efforts of our troops. They will never forget.

In contrast, members of the Canadian Armed Forces who served in Somali operated in a nightmare of violence, heat, disease and conflict. They secured and supported all relief operations, organized local police, rebuilt schools and medical clinics and negotiated ceasefires.

We urge the Liberal government to recognize the Canadian Armed Forces personnel who served in Somalia by announcing the awarding of the Somalia medal during veterans week.

The government has already said it would issue a medal for Somalia. Canadians want the medal awarded now, lest the Liberals forget.