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House of Commons Hansard #118 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was nuclear.

Topics

2 p.m.

The Speaker

As is our practice on Wednesdays, we will now sing O Canada, which will be led by the hon. member for Skeena.

Indian AffairsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Kraft Sloan Liberal York—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to stand in the House and congratulate Chief Bill McCue, the Chippewas of Georgina Island and the minister of Indian affairs for their hard work in introducing a bill that will enable 14 First Nations to opt out of the land management section of the Indian Act. Chief Bill McCue, along with this colleagues, initiated this historic agreement.

This progressive piece of legislation promotes economic development in native communities and enables these communities to manage their own lands and resources.

This is a significant step closer toward full self-government and all of us in the House should applaud this initiative.

UnemploymentStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Reform

Sharon Hayes Reform Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, I know the Liberals do not like to be reminded of their promises, but the Prime Minister could not escape the frustration of Canadians about the broken promises on CBC's town hall last night. Jobs, jobs, jobs. It was evident then, as it is every day in the House, that the government has no real solutions to ensure a reduction in unemployment.

Reform's tax reduction strategy is the real solution. For low income Canadians our tax reductions would reduce their tax bill in most cases to zero and provide them a credit that would be put toward job training and education. For middle class families tax reductions will provide up to $2,000 more in their pockets each year by the year 2000. This will help the growing number of entrepreneurs that are starting their own businesses or improve consumer spending.

The reductions in capital gains tax and unemployment insurance premiums which the Liberals despise so much will give Canada's job creators more incentive to create jobs. Canadians now have a real choice.

Canada PostStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Guy Chrétien Bloc Frontenac, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canada Post has given Profac responsibility for managing the renovation and replacement of its buildings in a territory that extends from Windsor in Ontario to Halifax.

Not long ago, after a call for tenders in which three companies were asked to bid, Profac awarded the contract for repairs to windows in the Thetford Mines post office to a firm in Ontario.

Profac offers its services as a contractor and then works on the principle of contracting out. Since we are talking about public moneys, it would be normal for the exact value of the contracts awarded to Profac to be made public. More transparency is certainly needed in the process of awarding contracts for the crown corporation.

We think it is too bad that calls for tender are not open to the public, because this system would encourage local businesses and promote growth and development in the regions. It is clear that Canada Post is creating some controversy about its current management methods.

The Prime MinisterStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Jag Bhaduria Liberal Markham—Whitchurch-Stouffville, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is starting to show his true colours. During his annual town hall meeting last night Canadians watched him display arrogance, ignorance and his now infamous temper.

When questioned by Canadians about-

The Prime MinisterStatements By Members

2 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Victoria-Haliburton.

The PagesStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

John O'Reilly Liberal Victoria—Haliburton, ON

Mr. Speaker, in each session of Parliament I offer a challenge to the pages who serve us in the House of Commons. The current group was given the challenge of producing a picture of their home area. The contest included a small six-pack of Crayola crayons which are produced in my riding of Victoria-Haliburton in the town of Lindsay, and a single piece of white paper. The contest was judged by Hélène Monette, a security guard in the lobby. This session's winner is Theresa Cooke of Hull, Quebec.

Congratulations to all pages who took part in the contest with such enthusiasm. Merry Christmas.

EntrepreneursStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, on February 2 to 4, 1997 a micro credit summit will take place in Washington, D.C. to focus attention on the provision of credit to the world's poorest entrepreneurs, especially women, in order to provide them with employment and a better quality of life.

This summit is being supported by the OECD, the World Bank, NGOs, experts and individuals from all over the world. It has been shown that by lending small amounts of money, between $35 to $300 in developing countries, one can start up small businesses and cottage industries which allow individuals to support themselves and their families.

I ask our government and all members to support this initiative. By contributing to the capital of micro credit banks, they can work wonders with small amounts of money.

Research And DevelopmentStatements By Members

December 11th, 1996 / 2 p.m.

Liberal

Andrew Telegdi Liberal Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada's universities have proposed a five year $1.8 billion program to build and renew Canada's research infrastructure, and to help keep the country's top young researchers in Canada.

The federal government would pay for roughly half of the project while the rest would be provided by the universities and the provinces. The program would provide funding for top quality researchers and would help stop the brain drain to the United States and renew the network of centres of excellence program.

As technology becomes more and more sophisticated, and research more collaborative and interdisciplinary, the renovation and expansion of laboratory areas in such fields as information technology, environmental science, engineering and biotechnology become essential for Canada's ability to compete in the global marketplace.

Innovation at home means exports abroad and jobs for Canadians at home. The research infrastructure program is essential for Canada's economic growth.

The EconomyStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Reform

Werner Schmidt Reform Okanagan Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, the economy wide costs of regulation in Canada are an average $86 billion a year. For a Canadian family of four, like those in my riding of Okanagan Centre, it means annually a cost of $12,000.

Yes, we need regulations. But too many ineffective and inappropriate regulations are stifling Canadians entrepreneurship and thus the economy.

We could avoid this unnecessary burden if federal governments did a few simple things: carry out thorough cost benefit analyses, study the economic impact of regulations and write them in simple language.

Unless we do so, the effect of regulation will continue to create impediments to Canada's competitive position in the global marketplace. For Canadians it will mean an unacceptable and unwelcome level of government intrusion into our lives.

Human RightsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Augustine Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada's record on human rights has improved dramatically since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the UN General Assembly in 1948. In many respects, the declaration of that seminal document has served as a watershed in Canada's own record in human rights.

Since then, Canada has taken a leading role in advancing the interests of women and in its treatment of minorities, aboriginal people, people with disabilities and those with different sexual orientation.

Canada has also taken a very different approach to new immigrants and ethnic and racial minorities of all kinds, an approach which has embraced diversity and encouraged an open, tolerant and multicultural society.

Human rights day reminds us that there is always more to be done and new struggles to be waged. We have come a long way. Human rights day allows us to reflect on where we have gone and simultaneously to plan for the future.

Canada Elections ActStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Anna Terrana Liberal Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, in the last session of Parliament, Bill C-114, an act to amend the Canada Elections Act, was introduced and passed.

Section 31 of the elections act requires that a party that could not field 50 candidates must have its status revoked, all assets liquidated and all debts paid.

Section 31 caused the Communist Party, the Social Credit Party and other parties to be deregistered. Most newspapers came to the defence of such parties: the Toronto Star calling the change a draconian treatment of fledgling political parties, while the Vancouver Sun called such an act unjust.

[Translation]

Other medias commented negatively in this respect, and I think it is a very serious matter when parties that have been recognized for more than 75 years are forced to relinquish their status of official political party. They also had to liquidate their assets.

Last year, I presented a bill that would restore the democratic rights of these parties.

Unfortunately the bill collapsed. In the meantime, the Communist Party sent a petition with almost 4,000 signatures, respectfully calling on the government to repeal section 31 (11-14) of the Canada Elections Act. This problem must be redressed.

Canadian Human Rights CommissionStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Maud Debien Bloc Laval East, QC

Mr. Speaker, as of January 1, Michelle Falardeau-Ramsay will become Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, headed by a woman for the first time in its history.

Human rights are everyone's concern. However, not unless these rights are known and accessible can we stand up for those rights in full confidence. Mrs. Falardeau-Ramsay's main task will be to inform the public of its rights and how those rights are protected.

After explaining how the system works, the commission and its new chief commissioner will be responsible for gaining acceptance for the principle of equal rights and for taking corrective action when complaints are filed.

The Bloc Quebecois proudly congratulates Mrs. Falardeau-Ramsay on her well deserved appointment.

UnemploymentStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Reform

Darrel Stinson Reform Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, it will not be a very merry Christmas for more than a million Canadians who remain unemployed despite Liberal promises of jobs, jobs, jobs.

There is a terrible human cost to unemployment which is nearly double that of our largest trading partner, the U.S.A., whose average is 5.4 per cent.

However, a new federal study also points to dollar costs of $29 billion to $77 billion in lost productivity, plus $14 billion in health, crime and other social costs for the year 1994 alone.

The sorry fact is that Canada's net job creation from 1993 to 1995 inclusive was nearly 25,000 less than the number of immigrants admitted during those same years. Consumer bankruptcies were at a record high of 65,432 last year, with three million people on welfare and 2.9 million who collected unemployment insurance. Years of Liberal and Tory mismanagement have created this bleak result.

Merry Christmas, Canada, from another caring, sharing Liberal government.

The Prime MinisterStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

John Solomon NDP Regina—Lumsden, SK

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister got the message last night when it was confirmed on the national news that Canadians across the country view that he has betrayed them. He promised to can, to kill, to axe the GST and now he denies saying it. He promised jobs, jobs, jobs but now he says that governments do not create jobs. Obviously jobs is a four letter word in the Liberal Party.

He promised to keep the Crow benefit but cancelled it. He promised stable funding to the CBC. How ironic, the day after his CBC town hall meeting the axe falls on 1,200 more CBC employees. He promised to protect health and education but instead he has slashed core funding of $7 billion from these programs to the provinces.

The Prime Minister is stealing Christmas from millions of unemployed Canadians who see a dismal future for themselves and their families. The Prime Minister has a lot to think about this holiday season.

I recommend that he get out of his office, go down to the shelter for the homeless and talk to his friend. I think his friend will advise him to keep his promises and stop the lies.

The Prime MinisterStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

The Speaker

I would like the hon. member to please withdraw that last word in his statement. The hon. member for Regina-Lumsden.

The Prime MinisterStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

John Solomon NDP Regina—Lumsden, SK

Canadians on television said he lied, Mr. Speaker, and I agree with them.

The Prime MinisterStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

The Speaker

I would like the hon. member to please remain. I will take this matter up again after question period.

Research And DevelopmentStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Paradis Liberal Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, the National Research Council and the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council have just approved $6 million in funding for 19 new projects.

I should point out that two projects of researchers at Laval University in Quebec City were among those selected. One team will receive a little over $500,000 for research in virtual reality. This research may be used in connection with hydro-electric dams.

Another team of researchers at the same university will be getting $89,000 to do research on frequency measurement in telecommunications.

With these grants, the Government of Canada is reaffirming its commitment to research and development, two of Canada's prime competitive advantages on the international scene.

HealthStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Rey D. Pagtakhan Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I rise to mark the signing last Monday of the Canada-Ukraine memorandum on co-operation in health.

Canada's Minister of Health and Ukraine's Dr. Andriy Serdiuk exchanged signatures to advance health reform in Ukraine, particularly in health care delivery and medical sciences.

Minister Serdiuk's week long visit to learn more about the Canadian health system offers Canada the opportunity to show support for this reform process. The minister's visit, initiated by Partners in Health, a CIDA funded program managed by the Canadian Society for International Health, will build on existing collaborative activities between the two nations and their private sectors.

These activities, which can only be strengthened by the memorandum, will contribute to a healthy citizenry and a prosperous society which are essential to maintaining a healthy democracy in Ukraine.

Let us salute Canada and Ukraine on this historic agreement.

Louis RielStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, Louis Riel remains a paradox.

On March 10, 1992, the House of Commons unanimously passed a resolution recognizing Louis Riel as one of the Fathers of Confederation. Today, however, from a legal standpoint, Louis Riel remains a criminal, because he was sentenced for high treason.

History portrays Louis Riel as a traitor to Canada, because, among other things, he wanted the rights of francophones and Metis to be given the same consideration in his country's Constitution as those of the anglophones.

The refusal to overturn the guilty verdict against Louis Riel sends the message in the now famous 19th century remark by John A. Macdonald to francophones in Canada and Quebec: "He shall hang, even though all dogs in Quebec bark in his favour".

Canadian EconomyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Nick Discepola Liberal Vaudreuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, this morning at a press conference, the leader of the Bloc Quebecois made the claim that our government had done nothing concrete to create employment and had, on the contrary, created more unemployment. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Our government has an overall plan, a comprehensive view of economic recovery, and the results of our decisions are more positive every day.

The deficit is being reduced at a phenomenal rate; interest and mortgage rates are the lowest in 30 years; the export market for Canadian products is expanding; and more than 672,000 new jobs have been created in Canada since our election.

We have taken appropriate measures to accomplish this and we are pleased to see that, as a result of our policies, consumers are finally regaining confidence in our economy.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Roberval Québec

Bloc

Michel Gauthier BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, unemployment is the public's No. 1 concern. This is the message the Prime Minister received loud and clear again yesterday. Unemployment is increasing and Statistics Canada released

figures today showing that over 5 million people, up 38 per cent from 1989, are living under the poverty line.

It is now December 11, 1996, and the EI reform takes effect in three weeks. The Minister of Human Resources Development has been trying for weeks now to reassure the public that the reform is a good one, but we are worried, and so is the public.

How can the Minister of Human Resources Development claim that complete information on the new EI system is available to everyone from a 1-800 number, when it was impossible to obtain this telephone number in Canada employment centres, when it took several days to get it, and when those answering this 1-800 number were not even able to tell us anything useful about the transition measures?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Michel Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, now that our government has finally decided on an active measures approach, and I see that Mme Harel in the Quebec government is trying to do the same thing with social assistance, I have trouble understanding that, when Quebecers have led the way with active measures, the opposition is today trying to discredit a reform that is actually based on active measures.

The transition measures have been worked out, and I signed and ratified them last week. The Leader of the Opposition was absent that day. These measures have all been designed to favour workers. We are looking out for workers, and each of these measures is to their advantage.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Roberval Québec

Bloc

Michel Gauthier BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, how unfortunate it is for the minister's reputation that he always comes up with the wrong answer to the right question. I do not get it.

If we question the minister about active measures, he tells us about transition, when we ask him about transition, he talks to us about employment centres, and when we ask him about employment centres, he goes off on another tangent.

I will ask him another question. We have checked, and it is quite obvious that public servants are still not able to inform the public about the new EI system.

Will the Minister of Human Resources Development confirm that nothing, and I mean nothing, has been done as of yet to provide public servants with the information they need to inform the public properly about the new system and the related transition measures? In short, will the minister admit that the situation in his department and in employment centres is one of total confusion?