House of Commons Hansard #119 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was agriculture.

Topics

Canadian Food Inspection Agency ActGovernment Orders

1:20 p.m.

Reform

Elwin Hermanson Reform Kindersley—Lloydminster, SK

The member says I should not be cynical at Christmas time. It just so happens that a lot of civil servants have not enjoyed a very good Christmas because for some political reason their head office was moved from one end of the country to the other and they had to tag along. Had they known it would save them some of their own tax dollars, they may have been prepared to move from Ottawa to Regina or from Vancouver to Halifax.

What really happened was that they knew some politicians were playing some games with the location of their national office and their lives were being wrecked as a result. It is time we stopped doing that and look at cost effectiveness.

If this motion had stated that the head office of the agency be located in the most cost effective location in Canada, I would have jumped for joy. That would be real progress. But that is not quite what the amendment says. The Liberals had not even thought about that as a criterion for the selection of a location for their national office.

I am sick and tired of playing these silly political games, playing with people's lives and spending taxpayer dollars needlessly.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency ActGovernment Orders

1:20 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Ringuette-Maltais)

Is the House ready for the question?

Canadian Food Inspection Agency ActGovernment Orders

1:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Question.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency ActGovernment Orders

1:20 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Ringuette-Maltais)

The question is on Motion No. 5. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Canadian Food Inspection Agency ActGovernment Orders

1:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency ActGovernment Orders

1:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency ActGovernment Orders

1:20 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Ringuette-Maltais)

All those in favour will please say yea.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency ActGovernment Orders

1:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency ActGovernment Orders

1:20 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Ringuette-Maltais)

All those opposed will please say nay.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency ActGovernment Orders

1:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency ActGovernment Orders

1:20 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Ringuette-Maltais)

In my opinion the nays have it.

And more than five members having risen:

Canadian Food Inspection Agency ActGovernment Orders

1:20 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Ringuette-Maltais)

The division on the motion stands deferred.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency ActGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Guy Chrétien Bloc Frontenac, QC

moved:

Motion No. 3

That Bill C-60, in Clause 5, be amended by a ) replacing line 20 on page 2 with the following:

"5. (1) Subject to subsection (2), the Governor in Council shall appoint a" b ) adding after line 24 on page 2 the following:

"(2) The Governor in Council shall ensure that persons appointed to the positions referred to in subsection (1) have a comprehensive knowledge and a broad experience of the areas dealt with by the Agency."

Motion No. 4

That Bill C-60, in Clause 5, be amended by replacing line 24 on page 2 with the following:

"may be renewed for one further term."

Motion No. 6

That Bill C-60, in Clause 10, be amended by adding after line 11 on page 3 the following:

"(1.1) Notwithstanding subsection (1), no person may be appointed by the Minister to an advisory board unless that person has been recommended for such appointment pursuant to subsection (1.3).

(1.2) Such committee of the House of Commons as is designated or established to consider agricultural matters shall invite each province and the organizations in that province representing agricultural interests to submit to the committee the names of candidates residing in that province for appointment to an advisory board.

(1.3) Subject to subsection (1.1), the committee referred to in subsection (1.2) shall, for the purposes of subsection (1), recommend from among the candidates the persons it deems most suitable to be appointed to the advisory board.

(1.4) The committee shall recommend persons under subsection (1.2) from each province and the percentage of candidates recommended from a province shall be equal to the percentage that the population of that province represents of the total population of Canada."

Motion No. 7

That Bill C-60, in Clause 10, be amended by replacing line 14 on page 3 with the following:

"Agency that such committee of the House of Commons as is designated or established to consider agricultural matters submits to it."

Motion No. 8

That Bill C-60, in Clause 10, be amended by adding after line 14 on page 3 the following:

"(2.1) On any matter within the responsibilities of the Agency, the board may advise a ) a provincial government; b ) a union representing some or all of the employees of the Agency; and c ) a person from the agriculture, fisheries, food processing, food distribution and public health sectors.''

Motion No. 9

That Bill C-60, in Clause 10, be amended by deleting lines 15 to 21 on page 3.

Motion No. 10

That Bill C-60, in Clause 10, be amended by adding after line 21 on page 3 the following:

"(3.1) The Minister shall appoint at least one representative of a union representing some or all of the employees of the Agency to the board."

Motion No. 11

That Bill C-60, in Clause 10, be amended by replacing lines 22 to 24 on page 3 with the following:

"(4) The Minister shall appoint as Chairperson of the advisory board the person recommended for that position pursuant to subsection (4.1).

(4.1) Such committee of the House of Commons as is designated or established to consider agricultural matters shall, for the purposes of subsection (4), recommend the member of the advisory board that it deems most suitable as Chairperson of the board."

Motion No. 12

That Bill C-60, in Clause 10, be amended by replacing line 27 on page 3 with the following:

"pursuant to the recommendation made under subsection (5.1).

(5.1) Such committee of the House of Commons as is designated or established to consider agricultural matters shall, for the purposes of subsection (5), recommend the amount that each member of the advisory board shall be paid as fees for his or her services."

Motion No. 21

That Bill C-60 be amended by adding after line 44 on page 5 the following new Clause:

"17.1 The Agency shall, once every year, provide to such committee of the House of Commons as is designated or established to consider agricultural matters a detailed report respecting all actions taken in that year by the Agency in the exercise of its powers under section 17."

Madam Speaker, again, these motions are well grouped. Motions Nos. 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 21 are amendments proposed by my colleague, the hon. member for Lotbinière.

The reason the Bloc Quebecois is trying hard to improve Bill C-60 is because of the serious risk of patronage. From 1984 to 1993, another party was in office and some people would literally wake up at night despising the Prime Minister of the time, because they were so fed up with his politics of patronage.

The party that took over from the Mulroney government does not fare much better in this respect. This is serious, as you are well aware. The government, through the governor in council, will appoint the president for a term of five years which may be renewed, and also the executive vice-president. There will be an advisory board of not more than 12 members, who will also be appointed by the governor in council.

What is even worse is that the regulations governing employment in the public service will be suspended for an indeterminate period of time. This means anyone can be hired, whether it is an uncle, an aunt, a nephew, a niece, a brother-in-law, a mother-in-law, a sister-in-law, the niece's friend, the sister-in-law's nephew, even the grandfather, if he still young enough to go to work. This is a serious matter. We are talking about an indeterminate period of time which could be six months, a year, two years, whatever. I have no doubt that the executive vice-president and the president will all be good friends, good Liberals.

These people will appoint employees of the new food inspection agency in a fashion similar to that of the government. We raised this issue during question period. The director general of the space agency, which is located in Longueuil, or Saint-Hubert, lives in Ottawa and refuses to move. So, the government pays $1,300 a month to house him in a luxurious rental unit. Is it a frient of the government who is enjoying all this? Of course.

Look at the recent wave of appointments in our ridings. Our new returning officer in my riding is a well-known Liberal. The fact that he is a Liberal does not make him incompetent, but, by the same token, one need not be a Liberal to be qualified.

This retired gentleman was appointed, while we have young men and young women looking for work. They are very competent, but they do not have a job and have to rely on either unemployment or welfare benefits. This government has appointed in my riding a man who is drawing a good pension. Why not have given the job to a competent young person?

In my riding, the employment or unemployment insurance-we are not quite sure what word to use any more-board of referees is chaired by a notary who happens to be the daughter of a former Liberal member.

When representatives of the farm debt review board appeared before us at the agriculture committee, I was the only one to ask them: "Who do you have to thank for your appointment?" Jean-Yves, the representative from Quebec-he is from the St-Hyacinthe area-made it quite clear that he had his political affiliation to thank for it. And what affiliation is that? Liberal. In the greater Eastern Townships region, the same Jean-Yves has managed to win the nomination as Liberal candidate for the riding of Richmond-Wolfe in the upcoming election. He managed to get himself nominated.

Are we going to give the Liberal Party of Canada a blank cheque to waive the public service hiring procedures for an indeterminate period so that the new food inspection agency can become a patronage haven? Never. We will condemn this measure with all our might.

The fact that a person is a Liberal does not make that person competent. The name of Jean Bienvenue comes to mind; he was the minister of education in Quebec under Robert Bourassa. Guess what his political affiliation was. He was appointed superior court judge in Quebec. The fact that he was a Liberal did not make him a

competent judge. He was appointed by the Liberals, not the Conservatives.

We have proposed countless amendments to improve on Bill C-60, so that the people of Canada could have a reliable food inspection agency built on a solid foundation. To have a solid foundation, the best qualified people must be hired.

One of these amendments suggests that the education and experience of the president and the vice-president should match the agency's management and service delivery requirements. Qualified people should be hired. Chances are the government party will vote against that to protect themselves, because they do not want to have their hands tied, they want to be able to appoint whoever they please.

By ensuring that the president and executive vice-president of the agency have a comprehensive knowledge and a broad experience of the areas dealt with by the agency, we would minimize the risk of seeing one or more unqualified person appointed to these positions, as was the case of Justice Bienvenue, to whom I referred earlier.

We are proposing that the president be appointed for a term of five years and, if he does an excellent job, he could be appointed for one, but only one, more term of five years. After ten years in a position, I would say he would have given all that he can give, and that is enough. I bet our friends opposite will vote against that too. What they want is to be able to appoint the members of the new agency for life, like the senators.

I urge our Liberal colleagues to consider carefully what they want to do. If they want this agency to be above suspicion, it has to be as free of patronage as possible.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

Reform

Elwin Hermanson Reform Kindersley—Lloydminster, SK

Madam Speaker, we are now dealing with group 5. A number of amendments were put forward by the Bloc to this part of the bill which deals with the ratification or review of appointments to the agency.

Reform introduced an amendment to Bill C-60 at committee stage. Our amendment stated:

No appointment shall be made under subsection 10(1) unless it is approved by a subcommittee of each of such committee of the House of Commons as is designated or established to consider

(a) agriculture matters;

(b) health matters; and

(c) fisheries matters.

Government members chose to oppose that amendment in committee. Had it passed, it would have ensured that members of Parliament with knowledge and interest in the areas of agriculture, fisheries and health would have been able to review appointments to the advisory board of the agency. They would have been able to review the staffing decisions of the agency. That would have addressed the patronage issue which my colleague from the Bloc so eloquently berated.

We support Motion No. 3. It ensures that persons appointed to the agency's executive by the minister are qualified. It is important that these executives not be the local Liberal who happens to donate the most money in the last election.

It is sad that the Conservatives and the Liberals are trying to outdo each other on patronage appointments. Under the Mulroney Conservatives, Marjory LeBreton was the de facto minister of patronage. They did not have a minister in the House, but they might as well have, it was so blatant. Nobody got appointed to anything by that Conservative government unless they met the credentials of being a strong Conservative Party supporter. Of course she got the biggest plum of all. She was appointed to the Senate, where she is now able to make her pronouncements after being a party servant for so many years.

The Liberals, not to be outdone, chose Penny Collenette to be their de facto minister of patronage to hand out the appointments. We saw it recently in the appointment of returning officers across the country for the next election. That is the mindset of the Liberal government.

That is the fodder that feeds the political machinery. Some hope that down the road, if they pay my dues, donate enough money to the Liberal coffers, pound on enough doors or if they support the right person who happens to make it to the Prime Minister's chair or the leader of the party at least, they will get their reward and be well cared for.

It is one's party faithfulness and loyalty that becomes the paramount criterion for being appointed to these various boards, without public scrutiny and merit being the primary factor.

We support Motion No. 3.

Motion No. 4 limits the agency's executives to one term. If there is proper scrutiny of who these people are I do not think that type of step is necessary.

We support Motion No. 6. It would allow the standing committee to review the appointments to the agency. The last part of the amendment is a formula to force the minister to make the appointments based on an exact province by province formula. This is an excessive measure. It is getting away from merit and into a quota system. I believe members are quite aware of our feelings on people being appointed to positions or being hired based on quotas rather than merit.

We support Motion No. 7. It would allow the standing committee to review appointments to the agency's advisory board. We argued that position in committee and the Liberals rejected it.

We oppose Motion No. 8. It would allow the advisory board to advise a provincial government or a union-we are not sure why the Bloc put that in. Perhaps someone can change our mind with a good argument.

We oppose Motions Nos. 9 and 10. Motion 10 would require that at least one of the advisory board members be from the agency's union.

We support Motion No. 11. This amendment would require the minister appoint as president of the agency the person that the standing committee deems to be the best candidate. This brings accountability and allows elected people to have a constructive role in matters concerning government agencies and the creation of these agencies.

We support Motion No. 12. It allows the standing committee to review matters related to the new agency such as the advisory board members' pay. One of the things that damaged the Canadian Wheat Board the most was the fact that no one knew how much the appointed commissioners received in salary. All sorts of rumours floated around about what they received. Finally there was a leak concerning their benefit package if they were to retire or be fired.

Farmers were shocked to find out that they were paying severance packages of over $250,000 to these appointed commissioners. It was all kept secret. A lot of ill feelings developed toward the Canadian Wheat Board and the commissioners because this fact had been kept secret. Therefore, Reform supports this motion because it opens things up and everybody knows the dollars that are involved and whether or not they are adequate or too benevolent.

We support Motion No. 21. This would allow a review of the agency's operations once a year by the standing committee. Anything that can be done to bring elected people into a more meaningful role in reviewing the work of agencies such as the food inspection agency is a very positive step.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Essex—Kent Ontario

Liberal

Jerry Pickard LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Madam Speaker, several points have been brought forward by the leader of the official opposition which we agree are very important to the system.

However, we feel that most of the issues that he mentioned have been dealt with very clearly within the legislation. I know people can talk about patronage appointments and a wide variety of things, such as the offices and positions that people have, but the reality is there are four or five political parties in this House.

If we look at the representation of the people across the country, there are always going to be some Liberals who are appointed to positions. There are going to be some Bloc members who are appointed to positions. There are going to be some Reform members who are appointed to positions. Those appointments must be on merit. On this side of the House we do not question the fact that people are to be appointed on merit.

We feel that this legislation provides for an appointment process of the president and the executive vice-president on the same basis as we would appoint a deputy minister and associate deputy minister. The process ensures that knowledgeable, well qualified people will be selected for those positions. The legislation also allows for the renewal of the appointment of the president or the executive vice-president for one or more terms as appropriate. As such it will provide the government with the flexibility to ensure a consistent and continuous senior management structure in the agency.

With respect to the role identified for the Standing Committee of the House of Commons in the selection of advisory board members, there is no legislative precedent in the Canadian parliamentary system for having a committee involved with that type of detail. Yes, we have seen the fiascos of committees getting involved in the scrutiny of appointments in the United States. Quite frankly, it is a political tear down when we look at it. I think the public watches with interest when parties start that process. In reality, I am certain that the United States is very envious of the system we have in this country. It is very clear from the people we have in appointed positions that they do an extremely good job.

The minister is responsible and accountable to Parliament for the agency and its administration. As we look at it the minister is the end of those responsibilities. Quite frankly, he has the responsibility to consult very widely, check with as many people as possible and make certain the operation is running properly.

The purpose of the advisory board is clearly to provide the minister with advice with respect to matters relating to food inspection. Provinces, unions, and others will continue to seek input from a host of sources that will help the minister with his decisions.

With respect to the selection of the advisory board members, the intent of the legislation is to ensure that the minister can choose an advisory board from as wide a selection of individuals as possible. We do not wish to inadvertently limit or curtail the possibilities of choice of that board. Rather than mandating representation from specific interested parties, it is preferable to have a broad source of knowledgeable people, including the possibility of representation from the unions.

With respect to fees paid to the advisory board members, these fees will be subject to Treasury Board guidelines that are in place in this country.

With respect to the reporting on intellectual property, this information is currently available and reported annually. For example, the food production and inspection agency of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada issued 1,621 fresh fruit and vegetable dealer licences in 1996 and is part of the summary list in part III of the main estimates. This reporting will continue in the agency. Furthermore, committees of the House will continue to review this sort of information as part of the main estimates process through the Appropriations Act.

I reiterate as well that where concerns come up and Parliament wishes to deal with them, we do have the committee process in place. That committee process is to allow members of this House to investigate whatever issues they feel necessary to further investigate. It will involve members of Parliament. Through that process I believe the House is well protected too.

The minister who is virtually responsible in the end must take the resource of what is going on, take the circumstances of the agency and make certain it is running properly. The House at the same time has its vehicle through the committees to investigate any concerns. Quite frankly, both sides of the House have a full opportunity in committee to voice concerns and bring forward witnesses to discuss issues that are pertinent.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphan Tremblay Bloc Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to address Bill C-60, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Act. At first blush, the bill seems pretty innocuous. I looked at it with the hon. member for Frontenac.

However, a closer examination shows what the Liberal Party wants to do. This is rather disheartening. The government comes up with nice bills, but it always wants to able to appoint friends. Because the government wants to remain in office, it does not necessarily appoint competent people. Not to worry. It does not matter whether these appointees are competent or not. What matters for the government is looking after its friends.

Earlier, the hon. member for Frontenac proposed constructive amendments. My colleague sat on the committee. He made constructive suggestions, and I am anxious to see whether the government will have the courage to accept and support these positive changes.

Why do I say this? It is because, while I am still naive, I do notice certain things when I look at the current political reality. We are the official opposition and people often say that the opposition is only there to block government initiatives. This is not at all the Bloc Quebecois' vision, particularly since we are not even here to try to form the government.

Rather, we are here to defend the views of part of the public. I was elected to represent the Lac-Saint-Jean region. Therefore, I come here with certain views and I say to the government: "Listen, your bill may not be so bad, but we propose this changeor that change". But to no avail. I am quite convinced that, when the time comes to vote, the government will turn a deaf ear.

It should come as no surprise that people are no longer interested in politics. It is always the same thing. It is always these little schemes to promote patronage. Of course, this is done quietly. It does not make the headlines. It is always done in an under handed way. This is all very disappointing. Even though we are the opposition-I would rather say the watchdog of democracy-we should be able to work together at least some of the time, so that everyone can make a positive contribution.

This reminds me of the bill we talked about recently, which would have revoked the conviction of Louis Riel. Why did the government vote against the bill? This is ridiculous. When the opposition says black, the government says white.

But that is not what it usually says. Usually, it says: "The opposition is just there to disagree". I am sorry, but we do try to suggest some constructive changes. We try to raise some interesting points. But all we get is a completely negative reaction to any contribution we are prepared to make. I must say I find this very disappointing. I look forward to the time when we have our own country, so we can go our own way.

I will give a few examples from the bill. In clause 9, it says that the head office of the agency shall be in the national capital region or any other location in Canada. That is good. However, according to certain officials, the head office of the agency could be in Ottawa at first and then be moved later on by order in council. Basically, the question that comes to mind is whether the agency could go where it would be politically expedient. If things are not going well in a riding, this would be a good thing to have, so the government hands out a goody. That is what I dislike about the Liberal Party and the government.

In clause 10, it says that the minister responsible for the agency shall appoint an advisory board of not more than 12 members to hold office during pleasure for a term not exceeding three years. The minister would also appoint one of the members as chairperson of the advisory board instead of letting people qualified in this area who have to work with the food inspection people choose their own representatives.

So the minister is making sure he can control the members of the advisory board and influence their decisions. That is pretty obvious. When you give a job to your friends, they can hardly turn around later on and bite the hand that feeds them.

In subclause 10(5), it says that the minister will fix the fees paid to the members of the advisory board. However, I may point out that in clause 8, it says that the president and the executive vice-president shall be paid such remuneration as is fixed by the governor in council. The question is whether this is a mere technicality or whether it is some kind of double standard that could lead to discrimination. This clause is unacceptable for another reason.

Clause 12 provides that the agency is a separate employer under the Public Service Staff Relations Act. Clause 13 provides that the president has the authority to appoint employees to the agency. When the bill was studied in committee, officials confirmed that there would be a code of conduct, of ethics, governing the appointment of agency employees. The thing is, however, that we will not know the content of the code before the bill is passed. It reminds me of the code of ethics of the ministers opposite: they have a fine code of ethics to show that everything they do is proper, except no one knows what the code is. It is completely ridiculous. What is the use of a code of ethics when people cannot even find out what it is about? Here again, it serves to score political points.

The officials told us that the usual rules governing hiring in the public service would be suspended during the transition period. Why do we not know what rules will be used?

We note therefore that patronage-discrimination even-will abound in the future Canadian Food Inspection Agency. This is why the Bloc Quebecois has proposed reasonable amendments to prevent the federal government from abusing its power in this matter.

As I said earlier, we simply want to make a constructive contribution. I do not want to foul things up. So long as we are paying taxes to Ottawa, I want to be sure this country is run the best way possible. I am here to work, to improve bills while we are still here. I see these sorts of things, and then people ask me why we want to have our own country.

At some point, people have to try to understand more. As I said earlier, we wonder why people are not more interested in politics. I think it is because of this sort of thing.

Our colleague from Frontenac has contributed constructively. I would therefore invite the government to give it some thought, and perhaps we could work more together.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

My colleagues, as it is almost 2 p.m., we will now go to Statements by Members. We will come back to the hon. member after question period as he has a few minutes left.

The Late Martha MacdonaldStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Colleen Beaumier Liberal Brampton, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week a very active and giving member of my riding of Brampton was tragically murdered.

Martha MacDonald was a caregiver with Brampton Caledon Community Living, an organization that offers support to mentally and physically disadvantaged people living on their own. She was a regular volunteer at the Ste. Louise Outreach Centre, a local food bank, and an active political participant. Her enthusiasm and passion will be missed.

On behalf of my constituents I offer my deepest condolences to the family and friends of Martha MacDonald.

In early November, Martha participated in a public forum on justice issues which I hosted in my riding of Brampton. She was quite vocal at this community event about the need for greater attention to the epidemic of violence against women. It is a very sad irony for me personally that this is my last memory of Martha MacDonald. Her comments foreshadowed the very tragic and unfair end to her life.

Port Of Trois-RivièresStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Rocheleau Bloc Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, last Monday, I asked the Prime Minister to make the commitment that his government would give the port of Trois-Rivières the status of Canada port authority. I have been informed that the Minister of Transport confirmed this morning, in a letter, that the port of Trois-Rivières would become a CPA.

There is no need to thank the federal government for that since the port of Trois-Rivières meets all the established criteria. As the minister representing the Mauricie region, the Prime Minister had the responsibility of ensuring, right from the start, that the port of Trois-Rivières would be given CPA status since it meets all the established criteria. His responsibility was to do that and not to make a pitch for some local personality through various means.

Furthermore, the Prime Minister voluntarily ignored the second part of my question concerning the $12 million accumulated by the port of Trois-Rivières. The Bloc Quebecois is concerned about that and demands that the government leave this money for the

development of the port of Trois-Rivières instead of dipping into this surplus, as it did with the port of Quebec City.

Drunk DrivingStatements By Members

December 12th, 1996 / 1:55 p.m.

Reform

Daphne Jennings Reform Mission—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise to applaud the sincere and tireless efforts of the members of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Especially at Christmas, MADD reminds us with a red ribbon campaign of the tragic consequences of drinking and driving.

I commend MADD for effectively changing the attitudes of the public toward what used to be an acceptable social occurrence, getting behind the wheel of a vehicle after drinking.

However, the social pressure will not be enough to curb the high percentage of repeat offenders whose problems are more than bad judgment.

As a society we also have a responsibility to eradicate the ravages of drunk driving by addressing the cause, not only the effect.

Statistics show that up to 70 per cent of the drivers who cause death and injury through impaired driving do have alcohol problems.

Therefore I say it is time to enforce rehabilitation, even involuntarily, to prevent future tragic deaths. We must, as well, pass legislation like Motion No. 78 which will deal with this serious offence effectively.

Today I am again wearing my pin in honour of Cindy Verhulst, a young woman from Mission in my riding whose life was tragically cut short by a drunk driver.

Wilf CarterStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Steckle Liberal Huron—Bruce, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to pay tribute to a special Canadian music legend. Many will recognize the name Wilf Carter, but perhaps he was best known to his fans as Montana Slim.

Wilf Carter was born December 18, 1904 in Port Hilford, Nova Scotia and died one week ago at the age of 91.

Wilf Carter was inspired at an early age by a yodeller who was passing through town. Wilf developed his own unique three in one or echo yodel, which became his trademark in the music industry.

His famous yodel sparked his career, a career that spanned six decades and kept him on the road well into his eighties.

Wilf began his career while working in the grain fields of Alberta, singing at local dances, bunkhouses and parties.

Wilf was such a hit in the prairies that the Canadian Pacific Railway hired him to entertain trail riders on their summer packing trips through the Rockies.

One of his songs that I recall is "It makes no difference now". The truth is his career made a difference, for Wilf Carter was a legend in his own time.

On behalf of all Canadians and all those who knew him, we offer his family our deepest condolences. Gone but never forgotten.

Rupert EvansStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Ovid Jackson Liberal Bruce—Grey, ON

I am pleased to acknowledge the initiative of one of my constituents, Rupert Evans, who travelled to Japan to build a frontier log home in a rural community north of Tokyo. Rupert Evans, Royal Buchanan, Bill Power and Dan Babcock spent six weeks in Japan on the project while enjoying the warm hospitality of their Japanese hosts.

The material and human expertise required to build the home were Canadian. Mr. Evans and his team amazed their hosts with their aptitude and dedication. They accomplished in six weeks a project which normally takes months in Japan. Rupert Evans and his construction team showed the Japanese what Canadian hard work and initiative are all about. Their efforts have stimulated demand for Canadian resources and skill in this field.

We are opening doors to other markets, we are expanding opportunity for Canadian business and we are establishing good relations with foreign governments to facilitate trade.

Congratulations to Rupert Evans and his team for a job well done in showing that Canadian expertise is the best in the world.

JusticeStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, I make this statement on behalf of my fellow island colleagues, four MPs.

A large group of islanders are concerned about a rash of criminal acts that has occurred on Prince Edward Island. The worst was the repeated sexual abuse of a three-year old girl in which the rapist suggested that she was actually the aggressor. We find that hard to believe. More to the point, a provincial judge sentenced this individual to only 15 months for this heinous crime.

In response to this, my colleagues and I have received a petition from the Citizens Against Sexual Abuse of Children signed by over 11,000 islanders.

These petitioners call on Parliament to review the penalties associated with such crimes. They feel penalties are far too lenient and should be increased to provide a deterrent to protect the most innocent in our society, our children. We also request the Minister of Justice to formally respond.

Bois-De-Belle-Rivière Forest Educational ParkStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Maurice Dumas Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, I wish to express my support for the ongoing negotiations between the city of Mirabel and the Department of Public Works for the purchase of the Bois-de-Belle-Rivière forest educational park.

Several reasons led me to this decision. In the past, significant public investments have confirmed the role of Bois-de-Belle-Rivière as a tourist area. The city of Mirabel has already said it is interested in protecting local plant and animal life. It has even created a corporation, called CPEM, that is responsible for environmental protection in the Mirabel area.

The Centre de formation agricole de Mirabel, headed by Denis Lauzon, is also very much involved in this project.

The people of the greater Montreal area are in favour of protecting the Bois-de-Belle-Rivière area, and that is why I am asking the public works minister to accept the request made by the city of Mirabel.

SeniorsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Reform

Jim Hart Reform Okanagan—Similkameen—Merritt, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise on behalf of the constituents of Okanagan-Similkameen-Merritt to give fair warning to the Liberals that their proposed senior's benefit which places a 50 per cent tax rate on the income of Canadian senior citizens will not be tolerated.

The Liberals do not listen to Canadians but they will not be able to ignore the voice of Canadian senior citizens who will align themselves at the ballot box in the next election. Canadian seniors will not stand for the 50 per cent tax rate on their income.

Not only are the Liberals planning to attack OAS, they are also attacking the Canada pension plan. They plan to triple taxes for the CPP and cut seniors' pensions in half.

Canadian seniors will support the fresh start offered by the Reform Party of Canada. We are committed to rescuing the CPP and guaranteeing that every senior citizen receives every penny that he or she is entitled to under the Canada pension plan.

Canadian seniors know that Liberal and Tory policies do not work. Canadians want the security of the Reform Party of Canada.