House of Commons Hansard #24 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was million.

Topics

Jewish-Christian RelationsStatements By Members

10:55 a.m.

Liberal

Andy Scott Liberal Fredericton—York—Sunbury, NB

Mr. Speaker, last Sunday I attended a lecture which was part of a discussion series marking the history of Jewish-Christian relations. Last Sunday's lecture was called "Childhood Survivors' Memoirs of the Holocaust".

I thank Dr. Israel Unger for sharing his story with us. It is difficult to listen to the horrors of what happened during the second world war and I cannot imagine what it must have been like to live through it.

I hope that Dr. Unger and others like him will continue to recount their experiences so that we can learn from our mistakes. Ignoring these kinds of atrocities will only lead us to forgetting and possibly repeating them.

I thank the organizers of this discussion series and encourage others to promote similar events in their areas across Canada.

The EconomyStatements By Members

10:55 a.m.

Reform

John Williams Reform St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance has claimed victory in meeting his deficit targets when it really is defeat in wrestling the deficit to the ground.

Debt and deficit elimination is possible. Recently the agricultural society in the hamlet of Calahoo in my riding celebrated the return to a debt free environment. Through good times and yes, difficult times, it lived up to its obligation to repay a $200,000 debt and not pass it on to the next generation.

Two months ago a constituent, Lyle Quintal, accepted the challenge of getting the community to pay off the last remaining portion and personally phoned everyone in Calahoo. The people of Calahoo rose to the occasion, made the contribution to their community and the debt is now gone.

Congratulations, Calahoo. Will the Minister of Finance recognize that Canadians want balanced budgets and debt free environments? Will he deliver results like the people of Calahoo or does he intend to pass the debt on to the next generation?

Refugee Rights DayStatements By Members

10:55 a.m.

Bloc

Osvaldo Nunez Bloc Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, on April 4 we will celebrate Refugee Rights Day in memory of the Singh judgment, which extended to refugees the application of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

In 1996, there are over 23 million victims of persecution in the world, and it should be pointed out that Canada is now taking in fewer refugees than it did under the Conservatives. In addition, the Canadian and U.S. governments are getting ready to sign an agreement that would force thousands of refugee claimants now in the United States but hoping to come to Canada to apply in the United States, when that country offers a much lower level of protection than that offered in Canada.

I ask the Canadian government to fully respect its international humanitarian obligations and to demonstrate openness and tolerance for victims of persecution.

On April 4, let us express our support for refugees and for the organizations working in their defence in Canada and in Quebec.

Mr. Gordon CookStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

Karen Kraft Sloan Liberal York—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to a great Canadian, Gordon Cook.

York-Simcoe suffered a great loss on March 22 with the passing of this fine man. Gordon was one of those rare individuals with great energy and a continually positive outlook, able to manage a demanding public life, a full family life and a thriving 100-acre cattle farm in King township.

Mr. Cook's impressive public service career included 11 consecutive years on King council, five years as reeve and eight years on county council. He was the last warden of York county. He participated on York region committees and boards, including the Lake Simcoe Conservation Authority.

Proud of his agricultural roots, Gordon bred an impressive breed of cattle, the Lincoln Red Shorthorn.

To his wife Alma and his family, the people of York-Simcoe and I express our great respect and appreciation of Gordon Cook's legacy. Gordon, you have our thanks.

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

Charles Caccia Liberal Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, at a time when considerable profits and tax refunds are being reaped by the mining sector, it is worth highlighting an auditor general's report to the effect that under provincial monitoring and enforcement, industry compliance to the metal mining liquid effluent regulations of the Fisheries Act fell from 85 per cent in 1982 to 48 per cent in 1988.

This finding brings into question proposed further delegation of federal environmental responsibility if high standards of human and environmental health are to be maintained for all Canadians.

Canada PostStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

Gurbax Malhi Liberal Bramalea—Gore—Malton, ON

Mr. Speaker, the amount of direct mail or junk mail sent through Canada Post appears to be increasing at a frightening rate.

A 500-unit condominium in my riding estimates that it receives 25,000 pounds of direct mail annually, 95 per cent of which, it claims, is tossed into recycling bins.

Though this practice may generate significant revenue for Canada Post, we should look at ways of reducing such wastage in order to become a more environment-friendly nation.

JusticeStatements By Members

March 29th, 1996 / 11 a.m.

Reform

Margaret Bridgman Reform Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, the constituents of Surrey North are horrified by the series of tragic deaths caused by repeat offenders.

Canadians in Surrey and across the country want to know that their lives are not in danger when a potential repeat offender is set free.

Canadians want to know what the justice minister is going to do to keep potential repeat offenders from victimizing other families and communities. What is the minister going to do to keep repeat offenders where they belong?

Our private members' motion M-139 asks the government to direct parole boards in their deliberations to give any benefit of doubt to the victim, the victim's family and public safety, not to the offender who would make more Canadians victims.

Unemployment Insurance ReformStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Bloc

Maud Debien Bloc Laval East, QC

Mr. Speaker, the federal government claims to be modernizing the unemployment insurance program, but in reality what it is doing is adulterating it.

When one pays for protection, one expects to be able to benefit from that protection when the need arises. That is the very principle of insurance. With the new legislation, however, workers and employers will be paying more for less. The government will be pocketing a $5 billion surplus from UI contributions.

In addition, the burden on employers and employees will be greater, because deductions start with the first hour worked. This raise in taxes on the salary mass will have a devastating and catastrophic effect on small business.

Part time workers will also be affected. In Quebec, 68 per cent of part timers are women. Why has the minister chosen women, small business and workers as his targets? Why is he taxing employment?

Engineering WeekStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

Mac Harb Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, March 4 to March 8 was Engineering Week in Canada. It was a time for us to

honour the achievements and contributions of all engineers, and to thank all those who have dedicated their lives to this very important science.

In Canada there are 140,000 licensed engineers. These important men and women are represented by two excellent associations: the Engineering Institute of Canada and the Canadian Society for Professional Engineers.

Engineers are leading the way into the future. The government has recognized the important work of engineers by establishing Technology Partnerships Canada, a $250 million investment fund to encourage research and development in high technology projects.

Engineers design and build our roads, they pioneer technology and they are responsible for putting people into space. Wherever there is good there is an engineer. Wherever there is a problem engineers find solutions. Engineers are everywhere.

I congratulate and thank all engineers across Canada and commend them on a job well done.

Reform PartyStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Herb Dhaliwal Liberal Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday a member of the Reform Party stood up during question period and launched yet another hapless smear campaign. As usual, in his attack on the Minister of Finance, the member from the Reform Party used no facts and had no hard evidence. In fact all he had was cheap innuendo.

Canadians hope in vain that the Reform Party will find a new tactic or change its style. These lame and baseless tactics are getting very old and very tired, and they are totally irresponsible.

During the 1993 election campaign the Reform Party promised Canadians better. The Reform Party promised it would raise the level of debate, it would not sink to childish, pathetic name calling and it would not depend on mud-slinging and innuendo. Mud-slinging has been the order of the day for the Reform Party.

Mr. Speaker, there is an old saying I am sure you know, that you never wrestle with pigs because you cannot win and all you do is get mud all over you.

Bel RotaryStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Liberal Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Bridgenorth, Ennismore and Lakefield Rotary are hard at work raising funds for the construction of a new firehall in the township of Ennismore. The commitment of the many volunteers of the BEL Rotary are making a dream come true.

BEL Rotary has only 25 members but they have already raised $25,000 toward this project. Through events such as golf tournaments and video dances, BEL Rotary is over half way to its goal of $47,000 for the firehall.

In the past 10 years this small Rotary club has raised half a million dollars for community projects. This is truly the real nature of community service.

I would like to recognize the BEL Rotary for its hard work and perseverance and wish its members well as they work to improve the quality of life in Peterborough and around the world.

National UnityStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Reform

Bob Ringma Reform Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals promised Canadians a say on national unity. This means they will put a vague unity package to a referendum or call an election seeking a mandate to negotiate a deal with Quebec. Those approaches are unacceptable to Canadians as they use the buy now, pay later approach which sank the "Charlatan" accord.

However, from April 1 to 30 people in my riding of Nanaimo-Cowichan will have a say in our country's future.

Tele-vote '96 on National Unity allows residents to vote on proposals outlining the basis for a renewed confederation and a federal bargaining position if Quebec attempts to separate. Answers from constituents will form my position on these matters in Parliament.

Starting today, constituents will receive a householder in the mail providing details of Tele-vote '96. Starting April 2, I will be door knocking and holding town hall meetings because this April the voters in Nanaimo-Cowichan count for Canada.

Mr. Bob ChambersStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to a great Nova Scotian. Wednesday night in Halifax Bob Chambers died at the age of 91. He was a very well known cartoonist for the Halifax Herald from the mid-1930s until 1976.

He was born in Wolfville, Nova Scotia and studied art in New York City. He could have stayed there and earned a very good living, but like many maritimers he wanted to go home and went back to Nova Scotia.

The Bob Chambers cartoon was for many years the first thing people looked for in the newspaper each day. His cartoons were often full of pointed and funny political humour but they were never harsh, strident or cruel. In fact his victims were often the first

to ask for the originals. They now hang all over the maritimes and even in offices in Ottawa.

Bob Chambers was known as a compassionate man with a wonderful sense of humour. Nova Scotia will miss him.

International DevelopmentStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Bernard Patry Liberal Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, the cities of Montreal and Quebec signed yesterday a co-operation project with the city of Beirut, in Lebanon. One of the objectives of this 18-month project is to rebuild the land registration system of the Lebanese capital. The project, valued at $387,000, will be funded by the Canadian International Development Agency.

This co-operation agreement will allow students from the Faculté d'aménagement urbain at Montreal University to work on the implementation a system of urban management, urban planning and local self-financing for the City of Beirut.

The Government of Canada is pleased to be associated with this project, which highlights Canadian expertise in the area of urban development, while helping one of the great French speaking capitals of the world.

The EconomyStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Reform

Elwin Hermanson Reform Kindersley—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Government of Saskatchewan tabled a balanced budget with a plan to continue balancing its budget in the coming years. NDP governments are not renowned for being good keepers of the purse. Just look at the Bob Rae disaster.

Liberals will vilify Klein and Harris for moving from red ink to black and for cutting up their credit cards. But now even the timid NDP and the Quebec separatist government are singing off the Reform song sheet. The sweet melody is: Balanced budgets create jobs and preserve funding for health care and education.

Canadians knew that Liberals were not as committed to deficit reduction as were Klein and Harris, but they are shocked and angered that even the NDP and the separatists are leaving the Liberals in the dust. Surely the Liberal government must be ashamed to know that it is the worst money manager in the country.

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Bloc Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, I was amazed to find out that the Department of Public Works and Government Services was planning a dredging operation in the Sorel harbour which would involve discharging in open waters more than 71,000 cubic metres of sediment contaminated with copper, chromium and nickel.

With the solution selected by the department, the polluted sludge would be dumped out on the other side of the river, on the shores of Saint-Ignace-de-Loyola Island in the riding of Berthier-Montcalm.

The department seems to have a double standard. What is denied to private enterprise for environmental reasons is acceptable to the department. If the department wants to work to improve the value of the infrastructure, that is one thing, but to do it at the expense of the environment and the wildlife is something else.

The residents of Saint-Ignace Island and the surrounding area are concerned, and rightly so. If the work must be done, the government should act responsibly and require that the polluted sludge be disposed of on land. The shores of my riding do not have to suffer from the carelessness of the government. You do not solve a problem by creating another one.

Infrastructure ProgramStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

John Finlay Liberal Oxford, ON

Mr. Speaker, recently I was pleased to assist at the opening of another infrastructure project in my riding of Oxford. This was a $2.5 million project which has made a modern performing arts centre, conference centre and art theatre out of a 100-year-old market building in the centre of the city of Woodstock.

The Woodstock Little Theatre, after 50 years of operation in rented facilities, now has a new home in which to present quality theatre for its growing audience.

As a Little Theatre member and sometimes actor I look forward to enjoying this new facility for which the Little Theatre members raised $400,000.

This project is another fine example of co-operation among three levels of government and a community group. I was honoured to present a plaque with congratulations from the Prime Minister of Canada both to the city of Woodstock and to the Woodstock Little Theatre.

Department Of National DefenceOral Question Period

11:10 a.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the camouflage operation under way at the Department of National Defence and made public this week by the information commissioner raises questions about the authenticity of over 80,000 documents, that is, more than 450,000 pages the department provided the Somalia commission.

The Minister of Defence would not say yesterday whether these documents could still be considered reliable.

Does the Deputy Prime Minister not believe, now that we know some documents provided by the Department of National Defence were totally falsified, if not destroyed, that the government should declare a moratorium on the work of the commission of inquiry, until the authenticity of all the documents provided by the department can be verified?

Department Of National DefenceOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Perth—Wellington—Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I acknowledge the question from the hon. member.

The Department of National Defence has acknowledged that some very serious problems have arisen in the access to information requests and how they have been managed.

However, two inquiries and an outside inquiry have allowed us to take action. Strict measures have been taken to correct these problems. Written directions are being reissued to all members of the Department of National Defence to remind them of their obligations under the Access to Information Act. This is in accordance with a recommendation recently made by the commissioner in his report.

Other measures have been implemented which allow us to respond to requests in a manner Canadians have come to expect. DND and Canadian forces officials are conscious of the need to respond quickly, completely and fully to requests.

I can assure the House that we will continue our efforts, working with the information commissioner when appropriate, to ensure continued progress in our commitment to fully meet our obligations.

Department Of National DefenceOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is very comforting to hear that people at National Defence are being told to stop falsifying documents. Quite frankly, if they did not know this before, I wonder what business they have being there.

Does the Deputy Prime Minister realize that, by refusing to declare a moratorium, because this is what we have just been told about the work of the commission, the government is putting all of the commission's work at issue, since it relies primarily on the documents provided by the Department of National Defence? If these 80,000 documents have been falsified, are we being told that they will be updated? This makes no sense. How credible will we consider the work of the commission, when it is based on documents that may have been falsified?

Department Of National DefenceOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Perth—Wellington—Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, as I stated before, actions have been taken to make sure that the rules concerning access to information are strictly enforced.

I would like to go over the sequence of events that led up to this. On September 21, 1995 three members of the Canadian Armed Forces reported to their official that they had breached the code of conduct and had altered documents.

On September 22 the deputy minister and the chief of defence staff sent a letter to the chief of review services tasking him begin an internal inquiry into what happened in the situation.

The deputy minister, then to be sure that they were doing it right, contacted the commissioner, John Grace, to tell him what she had discovered and the measures she had taken to deal with the investigation.

Department Of National DefenceOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Reform

Randy White Reform Fraser Valley West, BC

We are not looking for a speech.

Department Of National DefenceOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

John Richardson Liberal Perth—Wellington—Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member wants a clear a thorough answer. I am trying to give one.

She asked if there was anything she could do. This is important to establish the veracity of the Department of National Defence. Mr. Grace said she was doing the right thing and would keep him informed.

Later, Mr. McAuliffe, a reporter, asked for an investigation under the regulations of the act. The commissioner complied and made his report. His report is truly congruent with the conclusions of the internal investigation of the Department of National Defence.

Department Of National DefenceOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the problem with National Defence is that it pretty well always takes a video for an inquiry to be called. There has to be some sort of revelation before things start happening.

We are told that three officers admitted to having altered documents. We are not told their names, however. Not bad, in terms of transparency. There are 80,000 documents, and we are told that they will not do it again. I would argue that the commission of inquiry is not investigating the future, it is investigating the past. Commissions of inquiry rarely investigate things that might happen. It might not be a bad idea at National Defence, but there has been so much in the past that they have enough to keep themselves occupied for a long time, I can assure you. The commission spokesperson, Sheena Pennie, says she herself is concerned and is keen to know whether the information received was not falsified as well.

I would therefore ask the Deputy Prime Minister if she could at least tell us what resources the government will make available to the commission to get through the 80,000 documents and the 450,000 pages? I hope they will provide resources and, especially, that these resources will not come from the Department of National Defence, because the army's art of camouflage looks like cover up.

Department Of National DefenceOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Perth—Wellington—Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the questions put forward by the hon. member are serious questions. Of course, the inquiry is at arm's length from the government, but there are qualified and quality people on that commission. If they suspect any of the documents, they have the right to return them and ask for verification.