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House of Commons Hansard #65 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was board.

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 Hamilton-Wentworth.

Replica GunsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Ted McWhinney Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, I recently visited the David Livingstone Elementary School in Vancouver and met with the very young but very bright students at their invitation.

They are concerned that replica handguns and other weapons that are astonishingly realistic are readily available in local convenience stores. Such replica guns have been used in hold-ups and similar acts of violence. Police officers report that in crisis situations they have been unable to distinguish them from the real thing.

The David Livingstone Elementary students want the federal government to ban the importation, sale and manufacture of all such replica guns in Canada. They have put together a petition of more than 2,000 names which I have passed on to the Minister of National Revenue for consideration.

World Folklore Festival In DrummondvilleStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, from July 5 to 14, the international community will meet in Drummondville, the major centre in my riding, for the World Folklore Festival where, for 10 days, over 1,000 artists representing 20 countries will delight the crowds with all the charms and treasures of folk arts and traditions.

In 15 years, the World Folklore Festival has become the largest of its kind in the world. The festival, which now attracts 1 million visitors a year, owes its huge success mostly to the 2,500 volunteers who run it.

I invite all my colleagues in Parliament and their constituents to come to Drummondville's glorious fair between July 5 and 14 to celebrate the world and its cultural wealth.

Canadian Healthy Environment AwardsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Reform

Daphne Jennings Reform Mission—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, there were 22 Canadian finalists in the recent Canadian Healthy Environment Awards program. Four of those finalists were from my riding of Mission-Coquitlam.

Verna Hall, Tim Roark and Charles Young from Maple Ridge were finalists in the arts, media and communications category.

I especially want to recognize Sarah MacEachern, of Maple Ridge Secondary School for winning the top award for Canada. Her achievements?

Sarah produced a video entitled "For all Living Things" and sent it to all elementary schools.

In grade 9 she co-chaired and in grade 10 she chaired the school's Global Awareness Club. This club is so active it won the Minister of the Environment Award for British Columbia.

Sarah has organized earth weeks, guest speakers, recycling programs in the cafeteria, composting in the schools, raised money for Christmas food banks and planted many trees. Sarah was also a member of the Youth for Global Awareness Conference provincial planning committee.

Sarah, congratulations for reminding us adults how important the environment is.

Railway SafetyStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, just the other day legislation which had to do with railway safety was referred to a committee.

One thing I would like to put on the record having discussed this with a number of people who work on the railroad, particularly locomotive engineers, is the need for the legislation to address, if it does not now do so and I do not think it does, the need for double arms at controlled railway crossings. At present our railway crossings have a single arm but in Europe there are two on either side which prevent people from running through. As a result, a lot fewer people are killed trying to run through railway crossings.

This is something we should look at for this country. Fixing up these railway crossings would create short term jobs and in the end it would save a lot of Canadian lives. I recommend this measure to the committee.

[Translation]

Saint-Jean-Baptiste DayStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Sheila Finestone Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, do you know that in my riding this year many Quebecers will have to watch the Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day parade on television?

The fact is that, this year, the Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste has invited only Quebecers not wearing their national costumes to take part in the June 24 parade.

My friends, we are all welcome, but only if we leave our foreign costumes at home. Take off your saris, remove your boubous and your lederhosen and pull on your wool sweaters.

No silk, no cotton, only pure wool will do.

No balalaika, no bouzouki, no jazz, no reggae either.

Their theme is "Quebec, I have loved you for a long time", but must I renounce my origins for you to love me?

Why on Saint-Jean Baptiste Day are all Quebecers not equal, not allowed to be themselves? Why are radicals allowed to run this parade?

Armenian Genocide Of 1915Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Sarkis Assadourian Liberal Don Valley North, ON

Mr. Speaker, as reported by the Armenian newspaper Abaka in Montreal, on April 24, 1996 Yvan Bordeleau, Liberal MNA for l'Acadie, was refused the consent of the Pequiste government to introduce a motion to commemorate the 81st anniversary of the Armenian genocide of 1915.

This unfortunate decision ends a 16-year old tradition in the National Assembly of Quebec. Ironically on the 81st anniversary of the Armenian genocide, the Parliament of Canada unanimously passed a historic resolution that will see the week of April 20 to 27 each year set aside to remember the victims of atrocities, inhumanities and genocide.

I am appalled at the actions of the Pequiste government in failing to continue the tradition of recognizing the first genocide of the 20th century.

I call on the Bloc Quebecois members to encourage their colleagues in Quebec to once more recognize in an official way the anniversary of the Armenian genocide. It is time to put an end to this hypocrisy.

Ray KarlsonStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Cowling Liberal Dauphin—Swan River, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to acknowledge the outstanding achievement of a member of my riding of Dauphin-Swan River, Mr. Ray Karlson.

Yesterday Mr. Karlson, the superintendent for mail operations in Dauphin, Manitoba, received the Golden Postmark Award in recognition of outstanding contributions to Canada Post and his community.

Fair, courteous, resourceful, compassionate and an all-around terrific boss are the words used to describe Mr. Karlson by his co-workers. Mr. Karlson is known for going above and beyond the call for employees and the people of Dauphin and area, whether it means coming in on weekends or delivering a parcel personally.

Mail service is of crucial importance to rural areas. I would like to take this opportunity to salute Mr. Karlson and all Canada Post employees in rural Canada for their commitment to their jobs and communities. They deserve our stamp of approval.

Parc De L'Aventure BasqueStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, Trois-Pistoles has been shaped by over 300 years of history and presence in America, but it is also the site of the Basque adventure on this continent. The Basques, a people of proud sailors, started hunting whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in the late 17th century. The ovens they used to melt blubber can still be seen on île aux Basques.

The Parc de l'aventure basque en Amérique opens June 22. This multicultural crossroads highlights the Basque presence in America and the history of this people.

The people of the Trois-Pistoles region are proud of this past and even named their regional county municipality RMC des Basques. I wish to congratulate the people behind this project. Knowing where we come from makes it easier to determine where we are going.

Lumber Export QuotaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Reform

Charlie Penson Reform Peace River, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians know that you need a strong foundation to build a sturdy home.

The Minister for International Trade however is building his house on the shaky foundations of the federal export quota. The minister mistakenly believes that his recent lumber deal with the United States is helping the lumber industry. He hopes the Canadian lumber industry will provide him with the materials necessary for this construction. But even quality Canadian lumber will not be able to hold up this ill-conceived design.

As a result of the minister's faulty construction, the lumber industry is suffering as lumber shipments have slowed to a crawl. Now, instead of dealing with the Americans who have been hacking away at our lumber exports, 2,600 Canadian companies are watching as their own government is taking an axe to the whole works.

If the minister is serious about building a sturdy home fit for our Canadian climate, he had better design a new blueprint.

Violence Against WomenStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Elijah Harper Liberal Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, I was very saddened to learn this week of the death of my constituent, Sonia Ross of The Pas. Sonia was the second aboriginal woman to die violently in The Pas area in recent months, the first being Dorothy Martin who died on April 26.

While both of these matters are now before the courts, the apparent circumstances raise serious questions about the safety of women in situations of domestic violence.

People in my constituency want action to protect women. I urge members of this House to join me in pursuing this matter in the months to come.

Sir Wilfrid LaurierStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Paradis Liberal Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, on June 23, that is four days from now, in Arthabaska, in Saint-Lin des Laurentides, in Québec-Est and in Brome-Missisquoi, we will commemorate Wilfrid Laurier's election victory as the first Quebecer to become Prime Minister of Canada.

Remembering our roots 100 years later, on the eve of Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day, is a fitting way to honour one of Canada's great Prime Ministers. He was the one who gave a definition of Canada that allows the Quebec Liberal Party and experienced politicians in Ottawa alike to talk today of "two founding peoples forming one nation".

On the basis of the ten provinces, the five regions and-we will remember the right of veto-the two founding peoples and the nation they form, I state loud and clear in this House:

Long live Quebec, Long live Quebec within Canada, and Hail to Wilfrid Laurier.

BombardierStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Nick Discepola Liberal Vaudreuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, the mere evocation of the name Bombardier reminds us, and for good reason, of the humble beginnings of this international company in the workshop of a young Valcourt designer.

On Bombardier's drawing boards, we can now find plans of Seadoos, high speed trains and business aircraft lying next to plans for the Skidoo that made Bombardier famous.

At the stockholders' meeting held in Montreal yesterday, participants found out for themselves that vitality and innovation are indeed the driving force of this business, which brought in $7.1 billion in revenues for fiscal year 1995.

Company executives are working very hard to secure a contract worth $1 billion to build 50 regional aircraft.

We wish Bombardier good luck in securing this contract that will ensure that important high technology jobs are created and maintained in Canada.

City Of RimouskiStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, this year, the city of Rimouski celebrates its 300th anniversary. It celebrates its three centuries of history along the majestic St. Lawrence River. Over the years, the descendants of Rimouski's first settlers built what was to become the main

regional centre, as well as an active and determined community which values its heritage, while being open to the world.

This adventure in time which Rimouski is proposing this year is an invitation to renew with the past, so that it can guide us in our march toward the future.

I want to stress the good work done by the organizing committee responsible for the festivities, and I invite all Canadians to come and celebrate with Rimouski residents their city's 300 years of history.

Early ParoleStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Reform Calgary North, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is with great sadness that I rise to inform the House and all Canadians that yet another victim suffered a grievous assault last night. As the victim was respected and well regarded by members of this House, I feel that details of the assault ought to be made public so that we can all express our outrage at the injustice that was suffered.

The deed was nasty, brutish and short. The attack stripped the victim of formerly sound and healthy features leaving only a mutilated shell. Then the perpetrators of this foul deed each made a solemn affirmation to not even report the sad result.

Last night, Liberal members of the justice committee ruthlessly did away with Bill C-234 which would have eliminated early parole for first degree murderers. They left in its place Bill C-45, a pitiful and toothless caricature.

Over the past several weeks the victim, Bill C-234, had provided hope and encouragement to many Canadians looking for greater truth and trustworthiness in sentencing. How sad that last night's attack replaced their hope with betrayal and senseless loss.

First Ministers' ConferenceStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Robert Bertrand Liberal Pontiac—Gatineau—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, the first ministers' conference begins tomorrow but, for some time already, we have been hearing comments from certain provinces regarding the content and the objectives of the meeting.

Yesterday, the Prime Minister clearly explained that, as far as he and his government are concerned, the conference will not be turned into another last-ditch attempt, where participants would work until they dropped to renew Canadian federalism.

The purpose of the meeting is to discuss and to settle concrete issues. Canadians want their governments to co-operate together to create jobs, stimulate economic recovery and redefine social programs. This is the mandate the Prime Minister gave himself and we are convinced that he will succeed in fulfilling it.

NewfoundlandStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Bonnie Hickey Liberal St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, it has been a week since Michael Walker of the Fraser Institute said that Newfoundland was a morally bankrupt society and that Newfoundlanders do not even think to ask what they can do to solve their own problems, they ask what Ottawa can do for them.

After a week of waiting there has been no apology from the Reform Party nor from Michael Walker, who himself is a Newfoundlander. I can only assume that all sitting members of the Reform Party endorse this statement of intolerance and feel that Newfoundlanders are not worthy of being Canadian.

This is quite an attitude to have toward fellow Canadians for a party that has the audacity to call itself a government in waiting. I cannot imagine the devastation which that party would bring upon our nation if hon. colleagues opposite were some day to sit on this side of the House. What a shameful display of leadership. What a lack of leadership.

Once again, Mr. Speaker, I ask through you that the Reform Party apologize to the people of Newfoundland.

First Ministers' ConferenceOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Roberval Québec

Bloc

Michel Gauthier BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, on the eve of the first ministers' conference, we are discovering the intentions of the federal government little by little and we now know what will be on the conference agenda. The Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs confirmed yesterday that the conference agenda reflects choices made by the federal government.

My question is for the Prime Minister. Will the Prime Minister confirm that the federal government will be deciding on the agenda and on what will or will not be discussed with the provinces? Will he confirm that he alone will be setting the table?

First Ministers' ConferenceOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as the dinner will be held at 24 Sussex, it will be hard for me to have people from every province come and get the table ready. The

provinces were in fact consulted. I myself have been speaking to the various premiers over the past few weeks, to discuss subjects that might be raised.

The Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs has travelled around the country. He has talked with governments and made his report. We have prepared an agenda, and it will be the job of the meeting chair to prepare discussion. In general, the premiers were aware of the direction of discussions, and I think we will have more on the table than we can deal with in a day and a half.

My relations with the premiers are generally fairly cordial, and if there is something urgent to discuss, we are prepared to do so, but there is more than enough on the agenda for a one day meeting and a dinner.

First Ministers' ConferenceOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Roberval Québec

Bloc

Michel Gauthier BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, will the Prime Minister acknowledge that, regardless of the subject chosen for discussion and the potential focus of decentralization, his approach and that of his government are always the same: the central government will always have the power to dictate national standards, to set broad guidelines, and the provincial governments will always be seen as playing a supporting role as administrator?

First Ministers' ConferenceOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, in the Canadian Constitution, the jurisdictions are clear. In many areas, the provinces decide and do things that we do not approve of and we do not make a great song and dance of it every day.

Under certain circumstances, when it is in the interest of all Canadians, as in the area of health, for example, we have five conditions that the provinces have accepted. A few weeks ago, the Government of Alberta was not prepared to go along with the notion that there should be no user fees. The Minister of Health persuaded the Government of Alberta, following discussions, to agree to the five conditions.

These conditions are acceptable to both the provinces and the federal government, because they are in the interest of Canadians.

First Ministers' ConferenceOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Roberval Québec

Bloc

Michel Gauthier BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, it is quite true that the Constitution sets out the areas of jurisdiction. The problem with Canadian federalism, however, is that the Prime Minister has this incredible propensity for getting into areas of jurisdiction that do not belong to him. That is the problem.

The throne speech indicated that the government will not use its spending power without the approval of a majority of the provinces in a given sector.

Would the Prime Minister confirm that, if the majority of the provinces joined forces to ask the federal government to intervene in an area of provincial jurisdiction such as education, Quebec could opt out with full compensation only if it complied with the national standards set by the majority of the provinces asking the federal government to intervene in this area?

First Ministers' ConferenceOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, first of all, the question is purely hypothetical. There is no question of any intervention in the field of education at the moment. However, I think the federal government's statement is very clear.

We have said we have no intention of interfering in areas of exclusive provincial jurisdiction without the consent of the majority of the provinces. Moreover, the provinces have the right to withdraw if they wish. Obviously the matter of compensation would be negotiated if we ever got to that point.

At the moment, it is out of the question. We have said we do not want to do it any more. We will focus on our own programs and manage them well so we can ask the provinces to do the same in their jurisdictions.

Social ProgramsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Bloc Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, at a press conference on the occasion of his speech to the Ottawa-Carleton Economic Development Corporation, the Prime Minister expressed an interest in the creation of a national program jointly administered by the federal and provincial governments and aimed at improving the situation of disadvantaged children. Members will recall that this program was inspired by the work of the Ministerial Council on Social Policy Reform.

Will the Prime Minister confirm that this is an unprecedented centralizing offensive, with the federal government attempting to disguise under noble intentions a desire to grab control of all social problems, which are administered by the provinces and come under their exclusive jurisdiction?

Social ProgramsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, through tax incentives, the federal government assists in this area, and this was announced in the budget.

I think the Minister of Finance has improved the system so as to use the taxation system to help the children of disadvantaged families who are at risk. This we have been doing for some time. The provincial governments have a similar system. They are asking if there might not be a possibility of our working together. This request originated with the provinces and I am prepared to sit down with provincial representatives.

As you know, Bloc Quebecois members love to rant and rave in front of an audience, but they ought to know that it was the provinces which asked the federal government for this. If they do not want us to talk about it, I think the losers will be the disadvantaged children of Canada.