This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #128 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was police.

Topics

2 p.m.

The Speaker

As is our practice on Wednesdays, we will now sing O Canada, and we will be led by the hon. member for Fraser Valley East.

Fire Safety EducationStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Janko Peric Liberal Cambridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, in 1997 it is expected that more than 500 Canadians will die as a result of fires.

Fire damage related costs total over $10 billion annually. Studies show that public fire safety education not only saves lives but reduces the risk of fire.

Today I would like to congratulate the initiatives of the Kitchener-Waterloo Civitan Club along with the Cambridge, Kitchener and Waterloo fire departments to invest in a first class public fire safety education facility for the region.

The construction of the Children's Safety Village Fire Education Centre in Cambridge will help children and adults learn ways of preventing fires and protecting themselves from fires.

On behalf of my constituents, I applaud the civic initiative taken by the Civitan Club for its efforts to achieve this worthwhile goal and the ongoing dedication of our local firefighters.

Special OlympicsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Quebecois is pleased to add its voice to all those who have recognized Josée Bournival for the accomplished athlete that she is. Josée Bournival won the bronze medal in both slalom and giant slalom at the Special Olympics World Winter Games held in Toronto from February 1 to February 8.

The purpose of the Special Olympics is to give persons with mental disabilities opportunities to participate in sports. In Quebec, some 1,000 persons with perceptual disabilities are being trained on a regular basis.

Josée Bournival is an all-around athlete. Josée, aged 21, excels at swimming and athletics. Her ranking and winnings at the 1996 National Winter Games in Calgary earned her a spot on the team at the recent World Winter Games. We take this opportunity to congratulate the 82 athletes who participated in these games and salute the trainers for their work, generosity and dedication.

Bravo, Josée. Congratulations on your medals and your achievements.

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Reform

Jim Abbott Reform Kootenay East, BC

Mr. Speaker, amid the uproar of the heritage minister's many flip-flops on CBC radio funding along with the deserved hoots of laughter when she recited the Liberal red book promise of stable multiyear funding for the CBC, a few points have been under reported.

First the heritage minister is the person who hacked, slashed and gouged $414 million from the CBC funding in the first place. Giving back $10 million shows incompetence of immense magnitude. It is not only too little too late, but it exhibits management by crisis. She does not have a clue what she is doing. Her chewing gum and baling wire approach to the CBC is crushing that institution.

The Reform Party on the other hand has a rational plan for the CBC to continue funding for CBC radio French and English services, Newsworld, RDI and Radio-Canada International and will privatize television and stereo.

Second, former CBC president Manera has said the heritage minister's $10 million intrusion by cabinet direction "amounts to a vote of non-confidence in the CBC directors; it has turned them into eunuchs". I agree.

Youth UnemploymentStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Chris Axworthy NDP Saskatoon—Clark's Crossing, SK

Mr. Speaker, over the last decade Conservative and Liberal governments and the leaders of our largest corporations have supported a series of policy initiatives that they said would create jobs.

They said the tax burden had to be shifted away from corporations and on to individuals. They demanded free trade and NAFTA. They called for the GST. Deregulation. Privatization. Cuts to social programs. That was all part of a package. Those changes have been made, the agenda is in place, but the jobs simply have not arrived.

Youth unemployment in Canada stands at around 20 per cent. Since 1976 the number of youths with full time jobs in Canada has fallen by one million. This is a betrayal of our youth and Canada's future. Without major changes to the way the government is managing the economy, this betrayal will continue.

The youth employment strategy announced today is a band-aid solution and shows how out of touch this government is. As part of its strategy the government will make available to young Canadians virtual one stop shopping for information. Well if we do not see a drastic change in government policies, young Canadians will continue to look for virtual jobs. They might even be making virtual deposits into their virtual bank accounts.

Fetal Alcohol SyndromeStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I was delighted to receive the October 16, 1996 joint statement on fetal alcohol syndrome and fetal alcohol effects released by the Minister of Health and the Canadian Paediatric Society.

FAS has widely been recognized in Canada as one of the leading causes of birth defects and developmental delay in children caused by alcohol consumption during pregnancy. The statement acknowledges that even casual use of alcohol during the early weeks of pregnancy may adversely affect the health and well-being of the child to be. Accordingly the joint statement recommends: "The prudent choice for women who are or may become pregnant is to abstain from alcohol".

That caution is an important one. I hope that Health Canada will quickly implement a strategy to educate all Canadians on the threat that alcohol poses to the unborn child.

Small BusinessStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Larry McCormick Liberal Hastings—Frontenac—Lennox And Addington, ON

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity to note the small business conferences and information fairs that are occurring in 22 locations across Canada.

I have encouraged entrepreneurs in Hastings-Frontenac-Lennox and Addington to attend the event being planned for February 17 in Kingston. It is a fantastic opportunity for those who are working to start and grow their business and to talk with government officials about programs and services available to them.

Having come to the House from small business, I bring an intimate knowledge of the challenges that entrepreneurs face. I have been honoured to serve on the jobs and small business task force and have both learned from the experience and contributed to its work. In my riding I have worked with others and formed coalitions to share information about federal programs and services, to build networks among existing businesses, and to stimulate awareness and growth for new business endeavours in our area.

Industry Canada and the Business Development Bank of Canada deserve recognition for organizing this series of events across Canada. Thank you to the Minister of Industry for his leadership and for this important activity that connects the government with the people.

Eid-Ul-FitrStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Dan McTeague Liberal Ontario, ON

Mr. Speaker, for Muslims in Canada and throughout the world, last weekend marked the end of the holy month of Ramadan, a month of fasting in order to gain self-restraint and foster inner strength and fulfilment with God.

The end of Ramadan is celebrated with Eid-Ul-Fitr, one of the most joyous occasions in the Muslim calendar. Over one billion Muslims worldwide, including nearly 500,000 here in Canada, use Eid-Ul-Fitr to give prayers of thanks, celebrate with friends and family, and rejoice in the love of God and of course Islam.

On behalf of this House, I extend our warmest best wishes to the Canadians of Islamic faith on the conclusion of Ramadan and on the occasion of Eid-Ul-Fitr.

I also want to take this opportunity to remind members here in this House and in the other place that they are warmly invited to join members of the diplomatic corps and Muslims who are gathering here on Parliament Hill this evening for an Eid-Ul-Fitr celebration.

As-salaam alaikum.

Employment InsuranceStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, for months now, the official opposition has been making very loud noises about the fact that the method used to determine claimants' benefits acts as an incentive for workers to join the underground economy.

Workers' rights groups reached the same conclusion and made this very clear in a demonstration in opposition to the employment insurance reform, which drew 5,000 people in Rivière-du-Loup.

The Minister of Human Resources Development is finally smelling the coffee. He has just noticed one of his reform's many flaws. The minister is now scrambling for solutions.

Perhaps he could ask the Standing Committee on Human Resources Development to look immediately into all the blaring inequities resulting from his reform.

One year ago, committee members suggested potential solutions. Unfortunately, there was an absence of political will. Yet, the quality of life of seasonal workers was at stake then and still is today. Now is the time for the minister to show what he is capable of.

Liberal GovernmentStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Reform

Jay Hill Reform Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to expose some myths the finance minister is likely to float in the con job due out next Tuesday.

Myth: Liberals did not increase taxes. Thirty-five tax increases totalling $25 billion in tax revenue increases in just four years.

Myth: Liberals, the defenders of medicare. A 40 per cent cut in medicare transfers to the provinces.

Myth: Liberals concerned about child poverty. Seven billion dollars in cuts for health, education and welfare.

Myth: Jobs, jobs, jobs. There are 1.5 million unemployed and two to three million underemployed, the worst record since the great depression.

Myth: Good times for all. Record bankruptcies and consumer debt.

Myth: Getting the federal House in order. At least $10 billion of new debt, $600 billion in total debt and 90 per cent spending cuts in downloading to the provinces.

What Canadians need is a fresh start.

Health CareStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Progressive Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, health care in this country and specifically in my province of New Brunswick has seen major cutbacks in funding from the federal government. This Liberal government cut the Canada health and social transfer by $2.5 billion last year and is scheduled to cut $4.5 billion this year.

What has happened in the province of New Brunswick? Premier McKenna has now told our seniors that if they have to go into a nursing home and they own their home, he is going to take their home and all of their assets and he is going to sell them to cover the cost of putting them in a nursing home. They have lost their dignity.

Enough is enough. The cuts have gone too far. The measure of a country is in the treatment it extends to its vulnerable citizens: the young, the old, the sick and the poor. On all of these accounts this Liberal government has failed.

Sales And Marketing Resource NetworkStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Tony Valeri Liberal Lincoln, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are taking the initiative in strengthening the economic vitality of their local communities.

The Sales and Marketing Resource Network, a volunteer based organization, was founded by a group of local business people in my riding. It assists young entrepreneurs and new small businesses in developing effective marketing strategies.

Because of the network's mentorship program, many businesses have experienced renewed sales growth. In one example a local equipment dealer experienced an increase in sales from $1 million to $1.8 million. They attribute this growth directly to mentorship.

It is encouraging to note that so many successful business people are prepared to volunteer as mentors for younger and less experienced entrepreneurs. Building upon this mentorship model and pooling expertise and ideas will ensure our future competitiveness.

In this regard, I want to congratulate members of the Sales and Marketing Resource Network not only for their dedication and hard work, but for providing us with a practical, innovative and effective approach to improving our local economy.

Ovarian CancerStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Dianne Brushett Liberal Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House to draw attention to the 4.2 Canadian women who die each day from a silent killer. I speak of ovarian cancer, which is fatal for 70 per cent of its victims. This mortality

rate has not improved in over 30 years. There is no known cure, yet less than .2 per cent of basic cancer research goes to ovarian cancer.

Corinne Boyer was a victim of this silent killer. Her dream was to raise funds for ovarian cancer research, to find a cure and to change these fatal statistics. I am proud and pleased to tell the House that Corinne's husband, Patrick Boyer, took up her cause and today launched the Corinne Boyer Fund for Ovarian Cancer Research.

On behalf of women globally, I thank you Patrick for your commitment to fight this disease and your leadership in raising the profile of women's health. Together we will find a cure for ovarian cancer. Together we will fulfil Corinne's dream.

Bloc QuebecoisStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Robert Bertrand Liberal Pontiac—Gatineau—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, last week the Bloc Quebecois falsely claimed that the federal government has been unfairly collecting taxes in Quebec since 1986, to the tune of 75 to 100 million dollars per year.

The Bloc's claim was based on an old federal-provincial agreement concerning a tax abatement and a 3 per cent surtax that Quebec taxpayers had to pay when calculating the provincial tax abatement.

This alleged new injustice to Quebec by the Canadian government never took place. In fact, it is the Bloc members' little cousins in the PQ government who set the record straight for them.

Now that the truth has come out regarding this issue, the authors of the phoney report should explain to the public why, six days after that gross mistake was uncovered, they have yet to make a public apology.

Youth Wing Of Quebec Liberal PartyStatements By Members

February 12th, 1997 / 2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Maud Debien Bloc Laval East, QC

Mr. Speaker, on Monday, the youth wing of the Quebec Liberal Party said that not all Quebec federalists want to campaign for the Liberal Party of Canada. Quebec's young Liberals are concerned that their party might join forces with the LPC. Who, in Quebec, could possibly want to campaign for the current Prime Minister of Canada, who did not make good on his most important 1993 election promises, and who let down those who believed in him in the last Quebec referendum?

The current Prime Minister has made a political career out of saying no to Quebecers. The leader of the Liberal Party of Canada has become an embarrassing ally for Quebec federalists, who still believe a reform of the Canadian federal system is possible.

The president of the Quebec young Liberals, Jonathan Sauvé, confirmed what we already knew: the federal Liberals and their leader are out of touch with the Quebec reality. One does not need to be a sovereignist to realize that.

Parliamentary OscarsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Reform Fraser Valley East, BC

Mr. Speaker, in honour of the upcoming Academy Awards, I would like to offer Reform's nomination for the parliamentary Oscars.

The best dramatic role for a male: the Prime Minister in "The Shawinigan Strangler".

The best dramatic role for a female: the Deputy Prime Minister's tearful performance in "Shooting from the Lip".

The best director: the defence minister in "The Somalia Whitewash".

The best special effects: the Prime Minister's imitation of "Dante's Peak" at the CBC town hall meeting.

The best supportive role in a short comedy: the justice minister in "Airbus".

The best performance by a junior minister: the Secretary of State for Training and Youth in "A Fistful of Dollars".

The best non-performance by an underachiever: the Minister of Health's tobacco saga "The Butt Stops Here".

The best song in an undemocratic nomination feature: "I did it my way" by the Prime Minister again.

The best sports video: the best of all, the entire Liberal team for its role in the golf documentary "True Lies".

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Beth Phinney Liberal Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to welcome yesterday's announcement by the Minister of Canadian Heritage of $10 million in additional funding to CBC radio.

The government has announced stable funding for five years for the CBC.

Starting in 1998 the government is guaranteeing the CBC stable funding for five years. The CBC will receive a minimum of $894 million for each of the next five years. This is the first time in

history that the fiscal framework will include CBC guarantees for five years. The new funding for CBC radio will be directed to new programming, talent development, regional reflection and future growth into new media.

After yesterday's announcement my constituents of Hamilton Mountain and all Canadians who are concerned about the CBC's future can be reassured that the CBC will continue as an important and vibrant institution in Canadian society.

I am sure that all members will join me in congratulating the minister.

[Translation]

ConstitutionOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Roberval Québec

Bloc

Michel Gauthier BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, everyone is worried at the turn of events regarding the Government of Quebec's request for a constitutional amendment to modify its school boards. The Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs has taken us all a bit by surprise with his agitation, which is as sudden as it is unexplained.

Does the Prime Minister think that the present consensus of political stakeholders in Quebec is enough to proceed as he should or does he believe, as his Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs does, that a consensus is valid only if it includes lobby groups like Alliance Quebec?

ConstitutionOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Quebec indicated that it wished to propose a constitutional amendment and we said that we were going to examine the possibility of helping it as much as possible.

Obviously, the decision must first be taken in Quebec, and many groups will state their views. The Quebec minister told his federal counterpart that he wished to act on the basis of a consensus. So we are going to see how the debate unfolds in Quebec. When there is a consensus, fine, but I know that many stakeholders, both among religious groups and among linguistic groups, will make their views known to the National Assembly when the debate takes place.

ConstitutionOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Roberval Québec

Bloc

Michel Gauthier BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I would like the Prime Minister to be a bit clearer. Can he tell us the kind of consensus the federal government feels is necessary in order for it to respond to Quebec's request?

Yesterday, the minister talked about Alliance Quebec; the Prime Minister is talking about various kinds of groups. How extensive does this consensus have to be? And is the consensus of Quebec's elected representatives, of the political parties sitting in the National Assembly, not enough for the Prime Minister?

ConstitutionOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I have just said that we will see how the debate unfolds in Quebec's National Assembly. I hope that those who have an interest in this question will make their views known. Afterwards, we will assess the situation.

We are not about to reply to a hypothetical question. We are waiting to see what resolution the National Assembly will pass and the nature of the debate surrounding this issue. The question is premature and hypothetical at this time.

ConstitutionOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Roberval Québec

Bloc

Michel Gauthier BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I am sorry, but the question is not hypothetical; we are talking about a situation that has deteriorated because of the inappropriate, unexpected and absolutely incomprehensible intervention of the ineffable federal Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. It is not hypothetical. He has stirred up discord in this affair, and that is a fact.

By creating the impasse that may prevent the creation of linguistic school boards in Quebec, was the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs not himself responsible for the constitutional dead end in which we will again find ourselves?

ConstitutionOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we are waiting to see what the National Assembly's resolution will be, the nature of the debate, and then we will review the situation. That was how we proceeded when the government received the Government of Newfoundland's request.

On that occasion, we analyzed all the circumstances, and then the House made its decision. The same approach will be used to try to find a solution to this problem.

ConstitutionOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister.

On September 5, 1996 the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration made a statement to La Presse that Ottawa will not wait for Quebecers to reach unanimity on amending section 93 of the Canadian Constitution.

Does the Prime Minister not acknowledge that the approach of his colleague, the former Quebec Minister of Education, is far more positive and would make it possible to settle the matter, unlike the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs' proposal, which is aimed only at stirring up division and adding fuel to the fire?

ConstitutionOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, there is no contradiction here. The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration has said that unanimity was not required. As for the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, he says that it will require a

consensus. A consensus is not unanimity. So both ministers have said the same thing.