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House of Commons Hansard #129 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was via.

Topics

The FtqStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Osvaldo Nunez Bloc Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the FTQ, or Fédération des travailleurs du Québec, the labour organization where I worked for 19 years, on the eve of its 40th anniversary. It was born on February 16, 1957 out of the merger of the Fédération provinciale du travail du Québec and the Fédération des unions industrielles du Québec.

In actual fact, the FTQ is far more than 40 years old. Its origins go back to the end of the last century. It builds on the old traditions of a combination of European and North American trade unionism, and is heir to the rich history of the international labour movement.

Today, the FTQ represents 480,000 people working in all sectors and all regions of Quebec. In addition to doggedly defending the interests of wage earners of all backgrounds, the FTQ has also taken up the cause of the sovereignty of Quebec. As well, it battles for its membership's right to work and to live in French.

The exceptional contribution the FTQ has made to Quebec society is universally recognized. On behalf of the Bloc Quebecois, I wish it all the best on its 40th anniversary.

Youth EmploymentStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Reform

Ian McClelland Reform Edmonton Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the government announced a youth jobs strategy. While it may or may not have political overtones, I think it is fair to say it is very clear there is a direct relationship between job potential, the ability to get and to retain a job, and the level of education.

In my opinion it is absolutely hypocritical of the government to cut funding to post-secondary education at the same time it would

put funding into a job scheme which in the eyes of many is really a transparent method of getting votes.

There is a direct relationship between the scholastic level achieved by young people and their ability to get a job. For instance, six months after graduation, only 3.5 per cent of the 1990 graduates of the University of Alberta were looking for work.

If young Canadians want to be part of the job market, they must stay in school.

Canadian Wheat BoardStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Len Taylor NDP The Battlefords—Meadow Lake, SK

Mr. Speaker, prairie producers who are still considering their vote on the Canadian Wheat Board barley plebiscite should take a look at the recent Schmitz, Gray, Schmitz, Storey study which shows that the CWB puts more money in its pockets than it would receive from the open market.

The study showed that the Canadian Wheat Board single desk sales monopoly enabled it to extract higher prices for malt barley and for feed barley as well. The four agricultural economists who conducted the study pegged the price benefit at an average of $72 million a year during the 10-year period that ended in 1994-95.

With information like this, there should be little doubt about the pending outcome of the producer plebiscite. The power of the Canadian Wheat Board is a tremendous benefit not only to the individual farmers but also to the country as a whole. We should all be doing everything we can to support the Canadian Wheat Board and guarantee that it has a long and successful future.

Leduc Number One Oil WellStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Cowling Liberal Dauphin—Swan River, MB

Mr. Speaker, today is the 50th anniversary of an important event in Canadian history. On February 13, 1947 Imperial Oil brought the Leduc number one oil well into production. At the time, Alberta was an agriculture based economy without sufficient resources. Oil was being imported from the United States.

Imperial Oil Limited had persevered through the decades of costly but unsuccessful exploration. One hundred and thirty-three consecutive dry holes had been drilled before the Leduc find on the southern outskirts of Edmonton. This oil well represented a turning point for the Canadian oil industry. It quickly led to the growth and development of an innovative and competitive oil patch. The oil and the natural gas industry has been a major source of income, jobs and exports since then.

The Leduc find can be considered the most important economic event to occur in the west in the postwar years.

Employment InsuranceStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Andy Scott Liberal Fredericton—York—Sunbury, NB

Mr. Speaker, in recent days we have heard a great deal about the small weeks anomaly in the employment insurance program. Make no mistake, it is a serious problem that must be fixed. But let us not lose sight of the overall benefits of the government's EI reforms.

The shift from weeks to hours recognizes all work. This is particularly helpful to seasonal industries. The low income protection means that Canadians who earn less than $26,000 can receive up to 80 per cent replacement income. People will have access to EI based active measures for up to five years, even after their income benefits have expired. Even the divisor is a more humane work incentive than simply making employment insurance benefits harder to get.

While the application of the program requires urgent repair, the fundamental reforms represent progressive and innovative public policy worthy of all our support.

National Citizenship WeekStatements By Members

February 13th, 1997 / 1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Eleni Bakopanos Liberal Saint-Denis, QC

Mr. Speaker, this week Canadians will be celebrating national citizenship week. The celebration is even more special this year because this is the fiftieth anniversary of Canadian citizenship.

I wish to share with my colleagues in the House during this important event my vision of what it means to be a Canadian.

To be a Canadian is to be proud of what we are and overcoming our differences in order to build a better future. It also means being a part of the larger force which draws its strength from its linguistic duality and cultural diversity.

Whether Canadian by birth or by choice, we all have the freedom to think, to act, and to make choices according to our conscience. This foundation upon which Canadian values are based holds great promise for our future. Being Canadian is more than a status, it is a definite advantage.

Grain TransportationStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Reform

Allan Kerpan Reform Moose Jaw—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, it is happening again. At last count there were some 46 ships waiting for grain at the west coast ports. Whenever this happens, the Canadian Wheat Board blames the railways, the railways blame the grain companies, and the minister of agriculture

does not blame anybody. All this while the farmers who are the real victims end up holding the bag. This time it is a $65 million bag.

Farmers are tired of all the finger pointing. They are not interested in who is to blame. They are interested in solving problems that affect their daily lives.

This minister has to start realizing that these grain tie-ups have to stop. Everybody loses in these situations. I often wonder how long it would take the government to act if its members' paycheques were put on hold for several months because someone decided to shut down the comptroller's office during the winter.

The taxpayers of this country pay us to find real solutions to some very real problems, yet here we are sitting back while the big boys play and farmers pay. This government should be ashamed of itself. I think we need a fresh start.

The BudgetStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Jag Bhaduria Liberal Markham—Whitchurch-Stouffville, ON

Mr. Speaker, next Tuesday the finance minister will be tabling his budget and the masses of unemployed Canadians will be waiting to see if his words contain something more than rhetoric. Today I would like to offer some recommendations to the finance minister which will create meaningful jobs for the more than two million unemployed Canadians.

The finance minister should consider a one year freeze on the current interest rates which are creating jobs in fact. The finance minister should consider a $4,000 tax deduction for every small business for each new employee hired. The most hated GST should be cut down to 5 per cent effective immediately with a further provision to reduce it by 1 per cent each year, thus eliminating the GST within five years.

Unemployed Canadians would applaud these initiatives. I hope the finance minister gives serious consideration to my proposals.

Sugar IndustryStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Lethbridge Alberta

Reform

Ray Speaker ReformLethbridge

Mr. Speaker, the NAFTA and World Trade Organization were supposed to result in freer trade with the United States. Yet for Canada's sugar industry the opposite has occurred.

In 1995 the Americans ignored the spirit of the WTO and slapped heavy tariffs on Canadian sugar exports. Access to American markets fell by more than 60 per cent. The result: Rogers Sugar is closing its Winnipeg operations with a loss of 82 jobs.

But this is not the only sugar subsidy to prosper in the free trade era. The re-export program for sugar-containing products, which the U.S. agreed to discontinue in accordance with the NAFTA agreement, continues to thrive and subidize for more than a year after its promised termination date of January 1996. Special consultations to resolve the matter have gone nowhere, making it clear the Americans will not terminate the program until we force their hand.

I call on the government to stand by its promise to request a NAFTA panel and to kill the U.S. re-export program. And the sooner the better.

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre De Savoye Bloc Portneuf, QC

Mr. Speaker, this week, for the umpteenth time, the government has rewritten the red book. After stating that the government had fulfilled its promise on the GST, after stating that it had fulfilled its referendum promises on the distinct society by passing a trumped up motion, now the government is at it again.

This week, the Minister of Canadian Heritage announced, for the third time, with a straight face, that the CBC would have stable funding for five years, once the government has cut $379 million from it.

This announcement was greeted with universal scepticism. How can a promise made by a minister on the eve of an election campaign be believed? But the most dead-on comment came from Perrin Beatty, the CBC President himself: "We will not believe it until we have our hands on the cheque".

SomaliaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

John Richardson Liberal Perth—Wellington—Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House to tell a story of honour, distinction and heroism, a story that many may not be familiar with. This story follows the actions of the Canadian peacekeepers who served with distinction in Somalia.

In unfamiliar and treacherous surroundings facing mortar, artillery and small arms fire, our Canadian forces performed their duties admirably. They secured an area of about 30,000 square kilometres, escorted humanitarian convoys, performed demining operations and destroyed vast quantities of weapons.

Medical personnel held out-patient clinics, trained hospital staff and repaired equipment. Soldiers fixed machinery, repaired the

local jail and assisted the staff at the international medical corps hospital. They also built bridges and schools and repaired roads and runways while overhead our Hercules cargo planes supported massive humanitarian relief efforts.

That is the other side of the Somalia story. That is why the Government of Canada is establishing a medal to honour those who served in Somalia. They did so with distinction and deserve to wear the medal with pride.

Breast CancerStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Catterall Liberal Ottawa West, ON

Mr. Speaker, every year in Canada thousands of women die from breast cancer and the mortality rate has not dropped. This disease involves more than medical and scientific issues. Its eradication requires the involvement of the international community.

In July, Kingston, Ontario will host the first world conference on breast cancer. All members of Parliament, men and women, are invited this afternoon after question period to meet the organizers of the conference for an information session in Room 238-S.

The conference will seek to address what is being done, what is not being done and what needs to be done to defeat this killer of women, breast cancer.

Experience Canada ProgramStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

John Murphy Liberal Annapolis Valley—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased today to offer my congratulations to Mr. Brian Loughead from the community of Windsor Junction in my riding of Annapolis Valley-Hants. Brian is here in the gallery.

Brian has just recently completed the work experience component of the experience Canada program, a career development program helping young people navigate the transition from school to work. Launched by the Council of Canadian Unity, the 10-month initiative provides young Canadians with real work experience outside of their home province or territory.

As a result of his work through this program, Brian has been awarded an employment contract. His achievement reflects a model of success for young people who are currently unemployed or underemployed.

I ask all members of the House to join me in congratulating Brian on his success. By working together we can all continue to build hope and opportunity for our young people.

Riding Of Saint-JeanStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, the voters in Saint-Jean are taking a hard look at the poor performance of the Liberal government.

In a survey by the firm Objectif for the paper Le Canada français , we discover that 71.4 per cent of voters in Saint-Jean are either somewhat or totally dissatisfied with the leader of the federal government.

We see from this survey that dissatisfaction has reached such proportions that it has spilled over onto Liberal sympathizers. More than one third of them have expressed their dissatisfaction with the Liberal government.

I would like to point out that the riding of Saint-Jean has always been a political bellwether in Quebec.

This survey confirms the failure of Liberal policy in both Saint-Jean and Quebec and sounds a strong note of discord in response to the self-congratulatory speeches by the Prime Minister and his Quebec lieutenants.

The Prime MinisterStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister decided today he would deliver what his own people billed as a state of the country speech.

So did we hear the speech in the people's House, in Parliament, where the opposition might hear him and ask to respond? Did he give his speech in a public forum where regular people might ask him regular questions, à la the CBC town hall meeting? No, the bubble boy spoke to us from a hotel ballroom filled with staff from the Prime Minister's office and the Ottawa elite.

So what did Canadians hear in the bubble boy's speech? Did he say anything about integrity or accountability, Somalia, Airbus, Krever, the broken GST promise? What about the $3.5 billion he cut from medicare while promising to save it? How about the 1.5 billion unemployed, the 600,000 jobless youth, the 35 tax increases and $25 billion in new money his government has taken from taxpayers?

No. We got what we would usually expect from the bubble boy, a whole lot of nothing, showing once again this Prime Minister's disconnection with the real concerns of the real people.

Team CanadaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Nick Discepola Liberal Vaudreuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, we have not yet heard the last of the successes of Team Canada's various trips. The Prime Minister's unprecedented initiative will give a tremendous boost to Canada's foreign trade.

Today, I would like to introduce another member of the most recent Team Canada, back from Thailand with agreements on contracts on bridge construction and the application of ISO standard 1400. These agreements, estimated at $8 million, were reached by Desseau, a firm from Laval, Quebec. This major Canadian engineering firm currently employs over 800 people.

In the course of its four missions, Team Canada has helped many Quebec businesses create and keep jobs for everyone in Quebec. The Desseau company is one of them, and we are proud to report its success.

Well done, Desseau. Well done, Team Canada. Well done, Prime Minister.

Harmonized Sales TaxStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council says the harmonized sales tax will be good for business and job creation.

Its new report says the HST will help businesses save more than $584 million a year. Businesses will no longer pay sales tax on items they buy to create their products or build their plants. Construction firms for example will have an edge over similar firms in Ontario which will go on paying sales tax.

The report also says that even a small shift in the investment climate will be likely to produce jobs and increase productivity.

Atlantic Canada is a great place to do business. The HST makes it even better.

Canadian GovernmentOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Roberval Québec

Bloc

Michel Gauthier BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, we knew, from listening to the Prime Minister, that elections were in the air, but that does not explain the absence in the House of half of cabinet.

Canadian GovernmentOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Canadian GovernmentOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. As a rule, we do not refer to any member's presence or absence in the House.

Canadian GovernmentOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, late this morning, the Prime Minister painted a rosy picture of life in Canada. Clearly, the Prime Minister has tested the electoral waters. His remarks are very optimistic.

Canadian GovernmentOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Canadian GovernmentOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Optimistic, but so out of touch with reality.

Canadian GovernmentOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Canadian GovernmentOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

What are we going to do with this, Mr. Speaker? It makes no sense.