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House of Commons Hansard #142 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was workers.

Topics

Canada Labour CodeGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

John Bryden Liberal Hamilton—Wentworth, ON

Madam Speaker, the hon. member for Vegreville made reference to the one clause in the bill that pertains to grain shipments. I think we all agree on both sides of this House that is an incredibly progress step to limit the stopping of grain shipments as a result of third party work stoppages.

Because that clause is so important and so progressive and it is going to do so much to encourage the movement of grain, is he going to reject the bill because it does not do everything else he wants, therefore rejecting that clause as a consequence?

Canada Labour CodeGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Reform

Leon Benoit Reform Vegreville, AB

Madam Speaker, while it is true that clause is important to grain farmers and will at least allow grain that makes it to the coast to be loaded, what about the rest of the system? They have done nothing to deal with the rest of the system. We proposed a substantive alternative, final offer selection arbitration, so there will be no stoppages in the system whatsoever.

They have counterbalanced that move which is positive with a negative move which would outlaw the use and prevent the use

through the Canada industrial relations board of replacement workers. This change will do farmers a lot more harm than good. On balance the legislation is going to hurt farmers a lot over the years. That change is positive. The other changes will actually do more harm than that change will do good.

Canada Labour CodeGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Lethbridge Alberta

Reform

Ray Speaker ReformLethbridge

Madam Speaker, I would like to continue the debate on the matter before the House, the Canada Labour Code.

One major concern we have is the way the government has behaved since it took office in 1993. It does not always act on the problem or deal with the problem but after the problem becomes a crisis it reacts. It has always been that way. For eight years those members sat in opposition on this side of the House. According to Beauchesne the definition is when a party is the official opposition it is supposed to prepare itself for government.

We had the whole crew of Liberals sitting on this side of the House with the hon. Prime Minister as the leader and the House leader of the current Liberal Party sitting on this side of the House trying to prepare themselves. They did not prepare themselves to legislate and act as leaders of the country. What happened?

We came to Parliament and in 1994 there was a work stoppage. We had to sit over a weekend to deal with it and we co-operated as members of the opposition. We were here to help deal with the issue but the government came with crisis management. That is the point I want to make in the early part of my remarks.

Legislation was passed which brought in a system of arbitration to bring about a solution to the strike and force the workers back to work. That is what happened. They were forced back to work. It was crisis management. That is what we have had from the government since 1993, over and over again.

Now we are looking at Bill C-66. Are we dealing with a potential problem that will happen again in western Canada? Will farmers be able to sell their wheat with confidence to the international market? There is nothing in the bill that ensures or guarantees that in any way.

It says that if the wheat is at the coast, sitting next to the boat, the government has now put in an extra clause saying it will get it into the boat, which helps a bit, but what about the wheat sitting on the prairies and the farmers who are being injured by the lack of capability to deliver their product to the international market? It is not there.

These people across the way are more interested in being government and having power. However, in terms of planning and thinking through the legislation, there is nothing. They protect the vested interests of labour and big business and the Liberals. They continually protect their vested interests. In terms of really dealing with the issue, that is not the way it is.

Canada Labour CodeGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

It is now almost two o'clock. We will proceed to Statements by Members.

Scarborough School BoardStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

John Cannis Liberal Scarborough Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate the Scarborough School Board on a successful program in the schools of the city of Scarborough.

Weapons related violence in Scarborough schools has dropped 61 per cent on a monthly basis since the board introduced a zero tolerance policy three years ago.

Under the Scarborough safe school policy, expulsion hearings are mandatory for a variety of violent weapons offences. School violence has decreased substantially since the policy was introduced.

Perhaps if amalgamation occurs this program could be implemented and used as a benchmark. The students of Scarborough have benefited greatly by the ability of the board to provide programs and services they need, while maintaining the lowest cost per pupil in metro.

I commend the Scarborough school board on taking this initiative to reduce violence and crimes in our schools. Once again, my congratulations to the board, its chair and the trustees.

AntisemitismStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Osvaldo Nunez Bloc Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, the report released last Friday by the B'nai Brith showed that the number of antisemitic incidents in Canada had dropped substantially, by26 per cent, between 1995 and 1996.

In Quebec, whose Jewish community is one of the largest in Canada, the drop in the number of such incidents was 40 per cent. Renowned for its tolerance, Quebec has now become the region where the plague of antisemitism is the least widespread, with12 per cent of the incidents for 24 per cent of the population.

In September 1996, I visited the Holocaust Museum in Washington. There I saw the extent of the tragedy and suffering endured by the Jewish people during the second world war. I encourage governments to keep up the fight to eradicate antisemitism in our societies.

I also take this opportunity to pay tribute to the Jewish community for its remarkable contribution to the development of Quebec and Canada.

JusticeStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Reform Fraser Valley East, BC

Mr. Speaker, here is just a sample of the justice priorities of this Liberal government.

Make sure that the wheat board directors guilty of criminal offences cannot be punished. Make sure that farmers who sell their wheat for the best price go to jail. Prosecute people for refusing to fill out census forms. Protect senior Liberals by threatening Justice Krever at the blood inquiry. Shut down the Somalia inquiry so we will never know who covered up the murders. Promote alternative sentencing so that a rapist in my riding is let off because at times he showed compassion. Hit race car drivers with huge fines if they speak the name of a tobacco company on TV. Pay millions for lawyers and settlement costs in the hopelessly botched Airbus and Pearson airport deals. Allow known criminals deported from other countries to claim refugee status in Canada.

And the absolute worst justice initiative of this Prime Minister and the government is to allow killers like Clifford Olson a national stage and the right to further torment the families of the victims.

Shame, shame, shame.

Workers' Memorial DayStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, last week behind the CN shops in the riding of Winnipeg Transcona a rail worker was accidentally killed as a result of a derailment.

I know I speak on behalf of all my colleagues in extending our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Dan McNeil and to his fellow workers in the United Transportation Union of Canada.

Mr. McNeil's death should remind us that every day of every week Canadians are working in potentially deadly circumstances and that we should be grateful for their service in such circumstances. The railway is one such industry, mining is another, police and firefighting are other such areas and of course there are many others.

Later this year we will mark a national day of mourning for workers killed on the job, a day that owes its existence to the work of the former NDP MP for Churchill, Rod Murphy. This is as it should be, but certainly we regret that from year to year there are so many new names to add to those we mourn.

Joe A. SellorsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Colleen Beaumier Liberal Brampton, ON

Mr. Speaker, on Saturday, March 8, I attended celebrations held by the Lorne Scots, Peel, Dufferin & Halton Regiment in honour of Chief Warrant Officer Joe A. Sellors for 50 years of outstanding service.

Joe Sellors began his distinguished service with the Lorne Scots Pipe and Drum Band as a junior piper in October 1946. A combination of talent and hard work saw Joe Sellors to the highest level. With the support of his wife, Alice, and their charismatic family he became pipe major of the band in the early 1950s and in 1975 attained the rank of chief warrant officer.

Joe Sellors has fulfilled his duties with dignity and pride. It is with great pleasure that I extend my best wishes to Joe Sellors, his wife and their children on behalf of all residents of Brampton for 50 years of excellence.

O Canada, he stands on guard for thee.

Federal-Provincial RelationsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Ted McWhinney Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, the agreement concluded between the Prime Minister and B.C. Premier Clark on March 6 ended some serious conflicts, notably the provincial government's three-month residency requirement on out of province people seeking welfare benefits in B.C. and the adverse differential treatment in federal transfer payments to B.C. to cover costs of integration of immigrants into community life.

The agreement is groundbreaking. First, it recognizes that most problems today need all levels of government, federal, provincial and municipal, to work together for their rational solution. It is not possible to continue outmoded confrontational federalism with separate, watertight compartments of sovereign power, federal or provincial, and no possibility for decision making in partnership.

Second, while the Constitution Act of 1982 may have erected major legal barriers against future amendments, constitutions can change by developing custom convention through intergovernmental accommodations and administrative adjustments based on ordinary common sense and reciprocal give and take.

This is the new, pragmatic co-operative federalism.

Chinese Golden Age SocietyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Maria Minna Liberal Beaches—Woodbine, ON

Mr. Speaker, this past Friday I had the honour of attending the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Golden Age Society.

The volunteers of this organization organize outings, put together fundraisers and offer companionship as well as moral support to other seniors in the Chinese Canadian community.

Companionship and a sense of community are so important to us all, no matter what our age. At a time in all our lives when we may be less mobile than when we were younger, the Golden Age Society ensures that no one feels left out. The society also provides an excellent example of communities helping communities, of seniors helping seniors and is a model of success for any similar group.

I and the people of the Chinese Canadian community in Beaches-Woodbine congratulate and thank the Golden Age Society for 25 years of hard work and we look forward to another 25 years of success.

People Of TibetStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Maud Debien Bloc Laval East, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Quebecois wants to mark today the 38th anniversary of the uprising of the people of Tibet against Chinese occupation.

On March 10, 1959, ten years after the invasion of Tibet by China, the people of Tibet people rose up against Chinese oppression. The Chinese army moved and quashed the legitimate public protest.

During the following weeks, more than 80,000 civilians died. The Dalai-Lama has been representing Tibetans in exile and peacefully crusading for his people's sovereignty and self-government ever since.

The Chinese government is pursuing settlement and assimilation in Tibet and will not act on UN resolutions demanding respect for the fundamental rights of the people of Tibet, including their right to self-government.

Canada cannot remain silent about the disastrous situation in Tibet, in its dealings with the Chinese authorities. Today, the official opposition reminds the Canadian government of its international responsibilities.

Reform PartyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Reform

Jay Hill Reform Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, this afternoon I am proud to have my two daughters in the gallery.

When I first became involved with the Reform Party of Canada, almost 10 years ago, it was out of concern for their generation. I realized then that for the youth of our country to have the opportunities we have enjoyed, major reforms would be necessary.

In 1987 our national debt was half the $600 billion that it is today and Reformers were concerned about interest cutting into social spending then. In 1987 tax revenue was around $97 billion. Now it is $135 billion. And we felt overtaxed then.

In 1987 we suspected governments cared more for the rights of criminals than the rights of victims. Today they have proved it. In 1987 we thought Parliament needed a complete democratic makeover. Now we know it. In 1987 I believed the only hope of a brighter future for our children was the Reform vision of a new Canada. Today I am sure of it. 1997 is the year of a fresh start for all Canadians.

TaxationStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Progressive Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, waiters and waitresses in New Brunswick have launched an educational campaign in hopes of teaching both levels of government about tips.

Most waitresses and waiters are mainly minimum wage employees and rely on tips to make ends meet. Over 80 per cent of them are women. A high percentage of them are single parents. Many of them have a university degree with no other job opportunities.

Revenue Canada considers their tips to be taxable income and use it to calculate eligible child tax benefits and GST rebates. However, they cannot use these tips to claim UI benefits, workers' compensation, Canada pension, bank loans, nor is it added to calculate their RRSP allowable contribution. There seems to be some inequities when a government considers tips as income for tax purposes but does not consider tips for benefit purposes.

I urge the government to consider changes to enable waiters and waitresses to fully benefit from their tips and the inequity can be corrected.

MiningStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Andy Mitchell Liberal Parry Sound—Muskoka, ON

Mr. Speaker, as the chair of the Standing Committee on Natural Resources I congratulate the government and the Minister of Natural Resources, in particular, for the response to our committee's final report on streamlining environmental regulations for mining.

I am pleased to see that the reforms put forward fully reflect the committee's recommendations which were formulated following extensive consultations with stakeholders. These reforms will provide investors with greater certainty of requirements, reduce unnecessary delays and costs, and ensure the need for a strong and effective environmental protection regime.

The mining industry provides jobs for some 350,000 Canadians and supports hundreds of communities in rural and northern regions. It is an important component of the government's commitment to rural Canada.

The committee's report and the department's response are further evidence of the government's commitment to economic growth and job creation, to sustainable development and creating efficient and effective regulation for business.

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationStatements By Members

March 11th, 1997 / 2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Anna Terrana Liberal Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, many Canadians are very concerned about the cuts at the CBC. The issue is a very emotional one. It is a question of unity, of one message from the Atlantic to the Pacific to the Arctic.

The CBC has been with us all our lives and has become a part of our existence.

In the last year I have held three town hall meetings on the CBC. The last two meetings, held in the last two months, were very well attended. During the meetings support for the CBC was expressed very strongly.

At the time of the last meeting Nigel Peck, a constituent, had collected over 23,000 signatures. I was informed that as soon as the signatures reach the 50,000 mark they will be delivered to me. Of these, almost 13,000 signatures have already been received. The petitioners ask that the cuts to the CBC be stopped and funding restored. The minister has listened and has restored $10 million.

The main concern is the cuts to regional programming. By cutting them, you silence the voice of Canadians outside of Ontario and Quebec.

Health CareStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Liberal Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise again to express my concern about the erosion of universal, single tier health care in Ontario. The Queen's Park government seems to be charging more and more fees every week. We have fees on prescription drugs and now patients waiting in hospitals for transfer to other care facilities are being charged $43 for every day of their wait. Imagine what this daily charge does for the health of already sick people.

The federal government is the only level of government that can protect health care for all Canadians. I urge the ministers of health and justice to carefully consider whether the Government of Ontario is meeting the requirements of the Canada Health Act.

Human RightsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Philippe Paré Bloc Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, the 53rd session of the UN Commission on Human Rights has just opened in Geneva. This important exercise provides an opportunity for the international community to learn and consult about serious human rights violations.

In these days of market imperatives, the government must uphold its past reputation. It must break the silence that confers a sort of international impunity on regimes that are trampling the most elementary rights. It must vigorously denounce the sorts of actions taking place in Burma, Turkey, Algeria, East Timor, Nigeria and the Great Lakes region of Africa.

This government has given itself the mandate of promoting Canadian values. Will it take a stand and assume leadership on the fundamental issue of human rights? While it continues to conduct trade with impunity, men, women and children are being tortured, imprisoned and killed daily. It is high time to move from denunciation to concrete and decisive action.

JusticeStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Reform

Ted White Reform North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, what used to be a justice system in Canada has gradually deteriorated into little more than a legal system, no longer serving the needs of society and the victims of crime, but concentrating instead on the bizarre promotion of the so-called rights of the criminals.

The Olson section 745 hearings which begin today are an example of that bizarre promotion of the rights of criminals. Thank goodness Olson is likely to be one of the few criminals for whom the faint hope clause is truly a faint hope clause.

For about 80 per cent of criminals who apply, as everyone except the government seems to recognize, section 745 is actually the sure bet clause. It forces the victims of crime to relive the events which so dramatically changed their lives.

The people of Canada are calling for the complete repeal of section 745. It is about time that our lame excuse for a Minister of Justice got with the program.

Bloc QuebecoisStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Robert Bertrand Liberal Pontiac—Gatineau—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, delegates at the Bloc Quebecois policy and leadership convention will not fail to notice the very dominant presence of their former leader, Lucien Bouchard.

He is scheduled to speak on at least two occasions, in addition to all the informal meetings in which he will take part. It is really rather unusual to see this provincial political leader occupying so much space at a federal political party convention.

Does the PQ leader intend to infiltrate the Bloc Quebecois convention to keep it from heading off in a direction he would not want to support? Or is it just that he wishes to reaffirm that he is the only real leader of this party?

Whatever the case, I hope that the Bloc Quebecois delegates will reserve a warm welcome for Lucien Bouchard, or they too may be treated to one of his sulks.

The DeficitOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Roberval Québec

Bloc

Michel Gauthier BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance forecast a deficit of $24 billion for 1996-97. Three weeks ago, in his latest budget, his forecast were adjusted downward to $19 billion.

The DeficitOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

The DeficitOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Today, after ten months, the cumulative deficit is reported to be $7.3 billion, which could mean a real deficit of 10 or 12 billion in 1996-97 instead of the $19 billion he announced three weeks ago.

My question is directed to the Minister of Finance. Either the minister was aware that he had this kind of flexibility and hid this from the public, or he did not know because he had no way of telling this would happen. Is the Minister of Finance sneaky or incompetent?

The DeficitOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, considering how my predecessor was criticized when he was incapable of meeting his objectives, I must say that being criticized because I did far more than meet my objectives is a criticism I am entirely prepared to accept.

As the Leader of the Opposition must know, we have a month and a half left before the end of the year. We have no figures for February and we have none for March. Meanwhile, the Leader of the Opposition must know that a lot of adjustments are made in March which may alter the figures.

What I gave is perhaps a very prudent forecast, but I am convinced that once again, we will be able to build on the credibility the government has established.

The DeficitOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Roberval Québec

Bloc

Michel Gauthier BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the government would have to produce a deficit of $12 billion in two months to get the extraordinary figures the Minister of Finance gave us three weeks ago.