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 #147 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was report.

Topics

Canadian CensusPrivate Members' Business

6:25 p.m.

Liberal

Morris Bodnar Liberal Saskatoon—Dundurn, SK

Ludicrous.

Canadian CensusPrivate Members' Business

6:25 p.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Reform Calgary Northeast, AB

The member across the way said it is ludicrous to say that, but that is exactly what is happening. The Liberal Party has been a master at such manipulation.

Canadian CensusPrivate Members' Business

March 19th, 1997 / 6:25 p.m.

Liberal

Morris Bodnar Liberal Saskatoon—Dundurn, SK

You should be embarrassed at what you are saying.

Canadian CensusPrivate Members' Business

6:25 p.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Reform Calgary Northeast, AB

No, I am not embarrassed by what I am saying. I think that it is important that Canadians hear it.

These same politicians also create quota systems for public service jobs. It is a quota system that only impacts in areas where the ruling party of the day allows it to take place. It is a form of reverse discrimination. It is contrary to the equality of all citizens. It sullies our reputation as a country which selects people for jobs on the principle of merit rather than socially engineered notions of race and entitlement.

Let us look further into this point of the census. The state is demanding answers that are none of its business. The census also asks Canadians to divulge other information: the marital status and sex of room mates and/or inhabitants of their home; how much money they make; how many books they have read in the past six months; how often they take a vacation without the children; how many windows they have which face north. That sounds like a real valuable piece of information.

The government assures respondents that the information collected from the census is confidential. I have been in the House for about three and a half years. I realize that the information gathered in many of the departments within the government is not confidential. It is like a sieve and it leaks out all over.

The notion that the records will be kept confidential in my opinion is absurd. I believe that a lot of Canadians have the fear that it is not as safe as what the government would lead people to believe.

For the reasons that I have outlined I have to urge that all members of the House carefully examine Motion No. 277 and support it in a vote.

Canadian CensusPrivate Members' Business

6:25 p.m.

Reform

Myron Thompson Reform Wild Rose, AB

Madam Speaker, I too am pleased to be able to have the opportunity to speak to the motion of my colleague from Beaver River. I am especially thankful for this opportunity, having become a Canadian by choice.

When I received the census form this year I was one of the individuals who received the long one. I cannot say exactly what people feel like coming to a country and choosing it to be their land. My wife and I came here in 1968 and fell in love with the country and wanted to call it home. We chose to be Canadian.

Then along came this long census form. We saw choices of what to mark but could not mark Canadian because it was not on the form. I must admit the hairs on the back of my neck, because that is the only place I have any, started to rise. I was getting angry.

I thought for a minute I should send a message by putting in cocker spaniel. However cocker spaniel did not fit the way I felt at the time and I thought pit bull would be better. I wanted to put in something to drive home the point that I would like very much as a person who has chosen Canada to be my home to write Canadian and be proud to do so.

I wrote in the word Canadian. I was not going to sit back and say it was crazy. I just cannot say how pleased I was to hear from the social engineers on that side of the room. That is all this is, social engineering. I probably would be one of those who would get in trouble for not obeying the rule. We are required to obey rules.

However this leads to things that really bothered me. After we arrived here we had one child born in Canada. He by birth is a Canadian and very proud of it. As a Canadian he took advantage of some of the opportunities available to him. He joined the air cadets as a young man and spent five to six years in them. He was very pleased with that program and I was pleased he did well. After graduating from high school it was his desire to become a soldier. He wanted to be a little better trained so he decided to go to university to take some computer courses, which was a wise thing to do, and to join the militia in Red Deer, Alberta.

He got acquainted with a group of people and spent two to three years in the militia, along with getting some computer training at

university. When he turned 22 he decided it was time to fulfil his life dream to become a soldier in the Canadian army.

That is when everything fell apart. At the recruitment office in Calgary he was told that because of his physical make-up there would be no need for him to apply as a soldier in the Canadian army for at least six years. It was necessary to fill the positions available with other types of individuals.

That is totally shameful. That is exactly what happened. I hope the member from Saskatchewan will not bother me with heckling, nonsense and hogwash about quotas. I now have a son whose life dream is being fulfilled. He got to be a soldier. It is only because of where we came from that he was able to go south of the border. Within three days the United States army took him because of his qualifications. He has now been serving for over a year. He has received a promotion and is doing very well. They were quite intrigued with his qualifications and took him.

In the Canadian army he was told: "Maybe in six years, but we must fill these positions with other types of people". I thought Canadians should be able to fill those positions, particularly Canadians who believe in the sovereignty of the land and are willing to defend that sovereignty. Then along comes this form which does not include the word Canadian.

A lot of things make me very proud to be Canadian. We flew the flag shortly after we came here as immigrants, before we qualified to become citizens. We were proud to be in Canada so we flew the flag. We could not be called Canadian at that time because we had not had the opportunity to become one. We went to citizenship court five years later when we qualified and walked away very pleased to say we were Canadian.

Ministers and social engineers on that side of the House figure that if they give out 20 million flags and get people to fly them everywhere it will be a good sign of their love and pride for the country. They have it all wrong.

As a result of this census and their so-called magnificent employment equity bill, somewhere down the road through all this social engineering and finagling even the people in private industry will be forced in some way or another to make sure jobs are filled with a certain quota. It is there already in a lot of places and it will be worse.

At least on the census form we could have the word Canadian. I really do not think it is a whole lot to ask for. I live in Canada. I love the country. I am a member of Parliament. I would have liked to be able to freely circle the word Canadian on that long form, and it was not even there. That is why I felt like putting pit bull on the form.

The social engineering that goes on in the House when it comes to this kind of stuff makes me feel like a pit bull more days than I would like to.

I have a son serving with the United States army in Georgia. He does not like it down there. He would like to be in the north. He would like to be in Canada. People who sit here and heckle, like the member from Saskatchewan who heckled my friend from Calgary Northeast when he was making his points, make life very difficult for those who truly want to be a Canadian and to serve their country in the best way they possibly can. They ought to be ashamed of themselves for making it virtually impossible for a number of Canadians to be able to do that.

Flying the flag is not the only thing. There are many other things we can do and they do not see it. They are too busy social engineering and doing the best they can for themselves.

Let us include the word Canadian in these census forms and be proud we put it there. It will give people an opportunity to say they are Canadian.

Canadian CensusPrivate Members' Business

6:35 p.m.

Reform

Ken Epp Reform Elk Island, AB

Madam Speaker, it is a delight to stand in the House today to lend my support to the motion proposed by the member for Beaver River.

Sometimes I am asked what it means to be a Canadian. I have a number of different pictures in my mind of what it means to be a Canadian that are very strong, very emphatic.

I am privileged by the fact that my grandparents were literally chased out of their home country in 1923. They suffered great persecution there. A number of my relatives were unjustly murdered. My grandparents knew it was not a safe place for our family and wondered where to go. Through various circumstances which I do not have time to relate tonight they were able to find their way to this wonderful country, Canada.

I have recollections as a child growing up in a little farmhouse in Saskatchewan where I was born and raised. I remember overhearing my parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts and some of their friends talking about the life they had experienced in what they called the old country.

They talked about some of the hardships and difficulties they had gone through and some of the ways in which their freedoms had been totally taken away: their freedom to make a living the way they wanted to make a living and their freedom to worship the way they wanted to worship. Those freedoms were wrenched away from them and they came to this country. I remember them talking about how grateful and how blessed we were as a family because we could be Canadian.

I remember being at the home of my grandparents many times. Whether it was to celebrate a birthday, Easter or Christmas we would get together as a family and my grandparents would lead us

in family prayers. My grandmother was more expressive than my grandfather. In her prayers she would say over and over: "Thank you for the privilege of living in this wonderful free country". They came here with 10 children. As an aside, until last year all of them were still living. The youngest was 75. I come from hardy stock. We live long.

My grandparents, my uncles and aunts on both sides of my family came to this country as immigrants, worked hard and helped to open up the west. They helped to till the land to produce food to feed themselves and others. They were as proud as we are to be part of this country. My parents were 12 years old when they came to Canada so I am a first generation Canadian. I was actually born in Saskatchewan. I called that home until I married and moved to Alberta. I have very strong attachments.

There is especial attachment to the country when one grows up in a farm family and tills the soil. There is an attachment to the land when one actually works the soil and grows food for sustenance, because we all know that without food we would not survive.

I have other recollections about being in this country. One of the most valuable ones was that of my son who has served in different places in the world where people were experiencing the same kinds of hardships my grandparents experienced. Because of our family heritage, partially at least, he felt it was a useful to spend part of his life helping others who were in difficult circumstances. He worked with various relief agencies around the world, carrying and wearing a Canadian flag. He went there not only in the name of the organization he was with but also in the name of our country.

A most recent recollection I had of the value of being a Canadian was a very moving experience for me. I participated for the first time ever in the ceremony of welcoming new Canadians at a citizenship court. It happened last year on July 1. We were in the historic court house in Fort Saskatchewan. As I recall the court house was built before Saskatchewan became a province and joined Confederation. It was an historical court house. There we were up on the second floor with a number of different people who were making Canada their home.

One lady in particular struck me. As she reached out to take from the presiding judge her citizenship papers there were tears literally streaming down her cheeks. It touched me because I had the recollection of my grandmother who had that same emotional reaction, that tie, that love of this country.

When I talked to her afterwards she said essentially the same thing that my grandmother had said: "I came from a country of great strife and I am so proud, so happy and so blessed to be a Canadian".

I do not believe that I can express more strongly or with more emotion my support for the bill before the House today. It is a bill which says let us call ourselves Canadians. This is the most valued

part of planet Earth. It is the most enviable place to live. There are people around the world who would literally give anything they have to live here, but for some reason we are hesitant to say that we are Canadians.

I thank the House for the opportunity to speak to this motion. I urge all members on all sides of the House to support the motion not because of any partisan consideration but simply because it is the right thing to do.

Canadian CensusPrivate Members' Business

6:45 p.m.

Reform

John Williams Reform St. Albert, AB

Madam Speaker, I am very glad to rise to speak to the motion which was introduced by the hon. member for Beaver River.

I guess you might call me a new Canadian, having been born in Scotland. I came here when I was 23 years of age. Unfortunately that is quite some number of years ago. I cannot do anything about that. Nonetheless, I am a new Canadian.

When I go back to Scotland to visit the many relatives and friends I still have over there, after a few short weeks I want to come back to Canada. This is my home.

I have family here. I have a wife and two fine young boys. My wife was also born in Scotland. My boys were born here and they are Canadian. They think of themselves as being Canadian. They have lived in this country or all their lives, apart from a few weeks when they visited Europe. What are they forced to put down on the census form? Certainly not Canadian.

The Prime Minister stands in the House and tells us about how this is the greatest country in the world. I endorse that statement. I think this is the greatest country in the world and millions of people would agree with me. However, let us remember that these people built the greatest country in the world. It does not matter if they are of Scottish origin, like I and my family, or of the different origins which we have heard about in other speeches. They all came here with a dream, with a hope, with an aspiration for a new beginning, wanting to be Canadian.

I came here thinking that I wanted to be Canadian. For over 20 years I have held a Canadian passport. I am proud of that, yet there is nothing I can put down on the census form which salutes and recognizes that fact.

We have heard other speakers tell about the tragedies of where their families came from. One of the great heritages of Canada is that while, for example, Scotland has a great history of emigration, Canada has a great history of immigration. That is what has made this country strong.

My Scottish history tells me that a couple of hundred years ago the Highlands clearances occurred and Scottish people's houses were burned down and the kids were left to starve in the snow. Some of them were able to make their way across the great Atlantic Ocean to Canada. While they may have a strong emotional

attachment to Scotland and call themselves Canadians with Scottish roots, many of them have never left this country, and yet they cannot call themselves Canadian.

I think back to the last war when Canadians liberated Holland. The people of Holland are proud of it and grateful. As we know, every year there are hundreds of thousands of bulbs sent over here from Holland because the Canadians liberated their land. They were not hyphenated Canadians, coloured Canadians, white Canadians or other kinds of Canadians. All they know is Canadians liberated their land.

Even when I was a little fellow back in Scotland they talked about how the Canadians had worked around where I grew up and the sawmills they built and the work they had done for the war effort. They talked about Canadians. When I go over to Scotland on a holiday, again these people see us as Canadians and are proud and envious of what we have. Yet here in Canada we do not even want to recognize who we are with our history of immigration.

While people have come from all around the world and from desperate situations, each and every one of them has found freedom. However, now we find that our freedoms are being eroded. They are being pigeon holed, classified and counted according to groups so that this government can come out with a little subsidy program to say "we are going to give some money to you and to you" because we are all categorized into different groups. There are some of Scottish heritage, some of other heritage, some who are black, some who are white, some who are crippled, some who are handicapped and so on. The government is going to count them all up so that it can see what the differences are. That is divisive.

When the pioneers came to settle the prairies, I do not think they cared two hoots about where a person came from. It was can he work and can he put his shoulder to the wheel and does he believe in building this wonderful land that we have. That was all that mattered.

Now, in this great social engineering world that we are in, we have to get everybody categorized and pigeon holed so that we can design a program to fit them and have them developed down one certain road. We are going to help other people develop in a different way and somebody else go off in a different way so that we can keep ourselves apart. How are we ever going to build this national unity, national concept that we are Canadians from coast to coast, each and every one of us?

It can be done and it will be done eventually in spite of this government and in spite of government programs given enough time. However, it will take a very long time if we continue on with these divisive types of attitudes, categories, pigeon holes and labels and count them all one to ten. Do we deny some people access to a career even though they may qualify in merit but they happen to come out of the wrong pigeon hole?

I have had this happen in my own riding. I have had people in my office who had wanted to be members of the RCMP so bad that they could taste it. I can think of one fine young gentleman with a college degree who spent six hundred hours a year volunteering for the RCMP. His older brother is a member of the force. He would dearly love to be a member of the force. Wrong pigeon hole. He cannot join. He has every qualification in the book that is required and then some; yet wrong pigeon hole and he does not qualify.

This is the same as the member for Wild Rose. His son, wrong pigeon hole and cannot qualify.

I dearly love, as a new Canadian, speaking in this House. Think what that means when I travel back to Scotland and people say "you are a member of Parliament in Canada" and I say yes. They say "that is fabulous, how you have prospered over there". I have prospered. This country has been very good to me. Why, oh why do we deny ourselves the right to call ourselves Canadian? Do we deny the concept that we are Canadian, which could build unity and harmony within the country, rather than the divisiveness that the government wants to devise another program to solve. It is easy, Madam Speaker. Listen to the people. Do not listen to the government.

Canadian CensusPrivate Members' Business

6:50 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Ringuette-Maltais)

Is the House ready for the question?

Canadian CensusPrivate Members' Business

6:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Question.

Canadian CensusPrivate Members' Business

6:50 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Ringuette-Maltais)

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Canadian CensusPrivate Members' Business

6:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Canadian CensusPrivate Members' Business

6:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.

Canadian CensusPrivate Members' Business

6:50 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Ringuette-Maltais)

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Canadian CensusPrivate Members' Business

6:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Canadian CensusPrivate Members' Business

6:50 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Ringuette-Maltais)

All those opposed will please say nay.

Canadian CensusPrivate Members' Business

6:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Canadian CensusPrivate Members' Business

6:50 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Ringuette-Maltais)

In my opinion the nays have it.

And more than five members having risen:

Canadian CensusPrivate Members' Business

6:50 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Ringuette-Maltais)

Pursuant to order made Tuesday, March 18, 1997, the question is deemed to have been put and a recorded division deemed deferred until Monday, April 7, 1997.

It being 6.55 p.m., this House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 10 a.m., pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 6.55 p.m.)