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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

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

5:35 p.m.

Liberal

Sergio Marchi Liberal York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would be happy to follow the leadership of my friend from British Columbia.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

5:35 p.m.

The Speaker

Are there other points of order?

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

5:35 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, just to clarify things, I did rise. When I looked, people at the end had not risen. It seemed they were not going to rise. The Prime Minister said-

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

5:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

5:35 p.m.

An hon. member

I have a point of order, Mr. Speaker.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

5:35 p.m.

The Speaker

Is it the same point of order?

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

5:35 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Our rights have been trampled.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

5:35 p.m.

The Speaker

I put the question and, for some reason, members did not want to vote. They will not vote this time around. Is there another point of order?

The hon. member for Richelieu.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

5:35 p.m.

Bloc

Louis Plamondon Bloc Richelieu, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Public Works and Government Services also came in late for the vote.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

5:35 p.m.

Liberal

Diane Marleau Liberal Sudbury, ON

Mr. Speaker, if it can put an end to this silly game, I will follow in my colleagues' footsteps.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

5:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

5:35 p.m.

The Speaker

Colleagues, I believe we are ready to proceed.

The House resumed from March 18 consideration of the motion that this House approves in general the budgetary policy of the government; and of the amendment.

The BudgetGovernment Orders

5:35 p.m.

The Speaker

It being 5.40 p.m., the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the amendment relating to Ways and Means Motion No. 15.

Call in the members.

(The House divided on the amendment, which was negatived on the following division):

The BudgetGovernment Orders

5:55 p.m.

The Speaker

I declare the amendment defeated.

The BudgetGovernment Orders

5:55 p.m.

Liberal

Alfonso Gagliano Liberal Saint-Léonard, QC

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I wish to inform the House that Friday rather than Thursday will be the fourth and final day of the budget debate.

Message From The SenateGovernment Orders

5:55 p.m.

The Speaker

I have the honour to inform the House that a message has been received from the Senate informing this House that the Senate has passed the following bill to which the concurrence of this House is desired: Bill S-15, an act to amend an act to incorporate the Bishop of the Arctic of the Church of England in Canada.

This bill is deemed to have been read the first time and ordered for a second reading at the next sitting of the House.

The House proceeded to the consideration of Bill C-300, an act respecting the establishment and award of a Canadian peacekeeping service medal for Canadians who have served with an international peacekeeping mission as reported (with amendment) from the committee.

Canadian Volunteer Service Medal For United Nations Peacekeeping ActPrivate Members' Business

5:55 p.m.

Reform

Jack Frazer Reform Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-300 provides for a Canadian peacekeeping service medal to be awarded to Canadians who have participated in peacekeeping, peacemaking, peace enforcement or humanitarian assistance missions which have been sanctioned by the Government of Canada.

In my opinion these would be accurately described under the umbrella term international stabilization missions. They do not always have identified direct connection or impact on Canada but Canadians, as compassionate citizens of the world and as international traders, recognize the need and propriety of the involvement of Canadians in these places to better the lot or improve the situation for the people who find themselves in these trouble spots.

The Canadians who respond to these calls willingly forego the comfort of home, the companionship of family and the opportunity to train and better their qualifications, to often place themselves in uncomfortable, dangerous situations.

In so doing they have brought great honour and pride to Canada, including the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to those who served the UN prior to September 1988. Some 150 of them have paid the supreme sacrifice and many more carry the wounds and disabilities that resulted from their participation in these activities.

In the past their contributions have sometimes been recognized by the United Nations and other organizations, but until now there has been no way for Canada to provide individual recognition of the honour and pride they have brought to Canada. Today true Canadian recognition for their individual service in the cause of international stabilization, past, present and future, is one step closer to becoming a reality.

Bill C-300 has undergone a metamorphosis, emerging at today's pivotal point after having benefited from incorporating enlightened and thoughtful input from hon. members of the House, from interested Canadians across the country, and from the Canadian Armed Forces. As a result I believe, with the exception of specifically recognizing those who won the Nobel Peace Prize, it now gives Canada the ability to acknowledge those military, constabulary, medical or other Canadians who have given of themselves to help others.

This will only happen if Parliament gives its approval, both this House and the other place, prior to the dissolution of Parliament. If not, all these efforts will have been in vain.

For Bill C-300 to have reached report stage and third reading today is an exemplary display of what can be achieved when members of all parties see the worth of a measure and set out to see it proclaimed into law. I am truly honoured that members of the House have given their consent by special order to move Bill

C-300 quickly up the order of precedence to be debated at report stage and third reading today.

I much appreciate and wish to thank the chief government whip for his support and introduction of the motion making this debate possible. I extend my sincere gratitude to all members of the House for their tremendous support and constructive input both on an individual basis and through debate. Many of the recommendations which they offered have indeed strengthened and enhanced Bill C-300 as they were adopted in committee on March 12 and are now reflected in the bill reported to Parliament yesterday.

The co-operation afforded by members of the House of Commons Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs and the ensuing discussions on various aspects of the bill have been most helpful and are gratefully appreciated.

The committee chair, the member for Halifax, and all members are to be commended for their co-operation in moving my bill quickly through committee. I should additionally thank the former committee chairman, the member for Hillsborough, for his contribution and support.

The expert testimony, advice and recommendations received in committee from Major General Dallaire, the chief of staff for the assistant deputy minister of personnel; Major Bev Brown of the directorate of history and heritage, medals and honours; and Major Gallagher, special assistant to the judge advocate general called on as witnesses proved to be invaluable.

The defence department witnesses were able to give us the guidance necessary to ensure that Canadian recognition for peacekeeping service would be appropriately directed. I am most appreciative of their support.

It was at second reading on February 3, 1997 that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence and Veterans Affairs advised the House that the government would not oppose the bill. Thus I would be remiss if I failed to acknowledge and thank the Minister of National Defence and Veterans Affairs for the courtesy extended to me and the tremendous assistance provided by the minister and his staff, in particular Margaret Penniston.

There is every indication that it will be the will of the House to pass Bill C-300 this evening. The only remaining obstacle will then be approval in the other place. From communications I have had with some members of the other place it would appear there is a good chance that it will pass quickly and thus be in a position to be proclaimed into law before the 35th Parliament is dissolved for an election.

With that I will conclude, leaving the fate of Bill C-300 in the hands of hon. members of the House.

Canadian Volunteer Service Medal For United Nations Peacekeeping ActPrivate Members' Business

6 p.m.

Liberal

Mary Clancy Liberal Halifax, NS

Madam Speaker, it is with very great pleasure that I stand to speak in support of Bill C-300. I return the favour and thank the hon. member for Saanich-Gulf Islands for his kind words to members of the standing committee, to members of the minister's staff and to others who assisted with the bill. It is my great pleasure to pay tribute to the member for Saanich-Gulf Islands.

Too frequently in the House we are accused, and sometimes rightfully, of partisan behaviour. In this case the member for Saanich-Gulf Islands brought the bill forward and worked diligently and with great perseverance with all our colleagues in the House. There was also assistance from hon. members of the official opposition.

I for one am pleased to have been involved in a small way in the hard work put forward by the member for Saanich-Gulf Islands. The only thing I would add is a reference to one of the high points of this exemplary piece of legislation. It can be given to persons not just in the Canadian forces but those involved in activities in the peacekeeping area such as policing, local administration, the delivery of aid, medical assistance or election assistance.

I conclude by thanking and congratulating the hon. member for Saanich-Gulf Islands. I am very pleased to have had a very small part to play in the bill.

Canadian Volunteer Service Medal For United Nations Peacekeeping ActPrivate Members' Business

6:05 p.m.

Bloc

Jean H. Leroux Bloc Shefford, QC

Madam Speaker, first I want to congratulate the hon. member for Saanich-Gulf Islands for his great tenacity and for his sense of duty.

As we all know, the hon. member had a long and distinguished military career. He has made a major contribution to the defence committee, because of his expertise and also because he is a true gentleman. Indeed, the hon. member has provided a lot of input in the work of the defence committee.

Today, the Bloc Quebecois, on whose behalf I am speaking, is pleased to support this bill, which will allow peacekeepers throughout the world to promote democracy and to preserve freedom, so that the world can become a better place. As I said, we are pleased to support this bill.

Ever since the UN was founded, Canada has been taking part in peacekeeping missions all over the world. However, there is currently no medal awarded to the military, civilians or policemen who serve with a peacekeeping mission. Under this bill, we would now be able to award such a medal.

Canada is aware of the many limitations of peacekeeping operations. Canada, which is an average size country, must continue to take part in these missions but, as we have always pointed out, it must do so according to its means. I think that, as a career military person himself, the hon. member for Saanich-Gulf Islands understood that we can acknowledge such contributions, but do it our own way. We need not compare ourselves to the

greatest and wealthiest of this world, but only to ourselves and see what we can offer.

Since Lester Pearson, Canada has deployed forces wherever they were required to uphold principles. I think that, through this bill, through the hon. member's tenacity and, of course, through the government's support for this bill-everyone agrees on this-we now have a bill providing that all these men and women who participated in peacekeeping missions can be honoured. We cannot put a price on that, I feel. It is not the metal that counts, but the symbol.

I find it interesting that, under this bill, the medal can be awarded posthumously. There are people who sacrificed their lives and their family will receive this honour on their behalf.

As I said earlier, the Bloc Quebecois members are very happy to support this bill. I think it promotes democracy and at least those people who participated in peacekeeping missions will have a tangible reminder of their deed.

Canadian Volunteer Service Medal For United Nations Peacekeeping ActPrivate Members' Business

6:10 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Ringuette-Maltais)

Pursuant to order made on Tuesday, March 18, 1997, all questions necessary to dispose of Bill C-300 at report and third reading stages are deemed to have been proposed, put and carried.

Accordingly the bill is concurred in at report stage, read the third time and passed.

(Motion agreed to, bill read the third time and passed.)

The House resumed from February 6 consideration of the motion and of the amendment.

Canadian CensusPrivate Members' Business

March 19th, 1997 / 6:10 p.m.

Reform

Val Meredith Reform Surrey—White Rock—South Langley, BC

Madam Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise to speak on Motion No. 277 of the hon. member for Beaver River. It is a topic which is very dear to my heart.

I raised this issue on September 29, 1995 in question period and again on October 2, 1995 in question period because it was brought to my attention that the option of claiming to be a Canadian would not be on the new census.

Having been one of the Canadians who had a long census form to fill out, I found it very interesting, particularly Question No. 19 and its confused language, nationality, geographic origin and colour. Trying to answer Question No. 19 became extremely difficult.

One of the options under Question No. 19 was other. Because Canadian was not listed anywhere in that question, I had the uncomfortable situation of having to place Canadian under other. I refused to identify myself as a colour, as belonging to some geographic region or as someone who speaks a certain language. For a government not to allow Canadians to identify themselves as being Canadian is not progressive.

I am faced daily with people who are assumed to be immigrants and newcomers to Canada. Some of these immigrants have lived in Canada for 20 or 30 years. Because we as a government insist on breaking people down based on the origins of the family trees of individuals who are Canadians in all sense of the word-they pay taxes, use and pay for the facilities, the hospitals and the schools, have citizenship and vote in elections-they are not able to call themselves Canadians on our census form.

I do not want to leave the impression that I do not believe it is important to accumulate statistics. It is very important. It is acceptable for persons to be asked in a straightforward manner their racial background and left to determine what they want to put down, whether it is Irish, Scottish, Jamaican, Korean or whatever. They should not be asked if they are white or black, from the Philippines or from the Punjab. That is the wrong way to ask for a person's racial background or nationality. It is for statistical reasons only.

Canadians must be allowed to proudly claim that they are Canadian. I do not care whether a person is a brand new Canadian who got his or her citizenship the day before the census form arrived, or are Canadian born, or are a Canadian who has been here for 30 or 40 years. People who have come to this country or who were born here and are proud of being Canadian should be encouraged to state that on a census form.

It was with trepidation that I filled Canadian under other. It is a disgrace to have to put Canadian under the category of other. I also took the opportunity to fill in my lineage which was quite an interesting experience since I am a typical Canadian. My parentage is Scottish, Irish, Pennsylvania Dutch, German, Swedish and a few other other things to boot. That is what being a Canadian is all about. I felt I was not able, through the census form, to indicate honestly what I felt: I am proud to be Canadian. I am proud to be a third or fourth generation Canadian. I was saddened that my children could not put down that they are Canadians.

My hon. colleague's motion asks to return to the use of the word Canadian in questions like question No. 19. I do not buy the answers I received to my questions in question period. I quote the Minister of Industry: "On the issue of race, in the past people have

made calculations based on language rather than a specific question on racial origin. This time we think the provision of fuller information will give us a much better understanding of the make-up of Canadian society that should be beneficial for a wide range of purposes".

I would like to know what is the "range of purposes". I would like to know what the government is planning. It feels it has to segregate little communities. Depending on how it feels it must segregate them from each other. I really think this is a very divisive way of dealing with new Canadians.

My hon. colleague from Beaver River is looking to the unity of the country when she suggests that the federal government should be concerned about those things that bring Canadians together, about recognizing Canadianism. The identification of being Canadian is one of those things that will unify the country rather than divide it.

Any government program that is designed to give special consideration to any individual over another is wrong, particularly if it is based on gender, race, religion, geography or colour. Any government legislation that does not treat all Canadians equally is wrong. I fully support my colleague from Beaver River. I appreciate her efforts in trying to return some pride in being Canadian and in trying to return the ability to exercise the right to put Canadian down not as other, not as an afterthought, but very proudly to claim oneself to be a Canadian. I look forward to the next census I have to fill in where I can mark Canadian rather than other.

Canadian CensusPrivate Members' Business

6:15 p.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Reform Calgary Northeast, AB

Madam Speaker, I too would like to commend the member for Beaver River for bringing this motion forward. In particular, I would like to thank that member for allowing me the opportunity to speak to the motion.

We are in an age where government seems to be intruding into so many areas of our lives. I can name a number of bills recently introduced in the House that do exactly that. One has to ask the question why. For example, think about the Canadian Wheat Board and its impact on many farmers in the country, especially western farmers, in how they sell their product. Some desire to sell their own grain but cannot do so because of the restrictions placed on them by the government.

I look at the gun control bill and see again a very intrusive feature. Some sections in the gun control legislation impact directly on law-abiding people. I do not think that is acceptable to the majority of people in the country.

Some of the more recent broadcasting legislation impinges on those who have businesses in that area. We see control on what can be broadcast, what can be sent out over the airwaves and what cannot. That is not to say that there should not be some legislation or restriction, but here we have restrictions that are going much deeper than what should be.

Coming up to the census, Statistics Canada, under the Department of Industry, claimed that the purpose of the question, in particular question No. 19 on the long form, was to organize population by selected ethnic origins. Those are the reasons it gave for collecting this data. This, irrespective of the politically correct spin bureaucrats and social engineers attempt to put on it, is nothing more than the labelling of people on the basis of race. Most people just want to be called Canadians.

I look at my own riding. I live in a very multicultural riding. I have neighbours who are from India, Jamaica and the Middle East. For the most part, they would like to be considered as Canadians. They came to Canada just for that reason. They do not come here to be hyphenated Canadians, which is what is the official multicultural policy of this Liberal government, which unfortunately was introduced some time back into the House and imposed on the people.

I refer to a statement made by Bruce Petrie, the StatsCan official overseeing the census. He said that question 19 was changed on the 1996 census from other past censuses "because too many minorities born in Canada were listing themselves as Canadian". This upset Mr. Petrie. One would have to ask: Why would this upset Mr. Petrie? I might point out that this quote came from the Fredericton Daily Gleaner newspaper of May 13.

Mr. Petrie goes on to say: "So someone who is black and speaks English and was born in Canada puts Canadian- That gives us no information to estimate the number of black visible minority people. We are not trying to measure race per se. We are purely and simply trying to enumerate visible minorities under existing federal legislation".

Again one would have to ask why. Why would the government want to enumerate visible minorities under the existing legislation? There is no question that it is a divisive form of regulation.

Let us go a little bit deeper. I have had the opportunity to speak to RCMP officials. In fact in the Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs this point was brought up. They want to have a quota system on the different visible minority groups in the country. The only way they can do that is to determine the number or percentages of those different visible minorities through the census.

The whole point is being missed if we engineer, for instance, a police force, selecting those according to their race as opposed to choosing the best there is regardless of race.

Canadians know and feel that this is a form of social engineering, and they do not care to hear that kind of spin. Mr. Petrie would certainly fall into that category because it is people such as himself who really drive this kind of a policy, with the blessings of the government, in particular the Liberal government.

Putting a hyphen before Canadian, so people become French-Canadian, Turkish-Canadian, Greek-Canadian, Somali-Canadian, Israeli-Canadian, Hungarian-Canadian or whatever, has to be the most divisive aspect of Canadian society. It puts us all into little boxes and categories. I suggest this undoubtedly is the purpose of the census information. It is going to be used for that very reason.

I am going to speak again of my own riding, a very multicultural riding. I see evidence there of this form of blocking of the community by race or background. That does not enhance unity, nor does it benefit those who come here from different ethnic backgrounds or countries.

Canadians are painfully aware that Liberal politicians use the information gathered from question No. 19 on the Canadian census to appease minority groups to attract votes, so it has another purpose. Vote buying.