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House of Commons Hansard #160 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was organized.

Topics

Sir John, Eh?Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Milliken Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the pleasure of welcoming a very special guest to the House of Commons, Canada's first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald.

My predecessor as the member for Kingston has returned to Ottawa after a 106 year absence. He has asked me to invite all members of the House to visit Kingston this summer to watch actor John Blackwood portray him in the musical "Sir John, Eh?"

This musical, written by Jim Garrard and Grant Heckman, takes place in Cataraqui Cemetery where Sir John is buried. In the musical, the Macdonald family visits present day Kingston and their story-triumphant public achievement set against personal adversity and heartbreak-is told.

The show also tells the story of Canada and how the acts of Sir John continue to affect our nation today. It is a fascinating, engaging and truly entertaining play with great music. It opens, appropriately, on Canada Day.

On behalf of Sir John, I invite all Canadians to visit Kingston this summer and take in this imaginative and humourous piece of theatre.

Sir John, Eh?Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

The Speaker

Sir John, welcome to your House. It is good to have you back.

Parkinson's DiseaseStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Bonnie Hickey Liberal St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, April is Parkinson's awareness month. Over 100,000 Canadians, 1,500 Newfoundlanders, are suffering from symptoms of Parkinson's which affects one in every 100 adults.

The symptoms, which typically strike people who are over the age of 55, include: muscle stiffness, slowness of movement, tremor in limbs at rest, difficulty with co-ordinating movements, loss of volume of speech.

The cause of Parkinson's is still unknown and currently there is no cure. The St. John's regional chapter of the Parkinson Foundation of Canada is making a special effort this month to increase awareness of Parkinson's disease. Knowledge about its symptoms, medication, exercise and therapy is the key to give sufferers the power to maintain control over this disease.

I would ask my colleagues in the House to join me in the effort to raise awareness of this disorder today.

Manpower TrainingStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Ronald J. Duhamel Liberal St. Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, last Wednesday, the Prime Minister of Canada and the premier of Manitoba signed the Canada-Manitoba agreement on labour market development.

This agreement, the fourth federal-provincial agreement signed, is extremely important for my province, and includes important differences in services in the language of the official minority, in this case French. The province of Manitoba will provide these services where numbers warrant, in accordance with the Official Languages Act.

In addition, the province is committed to making best efforts to maintain support of the French language community of Manitoba by using its own policy in French language services.

This agreement shows that the federal government is committed to working in partnership with the province in order to improve services to Canadians, and the province appears ready to do its fair share for its citizens.

JusticeStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Reform

Sharon Hayes Reform Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, our homes, our schools and our streets echo with voices demanding changes to our justice system.

Three years ago thousands marched in Port Moody-Coquitlam to demand changes to the Young Offenders Act, changes which have been ignored by the Liberal government.

Community anger again erupted recently over government inaction that allowed a serial killer who walked our streets to revictimize the families and communities of those original victims.

Tragically last month a brutal home invasion in Coquitlam robbed a new Canadian family of their parents within weeks of becoming citizens.

Along with my colleagues in the Reform Party, I commit on behalf of all Canadians to press for legislative changes to recognize our victims bill of rights and restore a system of justice that makes the rights and safety of law-abiding citizens a priority in the criminal justice system, including the repeal of section 745.

Montfort HospitalStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre De Savoye Bloc Portneuf, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister, the President of the Treasury Board and the Minister of Canadian Heritage have all voiced their support of SOS Montfort in preserving this francophone hospital which is unique in Ontario. Yet the past actions of this trio contradict their words.

The Prime Minister closed the sole francophone military college in Canada, in favour of the one in Kingston, an anglophone bastion.

Moreover, the President of the Treasury Board forced numerous francophones to work in English, by neglecting to enforce the Official Languages Act, which entitles francophones to work in French in the national capital region.

Finally, by imposing upon CBC the worst cuts in its history, the Minister of Canadian Heritage is responsible for the fact that CBC French-language services to francophones outside Quebec are only a shadow of their former selves.

The moral of this sad story is this: Mr. Harris, please do what they say, and not-we beg of you-what they do.

Red RiverStatements By Members

April 21st, 1997 / 2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Reg Alcock Liberal Winnipeg South, MB

Mr. Speaker, day by day the Red River continues to rise. It will continue to do so for the next 10 days, threatening people throughout the Red River Valley. We are prepared and are hoping for the best, but no one will relax until the crest has passed.

We are so prepared because of the activities of thousands and thousands of volunteers. They have worked throughout the last two weeks preparing dykes, sandbagging homes, organizing volunteers, feeding volunteers, transporting volunteers. I particularly want to note the efforts of city councillor John Angus, who has worked incredibly hard to make sure that this whole activity is co-ordinated in the south end of the city.

Bill C-95Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Réginald Bélair Liberal Cochrane—Superior, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week, the Minister of Justice announced the key legislative measures aimed at helping those involved directly and indirectly in the battle against crime.

Most of the stakeholders agree that this bill responds in large part to the needs expressed of late, and provides the tools required for the fight against crime.

Among these reactions was that of the Director of the Montreal Urban Community Police Department, Jacques Duchesneau, who was unabashedly enthusiastic in stating that this bill was a good start.

Many have been pleased with the speed with which the Minister of Justice responded to the pressing needs of the community. His work reflects our government's desire to enhance Quebecers' quality of life.

Manpower TrainingOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the Acting Prime Minister.

After years of discussion between Quebec and Ottawa on the important issue of manpower training, an agreement in principle has finally been reached and was signed this morning by the two governments.

For 32 years, premier after premier in Quebec made the same request, over and over again. Ottawa dragged its feet until an election was imminent and has now, for the second time, signed a manpower agreement, as it did in 1993, when the parties were Bourassa and Campbell.

Could the Prime Minister tell the House what has changed since the famous statement in which he said Quebec was being capricious when Premier Johnson asked for the patriation of manpower training? Is it because he almost lost the referendum or because an election is imminent that the Prime Minister has suddenly become so flexible?

Manpower TrainingOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I wonder why there is such a difference between the position of the leader of the Bloc Quebecois and that of the Premier of Quebec on this issue. I think the Premier of Quebec and the Prime Minister of Canada were very pleased when they signed this very important document on manpower this morning.

So I wonder why the Bloc Quebecois House leader is complaining about this great achievement of the federal government and the Government of Quebec.

Manpower TrainingOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, with all due respect for the hon. member, he may not be talking about the same agreement. Perhaps that is the problem.

In July 1965, Premier Jean Lesage, who was not, as far as I know, a sovereignist, already wanted Quebec to have full constitutional authority over manpower training, not an administrative agreement, but full constitutional authority.

Will the Prime Minister admit that an administrative agreement is only a first step, that Quebec is not getting back its jurisdiction over manpower training and the agreement in principle signed this morning in an almost friendly fashion is far removed from the initial request made by Premier Lesage in 1965?

Manpower TrainingOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I just want to repeat the facts. What the Premier of Quebec said this morning was the exact opposite. He accepted this agreement with great pleasure, and I wonder why the position of the Bloc Quebecois in this House is at odds with the position taken by the Premier of Quebec.

Manpower TrainingOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski—Témiscouata, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am astonished that someone with the hon. member's experience is surprised that Quebec members do not take exactly the same position. In Quebec, we are used to watching the federalists, and they do not necessarily take the same line they do in Quebec City. This has happened before.

He said he was surprised, but I am not sure he listened to the same press conference. Of course Mr. Bouchard is pleased, of

course he signed the agreement, and of course it is a first step, just a first step in the right direction. But a very small step.

We can hardly say this is a great step for mankind, as they said when they walked on the moon. This is a small step. So we should get the facts straight. The jurisdiction remains with Ottawa. We are still bound by an administrative agreement. We are not sovereign in this respect.

Could the Prime Minister tell the House why Ottawa did not, as requested by Quebec, do a full transfer of jurisdiction over manpower training, which after all would only reflect the Constitution?

Manpower TrainingOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the Bloc Quebecois in the House just made a very important admission. She admitted that she does not want to separate from Canada but only wants to amend the Constitution. That is an important point.

Anti-Smoking LegislationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health.

For weeks, the official opposition and event organizers have asked the Minister of Health to change his anti-smoking legislation. Each time, they met with refusal. On the eve of federal elections, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Health are promising that by the end of 1997 they will introduce a bill to amend the anti-smoking legislation, which would meet international standards on sponsorships.

How does the government explain its decision now, on the eve of elections, to promise amendments to the legislation on tobacco industry sponsorships, when these amendments were proposed by the Bloc Quebecois and all rejected by the government in committee and in the House?

Anti-Smoking LegislationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, we have to keep in mind that the tobacco legislation is a very comprehensive and very effective piece of legislation. It puts restrictions on the price, on the product, on the place and even the promotion. This will be effective in curbing smoking in this country.

With regard to the letter that I have provided to the individuals she has referred to, the hon. member is very much aware that both in the House of Commons as well as in the other place I have indicated to groups across the country that I am prepared to consult in a very meaningful way and if necessary, as I indicated in the letter, changes will be made.

I do not think the hon. member should prejudge what those changes might be.

Anti-Smoking LegislationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, everyone remembers the broken promise to scrap the GST.

Now that we know the worth of this government's promises, could we also know, before the elections, the amendments the minister intends to make to this legislation?

Anti-Smoking LegislationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I am sorry that members of the Bloc have decided to be partisan on this issue.

Let us keep in mind that on second reading members of the Bloc were in favour of the bill. But when it came to third reading they voted against the principles of this bill, thereby doing a flip-flop in terms of their position as it relates to tobacco.

I suggest to the hon. member and to others that one should not venture into the field of prejudging amendments, whether they be in the form of regulation or thereafter.

We have to embark on a period of consultation. That is part and parcel of the bill and it is part and parcel of what I will do in the future.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, according to the finance minister, record high bankruptcies in Canada in January are a good thing.

If he thinks it is such a good thing he must be laughing himself silly over the 78 months in a row of unemployment over 9 per cent in this country. The 800,000 people out there who are moonlighting just to put food on the table must be a real knee slapper for the finance minister.

Can the finance minister explain to Canadians his hare brained theory of how record high bankruptcies, record high debt, record high unemployment and record high taxes are good for the Canadian people? Let us hear the Liberal logic on that one.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, it would probably advance the cause of the Reform Party a bit more if it were able to cite people accurately and not create straw men on the premises of its questions.

Of course nobody ever said that bankruptcies were a good thing. What I did say was that business bankruptcies were down and the normal procedure is that personal bankruptcies decline following

business bankruptcies. As a result of that, it may well be that we are seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

I have also said very clearly that the high number of personal bankruptcies in Canada, the United States and in most western countries is in fact a source of considerable concern. Most people think they are due not to high levels of unemployment, as the hon. member is alleging, and the same situation exists in the United States, but that they are due to a very high use of credit.

The member opposite clearly did not understand what I said. That normally happens with this member. The member is incredibly eager but I will give him an opportunity because I must say that there is nothing I enjoy more than responding to his questions.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to contribute to the minister's pleasure.

The finance minister says that Canadians should be managing their debt better. That is what he said. Do they really need to take advice from a minister who has added $100 billion to the Canadian debt in the past 3.5 years, someone who has sprinkled armouries around the country like Johnny Appleseed over the past week and who has doled out hundreds of millions of dollars in pre-election goodies?

How does the minister have the nerve to lecture Canadians on their debt levels when after this past week he has practically worn the numbers off the national credit card? Where does he get the nerve?

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the very high level of household debt that exists in Canada is a direct result of the recession, 1989 to 1992. What we saw was that personal debt rose, disposable income dropped and Canadians found themselves, as a result of policies largely recommended by the Reform Party, in rather deep difficulty.

Since 1993, when we took over, the levels of household debt have dropped. The levels of household net worth have risen. The levels of household income have stabilized.

However, there is one level of bankruptcy in this country that shows no sign of getting better, the degree of intellectual bankruptcy in the Reform Party.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, the fact is under this government we have record high levels of personal debt, record high bankruptcies, record high levels of personal taxes and record levels of unemployment. That is the Liberal record.

Canadians know why that has happened. One of the big reasons we have all these problems is the government has driven tax levels through the roof.

After 3.5 years of doing diddly, after 3.5 years of shrinking incomes and after 3.5 years of rising debts, can the finance minister explain to voters why they should be masochistic enough to have that done to them for another four years?

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I think it was two weeks ago that the hon. member's expression was rinky-dink, now it is doing diddly. I want to congratulate the Reform Party on its extensive vocabulary.

If the hon. member would like to know the Liberal record perhaps I could remind him. In the month of February manufacturing shipments rose. In the month of February housing starts rose 24,700 units. Real merchandise exports increased by 1.3 per cent. The nominal merchandise trade surplus increased by $2.5 billion. The real net worth per household rose 2.7 per cent. Gross domestic product up again, unemployment down, employment up and retail sales increases. That is the Liberal record and we will stand behind that.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

I remind hon. members not to use props during question period.