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House of Commons Hansard #161 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was billion.

Topics

Visit Of President Of BrazilStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Osvaldo Nunez Bloc Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, as a member of Latin American origin, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that the president of Brazil, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, is visiting Canada and Quebec.

Brazil, with a population of 160 million, is Canada's main export market in Latin America. Trade between our two countries reached $1.5 billion in 1996.

I hope that Brazil will become a member of NAFTA and that by the year 2005, all 34 countries of this hemisphere will form a free trade zone of the Americas, as agreed at the Miami Summit.

I support President Cardoso's efforts to consolidate democracy, promote human rights and introduce a greater measure of equality and social justice in his country.

I also salute his initiative to go to Quebec to meet Premier Lucien Bouchard.

Benvindo Senhor Presidente ao pais do Canada e o Quebec.

Chinese Exclusion ActStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Reform

Bob Mills Reform Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, I take this opportunity to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the abolition of the Chinese Exclusion Act.

It was on May 1, 1947 that this act was repealed. It represents a milestone in the history of Canadians of Chinese descent. It meant that after decades of hardship Chinese Canadians were finally recognized as equal Canadian citizens.

We all know the tremendous role the Chinese Canadian community has played in building our nation. The first Chinese immigrants arrived in 1858. Their achievements have included building the national railway, serving in two world wars and many major contributions to business and the arts.

Today we say thank you to those early Chinese Canadian pioneers who helped to build the nation even under the hardship of the Chinese head tax and the Chinese Exclusion Act.

The only Canada that is acceptable today is the Canada in which all people are treated equally, no matter what their race or religion.

Let us all pay tribute to Chinese Canadians and thank them for their contributions in making this a great country.

Special OlympicsStatements By Members

April 22nd, 1997 / 2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Derek Wells Liberal South Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, it is a great honour to rise in the House to recognize the special Olympians who are here today.

The South Shore is proud of its two athletes, Martin Fudge of Shelburne who is here today and Bonnie Conrad of Garden Lots, Lunenburg County.

The Special Olympics World Winter Games were held in Toronto in February. Athletes from 90 nations competed in the games. Canadians watched with pride as Bonnie Conrad captured a gold and two silver medals in speed skating and Martin Fudge earned a bronze and three silver medals in the snowshoeing competitions.

Bonnie, Martin and all the other athletes shared a dream. They all wanted to represent Canada at the world games. However victory is not achieved by dreaming; it is earned through dedication, commitment and hard work.

I send congratulations to all the special Olympians here today and to those at home. Just as family and friends turned out at the various welcome home and victory parties, many members want to show their respect and affection for the athletes who never stopped striving to be the best they could possibly be.

Rick HansenStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Ted McWhinney Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Rick Hansen of Vancouver, on the 10th anniversary of his Man in Motion world tour that is being celebrated this week, is an example of courage under extreme physical stress, of the determination in the setting of goals for oneself and of grace in achieving them.

We salute Rick Hansen as a model to our Canadian youth that they can indeed achieve their dreams if they have the imagination, the dedication and the will to overcome the difficulties and pressures in their path.

Manpower TrainingStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Bernard Patry Liberal Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased with the agreement on manpower training that was finally announced yesterday, after several months of negotiations.

As a Quebecer, I am delighted to see that the provincial government will now have all the tools it needs to develop and implement its manpower training programs.

As a federalist, I see this agreement as further evidence that Canadian federalism means being flexible, and that being part of Canada is worthwhile for Quebec.

As a Liberal, I applaud this great achievement, which no other government except our own would have been able to bring to fruition. This agreement on manpower training would not have been signed without the steadfast determination of our Prime Minister, for which we are very grateful.

Tran Trieu QuanStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Philippe Paré Bloc Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, the terrible experience of Tran Trieu Quan and his family continues to speak to the emotions of their fellow citizens in the greater Quebec City area.

In fact, 124,000 people have signed a petition sponsored by the archbishop of Quebec City, the mayor of Quebec City and the president of the Sainte-Foy Chamber of Commerce, asking the Vietnamese authorities to pardon Mr. Tran on compassionate grounds. Today, the sponsors will present this petition to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and ask him intercede more directly so as to obtain the release of Mr. Tran.

I wish to welcome to our gallery some members of Mr. Tran's family and 30 students at the Rochebelle secondary school in Sainte-Foy who have become involved in this cause. Finally, I want to draw your attention to the presence of Janel Gauthier and his support group for the release of Mr. Tran.

I am proud to see residents in my riding involved in so many actions to support Mr. Tran, and this has been going on for nearly four years. Many thanks to you all.

FloodingStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Reform

Ken Epp Reform Elk Island, AB

Mr. Speaker, last year it was Quebec. This year it is Saskatchewan, Manitoba, British Columbia and now Alberta.

All these provinces have residents who are experiencing the trauma of homes and businesses invaded and destroyed by flood waters. Most recently the communities of Peace River and Fort McMurray in Alberta have been hit by overflowing rivers.

Our hearts go out to the people who are being affected by this phenomenon of nature. Many have worked for a lifetime to build and pay for their properties. It is devastating to them to see the results of their efforts destroyed. Families and individuals face huge challenges in coping with the trauma of losing valued personal possessions.

However this also becomes a time of meaningful, helpful community. Friends and neighbours pull together to rebuild and to assist those whose loss is most severe or who have the most difficulty in recouping their losses.

I ask all members of the House to join me in expressing our heartfelt concern and commitment to help.

Ubi SoftStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Paradis Liberal Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Canadian government announced good news for the economic recovery of the Montreal region.

It said it was providing assistance to a French company, Ubi Soft, to help it start up operations in Montreal. This should result in the creation of 560 jobs over the next five years.

During this period, the software producer, editor and distributor will receive $14.8 million in funding from the federal government.

The example of Ubi Soft shows that Canadian federalism is working well in Quebec. When everyone has this determination to find effective solutions to regional issues, it can truly be said that Canadian federalism is serving Quebecers.

Earth DayStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to note that today is Earth Day, an occasion celebrated throughout the world. On this date, the public is invited to do something, however small, to help improve their environment.

Unfortunately, we must conclude that the Liberal government has never heard about this invitation, because its record in this area is dreadful. Just recently, the Minister of the Environment himself admitted that his government had failed in the fight against greenhouse gases. The latest ozone layer figures are extremely worrying. Recently, there have been news reports on the former American military bases in the Arctic that are posing a dangerous threat to that region's fragile ecosystem.

This government does not hesitate, however, to implement legislation interfering directly in areas of provincial jurisdiction, thus leading to costly and unnecessary overlap.

The public does not intend to follow the Liberals' example, and we congratulate all those who are using this day to help improve the environment of the region in which they live.

Rights Of VictimsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Reform

Randy White Reform Fraser Valley West, BC

Mr. Speaker, I will read from an unsolicited letter to the Minister of Justice:

I'm begging you all in the name of God to stop this daily painful hell that you are causing my mom and other families. I cannot stand by and take the pain you have and are inflicting on my mother. She suffered enough pain and grief and to get phone calls almost every other day and having to listen to my mother's cries that you have caused along with Olson by giving all rights to Olson. You can and must repeal section 745 and give hope and protect the children of Canada and silence this monster that took the lives of these young children-Shame on all of you, because of your heartless, careless actions. Come August 18 my poor mother and the other families are going to have to see this monster who killed their children, who stabbed Judy 19 times. She was only 14 years old-. Where is it law to allow victims to be tormented by someone like Olson? Please stop, Mr. Rock, punishing victims and start showing respect-

Rights Of VictimsStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

Oral Questions.

Linguistic School BoardsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Bloc Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, in his ministerial statement this morning, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs admitted that many voices, both francophone and anglophone, Catholic as well as Protestant, have been heard over the last twenty years advocating a system based on language rather than religion.

The Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs even indicated that a consensus on the need to reorganize school administration along these lines has existed in Quebec for some time.

Since even the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs admits there has been a consensus for the past 20 years, how can he explain that his actions are again opening the Quebec consensus up to question, by deliberately delaying the start of the debate and the adoption of this motion?

Linguistic School BoardsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalPresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, there is nothing to confess, and the repetition is starting to become a pain in the neck.

What I have said since the beginning of this business is that, since the end of January, since the moment that the Government of Quebec began to indicate that it would be presenting a constitutional amendment, I have said that, on the one hand, there was a consensus in Quebec to have linguistic school boards and, on the other hand, that work was needed on a consensus about how the Government of Quebec wanted to proceed. Because it can be said that there will be a consensus on Bill 107, or on the Proulx-Woehrling solution, or on other possibilities, what was needed was to

find out whether there was consensus on the way the Government of Quebec wanted to proceed.

It will be recalled that, a week before the unanimous vote in the National Assembly, there was no consensus. It was the Mulcair amendment which made it possible to build a consensus, due to the highly positive action of the official opposition in the National Assembly.

Now it can be stated that there is consensus. The Government of Quebec is very pleased to support the planned constitutional amendment and, as usual, no doubt the parliamentary committee will make it possible to expand the consensus even further, thus facilitating the implementation of a desired measure.

Linguistic School BoardsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Bloc Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, when Quebec is involved, things always get really complicated with the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. Yet there is a precedent in New Brunswick, where there was no consensus. Their Legislative Assembly was even divided, yet the federal government moved quickly, even managing to get a motion through without a vote in the House of Commons.

Whereas in Quebec there has been talk of education structures since the Parent report in 1966, and a consensus was reached, as even the minister admits, at least 20 years ago, and what is more this has again been confirmed with the general assembly in Quebec, and as well there is unanimity in the National Assembly on the matter.

Here is my question for the minister. Why does the federal government insist on wanting to apply its old double standard policy where the wishes of the Quebec people are concerned?

Linguistic School BoardsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalPresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I have already explained to the House just how unfortunate it is that the official opposition uses the example of New Brunswick and the constitutional amendment which enabled New Brunswick to enhance bilingualism in that province.

There was indeed no unanimity in the New Brunswick provincial legislature but, first, there had been a parliamentary committee on the provincial level-not the case in Quebec-and second, the amendment was very clearly aimed at expanding the rights of the linguistic minority. No one was opposed, and third, the only party which was opposed, and voted against it, was one that had been created expressly to fight bilingualism in New Brunswick, the COR Party.

We see today that the official opposition, with its siege mentality, does not hesitate to make use of the argument of a political party which was created to oppose the French language, to make us believe that there is discrimination against Quebec, that there is a double standard involved here.

Linguistic School BoardsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Bloc Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, let us make things clear here. Why does the minister not agree that the real reason he and his government, the Liberal government, are dragging their feet on what Quebec is asking is that he does not want to get on the wrong side of his former allies, his natural and traditional allies, Alliance Québec and The Gazette ?

That is the real reason. And what is more, he does not want to get on the wrong side of the disciples of Pierre Elliott Trudeau, who are in the process of organizing into a common front, once again at the expense of Quebec. That is the real reason. Let him admit it.

Linguistic School BoardsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalPresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we have before us an official opposition that cannot accept a piece of good news, because any good news on the evolution of Canadian federalism carries the risk of convincing Quebec that Canada is, in fact, a country that is functioning well, developing well, serving their interests well. However, the official opposition is in a conflict of interest situation.

Trotsky wrote a book called The Permanent Revolution , and later Mitterrand wrote one called Le coup d'État permanent . I propose that the next book written about the Bloc Quebecois be titled The permanent conflict of interest .

Linguistic School BoardsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Pierrette Venne Bloc Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs.

In his notice of motion, the minister proposes to appoint a special joint committee of both Houses of Parliament. The committee will be asked to consider the various aspects of a constitutional amendment that would allow linguistic school boards in Quebec. It would submit its report on May 31, 1997.

Does the minister realize he is insulting Quebec's intelligence by setting up a bogus committee that will never see the light of day, since an election call is imminent?

Linguistic School BoardsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalPresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, if an election is called, we will pick up the process after the election and the constitutional amendment will be taken care of by a re-elected Liberal government.

Meanwhile, the various political parties would be well advised to say whether they are for or against the amendment. The Liberal Party of Canada will support the amendment. This information will be useful for the voters. We will have to say where we stand.

The official opposition may prefer us to say we are against the resolution, but we support it. We agree with the National Assembly.

Linguistic School BoardsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Pierrette Venne Bloc Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister ought to know that when Parliament is dissolved, the committees are dissolved as well.

The minister should learn the ABC's of the Parliament of Canada and put a book on parliamentary procedure in his backpack. By setting up a committee that will include unelected senators, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs is more or less telling the National Assembly and the Quebec nation to forget it.

Would the minister agree it is not up to unelected members of Parliament to consider and approve a legitimate, democratic and unanimous decision by the Quebec National Assembly?

Linguistic School BoardsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalPresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I repeat that if there is an election, even the opposition will be dissolved. And we hope it will be dissolved for a long time, and that includes when Parliament returns after the election.

However, speaking of books on parliamentary procedure, the Canadian Constitution makes it quite clear it is not up to the Senate to decide. The House of Commons, not the Senate, will make the decision.

Government SpendingOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, we have had a glimpse of the government's spending priorities and they are not very pretty. Somehow over the last several weeks national priorities for the government have become things like armouries in the Prime Minister's riding, armouries in the Deputy Prime Minister's riding and the health minister's riding, a sock factory in Montreal and billions of dollars on other pre-election goodies.

If the government has all this money lying around, which of course it does not, why is it not spending it on health care, by far the most important priority for Canadians? If it does not have this money lying around-and again I do not think it does-why is it racking up the national credit card in a pre-election spending spree?

Government SpendingOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Hamilton East Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, as usual the member has it all wrong. There is no armoury in my riding.

Government SpendingOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, some would say there is not much of a minister in that riding either.

When we start adding up the pre-election goodies the Prime Minister has thrown around to buy votes, it adds up to just under $7 billion. When I look on my Doppler radar, I see storm clouds ahead for the Liberal government.

Given the desire of Canadians for a balanced budget, lower taxes and for a reinvestment in health care, why is the government resorting to this old fashioned, out of touch, smarmy attempt to win votes over?

Government SpendingOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Acadie—Bathurst New Brunswick

Liberal

Douglas Young LiberalMinister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I want to reply to the hon. member from smarmy. It is not something he would understand, but government does not operate on a day to day basis with respect to projects that take years to put in place and years to evaluate.

If the hon. member is suggesting that in any part of the country, including his riding, the government should come to a complete halt and not proceed with projects and initiatives that have been undertaken by people who have had an interest in them over many years, then he should tell us. However, if the member looks closely into that radar-although I am not sure it is a Doppler, knowing the hon. member-he might want to look at what the future holds for the Reform Party in this country.