House of Commons Hansard #162 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was tax.

Topics

2 p.m.

The Speaker

As it is Wednesday, we will now sing our national anthem. Today, rather than having the members of Parliament do the singing, I have asked all our pages to be with us.

Canadian Energy Pipeline AssociationStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

John Finlay Liberal Oxford, ON

Mr. Speaker, since being elected to this House in October 1993, I have worked to ensure that Canadian landowners can have their concerns heard and considered by the National Energy Board in hearings involving Canadian pipelines.

I am happy to say that the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association, CEPA, has introduced changes to the way it communicates with landowners to allow landowner concerns to be heard. This enhanced process will include mediation, when necessary, to ensure that landowner concerns are not only being heard but investigated by independent experts.

This could not have been accomplished without the tireless efforts of the Ontario Pipeline Landowners Association, which is centred in southwestern Ontario.

I look forward to working with CEPA, the Minister of Natural Resources, the OPLA and other landowner groups across the country, and federal and provincial federations of agriculture to ensure that the enhanced process results in safer pipelines for all Canadians.

Le Courrier Of Saint-HyacintheStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, Le Courrier , the Saint-Hyacinthe newspaper, is celebrating its 145th anniversary. Founded in 1853, it is the oldest French newspaper in North America and a veritable institution.

Throughout its history, Le Courrier has covered political news and the men and women that make it. Honoré Mercier served as editor of Le Courrier , then member for Saint-Hyacinthe and then premier of Quebec. Henri Bourassa and T.-D. Bouchard were both residents of Saint-Hyacinthe famous at different times nationally for their political activities.

Despite its venerable age, Le Courrier remains a quality and dynamic weekly respected even today by the weekly press, which awarded it three years running-1994, 1995, and 1996-the prestigious title of weekly of the year.

I would therefore like to congratulate the current employees of Le Courrier of Saint-Hyacinthe and draw attention to the invaluable contribution made by this monument of the Quebec press.

Le Courrier Of Saint-HyacintheStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Reform

Jim Gouk Reform Kootenay West—Revelstoke, BC

Mr. Speaker, we are only days away from the expected election call. The Liberals claim they will run on their record so let us take a look at that record.

Bill C-33 provides the framework for further erosion of the definition of the family and yet more benefits for a special interest group.

Bill C-68 cracks down on millions of law-abiding citizens but does nothing to the criminals of this country. The preservation of section 745 of the Criminal Code allows monsters like Clifford Olson and Paul Bernardo to apply for early release.

Over $250 million is being spent to cover up the Liberals' Pearson scandal without creating a single job, in spite of false Liberal claims. The CPP payroll tax has been hiked 73 per cent. Social programs have been cut $7 billion. We have had the largest tax revenue increase in Canadian history. Parliament has had one free vote since 1993.

Convicted criminals have a record. Clearly they should not be proud of their record. Neither should the Liberals.

Le Courrier Of Saint-HyacintheStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, the NDP welcomes the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the repeal of the Chinese exclusion act, the discriminatory law that along with the Chinese head tax that proceeded it, imposed great hardship on Chinese Canadians.

It is a reminder that Canadian governments have not always governed according to the highest standards of equality in democracy. One is reminded of the way Japanese and Italian Canadians were treated during the second world war, the way Ukrainian Canadians were treated during the first world war, the way the Jews fleeing Nazi Germany were not welcome in Canada or the way that so-called Orientals were denied the vote for years.

It is important to remember and to say never again, but may I add that many of my NDP political predecessors in the CCF were politically courageous enough to condemn such things when they were actually happening and when it was not popular to do so. Part of remembering is remembering who was there when the going was tough.

Le Courrier Of Saint-HyacintheStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Progressive Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, Transport Canada recently privatized the ferry service between Saint John and Digby, Nova Scotia. I have spent the last few weeks trying to correct this deal gone bad for the former Marine Atlantic employees.

The winning bidder, Bay Ferries, let all 230 Marine Atlantic employees go on privatization. They were told to go home and wait for a phone call. Many of the employees were not hired back, even though they were fully qualified with 20-plus years of service.

I have tried unsuccessfully through the Department of Transport to get a copy of the final contract between Bay Ferries and the government. My access to information request was returned to me explaining that I needed to send an extra $100 because it would take the department 15 hours to find a copy of its own contract.

This is a stalling tactic and tells me the Minister of Transport has something to hide. If the minister has nothing to hide, I ask that he live up to the government's promise of more open government and table a copy of the contract in this House immediately.

Le Courrier Of Saint-HyacintheStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Tony Valeri Liberal Lincoln, ON

Mr. Speaker, many of my constituents in Lincoln rely on herbal remedies for their health and wellness needs. Lately they have been concerned that their access to herbal and botanical preparations is being denied by the health protection branch.

To their surprise, herbal remedies, many of which have been used for hundreds of years, are increasingly being classified as drugs, banned for regular use.

Perhaps the time has come to create a new legislative regime which would respect the special role that herbal remedies play in the health industry. The benefits would be clear, more protection for consumers, stronger recognition of the importance of preventive medicine and an enhancement of the health and wellness of many Canadians.

This new step can only be taken if the health protection branch and the natural medicine industry work closely together to define an approach to natural health products that will capture their unique uses and properties.

Le Courrier Of Saint-HyacintheStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Parrish Liberal Mississauga West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to recognize national book day and to acknowledge the importance of Canada's printing industry to our economy.

The advent of the printing press changed the face of the world. It advanced math, literacy and the spread of information, paving the way for modern democracy.

In 1751 the first printing company opened in Canada and today most of us can name a friend or relative employed in this industry. The printing industry is primarily Canadian owned and employs more than 75,000 Canadians working in 3,200 establishments across the country. Another 85,000 are employed in the fine paper industry that supplies their presses. The printing industry is the fourth largest manufacturing employer in the nation, producing $8 billion in shipments this year. Exports to the United States alone increased by 13 per cent.

Canada's commercial printing industry is dominated by small firms, with 82 per cent employing fewer than 20 persons. They also use some of the most advanced technologies available.

We should be proud of this industry, one that continues to prosper, adding to a healthy Canadian economy.

Chinese Canadian CommunityStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Derek Lee Liberal Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

Mr. Speaker, this year Canada celebrates the 50th anniversary of its Citizenship Act. For the Chinese Canadian community, 1947 was also a year of importance for another reason.

It was on May 14, 1947 that the Chinese immigration act was repealed and immigrants from China were no longer treated separately from other immigrants. This act had been passed in

1923 and virtually prohibited all Chinese immigration to Canada until its repeal.

Attaining Canadian settlement and citizenship was a victory made possible by generations of Chinese Canadians who surmounted great hardship and fought for equal opportunity to participate in and contribute to Canadian society. The Chinese Canadian community across the country is planning a series of events this year to pay tribute to those pioneers who paved the way for those who have followed.

I know that all members will recognize the significant contributions made by all immigrants, particularly by Chinese Canadians, in all areas of Canadian society when this 50th anniversary is commemorated next month.

[Translation]

Air CadetsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Beauport—Montmorency—Orléans, QC

Mr. Speaker, for a number of years now squadron 630 of Beauport has been taking part in military march and music competitions.

The cadets in the squadron have been finalists in competitions for the past five years and winners of the SIMMS trophy for the past three.

As member for Beauport-Montmorency-Orléans, I had the opportunity to see them perform in my riding, where the squadron is based. This year again, they will demonstrate their worth and their prowess on June 1.

I invite everyone to come and hear the next generation at this competition in Quebec City. Military marching and music will be the order of the day, and the cadets will be as talented as in years past.

If we want people to have a sense of duty, we must encourage their efforts and applaud their performances.

National DefenceStatements By Members

April 23rd, 1997 / 2:10 p.m.

Reform

Jack Frazer Reform Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, the government ordered the Canadian forces to fight in the gulf war. The troops went there fit and healthy but some were exposed to chemical fallout and more than 200 returned with serious multiple chronic disabilities.

Specific medical diagnosis may be difficult but reports from the United States, Britain and other participants confirm that we can no longer deny the exposure to toxic chemical rain after air strikes and engineers destroyed Iraqi chemical weapon production and storage depots.

The government promised these troops would receive the benefit of the doubt but six years after the war, many claims are still locked in the regulatory maze and some are simply giving up. Those with less than 10 years' service with no recognition of disability do not quality for pensions. Losing their health and career under these circumstances only to face a bureaucracy which refuses just treatment is devastating.

I join with the National Council of Veterans Associations in calling for government to start the recognition process by providing a basic pension for these deserving gulf war veterans.

PortugalStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Eleni Bakopanos Liberal Saint-Denis, QC

Mr. Speaker, this week Canadians of Portuguese origin will be celebrating the 33rd anniversary of their liberation from the dictatorship that had gripped Portugal for 49 years.

This year, however, celebrations will be even more special because of the federal government's decision to no longer require a visa for visitors from Portugal. The decision reflects the desire of the government to respond to Canadians' expectations, especially those of the Portuguese community.

On behalf of the over 11,000 Canadians who signed a petition on this issue, which I had the honour of depositing last December, I wish to thank my government for its decision. I also wish to take this opportunity to bid farewell to the Ambassador of Portugal to Canada, His Excellency Fernando Manuel da Silva Marques and his wife Natalia who will be ending their term in Ottawa next month. I wish them the best of luck. Merci.

National DefenceStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Mary Clancy Liberal Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, Liberal members of the defence committee have completed hearings in Val Cartier and in Halifax. We heard from generals and admirals but equally important we heard from the enlisted ranks and NCOs. We heard from social workers, health professionals, chaplains. We heard from spouses, child care workers, crisis intervention workers. We saw a fascinating picture of the life of our military, their families and the people who provide support to them. We heard stories that amazed, that inspired and that angered us, but most of all we saw that our military is the vibrant, hardworking, diverse institution we knew it was.

I am sorry the Bloc and Reform members did not see fit to join us. Our visits were worthwhile for us and for the military.

To all the men and women who spoke with us so frankly, we are grateful and proud and we salute you.

Kemptville '73SStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Jim Jordan Liberal Leeds—Grenville, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is a great pleasure to make what may be my last statement in the House of Commons on a high note.

The town of Kemptville is in my riding of Leeds-Grenville not far from here. Its Junior "B" hockey team has gone through the 1996-97 regular season undefeated. The team's record is 38 zero and four. In the seven game playoffs, which the team won four games to three, it won the final game four to three in double overtime.

I do not know whether any other team in Canadian hockey history can match that record but it is a record of which we are all very proud. Head coach Paul Sheard and assistant coach Derek Rintoul are proud.

Congratulations to the Kemptville '73s. All of eastern Ontario is very proud of them.

National Organ Donor WeekStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Bloc Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, on February 19, the Act Respecting a National Organ Donor Week in Canada received royal assent.

In this first national week, I would like to honour the families of donors, who, at a particularly distressing time in their lives, agree to give someone they do not know the life that remains after death has struck down someone they hold dear.

I would today like to honour the courage of Hélène Rouleau-Verville of Laval. On the death of her son Alexis at 4 years, 2 months, she had the courage and generosity to rise above her sorrow and anger and give five children a new life.

Hélène, your gesture speaks eloquently and forcefully of your courage.

On behalf of all parents, I thank you.

Canadian Wheat BoardStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Reform

Elwin Hermanson Reform Kindersley—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, it is early March and the phone rings at the Canadian Wheat Board office:

"And good morning to you, Mr. Minister. Did you consider our request for an increase in initial wheat prices for farmers?"

"No, no, of course not, Mr. Minister, we haven't said anything publicly. We certainly know how you feel about that. But that is nearly two months from now, Mr. Minister. Do you not realize that we are over half the way through the crop year? With this horrible transportation mess you have allowed, our phones are ringing off the hook. Farmers need cash. You know it is their money and there is quite a bit of it considering how low you made the initial price last summer."

"An election in the spring. Oh I see, I see. You certainly are a wily old politician."

"Yes, yes, okay sure. You bet. We will definitely delay our request for another six or seven weeks. We will await your call in late April. You have a nice day too, Mr. Minister. And good luck in the election. You are going to need it."

Rick HansenStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Andy Scott Liberal Fredericton—York—Sunbury, NB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to acknowledge the efforts of an outstanding Canadian who will soon be celebrating the 10th anniversary of his Man in Motion World Tour.

Rick Hansen is a remarkable person who has used his determination and success to bring attention to issues affecting many people with disabilities.

In the two years, two months and two days that it took Rick Hansen to travel over 40,000 kilometres through 34 countries and across four continents and in the 10 years since, he has raised the world's awareness of the potential of persons with disabilities.

We may never be able to measure the impact he has had on attitudes but we know that the $20.8 million awarded in grants and the $20.9 million that the Rick Hansen Institute has contributed to removing barriers to the participation in society of people with disabilities has changed their lives and promoted their equal citizenship in communities across our country.

Presence In GalleryStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

Before we proceed to question period today, I would like to draw to your attention the presence in the gallery of

Baroness Caroline Anne Cox, Deputy Speaker, House of Lords, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Presence In GalleryStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Canadian EconomyOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Laurier—Sainte-Marie Québec

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister.

The Liberal government is going into an election without much to show in the way of jobs, According to the government's real record, it is still more than 900,000 jobs short of the prerecession job rate. Faced with the Liberal government's appalling inaction in this respect, thousands of discouraged workers have given up even looking for work.

When the Prime Minister meets unemployed Quebecers on the hustings, what will he tell them? Will he repeat that jobs are on their way? Will he advise them to move if they are in a hurry to find a job? Or will he again say good luck?

Canadian EconomyOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I will tell voters, when we have an election, within the next 17 months-

Canadian EconomyOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Ha, ha.

Canadian EconomyOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Liberal Saint-Maurice, QC

-that when we started, unemployment was at 11.4 per cent and it is now at 9.3 per cent; that the Canadian economy created 757,000 new jobs during the past three years; that this morning, the International Monetary Fund stated that it expects Canada will have the highest economic growth rate of any G7 country for the year 1997-98; that the IMF expects unemployment to drop in 1997 and 1998 and that if Canadians show the necessary discipline, inflation will not be more than 2 per cent.

I will also tell them that we have been able to reduce short term interest rates by more than 3 per cent, compared with the Americans. We offer better interest rates than the Americans, so that the Quebec government, for instance, can save $600 million on its interest payments.

Canadian EconomyOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Laurier—Sainte-Marie Québec

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe BlocLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister should tell voters during the election campaign that there are nearly 1.5 million people unemployed, five million living in poverty, fewer and fewer people eligible for unemployment insurance and an impressive number of discouraged workers. That is something the IMF did not mention. The IMF did not say that deficit reduction was achieved at the expense of the unemployed and the provinces.

Will the Prime Minister admit he did not keep his promise of "jobs, jobs, jobs", any more than he kept his promise to scrap the GST?

Canadian EconomyOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian economy has performed reasonably well, because 757,000 new jobs were created since we came to power. Of course we would have liked to have more. However, in the circumstances, it is a very good performance because, as I have said on several occasions, this is a problem facing countries throughout the world. In Canada we have created more jobs than Germany, Italy and France combined, although the population of each these countries is much larger than ours.

We are not satisfied, however, and we feel we should keep working on it. However, we have put the government's financial house in order. The country's finances are in better shape than they have been for a long time. Our objective was to reduce the deficit to 3 per cent of GDP, and we are more than a year ahead of schedule. That is why today, people throughout the world are saying that Canada's example is the one to follow.