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House of Commons Hansard #3 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was quebec.

Topics

2 p.m.

The Speaker

As is our practice on Wednesday we will now sing O Canada , and we will be led by the hon. member for Etobicoke North.

Monitor Jet Trainer AircraftStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Wood Liberal Nipissing, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to invite all members of Parliament to join me this evening at the National Aviation Museum for the unveiling of the Monitor jet trainer aircraft. This state of the art jet will be manufactured in North Bay, Ontario, in my riding of Nipissing, by the Canadian Aerospace Group in partnership with Sikorsky Aircraft, creating 140 jobs.

I am very proud of this success story which will see a surplus defence department hangar utilized to build the first Canadian made military jet in over two decades. The hard work of the Air Base Property Corporation using Industry Canada and National Defence adjustment funds has paid off. Their partnership with Canadian Aerospace and Sikorsky will develop a new aerospace industry in North Bay.

I ask all members of the House to join me this evening at the Rockcliffe airport from 6 to 8 to view the future of military aviation manufacturing in Canada. Experts from the Canadian Aerospace Group and Sikorsky will be on hand to explain this unique project. I look forward to seeing all members there this evening.

Chinese CanadiansStatements By Members

September 24th, 1997 / 2 p.m.

Reform

Inky Mark Reform Dauphin—Swan River, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to speak in the House for the first time. More than 700,000 people of Chinese ancestry live in Canada today, but that was not always so.

In 1902 a royal commission decided that Asians were “unfit for full citizenship—obnoxious to a free community and dangerous to the state”.

In 1923 Mackenzie King's Liberal government passed the exclusion act which suspended Chinese immigration. Canadian Chinese call July 1, 1923, the day the exclusion act came into effect, humiliation day.

In 1947 the exclusion act was repealed and Canadians of Chinese ancestry won their right to be reunited with their families. I would not be standing here today if that act had not been repealed.

1997 marks the 50th anniversary of the repeal. Justice will be served only if Canada has learned a lesson from this bleak moment in history.

Whitby WarriorsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Judi Longfield Liberal Whitby—Ajax, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the outstanding achievement of the Whitby Warriors Junior A Lacrosse Club. This past August the Whitby Warriors won the Minto Cup as the best Junior A lacrosse team in Canada.

In spite of losing the first two games to the Burnaby Lakers they persevered and came back to win their next four games to take the best seven championship round in six games.

The Warriors were led by their top scorers Paul Sallie, Pat Jones and Gavin Prout and backed up by the most valuable player awarded winning performance of goal tender Mike Wye.

The Whitby Warriors are coached by Jim Bishop whose involvement in the sport of lacrosse spans some 51 years. Whitby's win was Mr. Bishop's eighth Minto Cup, coming 28 years after coaching the legendary Oshawa Green Gaels to seven consecutive Minto Cup championships. The determination and sportsmanship of the Whitby Warriors are an inspiration to us all.

I know all members will join with me in honouring the Whitby Warriors as the Junior A champions in Canada's national summer sport.

National DefenceStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Pierrette Venne Bloc Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, in 1989, the Department of National Defence was ordered by the Canadian Human Rights Commission to enrol more women in the next ten years. At the time, only 9.9 per cent of the members of our armed forces were women.

Today, eight years later, their numbers have remained virtually the same, with women accounting for a mere 10.7 per cent of the Canadian Armed Forces.

We note today that the Department of National Defence has not done a thing to recruit women. But now they would have us believe they are complying with the Human Rights Tribunal order by launching a recruiting campaign aimed exclusively at women and known as “Operation Minerva”.

DND knows very well it is impossible to integrate women fully by 1999. All I have to say to that is: too little too late.

PlastimetStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Stan Keyes Liberal Hamilton West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise, on this first full sitting day of the 36th Parliament, to reiterate my call to the Ontario government for an independent public inquiry into the July Plastimet fire in Hamilton.

Conservative Premier Mike Harris and his environment and health ministers have backtracked, flip-flopped on their pledges for an inquiry, citing the pathetic excuse of the need for evidence of wrongdoing.

Is it right that the local MPP had to awaken the provincial environment minister at 3 a.m. before the premier would dispatch air monitoring equipment to the toxic fire site? Why did the province first refuse and then later accept federal government assistance?

There are questions of compliance with the Ontario fire code, inventory lists, security, and locating a recycling plant near a hospital, schools and a high density residential area.

Frustrated with the Harris government smokescreen, my constituents demand an independent public inquiry to clear the smoke and to produce recommendations which might prevent an environmental tragedy like the Plastimet fire from ever happening again.

War CriminalsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Elinor Caplan Liberal Thornhill, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in the House on a very important matter to my constituents of Thornhill, and I believe all Canadians, and that is the prosecution of war criminals.

The people of Thornhill, especially the Jewish community, believe that Canada must be vigilant in prosecuting war criminals. Canada has a moral obligation to deport those who have been found guilty of committing crimes against humanity. We must not be seen as a haven for Nazi war criminals and others who have committed war crimes.

My constituents are aware of the commitment by the Liberal government to move on denaturalization and on deportation of those convicted of war crimes.

Finally Canada is taking action. Canada is doing more now to track Nazi war criminals than almost any country in the world. Since 1995 many deportation cases have been initiated and I am confident we will continue to pursue war criminals to the fullest extent of the law.

While this issue is of special importance to the Jewish—

War CriminalsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Nanaimo—Cowichan.

Mother TeresaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Reform

Reed Elley Reform Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today so that the House and its members might pay tribute to the life and memory of Mother Teresa.

It was with great sadness that Canadians learned of her recent death. This godly and gracious woman was a beacon of hope to the sick and the poor living in the streets of Calcutta and whose suffering she tried to ease and deeply felt.

Her message to humanity was simple: yes, there is someone who cares. It is a message that in our world will continue to resonate loudly and will no doubt serve as her lasting legacy.

With the passing of Mother Teresa the world will indeed be a colder place because the beacon of goodness, though not extinguished, burns a little less brightly today.

I am sure all Canadians join me in being thankful for her life. I ask for all members to observe a time of silence in their own thoughts and pay tribute to the remarkable legacy of caring and giving that was Mother Teresa.

ImmigrationStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Gary Pillitteri Liberal Niagara Falls, ON

Mr. Speaker, this year the International Whirlpool Bridge that links Canada and the U.S. celebrated its 100th anniversary.

This important celebration reinforced the co-operation existing between our two great countries. It is therefore difficult to believe that a new American immigration law will soon require that all Canadian travellers entering and exiting the United States complete a visa information card.

The community I represent is very concerned that this will cause endless hours of traffic jams and may damage the tourist and trade links we have established over a period of many years of co-operation.

It is then my sincere hope the proposed amendments exempting Canadians travelling to the U.S. each year are passed as soon as possible.

In the meantime I ask our government to keep pressure on our friends south of the border to implement the amendments so that this controversial law will not cause havoc in border communities across Canada.

AlgeriaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Daniel Turp Bloc Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, five months after condemning in this House the civil war in Algeria, the Canadian government has yet to call upon the international community to find a peaceful solution.

This silence has made it possible for the tragic events that took place in Benthala, Algeria, over Monday night, to occur. The majority of the 200 people killed in this massacre were women and children.

In view of the increase in acts of terrorism and senseless violence in Algeria that have left more than 60,000 victims in recent years, according to Amnesty International estimates, Quebec, Canada and the international community must echo the voices of the bereaved families by utterly condemning the use of violence and seeking a political solution to the Algerian crisis.

Speech From The ThroneStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, as a black Canadian from Quebec, of aboriginal and French descent, I am very proud to represent the riding of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine in the 36th Parliament of Canada.

The Speech from the Throne delivered yesterday is, in my opinion, a speech on national unity.

I wish to advise the House, and in particular the Hon. Stéphane Dion, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs—

Speech From The ThroneStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

The Speaker

My dear colleague, you must not refer to hon. members by name, but by riding.

You have a few more seconds.

Speech From The ThroneStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

I wish to advise the House that my constituents are delighted with the initiatives of the government with respect to the Canadian unity file.

I want to assure the House that I intend to continue to contribute and encourage my constituents to actively support these very welcome and timely initiatives.

Canadian EconomyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Guy St-Julien Liberal Abitibi, QC

Mr. Speaker, there can be no doubt that the Canadian economy is back on track.

The cost of living is going up very slowly, while retail trade is stronger than it has been in years. Statistics Canada announced that, between July and August, the consumer price index increased by 0.19 per cent, the same level as for the two previous months.

Between August 1996 and August 1997, Canadian consumers have faced an average increase of 1.8 per cent in the cost of living, which is pretty low.

All this is good news for Canadians.

Pay EquityStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Angela Vautour NDP Beauséjour—Petitcodiac, NB

Mr. Speaker, the federal government has decided to give public service executives bonuses totalling some $12.2 million, when close to $2 billion is owed to the 80,000 members of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, and when many Canadian families continue to live in poverty and unemployment.

The government is not in compliance with its own pay equity legislation. While public service executives are getting significant bonuses, many clerks, secretaries and other employees are still not being paid the retroactive payments owed to them.

I hope the Treasury Board will pay what is owed to these employees and thus fulfill its commitment to female members of the public service and to women in general.

In order to correct this injustice, we are also asking that a new budget be tabled as early as this fall.

Princess DianaStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Reform

Keith Martin Reform Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, death stalks all of us and can be cruel, but never more so than when it takes the life of the young.

On August 31 the world lost a beautiful soul in the death of Princess Diana. And we all grieved. We grieved not only for the loss of someone filled with so much promise, but also for someone in whom we saw ourselves.

She set an example in how to overcome our difficulties. She taught us to reach inside ourselves to become something greater than what we are by helping those who are less fortunate. Diana championed the plight of sick children, AIDS patients, the terminally ill. Recently she brought to the front of the world stage the horrors of landmines and their tragic victims.

As Canadians, we extend our deepest sympathies and prayers to the family of the Princess and especially to her sons, Princes William and Harry.

Université Du Québec À ChicoutimiStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, last Friday I had the pleasure of announcing on behalf of the Government of Canada the investment of $750,000 over five years, via the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council, in a new industrial engineering chair at the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi.

The professor currently holding that chair, Masoud Farzaneh, will study the impact of freezing rain on power transmission network equipment. Two industrial partners, Hydro-Quebec and Alcan, have also contributed to the funding of this chair.

Creation of this chair is evidence of the Liberal government's desire to work in conjunction with our partners in industry, the universities and provincial agencies to develop new knowledge which will improve electrical service and eliminate power outages caused by precipitation freezing on transmission lines.

This is further evidence that Canada is working to ensure the success of all Quebecers.

Canada Pension PlanStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Progressive Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday's throne speech gives Canadians every reason to be worried about their future retirement plans.

Older Canadians have earned the right to a secure retirement. Middle class workers cannot afford to pay more for the same benefits. Younger Canadians want the CPP to be there when they need it.

The Liberals plan to fix the CPP will be a further $11 billion tax hike on working Canadians and employers if the government refuses to reduce the EI premiums.

This government has a hidden agenda with the proposed seniors' benefit. It hurts middle income Canadians the most. It disproportionately attacks women by basing it on family income and it discourages people to save for their retirement.

I ask the government to stop punishing Canadians who have worked and saved for their retirement and urge them to put the seniors benefit on hold until there are full consultations on the proposed plan.

Mother TeresaStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Albina Guarnieri Liberal Mississauga East, ON

Mr. Speaker, earlier this month the world lost the moral beacon of the 20th century. Nobel Peace Prize winner Mother Teresa led a life that challenged the modern world by teaching us that lifestyle is not more important than life.

She accumulated no material possessions, shunned political power and never succumbed to moral compromises. Her life was consumed by the simple goal of providing food, education, medical care, love and hope to the sick and desolate.

Her notion of charity was not to hold black tie fundraisers and send others to do the messy work. No, Mother Teresa's example was to pick the maggots out of people's open wounds herself.

No human has done so much, for so many, for so little. But her life's work, not even respect for the dead, could spare her from those who want to protect their world from her message. Fully half of the media's coverage of Mother Teresa's death was devoted to criticism of her life and beliefs.

There are obviously many maggot infested wounds that still need to be cleansed by the millions she inspired. She will be remembered simply and affectionately as Mother.

Mother TeresaStatements By Members

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

Before starting question period I want to share with you some of the intentions developed with the House leaders in consultation with me.

I know that this is the first day and I will give us all a bit of leeway. However, I would like to ask you to consider joining with me in the days and weeks ahead in the following manner.

It would be my intention to shorten the length of time for both the questions and the answers from what we had in the last Parliament so that, on average, we can have more questions. This will mean that the advance statements by the questioners will be shorter. I would also ask for the help of the ministers to keep their responses shorter.

So now we shall see how things go today.

We will keep track of the time.

Government ExpendituresOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning ReformLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to be back in the House, and I am not just talking about Stornoway.

In his election platform the Prime Minister promised Canadians a 50:50 split between increased spending on one hand and debt and tax reduction on the other. Yet in yesterday's speech from the throne his government listed at least 29 new spending measures, but not one single practical measure for either debt reduction or tax relief.

Was this simply an oversight? Did he just leave something out of the speech or does this signal a return to Liberal chequebook spending?

Government ExpendituresOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I welcome the new Leader of the Opposition in this House. We have made a commitment that very soon the country will be in a position to operate with a surplus.

The budget is scheduled for the month of February. We have the time but first we have to go to a zero deficit.

We had to reduce the disastrous deficit of $42 billion left by the Conservative Party. Every year we are obliged to spend some money on some programs because of the problems in society which need to be taken care of.

It is always the Liberal approach to care and be responsible to others.

Government ExpendituresOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning ReformLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, my colleagues and I find it inconceivable that the Department of Finance would truly endorse a return to spending as the number one fiscal priority of the government.

Economists inside and outside the department have been saying for years that the federal government cannot spend its way to lower unemployment and that irresponsible spending and taxation is what is keeping unemployment high.

Has the Prime Minister simply forgotten about the seriousness of the debt or the high tax levels, or is he telling the House that higher spending is the number one fiscal priority of his government?

Government ExpendituresOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Obliged by your dictum, Mr. Speaker, the answer is no.