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House of Commons Hansard #144 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was system.

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 Saanich—Gulf Islands.

Liz WardenStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

John McKay Liberal Scarborough East, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to stand in this House today to congratulate Liz Warden who swam a personal best and won a silver medal in the 400 metre individual medley at the 16th Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in September.

As originally a member of the Scarborough swim club and presently with the University of Toronto, Liz represented Canada with pride and accomplished a great feat.

She is now training to go to the World Cup in Edmonton on November 28 as a member of the Canadian swim team. Liz was telling my daughter and I that she practices six hours a day.

I congratulate Liz. She is a role model for what dedication, hard work and perseverance can achieve. Canada is proud of her. I wish her luck in her next event.

Canadian FarmersStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Reform

Leon Benoit Reform Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, many farmers across this country, especially in western Canada, are facing an income crisis. This is through no fault of their own. The Asian economic situation is part of the cause, but government inaction, unreasonable user fees and tax increases over the past five years are the unforgivable causes.

Unreasonable fees have been charged through so-called cost recovery programs. Tax increases on fuel and other inputs have squeezed farmers too hard.

Farmers do not want handouts. All they want is fair treatment. That is why back in the 1993 election campaign and during discussion on the elimination of the Crow subsidy Reform MPs called for the government to put at least part of the value of the Crow into its trade distribution adjustment program. This fund would, as I speak, be paying money to farmers to help compensate for low prices caused by unfair trade practices in other countries.

But did this government listen? No. This government abandoned Canadian farmers. Now what is this government going to do?

National Sleep Awareness WeekStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Elinor Caplan Liberal Thornhill, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to draw the attention of the House to the fact that the week of October 19 to 25 has been designated National Sleep Awareness Week.

This week, which coincides with the changing of the clocks, reminds us how important sleep is to our everyday lives. Over two million Canadians suffer from sleep disorders such as insomnia and sleep apnea during which breathing actually stops. Sleep disorders affect the quality of life by decreasing alertness and performance.

Sleep/Wake Disorders Canada, a national voluntary health organization with chapters across the country, recruits and trains volunteer leaders who help people suffering from sleep disorders to improve the quality of their lives.

Please join me in supporting the work of Sleep/Wake Disorders Canada and in wishing them a successful national sleep awareness week.

I would also like to take this opportunity to inform the House that today my granddaughters and my grandson, Findlay, Tillie and Max—

National Sleep Awareness WeekStatements By Members

2 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik.

Radio NordStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Guy St-Julien Liberal Abitibi, QC

Mr. Speaker, Radio Nord has asked the federal labour minister to give mediator Jacques Lessard the power to decide the 85 employees' future terms and conditions of employment. What Radio Nord is asking for represents an abuse of power. The minister is not authorized under the Canada Labour Code to impose terms and conditions of employment on the employees of Radio Nord.

In fact, according to the union, it is contrary to the spirit of the code, because section 107 provides at most that the minister may do such things as to him seem likely to maintain or secure industrial peace and to promote conditions favourable to the settlement of industrial differences.

Radio Nord is basically asking that the right to free collective bargaining and, where legitimate, to go on strike to advance their demands be taken away from the employees. In addition, the employer abolished a dozen or so positions during the conciliation process.

The union believes that a negotiated solution is the preferred option for the employees and for the people of Abitibi-Témiscamingue, who complain about the fact that Radio Nord has been cutting back services for several years.

Commonwealth Jewish Council And Trust AwardStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Mac Harb Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to pay tribute to this year's recipient of the Commonwealth Jewish Council and Trust Award.

He is one of the finest public servants this country has ever known. For over 30 years before and after his election to parliament he has consistently been a champion of justice, an advocate of fairness, a visionary and a compassionate friend of the people.

The Commonwealth Jewish Council and Trust Award is given to those who have gone beyond the call of duty to help their fellow human beings and whose contribution has been truly outstanding.

Other Canadians who have received the awards are Judge Maxwell Cohen and Mrs. Dorothy Reitman.

I join all my colleagues and all Canadians in congratulating our Deputy Prime Minister, the hon. member for Windsor West, on this latest addition to his many achievements.

Aboriginal AffairsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Reform

Myron Thompson Reform Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, last week Judge Tom Goodson, an aboriginal member of the provincial court of Alberta, was appointed to conduct a fatality inquiry into the shooting of Connie and Ty Jacobs.

I hope that Judge Goodson will follow in the footsteps of Judge Reilly and investigate this case as broadly as possible. He would be doing all aboriginals a great service if he were to investigate the social conditions, accountability of band leaders and financial mismanagement on this reserve.

I would hope he would consider looking into why Connie was living in a condemned house and why there is a chronic housing shortage on a reserve that received over $20 million last year, or why these people in August took over deserted army barracks on the reserve in the hope of better housing.

Why do these people continue to live in poverty and ill health, plagued by violence and unemployment despite the billions of dollars of public money reserves receive each year?

This inquiry cannot assign blame, but Judge Goodson can make many recommendations on how to prevent such an incident from happening again and subsequently change the quality of life for all aboriginals across Canada.

New Information TechnologiesStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Bernard Patry Liberal Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, last Friday, the Canadian government announced $10.5 million in comprehensive financial assistance to implement approximately 20 projects related to new information technologies and new media in the greater Montreal area.

A first financial contribution was made to Behaviour Communications Inc. This $9 million contribution will generate investments totaling $30 million and the creation of 200 new jobs.

Eighteen businesses sponsored by the multimedia consortium CESAM were granted $1.5 million out of the multimedia experimentation fund. This government support is provided as seed money for new businesses.

It goes without saying that governments and their private sector partners must work together to create conditions conducive to attracting highly skilled labour to Montreal and curbing the drain of talents and skilled resources.

The Canadian government encourages Quebec initiatives and ensures that our businesses can assume their rightful place.

Wilno, OntarioStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Hec Clouthier Liberal Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, if hon. members don't know, they and all of Canada will know about Wilno when they watch On The Road Again tonight on CBC television.

Host Wayne Rostad visited Wilno, the oldest Polish settlement in Canada, which is yet another incredible attraction in the great riding of Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke.

Mr. Rostad said “I have been aware of a very special quality that this region holds for people. There is a real spirit of neighbourliness. There is a sense of community. There is magic in the hills of Wilno.”

Mr. Rostad visited the famous Wilno Tavern on Tuesday blues night where he met many of the local musicians, artists and colourful characters who make Wilno and area such an incredibly diverse community. One of those artists is marionette maker Alex Sztasko whose lifelike puppets reflect the character of this region.

Mr. Rostad added: “Alex is a person who is perfect for our show because we bring Canadians to Canadians.”

Now, Mr. Speaker, you know about Wilno.

Child Abuse Prevention MonthStatements By Members

October 28th, 1998 / 2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Gurbax Malhi Liberal Bramalea—Gore—Malton, ON

Mr. Speaker, October is child abuse prevention month.

In 1997, children's aid societies in Ontario conducted 96,039 investigations into suspected cases of child abuse and neglect. This includes 634 cases investigated by the Children's Aid Society of the Region of Peel. It is one of a number of child welfare agencies holding purple ribbon campaigns in October to educate, advocate and generally raise awareness about child abuse. Up to 12,000 ribbons will be distributed in the Peel region.

While child abuse prevention month and the purple ribbon campaign end this Saturday, I wish to remind Canadians that every person who has reason to suspect that a child is being abused or may have suffered from abuse must report that suspicion to a Children's Aid Society.

The Nisga'A Land Claim AgreementStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Reform

Mike Scott Reform Skeena, BC

Mr. Speaker, on August 4 the Liberal government initialled the Nisga'a Land Claim Agreement with much fanfare and hype.

The provincial NDP government, also a signatory to the agreement, is now spending millions of taxpayers' dollars in a paid campaign reminiscent of the Charlottetown accord.

Once again all of the talking heads who told us why Charlottetown was the only hope for Canada are trotted out to tell us why we must have the Nisga'a agreement.

The parallels are striking. An agreement is crafted behind closed doors by an elite group of politicians and intellectuals. The public is told in no uncertain terms that the agreement cannot be changed and must be accepted to save the country. The intelligentsia lauds the agreement in glowing terms without hesitation or reservation and those who express concern or opposition are labelled the “enemies of Canada” in the case of the Charlottetown accord or the “forces of darkness” in the case of the Nisga'a agreement.

These are all clear indications of governments which are morally adrift, intellectually bankrupt and distrusting of their public.

When governments make major changes to the social contract they must never do so—

The Nisga'A Land Claim AgreementStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Winnipeg—Transcona.

MedicareStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, tonight the Canadian Medical Association will induct Tommy Douglas into its hall of fame. Tommy would be pleased to see how much things have changed since the doctors' strike in Saskatchewan, how the medical community itself appreciates the virtues of publicly funded health insurance and how they are, along with others, trying to save it from death by underfunding.

But Tommy would also want us to note that medicare still has its enemies, both seen and unseen: seen in the form of the Reform Party which openly advocates an American two-tier system, and unseen, or at least hiding, in the form of the federal Liberal government which has knowingly created the conditions that may allow the enemies of medicare to succeed.

Tommy's warning in his final years about medicare was “Don't let them take it away.” The NDP urges all Canadians to heed his warning and keep an eye on the Reformers and the Liberals.

Journées Québécoises De La Solidarité InternationaleStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Maud Debien Bloc Laval East, QC

Mr. Speaker, we are celebrating this week the Journées québécoises de la solidarité internationale.

This is an opportunity to reiterate our commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Everyone in Montreal, Sherbrooke, Trois-Rivières, Quebec City and in the Outaouais, Abitibi, Lanaudière, Bois-Francs and Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean regions is invited to take part in the numerous activities organized in co-operation with the Quebec Ministry of International Relations, to discover the Quebec way of showing solidarity with the rest of the world.

For example, the Quebec government provided financial assistance to the victims of a hurricane in the Dominican Republic and, on November 20, a collective mural on human rights will be unveiled in the national assembly.

The reason Quebeckers are increasingly involved on the international scene is not only to assert their identity, but also to show their solidarity towards the other nations of the world.

Diabetes ResearchStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Steckle Liberal Huron—Bruce, ON

Mr. Speaker, when Ayden Byle arrived today on Parliament Hill he was greeted by supporters for his gruelling efforts to run across Canada to raise funds by way of sponsorship and public donations for research into a cure for diabetes.

Ayden started his journey on June 1 in Stanley Park and will be ending his trek this December 1 in Halifax. Although Ayden has been an active athlete throughout his life, at 24 he is insulin dependent and requires five injections a day.

He hopes his run will generate a greater public awareness of diabetes and truly wishes to become a recognized role model for young children struggling with the physical and psychological aspects of this disease.

I encourage all my hon. colleagues to join me in wishing Ayden our best wishes for his success on his journey across Canada.

Quebec Sheep IndustryStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Odina Desrochers Bloc Lotbinière, QC

Mr. Speaker, the sheep producers are on Parliament Hill.

They are demonstrating against the arrogant attitude of the Liberal government, which has only mediocre solutions to offer.

While the Minister of Agriculture claims to be concerned about the financial and emotional burden of producers, his government limits its support to a compensatory measure penalizing all the sheep producers who complied from the start with the orders from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Today, the producers are demonstrating outside the House of Commons to send a cry for help, to ask the government to save the Quebec sheep industry. The Minister of Agriculture is very clearly showing that he is completely out of touch with the dramatic situation experienced by our sheep producers.

The problem for Quebec sheep producers is not scrapie, but the slaughter ordered by the federal government, with no real basis to justify that decision.

Canada PostStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Gilles Bernier Progressive Conservative Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Mr. Speaker, two years ago Canada Post proposed that every resident living in rural New Brunswick change their address. They argued that general delivery had to go and what everyone needed was a unique number and street address.

They sold this idea by promising that the province would implement a 911 emergency system in rural areas, so everyone agreed.

Now two years later we are learning the truth. This new addressing is being paid for by Canada Post customers. Canada Post is telling its customers that if they want to receive mail they must first pay a $34 change of address fee. Businesses and non-profit organizations such as the Volunteer Family Services Food Bank must pay an exorbitant $150 fee because Canada Post unilaterally changed their address.

This is outrageous. It is also wrong to ask seniors on a fixed income to pay this fee.

I call on the minister to extend the waiver period on these fees until rural customers have time to notify everyone of their new address.

Canadian Steel, Chinese GritStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Sophia Leung Liberal Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to announce the parliamentary premier of the film Canadian Steel, Chinese Grit on November 4. The documentary is a China-Canada joint production recognizing the role of Chinese workers in building the CPR.

The film reveals the lives of those courageous Chinese pioneers. It shows that their contribution to Canadian political and economic development has left a legacy that deserves a special place in Canadian history.

AgricultureStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Reform

Lee Morrison Reform Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Mr. Speaker, an agricultural economic crisis is sweeping the prairies, but this lawyer-infested government is oblivious to it.

The United States and the European Union value and protect their farmers, but the Canadian agriculture minister has yet to acknowledge the existence of a crisis here. So far his only strategy to save producers from bankruptcy is to point to NISA, even though the average NISA account would not even pay for a farmer's fertilizer and chemical bills, let alone fuel, taxes, freight and so on.

I urge the minister to take his head out of the sand and listen carefully on November 4 when he meets with farm leaders and his provincial counterparts. I am sure he will get an earful. Perhaps then he will be persuaded to take the farm crisis seriously.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning ReformLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, section 66 of the Employment Insurance Act safeguards moneys paid by workers and employers into the fund. It is to be used to make insurance payments to unemployed persons and for no other purpose. Despite this law the Prime Minister wants to grab the surplus from this fund and spend it on other things.

Does the Prime Minister intend to break the law, or does he intend to change the law to permit him to raid the employment insurance fund?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, if I understand correctly, yesterday the Minister of Finance quoted the program of the Reform Party which was advocating that we should use the surplus of the EI fund to reduce the debt. It is not what we have done.

Every year since we have been in government we have reduced the premium, which was supposed to be $3.30 on January 1, 1994. We have reduced it to $2.70 in the last budget.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning ReformLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the finance minister quoted from a 1995 document when the deficit was $38 billion. I remind the Prime Minister this is 1998.

The average worker is paying $350 too much per year into the insurance fund. The average small business is paying $500 per worker too much into the fund, but any surplus still belongs to the people who paid it.

Will the Prime Minister come clean and make his position clear? Does he acknowledge that these funds belong to the workers and the employers? Yes or no.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, in 1995 when the Reform Party was asking us to use the surplus to reduce the debt we were using the surplus to reduce premiums.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning ReformLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister claimed the other day he wanted an open debate on this issue, but he has failed to bring an amendment before the House for debate to change the EI fund.

Instead he is sending his finance minister to meet with the employment insurance commission to try to change the rules behind closed doors.

Will the Prime Minister commit to a debate and a vote in the House on an amendment to the Employment Insurance Act, or will he try to change it behind closed doors through regulations and orders in council?