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House of Commons Hansard #159 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was smoking.

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 Bruce—Grey.

Ontario Health CareStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Devillers Liberal Simcoe North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I feel bound to address the ongoing impact of the Harris reformatory government's decisions on health care and hospital closures in Ontario. Certain falsehoods must be dispelled about this issue. The reduction in transfer payments to the Ontario government represents, at most, 2.5% of Ontario's revenues.

When will the Harris reformatories come clean on this issue? When will they admit to Ontarians that the cuts in health and hospital services were made to finance the Harris government's income tax cuts? Why do they not acknowledge that the federal Liberals reinstated $1.5 billion in cash payments in the last budget, bringing the cash total to $12.5 billion per year? Why do the Harris reformatories never mention the big increases to the provinces in tax points under the federal Liberals?

Jesse “The Body” VenturaStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Reform

Val Meredith Reform South Surrey—White Rock—Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, earlier this month when former professional wrestler Jesse “The Body” Ventura was elected Governor of Minnesota there were some comparisons between the first member of the American Reform Party elected to office and the election of our first Reformer, the hon. member for Edmonton North.

While it is true that the two have something in common, namely that either of them could whup any member on the government benches with one arm tied behind their back, there are actually a number of similarities between Jesse Ventura and the Liberals.

Both Ventura and the Prime Minister are adept at applying the choke hold. Ventura perfected the manoeuvre known as the “pile driver” and the Minister of Finance has mastered the art of driving piles of dollars out of the country with his tax policies. And how could we overlook Ventura's experience as a trained navy SEAL when the Liberal backbenches are filled with trained seals?

Canadian FarmersStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

John Maloney Liberal Erie—Lincoln, ON

Mr. Speaker, pork producers are being devastated by low prices. Hogs are selling for half the cost of producing them. Last Friday I met with over 70 hog farmers in my constituency office in Smithville. These are efficient, hardworking producers who know their business, but they have been caught in circumstances beyond their control.

Hog farmers recognize that their industry is cyclical and they prepare for the normal ups and downs, but the situation they find themselves in is not normal. Pork producers and other farmers who export their product are suffering from the fallout of the Asian economic crisis and its spinoffs. Canadian exporters have lost their markets and oversupply has depressed prices globally.

The farm income situation is urgent. The Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food has been working with farm leaders and his provincial counterparts to find a solution to the problem. I encourage him to create a national disaster program that will kick in when the safety net system proves insufficient.

Harness Horse RacingStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Hec Clouthier Liberal Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, the trotters were at the post and the crowd held its breath in great anticipation. And then they were off, in the 1998 Breeder's Crown championship which featured the best horses in the world. After the dust had settled the winner was the magnificent trotting machine, Muscles Yankee, who raced to victory for Canada.

The horse, of course, is Canadian owned by Irving Liverman of Montreal and Canadian driven by John Campbell. The much respected and highly regarded Mr. Liverman cheered as the Hall of Famer, the world's greatest driver, John Campbell, masterfully manoeuvred Muscles to victory.

As a fellow owner and driver, I truly appreciate and applaud the dedication, drive and determination needed to excel in the sport of harness racing. Congratulations to the Canadian connection of Messieurs Liverman and Campbell. They are a true credit to maintaining this country's proud tradition of excellence in the field of harness horse racing.

Election Campaign In QuebecStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Paradis Liberal Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, it cannot be said enough: a vote for the PQ is a vote for Quebec's separation from the rest of Canada.

A vote for the PQ is a vote against Quebec's interests.

A vote for the PQ is a vote for continued insecurity and political instability in Quebec.

A vote for the PQ will mean time wasted for the next four years.

On November 30, I will be voting Liberal, because a Liberal government will work for economic growth and job creation.

In Brome—Missisquoi, that will be heaven.

Government SpendingStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Reform

Jim Pankiw Reform Saskatoon—Humboldt, SK

Mr. Speaker, while Canadian farmers face an income crisis, as provinces deliver health care with as little as 11% funding from the health minister and as workers continue to overpay employment insurance premiums it comes as an absolute shock for taxpayers to learn that the federal government is still blowing tens of thousands of dollars on perks and feel-good retreats for Canada's civil servants.

In two retreats put on by PA Douglas & Associates last year the federal government forked out $112,000 so that bureaucrats from government departments could be put up in the Banff Springs Hotel and wined and dined at taxpayers' expense.

The Liberal government refuses to end wasteful spending and continues to show a preference for extravagant perks. Instead of choosing to put money back into the pockets of hardworking Canadians through tax cuts, the Liberals choose to put bureaucrats into expensive resort hotels.

Social RightsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, in connection with Bill S-11, which invites Parliament to include social condition as a prohibited ground of discrimination, I would like to pay tribute to the Association de défense des droits sociaux du Québec métropolitain, which this year celebrates 25 years of active service in the community.

This association has, over the years, become the source of training and public awareness, a place for thought, discussion and struggle so members may break through their isolation and express their rights. One of their many battles remains current and is being followed by the Bloc Quebecois. I refer to the cuts to employment insurance, which have resulted in the exclusion of six out of ten unemployed individuals from the plan, a reduction in benefits and social assistance for hundreds of thousands of people.

The Bloc Quebecois also supports their struggles by calling upon the Liberal government to stop taking billions of dollars from the pockets of the most disadvantaged, by refusing to index tax benefits for children, tax tables and GST credits.

Quebec Election CampaignStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Robert Bertrand Liberal Pontiac—Gatineau—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the Quebec Liberal Party is right to maintain that a vote for the PQ is a vote for the separation of Quebec. By voting for the leader of the PQ, Quebeckers would be making the mistake of giving him everything he needs to initiate the separation process.

The PQ leader is a secretive person. Quebeckers should be wary of him, for the sake of national unity. On November 30, let us not take any chances, let us vote for the Liberals.

Quebec Election CampaignStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Claude Drouin Liberal Beauce, QC

Mr. Speaker, on November 30, a Liberal government led by Jean Charest will work to renew Canadian federalism. On November 30, a Liberal government would be a credible spokesperson on social union. On November 30, a Liberal government would create better conditions to put Quebec on the path to prosperity and economic growth again by removing the constant threat of a referendum and building confidence in this province.

On November 30, I will be voting Liberal because I believe Quebec should take its proper place within Canada, and the only party that can achieve this is the Quebec Liberal Party. On November 30, the people of Quebec should finally choose a real government capable of speaking on their behalf and acting in their interest. Quebeckers must give the Liberal Party the mandate to run the province for the next few years.

Merchant Navy VeteransStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Reform

Peter Goldring Reform Edmonton East, AB

Mr. Speaker, there have been 50 years of stonewalling, 50 years of neglect and 50 years of denial for Canada's merchant navy veterans. That is our government's performance, counting 50 years and more.

The issues are very clear. Merchant navy veterans are not seeking great wealth, simply the respect and benefits given their armed forces brethren: to be recognized as war veterans, to receive prisoner of war benefits, to be compensated for years of inequality and to receive recognition on ceremonial days.

The Minister of Veterans Affairs must agree that there are four issues that cry out for resolve; not one, not two, not three, but four.

It is unconscionable that these concerns continue to exist after 50 years. History will judge our days in this House.

It would be sad if the minister enters history as a great continuer of injustice rather than the minister—

Merchant Navy VeteransStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Vancouver Kingsway.

Foreign AffairsStatements By Members

November 25th, 1998 / 2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Sophia Leung Liberal Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister and a Canadian delegation attended the APEC meeting in Malaysia and visited China recently.

In Malaysia the Prime Minister raised his concern over the mistreatment of the Deputy Prime Minister there. In China we were able to develop a closer relationship with Chinese political leaders in the areas of business, education and culture.

We witnessed the signing of 46 commercial agreements worth over $720 million. As well, Canada extended practical assistance of CIDA projects in isolated regions, including a clean water project in the Gansu Province.

Congratulations to the Prime Minister for his constructive work in Asian countries.

National Action Committee On The Status Of WomenStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Michelle Dockrill NDP Bras D'Or, NS

Mr. Speaker, for 27 years the National Action Committee on the Status of Women has been a voice for Canadian women.

It was their hard work which helped to ensure that women are now guaranteed equality in the Constitution. When violence against women was seen as a private matter, NAC brought it out into the open and forced us to deal with it. Today our voice is threatened.

Status of Women seems to be delaying NAC's application for funding until it is forced to shut down. A month and a half ago the minister's office promised that NAC's application would be processed within a week. NAC is still waiting. The time for playing politics is over.

If this minister believes that women should have an independent voice, free from political interference, she has only one option. End the delays in processing NAC's application for funding, restore core funding for women's groups and reverse the cuts the government has made.

Violence Against WomenStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Eugène Bellemare Liberal Carleton—Gloucester, ON

Mr. Speaker, November 25 is the International Day to End Violence Against Women.

The day was declared by women in Latin America and the Caribbean in 1981 to commemorate the death of the Mirabel sisters, who were murdered in the Dominican Republic in 1960.

Today we mark the first of 16 days leading up to December 10 that have been set aside to fight violence against women.

Over the next 16 days, communities throughout the country will reflect on the consequences of violence against women.

I urge members to get involved in helping end violence against women.

Un High Commissioner For Human RightsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Daniel Turp Bloc Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to join with my colleagues in noting the visit of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson.

The presence of the former President of Ireland is an honour to this parliament and it is important to recognize the true devotion of a woman who, having used her talents to serve her own country, is now using them to benefit the world at large.

The Bloc Quebecois notes the importance of the responsibility Mrs. Robinson has been given and assures her of its full backing. She can rely on the support of the Bloc Quebecois, which has never hesitated to denounce systematic and flagrant violations of human rights, wherever in the world they have been committed.

With the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights just days away, the Bloc Quebecois reiterates its support for the United Nations and for the High Commissioner for Human Rights in their fight, which is also our fight, for the freedom and dignity of the children, women and men of our planet.

Canadian Forest IndustryStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Charlie Power Progressive Conservative St. John's West, NL

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to bring to the attention of the House a serious issue currently affecting the west coast which has implications for all of Canada. International environmental organizations are waging an unjust campaign against the Canadian forest industry. The outcome of their efforts has been devastating to coastal communities in British Columbia.

Not only has the forest industry had to deal with a drop in demand caused by the Asian financial crisis, but European, Asian and North American consumers are being bombarded with one-sided arguments about Canadian forest practices while thousands of Canadians lose their jobs.

The Liberal government has done nothing to counteract this advertising campaign.

I ask the Liberal government to prove us wrong and prove that it cares about coastal communities and families that rely on our natural resources. Do something before it is too late to help the Canadian forest industry counteract this aggressive advertising campaign being waged by misguided environmentalists against our very vital Canadian forest industry.

Bill MathewsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Steckle Liberal Huron—Bruce, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize Mr. Bill Mathews, a constituent of mine. I was recently informed that Bill volunteered his time and business expertise to assist in developing the business skills of a firm in one of the world's most volatile and disadvantaged economies.

Bill was a CESO volunteer in Russia at a corporation that processes soybean products. During his tenure at this Russian business Bill was able to share his knowledge in areas such as how to expand operations into a franchising system and in construction methods for growth of the company's existing infrastructure. He provided a plan to develop the basement of the company's headquarters which included cost estimates and design work.

In short, Bill made a substantial difference in the way this firm conducted its day to day operations. Because of Bill's efforts the efficiency and future prospects of this company were improved, which in turn will result in more economic output and growth. This will result in an improvement in areas such as employee wages and their standard of living, while at the same time helping to enhance the labour standards of the country as a whole. I applaud Bill's efforts because I feel that they represent a concrete example of how a hand up is often more beneficial than a handout.

E & N RailwayStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Reform

Keith Martin Reform Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, the E & N railway on Vancouver Island is a rundown commuter railway operated by VIA Rail. It has been propped up by Canadian taxpayers in the amount of $2 million a year. However, the trains routinely break down leaving commuters stranded. It is incredibly inefficient.

Now the rail line is going to be purchased by an American group called RailAmerica Inc. This could be a major tourist attraction and generate a lot of money.

However, what does this say about the case of Canadian investors in this country? The fact is that they and the rail line are compromised by high taxes and complex rules and regulations which prevent them from investing in these worthy endeavours.

My other concern is what if RailAmerica decides to abandon the rail line? What will happen to the commuters who depend on the E & N to travel to work? Will the Minister of Transport guarantee that the sale of the E & N to the American company will include a provision safeguarding the public interest?

Apec InquiryOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning ReformLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, what a glimpse into the Prime Minister's values. He refuses to accept any responsibility for his solicitor general's resignation. Instead he looks for someone to blame. He blames the media. He blames the official opposition. And now he launches a manhunt to find someone to blame for filing the incriminating affidavit with the RCMP complaints commission.

How can the Prime Minister possibly defend this outrageous witch hunt?

Apec InquiryOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the story in the Globe and Mail this morning is absolutely not true.

Apec InquiryOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning ReformLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is obviously upset. He is not angry with the solicitor general babbling on an airplane. He is not angry about the solicitor general refusing to tell the truth when he was first confronted. He is angry that it came out at all and that the affidavit was filed and that it was released.

Exactly what lesson is the Prime Minister trying to teach here, that covering up is always better than telling the truth?

Apec InquiryOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it is too bad the Leader of the Opposition has to read the prepared question.

I said it is not true. I was aware that there were to be affidavits. I said they had to do it because we want the truth to be known by everybody.

Apec InquiryOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning ReformLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, when I listen to the Prime Minister, I hear a man who is desperate to protect the image of ethics and integrity but spends very little time on the substance.

If the Prime Minister wants to find someone to blame for this entire sordid affair, why does he not just look in the mirror?

Apec InquiryOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, for six months there has been a commission which has been charged to look into that. We have told the commission it can inquire about everything. There was a motion made in front of it by the lawyers for the students asking the commission to look at all the aspects of that and the commission agreed. The commission has come to my office and the offices of every department to get all the files. We told the commission that the witnesses it needs will be available. I cannot be more open than that.