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House of Commons Hansard #57 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was tribunal.

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 Saint John.

Heart Awareness MonthStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Volpe Liberal Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to inform the House and all Canadians that February is Heart Awareness Month.

Cardiovascular disease remains Canada's leading cause of death and one of the major causes of disability. More than 79,000 Canadians die every year from heart disease and stroke. Besides the human toll of the disease, the cost to the economy is considerable: about $20 billion per year and more than 6.5 million days of hospitalization.

Cardiovascular disease is an area where we are making major health gains. The roots of heart disease and stroke are in the way we live. By eradicating smoking, promoting a healthy diet and physical activity we can help Canadians in preventing and

or postponing the onset of this disease.

Health Canada is proud to be collaborating with the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and with all provincial health departments in the Canadian heart health initiative.

By investing in cardiovascular health, we can considerably reduce—

Heart Awareness MonthStatements By Members

2 p.m.

The Speaker

I am sorry, but the hon. member's time is up. The hon. member for Selkirk—Interlake.

FisheriesStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Reform

Howard Hilstrom Reform Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, the fisheries minister claims he cannot release vital observer reports that show foreign fishing activities, legitimate or otherwise, off our east coast. He claims he would be breaking the law to do so.

The minister also claims there are no foreign trawlers fishing off the coast of Labrador. He claims there is no salmon crisis on Canada's west coast. He claims he has every right to continue the aboriginal fishing strategy when the court has declared it illegal. He claims bureaucracy does not interfere with DFO science.

The minister is consistent in at least two respects. First, he is dead wrong. Second, his claims do not reflect the facts as known by the Canadian people, Canadian fishermen, Canadian courts or even his own employees.

Library Of ParliamentStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Steckle Liberal Huron—Bruce, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to extend my appreciation to the staff of the Library of Parliament for continued support to my office. The library's annual report indicated that in 1996-97 division personnel handled a total of 153,000 requests for information and provided 96,000 direct answers to authorized clients.

In the same time period the information service responded to an additional 57,000 information requests from parliamentarians and the general public alike. Those numbers are above and beyond the nearly 500,000 visitors that were welcomed to centre block by parliamentary guides.

Although some days I am certain that it seemed like my office was responsible for the aforementioned calls, members of the library staff were always prepared to cheerfully and competently tackle any projects we threw their way. Without the service provided by the various sections of the library, the effectiveness of my office would be greatly reduced.

I would ask that my colleagues join with me in thanking the Library of Parliament for its excellent work.

Ice StormStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

René Canuel Bloc Matapédia—Matane, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebec and parts of Ontario and the Maritimes were hit by an ice storm which left heavy damage in its wake. More than a million people were left without electricity, and consequently heat as well, for various lengths of time, in mid-January.

The people of Matapédia—Matane have a reputation for being very generous, and once again they have shown this to be true. People everywhere in my riding were quick to offer help to the victims. My thanks to the people of Matapédia—Matane for their great generosity.

There was a great feeling of solidarity among us, as there was among all the people of Quebec. My hope is that this feeling, which reached its peak during the recent emergency, will continue to flourish.

Hooray for community spirit.

Citizenship And Heritage WeekStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Gurbax Malhi Liberal Bramalea—Gore—Malton, ON

Mr. Speaker, February 9 to 16 is Citizenship and Heritage Week.

This annual celebration of Canadian citizenship and heritage allows us to show our pride for Canada and to share common values.

This year on Heritage Day the Government of Canada will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the United Nations universal declaration of human rights. This document inspired our own Charter of Rights and Freedoms which upholds values that Canadians cherish: the dignity of the individual, the rights of children, fairness, equal treatment and democratic participation.

I ask all my fellow members to join in the celebration of a rich past. We want to ensure a bright future for the greatest country in the world.

Dean OttStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Sarmite Bulte Liberal Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, on Friday, January 30, 1998, Canada's theatre community suffered a tragic loss. Dean Ott, a member of my riding association, a former colleague and my friend, passed away suddenly at the age of 34.

Dean began his career at Sunshine Theatre in Kelowna, B.C., at the age of 14. His career advanced rapidly from shop supervisor at JV Theatre Productions to stage carpenter at Theatre Calgary, technical director at Alberta Theatre Projects, and project manager at F&D Scene Changes in Calgary.

Dean came to Toronto in 1990 as the production manager at the Canadian Stage Company and later the associate producer and director of production. During his tenure at Canadian Stage he was responsible for initiating and implementing with the city of Toronto the renovations to the Dream in High Park site. The Dream in High Park is the free outdoor Shakespearian production that takes place every summer in my riding.

Dean will be missed by everyone in the theatre community and by everyone he touched.

Ice StormStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Brenda Chamberlain Liberal Guelph—Wellington, ON

Mr. Speaker, in the face of the recent ice storm devastation many people showed courage, generosity and determination. Faced with the opportunity to assist fellow Canadians, residents of Guelph—Wellington joined together to make a difference.

Local industries, schools, media, social clubs, individuals and families came together to do their part. Two 45 foot trailers were provided by a Guelph company, MacKinnon Transport and Southwestern Express, to transport urgently needed items.

Our local radio stations, Majic FM 106.1 and CJOY, were tireless in their radio announcements informing the community of the locations to drop off items. When the trailers left Guelph they were so packed they took hours to unload.

People can make a difference and we did. I thank Guelph—Wellington.

Senate Of CanadaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Reform

Ted White Reform North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, it tends to be embarrassing for the government when skeletons come tumbling out of the closet unexpectedly. It certainly looks like one of those skeletons just appeared.

A recent patronage appointment of the prime minister made a public speech on November 13, 1982, a speech which so impressed one of my constituents that he kept the transcript for 16 years. One paragraph of that speech reads:

I too had some difficult years as a politician; I'm still having them, in fact, because everything we undertake and everything we are doing to make Canada a French state is a part of a venture I have shared for many years—

I would like to know if this same agenda is shared by the prime minister because those oh so patriotic words were in a speech by none other than his recent Senate appointee, Serge Joyal, unelected, unaccountable and completely unacceptable.

LighthousesStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Mark Muise Progressive Conservative West Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, for most Canadians lighthouses are simply a symbol of our maritime heritage, but for some people in my riding the lighthouse might just save their lives.

While it is true that most vessels have on board navigational aids such as GPS, a number of lighthouses are still indeed necessary.

Recently my constituents of West Nova, including fishers and recreational sailors, were very concerned about the possible closure of the Yarmouth light at Cape Forchu. Their fears were legitimized in Halifax

Chronicle Herald

interview when coast guard officials confirmed that the federal government was exploring the possibility of further lighthouse closures as a cost cutting measure.

Our fishers already affected by the downturn in the industry must put their lives on the line each and every time they venture out into unpredictable seas. Many men and women still depend on the Yarmouth light to guide them home to safety, in particular during very adverse weather conditions.

Further reductions of national aids will put fishers at risk of serious injury or even death.

Black History MonthStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

Mr. Speaker, on the occasion of Black History Month, the Bloc Quebecois wishes to pay tribute to a community which has made an invaluable contribution to the development of Quebec.

Since the creation of Black History Month by American historian Carter G. Woodson in 1925, a variety of events throughout America have marked the contribution of the black community.

A number of names spring immediately to mind when one thinks of the black community in Quebec: Dr. Yvette Benny, the first Quebec physician to perform a pediatric bone marrow transplant; Oliver Jones, the world-famous pianist; businessman Christopher A. Ross; musician Charles Biddle; last but not least, the Olympic medallist Bruny Surin. These, and many others, are a source of tremendous pride to the black community, and to all Quebeckers, for their excellent accomplishments.

It is my hope that we may all work together to enhance the quality of life of a community to which all in Quebec owe a considerable debt.

Year 2000Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Walt Lastewka Liberal St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to raise awareness on a crucial issue for Canadian businesses and to give them a call to action.

The issue is the year 2000 computer problem. The Minister of Industry appointed an industry led task force to review the state of readiness of Canadian businesses. The task force has reported that the current economic outlook for Canada in year 2000 is now at risk because too many businesses have failed to start the repair and replacement of technology. Too many businesses are putting this off. Too many are ignoring the inevitable.

The all party industry committee is reviewing the task force report. We will be working together to raise awareness of the issue and to send an urgent call for action.

All of us must work to ensure Canadians are prepared for the year 2000. We must take action and take it now.

Senate Of CanadaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Reform

Rob Anders Reform Calgary West, AB

Mr. Speaker, we have tried everything to get Senator Andy Thompson to show up for work. We even threw a welcome party to make him feel more at home in Ottawa: a mariachi band, a little la bamba and even some nice hot burritos; but for the 448th time Senator Thompson stood us up.

There is one person who can solve the Senate problem: the prime minister. He can hit the Senate pinata with one blow if he recognizes Senate elections. The prime minister needs to pull off his blindfold so he can see what Canadians want from Andy and his Senate muchachas.

No more lying sedate. We want them to debate.

No more endless vacation. We want representation.

No more tropical showers. We want office hours.

No more beachside recreation. We want them to review legislation.

No more lying on a cot. We want some sober second thought.

No more shopping in Mexico City. We want them on a subcommittee.

No more playing and straying all day. We want them all to earn their pay.

Canadian NationalStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I was happy to learn this morning that Canadian National and Illinois Central Railroad are engaged. CN's purchase of this railroad will cost some $4.3 billion. More importantly, the purchase should increase the number of CN employees.

No, it should not mean a cut in staff. This is great news for the economy of the Montreal region. Canadian National, currently the sixth largest railway company in North America will move to fifth place.

We should all be delighted at this marriage, because it will provide a significant boost to the economy of the Montreal region.

This is truly a love story. A toast to St. Valentine's Day.

RailwaysStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Rick Laliberte NDP Churchill River, SK

Mr. Speaker, Canada's rail system continues to expand in the wrong direction. Yesterday CN purchased an American rail line. At the same time small branch lines serving rural Canada continue to be abandoned.

Ottawa has abandoned the small family farms which cannot afford to ship grains to market. Last week Saskatchewan lost the White Fox line which served communities and farmers between Choiceland and Meath Park. I hope they do not pull the rail lines out.

We demand an immediate review of the Canadian Transportation Act to prevent the continuing loss of vital rail service in Canada. We call for a national transportation strategy which will go forward into the next century, not backward into the last.

This plan should address the issues of grain shipments, environmental benefits, the deterioration of highways and affordable rail transportation throughout Canada.

By the time the Liberals wake up to the national nightmare there will be nothing left of our Canadian railroads.

Reference To Supreme CourtStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Nick Discepola Liberal Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, the pro-democracy coalition is today going to unveil its strategy in anticipation of the start of hearings on the reference to the supreme court of the matter of a unilateral declaration of independence by Quebec.

Quite frankly, there is nothing democratic about this coalition, which resembles the sort of pre-referendum sovereignist production we have all seen and which was tried out in the 1980 and 1995 referendums.

The Parti Quebecois is certainly working hard at courting Quebeckers who have twice rejected Quebec's separation from the rest of Canada to get them to change their mind the next time.

If the pro-democracy coalition really wants to be democratic, it should inform people impartially about the game the sovereignists are playing and let them know what democracy will look like under the Parti Quebecois on the basis of questions as vague as the ones put in the 1980 and 1995 referendums.

Corner Brook-Canada Winter GamesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Gerry Byrne Liberal Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte, NL

Mr. Speaker, in addition to the verbal gymnastics of the House Canadians are intently watching the performances of Canadian teams at the Nagano Olympics with some pride and satisfaction.

I want to introduce to the House another particular sporting event in which I take considerable pride. That is the Corner Brook-Canada 1999 Winter Games. Mr. Speaker, you are invited.

I want to introduce Corner Brook, Stephenville, Steady Brook, Pasadena and Deer Lake to the House. Communities on the west coast of Newfoundland are particularly ready to enjoy and to host all of Canada in a celebration of sport, unity and youth.

We are ready for these games. I ask members of the House to book their tickets early because it will be packed. We will see them there.

Jeremy WotherspoonStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Reform

Bob Mills Reform Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the people of Red Deer and all Canadians I extend a sincere and well deserved congratulations to Red Deer speed skater Jeremy Wotherspoon.

We congratulate him on his recent silver medal performance in the men's 500 metre long track event at the Nagano Winter Olympics.

In his pursuit of Olympic excellence Jeremy has become a role model for young Canadians. As an outstanding ambassador for Red Deer, Alberta and Canada we honour Jeremy's drive, determination and success while wishing him the very best in upcoming events.

Knowing Jeremy and his family, I also want to congratulate them because it is with them and their support that athletes like him succeed.

I ask my colleagues in the House of Commons to join us in congratulating this young Canadian on winning Canada's first silver medal at the 1998 Nagano Olympics.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning ReformLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the finance department publishes a monthly newsletter called the

Fiscal Monitor

. It is full of statistics, including updates on the deficit.

According to the January 28 edition of this newsletter the government has a public accounts surplus of $1.4 billion and a financial surplus of $11.3 billion. Yet in today's newspapers finance department spin doctors are estimating a year end deficit of $2 billion.

What is the finance minister's explanation of the disappearing surplus?

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, at budget time I will be delighted to report on the state of the government's accounts.

The

Fiscal Monitor

to which the hon. member refers shows a strengthening in the Canadian financial balance sheet. This is certainly due to the efforts of Canadians and I must say to the efforts of my colleagues in government.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning ReformLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, what Canadians understand from this publication and elsewhere is that the minister has a lot of their money and they want it back in the form of tax relief.

According to the

Fiscal Monitor

the government has a surplus mainly because it is taxing the hide out of Canadians.

Who is the finance minister trying to hide the surplus from: from his spendaholic friends in cabinet or from hard-pressed Canadian taxpayers?

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, it is hard to understand how the Leader of the Opposition could refer to somebody trying to hide a surplus when what he is doing is quoting from a Department of Finance document, the source of his numbers.

I am delighted to confirm to the Leader of the Opposition that the numbers he is quoting out of our document are correct.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning ReformLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, this surplus is not the finance minister's money. On behalf of Canadians I want to tell him who this money belongs to. It belongs to the hard-pressed Canadian taxpayers. It belongs to Canadian families. It belongs to Canadian businesses and entrepreneurs that create wealth.

Has the finance minister not heard that his budget will be judged this year not by the hot air that surrounds it but by how many dollars it leaves in the pockets of hard-pressed Canadian taxpayers?

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, when we took office the deficit was $42 billion. The surplus the hon. member is referring to is due to the efforts of Canadians. He then goes on to ask whose money it is. Yes, it is the taxpayers'.

I will tell him something else. Our social programs that his party wants to gut, health care, education and old age pension, also belong to Canadians and we will protect them for Canadians.