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House of Commons Hansard #94 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was world.

Topics

Science And TechnologyOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Saint Boniface Manitoba

Liberal

Ronald J. Duhamel LiberalSecretary of State (Science

Mr. Speaker, this is the first rocket that has been launched from Churchill since 1989, launched successfully I might say today at 7:10 a.m. It has a payload of scientific experiments for the Canadian Space Agency. One instrument is called Active and it will analyse the thermal plasma in the atmosphere.

This is good for Canadians. They see the benefits of space exploration. This enhances Canada's image in science and technology throughout the world.

Hepatitis COral Question Period

April 28th, 1998 / 2:50 p.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Reform Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is interesting what this government finds important when Canadian lives are on the line.

My constituents Sherry and Don Fitger met and fell in love in a Calgary hospital following separate car accidents in 1980, but their beautiful love story turned into a horror story. Both Sherry and Don recently discovered they have hepatitis C from poisoned blood they were given at that time. Health care does not cover the cost of the herbal remedies Don and Sherry find effective.

Why is this Liberal government turning its back on innocent victims of tainted blood like Sherry and Don Fitger?

Hepatitis COral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, when Sherry and Don were injected with contaminated blood, there was no possible way, no way at all, that science could have discovered what contaminants were in that blood.

The hon. member has suggested and her colleagues are insisting that governments across the country make cash payments to those who suffer harm or become ill regardless of fault because of risks inherent in the medical system. That is not the responsible or appropriate way to proceed.

The Prichard committee in 1990 said do not do it. Krever said no fault. The Prichard committee said no fault, you cannot compensate unavoidable harm. The deans of the medical faculties agree.

B.C. Mines In Black LakeOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Guy Chrétien Bloc Frontenac—Mégantic, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Minister of Human Resources Development admitted that, of the 250 former employees of the B.C. mine, only 40 to 50 could benefit from his active measures.

Can the minister go one step further and contribute financially to the efforts made by Lab Chrysotile and by the Quebec government to put in place a pre-retirement program for the 200 workers who cannot benefit from his active measures?

B.C. Mines In Black LakeOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I want to be clear. I never said that only 40 to 50 workers could benefit from active measures.

What I said is that, so far, 40 of the 300 miners have already been hired in two other mines. Ten have retired. I said that 40 to 50 are interested in training for other jobs. That training will be given in August and September. Five or six were placed by the workers assistance committee thanks to targeted wage subsidies, and four or five are interested in starting their own businesses—

B.C. Mines In Black LakeOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

The Speaker

The member for Acadie—Bathurst.

The Atlantic Groundfish StrategyOral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, in the Atlantic and along the Gaspé coast there is a crisis in the fishery. The TAGS program is coming to an end. Thousands and thousands of people, including children, will suffer from the cuts in this program.

My question is for the minister of fisheries. Will the government change its mind and extend the TAGS program as Tobin is asking right now, one of your good Liberals?

The Atlantic Groundfish StrategyOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

The Speaker

I will ask you to address the question always through the Chair.

The Atlantic Groundfish StrategyOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, TAGS was originally designed to provide temporary help to individuals in communities in Atlantic Canada that were facing a very difficult situation.

We now realize that there is a problem and the fish are not coming back to the levels we had hoped for and had expected. Our government is working very hard and consulting with the communities and individuals and the province of Newfoundland to identify the right kind of approach to take in this post-TAGS environment.

Hepatitis COral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Scott Brison Progressive Conservative Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals are on their way back to town. My question is for the President of the Treasury Board. How much is this vote on a mere motion going to cost Canadian taxpayers? What are the travel costs to fly ministers, members, other sheep and staff back from their junkets around the globe and return after this vote? Why could those dollars not have been put where they should have gone, to hepatitis C victims?

Instead of earning frequent flyer points perhaps the Liberals could earn points with ordinary Canadians—

Hepatitis COral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

The Speaker

I do not know how this comes under the administrative responsibility of the minister. The hon. member for Nepean—Carleton.

Canadian Armed ForcesOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

David Pratt Liberal Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of National Defence.

In 1993 the 2nd Battalion of the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry serving with the UN in the former Yugoslavia distinguished themselves for their courage under fire during a peacekeeping operation at the Medak pocket.

Will the minister take steps to officially recognize the tremendous work done by the 2nd Battalion under extremely dangerous circumstances and to say thank you for a job well done on behalf of all Canadians?

Canadian Armed ForcesOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian troops who appeared before the defence committee yesterday made a very moving presentation. I would commend all members of this House to familiarize themselves with it.

It is a story where they distinguished themselves under fire. They showed discipline, professionalism and a great deal of courage. We can all be proud of them.

Some of them have already received recognition and received a commendation from the United Nations with respect to this matter. I think the issue now is perhaps more recognition of something about which very little is known. I would certainly agree with that and I am proceeding in that manner.

Hepatitis COral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Reform

Keith Martin Reform Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, 80% of those people who are infected with hepatitis C get liver cancer, become unhealthy and die prematurely. Robert is one of those members in my constituency. Since he has been infected he has lost his house, he has lost his health and he has lost his life.

When the Prime Minister and the Minister of Health talk of fairness and compassion, why is the Prime Minister forcing his members to vote against their conscience, to vote against Robert and to vote against victims like him?

Hepatitis COral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, it is essential that when tragedies such as Robert's happen we as a country provide the finest possible medical care and a health care system that can respond to his needs. That is why cash compensation paid by governments for those harmed without fault should be avoided.

The hon. member for Macleod agreed with that when he said last Thursday “I accept that governments should not pay cash compensation to people who are injured when there is no fault”. I urge the member to consider the position of his colleague.

Hepatitis COral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Independent

John Nunziata Independent York South—Weston, ON

Mr. Speaker, I appeal to Liberal backbenchers to reach deep into their hearts to take a stand—

Hepatitis COral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Hepatitis COral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for York—South Weston.

Hepatitis COral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Independent

John Nunziata Independent York South—Weston, ON

—to help sick and dying fellow Canadians.

Earlier the Minister of Health referred to the ribbon. I want to say to the Minister of Health that the ribbon which people are wearing represents justice and fairness for all innocent victims of hepatitis C.

I want to ask the minister, will he have the courage to wear this ribbon later today?

Hepatitis COral Question Period

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Hepatitis COral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

I urge all hon. members in the name of decorum in the House to abstain from such antics in the future. I would appeal that this type of thing not occur again.

Hepatitis COral Question Period

3:05 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I want to answer the question because for four weeks of House sittings I have stood in my place and I have responded to questions from every corner of this House on a matter of great difficulty.

I have answered those questions to the best of my ability and I avoided being partisan. I avoided being cheap. I avoided emotion.

What we just saw after four weeks of questions and debate debased the House of Commons, debased this process and brought the member into disgrace. He should be ashamed of himself.

The House resumed consideration of the motion and of the amendent.

SupplyGovernment Orders

3:10 p.m.

Reform

Eric C. Lowther Reform Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate your efforts and the challenges you have in the House. I gain appreciation for your position more and more all the time.

To carry on with my speech regarding the Bloc motion, I make reference to a publicity stunt we saw in the House some days back by a Bloc MP who carried his chair out of the House to protest government ineffectiveness in addressing child poverty and the gap between rich and poor. It is interesting that the Bloc comes back with this motion which proposes greater government intervention to address these problems.

However, let us continue to use this illustration or analogy with the chair. We do not need more politicians establishing programs which tell families what kind of, for example, chair they should have, which is what the Bloc seems to be proposing. Rather, this decision should be left to parents. Give them back some of the resources they had so that they may decide what kind and what size of chair they need.

The chair that a child needs is best provided for and decided on by parents. Parents and not government know what kind and size of chair their children need as they grow up. Going from that first chair with the hole in the middle, through the high chair, the stool up to a student's desk, parents are in the best position to make these decisions because they are closest to the children.

Parents know when to make the changes, big governments do not. Big government programs which promote a one size fits all approach serve to diminish the value of the individual and cost more than the benefit they deliver. The responsiveness of government is so slow and delivers a one size fits all solution that it never brings out the best of the individual.

One of the many Reform proposals to assist the family refers to changes to the negative tax treatment of families. We would extend the child care deduction to all parents, including those who care for their children at home, and put this decision in the hands of those closest to their children. Let the parents decide how to raise their children. It seems to make sense. We would increase the spousal amount to level the playing field for parents who choose to stay at home to look after their children and help their families meet the needs of this demanding time we all live in.

Why is this a good idea? Research indicates this is good for children. Polls indicate this is something parents intrinsically know and want. I refer to some polls.

In 1997 a research project done by the National Foundation of Family Research and Education, NFFRE, performed a comprehensive meta-analysis of current research on child development. According to NFFRE the core findings from this meta-analysis are that regular non-parental care for more than 20 hours per week has an unmistakably negative effect on social and emotional development, behaviour adjustment and the emotional bonding of young children to their parents. In addition, the report stated parental care consistently and significantly outperformed regular non-parental care for children prior to five years of age.

This high integrity research makes it clear that the best interests of infants and preschool children are served when they are in full time parent care. For many of us this is a “no brainer”, yet current government policies give tax incentives to institutionalized care but none to parental care. It seems upside down to me. It sends a message to parents that the work they are doing has no value. That is very destructive.

Clearly, parent and family time is important and governments need to respect this if we are to preserve the health and happiness of our homes.

To continue with more poll information and studies that have been done, parents want to make families a priority. I am referring to a national poll conducted by a research firm known as Compass Inc. Fully 94% in this national poll of Canadians identified that lack of time spent with offspring has, at least, a somewhat serious stress on family life.

In 1991 a cross-Canada poll conducted by Decima Research was the most comprehensive poll ever taken of Canadian women. Women were asked: “If you had the choice, would you stay at home to raise your children or work outside your home and use day care?” Not surprisingly, 70% said they would rather stay at home.

In 1997, NFFRE submitted to the Government of Ontario a study it was contracted to do regarding child care. By more than a 10 to 1 margin, 92% of Ontarians said it is preferable for a young child to be at home with a parent than to be in institutionalized day care. They do not see taxpayer funded government programs as being the answer for child care or the child poverty question.

Of parents who had put their children in non-parental care, 77% in this same study indicated they would have preferred to have provided parental care in retrospect.

Let me be clear. No one is proposing that parents have to stay at home to raise their children. That is not what I am saying. But surely the government should not penalize them when they do and that is the reality we are living with today. This is doubly tragic when the polls underline the fact that parents want to stay at home and the research indicates that it is a good idea for the health of the child. Why does our government policy so stringently work against something the people want, which makes so much sense?

Reform wants parents to be allowed to make the choice which best meets the needs of their family without tax unfairness. Unfortunately the government does not seem to get it. In the last budget, for example, it increased the inequity stay-home parents suffer by raising the child care expense deduction by 35%, refusing to recognize any value for stay-home parents. It is tragic. It is actually destructive. It works against families and some children.

I would like to point out that the Bloc motion deals with child poverty in terms of material wealth. As I have indicated, what many Reformers are concerned about is another form of poverty which many children are suffering, the poverty of lack of time with their parents, the lack of a consistent caregiver. I could quote studies of the damage that does and the psychosis that develops in children when caregivers are constantly changed.

Government has done much to add to this kind of poverty by the mega-government, tax and spend, government will fix everything philosophy that this motion subscribes to. We need to focus on the well-being of the family and the whole child within the family; not just the material child, but the child who needs to spend time with their parents; not just the child alone, but the child and the family.

Strong families pass on our culture, language, heritage and values. Strong families train future citizens. In this context let us get it right and always remember that governments make poor parents, but strong Canadian families create good governments.

SupplyGovernment Orders

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, the 1996 national longitudinal survey on the health of children reported that some 25% of all children in Canada have some sort of health, educational or social problem. The member is quite right when he identifies the need for us to invest in children.

He talked about the possibility of extending the child care expense deduction to families who provide care in the home to preschool children and the possibility of a caregiver tax credit which would provide a similar benefit.

There is a bill coming forward on Thursday which deals with splitting income between spouses. There are many ways to deliver these kinds of things.

The member did not touch on probably one of the single largest reasons there is child poverty in Canada and that has to do with the breakdown of the Canadian family. The Vanier Institute reported that lone parent families account for about 12% of all families, but they also account for about 46% of all children living in poverty. I think the numbers are quite prevalent.

It is interesting to note that we talk a lot about child poverty when in fact the real issue is family poverty. Child poverty is a political term. Family poverty is the reality. The family is in crisis in Canada with a 30% divorce rate and over a million common-law relationships which break down 50% more than married relationships. This is leading to broken families and creating a most dangerous environment for our children.

I ask the member whether he has any comments about this other important dimension concerning the manufacture of poverty in Canada by the breakdown of the family.