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House of Commons Hansard #108 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was students.

Topics

Division No. 158Government Orders

1:35 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Bonwick Liberal Simcoe—Grey, ON

That is exactly what is between your ears.

Division No. 158Government Orders

1:35 p.m.

Reform

Jay Hill Reform Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, he had his opportunity to speak. Now he is heckling me, trying to throw me off track when I am trying to drive home the message to the viewing public that there are fallacies contained in his prepared speech that probably came out of the minister's office or the Prime Minister's office and was handed to him a few minutes before he walked into the Chamber.

He stood and read it. If he really wants to debate the millennium fund and how much support it has, then why do we not have a debate about that instead of him standing and reading a prepared speech?

The fact is that the millennium fund is going to be a disgrace. It is going to be a failure. Why? The reason is simple. We pointed it out during the budget debate. I am sure the pages watching this debate today will be interested in this because, once again, what we see is that the Liberal government wants to differentiate between Canadians. It wants to set up two classes, just as it has on the hepatitis C issue. It wants to have two classes of victims. It will compensate some of the people. The government says it is a caring government, that it will compensate the post-1986 victims. The ones between 1986 and 1990 will be compensated, but the ones before will not be compensated.

The hon. member across the way who just spoke was bragging about how the millennium fund will help 100,000 students. Is that not great? But the fact of the matter is that there 1.6 million post-secondary students: 400,000 are full time students and the rest are part time students. Do the math. The students are doing the math: 100,000 out of 400,000.

Once again this Liberal government wants to differentiate. Which will be the lucky quarter of the full time students who will get the scholarships? The government will decide which of those young students will get the scholarships. If they belong to the Young Liberals of Canada they might get a scholarship. Somehow the government is going to differentiate and decide who gets the scholarships.

That is not totally true. The hon. member who spoke before me said that there is going to be one student on the board. I am sure the government can find one Liberal student, but after this maybe not.

The fact is, there is no budget surplus to help Canadians in a unified way because of the false accounting practices of this government. That is the fact. This millennium fund is the latest example of that. The finance minister has put $2.5 billion into the 1998 budget. He has built it in, but he has not spent the money yet. The money will be spent down the road.

The auditor general on March 18 responded to a threatening letter from finance officials by saying “I believe the change will open the door for governments to influence reporting results by simply announcing intentions in their budgets and then deciding what to include in the deficit or surplus after the end of the year once preliminary numbers are known”.

The facts are very clear. The government is trying to separate students. It is trying to pit student against student. Very clearly during the last election campaign, and we are nearing the first anniversary of this new government since the June 2 election a year ago, we laid out our plan on how we would help all students. We did not hear anything back then about a millennium fund. This is something that the government has come up with to pit student against student. It will help a quarter of them. What about the other three-quarters who are seeing tuition costs rising?

The fact is, these students cannot afford huge increases in the cost of obtaining their education. The Liberal government with its millennium fund is effectively bringing down a subsidy for people like Bill Gates because of the huge brain drain of our brightest young students. They get their education here and end up going to work for companies like Microsoft. The richest man in the world is getting a subsidy courtesy of the Liberal government because it has refused to address fundamental issues like high taxes that drive our young people away from our country to seek employment in the United States where taxes are more reasonable.

That is a fundamental issue that this government is not addressing and the government refuses to address it.

Division No. 158Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, I was looking forward to address this issue, but not under these circumstances. Shame on the government for moving time allocation. Why? Because this bill makes no sense and it knows it. This is obvious in Quebec, where there is a consensus against the bill.

The federal government has taken a very drastic approach to reducing the deficit by cutting transfer payments for health, education and welfare. At the same time, by tightening eligibility requirements for employment insurance benefits, it ensured that the employment insurance fund would grow; it will soon contain $19 billion. This is an extremely harsh and severe bite.

What is the federal government doing with the bite taken out of transfer payments to the provinces, now that it has reached zero deficit? It has given a $2.5 billion budget to a private sector foundation responsible for distributing scholarship cheques, with a little maple leaf in the corner and the Prime Minister's signature at the bottom I guess.

The truth of the matter is that, in Quebec, these drastic cuts in education have turned universities into institutions where it is increasingly difficult to receive quality education, not because teachers and students are not doing their best, but rather because the conditions they are facing are increasingly difficult.

There have been countless wage cuts, job cuts, student-teacher ratio increases, budget cuts for research, labs, while all of these are essential to quality education.

What is the point of having $3,000 scholarships after the year 2000, when the system itself has been hurt and impaired? It is so shameful that there is a consensus in Quebec—which is even echoed across the country—that the federal government has no business in this area. This is an ill-conceived project. The government must give back to Quebec the money earmarked for education, so that the province can help students pursue their education through its own loans and scholarships program.

The federal initiative makes no sense. It is despicable and shameful, as well as wasteful. In this day and age, it is unacceptable to waste money in education just to satisfy the Prime Minister's vanity.

Why am I so convinced that it is a waste? For a reason that I will try to make clear. Under the legislation, scholarships will be awarded based on merit to help the best students, not those who most need the money so they can become successful, but those who are the best students and are also in need.

This is not the policy that was developed in Quebec over the years. It is not even the policy that was developed in the other provinces and applied by the federal government, but this is another issue.

In Quebec, we chose a system that help students in need who, of course, also make the grade. What does a needs-based system mean? It means that a completely different structure will have to be built. Criteria will have to be set for each subject, to determine who are the best students, how many there are and how to go about it.

A burdensome bureaucracy will have to be put in place. Even though it is a private foundation, it will be burdensome and bureaucratic, because there is no other way to determine who are the best students. Even the system currently in place in Quebec would become a lot more burdensome and would have to undergo major changes if it were to use criteria based on merit, in addition to those based on needs.

The system is not designed for that, nor are the universities or the student loan system. This is wasteful. It means that every dollar of the $2.5 billion, and of the portion to which Quebec is entitled but has no certainty of getting anyway, will not go to student aid. This is totally scandalous.

The Liberals, who made such slashes to welfare, health and education, and have padded the employment insurance fund, are patting themselves on the back that this hard earned money will go, not to education, but to stroke the ego of the Prime Minister of Canada.

This Canadian Millennium Scholarship Foundation is unacceptable in every way. What an image it gives of federalism. A few days before the referendum, our Prime Minister said he would take Quebec's needs into account. What an image. What discouragement about today's federalism, if the division of power under the Constitution makes it so hard for the central government to perform its functions that it must also assume the functions of the provinces.

It is not content with the way things are, not satisfied, so it decides to see that the provinces' educational systems follow the line it sets. Come now, this makes no sense because when it comes to getting the best use of funds, each level of government has its responsibilities and must exercise them. In other words, I repeat, it would require one more bureaucracy—and this is already happening, as people have been hired.

What recourse will students or universities have? None at all. How will Quebec be sure of having its share? It will not. Public money and officials will be administered by a private foundation under criteria that it will set for itself according to the very broad principles in the law.

We are concerned, I note in passing, about the following in the bill: “The appointment of directors shall be made so as to ensure that ( a ) the Board is knowledgeable about post-secondary education”, that should go without saying, “and learning in Canada and the needs of the Canadian economy; and ( b ) the directors are drawn from the various regions of Canada.” University scholarships awarded on the basis of merit must not be given out according to the state of the Canadian economy, but according to the needs of the individual societies.

Why did we in Quebec choose to have an assistance plan based on need and to ensure access to university to just about everyone with the ability? Because we think merit is encouraged by the conditions of use and not because scholarships are given out on the basis of merit. I think that the results indicate that we in Quebec made the right choice.

Now the federal government is dismantling and derailing a system that worked well. It is doing so in two ways. First it dangerously underfunded it and now it has just introduced new factors for which it will be spending money that would be infinitely better spent where it should rightly go. That is, to the educational system, to assistance and as loans and scholarships to needy students.

Division No. 158Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Maurice Dumas Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, when it brought down its budget last February, the government once again demonstrated its lack of respect for the institutions and mechanisms developed by the people of Quebec during the quiet revolution.

By creating millennium scholarships, the Liberal government is once again poking its nose into a jurisdiction that belongs exclusively to Quebec, in this case education.

It is rather ironic to see the Prime Minister of Canada trying to sell the Canadian Constitution to Quebeckers and to Canadians, when his own government is not even able to respect it. Section 93 of the Constitution Act, 1867, recognizes Quebec's exclusive jurisdiction over education, and the millennium fund is an unprecedented intrusion into this area of provincial jurisdiction.

In 1964, the government of Lester B. Pearson suggested making interest-free loans available to Canadian students. When this federal education subsidy was opposed by Jean Lesage, a Liberal, the Pearson government then wisely declared that, if a province preferred to stick with its own loans program, it would be entitled to equivalent compensation. So said a Liberal. The government of the day had tried unsuccessfully to interfere in the area of education. The right to opt out of student financial assistance programs with compensation has existed since 1964.

Will the Liberal government be as fair a player in 1998? Knowing that paragraphs 29(1) and 25(2) of Bill C-36 are designed to block the transfer to the Government of Quebec of its fair share for opting out of the millennium fund, one could have one's doubts. In order to have access to the program, Quebec will have to embark on a series of long and pointless negotiations in a field where it has already proven itself.

Worse yet, in order to deny Quebec its right to opt out with compensation, the federal government has decided to create a foundation outside regular federal programs. The federal government's imperialist attitude is beyond all understanding.

Why interfere in Quebec's loans and bursaries program when it is the most advanced in Canada? Quebec has built up an effective and vigorous loans and bursaries program that is the envy of students in other provinces.

Why, just when the federal government has reduced its deficit to zero, is the Minister of Finance rushing to create additional federal-provincial duplication and again wasting taxpayers' money? Now that it again has money to spend, the federal government is spending it in provincial jurisdictions.

Division No. 158Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

My colleague, you will have more than six minutes to conclude your speech, but it being almost 2 p.m., the House will now proceed to statements by members.

Algonguin Secondary School In North BayStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, this year marks the 30th anniversary of Algonquin secondary school in North Bay, my alma mater.

During the Victoria Day weekend, or the Fête de Dollard weekend depending on one's point of view, an organizing committee masterfully directed by Carole Laperrière, née Martineau, managed to bring together hundreds of Algonquin graduates from across the country.

This secondary school, which was originally called the bilingual school, was one of the first schools of its kind to be established in Ontario following the adoption of Bill 168, introduced by the then Minister of Education, the hon. Bill Davis.

This school has an important role to play in preserving and promoting the French language and culture in that part of Ontario.

Long live Algonquin secondary school, its students, its staff and its alumni.

Oliver, B.C.Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Reform

Jim Gouk Reform West Kootenay—Okanagan, BC

Mr. Speaker, the riding of West Kootenay—Okanagan is one of the most scenic and beautiful in Canada. One of the jewels of the riding is the town of Oliver in the Okanagan Valley. Oliver recently made the news under the caption “the hate capital of Canada”. This was the result of one inappropriate remark by an individual concerned about the racist content of an Internet service in Oliver which has since shut down.

In actual fact the remark is about as far from the truth as possible. Oliver is a warm and friendly blend of just about every racial origin imaginable. Population groups include aboriginal people, Portuguese and East Indian with lesser numbers of other European, Asian and Latin American people.

From June 19 to 21 Oliver will be holding its sunshine festival. This year will feature a multicultural celebration. I invite all Canadians to visit Oliver this summer, especially during the festival. Visitors will find orchards, vineyards, warm beaches and some of the finest wineries in Canada or abroad. Even more important, they will find a warm and friendly local population that will go out of its way to make sure visitors have a wonderful and memorable stay.

Dr. Russell McDonaldStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

John Finlay Liberal Oxford, ON

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate my good friend Dr. Russell McDonald of Oxford county on his being named an honorary director for life of the royal agricultural winter fair. Dr. McDonald, or Rusty as he is better known, has served as a member of the board of directors for the winter fair for the past 20 years. A veterinarian by profession, Rusty served on the board as a representative of the artificial insemination industry. He is one of the founders and a former general manager of the Western Ontario Breeders Association. His appointment as an honorary lifetime director recognizes his achievements and contribution to agricultural and to the royal over many years.

I am happy to say that I know Rusty and his wife Helen well. This honour is well deserved. I am sure the royal agricultural winter fair will benefit from his knowledge and experience for years to come. Well done, Rusty.

ApecStatements By Members

May 25th, 1998 / 2 p.m.

Liberal

Sophia Leung Liberal Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Finance Minister of Canada hosted a conference for 21 APEC finance ministers from May 22 to May 24 in Kananaskis, Alberta. They discussed a global financial strategy for coping with the Asian crisis. With vision and leadership, the Minister of Finance made a proposal for a global mechanism to monitor the financial and banking system of the world. The G-8 leaders have recently endorsed such a plan. Again, our government is taking leadership in providing a solution for a global crisis.

NotemakersStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, notemakers, a pilot initiative of Industry Canada's SchoolNet program, employs youth to help colleges and universities meet the challenge of the information highway. Funded by the Canada youth employment strategy, this initiative combines the Internet skills of young Canadians with the knowledge and experience of university and college educators to produce high quality post-secondary learnware.

Notemakers helps our youth gain marketable work experience that they can transfer to jobs in Canada's emerging knowledge economy. I saw this firsthand when the University of Prince Edward Island participated in the last competition. Three full time positions were created as a result of the notemakers program. Universities and colleges benefit and Canada benefits as a whole.

Success from the first competition has led this government to open a second competition. Interested universities and colleges have until June 2, 1998 to submit their proposals. I encourage them to take advantage of notemakers and build for tomorrow.

IrelandStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Reform

Jason Kenney Reform Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, on Friday the people of Ireland took a brave step toward a future of peace and away from their violent past. By voting to endorse the Good Friday agreement in overwhelming numbers, both Unionists and Nationalists of the north together with the citizens of the Irish Republic have said no more to the men of violence. They have chosen instead to develop democratic institutions where people from both sides of the sectarian divide can work together in civility and where their still profound differences can be resolved by ballots and not bombs.

Let us not be misled that this is the beginning and not the end of the peace process. Millions of Canadians like me are either descendants or immigrants from Ireland. On behalf of all Canadians we join them in praying that last Friday's agreement may be the beginning of a lasting peace in Ireland.

Ecumenical PatriarchStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

John Cannis Liberal Scarborough Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour and a privilege to welcome to our capital city His All Holiness, the Ecumenical Patriarch, Bartholomew the First, spiritual leader of all Orthodox Christians worldwide. This is indeed an historic visit for it is the first time in the history of Christianity that an Ecumenical Patriarch visits Canada.

His All Holiness is the 270th successor to the Apostle Andrew. Since his ascending to the ecumenical throne on November 2, 1991, he has tirelessly pursued the vision of his enthronement message which is spiritual renewal, orthodox unity, Christian reconciliation, interfaith tolerance and co-existence, protection of the environment and a world united in peace, justice, solidarity and love.

Known to Europe as the Green Patriarch, His All Holiness has taken the lead among all religious leaders in his concerns for the environment. We here in Canada not only applaud but support this endeavour wholeheartedly.

Time does not permit me to go on in great detail about his achievements but let me just say in closing we welcome him to Canada and I am sure his stay will be a memorable one.

Missing Children DayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, today is Missing Children Day.

This special day is an opportunity to educate Canadians about what they can do to protect their children from becoming the victims of crime.

It is also an opportunity for all Canadians to recognize the outstanding work of law enforcement agencies and other partners in finding missing children.

Under our missing children's program, the RCMP's missing children's registry in partnership with Revenue Canada's international project return, the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and the Department of Citizenship and Immigration has helped to search for, locate and return missing children.

In 1997 alone customs and immigration assisted in the safe recovery of 111 children at the border, a 28% increase from 1996. A key element of this government's public safety mandate—

Missing Children DayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca.

Head Start ProgramStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Reform

Keith Martin Reform Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, programs from Moncton to Hawaii to Michigan all demonstrate that early intervention programs improve parenting skills, healthy babies, and reduce substance abuse and crime.

They have shown a reduction of 50% in crime, 40% in teen pregnancies, less dependence on welfare and a much more productive life for these individuals.

Today we are going to vote on Motion No. 261, a motion which calls for a national head start program.

If we are to win the battle against crime, teen pregnancies, fetal alcohol syndrome and provide our children with the tools to become functional members in an increasingly hostile world, a head start program will do just that. It will give parents the tools to enable their children to grow up in an environment free of rancour and abuse.

So far five provinces and territories are on side. I implore the House to vote for Motion No. 261 to work together with the provinces and build a stronger, secure and safe environment for all our children.

David LevineStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Louis Plamondon Bloc Richelieu, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister of Canada has been unworthy of his functions again. Instead of condemning without reservation the intolerant reaction against the appointment of David Levine as head of the Ottawa Hospital, he launched an attack against the Quebec government which he accuses of all evils.

In the Levine case, the Prime Minister should have reminded Canadians that freedom of opinion is a fundamental right for everybody. Instead of doing his duty, he preferred to engage in partisan politics and to contribute directly to the climate of intolerance that has developed in the Canadian capital.

The Bloc Quebecois hopes that in the future the Prime Minister will state clearly that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms applies to all without discrimination.

IrelandStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Pat O'Brien Liberal London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, on Friday, May 22 the people of Ireland opened the door to peace in their beautiful island.

Both in the north and south the Irish people voted decisively to end the tragic era of brutal violence and sectarian hatred and to move forward in peace. Both in the Republic of Ireland and in Northern Ireland the results of the voting demonstrate clearly that people of good will in Ireland are united in their desire for peace, equality and justice for all.

As Canadians we can understand very well the compromise that was necessary in Ireland to reach a peace accord which has been so overwhelmingly endorsed by the Irish people.

As Canadians we are proud of the good work being done by General John De Chastelaine. We join with peace loving people everywhere in applauding the historic breakthrough just achieved in Ireland. We pray that this historic and courageous first step will succeed in creating an enduring peace throughout all of Ireland.

Missing ChildrenStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Michelle Dockrill NDP Bras D'Or, NS

Mr. Speaker, 19 years ago this morning a six-year old boy left home to catch a school bus and disappeared. His name was Etan Patz. He is still missing but he has not been forgotten. In 1986 the Canadian Government declared May 25 national missing children's day in commemoration of Etan and the thousands of children like him who have disappeared without a trace.

To honour and remember those children and their families still grieving over their loss, the Missing Children Society of Canada asks all Canadians to participate in the third annual light the way home campaign. The society asks all Canadians to turn on their porch lights this evening as a sign of solidarity. Through this simple act we show the families of the missing that they are not forgotten. We shine the lights, expressing our hope that some of these children will find their way home.

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Nick Discepola Liberal Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, 125 years ago this month the House of Commons adopted a law that created the North-West Mounted Police, the forerunner to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Originally the RCMP was established as a frontier police force which went west to prepare the way for a peaceful development of the prairies. As the country grew in population and its communities became more established, the RCMP adapted and expanded its jurisdiction.

Today the Mounties and their proud record of service are recognized throughout the world.

I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to all those men and women who have dedicated their whole life with honour and pride to the protection of their fellow Canadians.

I am sure all members in the House will join me in congratulating the RCMP for having reached this turning point in the history of this country and in wishing its members all the best in keeping their commitment to the security of all Canadians.

Congratulations to all members of the RCMP.

Quebec FlagStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski—Mitis, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, in Quebec, thousands of people marked the 50th anniversary of the Quebec flag.

Adopted in 1948 by the government, the flag was well received by the people. The Gazette even pointed out that the Fleur de Lys “takes heraldic data into account and is an emblem of exceptional beauty”.

At the beginning of the quiet revolution, the Fleur de Lys became the symbol of Quebec's distinctiveness and desire to achieve self-determination. Today, Quebeckers of all political stripes feel that their flag is the symbol of a pluralist community open to the world and that continues, as the Council of Europe pointed out, to be an example to follow in the treatment of minorities.

Since respect for one another is the rule in Quebec, the Bloc Quebecois is confident that the Fleur de Lys will remain for all Quebeckers a symbol of rallying and tolerance and a guarantee of the freedom of speech and opinion.

Yarmouth Ferry ServiceStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Mark Muise Progressive Conservative West Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, on May 28 the Yarmouth tourism officials along with local businesses will celebrate the beginning a new high speed ferry service between Yarmouth and Bar Harbour, Maine.

Bay Ferries Ltd., led by President Mitch McLean, has taken over the services previously provided by Marine Atlantic, replacing the old Bluenose ferry with a high speed catamaran capable of carrying 900 passengers and 250 vehicles.

This new ferry is capable of reaching speeds of 90 kilometres per hour, reducing the length of the crossing from 6 hours to 2.5 hours, making West Nova a much more attractive destination area for our U.S. neighbours. It is anticipated that this new service will create 400 tourism related jobs and generate $15 million in direct economic spinoffs.

As May is officially designated national tourism month, I take this opportunity to wish Bay Ferries Ltd. every success with its huge endeavour and at the same time welcome all members of this House to vacation in my beautiful constituency of West Nova.

Forex PlantStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Robert Bertrand Liberal Pontiac—Gatineau—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, May 20 marked the opening of the FOREX plant, a major wood panel plant in the municipality of Bois-Franc, in the Haute-Gatineau region.

This project will create 325 jobs for plant and forestry workers and give a boost to the whole region that I represent.

I am proud that the Canadian government has contributed $1.2 million to this project for manpower training programs.

The FOREX plant will require a $120 million investment, which will make it one of the most important in the world for the production of oriented strand panels.

This is another issue that shows that our government is committed to help Quebec regions and to ensure the development of such a strategic area in terms of the exploitation and processing of our natural resources.

Hepatitis COral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Reform Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has insulted all the victims with hepatitis C from tainted blood by comparing them to people who contracted hepatitis C from dirty needles. Hepatitis C from dirty needles is off the street and hepatitis C from tainted blood is actually from government approved blood.

Will the Deputy Prime Minister apologize today to those victims with hepatitis C from tainted blood?

Hepatitis COral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has raised an interesting question. The important thing to note is that there is a working group of officials from all the provinces and the federal government looking at options in this matter. They are working to develop fair solutions. We should allow them to do their work. We invite the co-operation of all Canadians with this working group.

Hepatitis COral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Reform Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister does not get it and I guess the Deputy Prime Minister does not get it. This blood was tainted. It is quite different from getting hepatitis C from dirty needles.

I again ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will apologize to these victims of hepatitis C who did absolutely nothing wrong.