House of Commons Hansard #102 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was workers.


The House resumed from May 7 consideration of Bill C-19, an act to amend the Canada Labour Code (Part I) and the Corporations and Labour Unions Returns Act and to make consequential amendments to other acts, as reported (with amendment) from the committee; and of Motions Nos. 6, 7, 8 and 30.

Canada Labour CodeGovernment Orders

10:05 a.m.


Lee Morrison Reform Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise to speak to the Group No. 2 amendments to Bill C-19. First I will address one of the most important amendments which has come forward on this bill. It is proposed in the interests of maintaining democracy and protecting the rights of workers.

The Canada Labour Code states that the board may order a representational vote on union certification to satisfy itself that the workers want a union. Our amendment calls for the board to, without exception, hold a representational vote when 35% of the employees sign cards indicating they want union certification. This amendment would ensure that the wishes of the majority of workers in a workplace are upheld.

Closely related to that amendment is our Motion No. 30 which would do away with the intent of Bill C-19 to allow the CIRB to certify a union even when there is no evidence of majority support if the board believes in its wisdom that there is sufficient support to justify certification. This turns democracy and labour relations upside down.

The determination of under what conditions this certification would be allowed would be entirely in the hands of the CIRB. Bureaucrats rule. We have seen in the sovereign province of Ontario what happens when there is this type of labour legislation. The Wal-Mart case in Windsor is an example of what would happen in federally regulated industries if Bill C-19 were to pass without amendment.

To refresh the memory of hon. members, the Ontario Labour Relations Board ruled that Wal-Mart agreed to certify the union even though the employees at the Windsor store voted 151 to 43 against it. That was in May 1997. The board contended that Wal-Mart had pressured the employees to vote against the union with threats that the store would close if it were unionized. Now the employees are fighting to get rid of their union and a decertification drive is under way. Why should they have to go through that?

That brings up another problem with Bill C-19. There is no provision in the bill for secret ballots. If there were a provision for secret ballots, both in certification and in strike votes, then there would be no problem with questions of pressure being applied to workers because nobody would know how they voted. The people of Canada who send us here have a secret ballot when choosing their representatives.

In the meat and potatoes issue of who is going to represent them at the bargaining table, we do not and will not extend the voting privilege by secret ballot to working people regarding whether or not they want to certify union A , union B or none of the above. Whatever happened to freedom of association in this country? This is an absurdity.

The bill has another related anti-democratic measure which was partially smoothed over in committee, but not to the extent that it is yet acceptable to the Reform Party, and that is the requirement that employers must provide union organizers during a certification drive not only with the names of their employees, which is certainly fair ball, but also with their phone numbers and addresses.

If someone was bucking union certification in their workplace would they want their phone number or their address to be made public?

We went through this sort of thing in this country about 50 years ago when the Liberal government of the day, in its wisdom, brought Hal Banks into Canada to break the seamen's union and to set up a union more to the satisfaction of the Canadian government.

It got the names and addresses of the members. There were seafarers who had their legs broken. There were even captains of vessels, who were not directly involved because they did not have to belong to the union, but because they were suspect of having taken the wrong side they were beaten up. The goons knew where everybody could be found.

I know we have come a long way in the last 40 or 50 years. There is not the extent of union goonism now that there was in those days and it is not protected, aided and abetted by our federal government. Nevertheless, it still happens.

Anyone who has worked in forestry, anyone who has had anything to do particularly with the ports of this country, knows that people still have to watch their step if they do not want to get their nose smashed. That is the way it is.

We in this House should be realistic enough to appreciate that the whole world does not live in the little gilded cage that we inhabit on Parliament Hill. Things get rough out there in the real world.

We should not be setting people up to be in a position where they have to step up and say “Yes, we agree” in order to protect themselves and their families. That is nuts.

It is a privacy issue. Even the privacy commissioner, our late, lamented privacy commissioner who is no longer with us, said that this is a very clear invasion of privacy. It is anti-democratic.

Bill C-19 now has been partially ameliorated. It says that the employer does not absolutely have to provide this information because the employee can take the initiative and go to the employer and say “Please don't give them this information”.

This in itself sets him up because then, in the workplace, that worker can be fingered. They can say “Hey, he did not want us to know where he lives. He did not want us to know his phone number. Why?” It is a bit of a half-step, but it does not nearly go far enough.

Those are the big problems with certification without majority support. I do not know who on earth came up with that stroke of genius.

I have carried a union card. I imagine there are other members of this House who have carried a union card. I swear to God if I had ever been confronted with a situation like that where a group of bureaucrats said “that union is going to represent you and you have no choice in the matter” I would not have been a happy camper. If we do not get rid of any other bad features of this bill, and they are legion, surely by passing Motion No. 30 we can get rid of that one.

The final thing I would like to mention is final selection arbitration. We have been promoting this very strongly in the debates on this bill and I will not go into the details as I am sure the House is now familiar with them.

We have a strike coming up in the very near future with the air traffic controllers. They are ready to hit the bricks at NavCan. They and NavCan management are so far apart there is absolutely no possibility of reaching an agreement without outside interference. As usual, both sides of the debate are sitting there waiting and hoping the federal government will save their bacon by passing back to work legislation when it happens; the old routine. They can snarl and growl and start the strike but the federal government will come to the rescue.

If we had final offer selection arbitration this sort of thing could not happen, would not happen. The parties could freely negotiate and at the end of the day it would be settled by arbitrators and life would go on without a lot of difficulty.

Canada Labour CodeGovernment Orders

10:15 a.m.


Bill Gilmour Reform Nanaimo—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, I begin by describing some of my background because I believe it helps.

In my life before coming to parliament I worked in the forest industry for 25 years, largely in labour-management situations, the IWA being the major union, but there were other strong union areas. Port Alberni within my riding has been a strong union town for many years. The people there have been well paid. The union has served them extremely well. I can recall approximately 15 years ago when Port Alberni was in the top two and for about five years in the top five per capital income in Canada largely because of the unions.

The unions have served people particularly well. However, this legislation in my view tears some of that down. First and foremost, unions must represent their people. This bill would allow the certification of a union without that representative vote, without 50% of the people within the union saying they want to do this. If we go back to unions 50 or 60 years ago there were a lot of tactics involved.

I recall talking to some of the older people in Alberni when if they were not on the right side of the union a rake could be dragged down the side of their car or their child could come home with a bloody nose because of what dad did. Those were the old style tactics.

But this bill does not address the real issues. With the old bill, the old ways, people had to certify for a vote. The union cards had to go forward, they had to sign and say they want to certify a union. Unfortunately this new bill will bypass that situation where the labour board thinks that there may be a situation, just perception, and then we end up with a union. We end up with a union the workers may not want.

I am baffled. Whose interest is this supposed to serve? In my view unions were to serve the employees they represented. This portion of the bill would undo that because clearly, as in the Wal-Mart case, the majority of the employees did not want to be unionized.

I would also like to address essential services because there are a number of facets in this bill.

One of the issues we always get depends on how vocal the item is. We all are familiar with our local municipal strikes. The first thing that does not get picked up is the garbage.

That is a very good tactic because it is visible, it is right out front. However, if there is an issue that is not visible and not up front, it can be causing the same pain but people do not see it. There has to be some provision for an essential service, and I will go back to my home province of B.C. If the B.C. ferries go on strike for an extended period of time, that is a major disruption in people's lives, particularly on the island. There needs to be some way to address these issues.

Reform Motion No. 7 calls for the board to hold a representative vote when 35% of the employees sign cards indicating they want a union. We believe that is fair and reasonable because it upholds the majority position of the union.

On Motion No. 30, the bill would allow the CIRB to certify a union even if there is no evidence of majority support, and this is if the board believes there would have been support had it not been for unfair labour practice. This is the Wal-Mart case.

The determination of what constitutes an unfair practice is simply left up to the board. Again we have a group of people, somewhat untouchable, deciding the fate. We feel this is wrong.

In the Wal-Mart case we have talked about many times it was 151 to 43 against certifying yet the government certified.

These are a number of areas we will be talking about today. My colleagues and I will push this issue because we feel it is paramount. It indicates the pushiness of this government, the unfeeling nature where it wants to push. It is not just in labour. It is in Senate appointments, it is in the backbench Liberals being told to jump up. It is an attitude of the way people should be represented. The Reform way is distinctly different from the Liberal way.

Canada Labour CodeGovernment Orders

10:20 a.m.


Eric C. Lowther Reform Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to speak to these amendments on Bill C-19.

My thrust today is going to be from an employer's perspective. There are a lot of people in this House who are concerned about the worker perspective, but what about the employer's perspective? We have heard some comments on that, sort of painting that a bit, but let us go a little further with that for a few moments.

I think a good case to illustrate the danger of some of these amendments is the Wal-Mart case we have been alluding to, but let us take that case and put it in a broader perspective.

In that case a number of employees were working to certify a union and have a union within the Wal-Mart operation. With these amendments the situation that employer finds himself in is that he is now asked by the board if he will potentially shut down the operation if a union is certified.

That employer finds himself in a very difficult situation. He consults with his own legal counsel and he is told if he says yes, there is a problem because he will be perceived to have taken a position that is intimidating the employees and therefore that position will be used to justify certifying a union even when less than the majority of the employees support doing so. So it might not be a good idea to say yes because now no matter what they vote, as long as over 35% of the people are in support of it, there will be a union. If he says yes that will be perceived to be intimidation tactics against the membership or against the employees.

The other option he could be advised to do would be to say he is not in support, he will not shut down the operation. If he takes that position he also runs the risk that should at some point in the future his situation change so that he cannot continue to operate without some sort of temporary closure or a long term closure, he has now opened himself up for all kinds of legal liability, lawsuits and persecution in the courts.

Therefore he cannot say yes, he cannot say no. What can he say? He can say no comment. That is what was said in the Wal-Mart scenario, “we are not going to make any comment, we are not sure what we are going to do”. It would seem that would be safe ground, but the amazing thing is that the labour board took that no comment and interpreted that as a statement of intimidation.

When an employer takes the no comment position they are still perceived to be intimidating their employees. This really underlines our concerns about how this section can be misused. This is a perfect example. It is the reason why so many of us are bringing this forward to the House and to Canadians in general. We have a clear case where the employer has no room to move, no matter what position he takes.

Who is this employer really concerned about? Who is he trying to meet the needs of? We paint these employers as if somehow they have some grudge against their employees. That is certainly not the case, in particular with this operation. These are employers who are concerned about the livelihood of their employees, their families. They want to make sure there is a viable operation for years hence.

Yet we have a labour board that puts these employers in an absolutely no win situation. It is that kind of thrust that has concerned Reformers in a variety of arenas, not just this case.

Those who would support this kind of amendment are those people who feel government is going to solve all our problems and if we could just get more government we would solve all our problems. They put their faith in government which is a big mistake.

Here is a micro example of the theme that runs through our current state in Canada again and again of those who say “I trust the government. I trust the labour board. I trust these people to always look after our best interests”. That is abdicating our responsibility.

We have been a nation founded on people taking their responsibility and acting on it. These amendments, in particular the ones that say less than the majority of employees can express their will and impose that will on the majority of the employees by not requiring a majority vote, totally usurp the history and tradition we have of Canadians taking responsibility, being able to express their own personal desires, let those desires be reflected in a vote and with the majority of support move ahead on that basis. These amendments are totally counter to that kind of thrust.

That is the basis for a very serious concern on the part of Reformers and will continue to be the concern of Reformers on this bill and any other kind of legislation that comes forward from this government. This party is representing grassroots Canadians who remember their history and who are concerned about having their country hijacked by an overzealous bureaucracy which feels it knows best without listening to grassroots Canadians. These grassroots Canadians have shaped our policies and put us here in the House of Commons. They are fighting to get their country back from an overzealous bureaucracy and the ones I have met and know are not going to give up.

Canada Labour CodeGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.


Grant McNally Reform Dewdney—Alouette, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to engage in the debate on Bill C-19 and the amendments before us.

I listened intently to my hon. colleague. I am in agreement with a number of the comments he made in regard to the Group No. 2 amendments that we are discussing. We are discussing important amendments to an important bill.

I would like to focus first on Motion No. 6. Procedures and scheduling problems needlessly prolong board decisions. Motion No. 6 that the Bloc has put forward relates to that. The bill streamlines the Canada Industrial Relations Board's procedures by allowing it to make decisions without oral hearings.

Often a number of briefs are presented which are quite complicated and have quite a lot of information in them. At this stage it is necessary that individuals have an opportunity to follow up on those briefs, to ask questions and to further explore through an oral hearing exactly what the information is that is being put forward. Without the opportunity to have an oral hearing and to simply rely on the written word without a chance to follow up, we do not have an opportunity to fully disclose the information available and make a good decision.

We see that in this place in our committee meetings. We receive a written brief. We go through the written brief. Witnesses come before us. We do not simply decide on the written brief. We look at all the information that is presented. Often a witness will read the brief to us and then we have an opportunity to ask the witness questions.

The same kind of situation should apply to the Canada Industrial Relations Board. It is wise to be able to follow up and ask questions on the information presented in those briefs. Without doing that, we are asking people to wade through a mountain of documents and to come to a decision without any input from the individuals who have written the information.

We need the opportunity for an oral hearing. It will help expedite some of the minor cases and will streamline the process. In the end it should save taxpayer dollars. We think that particular amendment by our colleagues in the Bloc goes too far. We need the opportunity for oral hearings.

I want to talk about Motion No. 7 which is a Reform motion, a democracy related motion. The Canada Labour Code states that the board may order a representational vote on union certification to satisfy itself that the workers want the union. Our amendment calls for the board to hold a representational vote when 35% of the employees sign cards indicating they want union certification.

This amendment ensures the wishes of the majority are upheld. We are talking about democracy and a bill that is going to put something in place that affects a great number of workers. As a member of a number of different unions I have had the opportunity to voice my concerns to my union representative and even further than that in a democratic way.

This amendment would certainly ensure that the wishes of the majority are upheld. How can we even argue that upholding the will of the majority is something that would not be a positive? Of course it is a positive and something that definitely needs to be added to the bill. That is why I speak in strong support of Motion No. 7.

In regard to Motion No. 8, there should be a vote of the majority of the members in the employers group before action is taken. Bloc Motion No. 8 would weaken the employers association. It is a common practice for a group of employers to join forces and have one agent represent them in negotiations, which only makes sense. At the same time, of course, the amendment removes the requirement that the board must satisfy itself that the employer representative is no longer qualified to act in that capacity before revoking the appointment.

The amendment being proposed by our colleagues in the Bloc provides for the automatic removal of the employer rep upon the receipt of an application from one or more of the employers in the group and the appointment of a new representative.

In terms of Motion No. 30, we support this amendment which we are bringing forward. The bill allows the Canada Industrial Relations Board to certify a union even if there is no evidence of majority support if the board believes there would have been support had it not been for the employer's unfair labour practices. The determination of what constitutes an unfair labour practice is left up to the CIRB.

I would like to go back to the issue of democracy and talk a little bit about some of my experiences as a union member. This is an important bill and changes have not been made for I believe 25 years to the act. If the government is intent on making changes, it is imperative that it make changes that are positive. In making those changes it should take the time and effort to ensure that it is a bill that is positive for both employers and employees, that it is fair, democratic and represents the wishes of the majority.

Some of the information related here in these motions under Group No. 2 are of concern. I mentioned this earlier in my speech but I would like to go back to it because it is at the crux of the issue. The most important and crucial part of the bill is democracy. Rather than go on to other points, I would like to continue to focus on the democracy aspect of Motion No. 7.

When I was a union member, on occasion situations arose where there was unrest in terms of labour negotiations, contract settlements and whatnot. Fortunately with every union I was a part of, the employer group that worked with the union was able to resolve the issues it had and was able to go on with a harmonious working relationship. A key thing in any bill having to do with labour relations is that the employee group and the employer are able to work together to solve any disputes they might have in a way that continues on that working relationship with the employee group and the employer.

In many cases we have seen friction which has affected the relationship between the employer group and the employees. If there are going to be changes to the bill, time needs to be taken in order to work out all of the amendments in all parts of the bill so that it works in a very effective way.

I will conclude by saying that democracy is very important and Motion No. 7 addresses that concern. It would allow for the views and wishes of the majority to be represented.

I thank hon. members for their attentiveness to my speech on this important bill, Bill C-19.

Canada Labour CodeGovernment Orders

10:40 a.m.


Gurmant Grewal Reform Surrey Central, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to speak on Bill C-19 which is an act to amend part I of the Canada Labour Code.

We see workers in industry. It is very important for us to look carefully into the industrial relations that are governing the businesses in this country. Many workers feel intimidated and that their rights are not the way they should be.

Whatever we do here in this Chamber should protect the rights of the majority, not the few in society. In the labour force I believe that most of the workers believe that their rights should be preserved. That can be done when they are given some protection such as with secret ballots. If they are not voting by secret ballot, there could be intimidation, there could be some other dangers. Their rights will not be preserved to the extent they should be.

I will be opposing this part of the bill because it does not give freedom to the workers. It does not create the necessary balance which we want in industry.

Some provisions of the bill do not give workers the right to express what they want to express. To create a balance between the majority and a few of the workers, we should give them the freedom to express their views which can only be done by secret ballot.

I do have some experience in talking to workers who belong to unions in my constituency. I am told that some members of the unions are not satisfied with the way they are allowed to express their thoughts, their will.

I say in closing that with Bill C-19, industrial relations are important and the rules to govern workers are very important. Whatever we do in this Chamber we should do to benefit the majority of the people in Canada. To respect the wishes of the majority we should allow the workers to express their wishes by secret ballot.

Canada Labour CodeGovernment Orders

10:40 a.m.


Jim Hart Reform Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to speak to Bill C-19, the labour code, and the amendments which are before the House today.

I would like to start off by saying how important the legislation is to the people of Okanagan—Coquihalla and in particular the forest workers in our province. It is interesting to note that this is forestry week in Canada so it is very important that the legislation be debated in the House today.

Other industries are also vital and important for the economy of British Columbia. Ranchers, loggers, people in the mining industry, all of those people have a stake in what is before us in Bill C-19.

Democracy is important to the people who work in those industries that are vital to the economy of British Columbia and all of Canada, the industries that make our country so vibrant. Today I will focus on the importance of Reform Party's motion on democracy. It is important not only to this legislation but to the way the country operates. If we truly want democracy to prevail in Canada, if we want it to be more than just a mere facade or a word we use now and then, we should make sure democracy is reflected in the legislation that goes forward from the House. That is why this is so important.

The Canada Labour Code states that the board may order a representation vote on union certification to satisfy itself that the workers want the union. Our amendment calls for the board to hold a representational vote when 35% of the employees sign cards indicating they want union certification. This amendment ensures the wishes of the majority are upheld. That is a very important part of the legislation. We are putting forward a democratic principle. That is why the bill is so important to the official opposition in Canada. We want to ensure those workers have every democratic tool available to receive the proper consideration when it comes to union certification.

The motion is worthy of the support of the entire House. We should give it our due consideration. Regardless of party, whether the New Democratic Party or the Conservative Party, all members should support the motion, including a few Liberals who might have a democratic bone in their bodies somewhere, although we do not see that demonstrated in much of the legislation that comes before the House. The way they instituted party discipline, for instance, when it came to the hepatitis C vote before the House, there was no democratic bone in anyone's body on that side of the floor.

It is a tool, a principle and a pillar of what we stand for as Canadians. We should have these democratic principles. If we do not, this place certainly is just a theatre for the public to watch from the galleries on occasion just to satisfy themselves that it appears to be a democracy. In true essence it is nothing more than a place where we act out legislation that the government will ram through in any event.

The motion is very important for the workers of Canada. I rose to speak today in particular about workers in British Columbia. They want the ability to join unions. They want to be able to freely choose the union they wish to participate in. They want the democratic tool to do so. It is only reasonable the House would give them the power to ensure they have a vote and are able to use the democratic principle we sometimes enjoy in the House of Commons.

Canada Labour CodeGovernment Orders

10:50 a.m.


Rahim Jaffer Reform Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-19, the bill we are talking about today, is about democracy. That is why I want to speak to Bill C-19, specifically to the motions in Group No. 2.

I have spoken in the House before about how strongly I believe in democracy and freedom, freedom of competition and all these things that we in Canada quite often take for granted. The Reform Party and many other parties in the House are trying to propose amendments to the bill to get back to the freedom, the democracy we so cherish.

As we know, the bill died in the Senate in the last parliament, Bill C-66. It has now been reintroduced in this parliament with minor changes. I do not think very serious changes have been made. That is why we see so many of the opposition parties proposing amendments. It is very important that we take the bill seriously and try to accomplish something.

In this place we often forget that as political parties we have the job of working together to create legislation that is good for the country, and especially in this case good for labour. I am excited to see that many members in many parties are taking the chance to make the legislation better. I hope the Liberals will work with us in doing so.

As I mentioned, I will speak a bit to Motion No. 7. Reform has always been fighting for more democracy, especially in various organizations and particularly in labour organizations.

This is democracy in motion. I think all of us in the House try to work toward it by representing our ridings and the views of our constituents. I know Reform finds this very important. It is something we try to push toward, especially at report stage of Bill C-19.

Specifically on the whole issue of the representational vote when groups of people in labour want union certification, Reform believes, and I think many people agree, that as long as 35% of people in an organization want union certification they should be allowed to have it.

It is in the interest of democracy and in the interest of having labour work effectively. That is one of the things we are pushing for in Motion No. 7. The whole premise behind this motion is that we want the wishes of the majority through a democratic process to be upheld. Quite often we forget that in the daily events of the House.

There are innocent people out there who are trying to work for the common good. They are trying to support their families and their livelihoods. We should be able to put legislation through the House and work toward putting legislation through the House that is in the interest of those people.

The bill also talks about many other things when it comes to labour and arbitration. The core of anything that happens when it comes to labour has to be based around democracy and what is good for the people.

We need to focus on protecting the views, especially in this case, of the majority of people who want to see changes happen in a positive way through labour. We need to allow the democratic process to work. As I mentioned, overall that is something that leads hand in hand to creating more competitive markets.

Unfortunately, as we know, members opposite seem to want to put many obstacles into the process of trying to create an effective markets, trying to create more competitive markets and trying to give Canadian workers the competitive edge they need to compete in a global society. I am upset to see that. I would hope they would put the interests of workers first.

This leads into the whole view of competition, freedom and access to global markets. Many of the changes that have been made in Bill C-19 would affect the way grain is transported and the way we can access foreign markets.

If we take a step back and see the way the world is evolving, we see the way competition has continued to grow and how we have achieved a sense of a global market. We need to give all the advantages to Canadian labour and to Canadian business to be able to compete in foreign markets.

We need to take a step back and see how we can help the process of getting democracy in motion and getting labour legislation to reflect it. We need to do all we can to support it. Overall we will see a much more democratic, much more healthy part of our economy evolve from that. As well labour will reflect that.

Another major point is something we cannot forget. As much as we like to often hear members on the far left talking about restricting globalization, restricting competition among foreign countries, I cannot comprehend that. For me and from my background I feel it is fundamental that we have freedom of competition. That must be reflected in our labour laws.

When we talk about allowing groups in Bill C-19 to have formal certification to unionize, it has to be allowed with that democratic percentage, that vote of 35%. Also we have to move toward a further goal of allowing Canadian labour to compete in foreign markets. We need to give Canadians, Canadian businesses and Canadian labour the competitive advantage. We need to allow them to compete in global markets and we need to support them when they want to achieve those goals.

The House is supposed to uphold these types of visions. It is supposed to uphold the strong convictions of making Canada more democratic, making it a better place to live and giving the advantage to Canadians to provide for themselves. Unfortunately we do not see that applied often in much of the legislation that is produced in the House.

I urge all hon. members to take a step back and evaluate what we are doing here today. I urge them to ask themselves how we can make this place better, how we can help make legislation better to represent Canadians and labour. Even if it means putting party lines aside, it is a goal we must have as federal legislators to do what is right for the country. That is what we must work toward.

Colouring ContestStatements By Members

10:55 a.m.


John O'Reilly Liberal Victoria—Haliburton, ON

Mr. Speaker, each year I organize a page colouring contest. The rules are quite simple. Each page creates something of interest from their home town on the back of my letterhead paper using only the crayons provided.

Binney and Smith Canada, the only manufacturers of Crayola products in Canada, is located within my riding. It donated the crayons and the prizes for the pages. I thank Binney and Smith for providing a wonderful assortment of prizes for all the pages who competed.

Once all entries have been submitted Helene Monette, a security guard in the House of Commons, judges each entry. This year's winner is Gaelle Halliday from St. John's, Newfoundland. Her creation was a very innovative piece of art. All entries were very well done.

I thank the pages for their hard work and commitment to serving all members of parliament. Once again we have a great group of pages to assist us.

Emergency Preparedness WeekStatements By Members

10:55 a.m.


Gurmant Grewal Reform Surrey Central, BC

Mr. Speaker, May 4 to May 10 is Emergency Preparedness Week. The government should use this week to learn about emergency preparedness but the Liberal government never learns. It believes more in Murphy's Law than in preparing for emergencies.

The Liberals did not learn from the Manitoba floods. The Liberals did not learn from the ice storm. They are not learning now from the Alberta fires.

How are the Liberals preparing for the earthquake that will hit B.C. in the future? They closed CFB Chilliwack and have left B.C. without emergency preparedness.

Emergency preparedness is about responding to a crisis. Canadians have seen the poor response by the government to the tainted blood crisis.

On behalf of British Columbians, I give this government fair warning that now is the time to prepare.

National Forest WeekStatements By Members

11 a.m.


John Harvard Liberal Charleswood—Assiniboine, MB

Mr. Speaker, this week is National Forest Week and I would like to acknowledge the May 1 signing of the new five-year Canada forest accord which confirms the commitment by over 29 forest stakeholders to implement the new national forest strategy.

The strategy builds on the 1992 forest accord to enhance the long term diversity of our forest ecosystems while providing economic, social and cultural benefits to Canadians.

Canada will be entering the new millennium with a new approach to natural resources management, one that includes a forestry Internet site. The Canadian Forest Service is a major player and will play a fundamental role in the strategy's implementation.

Congratulations to government and industry representatives, First Nations, environmental groups, private woodlot owners and the signatories to the new Canada forest accord.

While I am on my feet, special congratulations to our firefighters who are battling forest fires right across the country.

Mental Health WeekStatements By Members

11 a.m.


Peter Adams Liberal Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Mental Health Association in Peterborough invites the community to join in recognizing the importance of everyone's mental health during this year's Mental Health Week.

This year's theme, “Making Mental Health Matter for All”, emphasizes the importance of making mental health a priority.

Various activities take place during the week, such as the Creative Healing Exhibit, which is open to the public until tomorrow, May 9. Other activities include the groundbreaking ceremony at the Civic Hospital in a garden for patients, family and friends.

CMHA reminds members to renew their memberships in order to remain on the roster of individuals who help direct and set policy that improves the well-being of those suffering from mental illness. CMHA also wishes to encourage the public to help by talking to neighbours. Raising awareness about mental health helps to educate the community and erase stigmas associated with mental illness. Mental health matters.

Comité Québec-Printemps 1918Statements By Members

11 a.m.


Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, on April 1, 1918, four people were killed by English Canadian soldiers at a rally against conscription.

After reviewing the events, the coroner's inquest concluded that “the individuals shot on this occasion were innocent victims in no way involved in this riot—and it is the government's duty to pay fair and reasonable compensation to the victims' families”, which has yet to be done.

As a reminder, a work of art commemorating these tragic events will soon be erected at the very location where they took place in Quebec City's lower town by the Comité Québec-Printemps 1918, a group of people in the Quebec City area.

The Bloc Quebecois asks that the federal government publicly apologize to the victims' families and redress an 80-year old injustice by compensating them.

Those who appreciate historical accuracy also remember the events that occurred in the spring of 1918.

Quebec GovernmentStatements By Members

11 a.m.


Guy St-Julien Liberal Abitibi, QC

Mr. Speaker, since it took office on September 1994, the PQ government has spent more than $100 million to try to convince Quebeckers to go along with the concept of Quebec being separate from Canada.

Here are the costs involved: $1 million to hire PQ lobbying firms, unveil the preamble at the Grand Théâtre de Québec and set up telephone lines; $17 million for the Secrétariat à la restructuration, for studies and for regional and national commissions; $10 million in grants to the sovereignty council and for mailouts; $57 million for the expenditures of the Quebec director general of elections; $47 million for the referendum on the Charlottetown accord; and $10 million for the Bélanger-Campeau and other parliamentary commissions.

Today, the PQ government, through acting premier Lucien Bouchard, is planning to spend millions of dollars on the Calgary declaration, although it had sworn not to spend a penny.

If Lucien Bouchard and his PQ colleagues want to know what the real problems facing Quebec society are, they should go to the people and call an immediate election, so that a real premier can be elected by all voters in Quebec.

Royal Canadian MintStatements By Members

11 a.m.


Ken Epp Reform Elk Island, AB

It is no wonder, Mr. Speaker, that the Minister of Public Works and Government Services does not want the issue of the coin plant in Winnipeg to come before the committee.

In yesterday's question period the minister gave a spectacular show of contradictions. First he said the issue was before the courts so he could not comment. Then, when asked why they are going ahead with it if it is before the courts, he said that the court case has nothing to do with it. He says they are not competing with a private company and yet he claims that competing worldwide will give the new venture its viability.

Why did the minister give instructions to the committee to refuse our requests to examine this issue? It is clearly because he is afraid of all the contradictory answers. This is costing $38 million to build, plus $18 million in lost savings. That is a total of $56 million and not an ounce of justification for it.

Rights Of The ChildStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.


Elinor Caplan Liberal Thornhill, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada has long championed the rights of the child. We are signatories to the United Nations convention on the rights of the child. We led the fight on land mines which kill and maim children and we are leaders in the fight against the use of children as soldiers and cheap labour.

I would like to congratulate one Canadian, a constituent of Thornhill, who is known throughout the world for his commitment to protect children and their rights.

Mr. Craig Kielburger, founder of Free the Children, has been awarded the 1998 Franklin Delano Roosevelt freedom medal. The Roosevelt freedom medal was created to honour individuals and institutions whose work has given special meaning to those freedoms which President Roosevelt outlined in 1949: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from want and freedom from fear.

Through public speaking and personal advocacy, Craig at his young age is an example of someone who is really making a positive difference. I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of the people of Thornhill to congratulate Craig on his most impressive achievement and encourage him to continue his crusade to protect children.

Youth WeekStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.


Eleni Bakopanos Liberal Ahuntsic, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to point out that this is Youth Week.

Young people are the future of our country and yet many are finding themselves in a precarious situation.

Unemployment among young Canadians with less than a high school diploma is at 15%, while for those with at least a degree it is only 5%. That is why the federal government has taken steps in the most recent budget through the Canadian opportunities strategy and the millennium scholarship fund to increase the opportunities for our young people to participate fully in the economic and social development of Canada.

Initiatives like the summer career placements program will this year again give many young people from my riding of Ahuntsic and from throughout Canada the opportunity to gather work experience.

These measures are proof of the Canadian government's commitment to the future of our young people in Canada.

Spinal Health Care WeekStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.


Jim Pankiw Reform Saskatoon—Humboldt, SK

Mr. Speaker, today marks the conclusion of spinal health care week. Chiropractors from coast to coast have conducted volunteer health talks about the benefits of spinal health and wellness.

Each year more than three million Canadians seek chiropractic care, making it the third largest health care profession in Canada. Clearly chiropractic care is an important component of the Canadian health care system.

There have been at least six formal government inquiries into the profession of chiropractic worldwide during the last 25 years, including Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Sweden. All have concluded that contemporary chiropractic care is safe, effective, cost effective and have recommended public funding for chiropractic services.

In addition, few health care procedures have been as extensively researched as chiropractic spinal adjustments. A wealth of scientific clinical studies have proven the appropriateness and effectiveness of chiropractic care.

Congratulations to Canada's chiropractors on the successful conclusion of this year's spinal health care week.

National Police WeekStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.


Nick Discepola Liberal Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, Sunday, May 10, will mark the beginning of police week in Canada.

This year, this special week is devoted to bringing the police and the community closer together. It provides an opportunity to tell the public about the vital work done by the police.

It also provides an opportunity for all Canadians to pay tribute to the devoted men and women who spare no effort to ensure that we may live in a peaceful and just society.

As Parliamentary Secretary to the Solicitor General of Canada, I have come to know and appreciate the work carried out by Canadian police and peace officers.

I know also that Canadians have great confidence in their police and great respect for them. National police week provides us all with the opportunity to show our support and appreciation for our police and I invite all Canadians to join me in saluting those men and women who have chosen to dedicate their lives to the protection of our homes and our communities. Thanks to them all.

Westray MineStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.


Bev Desjarlais NDP Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow marks the sixth anniversary of the Westray disaster. In 1991 the Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy bestowed upon Clifford Frame, owner of Westray mine, the John T. Ryan award for mine safety.

At 5:20 a.m. on May 9, 1992 the Westray mine exploded taking the lives of 26 miners.

The Westray tragedy was not an accident and it was not a natural disaster. It was the end result of management that had no regard for safety and of governments that failed to ensure the well-being of workers. It was profit before people.

The United Steelworkers of America provided support to the miners and families from Westray. Together they were the driving force behind the Westray inquiry. It was the United Steelworkers of America who questioned the awarding of the John T. Ryan award to Clifford Frame and Curragh Resources. After a lengthy campaign by the steelworkers, on April 9 of this year the award was rescinded.

The Westray tragedy is a reminder of why we need unions to protect workers' rights and lives.

Société Nationale De L'AcadieStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.


Claudette Bradshaw Liberal Moncton, NB

Mr. Speaker, the Société nationale de l'Acadie today begins its official meeting in Wolfville, Nova Scotia.

The SNA supports and defends the rights and interests of Acadians through its interprovincial, national and international presence.

The theme of this annual meeting will be the development of an Acadian tourism product. Music, theatre, cultural institutions and other elements of Acadian heritage will be on the menu as a strategy is formulated to consolidate the wealth of Acadia.

I believe it is extremely important that we promote our Acadian heritage. By enhancing our tourism infrastructure we have a great opportunity to promote our culture and to help foster economic development in our region.

I think the francophone summit, which will be held in Moncton in 1999 will contribute to developing tourism in Acadia, as it will bring together more than forty—

Société Nationale De L'AcadieStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. McClelland)

The member for Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough.

National Forestry WeekStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, this is National Forestry Week in Canada and how appropriate and sadly ironic given the terrible fires that are raging in Canada.

Canada boasts 235 million hectares of commercial forest land. We have a thriving industry of private woodlot owners who provide important environmental, economic and social benefits to their communities.

Despite such good news, there are still a number of major hurdles that our forestry industry must overcome, due in large part to the policies of this government. For example, the Liberals have eliminated the federal-provincial forestry agreement that was established by the Conservatives in the 1980s which provided much needed funding for silviculture management. In addition, Canada's taxation policies do nothing to encourage landowners to invest in sustainable management practices that would allow for increased fibre production.

As we celebrate National Forestry Week, I call on the government to recognize the tremendous contributions made by private woodlot owners to our economy. Investing in our forest industry today will ensure its viability for future generations.

Quebec City Conferences Of 1943 And 1945Statements By Members

11:10 a.m.


Richard Marceau Bloc Charlesbourg, QC

“Humiliation”, Mr. Speaker. Not mine, but that of the Liberal members for Pierrefonds—Dollard, for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, for Bourassa and for Shawinagan.

How ironic, to see the hon. member for Bourassa protesting the worthy homage being paid to two of the greatest political figures of this century when, last November 18, he described the statue of General de Gaulle as a “monument to a stupid remark”.

How cynical, to see a Prime Minister falsely accusing the Government of Quebec of using history for political gain. Has he already forgotten his phone call last year to Jacques Chirac to put a halt to their plan to issue a stamp commemorating de Gaulle's “Vive le Québec libre!” Is that not using history for political gain?

According to Mackenzie King himself after the conference, his role in it was no more important than that of the managing director of the Château Frontenac.

It would seem that the very people who accuse the separatists of waking up each morning expecting to be humiliated were a bit quick to feel humiliated themselves yesterday.

ForestryStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.


Sue Barnes Liberal London West, ON

Mr. Speaker, recently a new initiative on sustainable forestry development was signed by representatives of government and industry.

That document was the outcome of a recent congress held in the national capital to make the Canadian public aware of the need to manage the forests in such a way that they can be perpetuated as a resource and continue to support the economic development of many Canadian communities.

The strategy includes a Canada-wide forestry science and technology action plan, which was drawn up by the scientific community.

It was also agreed at the congress that the public and private sectors will promote the candidacy of Quebec City as the host of the 2003 world forestry congress