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House of Commons Hansard #3 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was children.

Topics

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

1:15 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, the member says the Prime Minister talked about affordable shelter. Big deal. The government has been talking about affordable shelter for years now. We want to see affordable shelters, real objective things that people can live in and people can find shelter in. We do not want more fancy speeches from the member, the Prime Minister or anyone else when it comes to homelessness. We want real action. My complaint is that there has been no real action.

With respect to water, it is not Wayne's world. That is not the hon. member's name but perhaps it is some other world he lives in. No one else in the whole country is aware that there has been a national ban on bulk water exports except the hon. member for Broadview—Greenwood. That is some constituency he comes from; maybe there is a bubble around it. There has been no national ban on bulk water exports. To suggest that there has been flies in the face of reality. Talk to Premier Tobin in Newfoundland. Ask him if there has been a national ban on bulk water exports. He is calling for the federal government to either institute one or give him the freedom to act provincially, one way or the other.

With respect to the children's legacy, I am not sure what the hon. member was talking about but the fact is that when it comes to child poverty, it is a lot worse. When it comes to the wonderful, tremendous increase in maternity benefits that the minister for human resources was bragging about not so long ago, it is not going to happen until January 1, 2001. Good luck if a woman is pregnant now or is going to get pregnant in the next year. It does not increase her eligibility. All kinds of women who may be expecting between now and then still, even if they get pregnant in 2002, will not be eligible because the eligibility will not have changed.

With respect to Onex, we are going to have a vigorous debate and then we will get screwed. I have seen enough vigorous debates around here to know that they are meaningless unless there are real options on the table and a real commitment by the government because in the end the government will get its way. It will have the sham of a vigorous debate. It might even let a few Liberal backbenchers stand up and say they do not like what is going on to help the Liberals get re-elected in places like Winnipeg. Winnipeg is one of the places that stands to really get it in the ear if this thing goes through. We will have a nice vigorous debate and then we will have our airline industry taken over by the United States. Some comfort.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

1:15 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am almost loath to interrupt the wonderful, enlightened flow of consciousness from the member for Winnipeg—Transcona. He has really hit the nail on the head in addressing the issues in the throne speech that concern us. I am very happy he has agreed to share his time with me so I can provide some feedback from my perspective and the perspective of our party with regard to the throne speech.

I listened earlier to the new Minister of Human Resources Development. We hope to see some significant improvements to EI and the national children's agenda.

Hearing the minister's comments about living in a wonderful country with such tolerance and compassion conjures up the image of Liberals looking up at the blue sky with the clouds rolling by. I think of my own community of East Vancouver which is predominantly a low income community and what people are really facing. I have to say that what I heard in the throne speech, what I heard from the Prime Minister, what I have heard from the new Minister of Human Resources Development in no way comes close to dealing with the realities of what many people in Canada are facing.

Many times we have heard the Prime Minister say how proud he is that Canada has been rated by the United Nations as the number one country in the world in which to live. But let it also be said that the same United Nations has condemned Canada for its failure to live up to international covenants, for its failure to deal with homelessness, to deal with equity and equality, to deal with the growing gap between people who are getting wealthier and people who are getting poorer.

When I listened to the throne speech I wanted to hear on behalf of my constituents some clear realistic objectives and commitments that would see a government prepared to bring in a national children's agenda, to bring in program and income supports that would reverse this downward spiral, this race to the bottom that we are in. Apparently the government does not care about this. I was disappointed by what I heard.

I have received feedback from people in my riding, people who are really hard pressed, parents who are working at more than one job, part time jobs, struggling to find child care with their kids on waiting lists. These people are being threatened because their housing is going to be demolished or 30%, 40%, 50% or in some cases 60% of their income is going toward rent. These are the families I deal with. I know that not just in East Vancouver but in other communities hundreds of thousands of Canadians are facing this reality.

I listened to the Leader of the Opposition and his response to the throne speech and his view of Canada. He has such a narrow definition of what a family is or what a family needs. I look to my own community to see the diversity of single parents who are struggling to make a go of it. They may be on income assistance or working in a low wage job in a service sector and do not have enough money to pay their rent or feed their kids. I heard the Leader of the Opposition with his anti-government message that if we just put a few pennies in our pockets through a tax saving, somehow we will have solutions. We can see that the Reform Party is bankrupt in its ideas in terms of addressing the substantive issues in our society.

When we look at the messages in the throne speech and the unfolding of the so-called national children's agenda we have to question why a national children's agenda exists but there is no child care program. Why does a national children's agenda exist but there is no commitment that the poorest of the poor will have the benefit of the national child tax benefit? Why do we have a national children's agenda that supposedly speaks to the well-being of early childhood development and the well-being of Canadian families but it does not contain any substance to develop affordable housing, the most basic human right for all Canadian families and all people?

We have to be very clear. We cannot accept that a children's agenda will exist without a national child care strategy. For decades numerous groups in this country have advocated for the adoption of an early childhood development program, a national child care program.

When we compare the government's commitments today with what was in the red book in 1993, it seems to me that we are moving further and further away from any kind of program the government is committed to, to actually make child care a reality.

In 1993 the Liberal Party promised 150,000 child care spaces. Where are they? Six years have gone by. Where are those child care spaces? Why are there tens of thousands of kids on waiting lists to get into child care? Less than 10% of kids who need child care have access to the regulated spaces.

The Liberal government has failed on that score. Its national children's agenda is not worth anything more than the paper it is written on unless there is a substantive financial commitment by the government to work with the provinces to produce those child care spaces.

We have some very good models and examples to look at in terms of what has been developed in the province of Quebec. Why are we not sitting down with the province of Quebec? Why are we not sitting down with the other provinces to make those child care spaces a reality?

I will touch on the issue of housing and homelessness. It is ironic that in the throne speech more time was devoted to the issue of endangered species than there was to the issue of people who are dying on our streets because of homelessness, or people who are living in totally inadequate housing.

It is simply appalling that we have had a minister responsible for homelessness who has yet to produce a single unit of housing. It is appalling that in the throne speech there was not one specific commitment to say that the federal government will produce a national housing strategy.

I have a motion that is coming before the House which calls on the government to commit 1% of the federal budget to housing. Where is that commitment from the other side of the House? Where are the specifics? Where are the housing units that need to be developed?

When it comes to other members of society like students, again in the throne speech we heard platitudes and very lofty ideas about access to the Internet and the knowledge based economy. But what about the students who are trying to get through school? What about the students who are suffering from a massive debt load? Has the Liberal government addressed that issue? Not one line in the throne speech has shown any understanding of the very harsh realities facing students who are trying to get through school.

We were hoping to see a commitment to a national grants program, to a tuition freeze and to a recognition that post-secondary education should be accessible to all young people. That would be a real commitment to building our future, but instead we saw again the lofty ideas and the clouds passing by in the sky in terms of the Liberals' ideas of what the future is. It is a future that leaves behind young people. It is a future that leaves behind poor people. It is a future that has abandoned the commitment to end child poverty by the year 2000. It is a future that apparently has left women off the list.

Yes, we have had some announcement about parental leave but what about the eligibility requirements? What are parents meant to do after that one year of leave? Where will the child care spaces be so that they can return to work?

After examining the throne speech and seeing exactly what is and is not there, then I would agree with my colleague for Winnipeg—Transcona that it is empty and vacuous. It is from a government that has failed to address the real priorities of Canadians. It is something that we will continue to take up in the House.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.

Liberal

Janko Peric Liberal Cambridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, some 33 years ago I was a newcomer to this country. When I was growing up in Croatia I was poor. I came from a large family. I know what poverty is.

Listening to the speech today by the hon. member for Vancouver East I am a little confused. I do not know what country she is talking about, Canada or some other country.

This summer I had the opportunity to visit our RCMP officers in Sarajevo where I was taken to different parts of Bosnia and Hercegovina. That is where poverty is, not in Canada. I am really surprised to hear the bashing of the Liberal government that it does not care about children and youth in Canada.

I have four children. I did not expect any level of government to take care of them. I did not ask the government to provide me with early childhood benefits or whatnot. I had children with my wife because we wanted a family. We were and still are responsible parents.

No one can deny that there are children who deserve and need support from governments. Of course there are. However, it is not at the level that the hon. member for Vancouver East was saying. The hon. member should not portray Canada as the worst place to live when she knows, as well as many of us in the House, that there are millions of people who would rather live here than in their own country.

An immigration officer asked me how come he brought refugees to this country a year ago and today they are putting down payments on their homes. They are working and they are responsible new members of our society.

In the future, could the hon. member go across the country and see for herself how great the country really is?

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I guess it is a matter of perspective of where we live and what our daily reality is as to whether or not this is a wonderful country. Do not take it from me. I encourage the hon. member to read reports from organizations appointed by the government, such as the National Council on Welfare and the reports from the United Nations that have clearly condemned the Canadian government for its failure to address the abysmal conditions that aboriginal people live in.

I have gone to reserves. I have gone to Metis communities. I have seen houses where people had no running water or no toilet. I do not think those people believe that they live in a wonderful country. They would like to have the same opportunities that maybe the member has had.

When he says he did not expect the government to care for his children, I do not think any parent expects the government to care for his or her children. What Canadian families want to see are the kinds of community supports, programs and services, such as an early childhood development program and a national child care program, that will assist families in coping in what is increasingly a very difficult environment.

I am frankly surprised to hear the member suggest that somehow we should not being doing that. To deny the reality that there are millions of Canadians who live below the poverty line, as described by Stats Canada, is simply to not deal with the truth of what goes on in our country. Yes, there are people who are doing incredibly well and do not need any help whatsoever. However, there are very major issues of income distribution and of how wealth is distributed.

If the member wants, I will take him to my riding and show him what happens when we leave people at the bottom, when we leave society to market forces and when the Liberal Party listens to the business elites and not to the real crowds. I will show him the evidence and the consequences of what that means on the streets. There are people without shelter and without adequate support. There are kids who are going hungry in school. The evidence is there and it is in every community in the country.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

Liberal

Julian Reed Liberal Halton, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise to address the throne speech and review briefly the six years of effort that have been put in by the government to bring our economy and the state of the country to where they are right now.

I was particularly moved by the words of the hon. member for Cambridge who speaks from his heart about Canada and who, because of his life experience, is able to compare Canada with his country of origin. That says more about Canada today than any of the most eloquent speeches that could be made in the House.

I was very interested that the Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition went on television after the throne speech and suggested that there were no specifics in the throne speech and therefore it was not acceptable. I do not know how long one has to be in parliament or how much one has to understand the parliamentary process to realize that the throne speech is not a speech of specifics. Throne speeches are never speeches of specifics. They are always speeches of vision. The specifics come afterward. The Prime Minister, in his response to the Speech from the Throne yesterday, began to put the specifics in place, but it was only the beginning. The next stage will be when the official budget comes out and that is due process. I hope that the hon. Leader of the Opposition over time and after gaining experience will realize that there are stages we go through.

It has been six years that I have had the honour of serving in the House. I can recall coming here with a brand new government and having to deal with a national debt that had gone out of control and with a deficit that surprised us all when it came out at $42 billion that particular year, and how extraordinary efforts had to be made to reverse the process to try to bring the deficit to a point where it might some day be eliminated.

We have now entered our third year of surplus budgeting and the deficit has been eliminated. That did not happen by accident or by magic. It happened with a very concerted effort and with the co-operation of Canadians from coast to coast. Through the wisdom of our Minister of Finance, it also happened probably in the least painful way it could have.

I must digress for a minute, Mr. Speaker, to advise you that I beg to share my time with the hon. member for Vancouver Quadra. I regret that I forgot to do so at the beginning of my speech.

It is six years later and where are we today? As the Prime Minister said, it is the first time in 50 years I believe that we have sustained a balanced budget or a budget that contains some surplus. We have been able to begin work on paying down the debt. We have made a commitment to never again allow the finances of the country to get into the state they were when we inherited them six years ago.

Personally, it has been a very challenging and satisfying time for me and I have been honoured to be here over this period.

Now we are in a new phase. It has been suggested that it is more difficult to govern with a surplus than it is with a deficit because once a surplus is seen then the demands come on to do certain things.

We have made a choice on this side of the House which is to share the surplus by increasing the financial strength of the country and, at the same time, restoring those social efforts that have been a hallmark of Canada over the years. We will continue in that direction. It will not be sudden, but it will be measured and it will be responsible.

Tax reduction will be part of the strategy because it will put more money into consumers' pockets. Debt reduction will be part of the strategy because that allows for more tax reduction. The maintenance of a strong economy is essential if we are to move ahead with the restoration of those things which are very important to us, such as health care which is at the top of the agenda at the moment in people's minds in this country, and rightly so.

The preservation of a universal health care system has proven to be the best system that we could possibly devise. With all of its warts and all of its weaknesses, it is still the best system. If we compare it first to the American system and see 40 million souls, greater than the whole population of Canada, without health care, or when we talk to some U.S. doctors, which I have had the pleasure of doing, and find out what it costs them to operate their health care system, we realize that we have never had it so good and that Canada has got something here. Yes, it may be flawed, yes, it may be incomplete and yes, it needs improving, but it is there.

I would remind those who would destroy our health care system of a very personal story about my mother who contracted pneumonia in 1941 and spent 14 weeks in the hospital, in the days before antibiotics I might add. My father spent the rest of his life paying off that debt. I suppose that is why I am considered to the right of centre in the Liberal caucus to a certain extent. However, I must tell the House that the health care system is paramount in the country. If we lost everything else, the health care system is a system we must maintain and continually improve.

Where are we going in the future? We have an economy that is sustaining a surplus budget. We have a bottom line that is stronger than it has been in many years which has enabled us to move on. That is why we consider a children's agenda, for instance, to be of paramount importance. If we understand that early childhood development is a key to a successful life, then we in government must understand that whatever we can do to support that is positive to the future.

I was also very impressed with our commitment to research and development. There will be 2,000 new chairs in universities to create centres of excellence which will allow Canada to express its brain power to an even greater extent than it does at the present time.

As my friend from Cambridge said, Canada is the best country in the world. If anybody does not believe it, I suggest they go anywhere else.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Reform

Grant McNally Reform Dewdney—Alouette, BC

Mr. Speaker, that was quite an interesting speech. I would like to highlight a couple of points my hon. colleague made.

He said “We have done this” and “We have done that”. “We have balanced the budget. We have reduced the deficit”. I would remind him that it is the hardworking Canadian taxpayers who have done that work, not he himself or his government. It is the taxes that have been wrung out of individuals, to the tune of $6 billion from people making $20,000 a year or less, that have balanced the budget and reduced the deficit, not the Liberal government.

The member also mentioned that Liberals are the defenders of health care. They are the slashers and burners of health care. They have cut over $21 billion from health care and social services since 1993 and have reinvested, their code word for spending, $11.5 billion. That is $8.5 billion less in funding than when they took over in 1993. How can this member boast of his government's accomplishments when it has slashed and burned the health care system that he says he is defending? How can he do that?

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Julian Reed Liberal Halton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am sure the hon. member must have missed what I said. I did point out that every Canadian participated in the recovery of this country. I would like to point out to him that if those steps had not been taken in 1993 we would not be at the position we are at now. Certain measures had to be taken to get rid of the deficit, to start to pay down the debt and to make the economy buoyant again. It was not painless. I can assure my hon. friend, who will probably never experience this, that hard decisions are hard decisions. However, they have been made and they work.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Reform

Rick Casson Reform Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to highlight something that was not mentioned in the member's presentation or in the throne speech and that is that there was very little about agriculture and what help needs to be given to that area.

What was mentioned in the throne speech were two things that could very much threaten agriculture and add more burden to our farmers. One was to implement the Kyoto protocol, the proposed carbon tax and the increased input costs that would result for farmers. The other was endangered species protection legislation, something everybody believes we should have, but the approach the new environment minister has taken is a heavy handed approach that will not work and does not include the co-operation of all people.

I would like the member to comment on those two aspects that could seriously further harm the agriculture sector in this country.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Julian Reed Liberal Halton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to point out to the hon. member that the steps that have been taken by this government are helping the Kyoto protocol and agriculture at the same time. Maybe the hon. member does not know that since the biomass-derived ethanol program has been put into place nearly $500,000 of private investment has taken place across Canada, and farmers produce the feedstock for that ethanol production.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Independent

John Nunziata Independent York South—Weston, ON

Mr. Speaker, in the 15 years that I have had the privilege to sit in the House of Commons I have listened to a few throne speeches and it seems to me that what we ought to be considering is putting an end to throne speeches. I question the value of speeches from the throne. I know it is part of the Canadian tradition, but expectations are high. People expect everything to be put into a throne speech, that the government is to outline in great detail its plans for the future. In reality, most Canadians are completely tuned out to this whole debate because they realize it is laced with partisanship.

I would like to ask the hon. member whether he believes that throne speeches are of any real value to Canadians from coast to coast. Would he not agree that instead of beginning a new session of parliament with a throne speech that it would be far more advisable to begin a new session of parliament with a budget so that there would be a specific plan on the table in which Canadians could engage in a real debate about the future of Canada?

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Julian Reed Liberal Halton, ON

Mr. Speaker, that is a very interesting proposition. However, I would like to point out, and I am sure my hon. friend would agree, that when the legislative process starts it has to start with something, the vision. The purpose of the throne speech, traditionally, has been to present that overall vision to the House and to the people of Canada. Our system of government is a constitutional monarchy, so we have a speech from the throne and everyone knows in which direction the government wants to go.

If we had started without that there would be no vision. We have been accused from time to time of having no vision at all. I would like the hon. member to remember what it would be like if we did have some vision.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Ted McWhinney Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, I understand the impatience of some hon. members with antique customs. The speech from the throne is a remnant of the 17th century constitutional struggles, down to that knocking on the door by an official to demand that the commons come to the lords and hear the speech from the throne. Antique customs are preserved, and you know this very well, Mr. Speaker. You sit in that very uncomfortable chair which you have inherited from many generations of people overgrown on roast beef and port wine and various other things.

Let us face it, there are traditions. The value of the speech from the throne today is simply that it gives a larger vision of a governmental program that necessarily will be computized when we have those financial figures, when we know how much of a surplus there is and the battle over the distribution of it can be carried down to the details.

This could be upset, but it is generally agreed that if there is a surplus, and we think there will be a very considerable surplus, as a result, as hon. members might say on this side, of government policies, it will be split at a principle of 50% for tax reductions and amortization of the external debt, and 50% for social programs.

This is something that my constituents have strongly favoured. They have also asked that tax reductions extend to the working middle class who are very capable of creating the jobs, more perhaps than any other section of the community. That is something I will be working on for my constituents. I think it is a necessary part of our program of creating jobs.

The Speech from the Throne outlined the three main areas of our policies on the government side as we go into the new century. One is, as I say, the work on tax reduction and the amortization of the debt. The second is spending on health and social programs. The third, and I will say a few more words on this, is the investment in knowledge as the key to the next century.

My first assignment as a member when I was elected was to get $167.5 million from the finance minister, who had just inherited in 1993 a $42.8 billion budget deficit. How does one make the argument? I had to go to the rounds of my colleagues and ministers and explain that there was a thing called pure research, that it did not necessarily bring results tomorrow, but five or ten years down the line it opened jobs and industry. Pure knowledge can be translated concretely into factories, into production and into the creation of skilled jobs. We won that particular battle.

It was easier to do it than in relation to some of the things we are doing now because, of course, education, research in a strict sense, on old fashioned constitutional views, is outside federal power. However, once we made the case and demonstrated that the federal government would provide the leadership, I think we were on our way. We were very tired of giving money to provinces for education and research and finding it being used to build highways into the never never land that had no ending and no beginning.

Education is our investment in the future. I take great pride in the achievements, in the centres for excellence, in the centres for innovation and in the culmination of scholarships for the 21st century. Of the professorships there will be 1,200 immediately and 2,000 afterward.

The actual idea was put forward by the president of the University of British Columbia and by the recteur de l'Université de Montréal. The idea was “arrest the brain drain”. In certain areas like biochemistry, particle physics, pharmacology, and I could go on, we lead North America. We have world standards, but we run the risk of losing our best and our brightest. These two university presidents put forward the idea of linking this to the centres for innovation that would be presided over by the former president of the University of British Columbia, Dr. Strangway.

This is the idea. Look at the rave headlines from around the country with the president of the University of British Columbia saying it is the answer to the drift in science; it makes us world leaders in science. I see the president of the University of Toronto saying that it is clearly a magnificent blow in favour of science, in favour of research and a recognition of the fact that knowledge is the key to the next century and it is the key to creating jobs, creating skilled jobs for young Canadians. We are very proud of this.

I would pay tribute to caucus, my own and those of opposition parties. I did an informal poll in the last parliament and found that 50 MPs had colleges or universities in their constituencies and 18 or 20 had been professors or teachers. That is a powerful lobby and a group that has brought this emphasis on knowledge, on the investment in knowledge as the key to the new century.

The Speech from the Throne covers many things. I have highlighted the quest for knowledge and the investment in learning as the key to the next century. There are several other matters that I will touch on very briefly, such as hands across the border. I had a letter today from American Senator Voinovich. We are moving more and more to removing that barrier with the United States, those irritating delays in customs and elsewhere for Canadian citizens. This in spite of some pressures put on us in terms of problems in controlling our own entry to Canada from elsewhere. The movement is there. It is part of the Speech from the Throne. It is part of the exchanges between the Prime Minister and President Clinton.

We have built on the record in the difficult area of reconciling our tradition as a country that receives people who want a better life. There are the boat people we have taken in the past. There are the Vietnamese admitted by a decision of a Conservative government. That community is one of the best communities in terms of low rates of unemployment and investment in new job creation.

I look at the Ismailis who came here in 1971 under Prime Minister Trudeau, and the people who came from Cyprus when it broke up. We have a commitment to receiving people who have the talent and the will to make a better life.

There are aspects here that are in terms of our international obligations. There is nothing inhibiting the Canadian government under international law from applying appropriate controls to our immigration for speeding up the process of determination of refugee claimants. These are in part touched on in the Speech from the Throne. They will be fleshed out in concrete legislation. I ask all members to address that in the future.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

As it is 2 o'clock, we will now proceed to Statements by Members.

Chancellor Robert S. K. WelchStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Walt Lastewka Liberal St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to congratulate the chancellor of Brock University on a very special honour. On Saturday, October 16, the Faculty of Education building will be named after the chancellor, Robert S. K. Welch, in recognition of his contribution to Brock University. Chancellor Welch has a long history of public service and deep roots in the Niagara community.

From his first years on the St. Catharines Board of Education, Chancellor Welch rose in provincial politics to head the education ministry and later to the position of deputy premier of Ontario. His many years of service were acknowledged when he was appointed an officer of the Order of Canada in 1994.

The naming of the faculty of education building is a way for Brock to honour a man who has given so much of his time and energy to the institution over the many years.

I join with students, faculty and friends to honour the important work of Robert Welch and the dedication he has shown for education in Niagara and in Ontario.

Chancellor Robert S. K. WelchStatements By Members

2 p.m.

The Speaker

I very rarely add anything to statements made by members, but I know Mr. Welch and it is an honour well deserved. He is one of the truly great people of that part of the country.

AgricultureStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Reform

Rick Casson Reform Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, we support that as well.

This week, as most Canadians celebrated Thanksgiving Day, Canadian farmers had little to celebrate. Devastated by conditions beyond their control, farmers have been hit by the worst farm income crisis in recent memory and they have been abandoned by this government.

This year thanksgiving did not make it to the farm. What did make it to the farm were record high input costs, record low commodity prices, increasing U.S. protectionism resulting in unjust tariffs against Canadian producers, bankruptcies that are erasing the next generation of family farms, and misguided and inadequate Liberal government contracts.

It is time to reform aid programs to deliver assistance to farmers in need. It is time to give farmers the freedom to market their products as they choose. It is time for a government that will stand up for the farmers at the international trade table.

Canadian farmers need help and they need it now. Farmers, and indeed all Canadians, need and deserve a government that will stand up for them and not this timid, tired government they have now.

Hazardous WasteStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Charles Caccia Liberal Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, over the past five years hazardous waste imports from the United States into Ontario have nearly tripled. Such imports include explosive chemicals, solvents, arsenic, mercury, benzene and other substances that can pose a threat to public health and the environment.

Regulations in Ontario are such that United States companies find it cheaper to ship their hazardous waste to Ontario rather than dispose of it at home.

The federal government has signed the Basel convention and therefore has a responsibility for the safe disposal of hazardous waste coming across the border. Therefore I urge the Government of Canada to exercise its authority under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act and set strict conditions on the imports of hazardous waste into Canada so as to ensure an environmentally safe disposal.

The Late Ross HallStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Tony Valeri Liberal Stoney Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is with regret that I rise to inform the House of the passing of Ross Hall, a talented leader who died October 11 at West Lincoln Memorial Hospital in Grimsby.

Ross was a member of the Ontario legislature for the riding of Lincoln from 1975 to 1981 and chairman of the provincial caucus, mayor of Grimsby, and a Niagara councillor from 1982 to 1988. He was an active and dedicated leader of the community. He was a member of Trinity United Church, the finance chairman of both West Lincoln Memorial Hospital and Grimsby and District High School Board, as well as a member and vice-chairman of the Board of Trustees of Brock University.

He led by example and treated all with a sense of respect and understanding. His character was best described by his daughter, Trish Hall, when she said she will carry always the important lesson and advice her father once gave her: maintain your friendships; call your friends.

Our community has truly lost a model citizen. He will be missed. I ask hon. colleagues to please join with me in offering our sympathy to Ross' wife Alison and his family at this very difficult time.

The Late William Kaye LambStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Reform

Paul Forseth Reform New Westminster—Coquitlam—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, I want to commemorate the passing of William Kaye Lamb, librarian extraordinaire, who organized our nation's history as founder of the National Library of Canada.

Born on May 11, 1904 in New Westminster, British Columbia, he died August 24, 1999 in Vancouver at 95 years. He was an author and taught history at UBC. In 1934 he was appointed B.C. provincial archivist and in 1940 became UBC chief librarian.

Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King in 1948 appointed him dominion archivist. Lamb then created the National Library and drafted the National Library Act of 1952. He proposed Canada's National Library and Archives which opened in 1967. Before retiring from the National Library in 1969, he oversaw the first computerized library catalogue in the country.

In his last days, a chief joy was sending out his trademark typewritten memos to fellow scholars. Though work took him all over the world, a piece of him will always be in Ottawa. He will be remembered as a British Columbian who was a great builder of Canada.

Auto PactStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the World Trade Organization issued an interim ruling ordering Canada to scrap the auto pact, the latest casualty of the Liberal government's liberalization at any cost trade policy.

The auto pact is a model of fair managed trade providing auto manufacturers with duty free access to Canadian markets on the condition that they make significant investments in Canadian jobs and communities.

The auto pact has played a key role in the creation of family supporting jobs in the manufacturing sector. Auto companies working within the rules of the auto pact employ eight times as many workers in Canada as those who do not.

The Liberals say they care about the auto pact but it was these same Liberals who negotiated the rules which the WTO is now using to kill the auto pact. It was these same Liberals who assured Canadians that the auto pact would be safeguarded.

It is incumbent on the Liberals now to find a way to uphold the principles of the auto pact and support Canadian jobs. It must appeal the WTO ruling, rethink its uncritical and simplistic commitment to free trade, and failing all this, develop equivalent policies that reward auto manufacturers for investing in Canadian jobs and communities.

Arts And CultureStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Aileen Carroll Liberal Barrie—Simcoe—Bradford, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased that Canadian culture figures so prominently in the Speech from the Throne.

The throne speech set out a global strategy to build a better quality of life for all Canadians and to implement policies that make a difference in the lives of individual Canadians.

Writers, singers, actors, filmmakers and artists breathe life into our culture while others record our history and protect our cultural heritage.

This reaffirms the government's commitment to culture, linking 1,000 institutions across the country to form a virtual museum, putting collections on line, increasing support for the production of Canadian stories and images in print, theatre, music and video.

Jean-Louis MilletteStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre De Savoye Bloc Portneuf, QC

Mr. Speaker, last week, Quebec lost one of its greatest artists, actor Jean-Louis Millette, who had raised his art to the heights of intensity. Everything Jean-Louis Millette undertook grew to significant proportions reflecting his talent.

He approached each work with integrity, generosity and humanity. Humble and simple, he served the author, charmed the public, and was respected by his colleagues. His talent universally acclaimed, he moved us in the theatre, on television and in film.

The emotion he left us will survive him. The emotion he shared with children, through his Paillasson character, is forever in our hearts. While an actor's work is essentially ephemeral, Jean-Louis Millette's interpretations remain.

We thank you, Jean-Louis Millette, for all the joy you brought us.

OktoberfestStatements By Members

October 14th, 1999 / 2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, during this past weekend Kitchener—Waterloo welcomed thousands of visitors from across the continent to kick off the 31st annual Oktoberfest celebrations.

In fact members of this House came to Kitchener to join in the great German tradition. This nine day festival is the largest Bavarian celebration in North America with the greatest Thanksgiving Day parade in Canada.

Oktoberfest has become an important cultural event for our nation. It symbolizes what it is like to live in a multicultural nation.

Through the celebration of this spirit of gemütlichkeit the local economy is stimulated and $18 million is raised annually with $1.8 million going directly to local charities.

I congratulate the over 400 volunteers who make Oktoberfest such a great success each year. In particular I recognize the hard work of Oktoberfest president Auggie Sherban. He should be commended for his outstanding commitment and dedication to this important cultural event.

ChildrenStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Bonwick Liberal Simcoe—Grey, ON

Mr. Speaker, we have had an opportunity to reflect on the throne speech with great excitement. The Liberal government has clearly outlined a vision of which all of Canada can be proud. In short, our vision and focus is our children. Imagine the legacy. We will ensure an increase in the quality of life for our children.

Sadly, not everyone agrees with this vision of investing in our children. For reasons which I suspect are for political gain, the leader of the Reform Party suggests this is nothing more than fluff, no real substance, I think he said. Let me inform the leader of the Reform Party that my children are not mere fluff. They do have substance and they do require a government with a vision and a conscience. Sadly the leader of the Reform Party lacks both. We can only assume his comments will continue to be damaging to himself and to our children.

On behalf of the children all across the country, I say thank you to the Liberal Prime Minister for having a vision. That vision is that children are our number one priority.

Robert MundellStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Reform Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, three years ago Reform's finance critic at the time, Herb Grubel, told me that the best primer on economics was a book called Man and Economics by Robert Mundell. Believe it or not, I checked all the major bookstores in Canada and could not find it. Finally by a happy coincidence I found Mr. Mundell's book in the discard bin in the public library in the little town where I live. And yes it is a wonderful lucid book.

Robert Mundell was a man in advance of his age. He was a prophet without honour in his own country until yesterday. Yesterday Robert Mundell, born in Kingston, Ontario and raised in the interior of B.C., was awarded the Nobel prize for economics.

Today governments around the world are applying his supply side tax cut ideas and their economies are booming and providing their citizens with jobs and prosperity, including right here in Ontario.

On behalf of the official opposition, we extend hearty congratulations to Canada's Robert Mundell.

Finally I would like to offer a copy of the book to the finance minister, as long as he will read it and give it back to me.