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.


Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

4:05 p.m.


Rick Laliberte NDP Churchill River, SK

Mr. Speaker, I know the hon. member has a vested interest in the agricultural industry and the family farm crisis being experienced throughout Canada, especially in the prairie provinces. He is very close to the industry in the Brandon area.

What does the hon. member think about the concentrated control of our food and drug industry in North America and the world? A handful of multinationals control the food input and output costs of the farmers and the farmers are vulnerable. The farmers want to be as independent as they can be, but they are at the whim of the multinationals with commodity prices, input prices, herbicides, drugs, pesticides and seed costs. Now biotechnology is coming into play. All farmers have to pay for the research and development of these technologies coming in. The Liberal government seems to be very proud of this biotech division, but the farmers are being led through an evolutionary change on the family farm.

I would like to hear the hon. member's comments about that.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

4:05 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Rick Borotsik Progressive Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question. It is an excellent one.

I go back to my comments about having an understanding as to where we want to go in agriculture. Do we want Canadians to have a reliable domestic food supply? I think that if we asked Canadians, they would say yes. Canadians would say yes to an affordable food supply. We have to talk about the multifunctionality of agriculture with respect to the environment. I think Canadians would say it is an important factor. Do we want to have an independence in that sector and that industry? I think Canadians would say yes.

Those are the questions the government did not ask. If Canadians say yes to all of those, then we have to put a philosophy together that says we will make sure that agriculture is going to exist in our country in the next 20 years and that it is going to be in family farms, as the hon. member has said.

Family farms have changed with evolution, too. Family farms now are anywhere from 4,000 to 5,000 acres in my area, where a family farm used to be one section or less.

We have to be flexible enough to recognize that there is an evolution in agriculture, but we have to make sure that there is still an independent ownership of that agriculture, of the people who live in our communities and who want to continue to grow crops in those communities. We have to protect them against some of the issues the hon. member just mentioned. We have to protect them against some of this intrusion into their flexibility and independence.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

4:10 p.m.


George Proud Liberal Hillsborough, PE

Mr. Speaker, I am sharing my time with the hon. member for Guelph—Wellington.

It is an honour for me to speak today to show my confidence in the government and the programs set out in the Governor General's Speech from the Throne. I would like to offer my humble thanks to Her Excellency Madam Clarkson for the gracious speech which she addressed to both Houses of Parliament and to all Canadians.

There is much to talk about the millennium and what the next century holds. After hearing the Speech from the Throne I am certain we will enjoy a fruitful millennium, one which the Canada we know today will continue on its course of greatness in the next century and beyond, the Canada we know which looks after all citizens and creates a positive environment allowing them to maximize their potential as individuals and as collectivities.

I could go on for days describing the wonderful state in which we live, but I am here today to show my support for our government and its plans for the coming years, its plan that will lay the foundations for generations inhabiting this great land.

I see the Speech from the Throne as a symbol of the incredible progress we have made over the last six years. We have gone from inheriting a Canada where the future looked bleak to being well prepared for the challenges a new world brings us. It is by far one of the most promising and well thought out programs I have had the pleasure to be part of. I would like to commend the government on its foresight. We are honoured to be part of a plan that takes into consideration not only the needs of middle class Canadians, but also recognizes those Canadians who may be in a less fortunate position.

We see before us a government that is ready to commit to children and youth, to rebuilding communities, strengthening the environment, increasing disposable income through tax relief and improving our place in the world. We should be proud of our commitment to Canada and proud we are.

I am also greatly pleased that so much of what our program entails is going to directly benefit my home province of Prince Edward Island. Children are going to enter the millennium with a better education, better standard of living and a better future than has ever been seen in our history as a nation. New parents are going to have an edge over my generation. Mothers and fathers alike will be able to raise a family without having to worry about the future.

I remember a time not so long ago when the thought of raising a family in the 21st century concerned a lot of people. It concerned us because under the last government we were headed toward a society where families would have been ignored. Today we can look forward with hope.

We can be hopeful because we are taking steps to invest in the future. Children are the future of our nation. Without them our liberal democratic tradition will not continue. They represent our legacy.

This government will help parents spend more time caring for young children while ensuring that they have the resources to meet their children's needs. Our plan will do this by reducing income taxes for families, extending employment insurance parental leave benefits and adding an additional $1.7 billion a year to the national child benefit making it easier for low income families to break the cycle of poverty.

We must also invest in today's youth. They are acquiring knowledge and skills at an earlier age. They are at home in the wired world using tools that are rapidly changing the way we think. We are experiencing a technological revolution.

When I was younger we used to use our two feet to look for a job. We would pound on the doors. We would pound the pavement. Now our young adults can use the Internet to look for employment. They can also shop, trade stocks, say hello to a relative, all with the flick of a mouse. It has changed the way in which we work. These youth need to be given the tools to succeed under these conditions. Our plan will give Canadian youth an edge as the technological revolution continues so that we will surpass all other nations in the world when dealing with technology's challenges.

Our plan will help Canada's youth realize their potential as leaders. The government will help them learn about their country and its citizens, use their skills to help others and use their creativity to contribute to Canada's culture. This will be achieved by drawing on the expertise of young Canadians to help connect rural and urban communities to the information highway by hiring our youth to put in place additional Internet access sites for public use. This will increase the participation of rural Canadians on the Internet while giving our youth valuable work experience.

We will also give 100,000 young Canadians every year a chance to learn about another part of the country through exchanges Canada. This will solidify our youth as knowledgeable Canadians while increasing their awareness of regional issues. Clearly technology investment is a thoughtful investment for the future of a strong Canadian federation and a strong Canadian youth.

But all of this investment in youth, in family and children which I just spoke about is worthless if we do not have safe strong communities, communities that are free of crime, and a strong voluntary sector to tie them together.

Strong communities rely on the participation of all members. Our government is committed to strengthen this partnership with communities and the voluntary organizations which contribute to them. We will do this by developing a national accord with the voluntary sector to lay the foundation for stronger partnerships with voluntary organizations.

If I may take this a step further, our investment in communities is part and parcel of our long term economic and social well-being. Our investment in children and families is also a long term investment. We are however at a loss if we do not include the environment in our long term goal to enter the millennium with force.

A clean and healthy environment is central to our quality of life and as time progresses the demands that are made on mother nature will become even more severe. The government recognizes this and will continue to build partnerships at home and abroad which focus on sustainable development and improve the quality of the environment in our communities. We will set and enforce tough pollution standards, reduce greenhouse gases, clean up contaminated sites on federal lands and support innovative clean-up technologies.

Canada has always symbolized a nation that appreciates the environment. As we enter the 21st century we will continue this tradition of environmental preservation by extending Canada's national parks system.

The financial stability of Canadians is also very important as we enter a new century. Financial freedom allows Canadians to maximize their potential, gives them the freedom to grow and to put something back into the country. Having said this, I cannot stress how important it is that we receive tax relief. This is the best way to give our economy a kickstart and to give the children of the future a solid foundation on which to grow. We cannot just provide children with a positive learning environment; we must also give them the financial support in which to flourish. To give our families more disposable income so they can provide their children with the foundation to grow will certainly make Canada the place to be in the 21st century.

Just recently I sent out questionnaires to my constituents asking them what they thought we as a country could do to increase our standard of living. I also asked them how we could increase our productivity. Over 80% of the responses I have received so far demand that the tax burden be reduced. It is clear that we must give Canadians an incentive to build. I look forward to our government's response to the overwhelming demand that exists for tax relief.

In the Speech from the Throne Her Excellency the Governor General addressed tax relief issues. Our government will put more dollars in the hands of families with children. Our government will also continue to create a better environment for economic growth and enhanced productivity by reducing the debt burden, initiating more tax cuts and making strategic investments. The economic spinoff from a tax cut will add to the economy. People who have more money at their disposal will stimulate the demand for goods and in turn will create more jobs. It is a win-win situation.

I would like to join the millions of Canadians who have embraced our program. May we enjoy its benefits and grow as a nation as we enter the 21st century.

The Speech from the Throne is an ingenious formula for success. It contains measures that will strengthen elements of society so that as we enter the millennium we will be the best country in the world. Let me explain this.

Our families need a dynamic economy in which to raise their children. We are giving them this through tax relief. Our children need strong, safe communities in which to learn successfully. Our government is giving them this. To learn successfully children need a strong health care system and our government is giving them this. Each of these realms promotes individual development. Our plan promotes the maximization of individuals' potential, young and old. Once we achieve success in every realm of individual maximization our quality of life as Canadians will improve and in turn our place in the world will improve.

It is quite clear that we are responding positively to the daunting task of preparing Canada for the new millennium; and yes, we are prepared.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

4:15 p.m.


Odina Desrochers Bloc Lotbinière, QC

Mr. Speaker, what is amazing with this government is that it has a lot of money.

What is even more amazing, however, is that it does not have money for this year or for the year 2000. This government is suffering from the wait and see disease. We have to wait. And what about people who are waiting for the government to do something?

I ask my colleague opposite if he could make representations within the Liberal caucus to get the government to bring forward the implementation dates with regard to both parental leave and the infrastructure program. This is another ambiguous issue. The government says that studies will be conducted between now and the end of the year 2000 and that maybe, in the 2001 budget, it will be able to respond to the request made by municipalities.

I ask my colleague opposite to be clearer and more precise than the Prime Minister of Canada was yesterday.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

4:20 p.m.


George Proud Liberal Hillsborough, PE

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question. The government has laid out a plan for the future and the next budget in February will lay out the details on the tax cuts and other issues that have been raised.

He asked me if I would intervene. I am always intervening on behalf of my constituents and on behalf of all Canadians to make sure that the government does things as quickly as it can, but there are rules it has to go by and it is going by those rules.

However, I am sure, as I have read in the headlines of the papers over the past few days, that the people in Canada are very pleased with the throne speech.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

4:20 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Rick Borotsik Progressive Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, I have always had a lot of respect for the hon. member for Hillsborough. I know he is here for the right reasons, to do the right things on behalf of his constituents. However, I have to admit that his speech was fairly wishy-washy, if I can use that term and it can be translated properly. It gives the impression of warm and fuzzy. It gives the impression that there is nothing wrong. It gives the impression that everybody is fat, dumb and happy in this country of ours, so just sit back and do not worry because things are being handled well.

He said that all of the newspaper headlines indicated how wonderful the throne speech was. I wonder if he saw the headlines recently about agriculture, which was not mentioned. I wonder if he saw the headlines about transportation, which was not mentioned in his speech, with respect to a potential monopoly situation in the air. I wonder if he saw the headlines with respect to the fisheries, where people are actually committing violence against one another. Is that the type of Canada that he sees, or does he not see that through his rose coloured glasses? Does he not believe that it is the responsibility of his government to try to come up with solutions to those issues?

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

4:20 p.m.


George Proud Liberal Hillsborough, PE

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his questions. Yes, I have seen those headlines. I happen to live in an area where some of those problems are taking place. I have confidence that the government, as it has always done, will take care of those problems.

The member heard in question period today the question on agriculture. That has been taken care of. The question of the native and non-native fishery is a very volatile problem and I hope that cooler heads will prevail and that the government, the native fishermen and the non-native fishermen can get together to work out a solution.

I said that we live in a great country and that things are great. Things have never been so good, but there are still a lot of people suffering. That is why the government has come forward with programs to help these people, with tax cuts, with child tax benefits and with all of the things that will happen over the next couple of years.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

4:20 p.m.


Brenda Chamberlain Liberal Guelph—Wellington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to take part in today's debate. It is an important one.

This week's Speech from the Throne was great news for my riding of Guelph—Wellington, and for all of Canada, quite frankly. It outlined a commitment to protect and improve the social programs we all hold very dear while not abandoning our commitment to fiscal responsibility.

Fiscal responsibility is very important to all Canadians. When the federal Liberals came to power in 1993 we inherited a deficit of $42 billion. We know that the Conservative government did not handle things very well, much to the sadness of every single Canadian. Canadians from across Canada at that time left only two Conservative members in this House. They said no, that the Conservatives were not on the right track.

We refused to let this era of deficit spending continue. By 1998, just five short years later, we had not only balanced the budget, we had posted a surplus of $3.5 billion. That is an improvement of $45.5 billion. It is an accomplishment of which every one of us can be proud because each Canadian helped to do that.

Obviously our balanced plan is working and we will continue to pursue that plan because it is working.

The Speech from the Throne renews our commitment to fiscal restraint. We have renewed our commitment to ensuring that the nation's finances never get out of control again. We have renewed our commitment to ensuring that the debt to GDP ratio remains on a downward track. We have renewed our commitment to continue cutting taxes while making strategic investments in this country's future.

The Speech from the Throne contains a promise to further reduce taxes. People in my own riding as well as many Canadians across Canada have asked for that. We will put more money back into the pockets of all Canadians.

The next budget will also lay out a multi-year plan for tax reduction. This is important to my riding because Guelph—Wellington has seen that this multi-year plan worked in slaying the deficit and it will work in tax reduction also.

Targeted tax cuts and broad based tax cuts are both priorities in my riding. I have done a survey in Guelph—Wellington and that is what my constituents have told me. However, I also want to stress that Guelph—Wellington believes, and I know many Canadians across our great country agree, that we must not cut taxes at the expense of our valued social programs. That would be a serious mistake.

When asked where new spending should be directed, my constituents identified post-secondary education as a priority. I am pleased to report that our government is committed to ensuring that Canada has a strong infrastructure to improve our skills, promote innovation and conduct research. That is great news for the University of Guelph.

The University of Guelph is a world class, world renowned institution located in the heart of the golden technology triangle. It is an important part of the academic community and of our local community. Consequently, we are all very pleased with the federal government's promise to increase support for granting councils, enabling them to forge new partnerships with universities and to attract more of the best research minds in the world. This is very important to all Canadians. Places like the University of Guelph do wonderful research that benefits all Canadians in the areas of health, animal research—just name it, we do it in Guelph.

This will be done through an innovative program called 21st century chairs for research excellence. We will invest $60 million in the first year, $120 million in the second year, $180 million in the third year. The program will be ongoing, with the goal of creating 12,000 positions in three years and 2,000 in the very near future. It is fantastic.

The federal government also will foster greater international research collaboration by Canadian universities, and research institutes will help to expand Canadian scientific expertise in a variety of areas. Legislation will be tabled to create Canadian institutes of health research and the commercialization of research from universities and government research centres. They all will be improved.

The federal government will also work with our provincial partners to develop an action plan that sets out common principles, objectives and a funding framework for all governments to increase their resources dedicated to post-secondary education. Together we will find ways to ensure that skills development keeps pace with the evolving economy and makes it easier to finance lifelong learning. For anybody who has worked in a community, we all know that lifelong learning is absolutely paramount in this economy. It is very important.

The survey that I did also indicated that health care is very important and on people's minds. People want access to quality universal health care, and the factor really is a very high quality of life. People want that. Our health care system represents our society's belief in compassion and in caring. It is one of our proudest national achievements and it is an example for many other nations.

Many times we hear the Reform Party talk about the United States and how wonderful the United States is. Canada's crime rate is far below that of the United States and Canada's health care system is much better than that of the United States. We are certainly very blessed.

In the Speech from the Throne we have promised to strengthen the federal government's own research and science capacity to better protect the health and safety of Canadians. We will strengthen the food safety program and take further steps to address the health risks posed by pesticides and will table legislation to modernize health protection.

Over the next two years we will support our partners in testing innovations in home care and pharmacare and integrated service delivery, then consider what further significant investments need to be made.

We will also build a modern health system to make health information more accessible, not only to health professionals but also to citizens like you, Mr. Speaker, and I.

More and more we are learning that the quality of our health is affected by the state of our environment. Canadians have long recognized that a clean and healthy environment is essential to maintaining and enhancing our quality of life. Guelph—Wellington is known for its environmentally friendly practices, such as its state of the art wet and dry recycling facility.

Just recently we had five members of parliament in attendance at an event held at the recycling plant. This was really a great show of support from the government for recycling and environmental issues. I believe other communities can and will learn from our example, especially given the federal government's commitment to further developing and adopting green technology.

A clean and healthy environment is a wonderful legacy for our children. Children are our future and Guelph—Wellington believes that they deserve the best possible start in life. On this issue once again the Speech from the Throne reflects the priorities of my constituents.

The 1999 throne speech includes the commitment to help families by cutting taxes and leaving more money in their pockets. The federal government will also increase funding for the national child benefit by 2002, further helping parents to provide for their children. We will lengthen employment insurance benefits for parental leave. Children always come first with the government.

I am very proud of the Speech from the Throne. It reflects our balanced approach, combining fiscal prudence with a commitment to social programs. In a recent survey my people identified health care, post-secondary education, tax cuts, the environment and the future of our children. The throne speech has all of these elements. The Prime Minister of Canada has listened to the people of Guelph—Wellington again.

The throne speech lays out our path as we enter a new century and a new millennium. The initiatives it outlines will help us to maintain a dynamic economy, strengthen our communities and further advance Canada's place in the world. I know that the future holds many wonderful things for Canada. With the guidance of the federal government, we will work together and achieve our goals.

I would like to finish with a quote from our Prime Minister. Yesterday He said “Canada belongs to the 21st century and Canada will be the place to be in the 21st century. The world has seen the future and it is Canada”.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

4:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

John Herron Progressive Conservative Fundy Royal, NB

Mr. Speaker, I listened very closely to hon. member's speech. She spent a high degree of time raving about the government's environmental concern.

Since the government took office, the environment has gone from the sixth largest department to the twenty-first largest department in government. This is also a government that waited six years to pass its first environmental piece of legislation since taking office, the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, Bill C-32, which was not exactly a watershed bill. As the House knows, the environmental members of the Liberal caucus, those very learned members in terms of the members for Lac-Saint-Louis and York North, all expressed concerns on that piece of legislation.

My question is very simple. Does the hon. member think one piece of legislation passed in six years is a watershed leadership on environmental legislation?

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

4:30 p.m.


Brenda Chamberlain Liberal Guelph—Wellington, ON

Mr. Speaker, as I indicated in my speech, there is no question that Guelph—Wellington has been a leader in environmental concerns. Many communities have studied our recycling wet-dry facility and many areas are following our example. The federal government has just put a huge amount of money into that so that all communities can learn. The government has been doing this consistently. It has been going across Canada and putting money into projects that really do work and really make a difference in all of our lives on a daily basis. In the end this will benefit all of us and will leave a legacy for our children that we can all be proud of.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

4:35 p.m.


René Canuel Bloc Matapédia—Matane, QC

Mr. Speaker, the member would have us believe that there are no problems in Canada or almost none. She is certainly on the same wavelength as the Prime Minister, who is constantly saying that Canada is the best country in the world, that we are rich and that everything is fine. He keeps repeating that like a parrot. It is not necessarily true.

How is it that the government is offering so little, and nothing before the year 2001? Between now and then, what is it offering children? What is it offering the many teenagers across Canada who take their own lives because there are problems? We must not bury our heads in the sand. The truth must be told.

There are a lot of problems in Canada but the government prefers not to see them, because that is less painful. What will be done between now and the year 2001 since most programs will kick in only after 2001?

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

4:35 p.m.


Brenda Chamberlain Liberal Guelph—Wellington, ON

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member from Quebec said that we need to spell out the truth. He is indeed quite right. We do need to spell out the truth.

We have a party across the way, the Bloc Quebecois, that wants to break this beautiful country up. It is disgraceful because the reality is that we do live in the best country in the world. We have been named six times as the best country in the world. As President Clinton said when he was here, I do not know of any country where people can get along better by being on their own and breaking a country up.

When Quebec needed help who helped it? Every province from across Canada helped Quebec and it was happy to take that help. The Bloc members should be ashamed of themselves. Do they want to hear the truth? They should be proud Canadians and proud to live in this great land of ours.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

4:35 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Rick Borotsik Progressive Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, I wanted to rebut the $42 billion but I will pass on that.

The member for Guelph—Wellington mentioned that she had five Liberal MPs in her riding recently. Why could she not have had those five Liberal MPs visit me over the past summer to see the devastation of the farms, the loss of hope, the despair, the depression and the violence within the families because of the situation they are dealing with? Why could she not bring her colleagues down to see that in her rosy little world?

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

4:35 p.m.


Brenda Chamberlain Liberal Guelph—Wellington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will invite my colleagues to go to my hon. colleague's riding.

I know there are serious problems in Canada, but there is no question that we live in the greatest country in the world, bar none. The reality is that the Liberal government will continue on a path of trying very hard to make sure social problems are addressed and that we are financially and fiscally responsible. We pledge to that.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

4:35 p.m.


John Cummins Reform Delta—South Richmond, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to respond to the Speech from the Throne today. The issue I would like to address is the issue we discussed last night in this place in the take note debate, in particular the Marshall decision of the Supreme Court of Canada and the suggestion I made to the minister that he go back to the court to seek a stay of judgment and a rehearing of the case.

The reason I want to address that issue again is that the intentions of my suggestion have been repeatedly misinterpreted not only by the government but also by opposition members on this side of the House, both Conservative and NDP. It is sad that has happened because the reality is that if we do not go back to the court, if we continue on the path that the minister has taken, the minister will be sitting at the table with no cards in his hands and no chips on the table.

The fact is that the decision by the court has taken away the minister's bargaining position. He has nothing to negotiate. The court has very clearly allowed a native preference and a native priority to fish as a result of this Marshall decision. The court has very clearly stated that. It has also not imposed any limits on it. The court has again said that natives have the right to fish and earn a moderate living. The minister has in fact made matters worse by suggesting that he will allow that right and recognize it as a communal right.

The reality is then that rather than a fisher going out and earning a moderate living from that fishery, it could very well be expected that moderate living could apply to all the Mi'kmaq in the maritimes, all 12,000 and some-odd of them. If one out of four of those Mi'kmaq decides to exercise the right that the court has granted, there will be no room at all for anyone else in that fishery. That is the pure, hard, cold facts of the matter.

The disappointment I had with the debate last night was that nobody seemed to be speaking for the current participants in this fishery. Nobody in the House was addressing a concern about those people.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

4:40 p.m.

An hon. member

You did.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

4:40 p.m.


John Cummins Reform Delta—South Richmond, BC

My colleague says I did. Yes, I did, but it seemed that I was a voice in the wilderness in this place.

If the federal government believes that non-native fishermen have a place in this newly defined fishery, it ought to say so. If the Governments of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and indeed Quebec believe that non-aboriginal fishermen have a place in this newly mandated fishery, they ought to say so. If other members of the House believe that non-aboriginal fishers have a place in this fishery, they had better say so.

It is going to take more than just saying so. It is going to take convincing the minister to go back to the court to seek a stay of judgment. The reason for that is quite simple. If he goes back and seeks that stay of judgment, it is going to give him some bargaining chips. He will have something on the table in front of him that will allow him to negotiate from a position of strength. As it is now, he has nothing. The courts have given the proverbial ranch away.

The question is: how outrageous is this request to seek a stay of judgment? Is it somehow trying to avoid the decision? Is it somehow trying to work around the decision and avoid it? No, it is not. The stay of judgment is asking the court to back off to allow for a cooling off period. It is asking the court to define its intentions with regard to, for example, a moderate livelihood, and to define or clarify whether non-status natives are going to be covered by this decision.

This would give some guidelines for the minister to take to the negotiating table. This would allow the minister to bargain from a position of knowledge. If no effort is made to define the rights of non-status natives, if there is no effort made to define whether or not the courts were including them as people to be covered by this treaty, it is best to know that now because as sure as the Lord made little green apples that matter will end up in the Supreme Court of Canada. If it is not done now at the request of the minister, it will be done two or three years from now. It will be there. We could have two or three years of negotiation with the Mi'kmaq people to try to find a place for non-aboriginal fishermen in the newly mandated fishery, and after two or three years of debate find all of that tossed out the window because all of a sudden we have about another some 36,000 non-status natives at the table as well saying that they too have a priority right to fish as a result of this treaty.

It is critical that a decision is made to go back to the court. That decision has to be made within the next three days, because the government had 30 days from the time the decision came down to ask for a stay of proceedings and for this redefinition. If the government allows that time to go by without making application, it has lost it. There is nothing on the table. The minister has given it up. He has walked away. He has turned his back on fishermen in the maritimes. It is as simple as that.

Why my request would be denied by the NDP and by the Conservatives is beyond me. Why they would deny strengthening the minister's hand so he could clarify the situation that is before us, so he could determine the level of participation of non-aboriginal fishermen in this fishery, is beyond me. Why would they deny guaranteeing non-aboriginal fishermen access to this fishery?

As I said, there is no guarantee now that there will be room for non-aboriginal fishermen if this decision goes unchallenged. Clearly the Mi'kmaq could use up the total access that we now have to the resource. There is no question at all that they have a priority right to that fish and could very well utilize the total allowable catch we now have.

The request that I made is not outrageous. Last night the member for Vancouver Quadra mentioned an article by Jeffrey Simpson which appeared in the Globe and Mail . In that article Mr. Simpson was referencing the 1954 decision of the U.S. supreme court in Brown v the Board of Education at Topeka. That particular ruling challenged the separate but equal doctrine which had allowed for the segregation of educational institutions in the southern United States. It declared that separate educational facilities were inherently unequal.

I would like to apply that consideration to the decision the supreme court reached in the Marshall case. That information should be presented to the court when we ask for this stay, because I do not think it was the intention of the court to create this separate but equal fishery.

If we look at the Gladstone decision of the Supreme Court of Canada, that decision gave the Heiltsuk band of the central coast of British Columbia the right to fish herring roe on kelp. It said they had an inherent right to fish herring roe on kelp, but at the same time it acknowledged that others had also acquired rights.

If the government went back to the court it would acknowledge that others have rights. I would advise the government to seek that balance and perhaps some give some guidance on how that balance could be achieved. Unless the government seeks the stay, I do not think we will have the benefit of that advice from the courts.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

4:45 p.m.


John Bryden Liberal Wentworth—Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I appreciated the remarks of the member because I too am deeply troubled by the supreme court decision in the Marshall case.

I do not agree with him however that we should seek a stay and go back to the courts for interpretation. I suggest to the hon. member that the courts have already done enough damage with their decisions. To leave it to the courts to determine what a moderate livelihood is would be like a game of Russian roulette. I am afraid parliament and both sides of the dispute will be the ones who will suffer from it.

I address my remark to the member. My own feeling is that surely the better way to approach this problem is for parliament, through its elected government and through the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, to put his own interpretation on moderate livelihood and apply that interpretation. That court decision is so vague. As somebody who has spent my life in words, I find that the judges have actually put words into a treaty that did not exist and used that as a basis for an interpretation. It really reduces this place to insignificance when courts can apply judgments to laws that we have not created, as they have done in this case with the British treaty of 1760.

I ask the member, if it were a choice, is it not better for the government to act swiftly and unilaterally and do its own interpretation?

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

4:50 p.m.


John Cummins Reform Delta—South Richmond, BC

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the comments of the member opposite. Yes, it would be beneficial if the government could act unilaterally and fix this problem. Unfortunately it cannot. The supreme court has stated what the law of the land is, and the law of the land gives the Mi'kmaq a priority right to commercial fish. The only right the minister has to interfere is the right to interfere in the interest of conservation. That is the only way he can interfere in this matter.

The court looked at the current regulations in place and struck them down. It said that those regulations interfered with the treaty right and therefore they had no place.

What is interesting is that we arrived at this situation not unwittingly. The information that we present to the court enables the court to make decisions. It will make a decision in our favour against it, if we want to look at in those terms, but if we do not give the court the information we are at its mercy. Not only must we give them the information, but we have to be careful if we make any concessions. The government made two critical concessions when it argued this case before the supreme court.

In the first one the crown's expert witness described the prohibition on Mi'kmaq trading with others and the restriction that they only trade at truck houses. The crown's expert witness allowed that that could be interpreted by the courts as somehow a right to trade. It was anything but a right to trade. It was a restriction on a trading right, but the crown allowed that restriction on a trading right could be interpreted as a right to trade.

The second mistake the crown made was that this treaty did not mention fish as a trading item. Fish had no value as a trading item and was readily available to anybody. Yet the crown allowed and the government allowed that fish could be included as a trading commodity. From a restriction on trading, from a treaty in which fish was not mentioned at all, we arrived at a place where preferential right to fish has been given.

We have a very difficult situation. It is easy to criticize the supreme court and I have done it because it deserves to give this situation the sober second thought that it did not get by the government.

There are other issues the government did not mention that are worth mentioning. Since the signing of the Magna Carta in British common law there has existed something called the public right to fish. That public right to fish was in operation at the time this treaty was signed. This treaty ignored that public right. That should have been brought to the attention of the government because there was nothing done when this treaty was signed to revoke the public right. The government should have brought that to the court's attention. It did not and that has been allowed to stand since that time.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

4:55 p.m.


Leon Benoit Reform Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak in response to the throne speech on the issue of immigration.

Immigration issues were some of the issues that were in the forefront. Certainly they were issues that were most important to Canadians over this past summer. Yet it received only five words in the throne speech, five words that were tucked away in a long statement. Clearly the government is out of touch with Canadians when it comes to dealing with issues that are important to them. The government has shown this by its neglect in the throne speech.

There was not even a broad statement in the throne speech on what the government intends to do with immigration. That is real neglect on the government's part. Just to back this up, Angus Reid released a poll yesterday which shows that when we look at issues most important to Canadians right now, health care is the number one issue and immigration is the number two issue across the country, tied with taxes. We all know that taxes are of high importance to Canadians. They want taxes to be lowered.

Twenty per cent of Canadians see immigration as the most important issue to them, up from 3% in the last poll that Angus Reid did. I believe the reason for this is that Canadians have recognized the government's bungling in terms of dealing with the issue of illegal migrants over this past summer, in particular illegal migrants coming by boat, although certainly at the airports and borders as well. Only 5% to 10% of all people who come illegally to our country come by boat. The rest come through the airports or across the borders.

Canadians have finally recognized that our government losing control over people coming into the county is a real threat to national security. It is a true threat to national security. I believe this issue has moved up to occupy second place when it comes to issues of importance to Canadians.

If we look at cities like Vancouver and Toronto, immigration right now is by far the most important issue to people in those cities. It is an issue which the government completely ignored despite having 41 of 43 seats in the greater Toronto area and having seats in the Vancouver area. I think it is really shameful neglect.

Our immigration system today is dysfunctional, not only in terms of dealing with people coming into the country illegally but also in terms of dealing with those that we want to attract through our immigration system the people who are designated as people Canada wants to attract by the immigration department. Our system is completely dysfunctional when it comes to those people we want to attract and that is what I intend to talk about today.

I want to start with the government's handling of the whole issue of illegal migration over the summer. With this summer's arrival of illegal migrants by boat, about 600, which represents only 5% to 10% of illegal migration, what was the government's response? The government's response to this very serious breach of national security, this loss of control over our borders, was silence.

After prodding from the official opposition and from Canadians across the country the minister said “I am going to expedite the system. I am going to make it so that the people coming by boat illegally will have a hearing within six to seven months rather than the eleven month average we have now”. That is only the initial hearing. It has nothing to do with appeals. That timeframe does not include appeals. An appeal could take a year or more beyond that. We have seen appeals lasting for years and years. It is not that uncommon any more.

The government's response was to expedite the process. That process has been expedited so much that as of last week out of the roughly 600 people who came by boat only 4 have gone through the process. I am talking about just the initial hearing. We have had no appeals so far.

What is the significance of this system taking so long? The significance is certainly high to Canadians generally, and to those who have had their lives put into limbo through this process that is so dreadfully slow.

We have people who have come to this country believing in many cases that they are coming to establish a new life. Certainly they know that they are using illegal means to get here in most cases, but they do not understand that they will be led into a life of servitude, that they will be a part of a virtual slave trade, the new slave trade. For this to be happening is shameful. We will look back in history 30 or 40 years from now and wonder how Canada could have been so negligent in handling this situation.

The people who have come will have their lives put on hold for months and years, and then many will be deported back to their countries of origin. What will be left for them two or three years down the road? I would suggest very little.

In the meantime, what about Canadian taxpayers? They are footing the bill for this system that is not functioning well at all. They are paying millions and millions of dollars because the process is so slow and so flawed. It is shameful. By ignoring this in the throne speech the government has demonstrated that it is just not willing to deal with tough issues such as this. I think we need a government that will show some leadership.

Members of the Reform Party do not only criticize, we also propose positive solutions. What we proposed over the summer, and in fact over the past six years, is that first we should detain all people coming to this country until their hearings, but that the hearings be held within days or weeks rather than months or years as is now commonly the case. Then, once a determination has been made, it should be acted upon. The people who are found to be genuine refugees we should help to settle in our country. However, people who are found to be bogus refugees should be deported immediately. That is what we have called for.

We have also called for the people smugglers to be dealt with firmly. They are the people who are initiating this activity, who are most often members of organized crime, and the people who actually operate people smuggling rings.

Yesterday in the House the minister said that Canada has some of the toughest laws on this issue. I do not know what she was comparing us with, because in fact we have extremely weak laws in terms of dealing with people smugglers when compared with the United States, Australia or other countries. Not only that, the maximum 10 year sentence has never been implemented. The maximum sentence that has ever been imposed on someone involved in people smuggling in this country is somewhere around three years. That is completely unacceptable and it clearly demonstrates a lack of leadership by this government.

I would like to speak next about this system not working for the people for whom it is intended to work. There are three streams of immigration. The first stream is the independent category, which is made up of people who come because they have special education or special skills, or because they are going to invest in a business or operate a business.

The second stream is the refugee stream. Most experts would suggest that through our refugee stream probably 60% are bogus refugees. They are not legitimate refugees as laid out in the UN convention on refugees.

The third stream is family reunification of both of these previous groups.

I would ask if any member of the House could honestly say that they do not have a huge problem in their constituency when it comes to processing people whom we desperately need in this country, those people who bring a special skill or education, or reuniting them with their families from their countries of origin, or reuniting a Canadian with someone they have recently married. I know that not one member of the House would say honestly that the system is not so badly broken that it is not working for these very people for whom it is intended to work.

Not only is the system not working for those it is intended to work for, it has been a disaster in terms of screening people for whom it is not intended to work. It should be clear to Canadians that we need leadership on this issue. We are not getting it from the government. I implore the government to deal with this issue. If it will not, and I assume it will not—it has shown no will to do that—then we will when we form the government in two years.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

5:05 p.m.


John Bryden Liberal Wentworth—Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to reassure the member for Lakeland that there are those on this side of the House who share some of the views he has just expressed about the urgency of coming to grips with the problem of the migrants on the west coast.

In my six years in the House I think I have only once heard a suggestion from the Reform Party that I fully agreed with and that was the suggestion that the migrants should be detained until their cases are disposed of and it is determined whether they are refugees or not.

This seems like a harsh thing to do. We are actually keeping people confined, as they would be in any kind of detention, which is a type of jail. The alternative is too much to even contemplate. What we are really dealing with is trafficking in human beings. So long as these people are released back into the community—and I know the Department of Immigration has already experienced this—they are immediately drawn into absolute slavery. The condition of their passage is to work it off in one manner or another.

In that sense I think the hon. member is entirely correct, even though the prospect of detaining people is very unpalatable to anyone who wants to give people the benefit of the doubt and freedom in the process thereof.

While I am certainly in agreement that the refugee system needs fixing, I do have to acknowledge that the problem really is with the charter of rights, which unfortunately gives the full rights of citizenship to anyone who sets foot on Canadian soil. It is that which is the root cause of the problem. I wonder if the member would comment on that.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

5:05 p.m.


Leon Benoit Reform Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, the member has hit on a key point. The Singh decision and other decisions have said that those who arrive at our borders or even in territorial waters are entitled to the full set of rights that a citizen would be entitled to. I believe that decision does have and impact on this situation.

However, I believe that even with those restrictions in place, this government, if it had the will, could speed up the process to the point that it could process people coming illegally in days or weeks rather than months or years as is now the case. Then detention is not such a big issue. People then are detained for days or weeks. If they choose to appeal it could be longer, but we could speed up the appeals process rather than detaining them for months or years. Therefore we deal with both problems.

We also deal with sending the message to those involved in people smuggling that if they want to make money smuggling people into Canada they are no longer going to be able to do it because, by gosh, Canada deals with these situations quickly, firmly and we act on the hearings while still respecting the UN convention on refugees.

I believe we can respect the UN convention on refugees fully. I believe we can get around the Singh decision, which I believe was a very bad decision, and the other decisions and speed up the process to the point that it will work quite well.

I would further say that if necessary, and I do not believe it is necessary, this government should invoke the notwithstanding clause to override the Singh decision and to give control over immigration back to the Government of Canada, to the elected representatives of the people of Canada. The courts should not be making law in this country.

It is interesting that the member who spoke before me talked about the courts making law and I am talking about the courts making law, saying that is clearly wrong in a democracy. Let us give control over policy issues back to the government. The government could take it back. It would be rare that it would involve invoking the notwithstanding clause. It just takes the will on the part of government.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

5:10 p.m.

Victoria B.C.


David Anderson LiberalMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, it is a great pleasure to see you in the chair. The new session has started well with you gracing our presence.

I am also happy to have the opportunity to take part in the debate on the Speech from the Throne, a speech which was read by our new Governor General, Her Excellency Madam Clarkson, on Tuesday. I join with all members of the House, and of course with yourself, Mr. Speaker, in congratulating her on her new role and in wishing her the very best in the years ahead as Her Majesty's representative in Canada.

Since I have also been given a new role in the federal cabinet, I am pleased to take part in this debate and to have the chance to talk about an issue that I have been connected with all my life, that of protecting the environment.

As we heard in the throne speech, Canadians understand very well that the high quality of life we enjoy in this country, as well as our health and the health of future generations, depends on a clean and safe environment.

Canadians also understand that the quality of our environment is closely linked to that of the world environment. They understand clearly that any progress in this area requires initiatives to be taken on both the national and the international level.

The Liberal government intends to make environmental issues central to Canadian public life in coming weeks and months. To that end, we are going to take action on a number of different fronts, and to step up our environmental protection measures.

As I am sure hon. members fully appreciate, the Government of Canada does not have jurisdiction over all environmental and species protection issues in this country. That is why we will be working in close, harmonious partnership with provincial governments, municipalities, first nations, the academic community, the business community, environmental groups and, of course, individual Canadians who are concerned. We no longer have the luxury of pretending that environmental questions amount to a zero sum game of jurisdictional tradeoffs, a game where a win for the environment is somehow a loss for business, or a win for business is a loss for the environment, or a win for the provinces is a loss for the federal government and so on.

We must reinforce the fact that a clean environment, human health and a strong economy go hand in hand and that we must work together to achieve those common goals. Therefore, I will be working closely with my provincial counterparts because in many areas we share responsibility for protecting the environment. I believe that provincial action can be influenced by the federal government even in situations beyond our strict constitutional jurisdiction.

The Government of Canada has an overarching responsibility to protect the environment and the health of all Canadians. That is a responsibility we are committed to upholding in all areas, from species protection to climate change, to providing cleaner air and cleaner water, to controlling toxic substances, to developing green technologies for our industries, to meeting our international commitments and promoting eco-efficient practices within the government and throughout our society and our economy.

With respect to species protection, for example, there is a long history of co-operation among the federal, provincial and territorial governments through such things as the designation of protected areas, implementing international wildlife agreements and a commitment to biodiversity.

In 1996, some three years ago, wildlife ministers agreed to the accord for the protection of species at risk. I am pleased, in fact I am delighted, that all governments in this country have agreed that any species protection legislation must include provisions for the protection of the critical habitat of endangered species. This is absolutely fundamental: no habitat, no species.

We are now working under that accord with our provincial colleagues to develop stewardship programs and other collaborative and voluntary measures to protect species at risk. One such program is the Vancouver Island Marmot Recovery Foundation which is close to my home on Vancouver Island. Environment Canada is working with the B.C. Ministry of the Environment, Lands and Parks, B.C. Hydro, MacMillan Bloedel, the forestry company, the World Wildlife Fund, the Toronto and Calgary zoos and many others to try to save one of this country's most endangered species from extinction. I believe the Vancouver Island marmot is North America's most endangered mammal.

The federal legislation to protect species at risk mentioned in the Speech from the Throne will complement and strengthen provincial legislation with programs and voluntary initiatives. The federal approach aims to build on the excellent efforts to protect endangered species which are already being made and measures already being taken by so many individuals and groups. I salute them.

The only sustainable way to preserve species and their habitats is to ensure that appropriate incentives and knowledge are available to encourage each Canadian to do the right and responsible thing. We expect this to work in the vast majority of cases but when it does not, prohibitions must be available to prevent extinction and critical habitat destruction.

We are also working to protect our water resources. Protecting Canada's fresh water is not a question of economics or trade; it is a question of ecology.

Water is vital to human health, for our ecosystems, agriculture and industry. Canada's sovereignty over its water resources is total. Water in its natural state is not a commodity, and therefore not covered by NAFTA.

In order to ensure an enforceable Canada wide solution using an ecosystem approach, we are working jointly on an agreement under the terms of which each jurisdictional area would establish laws, regulations or policies prohibiting the removal of large quantities of water from Canadian water basins, including for export.

That includes federal legislative measures through amendments to the International Boundary Waters Treaty Act. They will be introduced this fall and will give the federal government the legislative authority to prohibit the removal of large quantities of water from bodies of boundaries water, such as the Great Lakes.

We have also made a request with the United States to have the International Joint Commission study how water consumption removals and diversions could affect our Great Lakes. Our objective here is not to plan for removal but to provide a basis for ensuring a consistent management regime for water shared with the United States.

Mr. Speaker, I know that your riding is at the end of the Great Lakes and the beginning of the St. Lawrence River. I am pleased to report to you that the interim report of the commission which was released in August supports our strategy and agrees that removals are harmful to the ecosystems that they support.

The report recommends an immediate moratorium on bulk water removals until the full report is completed, which we expect to be early next year. The commission is consulting widely with Great Lakes communities through public meetings which are currently under way.

Canadians are especially concerned about air quality. Residents in many areas are subjected to unacceptable air pollution caused by ground level ozone and airborne particles which combine with other air pollutants to produce smog. That is particularly so in our urban centres.

We have taken several measures to reduce smog over the last few years but I have to say a great deal remains to be done. For example, measures are now being taken to reduce the level of sulphur in gasoline. We want to reduce those levels by 90% by 2005. Why? Because the health benefits alone will be of enormous benefit to Canadians.

An independent panel of health and environmental experts predicts that a reduction to that level would prevent some 2,100 premature deaths, 92,000 incidents of bronchitis in children, five million other health related incidents such as asthma attacks, and eleven million acute respiratory symptoms, such as severe coughs and new cases of pneumonia and croup. That would be over a 20 year period. With those figures I wonder whether anyone could argue that those steps should not be taken to protect the health of Canadians. I do not think many would.

It also gives me satisfaction to be able to note that the government is determined to work with provincial governments and other levels of government to improve the country's physical infrastructure in the coming century. We must ensure that our increased trade and our improved economy are matched by an increased capacity to move people and things in complete safety.

In order to maintain the quality of life in our cities and rural communities, we must ensure our air and water are clean.

Under the last two infrastructure programs the Government of Canada, the provinces and the municipalities invested hundreds of millions of dollars in water treatment and sewage management to protect our waterways and the health of Canadians. We are committed to work with other levels of government and the private sector to reach by the end of next year agreement on a five year plan for improving the physical infrastructure in urban and rural regions across our country.

This agreement will set out shared principles, objectives and fiscal parameters for all partners to increase their resources directed toward infrastructure, with a particular focus on the environment, as well as health and safety, transportation, tourism, telecommunications and culture. I would like to describe this program that we will be developing as a green infrastructure program because I am sure that when we examine the needs of this country that in fact is the way it will be.

I would like to say a word about contaminated sites. We will be dealing with the clean-up of contaminated sites and how we can improve our performance in that area. That again was mentioned in Her Excellency's speech. I must warn Canadians that this will be a long term program. We have had, as reported by the environment commissioner, starts and stops before. I want to see a clear outline, a program, to achieve substantial clean-up of our contaminated sites over the next 20 years.

Recently we have committed some $38 million to the clean-up of the Sydney tar ponds which is Canada's most contaminated site. Of course more will be required on the financial side and more will have to be done. There are literally thousands of contaminated sites which are under federal jurisdiction, thousands more under provincial jurisdiction and many which we describe as orphan sites where there is an abandoned mine and there is no possibility of finding an organization which will pick up the clean-up costs.

The tar ponds remind us of why we must change our approach to the environment. We need to prevent pollution before it occurs rather than paying the enormous costs which sometimes result from clean-up after the fact. That is why we must be more diligent in conducting our environmental assessments. It is why we have made pollution prevention the cornerstone of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, or CEPA.

The renewed CEPA provides the government with stronger powers to protect the environment and therefore human health. Essentially it marks a shift from after the fact clean-up to proactive prevention. After investing a very lengthy period of more than five years in renewing this legislation, I believe we can now move forward on implementing stronger environmental protection to give Canadians the cleaner environment that they deserve.

I announced two or three weeks ago that $72 million would be put forward in new funding to strengthen our scientific and enforcement capacity under the new CEPA. This is in addition to the $40 million that was announced earlier this year to conduct scientific research into toxic substances that harm human health and the environment, including endocrine disrupters, the so-called gender benders and toxics that may have serious effects on all species, including the human species.

Under the act, all substances currently used in Canada will be examined for their level of toxicity. As well, the act provides firm deadlines for the control of toxic products and requires the virtual elimination of the most dangerous ones.

The act gives Environment Canada officials significant new powers to act with respect to a polluter breaking the law.

It will also help Canada honour a number of international environmental commitments and enable people to initiate proceedings if the federal government does not ensure compliance with the law.

The act includes new provisions for regulating vehicles and fuels and new abilities to regulate less traditional sources of air pollution such as lawn mowers and off-road vehicles. The government has already begun discussions with manufacturers of these devices so as to reduce toxic emissions and greenhouse gases. We are committed to clean air. We are prepared to take the action necessary to prevent the build-up of greenhouse gases that are responsible in part for climate change.

This may eventually mean some changes in lifestyle choices for many Canadians, but I am confident that Canadians understand there will be even greater adverse lifestyle changes if we do not take action at the present time on this problem.

On climate change, in 1997 Canada joined with 160 other nations in negotiating the Kyoto protocol on climate change. We set a target of reducing our emissions of greenhouse gases to 6% below the 1990 levels. This would be achieved in the years between 2008 and 2012. Incidentally, that target was announced by the Prime Minister.

The fact that other countries have agreed to comparable reduction targets does not make the 6% reduction any less ambitious or challenging for an energy dependent country such as Canada. To meet these targets, given the projected growth in our economy and population, we will have to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 25% below the business as usual projected levels for 2010. Those targets cannot be reached without significant changes to the way our economy functions and to our lives as individuals.

The scope of these challenges must not prevent us or delay us from taking appropriate action now, because one of the most dangerous attitudes toward climate change is that because there is still some scientific uncertainty we should do little or nothing. The most credible evidence that we have available tells us that climate change due to human activity is a reality.

I could give more on climate change. I have many pages in my speech explaining the problem and giving examples of it. I will simply say that I will be happy to discuss this with the member over lunch some time. I am sure the member agrees it is important to make sure we have a system that is acceptable to Canadians which achieves the goals in question.

Many opportunities will be provided by our environmental programs such as developing new environmental technologies. The opportunities for export, et cetera, are there. Therefore we have many provisions which again could be mentioned, but I will pass over them quickly and simply say that we will find economic opportunities which will flow from our efforts to improve the environment in Canada.

In conclusion, Canadians understand the linkages between the environment and health and between environment and economic growth. They understand that we need to have development and growth. That has to be sustainable in the future. They also understand that we must act decisively or in essence we will be guilty of robbing our children and grandchildren of a safe, secure and prosperous future. I am sure all members of the House will actively support our actions in this regard.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

5:30 p.m.


Reed Elley Reform Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, this minister and his B.C. Liberal sidekicks have shown very little regard for the problems and rights of the vast majority of B.C. citizens.

First, there is the expropriation of the provincial land at Nanoose Bay in the face of incredible opposition, something never done before in Canadian history. Second, there is the lack of protection of B.C.'s children by their appalling inaction on the court's decision on child pornography. Third, and I address this to the former minister of fisheries, over a period of time they have failed to effectively solve the problem of the preservation of the salmon stocks on the west coast and have downsized the fleet so that hundreds of fishermen and their families are bankrupt. Fourth, there has been inaction on closing the loopholes on Canada's immigration laws that saw hundreds of illegal immigrants come to the shores of Vancouver Island this summer. Fifth, there is a total lack of compassion for non-native residents on Musqueam lands who will soon be kicked out of there homes. I can go on and on, but I think that is enough.

Why should the people of B.C. have any confidence in the Liberal promises made in the throne speech when they have that appalling record before them?

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

5:30 p.m.


David Anderson Liberal Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, I remind the hon. member that in poll after poll the Liberal Party in British Columbia receives double the support of his party. If these issues are so important to the people of British Columbia as he has described them, he should recognize the people of British Columbia recognized that the balanced approach of the government to improve expenditures on health care and on the social side, the reduction in taxes and in debt, is the appropriate way for Canada to go, and that this is very beneficial to British Columbia.

Were he correct, his party might perhaps have more support than it currently does. He is a member of a party whose own leader thinks the party should disintegrate and disappear. When we compare that side to this one, no wonder we have the support of sensible British Columbians, which the vast majority are. They are firmly on the side of the government party. Poll after poll in the last many months have shown our support to be double that of Reform.

Clearly he does not represent the people of British Columbia. Clearly he does not understand the issues affecting British Columbia. Clearly he is continuing to put the Reform Party ahead of the interests of British Columbia. That is why he and his friends are so consistently rejected by the people of British Columbia.