House of Commons Hansard #15 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was treaty.

Topics

Nisga'A Final Agreement ActGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.

Nisga'A Final Agreement ActGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.

Reform

Gurmant Grewal Reform Surrey Central, BC

Madam Speaker, after listening to the amusing speech of the NDP member, I rise on behalf of the people of Surrey Central to speak in opposition to Bill C-9, the Liberal government's Nisga'a final agreement act.

The Leader of the Opposition who delivered the best speech in the House, as well as our critic for Indian affairs and a number of my colleagues in the Reform Party have already spoken in opposition to the passing of the bill.

All of us on this side of the House as members of the official opposition party feel compassion for the Nisga'a people. Our sole interest in the debate on this bill is to establish a new and better future for the Nisga'a people in relation to each other and to other Canadians. We understand that this agreement is all the Nisga'a people could hope to achieve.

After years and years of negotiation within a framework dictated by the Indian Act but controlled by the federal government and Indian affairs most Nisga'a leaders feel they have no alternative to this agreement and the principles on which it is based. For them it is this or nothing. We understand that. I am sad they are forced to support it.

The official opposition will oppose the bill because we do not believe the agreement is in the long range interest of the Nisga'a people, the long range interest of the British Columbian people and the long range interest of the people of Canada. We are proud that we are the only party in the House opposing the passage of the bill through the House. We want all Canadians, particularly our aboriginal brothers and sisters, to know and remember that. History will absolve us.

Although we are alone in our opposition in the House, outside the House we have support from academics, legal experts, aboriginals and many others including the government's own B.C. Liberal cousins, the B.C. Liberal Party. All Liberals do not think alike, if they ever do.

They are all warning about the flaws in this treaty. They are warning about the impact of this treaty on future and present treaties with our aboriginal people. Almost 90% of the constituents of the seven members of the Liberal Party who represent B.C. do not support their position on the Nisga'a treaty.

The Reform's position is that this agreement contradicts one of the key founding principles of the Reform Party, namely that we believe in true equality for Canadian citizens with equal rights and responsibilities for all.

We want equality for all Canadians. We want a new start for aboriginal people in Canada. We want them to be full and equal participants in Canadian society, with the same rights and protections that every Canadian enjoys. We want aboriginal women to be full and equal partners both on and off reserve. The Nisga'a final agreement does not meet these requirements.

It took years and this agreement was created behind closed doors. The B.C. government denied the people of B.C. a referendum on whether to accept the treaty. There was very little public input. The B.C. government passed the agreement through the provincial legislature by invoking closure on the debate before it was completed. The NDP government of B.C. which supported this agreement is on its way out.

It appears that the federal Liberal government will pass the agreement through this House regardless of how much debate is allowed.

There will be many injustices caused by this precedent setting treaty. Our future generations will not forgive this Liberal government for passing this treaty. It is the same Liberal government that refuses to listen to the critical reports of the auditor general.

How do we differ from the government? Unlike the Liberals, we believe that many of the impacts of the Nisga'a agreement will be negative. The fiscal impacts will be negative. The resource management impacts will be negative, like those of the Marshall case, and the impact on aboriginal and non-aboriginal relations will be negative.

The underlying approach to aboriginal government and economic development ratified by this bill is absolutely wrong. The underlying principles are defective and will not lead to the desired ends. An entirely different approach to aboriginal self-government and economic development based on better principles is desperately needed for the 21st century.

No one is proud of the system. No one is proud of the approach or the track record of the government in terms of tackling poverty, illness, violence, family breakdown, shortened lifespans and the despair that has been caused for thousands of people.

The unemployment, mortality, illiteracy, suicide and incarceration rates on reserve among aboriginal people, particularly young people, are the consequences of the legacy of 130 years of Liberal and Tory governments. Of course there are some exceptions. Some bands have a high standard of living. Some individuals have made progress. However, these are the exceptions rather than the rule. They have succeeded in spite of the system, not because of it.

There are three problems with the Liberal approach to aboriginal agreements. The big problem is the special status granted to aboriginals based on race; not based on need, but based on race. That is what status Indian means and it is defined in statute. That status denies aboriginals many of the political and economic tools available to other Canadians, from responsible self-government to all the tools of the marketplace and private enterprise for economic development. That status builds barriers rather than bridges between aboriginals and the rest of the Canadian community.

The second defect of the current approach is that it provides for undemocratic and unaccountable governments. The current approach to aboriginal political development fails to demand or to provide genuine fiscal and democratic accountability from local aboriginal governments. The federal government has failed to provide responsible government for aboriginals in either the fiscal or democratic sense at the local level.

The third problem is aboriginal economic development. The Liberals and the Tories have based this on socialist economics, collective ownership of land and resources, government ownership of land and resources, and excessive regulation of every economic activity on Nisga'a land.

Today we have the impact of the Delgamuukw decision by the courts that puts a lien on virtually every acre of land in British Columbia.

Another example is the chaos created in the east coast fishery by one supreme court decision based on an interpretation of the faulty approach to economic development.

Now we have the Nisga'a agreement that is based on 19th century thinking instead of a 21st century approach.

This agreement proposes laws that will override federal and provincial law. The taxation regime perpetuates special status based on ethnicity. It perpetuates access to resources based on race. These elements will lead to nothing but conflict.

The mistakes the government is making today will produce effects in the years to come. Future generations will not forgive. The help our aboriginal people need should be based on their needs and wants, not race. We have recognized those needs. Based on those needs we have to help our aboriginal brothers and sisters. Many years down the road we will face dire consequences if we treat people based on race and not need.

Nisga'A Final Agreement ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

Reform

Howard Hilstrom Reform Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to speak on behalf of the people of Selkirk—Interlake. I intend to address this issue in a limited way due to the complexity of the Nisga'a treaty.

The Nisga'a treaty has arrived in this parliament to be debated and passed, or not passed, as members of the House decide. I would like to say from the outset that I am against the signing of this treaty for the simple reason that contained within this lengthy document is a large question as to whether the Parliament of Canada has supremacy over this land and over the laws we all live by.

That the supremacy of parliament has been supplanted to the degree that is possible within this agreement I think bodes poorly for the future of our country and our children; not only Canadian children of non-Nisga'a descent, but also Nisga'a children and future generations of Nisga'a people.

The people of Selkirk—Interlake and I support the signing of treaties and support negotiations with aboriginal people. Within my riding we have firsthand experience with this process in that we have lands being added to our reserves through purchases and additions to the land holdings of aboriginal people. We certainly see that there is nothing wrong with that.

The problem, which I will restate briefly, is the question of who is ultimately supreme with regard to the functioning of society within geographic boundaries. I believe it is purported by the government that the boundaries of Canada are still from the Queen Charlotte Islands, past Victoria, right through to Newfoundland and past Prince Edward Island. This contiguous land mass is meant to be governed by this parliament.

I have a problem with whether Canadians really understand and know what is going on, whether they understand and know what is happening to their country. They may well, on full information, be willing to say that it is a great treaty and it is just what they are looking for. The problem is, that has not been done to this point in time. The chance for Canadians to really understand was contained within this debate in the House. What do I see in regard to parliamentary democracy, the give and take of debate, the understanding of the issue? I see limited participation on the part of Liberal members. I see limited opportunity for us to question ministers, parliamentary secretaries and other members of the government who speak on this issue.

Canadians have to know absolutely, to understand and to buy into it in order to have the future that I perceive we should have in Canada, a future of peace and harmony. If Canadians do not fully understand this treaty, all of a sudden they will wake up to see disputes between aboriginal tribes over borders. We have already seen it in the case of Nunavut. Islands off the shore of Quebec have been claimed by both the Quebec Cree and by Nunavut.

Why would we be setting up future problems in our country? We see neighbouring aboriginal first nations to the Nisga'a already disputing portions of the land that will fall under Nisga'a control. It does not seem sensible to proceed with this treaty, vote it into law and then proceed to negotiate and fight through the courts for many years. Animosity will build among native people, as well as among native and white people.

I am looking at background material which has been provided by the government. It says that the Nisga'a government may make laws in respect of a number of areas, including citizenship, language and culture. It also indicates that the criminal code will form part of the criminal law of the Nisga'a land. The problem arises in the administration of justice. I will deal with this from the concept of organized crime.

Organized crime operates solely on accumulating wealth. When it comes to combating organized crime, the only way it can be done effectively is by having an overriding supreme parliament and a national police force that is capable of and has the authority to conduct investigations on every square inch of Canadian land and into every corporation subject to Canadian law. In this case there will be, in effect, Nisga'a crown corporations set up to do Nisga'a business.

Under this administration of justice the Nisga'a will have their own police service. What is in the Nisga'a document that will guarantee that the RCMP will be able to conduct investigations without having the Nisga'a government saying no, the RCMP will not investigate a given corporation, or it will not investigate a certain set of individuals?

Anyone who says it is entirely unlikely that the Nisga'a people will be involved in organized crime does not know very much about organized crime. Organized crime is prevalent throughout this country. Every society, every race, every background has individuals who are involved. It is paramount that the Canadian government, through parliament, have the authority and the ability to conduct investigations into organized crime on Nisga'a land and within Nisga'a corporations.

Corporations and businesses are the very means by which money is laundered in this organized crime scheme. Those in organized crime find it very difficult to launder their money so they can account for it without its being recognized as having come from the sale of drugs or other illegitimate means.

If parliament is not supreme, the Nisga'a government can stop or thwart investigations. This has been done in the United States where there are all kinds of problems between jurisdictions. Organized crime could flourish through the corporations which are set up to administer the collective on the Nisga'a land. This is a great concern and relates back to the supremacy of parliament.

In South Dakota there was a similar set-up with regard to the supremacy of the state legislature as opposed to aboriginal land. There is a farm with 859,000 hogs on a piece of land in South Dakota. It is and will continue to be an environmental disaster. Where is the supremacy of the federal government of the United States over that kind of environmental damage?

I am against this treaty because the material has not been put out to Canadians. It is not 100% clear on jurisdiction. It is not 100% clear on who is in charge. As a result, I see nothing but problems for Canada and the Nisga'a people in the future.

Nisga'A Final Agreement ActGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

John Finlay Liberal Oxford, ON

Madam Speaker, I would like to speak about one of the most important features of the Nisga'a final agreement, one that goes to the very fabric of democracy and justice.

We have heard a lot of talk in recent years and recent days about the need for governments to be accountable. It is one of those things which distinguishes a democratic system from other political systems and it is one of the central features of the Nisga'a government as proposed in this treaty.

Political, legal and financial accountability is expected of governments in Canada. Accordingly they must answer to the Canadian public with regard to the decisions they make, the funds they receive and the money they spend. If governments are not perceived as being sufficiently accountable, they are replaced at election time. That is the bottom line.

We ensure accountable governments by demanding transparent and fair mechanisms, for example, clear and open processes of lawmaking such as we practise in this House. Decision making must be established, as well as procedures for appeal or review of those laws or decisions. The Nisga'a final agreement does exactly that. Accountability is one of the central themes of the treaty chapters on Nisga'a government, fiscal relations, the Nisga'a constitution and the fiscal financing agreement.

The Nisga'a government will be a democratic government that is accountable to its citizens. The Nisga'a constitution will be one of the key elements ensuring accountability of the Nisga'a government. This treaty requires that elections be held at least every five years. The Nisga'a constitution sets out a system of financial administration and conflict of interest rules that are comparable to standards generally accepted for governments in Canada. All adult Nisga'a can vote and hold office.

The final agreement requires that the Nisga'a constitution set out procedures to enact laws and a means to challenge the validity of those laws. In addition, the treaty provides for a strong majority in order to amend the Nisga'a constitution. Initially there is a requirement that an amendment be approved by at least 70% of Nisga'a citizens voting in a referendum. This is a high threshold but fittingly so.

The Nisga'a people themselves recognize the importance of accountability. Indeed their constitution requires each office holder to take an oath of office to provide good effective and accountable government for the Nisga'a nation as a whole.

That is not all. The final agreement stipulates a requirement for appropriate procedures to appeal or review administrative decisions of Nisga'a public institutions, to ensure the coming into force and publication of Nisga'a laws, and for the establishment of a public registry of laws.

Nisga'a citizens who are not residents of Nisga'a lands as outlined in the agreement, and there are some 200, can vote for the Nisga'a lisims government and can participate in the three urban locals: Vancouver, Terrace and Prince Rupert. Each of these locals is represented by a seat in the central Nisga'a government.

The Nisga'a government also has an obligation to consult with residents of Nisga'a lands who are not Nisga'a citizens about decisions that directly affect them. The final agreement specifies that the Nisga'a government must give full and fair consideration to the views expressed during that consultation. The Supreme Court of British Columbia has authority for appeals and challenges to administrative decisions of Nisga'a government brought by anyone whether or not they are Nisga'a citizens.

Residents of Nisga'a lands who are not Nisga'a citizens can also vote and run for election in public institutions that have elected members, such as school boards and health boards, and when the activities of those institutions significantly and directly affect them.

The approach taken in the Nisga'a final agreement also ensures that the Nisga'a government is financially accountable to its members and to the governments from whom some of their funding is derived. Under the fiscal financing agreement the Nisga'a government is required to prepare and provide audited accounts and financial statements for the Government of Canada and for the Government of British Columbia. Those accounts and statements must meet generally accepted accounting standards in Canada. Where funding is provided by the federal government, the reports can be reviewed by the auditor general.

Through the provisions contained in the final agreement, the accountability of the Nisga'a government at the local level will improve the current situation existing under the Indian Act. The Nisga'a treaty will establish a direct relationship between the Nisga'a government and its citizens. This is as it should be.

Under the Nisga'a treaty there is no lack of clarity. The Nisga'a government is clearly responsible for the decisions it makes and the lines of accountability are set out in the treaty for all to see and know.

This is democracy at its best. The Nisga'a government will be responsible for the well-being of all Nisga'a citizens and all those who reside on Nisga'a lands. Accordingly it will be accountable to them and to the government that provides some of the funding.

Let us not forget that the charter of rights and freedoms will apply to Nisga'a government and to all laws on Nisga'a lands. That means that all laws and decisions the Nisga'a government makes will be subject to review to ensure they are consistent with the charter.

Under section 24 of the Nisga'a final agreement, anyone who feels his or her rights and freedoms as guaranteed by the charter have been infringed or denied may apply to a court of law to obtain a just remedy.

For many years the Nisga'a people have been coming together every year to scrutinize the actions and decisions of their leaders. At these annual meetings the Nisga'a people have discussed matters that are important to them and have made resolutions to provide direction to their leaders. They have held leadership elections regularly. They have been negotiating with the Government of Canada for 20 years.

Over those years the Nisga'a leaders have earned the respect of their people. That is not to say that like other governments they did not have those within their membership who opposed them; however, the Nisga'a electors know that their leaders are accountable and that they have a regular opportunity to elect a new government if the current one does not live up to their expectations.

Clearly the Nisga'a people are well accustomed to having accountable leaders. The treaty confirms this fact and places the responsibility for governing the Nisga'a people in their own hands, a responsibility they are more than ready to take on. It is time that they did just that.

For too long now a minister of the federal crown has been responsible and accountable for every aspect of the lives of the Nisga'a people. It is time to move forward. The Nisga'a people have clearly identified their wish to do so by virtue of their support for the treaty. The Nisga'a people and their leaders have never lost sight of their goals. They have always attempted to fulfil them for the benefit of future Nisga'a generations.

Here they are today on the brink of achieving this longstanding vision. Let us not stand in their way now. Let us ratify the treaty which will return to the Nisga'a the responsibility and accountability for looking after their own affairs. It is the right thing to do.

Quebec Minister Responsible For TransportationStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Guy St-Julien Liberal Abitibi, QC

Mr. Speaker, an incriminating letter written on Government of Quebec letterhead paper by PQ minister Jacques Baril was addressed to Pierre Béliveau, a stakeholder in Arthabaska's socioeconomic sector. PQ minister Baril wrote “You are an good example of those Quebecers—and there are still too many of them—who, in order to look good in the eyes of the federalists, will readily smear the Quebec government”.

For months now, Mr. Béliveau, a number of Quebec organizations and myself have been condemning the government of Lucien Bouchard for not following up on its commitments to students through Emploi-Québec.

Mr. Béliveau told La Presse “In an independent Quebec, I would not have received a letter from the separatist minister, I would have been picked up by the state police”.

The comments made by minister Baril in his letter concern all the files of Quebec students at Emploi-Québec. Mr. Baril is afraid to apologize in the National Assembly and he refuses to meet the Quebec media.

Highway 97Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Reform

Werner Schmidt Reform Kelowna, BC

Mr. Speaker, highway 97 runs through my province of British Columbia, from Alaska to California, passing through the Okanagan Valley and my riding of Kelowna. It is an extremely important trade corridor both within British Columbia and with our good neighbours to the south and to the north.

In recognition of its importance, much of highway 97 has been designated as part of the national highway system. There is, however, a significant portion of the highway that has not been so designated. That portion is between Osoyoos on the United States border and the junction of highways 1 and 97 at Monte Creek.

Today I am asking the Minister of Transport to join me and the civic leaders of the southern interior of British Columbia to facilitate the continued growth and development of this dynamic and progressive part of Canada by working with them and designate this essential part of the highway as part of the national highway system.

Home Based BusinessesStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Sarmite Bulte Liberal Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, on October 22 I attended the first Communities Most Friendly to Home Based Businesses awards co-hosted by the Royal Bank of Canada and the Home Business Report in Toronto.

Through a nationwide survey the communities of Gander, Newfoundland, Barrie, Ontario and Maple Ridge, British Columbia were identified as being the most friendly to home based businesses.

Home based businesses are an incubator for innovation and ideas. With advances in technology, more Canadians are working from home. Communities are recognizing the benefits of responding to the needs of this growing workforce which now totals approximately over one million people.

Initiatives such as these awards acknowledge those who challenge stereotypes and applaud visionaries who are adapting their communities to support the values of home based businesses.

I would like to offer my congratulations to the award recipients: Libby Staple, Diane McGee and Brock McDonald. I would also like to thank Jim Rager of the Royal Bank, and Barbara Mowat of the Home Business Report.

Remembrance DayStatements By Members

November 1st, 1999 / 1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Larry McCormick Liberal Hastings—Frontenac—Lennox And Addington, ON

Mr. Speaker, the 20th century has been kind to Canada. We have been blessed with the absence of war in our land, was as it has been known only too well in other parts of the world.

Since the turn of the last century, more than 1.4 million Canadians served off our coasts and abroad on behalf of their country in five wars, and in numerous peacekeeping missions. More than 116,000 never lived to see their peaceful home again.

This coming Remembrance Day, Canadians are being asked to participate in a two minute wave of silence; silence for those who paid the ultimate sacrifice and for those who have suffered and who are still suffering, silence to show our solidarity as a nation in promoting world peace.

I applaud the leadership shown by the Royal Canadian Legion who with Veterans Affairs Canada and funding by the Millennium Bureau of Canada are rightly encouraging the revival of this custom.

On November 11, I will be participating in the two minute wave of silence and encourage all Canadians to please pause in what they are doing for two well-spent minutes.

Lest we forget.

Canada Customs And Revenue AgencyStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Beth Phinney Liberal Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to announce that today marks the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency's first day of operation.

The new CCRA, which assumes the full mandate of Revenue Canada, will give Canadians better service and streamline tax, customs and trade administration.

The new agency illustrates once again the flexibility of Canadian federalism, by creating a work environment that will promote relations with the provinces and territories in order to reduce overlap in services.

The new agency will have the necessary flexibility to set up a streamlined tax administration that will benefit all Canadians.

Throughout this century, Liberal governments have always been proud promoters of progressive policies that benefit all Canadians. The agency is all about the same evolution; proud of our past, ready for the future.

The Late Greg MooreStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Reform Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canada's Greg Moore was tragically killed yesterday in the final CART race of the year. Greg was a Canadian motor racing hero, having followed in the footsteps of Jacques Villeneuve to compete in the highest ranks of professional racing.

A native of Maple Ridge, B.C., Greg started racing go-carts with blinding speed. He moved quickly through the junior racing ranks to reach motor sports hero status. What words described him? He was Fast, no question of that, articulate, fun-filled, focused, sensitive and hugely competitive.

His family supported all his racing activities fully but they knew the dangers, accepted the risks and we grieve with them. For Greg Moore's Reynard/Mercedes-Benz that carried him to fame with a blazing roar today is silent and still for good.

Member For LongueuilStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Yvon Charbonneau Liberal Anjou—Rivière-Des-Prairies, QC

Mr. Speaker, some Bloc Quebecois members are finding out that Quebec's independence is not what young people want. It is about time Bloc members realize that Quebec's separation from the rest of Canada is not a very popular idea when you talk to people.

The following comment is from the Bloc Quebecois member for Longueuil, not some ardent Liberal supporter. She said “I no longer consider the support of my generation to the sovereignty project as a definitive and irrevocable given”. She adds, probably with some sadness, “I realize that resentment alone against the “bad federal government” no longer makes sense for the young people I met on my way”.

Welcome to the real world, Madam. Like their elders, young Quebecers want to make sure they have a future within Canada.

Claude MassonStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Rocheleau Bloc Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, Claude Masson of the daily La Presse and his wife Jeannine Bourdages lost their lives in a tragic air crash. With his passing, the Quebec media has lost of one its leading figures.

Mr. Masson was born at L'Épiphanie in 1941, and began his career with the weekly newspapers of Montreal's Rosemont district. A high-profile journalist with La Presse from 1965 to 1974, he then moved to Quebec City's Le Soleil , where he was news chief and subsequently editor in chief.

In 1984, Mr. Masson was appointed president and publisher of the Nouvelliste in Trois-Rivières, the readership of which then expanded dramatically. He returned to La Presse as its vice-president in 1988.

In the eyes of his colleagues, Mr. Masson was a man of remarkable professional and human qualities. He was a journalist of integrity and an involved citizen. I personally have had several opportunities, one of them recently, to appreciate the pleasant manner this sincere and likeable man had with people. His passing will be felt far beyond the media world.

On behalf of the Bloc Quebecois, I offer deepest condolences to his family and friends.

Egyptair Flight 990Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Reform Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday we were deeply saddened to learn of the crash into the sea of EgyptAir flight 990 with 217 passengers and crew on board.

On behalf of the official opposition and all members, I wish to express my most sincere condolences to the relatives of the victims.

Nothing that can be said will take away the pain of this tragedy, but we want the victims' families to know that our thoughts and prayers are with them.

Egyptair Flight 990Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Jacques Saada Liberal Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, EgyptAir flight 990 has turned into an absolutely unspeakable tragedy for 18 Canadian families.

Although words are inadequate, I want these families to know that all of us in this House, all of the parties together, are sharing their pain.

The victims include Claude Masson, the deputy publisher of La Presse . A person universally recognized for his humanity, who rigorously seeks out the truth in the facts and their honest interpretation and who finds such definite expression for the social role of the press and the media in general, can be said to have been a success in life, a life that was far too short.

Truth and humanism today have lost a strong defender.

Egyptair Flight 990Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Svend Robinson NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is with profound sadness that I rise today on behalf of the NDP parliamentary group to offer my sincere condolences to the families and friends of those people killed in the crash of EgyptAir flight 990 early yesterday morning. Two hundred and seventeen people lost their life somewhere in deep water off the east coast of the United States.

We think particularly of the Canadians on this flight, including Claude Masson, deputy publisher of La Presse and his wife, Jeannine Bourdages. Mr. Masson had become known for his commitment to journalism and his editorials, which informed and often challenged the thinking of Quebecers.

We would like to express our sorrow to their two sons, Bruno and Philippe, and to the Quebec journalistic community.

I would like to offer to all families and friends in mourning my sympathies and the condolences of all my New Democratic colleagues.

Adisq GalaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre De Savoye Bloc Portneuf, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday evening the production Notre-Dame de Paris triumphed in Quebec City, at the 21st gala of the Association de l'industrie du disque, du spectacle et de la vidéo, the ADISQ.

In addition to this well-deserved success, the whole Quebec record and entertainment industry was in the limelight yesterday, and for good reason. In the past year, Quebec performers have sold close to three million records, a performance which speaks volumes about the economic strength of Quebec's cultural industry, and which also shows how much Quebecers love their performers.

While these figures are impressive, let us not forget the creativity and talent of Quebec authors, composers and performers, because this is where their real strength lies.

Through their voices, words and notes, these performers know how to reach us and to move us. On behalf of the Bloc Quebecois, I congratulate those who won a Félix award, and I thank them for the pleasure they bring to us on a daily basis.

The Late Greg MooreStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Lou Sekora Liberal Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is with deep sadness that I announce that Greg Moore, age 24, an accomplished race car driver from Maple Ridge B.C., was killed in an accident on October 30, 1999.

Greg suffered massive head and internal injuries after crashing into a wall at 350 kilometres an hour during the Marlboro 500.

I had the pleasure of playing golf in the Greg Moore Golf Tournament this past summer. He was an exceptional young man. His death is a great tragedy.

AgricultureStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Rick Borotsik Progressive Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, I thank the Manitoba-Saskatchewan farm delegation for exposing the Liberal government's lack of understanding and compassion for western Canadian issues. It just goes to show that the federal government's task force on western alienation was a colossal waste of time. In fact, the Liberal government should write a how-to book on how to alienate western Canada.

Farmers are tired of the government's lack of leadership, long term vision and workable solutions for the industry. The minister of agriculture stands idle as our industry faces increasing subsidized competition, rising input costs, natural and economic disasters and an inadequate national safety program.

Canadians and our producers are waiting for the federal government to finally take notice of this vital industry and give it the respect it justly deserves.

In February 1993, the current minister of agriculture stated when he was in opposition that “GRIP and NISA have been a disappointment to the farmers and the industry”.

I think it is safe to say that most farmers today would take GRIP and NISA over the disastrous program the Liberal government created with AIDA. Most farmers would agree that AIDA should really stand for the abysmal ineffective deplorable assistance program.

Prebudget ConsultationsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Pat O'Brien Liberal London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, as the MP for London—Fanshawe, in September, for the sixth consecutive year, I held a prebudget consultation with my constituents in London—Fanshawe and key organizations in the city of London.

A number of people called on the government to reinvest part of the surplus in priority areas such as health, education, research, the homeless and defence. Other people asked our government to emphasize tax cuts, particularly for low and middle income Canadians.

I was very pleased to hear from a wide cross section of community groups, such as the Chamber of Commerce, Co-op Housing and the University of Western Ontario to name only three.

Anyone who participated in the consultation will attest that there were two dominant themes presented that evening. First, it is clear that Londoners want both a tax cut and reinvestment in priority services, in other words, a balanced approach dealing with a surplus.

Second, there was consistent and clear approval of the economic performance of the government.

I wish to thank all those who participated in the sixth annual town hall and to assure my constituents I will continue to raise their concerns here in Ottawa.

Canada Mortgage And Housing CorporationStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Reform

Jay Hill Reform Prince George—Peace River, BC

In 1997, a young family purchased a mobile home in the town of Tumbler Ridge in my riding. They received confirmation that they had qualified for a CMHC insured mortgage.

The family invested their life savings, $20,000, in the 5% down payment, purchase of the lot and the utility hook-ups. Two months after settling into their new home, they got a terrible phone call.

CMHC had designated Tumbler Ridge a “special risk community”. This meant that anyone employed by or living with a worker of the community's largest employer, Quintette coal mine, was ineligible for a CMHC insured mortgage, yet employees of the other companies qualified.

Had this family not been approved by CMHC, they would have invested the additional 20% in their mortgage rather than property improvements. Instead they lost their home and their life savings.

Canadians living in resource based communities deserve to be treated equally. As I have done countless time in the past, I call on the government to end the policy of discrimination.

René LévesqueStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Daniel Turp Bloc Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, today I want to pay tribute to a great democrat and a true visionary. It was 12 years ago that René Lévesque, one of Quebec's most prominent political figures, died.

Through his commitment, tenacity, determination and courage, René Lévesque was, for over 30 years, the architect of modern Quebec and an inspiration for millions of his fellow Quebecers, to whom he said they formed “something that resembles a great people”. As a democrat, he accepted with great dignity the verdict of a people for whom he had the greatest respect and for whom he entertained the loftiest goals.

René Lévesque was a visionary and it is to his credit if Quebec was the first government in North America to recognize aboriginal nations living on its territory.

Today's anniversary inspires those of us who believe in René Lévesque's dream to fulfil his lifetime dream of providing to Quebecers, in a democratic fashion, the tools they need to achieve their full potential.

North American Free Trade AgreementStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, if there was ever any doubt about how the North American Free Trade Agreement is damaging Canada and destroying our democracy, we have only to look at recent developments in the Sun Belt Corporation case where this corporation is suing B.C. and the federal government for $10 billion because Sun Belt has been stopped from taking B.C. water for super profits in the American marketplace.

Our natural resources are precious and irreplaceable. It becomes clearer and clearer that NAFTA, and what would have happened under the MAI and now what is threatened to happen under the WTO hearings in Seattle, is destructive and undermines our democratically elected government.

Let us be clear that these international trade rules threaten Canadian sovereignty and must be stopped. We need federal legislation to protect our natural resources and we need public intervention and protection from a market ideology that has gone berserk, sacrificing our environment and our human needs for market driven profits.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning ReformLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the last time a Liberal government went on a spending spree it helped drive up the national debt to almost $600 billion. Now we learn from finance department documents that this government rather than delivering tax relief to Canadians is planning another $47 billion spending spree on the taxpayers' charge card.

Is the finance minister so out of touch with the Canadian taxpayer that he thinks taxpayers can afford a $47 billion spending spree?

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, there is no such plan. It is perfectly natural that departmental officials of all the central agencies will cost proposals whether or not they in fact take place. That is an ongoing process.

If the hon. member would like, as opposed to debating myths, to debate reality, I would suggest that he come tomorrow to London, Ontario, to the finance committee.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning ReformLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, here is reality. The finance minister should take a look at the actual paystub of a Canadian worker.

I got one this morning from a millwright working at a forestry plant in Saskatchewan. His gross earnings for the pay period were $2,000. He got a paycheque for $1,000 because payroll taxes, income taxes and other deductions ate up all the rest.

This worker does not want a bill from the finance minister for $47 billion. He wants tax relief now. Why will the finance minister not give it to him?