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House of Commons Hansard #37 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was farmers.

Topics

EqualityStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Reform

Peter Goldring Reform Edmonton East, AB

Mr. Speaker, in November over 1,000 Canadians gathered on Parliament Hill to voice concern for their legislated loss of equal rights in Quebec.

Together, they brought a petition of over 16,000 persons asking our government to affirm that all Canadians are equal under all circumstances and without exception in the province of Quebec and throughout Canada. They wished to remind Canada's government to only enact legislation that would affirm the equality of every individual under the laws of Canada.

Today in Canada, we see equality once again being legislatively degraded in the Nisga'a treaty. Equality in Canada is paramount to our freedoms. Special status for some over others is regressive. We must stand up together to reaffirm equal rights for all. We must not enact legislated segregation for any group in Canada. Equality—

EqualityStatements By Members

11 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Haliburton—Victoria—Brock.

House Of CommonsStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

John O'Reilly Liberal Victoria—Haliburton, ON

Mr. Speaker, this is a very historic week in parliament where Tuesday became Wednesday and Wednesday became Thursday. Now here we are on Friday and I am glad to see the table has changed.

Voting took place in here for some 43 hours. People talked about a waste of time and money, but I want to talk about the thanks that should be given to the staff, in particular to the pages, the clerks, the bus drivers, the security, the table officers, the Hansard staff, the sound and TV people, and in particular the cleaning staff who made such a fabulous job of cleaning up after our sitting for some 43 hours and voting.

Let us take the time to thank the people who support us here and my thanks on behalf of Haliburton—Victoria—Brock.

Human Rights DayStatements By Members

December 10th, 1999 / 11:05 a.m.

Bloc

Maud Debien Bloc Laval East, QC

Mr. Speaker, the United Nations has proclaimed December 10 Human Rights Day.

In honour of this, the international centre for human rights and democratic development is today awarding the 1999 John Humphrey freedom award to two Burmese activists. Cynthia Maung is a doctor who treats Burmese refugees in Thailand and Min Ko Naing is a student leader imprisoned for his activities.

On behalf of all Bloc Quebecois members, I congratulate the two recipients and encourage them to carry on the fight to reinstate human rights in Burma.

The imprisonment of 150 Burmese democratically elected representatives since 1998 speaks very clearly of the state of human rights in that country.

There is a long way to go before a stop is put to the repression and political coercion visited on the people of this planet. This Human Rights Day gives us the opportunity to renew our firm commitment to ensuring equality for all and the right to freedom.

Farming IndustryStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Reg Alcock Liberal Winnipeg South, MB

Mr. Speaker, last Monday I had the opportunity to meet with a group of farmers in the lovely town of Melita, Manitoba. This town, in the southwest corner of the province of Manitoba, is located in the centre of the area that bore the brunt of last year's high water.

The farmers I met with were representative of the area's best. Smart and industrious, these farmers are successful in a very difficult industry. The product of their labour contributes strongly to Canada's exports and is the foundation upon which a number of other industries run.

This year they have suffered two blows. The flooding of international markets with low priced goods has reduced their returns from their labour. The flooding of their land has made it impossible to plant much of the available acreage. They made the point to me that farming is a very difficult business subject to the vagaries of weather, disease, insects, drought one year, flood the next. These are the norms of the industry and they accept that. They know that there will be good years and bad years.

Now, however, a new blight has emerged, one which they cannot fight alone and one which will overwhelm them if we do not offer some support. The blight is the subsidies that are given to farmers in the U.S. and Europe. Eighty percent of our farmers sell their goods in international markets and these subsidies cause—

Farming IndustryStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

The Speaker

The member for Edmonton—Strathcona.

Endangered SpeciesStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Reform

Rahim Jaffer Reform Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, this week the environment minister stated that his government could pay millions of dollars in compensation as part of its plan for protecting endangered species. So far he has been extremely evasive about specifying the formula for compensation based on fair market value and lost investment revenue. The minister has only stated that he is determined to protect vulnerable habitat, whether it is on federal, provincial or privately owned land.

Landowners are watching the minister closely to see if he is just as committed to protecting their fundamental freedoms to enjoy private property as he is to protecting endangered species.

I have heard from hundreds of landowners who believe that they, not big government bureaucracies, are the ones who can best protect endangered species. Canadians will be watching closely to see if the minister will rise to the challenge of committing the task of protecting endangered species to the people who are best prepared to do it, private property owners.

Marie WakidStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, on April 2, 1979, Marie Wakid assumed the position of riding assistant in the riding of Ottawa—Vanier. Having excelled in her work for over 20 years and celebrating her 65th birthday today, she has decided to retire.

For over 20 plus years, she has served the people of Ottawa—Vanier in exemplary fashion. She began her work alongside my predecessor, Jean-Robert Gauthier, and continued it with me. I have defended the interests of the people of this region and will continue to defend them.

It saddens me greatly to see Marie leave us today, and we want to use this day to wish her a happy retirement. It is probably a record to work in a riding office for over 20 years.

It is on behalf of thousands and thousands of individuals and families she has helped in Ottawa—Vanier that I want to thank her.

Thank you very much, Marie. May your retirement be a happy one.

Elian GonzalezStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

NDP

Svend Robinson NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, a six year old Cuban boy, Elian Gonzalez, who survived the sinking of a boat illegally transporting him from Cuba to Florida, is now being held in the U.S. in blatant violation of both humanity and international law.

The boy's father and grandparents, all in Cuba, naturally seek his immediate return. New Democrats join this young boy's family and the Government of Cuba in demanding that the U.S. immediately return the boy to his family and apologize for this serious breach of international law.

As Cuban foreign minister Felipe Perez Roque recently stated:

Arbitrarily holding the boy in the territory of the United States of America qualifies as an abduction...and a true escalation in the stubborn and failed anti-Cuban policy rejected by the international community and detrimental to the best interest of the American and Cuban peoples.

This boy's case is clearly being manipulated for political purposes, and I call today on our foreign minister to strongly condemn the U.S. actions and demand the return of young Gonzalez to his family in Cuba.

Today, on on International Human Rights Day, let us reaffirm the fundamental human rights of all people, including the Cuban people.

Human Rights DayStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, today Canada marks Human Rights Day. Last year we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights. This day is extremely significant and I would like to highlight women and human rights.

This past week we took time to remember the 14 women who lost their lives 10 years ago because of violence. It was a senseless act based on hate. Through the promotion of human rights we strive to enshrine equality between men and women.

Canada has been an international leader in this area. We are strong supporters of human rights at the United Nations. We have committed to the UN Commission for the Status of Women, the UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women and the 1995 Beijing Platform.

At Beijing, Canada's delegation lobbied to ensure that the platform would call for an accelerated process toward equality between men and women globally.

However, there is a still a great deal we need to do. Pay equity was just the beginning. It was not the end. Gender analysis must become a commonly used tool by this government in order to achieve—

Human Rights DayStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Beauport—Montmorency—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île-d'Orléans.

Prime MinisterStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Beauport—Montmorency—Orléans, QC

Mr. Speaker, when the Prime Minister decides it is time to put Quebec in its place, to deny the existence of the Quebec people and attack them just to make himself look good, there is no commitment, no fair play, no rules that hold any more.

The Prime Minister does his deeds at night, behind closed doors, running roughshod over the public and its democratically elected representatives.

Speaking about Fidel Castro and his regime, the Prime Minister did not hesitate to say “He does not have much opposition. I would love to be in the same position”.

The Prime Minister's past and present actions clearly demonstrate that he meant what he said. The important thing for him is to have his own views prevail at all times. Anyone holding a different view has no choice but to shut up.

This is a sad day for democracy.

St. Francis Xavier UniversityStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, we are very pleased to congratulate the 207 students of St. Francis Xavier University who will receive their degrees on Saturday at fall convocation. I would also like to congratulate this year's senior class who received their cherished X-rings as part of the St. FX day festivities on December 3.

The famous X-ring has been in existence since 1942, and the ceremony has been the crowning achievement of a Xavarian's university career since 1958. This year close to 800 students received their rings. As the ring stands out, so too do St. FX grads in fields of science, business and education circles. Yes, St. FX has been known for having produced some of the most prominent politicians in the 20th century.

In special recognition, I extend congratulations to the 46 graduating students of the Coady International Institute. Celebrating its 40th anniversary, the Coady Institute is renowned for educating social action and economic co-operation to community leaders around the world.

St. FX continues to be a worldclass university and I congratulate this year's graduates. You are truly excellent.

Montfort HospitalStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Eugène Bellemare Liberal Carleton—Gloucester, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday evening, more than 3,000 Franco-Ontarians from the national capital region gathered at the Cité collégiale to celebrate the legal victory of Ottawa's Montfort Hospital.

The Ontario divisional court recently ruled that the Montfort Hospital, the only French language teaching hospital in the province, is necessary to serve the francophone community, which knows how to stand up for its rights and survive.

Bravo.

Department Of TransportStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Reform

John Duncan Reform Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Department of Transport is playing hardball with B.C. stakeholders in its abandoning of any interest in maintaining remote west coast docks and wharves. Stakeholders are complaining.

The department has been playing hardball with my office as well. I submitted an access to information request in April for DOT strategy and plans to devolve over 50 west coast dock facilities.

In June I was told the response was ready and only needed editing. In August, when it was clear that no progress had been made, I complained to the access commissioner, who shares my concern. Now it has been eight months, and still no response.

Access to information legislation designed to bring transparency to government is being subverted.

How can I represent west coast interests if I am hampered by departmental arrogance?

National UnityOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning ReformLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, we understand that the Prime Minister has completed legislation setting out the government's guidelines on secession referenda.

We have advocated this type of legislation for a long time and—

National UnityOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

National UnityOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Reform Calgary Southwest, AB

Check the records.

It is crucial, however, that any such legislation actually bring clarity, including a clear definition of what constitutes an acceptable question and what constitutes a clear majority.

Will the Prime Minister now tell the House how his proposed legislation defines each of these?

National UnityOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, if we could have unanimous consent we could propose the bill right away so that I would be at liberty to reply to all these questions. Is there unanimous consent?

National UnityOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

National UnityOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Some hon. members

No.

National UnityOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Liberal Saint-Maurice, QC

Mr. Speaker, we have debated that for a long time. There is a judgment of the supreme court. The legislation that will be made public today reflects the request of the Supreme Court of Canada to make sure that political partners state clearly their positions in a civilized society.

National UnityOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning ReformLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, we are still seeking clarity.

Canada will win any future referendum if Quebecers are presented with clear choices: the choice between an isolated Quebec state or a strong vibrant province within a renewed federation; the choice between building a strong future together on the basis of equality or embarking down separate paths on the basis of differences.

Surely the government has a responsibility to ensure that the choices are clear and that the consequences are clear.

I ask the Prime Minister, how does this proposed legislation clarify these choices and those consequences?

National UnityOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I have said publicly many times that the question has to be clear and the result has to be clear. The question has to be on the idea that Quebec will not be a province of Canada. We want to clarify that so that people know exactly what they are doing and what they will achieve when they vote. We want the people to know exactly what is the plan of the provincial government.

National UnityOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning ReformLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, defining the rules of any future Quebec referendum in clear, indisputable terms is only half the battle. It is crucial, but it is only half the battle. Equally important is how the government proposes to modernize the federation to offer Quebecers and other Canadians an alternative to either status quo federalism or separation. They need a third way. For the Canadian federation to thrive in the 21st century, federalism itself needs to be modernized.

Will the Prime Minister include with his referendum legislation a list of the positive reforms that he proposes to modernize the federation for the 21st century?