House of Commons Hansard #39 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was quebec.


An Act To Give Effect To The Requirement For Clarity As Set Out In The Opinion Of The Supreme Court Of Canada In The Quebec Secession ReferenceGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.


Tom Wappel Liberal Scarborough Southwest, ON

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is an experienced orator and debater. I take it he can confirm that the position of his entire party, the Conservative Party of Canada, is that a 50% plus one vote of those who vote will dismantle the country. If that is the case, how is it that we cannot change our own constitution on 50% plus one? Why is it that we need to have a much greater and clearer majority to change our constitution than Mr. Clark appears to want to have to permit the breakup of the country?

I ask the member, who is also a barrister and solicitor, if we are to take it that Mr. Clark disagrees with the Supreme Court of Canada that a clear majority is not required and that 50% plus one is all it takes to destroy Canada.

An Act To Give Effect To The Requirement For Clarity As Set Out In The Opinion Of The Supreme Court Of Canada In The Quebec Secession ReferenceGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, obviously the hon. member has not stated the position of the Conservative Party or Mr. Clark at all. We very clearly said that the issue of 50% plus one is completely absent from the legislation. It is a very reckless piece of legislation in the sense that it puts forward just part of the equation. Fifty per cent plus one is the rule of democracy and it has always been that way. It is how elections are decided. It is the democratic principle the world over.

Fortunately, we have never been faced with that situation nor do I suggest we would ever be faced with one person deciding the breakup of the country. This legislation does not speak to that issue nor does the Supreme Court of Canada clearly pronounce itself on what 50% plus one would do if the situation ever arose.

An Act To Give Effect To The Requirement For Clarity As Set Out In The Opinion Of The Supreme Court Of Canada In The Quebec Secession ReferenceGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.


René Laurin Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, first I want to thank my colleague from the Progressive Conservative Party for supporting us in the debate on this legislation.

I would like his opinion on this: When the government speaks of self-determination, what does that mean for him? Does it mean the same thing for him as for the Liberal Party?

The Liberal Party says “Quebec has full entitlement to self-determination”, except that the Canadian government wants to tell Quebec how self-determination is to be achieved.

Even before the process is under way, the Canadian government, through the Liberal Party, will tell Quebecers how they must move toward self-determination to be recognized by the Canadian government. We know very well that, no matter how clear the question, the Liberal government will never recognize it.

In the 1993 election campaign the Liberals promised the taxpayers “If we are elected, we will scrap the GST, we will put an end to the GST, we will tear up NAFTA.” Could something be clearer than that? People believed them and elected them, but they never kept their promises.

Can we believe them when they say “If the question is clear, we will be ready to negotiate”? In their minds, clarity has nothing to do with the facts. They will go on doing as they please.

Does my colleague agree with me? I would like his comments on this.

An Act To Give Effect To The Requirement For Clarity As Set Out In The Opinion Of The Supreme Court Of Canada In The Quebec Secession ReferenceGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, I will say right off the bat that we are not supporting the Bloc position on this. We are clearly opposing this for very different reasons, reasons that pertain to national unity as opposed to setting up a plan for dismantling the country as this bill will do.

The hon. member has very articulately and clearly set out a less than proud record that the Liberal government has amassed. He has chronicled some of the reversal of unfortunate positions that the government has engaged in over the last 50 years. It has occurred on wage and price control and on the price of gasoline. It occurred on the GST. It occurred on free trade. The list goes on and on.

The hon. member is perfectly right when he suggests that the trust that Canadians should place in the Liberal government at this time should be very suspect. We should be very wary of where the government is going with this legislation at a time when its record is obviously not the best, when it has asked Canadians in the past to trust it and upon being elected has simply done the opposite.

The question is very timely and very apt given the amount of trust that the government is seeking from the people of Canada on this important issue.

An Act To Give Effect To The Requirement For Clarity As Set Out In The Opinion Of The Supreme Court Of Canada In The Quebec Secession ReferenceGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.


Bob Kilger Liberal Stormont—Dundas, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. As you will probably resume the debate on this important subject after question period, I will give notice through the Chair to the House at the present time that all Liberal members participating in this debate today will be splitting their time.

An Act To Give Effect To The Requirement For Clarity As Set Out In The Opinion Of The Supreme Court Of Canada In The Quebec Secession ReferenceGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

That will be noted and it will then not be necessary to notify us as we go along. I will recognize the hon. member for Sudbury on debate and she will have the floor when we return.

It being almost 2 p.m., the House will now proceed to statements by members.

Manifesto 2000Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.


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

Mr. Speaker, on December 1 the parliamentary group in support of UNESCO launched Manifesto 2000 for a culture of peace and non-violence and proposed it to all members of the two Houses for their endorsement.

This manifesto 2000 is not an appeal nor a petition addressed to a higher authority. This manifesto was written by the Nobel Peace Prize Laureates to create a sense of responsibility starting on a personal level.

The goal is to present 100 million signatures to the United Nations General Assembly meeting at the turn of the millennium in September 2000.

Manifesto 2000 was made public in Paris on March 4, 1999, and seeks signatures of the general public throughout the world. It has already been endorsed by more than 250 parliamentarians in both Houses of this Parliament.

Christmas Charity CampaignsStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Werner Schmidt Reform Kelowna, BC

Mr. Speaker, I wish to pay tribute to two charitable Christmas initiatives in my riding of Kelowna. The first is the Be an Angel Fund organized by one of our local newspapers, the Daily Courier .

For three weeks, beginning on December 3, in words and pictures it has shown what it is like to face the holiday season with fear instead of joy, with despair instead of anticipation, with a tear instead of a smile. The angel fund receives donations on behalf of the Salvation Army and the food bank, and publishes stories explaining what the donations do to turn these situations of hopelessness to happiness.

The Tree of Hope campaign features a 110-foot tall tree where individuals and groups purchase lights on the tree. The money goes to local children's charities: Central Okanagan Foundation and the Rainbow of Opportunities. This year the campaign raised over 30% more than last year.

Together these two campaigns prove that there truly are angels who spread the light of hope during the Christmas season.

The Late Matt CohenStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Tony Ianno Liberal Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, today I rise with sadness to recognize the passing on December 3 of a great Canadian, Mr. Matt Cohen, this year's winner of the Governor General's Literary Award for fiction.

Mr. Cohen was both an esteemed writer and a neighbour. He contributed significantly to the Canadian literary scene. It was in 1969, at the age of 26, that Mr. Cohen published his first novel, entitled Korsoniloff . From then, he was involved in 30 books, including novels, Quebecois translations, children's books, short story collections and books of poetry. It was for his novel, Elizabeth and After , that he recently received the Governor General's Literary Award for fiction.

Mr. Cohen pushed for the right for writers to be able to receive payment for the library use of their works. Mr. Cohen kept writing even through his illness. Therefore, even as we mourn his loss, we can anticipate a book of his short stories that will be published by Knopf Canada next spring; his last gift to Canadians.

On behalf of the people of Trinity—Spadina, I would like to offer our condolences to his wife Patsy and his family.

National Pollutant Release InventoryStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Charles Caccia Liberal Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, the national pollutant release inventory revealed that in 1997 the pollutants released in Ontario totalled 62,000 tonnes, of which 8,000 tonnes of industrial chemicals were flushed into sewers.

In Ontario, industries put five times more chemical waste into the sewer systems than all the other provinces and territories combined. In 1997, industries in Ontario released 6,000 tonnes of cancer causing industrial waste, of which approximately 81% ended up in the air, 18% in landfills and 1% in water. These figures are incomplete because resource extraction industries are not required to report in the inventory, and not every pollutant must be reported.

How long will it take for the Ontario government to realize it has a role to play in preventing pollution and protecting public health?

Culture Of PeaceStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Aileen Carroll Liberal Barrie—Simcoe—Bradford, ON

Mr. Speaker, in keeping with the United Nations proclamation that the year 2000 be the International Year for the Culture of Peace, UNESCO mobilized the Nobel Peace Prize Laureates meeting in Paris for the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to draft the Manifesto 2000 for a culture of peace and non-violence.

The year 2000 must be a new beginning for us all. Together we can transform the culture of war and violence into a culture of peace and non-violence. This demands the participation of everyone. It gives young people and future generations values that can inspire them to shape a world of dignity and harmony, a world of justice, solidarity, liberty and prosperity.

The culture of peace makes possible sustainable development, protection of the environment and the personal fulfilment of each human being.

Longhorn LimoStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Jay Hill Reform Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, this year's bonehead bureaucrat award goes to federal transport employee Bertrand Boily.

It is a well known fact that we in western Canada love our pickup trucks. Mike Nickerson was visiting Texas when he saw every cowboy's dream, a stretch limousine pickup truck. Realizing a market exists for such a truck in Calgary, he mortgaged his farm and risked his life savings to purchase the $200,000 vehicle.

The truck passed Alberta safety regulations with flying colours and business was booming. Even Tom Selleck hired the longhorn limo.

Alas, enter bonehead Boily who called Nickerson stupid for thinking a stretch pickup would be allowed in Canada. Then without even looking at the vehicle, he declared it unsafe and seized it.

According to Boily, if Mr. Nickerson wants his truck declared street legal, all he has to do is crash it into a wall and set it on fire to see if it is safe. And he calls Nickerson stupid.

Maybe Boily's boss, the Minister of Transport, should volunteer to be the crash test dummy. Maybe then Mr. Nickerson might agree to the test.

Dr. Charles DrakeStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Bob Wood Liberal Nipissing, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to announce today that future students of medicine and health science at the University of Western Ontario will benefit from the legacy of the late Dr. Charles Drake.

The Drake family has committed a gift of $1 million to Western to establish the Charles Drake Student Awards in Medicine. The gift, to be matched by a combination of university based and government sponsored programs, will boost the awards to a total of $2.13 million.

A Companion of the Order of Canada, Dr. Charles Drake was an internationally renowned neurosurgeon at the University of Western Ontario. He pioneered surgical procedures that are now taught around the world.

Dr. Drake passed away in September 1998 at the age of 78. Dr. Charles Drake's son John recently stated, “My father was committed to building excellence in medical education and research in London. We are pleased this gift will help the next generation of students and faculty to pursue that dream”.

I am sure that all members will join me in celebrating the generosity of the Drake family.

Member For Abitibi—Baie James—NunavikStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Pierre Brien Bloc Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-20 limits the democratic rights of the Quebec people. The position of the hon. member for Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik is clear: he is opposed but will vote in favour. A local newspaper quotes him as follows:

I am not in agreement with our government's passing a bill on the question. I do not believe it is up to Ottawa to dictate to Quebec the procedure it must follow.

He even indicates that he is not the only one in his party to disagree. Having revealed his thoughts, however, and led people to believe he was opposed, the member for Abitibi—Baie James—Nunavik hastens to add that he will be voting with his government. This is a clear illustration of how brave the Quebec Liberal MPs are.

In this debate, the masks are off. The choice between their personal future in politics and the interests of their constituents is clear: a good little Liberal looks after his interests, his political future, first. For the ministers, that means the reward of a limousine. For the backbenchers, it means continuing to be yes-men.

Health CareStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Hec Clouthier Liberal Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, during this joyful holiday season many Canadians are spending time in hospitals either as patients or visiting loved ones. It may not be very pleasant but we can rest assured that Canadians enjoy world class medical care.

In my great riding of Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke we have a number of wonderful health care facilities, including the Renfrew Victoria Hospital. This facility's caring, compassionate staff is under the very able administration of Mr. Randy Penney. He is one of those rare, young, talented individuals who makes an immediate positive impact on the community.

In fact, 75 kilometres up the road from Renfrew, Mr. Penney is also administrator at St. Francis Memorial Hospital in Barry's Bay. His talents are so much in demand that he has acted as a consultant to foreign hospital administrations.

Last Friday night I participated in the Renfrew Victoria Hospital's tree of lights ceremony which funds many health care programs. Mr. Penney and his staff are brilliant beacons of hope for patients and their families in the upper Ottawa Valley.

Lois HoleStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


John Williams Reform St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to offer sincere congratulations to the Hon. Lois Hole, the new lieutenant governor of the province of Alberta and a resident of my riding of St. Albert.

Lois Hole is well known across Canada as the author of six best-selling books on gardening. She and her husband Ted are co-founders of Hole's Greenhouses and Gardens in St. Albert, perhaps the largest retail greenhouse operation in western Canada.

Not only is she known for her green thumb but also as a tireless advocate for education, serving as a trustee and chair of school boards in the St. Albert area, a member of the Athabasca University governing council and now the 16th chancellor of the University of Alberta.

Through her tireless work in the community, Lois Hole is recognized as a leader not only in St. Albert but across the province. She was named a member of the Order of Canada in 1998. I know she will serve Albertans well in her new role as lieutenant governor.

Once again, on behalf of the people of St. Albert, congratulations, Lois Hole.

Reform PartyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Steve Mahoney Liberal Mississauga West, ON

Mr. Speaker, what is in a name? In the case of the united Reform led alternative, I have some suggestions for them to name the new party.

How about Reform-R-Us-Eh? Given that they behave like little children I think it works. Or it could read Reform-R-U.S.A., given their preference for American style government. Or how about Tor-E-Form or Lack-of-Form, or No-Form-At-All. Take your pick.

Given the pain most Canadians feel in their backs over this embarrassment, how about Con-Form since the whole thing is a con job designed to prop up the Reform Party. Or how about Obus-Form so that once and for all we can relieve Canadians of their lower back pain caused by these people, who, let us face it, cannot unite the right, cannot unite their own caucus, and certainly could not unite this country, no matter what they call their party.

FisheriesStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, today marks the 50th day of a hunger strike by a fisherman by the name of Mr. Dan Edwards on the west coast of British Columbia.

Mr. Dan Edwards is on a hunger strike to symbolize the hunger and starvation thousands of west coast fishermen and their families are facing due to the Fraser River sockeye crisis which is happening right now. In fact, on Sunday they got together and formed a resolution which basically states that the committee make one more effort to bring all the governments to the table to develop a fair and open consultative process.

I was speaking to Mr. Edwards' doctor the other day. He said that if he continues on his hunger strike any longer, his body will suffer irreparable damage.

My statement to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans is for once to get off his high horse and speak directly to Mr. Edwards. He should open a consultative process so that all fishermen on the west coast can have fair and equal access to the salmon fishery.

Bill C-20Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Monique Guay Bloc Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, according to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, the anti-democratic intentions in Bill C-20 are based on the 1998 supreme court advisory opinion.

Yet, in 1991, in the reference on Saskatchewan's electoral boundaries, the supreme court concluded “There is a further, equally important aspect of the right, namely that each vote must be relatively equal to every other vote. To water down the importance and significance of an individual's vote is to weaken the democratic process”.

We remind anyone getting ready to question the rule of 50% plus one that in 1991 the supreme court ruled, and I quote “A system which dilutes one citizen's vote unduly as compared with another citizen's vote runs the risk of providing inadequate representation to the citizen whose vote is diluted. The result will be uneven and unfair representation”.

One thing is clear: with Bill C-20, democracy hangs in the balance.

Parliamentary Interns Food DriveStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Denis Paradis Liberal Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary internship program has been around for over 30 years. Every year 10 young people from across Canada are selected to work with MPs. They thus acquire unique insight into our parliamentary system.

This year the parliamentary interns are organizing a food drive for the Ottawa—Carleton Food Bank. This is an opportunity for MPs and Hill staff to help out the less fortunate during this holiday season.

Boxes will be placed in the parliamentary cafeterias for donations of non-perishable food items and money.

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the parliamentary interns on their initiative, community spirit and generosity.

Parliamentary Interns Food DriveStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Progressive Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, it is ironic that in the national capital of one of the richest countries on earth, over a 120,000 residents of Ottawa-Carleton live below the poverty line. Of these, 30,000 require some form of daily food assistance. In the land of plenty these numbers should shame us all.

Again this year, thanks to our parliamentary interns, MPs and all Hill staff will have the opportunity to take a personal stand against hunger. Non-perishable food collection boxes are set up around the parliamentary precinct. The interns will also be visiting our offices to collect food and cash donations. The dollar amount collected will be doubled by the Canadian Bankers Association.

I would like all members to recall that fortune has not smiled so kindly on all in society. Hunger and cold does not end when the holidays are over. The generosity of spirit that this magical time of year imparts to us must be a year-long commitment. We truly must be each other's keepers. I thank the interns.

Guelph—WellingtonStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Brenda Chamberlain Liberal Guelph—Wellington, ON

Mr. Speaker, as always great things are happening in Guelph—Wellington. The Guelph Spring Festival, the Guelph Jazz Festival and the MacDonald-Stewart Art Centre all recently received funding from Heritage Canada to help ensure that world class performers and artists continue to visit Guelph—Wellington. I would like to take this opportunity to thank these three local organizations and others like them that contribute so much to the cultural fabric of our community.

I would like to congratulate the 11th Field Regiment on receiving $75,000 worth of funding from the Department of National Defence Canadian forces millennium fund. This money will be used for a special project entitled “Serving With Honour: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae and Other Citizen Soldiers”. I am very pleased to see that Guelph—Wellington's proud military heritage is being commemorated in this way.

With all of these exciting events under way, it is no wonder that Guelph—Wellington is such a wonderful place to live.

Saskatchewan Telephone RatesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Roy H. Bailey Reform Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, the CRTC has ruled that there can be no averaging of the monthly telephone service charges between rural and urban. In other words, those areas in Canada which are considered rural are now facing unbelievably high monthly service rates.

Saskatchewan is the most rural province in Canada. Almost one-third of its population lives on farms, in small towns, in villages and in aboriginal communities. These telephone subscribers are facing a $130 a month service fee.

If rural areas across Canada are going to have affordable telephone, fax and Internet rates, as is the government's policy, then the government must act to protect these areas of Canada. I urge the government to immediately move so all areas in Canada can have telephone and related electronic services without an unbearably high service rate.

Saint-Eustache PatriotsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Gilles-A. Perron Bloc Saint-Eustache—Sainte-Thérèse, QC

Mr. Speaker, today is a sad anniversary. It was on December 14, 1837, that General Colborne's army of 1,200 attacked Dr. Chénier's 200 or so Patriots in the village of Saint-Eustache.

Eleven of the patriots who had taken refuge in the church, including Dr. Jean-Olivier Chénier, were executed. We should add to the list the name of 7-year old Jean-Baptiste Marineau who, after having been shot in retaliation by a volunteer from Saint-André, died in March 1838 of the injuries he had sustained.

At the time, the legislative council appointed by London had power over elected representatives. After more than 30 years of sterile parliamentary battles to achieve democracy, a large segment of the population, including some English leaders, took up arms and participated in the uprising.

Our patriots fought for the national recognition of our people, for freedom and for a democratic government.

PrisonsOral Question Period

December 14th, 1999 / 2:15 p.m.


Deborah Grey Reform Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, the solicitor general is spending $2.5 million in his own riding to research drugs in prisons. The only problem is that there are no federal prisons anywhere on Prince Edward Island. There is already an addiction research centre in Ottawa. One would think that would do.

Drugs in prisons are a serious problem, but pork barrelling will surely not fix it. Why does the rest of the country have to pay for the solicitor general's multimillion dollar vote grab?