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House of Commons Hansard #42 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was transportation.

Topics

Dr. Wilbert KeonStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

Robert Bertrand Liberal Pontiac—Gatineau—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, it was with great sadness we learned yesterday that Dr. Wilbert Keon resigned as the director of the University of Ottawa Heart Institute.

Dr. Keon was born and raised in my riding in the beautiful town of Sheenboro. He followed his brother's footsteps in the medical profession and is today a world renowned heart specialist.

We have all met people who have been helped either by Dr. Keon himself or by the skilful team he helped train at the heart institute which he founded. In my own family, Dr. Keon operated on two of my brothers, one as recently as last June.

To Dr. Keon, his wife Anne and his family, we offer our support in this difficult time.

Dr. Wilbert KeonStatements By Members

11 a.m.

The Speaker

My colleague, I very rarely intervene but I agree with you wholeheartedly. Dr. Keon is a treasure to us in Canada. I hope that he will not give up his responsibilities and will keep going working for us here in this country.

Family Service CanadaStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

Mac Harb Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I wanted to share with Canadians the great work being performed by the fine group of people at Family Service Canada.

As an advocacy group, they work with service agencies, governments, corporations, unions and parents. Together they are developing a strong and lasting commitment to ensure the well-being of our children. They also work to provide important information on leadership, training and resources to meet the changing demands of our constituents.

Every year one way in which Family Service Canada draws attention to the needs, achievements and diversities of Canadian families is through National Family Week. The United Nations has declared the year 2000 as the International Year for the Culture of Peace. This will be the theme used by Family Service Canada to celebrate the coming National Family Week.

I ask all members to support the wonderful work of Family Service Canada.

Wilmot TownshipStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

Lynn Myers Liberal Waterloo—Wellington, ON

Mr. Speaker, today it is an honour for me to rise and advise my colleagues of a significant event in the township of Wilmot located in my great riding of Waterloo—Wellington in the heart of Ontario.

The residents of Wilmot township will celebrate its 150th anniversary in the year 2000. Wilmot township holds a special place in my heart and my family's history. I was born, raised and still live on the family farm, my ancestors having first settled there in 1827. I also served there as a municipal councillor and as mayor of the municipality.

The 150th anniversary celebrations will include the opening of the Oasis in the Centre Park. This park will be located on the site of the original town hall where in 1850 my great-great-grandfather served as the first Clerk.

Not only will the park commemorate the history of the township by providing a place to reflect on the rich heritage of the township, but also the park will serve as a place to contemplate the yet unwritten history of the next millennium.

I would ask all my colleagues to join me in this great celebration and applaud the township of Wilmot on its 150th anniversary.

VolunteersStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

Stan Dromisky Liberal Thunder Bay—Atikokan, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise with my heart filled with gratitude for a large segment of our society that contributes in a significant way to this being the best country in the world in which to live.

I am referring to caring, compassionate individuals who unselfishly donate their time, their energy, their skills and often financial support to support worthy community endeavours. It is this group with representatives from every segment of our society who create a meaningful spirit of community.

When people help people without expectation for remuneration, we are witnessing the purest form of brotherly love. I am referring to the countless number of volunteers we find in every community from coast to coast to coast.

On behalf of the government and my fellow colleagues in the House of Commons and all Canadians, we wish them the very best. May the spirit prosper and prevail.

Birds Of A FeatherStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Reform

Eric C. Lowther Reform Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, at the Calgary Zoo today the environment minister will be pointing out some endangered species that are moving toward extinction, particularly in Calgary. He will likely be pointing out that the dodo bird is gone but a related species, the Joe-Joe bird, is also nearing extinction.

The Joe-Joe bird, sometimes called the Clark, is more comfortable nesting in the capital region, but it has recently attempted a migration to the west. Strange, self-destructive behaviour is unique to this bird particularly in the west. The top down feeding approach of the Joe-Joe bird means it can never contact the grassroots which is so essential for nourishment in the west. The future does not look good for the Joe-Joe bird.

I hope the environment minister does not fail to mention the great similarity between the Joe-Joe bird and the gobbling Grit goose. The Grit goose is like the Joe-Joe bird in that its behaviour threatens its survival. The Grit goose takes from others and overeats to the point where it cannot move and eventually dies from its own weight. Surprisingly, the eggs that are laid by the Joe-Joe bird and the Grit goose are so similar that we cannot tell them apart.

Perhaps some endangered species are not worth saving. The loss of these two might actually help the Canadian environment.

Gm Plant In BoisbriandStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Bloc

Paul Mercier Bloc Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, General Motors of Boisbriand has just been awarded the prix Grande mention in the major manufacturing category. This prize was awarded by the Quebec department of industry and commerce.

To quote the mayor of Boisbriand, “This award is a tribute to the efforts of the 1,500 men and women who work in this plant to provide the consumer with a truly top quality product”.

Yet imagine, these skilled workers are likely to end up jobless before long, because the plant is scheduled to close down within months, despite the efforts of the Government of Quebec.

Will this situation finally strike a chord with the federal government? Given the human and economic aspects of the situation, and the fact that public funds have been invested in maintaining these jobs, I again strongly urge the federal government to assume its responsibilities. Time is of the essence.

Holiday MessageStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

John Maloney Liberal Erie—Lincoln, ON

Mr. Speaker, the holiday season is a time when Canadians gather to renew the cherished bonds of family and friendship; to look back on the year and indeed the century coming to a close; to look ahead with anticipation to the new year and the next millennium that beckons. Most important, it is a time to reflect on our many blessings as a people and our nation.

Let us be thankful for our prosperity, our matchless natural beauty, our rich diversity, above all, our sense that we are truly a family and that Canada is our home. No matter where we live we care about each other and work together. That is our proud history and our bright future.

May the goodwill of the season inspire us to embrace both the challenges and opportunities ahead with spirit and enthusiasm, to keep a special place in our thoughts for those of our Canadian families who are less fortunate and to reach out to them during the holidays and in the year to come.

House Of CommonsStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Reform

Jay Hill Reform Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of the official opposition to thank the staff of the House of Commons for their hard work and dedication to this institution.

We are all charged with the responsibility of protecting and promoting the Canadian democratic process. Each of us plays an important part on that team. I would like to thank the clerks, the librarians, the translators, the cleaning staff, the postal workers, the security guards, the bus drivers and especially the food services staff who try to ensure that we are eating right when we are so far from home and sometimes work such crazy hours.

I would like to make special mention of four ladies from the Centre Block cafeteria who are always out for their morning smoke at 7.15 a.m. when I come in. Lise, Adele, Nicole and Carole never fail to brighten my day with their good nature and cheery dispositions.

I wish all of the staff and their families a joyful and restful holiday season. Their hard work does not go unnoticed. I ask all members to join with me to show our appreciation.

Holiday MessageStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Carmen Provenzano Liberal Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Mr. Speaker, today marks the last day of sittings of the 36th Parliament for this century and millennium. This extra special holiday season is therefore an appropriate time to give thanks for our country, for all of the bounty, benefits and privileges of the good life that we as Canadians enjoy.

As the member for Sault Ste. Marie it is also appropriate to give thanks for all of the forces that have shaped my hometown of Sault Ste. Marie, for all of the efforts of the many people who have grown our city into an extraordinary community. I particularly recognize one man, an American, whose efforts grew the population of Sault Ste. Marie from 3,000 to over 30,000 in just eight years. Francis H. Clerke established a steel mill, paper mill, power plant, street car system and much more. These are the industries our town continues to depend on to this day. May his spirit take up permanent residence in our city and may his can do attitude infect the future generations of the citizens of Sault Ste. Marie.

Merry Christmas, Joyeux Noël to all.

Holiday MessageStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, on this last parliamentary day of 1999 I would like to share with the House the dream that I and my colleagues have for the new millennium and for the century about to begin.

We have a dream that someday soon and the sooner the better, human beings will abolish all nuclear weapons and indeed all weapons of mass destruction.

We have a dream that poverty at home and abroad will be eliminated and that someday human beings and human community will be valued above all other values and not be always secondary to the profit strategies of multinational corporations and wealthy individuals.

We have a dream that humanity will repent of the ways in which we are now cruising complacently toward planetary ecological disaster and that creation will in fact be preserved for endless millenniums to come.

It is from such dreams that one derives the will to carry on the political struggle and New Democrats commit ourselves to do just that.

Having said that, Mr. Speaker, may I take this opportunity to wish all members of the House a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Let us pray that the Y2K anxiety proves to be unfounded and that all goes well on January 1, 2000.

Bill C-20Statements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Bloc

Odina Desrochers Bloc Lotbinière, QC

Mr. Speaker, like all the people of Quebec, the people in the riding of Lotbinière are outraged at this latest attack by the federal government on the democratic institutions of Quebec.

Bill C-20 resembles the unilateral patriation of the constitution in 1982. The same federal politicians have once again decided to thwart democracy in Quebec. But nothing will prevent Quebecers from continuing their pursuit of sovereignty.

In 1918, the Right Hon. Joseph Napoléon Francoeur, the MLA for Lotbinière at the time, already had what the people of Quebec needed. In his now famous motion, he said “This House is of the opinion that the Province of Quebec would be prepared to agree to break away from the Confederation set up in 1867 if, in the other provinces, it is felt that Quebec is an obstacle to the Union, and to the progress and development of Canada”.

Hockey TournamentStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Paddy Torsney Liberal Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, Wayne Gretzky's recent retirement may have left a significant void in the NHL but there are plenty of Burlington and area youngsters willing to step up and fill his skates. After all, Gretzky made his mark as a skinny 10 year old offensive sensation in Burlington's Golden Horseshoe Invitational Hockey Tournament.

Hotels and restaurants will be packed as Burlington plays host to the 32nd annual tournament this December 27 to 30. With 105 entries, triple A players in all divisions will have a chance to strut their stuff in some tough competition.

Over 200 volunteers have been preparing a wonderful welcome for teams from Canada, the United States and even a team from Finland. Local arenas will be packed with supportive parents, happy fans and joyous children.

And everyone wins. Profits are put back into sponsorship for the teams and participants are eligible for a Golden Horseshoe Invitational scholarship.

This tournament is an important part of the holiday festivities in Burlington. I wish all participating teams the very best of luck in the tournament. Have fun, play safe, play well.

The EconomyStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Scott Brison Progressive Conservative Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, on this the last sitting day of the House of Commons in this century, it is time to reflect on the issues that face Canadians.

We have an unemployment rate that is 70% higher than that of the U.S., the highest personal income tax in the G-7, the second highest corporate taxes of the OECD, the highest personal debt rates in the history of our country, and the fastest growing personal debt rates of any country in the G-7. Personal disposable income has dropped 8% in the 1990s and has increased by 10% in the U.S.

Why is the finance minister off to Berlin this week to chair the G-20 meetings when there is so much repair work to be done here at home?

Canadian ForcesStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Judi Longfield Liberal Whitby—Ajax, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to invite all members of the House of Commons to welcome home 1,300 Canadian forces personnel who during the past six months have been making an important contribution in Kosovo. They include members of the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, Lord Strathcona's Horse and 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron.

The men and women of these units have worked hard to create a stable and secure environment in Kosovo. They have delivered humanitarian aid, restored public services and helped to re-establish civilian institutions.

Our well-trained professional military has made a significant contribution to international peace and security. CF members have also touched the lives of thousands of Kosovars by building schools, houses, medical clinics, upgrading roads, providing de-mining assistance and helping to provide the essentials of life, such as medical aid, food and fresh water.

I am sure all members of the House join me in offering congratulations on a job well done. Seasons greetings to CF members, their families and Canadians everywhere.

Government GrantsOral Question Period

December 17th, 1999 / 11:15 a.m.

Reform

Grant McNally Reform Dewdney—Alouette, BC

Amazingly, Mr. Speaker, one-third of all the donors to the Prime Minister's 1997 campaign got federal government grants, loans or contracts.

But the case of Fermco Industries is particularly interesting.

Fermco gave more than $6,000 to the Prime Minister's campaign and to the Liberal's campaign. Even though the company is in a Bloc held riding, the Prime Minister's office intervened to ensure it got a transitional jobs fund grant.

Other than $6,000 in donations, why would the Prime Minister's office intervene in the local affairs of the Bloc member?

Government GrantsOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, earlier this morning, the federal government announced almost three quarters of a billion dollars in assistance to alleviate homelessness and help prevent homelessness. The program is working in co-operation with the other levels of government.

I do not know why the hon. member did not get up and congratulate the government for this initiative instead of making these useless insinuations and innuendoes. It just shows how bankrupt his party is of any real interest in helping Canadians.

Government GrantsOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Reform

Grant McNally Reform Dewdney—Alouette, BC

Mr. Speaker, we are wondering why the Deputy Prime Minister did not get up and answer the question. Let us try again.

Fermco's TJF grant came through despite strong objections by senior human resources officials. The Prime Minister's office did an end run around normal procedures and ensured that a major donor got a just reward.

The Prime Minister, of course, says that he was just trying to create jobs. However, is it the common practice of the Prime Minister to intervene on behalf of all TJF applicants or just when they donate thousands of dollars to his campaign?

Government GrantsOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, the common practice of the government is to work with communities with high unemployment to ensure that they have the opportunities that the rest of Canada has to benefit from the successes of our great country.

Is it right for us to invest in communities in Quebec to ensure the their citizens have opportunities to work? It is. Is it right for us to invest in communities in Atlantic Canada to ensure their citizens have opportunities to work? It absolutely is.

Is it right for us to invest in communities in northern British Columbia to ensure that citizens of Canada have opportunities to work. It is, and we will continue to do so.

Government GrantsOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Reform

Grant McNally Reform Dewdney—Alouette, BC

Mr. Speaker, two non-answers and the government is asking the questions when it is supposed to be answering them. Let us try again.

The Prime Minister has a pretty impressive investment plan going. If a company wants federal government money, all it has to do is donate to the Prime Minister's campaign. It does not even have to be in his riding. There is a 33% chance that the company will hit the jackpot and, boy, are the rewards sweet.

Fermco donated over $6,000 and ended up with $200,000 in a TJF grant despite the fact that a senior official had strong objections.

I ask the Prime Minister, is there a threshold on the amount a company has to donate or will the Prime Minister bend the rules for any size donation?

Government GrantsOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

We have heard the unwarranted, sleazy slur typical of—

Government GrantsOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

The Speaker

I ask the hon. Deputy Prime Minister to stay away from words like sleazy on a day like this.

Government GrantsOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

Herb Gray Liberal Windsor West, ON

Yes, Mr. Speaker, I will stay away from the word, but it is still an unwarranted slur. It is unjustified to suggest there is any improper link. The hon. member should not be saying things like that because they are wrong and unwarranted.

I am sure the Prime Minister wants to do the right thing for every part of Canada, including Quebec, including ridings held by the Bloc and including ridings held by Reform members. That is why he is the Prime Minister.

TaxationOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Reform Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, we hit one nerve, let us try another one.

Premier Harris sent the Prime Minister a letter today forcefully highlighting that payroll taxes are going up January 1. These tax hikes will cost 22,500 jobs in Ontario alone. I will quote from the letter. It says “Canadians are entitled to keep more of the money they earn”.

Why is the government hiking payroll taxes on January 1?

TaxationOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, this is exactly what we have done. When we took office, EI premiums were at $3.07 heading to $3.30. We have cut them six times since then. They are now down to $2.40. This is progress and we will continue.