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House of Commons Hansard #177 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was nafta.

Topics

HomelessnessStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday community members in Toronto held a vigil in memory of a homeless man known only as Al who died on a heating grate across from Queen's Park.

In January I travelled across Canada and saw for myself the devastating impact of this government's deliberate policy to kill social housing. How many more people will have to suffer? How many more people will have to die before the Prime Minister responds to this crisis?

Ten mayors and more than 400 organizations have endorsed the Toronto Disaster Relief Committee's urgent call to recognize this as a national disaster.

A few hours ago, busloads of homeless and poor people left Toronto for Parliament Hill to demand a meeting with the Prime Minister. His response? He turned them down flat. This is an outrage.

I want to know, will the Prime Minister have the guts to meet with the poor and homeless people who are coming here tomorrow? Will he visit the sites of this national disaster and see the devastation firsthand? Does this government have any compassion?

Year 2000Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Susan Whelan Liberal Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, this week is Year 2000 Preparedness Week. Yesterday I had the pleasure of tabling the 13th report of the Standing Committee on Industry outlining Canada's state of readiness in several key industrial sectors.

The committee found that most Canadians and Canadian companies and institutions are well aware of the year 2000 problem. However, many small and medium size enterprises have not yet addressed the issue. Firms should begin testing now if they have not already done so. Businesses must realize they could be fully accountable for failure to act. Firms need to prepare contingency plans and business resumption plans to ensure that their business thrives in the new millennium.

There is help for those organizations that do not know where to begin. The year 2000 first step program is a joint Industry Canada and CIBC initiative to give Canadian SMEs access to an affordable customized first step for preparing for the year 2000 challenge.

If we all plan for the worst and hope for the best, we will be able to ring in the new year and millennium with a small sigh of relief.

JusticeStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

John Harvard Liberal Charleswood—Assiniboine, MB

Mr. Speaker, an article in a weekend newspaper has left me with a feeling of deep concern.

In the article Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada Antonio Lamer indicated that judges may avoid making unpopular decisions in cases of heinous crimes rather than suffer severe public criticism. I can empathize with Justice Lamer's comments. No one likes to be publicly vilified. However, I urge our judiciary not to succumb to the kind of bullying that we often hear from Reform Party members.

An essential part of our judicial system is the independence of judges to make decisions according to their understanding of the law. There can be no compromising of that, even in the face of irresponsible acts by the Reform Party.

The recent controversial decision on child pornography offended many Canadians, myself included, but there is an appeal process to deal with that. This is not the time to lose faith in our judges. The rule of law must be respected.

Sisters Of Charity Of QuebecStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Antoine Dubé Bloc Lévis, QC

Mr. Speaker, our history books often forget or minimize women's contribution to society's development.

For this reason, I would like to honour the very significant contribution to society made by Sister Marcelle Mallet, who, 150 years ago, founded the Congrégation des Soeurs de la Charité de Québec, and 140 years ago, the Couvent de Lévis, now the Marcelle-Mallet school.

The Congrégation's history was marked by all the women who, in Lévis and elsewhere, taught our daughters and, in recent years, our sons. We owe them thanks for that, but they did more. They also visited prisoners, supported victims and helped the sick. They fed the poor, protected orphans and sheltered the aged.

As the member for Lévis-et-Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, I would like to thank the Sisters of Charity for all they have done for us and for what they continue to give us.

Government ExpendituresStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

John Herron Progressive Conservative Fundy Royal, NB

Mr. Speaker, tonight we resume debate on Bill S-11. It will add “social condition” to the Canadian Human Rights Act and will help put an end to the discrimination faced by our most marginalized citizens. The Liberals have indicated that they will not support this bill.

While many Canadians do not have the luxury of maintaining adequate housing or the ability to open up a bank account, the PMO last year spent a whopping $7.5 million federal tax dollars on travel expenses, making the much criticized $465,000 Mulroney trip to Russia seem like mere pocket change.

An examination of the public accounts reveal that the Prime Minister spent $1.3 million for a trip to Italy last May with 58 personnel tagging along. An overnight trip to New York took just over $175,000 out of the coffers to accommodate the PM and 18 advisers.

This blatant disregard for taxpayers must end. I urge this Prime Minister to rethink how he spends our money.

Junior Achievement Globe ProgramStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Robert Bertrand Liberal Pontiac—Gatineau—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to bring to your attention a special project that is presently taking place in the Pontiac.

The Pontiac CFDC in Campbell's Bay in partnership with Industries Davidson Incorporated and Junior Achievement are offering a unique opportunity to local students at the Pontiac high school in Shawville. Students will replicate an international business by forming student run, joint venture collaborations with another school located in Jakarta, Indonesia.

The Junior Achievement Globe program is a new dynamic high school program that teaches the value of international business and trade. Through this intensive business experience students will learn practical skills necessary to function in today's business market.

Student exchanges are a component of the program and serve to promote cultural understanding.

Permit me to extend our warmest welcome and congratulations to the three student visitors from Jakarta and their student sponsors from the Pontiac high school.

National Film Board Of CanadaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, allow me to join all Canadians in congratulating the National Film Board of Canada on its 63rd Oscar nomination received today from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in the category of documentary short subject for its production entitled Sunrise Over Tiananmen Square .

Directed by Shui-Bo Wang, this animated short film offers a personal perspective on the sequence of events that led up to the June morning in 1989 when government troops opened fire on student demonstrators in Beijing. Shui-Bo Wang is a Chinese artist who was part of the student demonstration that occupied the square for almost a month. This film was produced for the National Film Board by Don McWilliams, Barrie Angus McLean and David Verrall.

We should also be proud of the National Film Board receiving a technical achievement award later this month. This award honours the work of National Film Board scientists Messrs. Zwaneveld and Gasoi who along with colleagues from the private sector developed a post-production technology known as DigiSync Film Keykode Reader.

National Film Board Of CanadaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Roberval.

The Late Denise Leblanc-BanteyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, a remarkable person, an ardent sovereignist and promoter of women's rights, Denise Leblanc-Bantey, died yesterday. The Bloc Quebecois wishes to pay tribute to her and thus perhaps dispel some of our sadness at her passing.

Born into a family whose livelihood was fishing, and a teacher by profession, Denise was elected MLA for Îles-de-la-Madeleine for the first time on November 15, 1976. She brought a breath of fresh air to politics, as only someone who hailed from the Islands could do. Re-elected in April 1981, she was appointed Minister of the Public Service with responsibility for the status of women.

Having worked with her in Quebec's National Assembly, I can speak to the exceptionally energetic and dignified manner in which she fulfilled her duties as an MLA and as a minister, as well as her extraordinary ability as a woman to achieve the perfect combination of professionalism, enthusiasm and humanity in both her public and private lives.

Thank you, Denise, and au revoir.

Conscience RightsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Reform

Maurice Vellacott Reform Wanuskewin, SK

Mr. Speaker, why is it that the rights of a number of a Canadian nurses have been violated? Some of them have been forced out of jobs for choosing not to participate in abortion procedures or acts of euthanasia.

The rights of freedom of conscience and religion have long been recognized in Canada. So why has this happened to these nurses? Doctors have the right not to participate in abortion procedures and euthanasia, so why not nurses? This is a genuine instance of discrimination.

I have introduced to the House Bill C-461 and I would ask my hon. colleagues and this House to support it. The purpose of that particular bill is to ensure that health care providers will never be forced to participate against their will in procedures such as abortion or acts of euthanasia.

Incredibly there are medical personnel in Canada who have been dismissed because the law is not explicit enough in spelling out their conscience rights. This bill would make those rights explicit.

DevcoStatements By Members

February 9th, 1999 / 2:10 p.m.

NDP

Peter Mancini NDP Sydney—Victoria, NS

Mr. Speaker, four unions representing Devco employees met with the Devco president on February 3, 1999 to discuss many details. At the end of this meeting Devco supplied the unions with the employee listings of those who would qualify for pensions and those who would not.

Of the 1,184 employees who have long term service, the list shows that hundreds will not receive pensions. The UMWA list shows 852 members who do not qualify. The CUPE list shows 86 members who do not qualify. The CAW list shows 86 members who do not qualify. The IAM list shows 60 members who do not qualify.

Mr. Drake, the president of the UMWA suggests that “we believe this battle should be recognized across Canada as a reasonable request by reasonable people for fair and just compensation”, and we concur.

Year 2000Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Jim Jones Progressive Conservative Markham, ON

Mr. Speaker, last Friday I hosted an information breakfast on the year 2000 problem in my riding of Markham. About 100 people joined me to learn how some of the Canadian leading firms are addressing this issue. Whether it was listening to Gary Baker from the Arthur Andersen consulting group, Al Aubry from IBM or Rod Morris from CIBC, breakfast attendees were reassured that the private sector by and large is ready for the millennium bug.

Unfortunately the federal government cannot make that same claim. According to the most recent auditor general's report various important government systems remained at risk as of last June. Furthermore the auditor general concluded that some essential government services may be interrupted at the start of year 2000.

As this is year 2000 awareness week I urge the federal government to follow the lead of the private sector to take stronger and more effective action so that Canadians can easily rest assured about indispensable public services.

Apec InquiryOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, look who is in question period today. I guess he had 24 hours notice.

Apec InquiryOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Apec InquiryOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. I would ask the hon. member to please not refer to attendance.

Apec InquiryOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Edmonton North, AB

Certainly, Mr. Speaker. I do not want to even ask a question about that appalling lack of judgment, so I will ask another one.

Yesterday a new memo marked “secret, no copies” was released from the Privy Council Office to the APEC hearing. It quotes the Prime Minister in his own words promising he would do whatever it took to keep Canadian protesters from embarrassing Suharto.

Is the Prime Minister still saying he had nothing to do with security arrangements at APEC?

Apec InquiryOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I replied to this question many, many times since last fall. There is an ongoing inquiry and it will look at all the facts.

The government is collaborating with the commission. We are making all documents and people available so that the commission can report.

I repeat what I said before. I never discussed security with anybody involved with the security arrangements of this meeting.

Apec InquiryOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, in fact there was a new memo, new information released in Vancouver yesterday. Do you know where that is, Mr. Speaker? It is a 20 minute chopper ride south of Whistler.

It quotes the Prime Minister in his own words. He begged Suharto to come. He promised he would use whatever it took to suppress the protesters. He even bragged about how he had done it before for the Chinese premier. It is all out in the open right now.

Why is he so stubborn that he still refuses to accept responsibility even now that he is caught?

Apec InquiryOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, there is an inquiry into the incident. The commission will start to hear all the witnesses and look at what happened in Vancouver, at whether the police acted properly or not.

If it needs to ask more questions, we said that everybody in my office and in the government is available. Let the commission look into the facts and do not draw conclusions before knowing the facts, as the hon. member is very good at doing.

Apec InquiryOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, there is really only one witness who could probably tell the whole story.

In all these major issues—the Somalia inquiry, hepatitis C, child pornography and APEC—the Prime Minister is always more concerned about how he looks than in doing what is right. How far is he willing to go? If he is subpoenaed to the inquiry, will he refuse to go there too?

Apec InquiryOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the member should wait for the commission to do its work. I said in the House, and I repeat, that in Canada the RCMP is known to be very efficient police. The commission is looking at whether they acted properly at that time.

We said we will offer all the collaboration needed by the judge who is presiding over the commission, so that he knows all the facts and can inform the public. I always said, and I repeat, that in many, many instances in the past when we have visitors in Canada, including at the G-7 meeting in Halifax, the RCMP acted extremely well.

Apec InquiryOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Reform

Jim Abbott Reform Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, speaking of the commission and the judge, he has recommended funding for the students so that this is a fair process.

The solicitor general has had another 24 hours to take a look at that. I know it is a very difficult question but let me put it to him again. Is he going to fund the students? Yes or no.

Apec InquiryOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Cardigan P.E.I.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay LiberalSolicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, as I indicated to my hon. colleague yesterday, I have received a letter. I will review it with my staff and when I do so I will make it public.

Apec InquiryOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Reform

Jim Abbott Reform Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, obviously this very difficult question is beyond the capacity of the solicitor general, so let me ask the Prime Minister.

Considering that Justice Hughes has asked for funding for the students in order for there to be a fair process, will the students receive funding from the government? Yes or no.

Apec InquiryOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I think the solicitor general gave a very good answer earlier.