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House of Commons Hansard #205 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was nato.

Topics

Budget Implementation Act, 1999Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

Madam Speaker, I would not like the member to pop his last remaining neuron, so I will speak very quietly. I cannot quite agree that there is nothing new.

I think he will understand that the issue is not whether it is new or old. It is about telling the truth. I think our colleague will agree that each of the matters we have raised is based on an enlightened understanding of the interests of Quebec.

The member may find it old hat to talk about poverty. I hope, like him, that a day will come when we do not have to debate it in the House because it will have been eliminated. However, to get to that point, there will need to be a lot more courage and lucidity in his caucus and a good dollop of co-operation among the opposition parties. The member is right. We are not there, even in our boldest fantasies about the Government of Canada.

Budget Implementation Act, 1999Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Reform

Dick Harris Reform Prince George—Bulkley Valley, BC

Madam Speaker, we have been listening to the Liberal spin on the budget since February. The fact is there are two stories. There is the story the Liberals would like Canadians to believe. Their spin doctors are trying to convince Canadians that they should feel good about the February budget. And there is the real story, and the facts that back up the real story. I will go through a few of the spin stories of the Liberals and then the other story and the facts.

The Liberals claim they are giving Canadians $1.5 billion in tax relief this year, $2.8 billion next year and $3.4 billion by 2001-02 for a total of about $7.7 billion. That is their story. The fact is that Canadians today are paying $2,000 more in taxes than they did in 1993. The average Canadian is paying $2,020 more in taxes than he or she did in 1993.

At the same time Canadians are getting less health care. Since coming to power, the Liberals have cut $1,500 per taxpayer out of health care transfers, $1,500 out of health care transfers for every single Canadian. Since the Liberals took power, federal taxes per taxpayer are up by 24%. That is the $2,000.

Budget Implementation Act, 1999Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

An hon member

His nose is growing.

Budget Implementation Act, 1999Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Reform

Dick Harris Reform Prince George—Bulkley Valley, BC

The truth hurts. I can hear them squealing over there. The truth really hurts.

According to the latest figures, personal savings per taxpayer are down by $3,700 since 1993. That is a 99% decrease in personal savings for Canadians because of the Liberal government and its tax crazy finance minister.

According to the latest figures, take home pay has dropped $2,100 for every taxpayer. Since 1993 disposable household income for hardworking Canadian families has dropped by over $4,200.

That is what this Liberal government wants Canadians to feel good about.

In the Liberal spin story on health care the Liberals claim they will invest $1.4 billion over three years for federal health care initiatives. They claim they will invest $11.5 billion over the next five years in payments to the provinces in CHST transfers. That is the Liberal story.

Here is the real story. The Liberals have cut $21.4 billion out of health and social spending since 1993. They have cut $21.4 billion and they are going to give back $11.5 billion over the next five years. There has been a 31% drop in taxpayer health and social spending by the federal government. The Liberals have cut health and social spending by 34% per taxpayer since 1993.

Here is another one the Liberals will not tell us about. There is 188,000 Canadians on waiting lists for serious operations and health care services. Waiting times for Canadians to see a health specialist are up 38% since 1993. Waiting times from a GP referral to a specialist to treatment are up 28%. Should I mention the hep C victims, those the Liberal government simply excluded at the stroke of a pen?

Is this the real story? Yes, it is. It is not the story the Liberal spin doctors would like Canadians to believe.

Liberals claim they expect to retire $20 billion in market debt this year. That is the Liberal story. Here are the facts. This country's net debt is still a staggering $580 billion, or $18,800 for every single Canadian. Every time a baby is born in this country, he or she automatically owes $18,800.

Why have we seen our health care cut? Why have we seen these high taxes? Because the previous Liberal governments since 1965 or so and the short term Tory government of Brian Mulroney have run up such a debt to the extent that every single year the government has to pay out $42.5 billion in interest payments on that debt.

What could we do with that kind of money, $42.5 billion? We could probably fund the entire health care system for about three years. We could probably pay the tuition fees for every student in post-secondary education in Canada today for their entire education period.

The spin doctors and the Liberals have been busy, but Canadians simply are not buying that story.

Here is another one. Using their 1998-99 base of spending of $104.5 billion, the Liberals say they will increase spending by $7.6 billion this year alone. Sorry, the Liberals did not tell Canadians that. I would like to tell them once again. The Liberals will increase spending by $7.6 billion.

This is the government that said it was important to get spending under control. Every year since 1993 the government has increased spending and over the last year by over $7.5 billion in increased spending, or $23 billion over the next three years.

This is a government that told Canadians it was crucial to get spending under control, yet it has increased spending. At the same time it has increased taxes since 1993. We know the tax increases this government has brought in, over $2,000 per working Canadian since 1993.

Let me say those numbers again. Disposable income for the average Canadian family household has dropped over $4,400 since 1993. That is because of the Liberal government's fiscal policies which simply do not work.

We cannot get our financial house in order unless we stop spending the money, and spending the money in some very foolish ways I might add. Instead of spending it on health care, the Liberals are content to spend a couple of billion dollars on a millennium monument to the prime minister. I could go on. The member for St. Albert who does the waste report knows all about Liberal spending.

Let us look at this one. The Liberals claim they are investing $1.8 billion in research and development over the next four years. The fact is we want our brightest and our best to stay in this country. The best thing they can do for research and development is to give Canadians tax breaks so the brightest and the best do not go south of the line where they have a much more enjoyable tax regime.

The Liberals claim they are investing $400 million to address compensation and benefits issues in the Department of National Defence. They are going to spend $400 million. Here is the real story. Since 1993, the Liberals have cut $7 billion out of funding for our armed forces. They have continuously been asking our troops to do more with less. They are going to give them back $400 million, but they have taken away $7 billion since 1993.

This budget is not what the Liberals would like Canadians to believe it is.

Budget Implementation Act, 1999Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

The member has time left. I understand there will be questions and comments. He will have the floor when we resume debate, but right now we will go to Statements by Members.

The Late Senator Paul DavidStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Guy St-Julien Liberal Abitibi, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is with sadness that we learned, on April 5, that senator Paul David, who founded the Montreal Heart Institute in the fifties, had passed away.

Dr. David was a world renowned cardiologist, who was also firmly committed to social action. He was the founder of the heart and stroke foundations of Canada and Quebec, of which he was also a president.

Dr. David received an impressive number of honours and awards throughout his brilliant career, both here and abroad.

A true pioneer in his field, he was only 35 when he founded, in 1954, in Montreal's east end, the famous heart institute that he ran in various capacities until his retirement, in 1984. It was under his direction that the first heart transplant ever performed in Canada was carried out at the institute, in 1968.

We offer our sincere condolences to his wife, Dr. Yvette Lemire, and his children, François, Pierre, Charles-Philippe, Thérèse, Anne-Marie and Hélène.

KosovoStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Reform

John Williams Reform St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, the humanitarian situation in Kosovo is a catastrophe. Hundreds of thousands of people are being forced from their homes. Many are being slaughtered in the name of someone's perception of purity. Men, women and children are fleeing in every direction to escape the misery.

We as Canadians have a tradition of supporting human rights and the plight of refugees. We have opened our doors to them in the past and stand ready to do it again today.

The issue of military intervention in Kosovo affects my riding. St. Albert is home to many of the several thousand troops who are stationed in the Edmonton garrison. We know that if the soldiers are called upon, they will serve with pride and honour. They are trained, they are prepared, they are ready to serve.

Our hearts go out to our service men and women and their families who are preparing in case they may be separated to force a peace on warring factions in a faraway land. I want them to know that the thoughts and prayers of Canadians are with them at this most stressful time.

The Late Omer DeslauriersStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Réginald Bélair Liberal Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Ontario Francophonie lost one of its greatest champions.

Omer Deslauriers, the former president of the Association canadienne-française de l'Ontario, former president of the Regroupement des intervenants professionnels franco-ontariens de la santé et des services sociaux, and the first president of the Council for Franco-Ontarian Affairs, worked tirelessly throughout his career to promote the cause of French Ontario.

Through his passion and perseverance, Omer Deslauriers, who became a Member of the Order of Canada in 1996 and was named Person of the year by the Richelieu International club in 1997, helped Franco-Ontarians play a more prominent role at the provincial level, particularly in the areas of education and health.

French Ontario has lost a remarkable spokesperson. It goes without saying that he will be missed.

I want to extend my most sincere condolences to his family.

Oc TranspoStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Ian Murray Liberal Lanark—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Government of Canada, I want to convey our heartfelt sympathies to the families, friends and colleagues of the victims of Tuesday's horrible outburst of violence in Ottawa.

Canadians have been shocked and numbed by this awful event. Our sadness and grief, in particular the sadness and grief of the victims' loved ones, are made more acute and painful by the senselessness of it all. It defies human understanding and explanation.

To the families and friends of Clare Davidson, Brian Guay, Dave Lemay and Harry Schoenmakers, I want to say we in this House share your sorrow and pain. One brief eruption of madness has caused your lives to be changed forever. If it is any consolation, your community is with you and is ready to help in whatever way it can.

I also want to commend the bus drivers and the other employees of OC Transpo who are endeavouring under very trying circumstances to deliver a service to the residents of Ottawa-Carleton. They are demonstrating tremendous courage and selflessness.

Oc TranspoStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Reform

Werner Schmidt Reform Kelowna, BC

Mr. Speaker, in keeping with the tribute just read, the deaths of those five OC Transpo employees last week were senseless and heartbreaking.

Four innocent citizens of this community were killed by a lone gunman, leaving behind families, friends and co-workers who face the near impossible task of moving forward without them. To those closest to Harry Schoenmakers, Dave Lemay, Clare Davidson and Brian Guay, we offer our sincere and heartfelt support during this difficult healing process.

Pierre Lebrun, the gunman, took his own life that day and leaves behind a grieving mother. For the Lebrun family, the burden of this tragic event rests heavily and we must offer our support to them as well.

No law or social system could have predicted or prevented what took place and there are no guarantees that such an incident will not occur again.

However, we can be certain of one thing. If every day we do the right thing by the people with whom we live and work and are positive and supportive individuals then we will have done what we can to avert another tragedy such as this.

The Late Jacques GirardStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Liberal Laval West, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday we were saddened to hear of the death of Quebec's chief electoral officer, Jacques Girard, at the age of 41, following a long illness.

Mr. Girard succeeded Pierre-F. Côté as director general and chairman of the Commission de la représentation électorale du Québec. He was a talented individual known for his conscientious and rigorous performance of his duties, whether in the legal services of Quebec's chief electoral officer, or in Quebec's Department of Revenue.

Mr. Girard was devoted to the democratic process. He knew that our electoral process guarantees the legitimacy of our political system and he ensured the full integrity of that process. In person, and through his position, he therefore epitomized the most noble instincts of every Quebecker and Canadian.

We extend our deepest condolences to the members of his family.

Grand RiverStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Janko Peric Liberal Cambridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, this year marks the fifth anniversary that the Grand River was named a Canadian heritage river.

Community efforts under the guidance of the Grand River Conservation Authority have improved the health of the Grand River watershed, increased heritage awareness and fostered a greater understanding of ecotourism.

The GRCA provides technical assistance to landowners, community groups, schools and municipalities through workshops, volunteer events, information products and logistics.

Since 1990 visits to the Grand River have increased 30% with 1.1 million visitors in 1998 alone. This has led to new jobs and economic benefits to communities all along the Grand River, including my riding of Cambridge.

I congratulate the GRCA on its ongoing success.

KosovoStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Reform

Leon Benoit Reform Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, very few people want war and most would avoid it at at almost any cost.

In the case of Kosovo, most Canadians agree that our involvement with NATO is a better option than allowing killing and persecution of Kosovar Albanians to continue and accelerate.

Most of us take our position more as observers than as participants, but the men and women of the Canadian forces are involved in a very direct and real way. As of yesterday we have close to 200 pilots and support personnel from 4 Wing, Cold Lake, which is in my riding, serving out of Italy. This means that families are separated for long periods of time, leaving spouses and children of pilots and ground crew wondering if their husbands, fathers, wives and mothers will return safely.

At the same time as we take pride that our personnel are among the world's best, we are also very concerned for their safety. I know that my heart and my prayers are with our members and their families as they serve this noble cause.

I have a special message to the personnel serving out of Cold Lake: “serve well and come home safely”.

Western ProvincesStatements By Members

April 12th, 1999 / 2:05 p.m.

Liberal

John Harvard Liberal Charleswood—Assiniboine, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to report to the House that the Prime Minister's task force on the four western provinces, which I chair, spent the Easter break meeting and consulting with Manitobans.

The response to this initiative was overwhelming. Over three days, task force members met with over 60 individuals and organizations across the province. Manitobans spoke to us about issues as diverse as the plight of our aboriginal peoples, the need for another infrastructure program, immigration issues and social programs.

This initiative was announced to complement the work of our western caucus and give western Canadians another opportunity to shape the national agenda as the government nears the middle of our second mandate.

The response we had throughout Manitoba proves one thing, western Canadians welcome opportunities to have input into the government's decision making process. I look forward to our future visits to Saskatchewan, Alberta and B.C.

On behalf of the task force members, I would like to thank all those Manitobans who took the time to come and speak to us.

Nouvelle ScèneStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, after ten years of hard work and a lengthy fundraising campaign, a great dream has been realized today.

Today, a theatre for Ottawa's French speaking community is opening up on King Edward Avenue. The Nouvelle Scène will now house, under one roof, the Théâtre du Trillium, the Compagnie Vox Théâtre, the Théâtre de la Vieille 17, and the Théâtre de la Catapulte.

The Nouvelle Scène will also host francophone theatre companies from the region, Canada and French speaking countries throughout the world.

I wish the Nouvelle Scène every success and I urge my colleagues to pay it a visit and enjoy some great theatre. Break a leg, as they say.

The Late Jacques GirardStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Bloc Verchères, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebec and Canada lost a great shaper of democracy.

On April 10, at the early age of 41, Jacques Girard, the directeur général des élections du Québec and head of the Commission de la représentation électorale, died of cancer.

Appointed to these duties by the National Assembly last July 13, Mr. Girard earned the respect and admiration of all the members of his team, and all political parties, with the high degree of competency and enthusiasm he put into this work, and his big heart.

Not only was Jacques Girard appreciated in Quebec, of course, but he was also greatly appreciated in Canada, where he occupied the position of Director of Legal Services at Elections Canada from 1992 to 1998. He also made a name abroad with his participation in technical assistance and observation missions in elections in many countries such as Russia, Haiti and Mexico.

I have warm memories of this likeable, warm, competent, always approachable man, with whom I had the pleasure and privilege of working. May I extend my sincere condolences to Mr. Girard's family and friends on behalf of the Bloc Quebecois.

YugoslaviaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, today we will have what is called a take note debate in the House of Commons about what is happening in Yugoslavia.

The details of the procedure have yet to be finalized, but what is absolutely clear is that many Canadians feel that parliament has not adequately dealt with this issue, that somehow our way of dealing with such issues is not commensurate with their importance.

Indeed, when we think of the fact that we have votes on all kinds of less important things in this place and debate matters longer, it is clear that such take note debates on general motions with no votes do not create a parliamentary mandate. Instead they run the risk of being treated like a blank cheque and being held up as parliamentary approval for future actions when no such thing took place.

This government's record on meaningfully consulting the House of Commons when it comes to NATO matters is not a good one. For example, we were the only NATO country whose parliament did not formally debate the expansion of NATO.

The NDP calls on the government to be open to more meaningful debate and urges that at the very least the Minister of Foreign Affairs make a ministerial statement in the House tomorrow after he comes back from Brussels.

Montfort HospitalStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Bloc Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, in this Année canadienne de la francophonie, Gisèle Lalonde and SOS Montfort are in court today to achieve recognition of the rights of Ontario francophones to their health institutions, and to the maintenance of the only francophone hospital west of the Ottawa River.

The Bloc Quebecois has been pleased to provide its support to the efforts of Ontario francophones on behalf of the survival of this health care facility, which is also a French language teaching hospital.

It is unacceptable that francophones in the rest of Canada must go to court in order to gain recognition of their most essential rights, to receive an education and health care in their language, at a time when the French speaking community in Canada is more fragile than ever, as the latest census data prove.

The Bloc Quebecois wishes to assure Gisèle Lalonde, the Montfort Hospital board, and the franco-Ontarian community, of Quebeckers' support in their efforts to gain respect for their fundamental rights.

Member For Whitby—AjaxStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Judi Longfield Liberal Whitby—Ajax, ON

Mr. Speaker, fellow members of parliament, I am back.

I want to thank the hundreds of you who sent get well wishes to me in Germany during my 27 day stay at the Johanniter Krachenhaus hospital in Bonn, and then upon my return to Canada in mid-February.

I am pleased to report that I am well on the way to a full recovery.

I return to parliament with a renewed appreciation for our health care system without which an episode such as I have recently experienced may well have bankrupt both me and my family.

I also want to express my deepest appreciation to Professor Moebius and his medical team, to the staff of the Canadian embassy in Bonn, and most particularly Ambassador Gaetan Lavertu and Dennis Lance who made daily visits to my bedside with news from home.

I want to send a very special thank you to the residents of Whitby—Ajax who kept both florists and card companies flourishing.

I also take this opportunity to publicly thank my staff here and in the riding for their tremendous efforts on behalf of my constituents during my time of illness.

Member For Whitby—AjaxStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

The Speaker

Welcome home, Judi.

National PostStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Jim Jones Progressive Conservative Markham, ON

Mr. Speaker, fine whine was the highlight of the commentary section in Saturday's National Post .

Readers were subjected to the same tired excuses from the Prime Minister as to why a convicted criminal and an admitted embezzler under investigation got $2.3 million in federal grants and loans for hotel projects in his riding.

Pathetic protests from the Prime Minister do nothing to restore public confidence, especially when Liberal cabinet ministers and backbenchers do much to prevent Parliament from uncovering the truth.

Instead of writing a four page missive to the National Post , why will the Prime Minister not prove his integrity by tabling all documents in the possession of his office on his involvement in the Duhaime and Thibault projects? Better yet, why will he not invoke section 11 of the Auditor General Act to direct that office to conduct an independent audit of both deals? Anything less makes the Prime Minister's whine of integrity taste very sour.

Toronto Lodge 1600Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Sarmite Bulte Liberal Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, on Friday, March 19, I had the honour of attending the grand opening of Toronto Lodge No. 1600 of the Loyal Order of Moose. Toronto Lodge 1600 has been in existence for 84 years but this occasion marked the first time that the lodge has owned its own building.

During the evening's festivities, certificates were presented to those members of the community who helped make this grand opening possible. The following people and organizations were honoured for their contributions: Torbram Electric, Lawrence Cohen, Tom Campagnolo Construction, Trevor Gabb, Canada Cartage, Mike Mastrotucci, Al McWhirter, Larry Huard, Ken McCalla, Innovative Securities, Vera-Ann Kalbol and Dennis Packer of Unistar Communications.

Organizations such as the Toronto lodge have made community service a cornerstore of their every day life. They are hard at work giving their time and effort to make our community a better place to live by supporting both local and international charitable organizations and programs.

I offer my congratulations to all members of the Toronto Lodge No. 1600 of the Loyal Order of Moose. I welcome them to the riding of Parkdale—High Park.

KosovoOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning ReformLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, Canadians across the country generally support Canada's involvement in the NATO campaign to stop Serb aggression in Kosovo. They want to see ethnic Albanians resettled to live in peace and democracy in Kosovo.

Today in Brussels, NATO foreign ministers are gathered to assess the best means of obtaining that peace. I wonder whether the Prime Minister would tell the House what message our foreign minister took to that meeting in Brussels on behalf of Canadians.

KosovoOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, first I would like to say thanks for the support that all the parties have given to activities of the Canadian Armed Forces in NATO.

This morning when the minister was in Brussels he took the message that has been the same since the beginning. We want to make sure that it is possible for the Kosovars to go home safely, that the ethnic cleansing Mr. Milosevic started more than a year ago is terminated as quickly as possible, and that we maintain the plan which was agreed to by all members of NATO some weeks ago.

KosovoOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning ReformLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, yesterday U.S. Defense Secretary William Cohen and other senior American officials called Serb leader Slobodan Milosevic a war criminal. The American president's chief of staff called for his removal from office as a necessary precondition of Serbia's regaining its status as a democratic nation.

Does the government support these statements? If so, how do we negotiate for peace with a leader who has been labelled a war criminal?