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House of Commons Hansard #209 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was states.

Topics

Benny Farm Veterans Housing ComplexStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to recognize and congratulate three heroes in my riding of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine.

At about 9.30 a.m. on Thursday, March 11, 1999, residents of one of the new buildings in the Benny Farm Veterans Housing complex were alerted to a fire in a ground floor apartment at 3500 Benny.

Janitor Deszo Bogdanyi; co-ordinator of technical operations, Patrice Bouvette; and maintenance man, Robert Gadbois, all members of the maintenance staff of Canada Lands Corporation, were able to guide everyone to safety.

While one woman was left with severe burns and many apartments were flooded, residents were quick to credit these three men with the prevention of further injuries and damage, thanks to their quick, efficient and selfless actions. The new building's cement walls and extensive sprinkler system were also instrumental in helping to contain the fire.

For these three men to enter that burning apartment in total darkness and dense smoke to rescue a wheelchair bound woman and her unconscious husband is truly a deed of heroic proportions.

I congratulate them.

Wayne GretzkyStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

NDP

Nelson Riis NDP Kamloops, BC

Mr. Speaker, today is Wayne Gretzky day in Canada.

Today all eyes are on the Great One, Wayne Gretzky, the most outstanding hockey player ever, as he agonizes as to whether he should continue to play professional hockey for another year or not.

We, as representatives of the citizens of Canada, wish to acknowledge that no single player has done so much to elevate the status and quality of Canada's national sport as has Wayne Gretzky.

Wayne Gretzky symbolizes what is best about hockey and about sports generally. Not only is he an outstanding hockey player and athlete, but he is also an outstanding citizen of Canada.

As he deliberates on his future at this hour, we wish him well. In the event he decides to retire, we urge the Government of Canada to consider appointing Wayne Gretzky as Canada's permanent ambassador of hockey.

Social InequalityStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Bloc

Stéphan Tremblay Bloc Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, according to Statistics Canada, between 1970 and 1995, wealth has gradually been concentrated in fewer hands.

This confirms the statement that “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer”.

During this period, the share of the aggregate income going to families at the bottom of the income ladder diminished somewhat, while the share of families at the top increased.

Statistically speaking, between 1970 and 1995, the increase in the actual average family income varies from 19.4%, in the case of families at the bottom of the income ladder, to 37% for families at the top. The result is that 30% of the families held a greater share of the aggregate income in 1995 than they did in 1970, while 70% of all families had to do with less.

Do we still need to remind the House that this even greater concentration of wealth calls for a comprehensive review of our ability to reduce social inequality, in this era of globalization? When will we have the courage to do such a review?

Bloc QuebecoisStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, the sovereignists' violons are not always in tune.

On the weekend, in Rivière-du-Loup, the Bloc Quebecois will be voting on proposals that may give their cousins in the Parti Quebecois some food for thought.

The Bloc members will be asking the Quebec Premier, Pierre Bouchard, sorry, Lucien Bouchard, to cut the focus on his personal views on Quebec's partnership with the rest of Canada.

In fact, the Bloc wants to cut Pierre Bouchard, oh, sorry, Lucien Bouchard's power to decide the next referendum.

Perhaps Jacques Parizeau, the new Bloc Quebecois researcher, has something to do with this. We will see on the weekend whether Jacques Parizeau or Pierre, oops, Lucien Bouchard wins at arm wrestling.

Perhaps Premier Pierre, or rather, Lucien Bouchard will wonder just what the Bloc is doing in Ottawa, as others are doing.

FisheriesStatements By Members

April 16th, 1999 / 11:10 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Gerald Keddy Progressive Conservative South Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, I recently received a fax from a constituent, Phylys Wolfe, who wonders just how many more hare-brained scams the government can think up to drive fishermen crazy and into the poor house.

This time it is a MED and safety and firefighting survival course on board fishing boats. This law was supposed to be in effect since 1997 but no one thought to tell the fishermen about it until this winter.

There are 3,200 licences in the Scotia Fundy region, representing about 10,000 fishermen. The government expects all these fishermen to take this course. This will cost every fisherman $700 out of their own pockets for this five day course. There are only five people in all of Nova Scotia to teach this course and they can handle only 24 people per course. Those who do not have a certificate for this course are liable to lose their boat, their licence or receive a fine.

If a skipper hires a crew for one week, one month or two days, that person is supposed to have this course. Now—

FisheriesStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. McClelland)

The hon. member for Thunder Bay—Atikokan.

Tom GuzikStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Stan Dromisky Liberal Thunder Bay—Atikokan, ON

Mr. Speaker, 14 years ago Tom Guzik, a hard-working immigrant from Poland, started the first computer retail store in Thunder Bay. It was only a decade later that he expanded into the emerging field of corporate computer training.

Last weekend, at the age of 33, he was honoured as one of Thunder Bay's most successful young entrepreneurs by the city's chamber of commerce.

When the Thunder Bay market became crowded with retailers, Tom branched out into services like corporate computer training, Internet services and electronic commerce. Today his company is the biggest Internet provider in Thunder Bay.

Tom's success is a testament to Canada's being a land of opportunity and choices. His ingenuity, tenacity and work ethic is typical of what we see in many new Canadians.

We congratulate Tom Guzik and the other members of Thunder Bay's business community who were honoured by the chamber of commerce.

Nelson MandelaStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Reform

Mike Scott Reform Skeena, BC

Mr. Speaker, not long ago we had the great honour to receive Nelson Mandela in this place.

Mr. Mandela has been an uncompromising champion of equality in South Africa.

In 1953 he said “We have been banned because we favour a policy which affords fundamental rights to all, irrespective of race, colour, sex or language.”

Yet in 1999 the government is preparing to embrace the Nisga'a treaty, an agreement built upon core principles that Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in jail fighting.

The treaty embraces Nisga'a government and it allows them to ban businesses, professions, trades and even trade unions. It is a deal based on special status and different rights based on race, and it diminishes the rights of all Canadians, especially grassroots Nisga'a.

Mr. Mandela said upon receiving the Nobel Peace Prize “It remains our hope that we will be blessed with sufficient reason that our new society cannot be created by reproducing the repugnant past, however refined and enticingly packaged ”.

It is too bad that Canada's academics and political leaders have not learned this simple truth.

KosovoOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Reform Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, all the reports indicate that the Canadian forces in the Balkans are doing the job they have been asked to do and they are doing it very well.

Our CF fighters thus far have flown over 100 sorties against the Serb forces. Prior to the war the Department of National Defence allotted $103 million for the purchase of precision guided air to surface missiles. One hundred sorties represents a lot of ammunition.

How much new money has the Minister of National Defence budgeted to replace the depleting stocks to make sure our pilots can continue their NATO commitments?

KosovoOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I do not have the figure with me, but obviously the funds necessary to carry out the mission to help the people of Kosovo return to their homes will have to be found and allotted.

I hope the hon. member's language means that in spite of the negative comments by his finance critic we will have the support of the Reform Party to enable our forces to have the funds to do the job required.

KosovoOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Reform Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, the minister knows full well that he has the support of the Reform Party when it comes to the issue of Kosovo.

I am simply asking this question of the defence minister. The budget for defence is about $9.5 billion. New money has to be found for this war effort. Where is it coming from and how much has been assigned?

KosovoOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Pontiac—Gatineau—Labelle Québec

Liberal

Robert Bertrand LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the incremental costs for the deployment of the 12 CF-18s, the ones that are over there now, for six months, is estimated to amount to approximately $10 million, excluding munitions.

Due to the fact that it is ongoing, we will have to wait to see how long we will be over there before we can give a final account.

KosovoOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Reform Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, we are asking about the cost of the munitions. How much money is being spent on munitions and how much more has been assigned? It is a very simple question and one that the government should have addressed some time ago but refuses to do so.

Again I ask the parliamentary secretary: How much additional money, new money, is being addressed to the issue in Kosovo?

KosovoOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this is being worked on by the Department of National Defence. At this time we do not know exactly how long the mission will continue. There are issues involving the extent of Canada's participation in the air war.

I appreciate the positive comments of my hon. friend and the comments that he is making on behalf of his party. Certainly the government will have the funds necessary to carry out the mission in question.

KosovoOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Reform

Keith Martin Reform Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, the international peacekeeping force proposed by Germany is getting increasing support from both NATO and non-NATO allies. However, there is very little on the public record about the view of the government.

I ask the minister responsible: Who is going to be in control of this force? Are we going to participate and what other countries are going to participate in this proposed peacekeeping force?

KosovoOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, at this point nobody, including the Germans, have made any specific details as to who would be involved.

The important objective is to get the agreement of the Milosevic government to have an international presence to protect the refugees and to make sure that the integrity of any peace agreement is honoured.

There is a proposal that, once that basic level of agreement is met, there could be a meeting of the G-8 foreign ministers to discuss in more detail the responsibilities, the command and the contributions. However, at this point in time, as I have said in the House before, it is basically a principle and a concept. No one has yet put forward the specific details which the hon. member is requesting.

KosovoOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Reform

Keith Martin Reform Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Reform Party would like to propose a constructive solution to the minister.

The Russians could be a very useful tool in this force. The inclusion of Russia would be more acceptable to the Serbs.

Does the minister agree that Russia is critical to any peacekeeping force and what efforts are being made to secure Russian involvement in the proposed peacekeeping force?

KosovoOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as I reported to the House yesterday, I had a very long and extensive discussion with the Russian foreign minister yesterday on this topic.

We talked about the broad outlines of a peace plan. We also talked about the important role that Russia could play in helping to bring it about and whether there could be a Russian contribution.

As I reported to the House, I think the discussion was very constructive. I found the Russian foreign minister to be very anxious, as we all are, to find a peaceful resolution.

I can assure the hon. member that we are engaging actively with Russia, as are other countries, to make sure they will be able to work in co-operation with us in finding a solution.

KosovoOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is Friday, and we have been questioning the government all week to find out something of what is going on in the Kosovo conflict, but the more we ask, the less we feel we know. The other side is getting us used to half truths, I-don't-knows and undivulged information.

Given the positive state of debates in this House and the support the government is getting from the opposition for a proper intervention in the Kosovo conflict, could there not be a change in attitude on the government side and could it not provide a little of the information which we are entitled to and which the Americans are getting from their President?

KosovoOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, it may be of interest to the hon. member to know that yesterday afternoon I spent two and a half hours at the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade giving a full briefing and answering something like 60 or 70 questions about Kosovo.

I gave those answers to the extent of what I knew. I gave the committee the responses that we could provide and I tried to take into account all of the recommendations that were made.

I spent two and a half hours before a committee, combined with a briefing last week. We have agreed to have bi-weekly briefings. We are here in question period every day. We provide any written materials required. I think that we are keeping Canadians and the opposition particularly well informed.

KosovoOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Bloc Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister should understand that the issue is not about taking part, but about supplying answers. That is what we would like.

We learned this morning, for example, that President Clinton was asked by the Pentagon to call up 33,000 reservists. If, in the States, they are asking the President to call up 33,000 reservists, does that mean they are getting ready for an invasion in the Kosovo area soon?

Something is on the move. Does this have implications for Canada? We would like to know.

KosovoOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Winnipeg South Centre Manitoba

Liberal

Lloyd Axworthy LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the President of the United States is fully responsible for whatever decisions he takes within his own country, just as we take our own sovereign decisions in this country.

As we said in the House, there has been no decision by NATO on any activation of ground forces other than for peacekeeping purposes. We have made no decision within this government. As the Prime Minister has said, we will consult with parliament before any decision is made.

The Americans are doing that to support whatever activities they may be doing. But I can give the hon. member every single assurance that what we have said about the Canadian position still stands.

KosovoOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

René Laurin Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, President Clinton has informed Americans on the cost of their involvement in Kosovo. It seems to us that Canadians would be entitled to the same information and to know how much this operation is likely to cost them.

Without questioning the necessity of our participation, might we know what budget envelope the government has set for its present operations in Kosovo?

KosovoOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, what I said earlier is still relevant. It is too soon to determine the overall cost of military operations, including our support for humanitarian activities. These figures are being developed. They are being looked at in light of issues such as the length of the air operations.

As further information is developed we will be providing it through the Minister of National Defence to the House. At this stage, to have definite information depends on certain hypothetical assumptions which have yet to be tested.

KosovoOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

René Laurin Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, once again yesterday we learned that NATO had requested additional participation by Canada. We also learned that the war could last a number of weeks, if not months, more.

Would it not be appropriate for the government to announce, after 23 days, what the extent of our financial involvement in the conflict is and what projections have been made, so that our commitment for the coming months may be assessed?