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House of Commons Hansard #212 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was information.

Topics

2 p.m.

The Speaker

As is our practice on Wednesday we will now sing O Canada, and we will be led by the hon. member for Saint John.

St. John AmbulanceStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, today marks the 900th anniversary of the Order of St. John founded in the 11th century with the establishment of a hospital for Christian pilgrims in Jerusalem.

First aid became an integral part of the work of the order in England during the France-Prussian war in 1870. The humanitarian work of the British branch of the St. John Ambulance spread to Canada in 1882-83 when first aid classes were organized in Quebec City and Kingston.

We should all recognize the importance of the St. John Ambulance in providing first aid training to Canadians therefore enhancing their ability to save other lives and to improve the quality of those lives.

We thank them for their dedication and for their spirit of volunteerism. May they continue to serve us long.

St. John AmbulanceStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Reform

Roy H. Bailey Reform Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, during the 11th century, pilgrims to the Holy Land could find treatment in a hospital run by Benedictine monks in Jerusalem. In the year 1099, the Order of St. John from which the modern St. John Ambulance grew was eventually formed.

At 900 years of age, St. John Ambulance is the oldest voluntary health and welfare organization in the world. In Canada there are now over 25,000 volunteers, including over 12,000 uniformed brigade members who donate 2 million hours each year to community service and treat approximately 20,000 casualties, all free of charge.

Over 7,000 first aid instructors teach over 800,000 Canadians annually.

Today we celebrate and congratulate the accomplishments of St. John Ambulance for its public service. On this 900th birthday, we wish it success as it goes into the new millennium.

Tong Sun LouieStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Ted McWhinney Liberal Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, Tong Sun Louie, who has died in Vancouver at the age of 102, was born in Canton and emigrated to Canada 90 years ago, establishing himself as a prominent Vancouver businessman and philanthropist and a founder of the Chinese Benevolent Association. His family includes university professors, medical practitioners, accountants and financial advisers, all leaders of the Chinese-Canadian community.

The Chinese-Canadian community in Vancouver encompasses a wide diversity in language and culture, places of origin within China, and actual years lived in Canada. Tong Sun Louie's long life reaches back to the historical origins of British Columbia, and he may certainly be considered among the early founding fathers of that province.

St. John AmbulanceStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, St. John Ambulance is celebrating 900 years of community service. The white cross of the Order of St. John was first seen in the Middle Ages, and has since become a symbol of devotion and support, both in times of peace and in times of war.

Since its inception, St. John Ambulance has saved millions of lives, and an equal number have been saved as a result of its training, prevention and consciousness-raising efforts aimed at the general public.

Every year, close to 800,000 people in Canada and Quebec receive St. John Ambulance training. In other words, millions of people could some day save lives.

We have all seen this great humanitarian organization in action, as we are familiar with its trained first-aiders, therapeutic canine hospital visitors, CPR courses, and ski patrollers.

The Bloc Quebecois wishes to express its thanks to all St. John Ambulance volunteers. Their generosity and commitment merit our admiration.

St. John AmbulanceStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the NDP and in the context of National Volunteer Week, I rise to pay tribute to St. John Ambulance, one of the oldest charity and volunteer organizations in the world. St. John Ambulance is celebrating its 900th anniversary, a landmark in history that is unmatched by any other charity organization.

The Order of St. John, from which St. John Ambulance grew, dates formally to the year 1099 and traces its roots to a hospital run by Benedictine monks in Jerusalem.

The NDP gives thanks for the 25,000 volunteers and youth members and for all the ways in which St. John Ambulance contributes to the well-being of communities in every part of Canada.

The first aid training, the first aid treatments offered at large public gatherings and other services provided by St. John Ambulance make Canada a safer place for Canadians to work and play. Each year over 800,000 are instructed in first aid and over 200,000 Canadians are treated.

May I also take this opportunity to personally recognize two constituents of mine, Mr. Dan Trochim, who recently received the Serving Brother Award for his St. John Ambulance work, and Mr. Bill Bihun, my father-in-law, who was a first aid man in his workplace at the CNR and who served many years as a St. John's volunteer at public events.

St. John AmbulanceStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Progressive Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, in 1882 the St. John Ambulance Association took root in Canada. Over the years, this ever-vigilant community service group has grown to become a large family with volunteers numbering 25,000 nationwide. In 1099, the Order of St. John, an order of Benedictine monks, ran a hospital in Jerusalem caring for those in need. From this history comes our modern St. John Ambulance Association and Brigade. After nine centuries of helping others, the St. John Ambulance Association has become the oldest charitable and humanitarian organization in the world. They are committed to enabling Canadians to improve their health, safety and quality of life by providing training and community service.

On behalf of the PC Party of Canada, I would like to thank Mr. David Johnston, Chancellor of the St. John Ambulance Association of Canada, the workers and the volunteers, and I wish them all a wonderful year of celebration of 900 years of community service.

National Organ Donor WeekStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, this is Organ Donation Awareness Week and tomorrow is National Organ Discussion Day. As a member of the Standing Committee on Health, I have had the opportunity to learn a great deal about organ and tissue donation in our country.

Each year in Canada, approximately 1,500 people die who could be potential donors, yet only 400 individuals actually donate. These statistics are startling.

In Kitchener Centre companies such as the Mutual Group and organizations such as the Kidney Foundation regularly work to raise awareness about donation and transplantation.

While the word is spreading about the importance of organ donation, more needs to be done. In 1996 a Mutual Group survey showed 54% of Canadians did not know if their family members wished to donate their organs.

I am pleased to be able to participate in the Kidney Foundation's Celebration of Life event tomorrow. This event will not only help raise awareness, but honour local recipients and donors.

I encourage all members of the House to participate in this meaningful week and raise awareness on this important matter.

Forum For Young CanadiansStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Janko Peric Liberal Cambridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, each year the Forum for Young Canadians brings more than 500 high school students from across Canada to learn first-hand how government works.

Through presentations on the role of MPs and cabinet and simulations of an election, a cabinet committee, a question period and a federal-provincial conference, these future leaders gain a deeper insight into governance in Canada.

This year Andrew Rennie, Kathy Swan and Kneale Turner from my riding of Cambridge are taking part in this important learning experience.

I join all members in welcoming these young Canadians to our nation's capital and I wish them success as they discuss and debate our system of government.

National Organ Donor WeekStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Reform

Reed Elley Reform Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, this is National Organ Donor Awareness Week. This is a time when we remember the role organ donors play in many people's lives. In Canada today over 3,000 people are waiting for life-giving organ transplants. Canada has one of the lowest donation rates in the world. This has to change.

In most cases the saving of another life through a donation means that someone else took the time to think of others and acted in the most generous way possible. They literally gave themselves for others.

It is possible that my own daughter will be in need of a kidney transplant in the future. At that point my wife and I will be eternally thankful to the donor for they will be able to give her what we are not able to give. The gift of a kidney would be to her the gift of life.

Tomorrow I will be introducing my private member's bill, the awarding of the organ donation medal act. This bill will posthumously recognize the supreme gift that is a given to others in our society.

I would ask for the support of all members of the House in order to ensure that organ donors are suitably recognized through this bill.

Margaret CampbellStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Bill Graham Liberal Toronto Centre—Rosedale, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is with a heavy heart that I rise today in the House to pay tribute to my neighbour, friend, constituent and mentor to myself and so many Liberals in Ontario, Margaret Campbell, the first Liberal woman member of the provincial parliament in Ontario who passed away late Monday night.

In the 1960s, after having helped to pave the way for women in the legal profession, Margaret began her stellar political life as a Toronto ward councillor, subsequently being elected city-wide as a controller and going on to become a much respected city budget chief. Margaret was one of the first voices speaking to the issue of domestic violence in our society.

Margaret was invested with the Order of Canada in 1983. In 1985 she established a fund for Liberal women seeking provincial election.

In recent years, Margaret gave her time to the out of the cold program and lobbying on behalf of “her street kids”, as she called them, continuing her social work.

All Ontarians will regret the passing of Margaret, whose devotion to social justice in our community was known by all.

Tragedy In Littleton, ColoradoStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Maud Debien Bloc Laval East, QC

Mr. Speaker, we were all greatly distressed to hear the news of the terrible tragedy that struck a school in Littleton, Colorado.

Two heavily armed young men took the lives of other vulnerable and defenseless young people. This unbelievable event, unprecedented in its toll of victims, leaves us with a feeling of helplessness. The most distressing thing about this tragedy is that the young killers focussed particularly on Hispanic and Black victims.

This drama is a brutal reminder that the battle for racial integration is still being fought each and every day. It shows how important it is to be constantly attuned to our youth, in order to help them not to feel hopeless about the future.

The Bloc Quebecois wishes to convey its condolences to the bereaved families and to all the people of Littleton who mourn today.

People With DisabilitiesStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Liberal Laval West, QC

Mr. Speaker, on March 26, the Government of Canada announced the signing of a bilateral agreement to promote the employment of people with disabilities. The agreement covers the conditions involved in keeping them on the labour market as well.

This is a federal government framework agreement, elements of which are negotiated with each of the provinces. These agreements, it should be noted, reflect the priorities of the provinces.

Quebec will have a good share of this program, some $195.5 million over five years, to cover half of the cost of setting up programs and services for persons with disabilities.

This is an illustration of federalism working locally and involving the federal government and its provincial partners.

Million Dollar CopStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Reform

Jay Hill Reform Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to a million dollar Canadian.

Last weekend an off-duty Vancouver city police officer was walking his dog when the dog sniffed out a duffel bag left lying beside a dumpster. The bag contained a million dollars.

Just think about it, Mr. Speaker, you are out walking your dog and find a bag with a million bucks in it. What would you do? I do not know what I would do, especially since I do not have an MP pension, but this police officer did not even hesitate. He turned the money in like the great citizen he is.

The question now is, who owns that money. As a private citizen, this officer would be the first in line for the money if no one claimed it within 60 days. However, as a police officer the rules are not so clear.

The police say they have never seen a case like this and it may have to go before the courts. In the court of public opinion I think the verdict is crystal clear: this million dollar cop should get the money just like any other Canadian.

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Nick Discepola Liberal Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, on March 25, the Government of Canada announced it would invest $175,000 in the Multimedia Exchange Tour on Climate Change.

This tour is to show young Canadians what simple things they can do each day to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at home, at school, on the street, in their neighbourhood and in their community.

This sort of action demonstrates the Liberal government's intention to work to protect our resources and to inform future generations about protecting the environment.

I invite all Canadians to do their share to protect the vital resources of our country and planet.

Fisheries And Oceans CanadaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the auditor general released the most damning indictment to date of the management policies of the DFO.

The auditor general hinted that the same mismanagement that led to the collapse of the cod fishery is now leading toward the total collapse of the shellfish industry in Atlantic Canada.

On decision making within the department he had this to say:

The absence of a fisheries policy that fully reflects sustainability concepts means that decisions are made on an ad hoc and inconsistent basis rather than as part of an overall framework.

We found resource use decisions in the shellfish fisheries that are inconsistent with the concept of an economically viable industry.

The department's actions have encouraged increased harvesting capacity...even though there is uncertainty about how long the recent increases in this stock will last.

We have already seen the movie cod one. No one in Atlantic Canada wants to see the sequel, shellfish two.

KosovoStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Bloc Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, the result of yesterday afternoon's vote in the House is clear: the Prime Minister does not care about parliamentary approval for sending troops to Kosovo.

How else to explain his scorn for democracy, when in 1991, he considered it vital to hold a vote in parliament before Canada participated in the gulf war? Just how important is democracy to the Prime Minister?

Here is one explanation, perhaps. It comes from an interview the Prime Minister gave to a German newspaper early in the year. He said, and I quote “The good thing about our system in Canada is that, with a majority, the government just has to keep the members of its own party in line”.

The Prime Minister missed a fine opportunity to obtain a strong consensus from all the parties in this House. He could have strengthened his international position and honoured the demands he made himself in 1991.

The Prime Minister's lack of transparency and leadership, his lack of respect for democracy and for parliament all indicate that power is more important than democracy in this country.

Sir Wilfrid LaurierStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Hec Clouthier Liberal Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, 1999 marks the 80th anniversary of the death of a great leader who led Canada into the 20th century, Sir Wilfrid Laurier.

As this century draws to a close, we must continue to champion the ideals of Laurier's lasting legacy as we pass the torch to a new generation of Canadians. We must continue to reach out to our fellow citizens to strengthen our bond and our identity as Canadians. We must continue to relentlessly challenge our own standards. We must continue to make our voice heard distinctly and bravely because we can and we will make a difference.

Let us inspire with intense passion and fervent conviction, proud of our noble heritage, enriched by our diversity of talent, invigorated by our unity of vision, and empowered by our infinite hope and undying loyalty. As Laurier would say, this is our responsibility and we must do so without fear and without favour.

Newfoundland And Labrador NursesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Charlie Power Progressive Conservative St. John's West, NL

Mr. Speaker, nurses in Newfoundland and Labrador have been betrayed by two levels of Liberal government.

During the provincial election only a few months ago, Premier Tobin felt the pressure of the nurses' demonstrations on the campaign trail. He told them not to worry and hinted openly that everything would work out well for them after he secured his re-election. Now, he and his minister of health have turned their backs on the nurses of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Nationally, the Liberals are gouging a staggering $6 billion a year in CHST transfers to the provinces. That means that every year in Newfoundland we receive $146 million less for health, education and social services than we did during the former Progressive Conservative government's time in office, and the Liberals would have us believe that theirs is a party of compassion on social issues.

After six years of Liberal government, Canada's health care system is in crisis. The province's ability to support those who deliver health care services has been seriously undermined. This government's record on health care issues is a national disgrace.

New MemberStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

I have the honour to inform the House that the Clerk of the House has received from the Chief Electoral Officer a certificate of the election and return of the following member:

Mr. Rick Limoges, for the electoral district of Windsor—St. Clair.

Rick Limoges, member for the electoral district of Windsor—St. Clair, introduced by the Right Hon. Jean Chrétien and the Hon. Herb Gray.

KosovoOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Reform Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, just to advise the new member for Windsor—St. Clair, the official opposition is on this side of the House. We certainly congratulate him on his victory in his riding.

The Prime Minister is heading to Washington this weekend to meet with other leaders of the NATO alliance. It is important that our country be represented with a clear position on the question of ground troops. We simply cannot be seen sitting on the sidelines waiting for our NATO allies to make decisions for us. Does the Prime Minister support the use of ground troops in Kosovo, yes or no?

KosovoOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we are supporting NATO and at this moment the strategy of NATO is well known. There are air strikes at this moment. It is a strategy that is supported by the 19 nations involved in NATO. I presume there will be discussions about ground troops, but there is no such plan at this time. There is no position to be taken because there is no demand for us to have ground troops in Kosovo at this moment.

KosovoOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Reform Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, I think it is important for Canadians to know what the position of the Prime Minister will be in representing Canada at the Washington meeting. The Prime Minister said yesterday “If everyone agrees, I will not be the only one not to agree”. What on earth does that mean? It sounds like the Prime Minister is sitting on the fence. He is going to Washington to represent Canada and Canadians do not know what his position is.

Will the Prime Minister tell the House exactly what Canada's position will be going into these meetings in Washington?

KosovoOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the position of Canada is very clear. We are supporting and we are part of NATO because it is very important to stop the murdering, the raping and the cleansing that is going on in Kosovo. We are part of a team of 19 countries which have decided that the best way to handle the problem at this moment is to have air strikes. That is exactly what is going on. The air strikes will continue for some time. If someday we are confronted with the necessity to send ground troops, we will do so with the others. I said that yesterday. We will not be the ones to not be members of the team.

KosovoOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Art Hanger Reform Calgary Northeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, the issue will go before the committee in Washington in two or three days. Now there is an opportunity for the Prime Minister to call a vote on the issue. With a clear mandate from parliament the Prime Minister would be able to represent Canada's position with confidence. As it sits right now, no one knows what his position is.

The Prime Minister has two days left. Will the Prime Minister call a vote on the issue of further commitments to the Kosovo crisis?