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House of Commons Hansard #222 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was horses.

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 Kelowna.

National Fitness MonthStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Augustine Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, May is National Fitness Month.

May is a special month, the month of flowers, the month of good weather and the month in which we celebrate Mother's Day. Yet, there are some among us who are seen as unreachable or as someone else's child. They are the sexually exploited youth who exist in a world of shadows invisible. The voice of these sexually exploited children and youth must be heard and strategies must be devised to meet their specific needs.

A special program “Out from the shadows and into the light” was brought to my attention today. That special program is using a community development approach beginning with the youth themselves, the youth who tell their stories and the youth who make recommendations.

I encourage all of my colleagues, as the Minister of Foreign Affairs has said, to express support for this program and to combat the sexual exploitation of children.

Penticton AirportStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Reform

Jim Hart Reform Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise on behalf of the people of Okanagan—Coquihalla who are concerned about the future of the Penticton airport. Negotiations for the transfer of the airport to the city of Penticton have been ongoing since 1996. Here we are three years later and the process has been halted for the eighth time.

The Penticton airport injects over $12 million into the economy of the south Okanagan. The airport manages over 44,000 air movements per year. To lose this important link in transportation infrastructure would be economically devastating.

The people of the south Okanagan are taking direct action to keep the airport open by signing a petition demanding that the federal government appoint a mediator to bring the parties back to the negotiating table.

The closure of the Penticton Regional Airport will clearly be the responsibility of the Liberal transport minister who has mismanaged this file from the beginning. What will it take for the Liberal government to appoint a mediator to finalize this vital agreement?

Bridgeview Public SchoolStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Roger Gallaway Liberal Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Mr. Speaker, last Saturday, May 1, students and teachers, present and former, gathered to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Bridgeview Public School in the village of Point Edward in my riding.

Hundreds of people from as far away as British Columbia and Florida gathered to renew friendships and reminisce over times past.

Despite school board centralization and closures, Bridgeview school has forged its identity as the heart of the community. After all, communities are built on institutions which are open to all and Bridgeview school is certainly a place that welcomes students, parents and indeed everyone from the community.

For 50 years students have been educated within its four walls and for 50 years the community of Point Edward has been strengthened by the friendships formed within the school. Clearly schools are essential to our future but schools are equally important to our community identity.

Canadian Armed ForcesStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Hec Clouthier Liberal Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, being a member of parliament for the great riding of Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke and having Canadian forces base Petawawa in my riding, I believe I know what kind of men and women wear the Canadian forces uniform. Their duty is to defend, protect and, if necessary, engage in the field of battle.

They are proud of this distinction and have never ever failed to follow that path. They have set high standards in the field of battle and have set high standards in conducting peacekeeping duties. They show tenacity and determination in defence just as they are intrepid in attack.

Above all else, their success is attributed to that superlative spirit found in every fibre and fabric of their being. Courage is the human quality which guarantees above all others. All Canadians must be proud of our courageous custodians of freedom, our military men and women, especially as the world watches events continue to unfold in Kosovo.

Job Creation ProgramsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Guy St-Julien Liberal Abitibi, QC

Mr. Speaker, at the request of the people of Quebec and of Abitibi, the Government of Canada transferred several of its Canadian job creation, training and internship programs to the Government of Quebec in 1998.

Since that transfer, the staff of the Emploi-Québec centre at Val d'Or have been doing an excellent job of finding solutions for users of these employment programs.

At this point in time, the Val d'Or Emploi-Québec office is already short of money to meet the needs of the people of the Val D'Or region. It is already $2 million short.

Why such a lack of budget planning by the government of Lucien Bouchard, at the very beginning of the 1999 budget year? Program recipients in Abitibi are waiting for an answer from you today, Mr. Bouchard.

TaxationStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Reform

Rick Casson Reform Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, the taxodus continues. Last week the CEO of Nortel told the government that high taxes were driving Canadian talent south. Over the weekend the industry minister agreed with him, but the tax minister does not think we have high taxes and he does not believe that Canada is experiencing a brain drain.

Allow me to give the government a very real example. Dr. Kurt Ellenberger, a constituent of mine and a respected musician and university professor, just accepted a position at Michigan University. He told me that he is leaving because he is tired of seeing the lion's share of his wage “arrogantly gobbled up by this government's increasingly voracious appetite for the money it did not earn”.

He is tired of his pay raises being rendered virtually meaningless as CPP premiums skyrocket. He is leaving because Canada no longer is, in his words, “the land of opportunity”. Because of this government's high tax policies, Canada has lost a talented citizen.

When I asked Kurt if I could use his quotes, he wrote:

Dear Rick: Thanks for this opportunity—it is a delight to know that (Prime Minister) and his cronies will have to listen to me for a change...

Aboriginal AffairsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Sophia Leung Liberal Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate all parties of the Nisga'a final agreement signed yesterday by the Government of Canada.

After decades of negotiation, the Nisga'a will finally be able to participate in society, to speak their language, to teach their traditions and to govern themselves.

Non-aboriginal British Columbians will also benefit from this settlement. The infusion of new funds will provide a boost to the economy surrounding Nisga'a lands and business will be able to invest in the region with confidence.

This is a fair and honourable agreement which balances the interests of all Canadians.

Bernard VoyerStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Ghislain Lebel Bloc Chambly, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Quebecois salutes the courage, determination and perseverance of Quebec adventurer Bernard Voyer, a member of the first team to reach the summit of Mt. Everest this year.

This long climb, undertaken with two Americans, two Swedes and nine Sherpas, was completed last night. One can well imagine the great feeling of accomplishment being experienced by Bernard Voyer at this time.

Mr. Voyer is the second Quebecer to have accomplished this exploit, which serves as a reminder that fidelity to one's objectives allows one to attain the loftiest of summits, and that tenacity, constancy and energy can overcome all obstacles and make all things possible.

Reaching the roof of the world is an accomplishment few others can equal. Mr. Voyer, we are proud of you and hope you can now enjoy a well-deserved rest.

Intercede Diversion ProgramStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Judi Longfield Liberal Whitby—Ajax, ON

Mr. Speaker, everyone says it is an exceptional program, but it is fighting a daily battle to stay alive.

It is called the Intercede Diversion Program and its goal is to break the cycle of crime that young people get pulled into. The program works.

A pilot project that led to intercede, an alternative to the court system, shows fewer than 9% of participants have gone on to re-offend, much lower than statistics coming from the court process.

It also saves the taxpayers a substantial amount of money. The average cost of putting a young person through intercede is $500 as compared to $2,500 to send them through court.

Intercede serves my riding and the entire region of Durham and has the support of nine provincial court judges in the area. Intercede reinforces the idea that every act has a consequence. It is a very valuable program and deserves our support.

I encourage my government to work with the provincial government in a expeditious manner so as to guarantee the future of intercede and similar programs across Canada.

Ontario BudgetStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Reform

Jason Kenney Reform Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, this is a great day for the taxpayers of Ontario.

Yesterday provincial finance minister Ernie Eves unveiled the last instalment in a tax cutting, job creating economic miracle of the Mike Harris common sense revolution.

Yesterday's budget completed the remarkable turnaround experience by a province which suffered a lost decade of economic decline under the tax and spend mania of the Liberal and NDP governments.

Mike Harris has kept his word to Ontarian voters by cutting taxes for working families by 30%, eliminating the huge provincial deficit by next year, creating over 850,000 new jobs and introducing a taxpayer protection act with teeth, all while increasing health care spending and absorbing the huge transfer cuts of this Liberal government.

Now the Harris team is set to keep Ontario's economy in high gear by delivering a further 20% cut in both property and income taxes.

Even Liberals are joining the common sense bandwagon, with Liberal MPP Annamaria Castrilli crossing the floor to join the Harris team today.

She understands what these Liberals never will: real tax relief leads to hope, growth and opportunity. Four more years of tax cutting government in Ontario, that is what is going to happen in this election.

Member For Québec EastStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, there comes a point in life when it is time to fight injustice and vicious attacks. Our role is to knowledgeably inform and serve the public.

I could have remained insensitive to this rubbish. With the Bloc, as with the Parti Quebecois, we have become used to personal attacks. Their flawed arguments and especially their constant crises over their identity force them to haul out all sorts of tricks and gimmickry.

How should we react when a member of the House of Commons asks a service he is entitled to use, doubtless, for information, paying for it, I would point out, with our taxes, and when the information attacks individuals et certain members of parliament.

We can debate the continued existence or the abolition of a House. We can use a tool put at our disposal to attack certain ideas, but we cannot viciously and wrongly attack certain members of parliament.

Insults are for the weak. I would ask the member for Québec East to offer a public apology, withdraw his publication on the Senate and rectify the facts.

I would remind the House—

Member For Québec EastStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

The Speaker

I am sorry to interrupt the hon. member. The hon. member for Dartmouth.

The Late Terry RiordonStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Wendy Lill NDP Dartmouth, NS

Mr. Speaker, Terry Riordon, 45, former marathon runner, dedicated husband, father of two and a Canadian veteran of the gulf war, died in his sleep on April 29.

I met Terry last May in Halifax, his body and mind wracked with pain as he tried to put forward his case for fair compensation for his condition, which he believes was caused by vaccines administered to troops and chemical exposures during the 1991 war.

Terry had no idea that his battle for a disability pension, assistive devices and appropriate housing would take up the rest of his life on earth.

His wife, Susan, a fierce fighter for justice for our enlisted soldiers, has said “What this country must learn from this is to take care of those who care for them”.

Or, as the president of the Canadian Peacekeeping Veterans Association said “Terry's passing is another failing grade to a country that asks its service personnel to give all but gives little in return”.

May Terry Riordon rest in peace and may we never forget the sacrifice that Terry and all of our peacekeepers make to this country.

Maryse Coziol-LavoieStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Bloc Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure today to welcome to Parliament Hill the member for a day from Longueuil, Maryse Coziol-Lavoie, the grand prize winner of the first “member for a day“ competition in the riding of Longueuil and a fourth year high school student at Jacques-Rousseau. Maryse was the best of 45 students in the national history course taking part in the competition.

I must say the choice was not easy, because the 11 finalists I had the pleasure of meeting all had fine qualities. I would like to congratulate the 10 other finalists on their excellent performance and all the students taking part in the competition.

During her visit to Ottawa, Maryse, who is here with her mother, Suzanne Coziol, will have a chance to see what members of parliament do.

With this competition, I wanted to get young people interested in and familiar with the world of politics, because they are tomorrow's decision makers.

Maryse, on behalf of my colleagues, I welcome you and hope you have a good time here.

Huntington's DiseaseStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Mark Muise Progressive Conservative West Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, I would like to focus everyone's attention on a terrible disease that preys upon unsuspecting individuals, attacking their nervous system and robbing its victims of their ability to control their own bodies.

Of course, I am talking about Huntington's disease. This disease is an inherited and fatal brain disorder that strikes individuals in the prime of life. It is inherent among 50% of the children of victims of this deadly disease and, as of today, there is still no cure in sight.

The month of May is being observed as Huntington's Disease Awareness Month in communities across Canada. The Huntington Society of Canada has initiated and supported research into the cause and nature of this fatal disease. The work of the society has brought new hope to the people with Huntington's disease and families who bear the burden of this affliction.

On behalf of the Huntington Society of Canada and all those suffering from this terrible disease, I encourage everyone to lend their support to this most worthy cause so that we may finally find a cure for this deadly disease.

Multiple Sclerosis SocietyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the MS Society is the foremost voluntary agency in Canada that provides services to people with MS and their families, and supports an extensive research program.

Progress in the treatment of multiple sclerosis continues to expand with new drugs which modify the course of the disease and allow better management of the symptoms. Two recently approved treatments reduce the frequency and severity of MS attacks. The search for better treatment continues.

During the month of May, volunteers across the country will be taking part in fundraising and awareness campaigns. Please join me in urging all Canadians to join in this effort.

National Youth WeekStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Mac Harb Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the first week of May is National Youth Week.

Youth across the country will be celebrating through various events and activities.

This initiative was launched by youth organizations in British Columbia. Canadians from coast to coast are welcome to join in. The festivities include art festivals, multicultural events, youth dances and educational workshops.

I would like to congratulate cities like Burnaby for taking the lead on this issue. I call on parliament to recognize the first week of every May as National Youth Week starting this year, starting this week, starting this day.

Our youths have every reason to take charge of their future making it full, happy and productive.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning ReformLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Indian affairs minister signed a treaty, which “constitutes the full and final settlement in respect to the aboriginal rights including aboriginal title in Canada of the Nisga'a nation.” This was done without a debate in parliament, without a vote in parliament, without the approval of parliament. When the minister was asked why she proceeded in this way, all she could say was “That is how we have done it in the past”, as if enough wrongs in the past make a right.

Does the Prime Minister not see that proceeding in this undemocratic way undermines potential support for this treaty and the treaty making process?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, absolutely not. Anybody knows there have been many treaties signed by governments that were not ratified by the different parliaments of the world. I know of many of them myself. One is well known, the Jay treaty. It was signed between Canada and the United States more than 100 years ago and has not been ratified by the Parliament of Canada. It is common practice in treaties to sign the treaty and after that parliament can say yes or no.

There will be a bill here and members will be invited to vote for or against fulfilling the obligation of the crown vis-à-vis the first citizens of Canada.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning ReformLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, it is fundamentally different. If parliament is ever asked to surrender its authority over any subject matter to another level of government, surely this parliament ought to be consulted first and asked its opinion on that surrender.

The Nisga'a treaty contains a provision that in the event of an inconsistency between Nisga'a law and federal or provincial law, the Nisga'a law prevails. That provision applies to 14 specific subject areas of constitutional interest to this parliament.

If the Prime Minister really believes in the role and authority of parliament, why would he even think of signing this treaty before getting parliament's approval?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, there will be a bill in the House. There will be first, second and third reading. There will be committee work. There could be amendments proposed. There will be a vote. All the privileges of parliament are being protected, but we have an obligation under the royal proclamation of 1763 to meet our obligations to the first citizens of the land. It is an obligation that has been vested on parliament, not by a francophone, by the king of England.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning ReformLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has not come clean on the real reasons why the government will not bring the treaty to parliament. We know that fisheries and oceans has a fundamentally different view on how to interpret the fishery provisions of this treaty from that of the department of Indian affairs. Finance has been unable to satisfy the auditor general's requirement that the government specify how much these treaties cost before they are signed, not after.

Is not the real reason the government delayed bringing this treaty to parliament that the federal departments themselves are not agreed on what it means, how to implement it, or what it costs?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this was negotiated between the natives of that area of British Columbia and the provincial government and the federal government. It was agreed that the bill was to be introduced first into the provincial parliament and it was voted on not long ago. Now we have signed a treaty. When we want to have a debate in the House we will introduce the bill. We will give plenty of time for the members to look into it, but there will be a day where parliament will have to decide and face the obligations that have been vested on us.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Reform

Mike Scott Reform Skeena, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister knows that the Nisga'a treaty is a back door way of amending the Constitution. What is even more distressing is it creates a state within a state. In 14 areas Nisga'a are going to have supremacy of law over the Government of Canada and the province of British Columbia.

The Prime Minister is opposed to sovereignty association for Quebec. How can he possibly support the Nisga'a treaty when it is nothing more than sovereignty association for the Nisga'a people?