This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #241 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was magazines.

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 Dauphin—Swan River.

Saudi ArabiaStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Mac Harb Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, this year marks the centennial anniversary of the proclamation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The leadership, vision and commitment of the Government of Saudi Arabia and its people have created a society where education, economic development and diversification have become priorities.

The development of infrastructure and the petrochemical industry have transformed a barren land into one of the most advanced nations of the world. The Saudi Arabian people have built a moderate nation that is dedicated to promoting peace and stability.

On behalf of my colleagues and all Canadians, I ask His Excellency Dr. Mohammed Al-Hussaini, the Ambassador of Saudi Arabia, to extend our warmest congratulations to the Government of Saudi Arabia and its people, the people of this exceptional nation. I would like to wish them a happy anniversary.

Softwood ReclassificationStatements By Members

June 9th, 1999 / 2 p.m.

Reform

Darrel Stinson Reform Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, thousands of Canadians work in the forest industry. This government has failed them by allowing U.S. customs today to end Canada-U.S. free trade on two more types of forest products, reclassifying them into the softwood lumber agreement.

Lumber producers in Quebec, Ontario and Alberta will be hurt. B.C. alone produces 61% of Canada's softwood exports. A Vancouver forestry consultant says this change will cost 1,000 jobs in B.C. alone.

However, at the World Wood Summit in Chicago on May 19, a world forestry analyst pointed out that the whole deal was based on the false claim that Canadian forest products were not being fairly exported, a claim not supported by share prices of Canadian lumber companies. Instead, and I quote, “In my view the trade dispute is all about politics and has nothing to do with `fair' trade”.

The Liberal government must not only challenge this ruling, but finally have the intestinal fortitude to stand up and fight for the people in the forestry industry in Canada.

Foreign InvestmentStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Sophia Leung Liberal Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, I had the opportunity recently to witness the signing of the memorandum of intent between Interport Development Inc. and the China Development Industrial Bank of Taiwan. I was honoured to join the chairman and CEO of Interport, Stephen Wu, as well as the president of CDIB, Benny T. Hu.

This joint venture will develop a 450 acre light industry park which will generate $500 million in capital investment over 15 years and provide 5,000 new jobs. These relations between Canada and Taiwan are good for the B.C. economy, encouraging financial investment and job creation in western Canada.

Education Savings Grant ProgramStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Guy St-Julien Liberal Abitibi, QC

Mr. Speaker, for months now financial institutions have been sitting on education savings grants from the federal government. In so doing they have deprived children of several months of investment income, no deadline having been set for the Canada education savings grants program.

Financial institutions are keeping children's money in their vaults and dragging their feet. They do not face any penalties, so it is all the same to them.

The Government of Canada should give financial institutions a maximum of five days to transfer the money from federal grants into the education savings accounts of the children of Canada and impose a penalty on those institutions that do not comply.

White Rock, B.C.Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Reform

Val Meredith Reform South Surrey—White Rock—Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday morning the city of White Rock suffered a once in a lifetime storm when 70 millimetres of rain fell in less than six hours.

This intense rainfall, coupled with a hail storm, was more than the city storm drainage system could handle and, as the torrents roared downhill to scenic Marine Drive, dozens of homes, cars and businesses were flooded. The city and local RCMP detachment responded quickly, rescuing a number of residents trapped by the flash flood.

However, the people of White Rock are resilient. They immediately began to clean up their homes, their businesses and their city. Schools that were closed to flooding yesterday are already open today.

The province of B.C. has promised disaster financial assistance. I hope that those who suffered losses yesterday receive the required support quickly so they can get back on their feet.

Youth EntrepreneurshipStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Steve Mahoney Liberal Mississauga West, ON

Mr. Speaker, youth entrepreneurship is alive and thriving in Canada. As chair of the Prime Minister's task force on youth entrepreneurship, I have witnessed firsthand these past months just how widespread the determination to succeed and flourish is among large numbers of our young Canadians.

Today I am hosting three such young business people who epitomize successful young entrepreneurs. On Tuesday, May 25, Albert Lai, Michael Furdyk and Michael Hayman, ages 16, 18 and 20 respectively, sold their computer on-line company for more than one million dollars. What started out in 1996 as a hobby has become a thriving business which not only enabled them to gain experience in the competitive worlds of business and cyberspace, but which has also ensured a future full of innovative and creative opportunity.

My congratulations to Albert, Michael and Michael, who are with us in the House today.

Fernand Séguin AwardStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Cardin Bloc Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, May 27 was the date of the 1999 Fernand Séguin award ceremony. This award for journalism is presented annually by the Association des communicateurs scientifiques du Québec and the Société Radio-Canada. Its purpose is to encourage and stimulate careers in science writing.

This year the jury's choice was Sophie Payeur, a master's student at the Université de Sherbrooke. She wrote an excellent scientific article about the brain's capacity to adapt. The article explains that blind people have a heightened sense of hearing that enables them to locate with considerable accuracy the origin of sounds.

In addition to a $12,000 grant, she will benefit from a six month internship writing about science, including three months for the broadcast Découvertes .

My congratulations to Ms. Payeur, who has shown that the complexity of scientific endeavour does not in any way mean that it cannot be written about in a manner that any curious reader or listener can understand.

RcmpStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Reform

Jim Abbott Reform Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are tremendously proud of the RCMP's work both in Canada and abroad.

Yesterday the Minister of Foreign Affairs talked about sending RCMP to help in gathering forensic evidence and establishing infrastructure in Kosovo, but what about the RCMP infrastructure in Canada?

This government has slashed hundreds of millions of dollars from the RCMP budget. The force currently has a shortfall of up to 20% of staff in B.C. detachments. The RCMP is stretched as thin as Canada's military, and that speaks volumes.

The foreign affairs minister made commitments for the defence minister and now he is making commitments for the solicitor general. Why will the solicitor general not stand up for the RCMP?

While RCMP officers place their lives on the line, very frequently for free with no overtime, the solicitor general slithers, dithers and talks about studies. Officers are committed to combating criminal forces in Canada. What they need is a commitment from this government to a strong and vital RCMP.

Member For Glengarry—Prescott—RussellStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Andrew Telegdi Liberal Kitchener—Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have great news. Finally a member of the federal cabinet has earned a University of Waterloo degree. Joining 106,900 current University of Waterloo alumni, the hon. minister from Glengarry—Prescott—Russell will receive his BA in History on June 17, 1999.

John English, former member of parliament for Kitchener, and I, the first University of Waterloo grads to become MPs in 1993, although yet to become honourable, wish to congratulate the hon. minister and to welcome him to the club. This member has come a long way from bussing tables upstairs at the parliamentary restaurant. His regret of leaving school after grade 11 has been rectified. Next week, after 11 years of correspondence courses, all in relative secrecy, he will be convocating.

He exemplifies lifetime learning and stands as a symbol for adult and correspondence education.

We are all very proud of this first ever cabinet minister to graduate while serving in cabinet. I look forward to participating in his convocation ceremony next week.

Congratulations.

Member For Glengarry—Prescott—RussellStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Liberal Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise to recognize the member for Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, BA. On the 17th of June he becomes a graduate of the University of Waterloo.

Our colleague has earned his degree by correspondence while working as hard or harder than anyone in the House.

As many know, he began work on Parliament Hill in the restaurant. Today he is the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons. This is an extraordinary example of lifelong learning, an example to all Canadians.

In this case, I have to say that the degree, worthy though it is, is in no way a measure of the level of education achieved by our colleague. Through the university of life, he has achieved a level of education that cannot be measured by letters after a name. Our colleague has a fine intellect, honed through personal study and through lifelong public service for all Canadians.

While my colleague's concern for the proprieties of the House prevent my mentioning his name, I say, on behalf of all here, congratulations D.B., BA.

The ConstitutionStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the New Democratic Party of Canada, like the CCF before it, is proud of our roots in the deep and resilient faith of our founders, leaders like J.S. Woodsworth, Tommy Douglas and Stanley Knowles.

Today, together with my NDP caucus, I reaffirm our party's continuing support for the inclusion in Canada's Constitution of the preamble referring to the supremacy of God.

Our party supported inclusion of that preamble in 1981 and our position remains firm. New Democrats stand together in supporting this clear statement of our most fundamental belief expressed across the country in a wonderful variety of faiths.

Société Nationale De L'AcadieStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Louis Plamondon Bloc Richelieu, QC

Mr. Speaker, at the 80th annual assembly of the Société Saint-Thomas d'Aquin held on May 15, the Acadians of Prince Edward Island adopted a resolution calling for the Société nationale de l'Acadie to be allowed to represent the Acadian people at the Sommet de la Francophonie in Moncton. This would allow the Acadians of Prince Edward Island and of Nova Scotia to have a voice on the international scene, since New Brunswick, as a governmental member of the Agence de la Francophonie, can represent only the people of that province.

The Société nationale de l'Acadie already has co-operative agreements with numerous countries, including France and Belgium. Its recognition as spokesperson for the Acadian people within the Agence de la Francophonie will enable the Acadians to make their unique character known to the world.

If the international Francophonie did not have any misgivings about including governments such as those of Quebec and New Brunswick, could it not recognize the Acadian people, the second francophone group in America, as a participant in the Agence de la Francophonie?

UkraineStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Rick Borotsik Progressive Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, Canada and Ukraine have a long history together as upwards of one million Canadians identify with some Ukrainian heritage, including myself. Many of those who emigrated from Ukraine live today on the prairie provinces.

Canada, under the leadership of the previous Progressive Conservative government, was the first country in the western world to recognize an independent Ukraine in 1991.

A notable program that has recently emerged to foster our relationship with Ukraine is Premier Gary Filmon's decision to establish a secretariat to foster linkages between Manitoba and Ukraine.

Furthermore, I mention that the Institute on Governance has developed a two week study tour which involves examining and understanding the Canadian federal government and reflecting on that which can be adopted by Ukraine practice.

I am pleased to welcome to Ottawa today Leonid Kravchuk, Chairman of the State Commission on Administrative Reform, who was the first president of Ukraine from 1991 to 1994. We in the Progressive Conservative party wish Mr. Kravchuk a successful stay in Canada and extend our wishes for Ukraine's continued reformation.

Selected Decisions Of Speaker John A. FraserStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

We will make up whatever time we need at the end of question period, but this is a rather special day for us in parliament.

I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the Selected Decisions of Speaker John A. Fraser .

This is a new reference document on parliamentary procedure. It is the sixth volume in a series containing the rulings of the Speakers of the House.

This present collection contains 193 decisions covering the period from 1986 to 1993, when Speaker John Fraser presided over the House from the second session of the 33rd Parliament to the end of the 34th Parliament.

On this special occasion we are honoured today by the presence in our gallery of the Hon. John A. Fraser, distinguished former Speaker of the House.

Selected Decisions Of Speaker John A. FraserStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning ReformLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, over the past three weeks the Prime Minister has been asked more than 50 times to answer questions concerning conflict of interest. His refusal to answer these questions fully and openly does a disservice to himself, to his office and to the House.

During the Sinclair Stevens affair Judge William Parker ruled that there is an obligation on the part of the public office holder to avoid activities or situations that place him or her in real, potential or apparent conflict of interest.

Why does the Prime Minister continue to refuse to address parliament's concern about his real, potential or apparent conflict of interest?

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I have replied to all the questions and the ethics commissioner appeared in front of the committee on May 6. He has studied the problem and reported on all the facts to members of parliament.

My assets, like those of members of the cabinet, are managed by trustees. The trustee had discussed all elements of it and the ethics commissioner confirmed that I sold my shares in November 1993.

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning ReformLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister claims to have answered his questions about conflict of interest, but it is clear to many members in the House that he has not.

For example, he has not even provided any documentary evidence at all that he still does not own the Grand-Mère shares.

The Prime Minister seeks to avoid answering the particulars of this question by appealing to his lapdog ethics commissioner or by engaging in—

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. I ask the hon. Leader of the Opposition to be very judicious in his choice of words.

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Reform

Preston Manning Reform Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, does the Prime Minister not see a real, apparent or potential conflict of interest in funnelling federal contracts, loans and grants to business people with whom he has a personal, business and political association?

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the answer is a clear no.

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning ReformLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister was elected in 1993 on a platform that called for renewing integrity in government.

The red book said “open government will be the watchword of the Liberal program”, and for weeks this Prime Minister has twisted, dodged and avoided every specific question about his personal conflict of interest.

Does open government not imply full and frank answers to questions about conflict of interest in the House of Commons?

Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I gave my assets to the ethics counsellor according to the regulations of the administrator who is a trustee. I did that before I became Prime Minister. I sold these shares at that time to make sure that there would be absolutely no conflict of interest.

I am very proud that after six years all my cabinet has been managed in a way that we have absolutely no problem with that. It is because of my ethics since 1963 that I put all my assets in the hands of the administrator or the trustee before I became Prime Minister. They are managed there, not managed by me. That is exactly what the ethics counsellor said to members of parliament more than a month ago.