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 #133 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was nafta.

Topics

Member For Cypress Hills—GrasslandsStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Reform

Lee Morrison Reform Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Mr. Speaker, this will probably be my last day in the House.

I will not regret leaving what has become, under Liberal management, a totally dysfunctional institution. I will not miss the thrill of making well researched speeches in a virtually empty room. I will not miss working long hours on irrelevant ministerially guided committees. I will not miss the posturing. I will not miss the emasculated government members howling because they do not understand the difference between intelligent heckling and boorish noise.

Perhaps it is their subconscious recognition of their own political impotence that drives them to act like hyperactive children. I do not know what I will be doing for the next few years, but whatever it is I expect that I will be dealing with grown-ups. I am sure that it will be more useful than this past seven years that I have spent in this rubber stamp parliament.

I shall not look back.

Persons DayStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Sarmite Bulte Liberal Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, on October 18 the inauguration of the Women are Persons monument was an unique opportunity to stage a nationally significant event to commemorate the important contribution of the Famous Five and Canadian women as nation builders.

More than 71 years ago, groups had repeatedly requested that a woman be appointed to the Senate, naming Judge Emily Murphy as their candidate. Three consecutive prime ministers were advised not to appoint her on the basis that women were not persons within the meaning of the British North America Act.

Judge Murphy invited four Alberta leaders, Henrietta Muir Edwards, Louise McKinney, Nellie McClung and Irene Parlby, to join her and petition the supreme court for clarification of section 24. The Persons case of 1929 was a celebrated and landmark victory in the struggle for equality of Canadian women.

Today, to mark this historic date on behalf of the Secretary of State for the Status of Women, I am pleased to declare October 18 Persons Day.

Economic PolicyStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Bloc Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday at 3.30 p.m., the House passed a ways and means motion. Once again, arrogance and disdain were the order of the day, because this motion served simply to implement the tax cuts announced in the minister's economic statement, including the child tax benefit and the heating allowance.

The statement of the Minister of Finance, duly amended by the Alliance and subamended by the Bloc, never made it to a vote and was therefore not passed. All of the other measures contained in this statement will be null and void with the dissolution of parliament.

In two words, this government has used parliament to mislead the public. It has used this House to launch its election platform. Respect for the House is the hallmark of the quality of democracy. At the end of this mandate, the government must recognize that this quality is lacking.

With Halloween 10 days away, the Minister of Finance has turned into a pumpkin full of saccharine candies. The winds of autumn are at our door, and the public will not be fooled by the Liberal deception—

Economic PolicyStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine.

Breast Cancer Awareness MonthStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to inform the House and all Canadians that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Breast cancer is a major health problem for women in Canada. It is estimated that 19,200 new breast cancer cases will be diagnosed this year and that 5,500 women will die from this disease.

The federal government is concerned about the physical and emotional burdens of this disease for Canadians. In 1992 the Government of Canada launched a five-year $25 million initiative to combat breast cancer. In June 1998 the federal government renewed its commitment to the Canadian breast cancer initiative with the announcement of stable, ongoing funding of $7 million per year.

Through federal leadership and with the help of a committed network of partners across the country, we are working to reduce the incidence and mortality of breast cancer and to improve the support and quality of life for these women who are affected by breast cancer.

Pictou-Antigonish Regional LibraryStatements By Members

October 20th, 2000 / 11:10 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to stand in the House today and congratulate the Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library for recently being selected to be part of LibraryNet Best Practices 2000, recognizing innovative use of the Internet in Canadian public libraries. This is a much deserved honour for many of the people who work so diligently to keep this library strong.

Libraries are playing a key role in connecting communities across Canada and around the world. The information age is upon us and the importance of being connected has never been greater. Providing public Internet access in libraries ensures that all Canadians have access to the knowledge based economy and it will result in economic and social development.

Libraries are using websites to deliver services electronically, build community partnerships, support local economic initiatives and, of course, encourage literacy and education.

The Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library is being showcased as one of the very best in the world for using and integrating technology efficiently and making Canada the most connected nation in the world.

Congratulations to chief librarian Eric Stackhouse and to Fred Popowich of New Glasgow. Their exemplary practices and commitment serve as models for other libraries across Canada and around the world.

Election CampaignStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, as it is becoming increasingly obvious that an election will be called soon, I would like to take these few minutes to ask my colleagues, and everyone carrying the colours of any political party whatever, to be models of civility and courtesy in the days to come.

Personal attacks and insults produce nothing. When ideas collide, understanding ensues.

Over recent months we have witnessed the Prime Minister and the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs being targeted. In more recent days, the Leader of the Opposition has been the subject of unsavoury behaviour. This is uncalled for and unwelcome, and in the end I believe it weakens our democratic traditions.

Let us try together, in the coming days, to behave in a manner worthy of this great House, this Parliament of Canada.

Government Of CanadaStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Reform

Gerry Ritz Reform Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, let us talk about the top 10 planks of this Liberal government's legacy. They are: $25 billion ripped out of health care; EI surpluses scooped and put into general revenues, and God knows where they went; the civil servant pension surplus savaged; HRDC grants and giveaways, with half of 1% of files investigated leading to 11 criminal investigations; complete disregard for all hep-C victims; the APEC inquiry and the Somali inquiry stonewalled and interfered with constantly; Bill C-68, the firearms registry, with a cost of half a billion dollars so far, which would be better spent on real policing and real public safety; promised reform of the Young Offenders Act dies again; criminal justice that holds criminal rights above victims rights; and priorities in law making that put the safety of poodles ahead of the safety of our children from pedophiles. Any of these top 10 would make a fitting epitaph for the Liberal government come election day.

Government Of CanadaThe Royal Assent

11:15 a.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. I have the honour to inform the House that a communication has been received as follows:

October 20, 2000

Sir,

I have the honour to inform you that the Honourable Louise Arbour, Puisne Judge of the Supreme Court of Canada, in her capacity as Deputy Governor General, will proceed to the Senate Chamber today, the 20th day of October, 2000, at 12.30 p.m., for the purpose of giving Royal Assent to certain bills.

Yours sincerely,

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the RCMP continues investigations into government dealings in the Prime Minister's riding.

We have the auditor general, with the most scathing report in a decade at least, being shut down by the Liberals from giving that report.

We have the information commissioner saying that the government routinely appears to be threatening public servants, and the Prime Minister says “We will see you in court”.

Now we have the former clerk of the privy council saying that there is a huge concentration of power in the Prime Minister's Office, away from cabinet and away from the democratic process.

Democracy itself is being threatened by all these moves. I would like to hear from the Prime Minister. Are all these responsible individuals wrong in what they are saying and if they are not wrong, will the Prime Minister—

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Deputy Prime Minister.

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, when we get good advice, as we have from the auditor general or the information commissioner, we look at it seriously and we act on recommendations.

The auditor general made very clear that we are acting effectively to deal with the kinds of problems that we first uncovered and that he has confirmed. We are taking these recommendations seriously. We are acting in the best interest of Canadians and in due course I am sure Canadians will agree with us.

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the question was not answered, but that is fairly characteristic. I will pose it again.

These individuals are saying that democracy itself is being threatened. The former clerk of the privy council is a very responsible individual. The information commissioner is a very responsible individual. They are alluding to the fact that democracy itself is being threatened by the Prime Minister and his office.

We would just like to know if these responsible public servants are wrong. I am not talking about the auditor general right now. We will talk about him in a minute. Are they wrong? If they are not wrong, will the Prime Minister apologize for being a threat to democracy?

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, proof of the fact that we have a democracy is that people can express their opinions, which do not have to be shared by everyone in question.

I am not passing judgment on the opinions of the people he has quoted, but proof that democracy works in Canada is that we are here today in the House of Commons exchanging ideas, debating ideas.

Proof of the strength of our democracy will come before too long when Canadians will make their decision on who should govern the country. That is democracy, not the empty words of the Leader of the Opposition.

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, we cannot get an apology for those other officers. How about for the auditor general?

Yesterday there was supposed to have been a report given, the most important one in a decade, by the auditor general. We have just heard that there is some kind of respect for democracy here. Yet Liberal members did not go to that committee meeting so there was no quorum. The committee had to shut down. The auditor general could not give his report. The Liberals said they could not find the room.

Is the Prime Minister sticking to the excuse that they could not find the room when all the opposition members could make it? Or, is it that he just cannot find the time for democracy? Is he sticking with—

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

The Speaker

Before the Deputy Prime Minister answers, the government is not responsible for the work of committees. If the Deputy Prime Minister wishes to answer he may.

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member forgets that we undertook and carried out the undertaking to make sure the House was sitting to receive the auditor general's report and to make it public. We made sure the House continued sitting so that the Leader of the Opposition and the other opposition party leaders could question relevant ministers, starting with the Prime Minister.

This shows our commitment to taking the auditor general's report seriously. This shows our commitment to openness. We are not trying to suppress any report. The record shows that the Leader of the Opposition is totally wrong in making that allegation. He should not refuse to put on the record that there will be a meeting of the public accounts committee to hear the auditor general.

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, it is a very important question and it was not answered.

Liberal members said they could not find the room. That is the issue. As with so much of what the Liberal government does, only in the face of public outrage did it inch toward doing something responsibly, only in the face of public outrage time after time.

Is the Liberal excuse standing? They could not find the room. That is what we heard last night. Yes or no. Is that the excuse you are sticking with, or was there another reason for which you should apologize for disrespecting the auditor general?

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

The Speaker

I would ask hon. members to direct their questions to the Chair.

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, if there is anyone who should apologize right now, it is the hon. member for making these allegations when he knows that the facts are otherwise, when he knows that his own deputy House leader was told by myself yesterday when his staff was phoned by myself to schedule a meeting today, which we have now done.

An apology is in order and it is from the feeble attempt of the Leader of the Opposition to try to make Canadians believe something which he knows is incorrect.

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Reform

Jay Hill Reform Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, maybe Liberal members should have showed up yesterday instead of calling for another meeting today. The 1993 Liberal red book of promises said:

If government is to play a positive role in society, as it must, honesty and integrity in our political institutions must be restored.

Yet this week, seven years later, the auditor general said:

Our audit examined four of the grant and contribution programs by HRDC. We found breaches of authority, payments made improperly, very limited monitoring of finances and activities, and approvals not based on established processes.

Given the government's dismal failure to restore public confidence, why should Canadians trust it with their votes?

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member should be, shall I say, complete in his language, because the auditor general said:

HRDC has initiated quite extraordinary corrective action to address these serious problems. We concluded that the department is on the right track.

Why does the hon. member not put that in his question and give us credit in the same way that the auditor general has done?

Liberal GovernmentOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski—Mitis, QC

Mr. Speaker, this week was the darkest and most shameful one for this government.

The government demonstrated its arrogance and its contempt. Not only did it muzzle the information commissioner, it also tried the same trick on the auditor general by not showing up at the Standing Committee on Public Accounts.

The government was so arrogant as to present a virtual mini-budget, with many measures that will not be implemented because of the dissolution of parliament.

Does the government really believe that all its schemes will allow it to escape the true judgment of voters?

Liberal GovernmentOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member surely knows that the facts are different.

With regard to the measures included in the budget, yesterday we adopted a ways and means motion with the support of two parties in this House. The hon. member is well aware of that. In fact, yesterday, all the parties except hers understood what this ways and means motion meant. All the other members of parliament understood that.

As for the auditor general's report, there will be a televised meeting today, at 12.30 p.m., to show that the government acted in good faith and was accountable in this issue.

Liberal GovernmentOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski—Mitis, QC

Mr. Speaker, the actions taken this week by the government have nothing to do with the values that it claims to be upholding, but they have everything to do with the political agenda of the Prime Minister, who did not hesitate to use the House to launch his election platform and who, according to TVA, even paid $2 million to cancel the rooms reserved for the trip to China.

Does the government realize that by giving priority to its own agenda, it is showing its contempt for public institutions, which must first serve the public, not a political party?