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House of Commons Hansard #127 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was seniors.

Topics

Canada Health Care, Early Childhood Development And Other Social Services Funding ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, that initiative was an initiative which has not only brought significant innovation to the development and discovery of new drugs in the country but consequently helped to address and cure diseases that would otherwise not have been addressed and cured.

It also provided tremendous economic momentum to many parts of the country. It helped Canada move into an era in which we could move, if we chose, to the frontlines in the new economy in research and development. It was precisely the kind of initiative that a government of a modern country has to take if it is to stay in the leadership of a rapidly changing world.

One of the things members of the New Democratic Party will have to learn some day is that we cannot run away from the world. There is no place to hide out. If we are to become leaders in the world then we have to engage the modern world on its terms. That is what that bill did. That is what this party intends to continue to do.

Canada Health Care, Early Childhood Development And Other Social Services Funding ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

NDP

Lorne Nystrom NDP Qu'Appelle, SK

Mr. Speaker, one thing that concerns me about the health debate is that the Leader of the Opposition is now saying there should not be any national standards in which the federal government participates in setting, that the standards should be determined by the provinces.

If that kind of system were created, and he has said the standards should be determined by the provinces, we would end up with an end to national medical care. We would have a patchwork system that differs from province to province. We would have a system that is much better in wealthier provinces and poor in poorer provinces.

Would the leader of the federal Progressive Conservative Party disagree with the leader of the very conservative reform Canadian Alliance?

Canada Health Care, Early Childhood Development And Other Social Services Funding ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, I certainly disagree with the position of the leader of reform alliance party which would have the Government of Canada withdraw, not only in the field of health but in many other fields that are important to the Canadian public interest, from the role of leadership that has helped make us a country. This is not simply a division over policy. This is a division over views of the country. Are we a country or are we not?

The position of the reform alliance party has Canada becoming less and less important to its parts and to its people. I reject that absolutely. I believe that in the establishment of national standards there has to be a very active role by the provinces, but also there has to be a very active presence by the national government, which is the only government of all people of Canada. That is the way in which we would intend to proceed as a government of this country.

Canada Health Care, Early Childhood Development And Other Social Services Funding ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Bloc

Daniel Turp Bloc Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to address, on behalf of the Bloc Quebecois, the bill on fiscal arrangements for the health sector. Earlier, my colleague, the hon. member for Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, presented the Bloc Quebecois' views on this bill.

First, it is important to stress that the Bloc Quebecois endorses the criticisms that were just made by the leader of the Progressive Conservative Party. The Bloc Quebecois agrees with a number of criticisms addressed to the government in view of the fact that this bill is being introduced on the eve of a general election, and in view of the incredible harm caused to the health system across the country, including in Quebec, by the government's cuts to transfer payments to the provinces.

It is surely because of the fight led by opposition parties in the House, including the Bloc Quebecois, that the federal government has finally heard the voice of reason. The Liberal Party finally realized what terrible consequences its cuts have had, not only on the health program, but on its users, on sick people in hospitals and other health care facilities. Indeed, their situation got worse because of the drastic cuts made by the Liberal government.

It is easy to show what impact these cuts have had on Quebec's health program. As members know, between 1994 and 2000, the government made cuts of $1 billion each year, that is, six years of cuts of $1 billion, $500 million of which could have been allocated to our health programs.

These cuts resulted in the elimination of more than one quarter of the budgets of Montreal's hospitals, more than one half of the budget of all the CLSCs in Quebec, almost the whole budget earmarked for home support, four times the annual budget of Ste-Justine hospital for children, more than three times the budget of the Royal Victoria Hospital, or over one quarter of the cost of the prescription drug insurance plan.

This is the real impact of the federal cuts to health, the cuts it had to re-examine. That re-examination was possible only because of an agreement and a coalition of the provincial premiers, and Quebec premier Lucien Bouchard played a pivotal role. He supported until the end the desire of the provinces to assume their responsibilities.

Unlike the leader of the Progressive Conservative Party, the Bloc Quebecois and the government of Quebec have always insisted that the lead role in the health field be given back to the provinces, and thus to Quebec. The present constitution of Canada requires Quebec's jurisdiction over health to be respected.

Faced with this common front, these objections and this effective opposition from the parties in the House, the Bloc Quebecois in particular, the government was forced to enter into an agreement at the last minute. This would not have been the case, if there had not been a federal election looming. That same federal election also appears to have prompted the government to table a last-minute bill aimed at implementing that commitment.

We have examined the bill. We have studied it, although we did not have much time to do so, but the Bloc Quebecois finds that, even if its intention is to implement the agreement and the commitments arising out of the press releases issued in the aftermath of this agreement and the first ministers' meeting, there appear to have been a few little slips, a few little problems that the government ought to resolve itself by making some amendments. We are going to propose some amendments ourselves, if it does not listen to reason on this.

Two of the provisions in the bill present a serious problem and need to be brought to the attention of all hon. members, because they do not appear to properly implement the agreement reached between the first ministers a few weeks ago.

First, there is the very basic question of the amount of the funds that will be paid to each province under the commitment made by the Prime Minister of Canada and the provincial premiers. Subclause 2(2) of this bill indicates that the amounts will be determined in accordance with the terms of the trust indenture establishing the trust into which will be deposited the amount of $1 billion for medical equipment.

This is not very clear for a government that calls for clarity in other matters. This provision is silent on the amounts that were agreed upon during the first ministers' meeting. We have cause to be concerned about the fact that the government could use the establishment of the trust and use the discretion given it by this bill to change the amounts if that were its intention. This is why we in the Bloc Quebecois will insist that the bill mention the amounts agreed upon by the first ministers and that they be clearly established within the text of the bill.

There is a limit to the trust that may be put in the Liberal Party of Canada in these matters. It cut its health care transfers without consulting the provinces. It might want to use this bill and its subclause 2(2) in order to change the rules of the game as set by the first ministers.

There is one serious objection the government absolutely must take into account if it wants our party's support: if it introduces no amendments, we ourselves will move, at the appropriate stage, an amendment to correct a very significant failing of this bill.

Our party is also very concerned about certain words used in the bill, which are not at all consistent with the agreement reached by the first ministers. I am referring to clause 3 of the bill in which the Minister of Finance is invited to make a payment for health information and communications technologies and to allocate, as agreed by the first ministers, the sum of $500 million. But this amount will go to a corporation to be named by order of the governor in council for the purpose of developing and supporting the adoption of Canada-wide standards.

We had thought that this idea of Canada-wide or national standards had been sorted out during the discussions at the first ministers meeting. Participants had said that the bill should talk about common standards, which was much less at odds with federal principles. Once again, we must remind the government that health is a provincial jurisdiction. It is the provinces who must assume leadership and jurisdiction in the matter of health care.

Here again, we see the federal government's intention to interfere in this jurisdiction by pushing for Canada-wide standards. Perhaps it is just a translation error, and if so, we would hope that the government would make the necessary correction. Canada-wide information standards has been rendered in French by normes pancanadiennes. If this is not an error of translation and the intention is that national Canada-wide standards must be adopted, we cannot agree. The Bloc Quebecois has always fought the idea that there ought to be national standards across Canada in an area that falls exclusively under provincial jurisdiction.

If this wording is maintained, it will be in violation of the agreement to which Premier Bouchard gave his approval at the first minister's meeting. Let them not try to do in an underhanded way what they did not succeed in doing openly. The provinces managed at the conference to impose the point that health is a provincial jurisdiction in which the federal government ought not to interfere, as it always seems to have the intention of doing.

The Bloc Quebecois position is that this bill needs corrections to two of its fundamental provisions, because these are incompatible with the agreement on which a consensus was reached, an agreement between the provincial premiers and the Prime Minister of Canada.

If these amendments are not adopted, the Bloc Quebecois reserves its position, when the time comes to vote on this bill. It will always be mistrustful of a government which has shamelessly slashed transfer programs in the health field. The government has caused suffering to Quebecers and to many other Canadians, and sought to stifle the provinces at the very time that health care costs were increasing exponentially.

With these remarks I shall conclude my speech, trusting that the government will understand that this bill needs amending before it can earn Bloc Quebecois approval or assent.

Canada Health Care, Early Childhood Development And Other Social Services Funding ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Derek Lee Liberal Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. There have been consultations and I believe you would find consent to revert to routine proceedings for the purpose of tabling reports from the Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs and the Standing Committee on Public Accounts.

Canada Health Care, Early Childhood Development And Other Social Services Funding ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

Does the parliamentary secretary have permission to put the motion?

Canada Health Care, Early Childhood Development And Other Social Services Funding ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

George Proud Liberal Hillsborough, PE

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fourth report of the Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs on Bill C-41, an act to amend the statute law in relation to veterans benefits.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

1:55 p.m.

Reform

John Williams Reform St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present in both official languages the 15th, 16th and 17th reports of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts.

The 15th report deals with the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency and the Department of Finance handling tax credit claims for scientific research and experimental development. The 16th report deals with Citizenship and Immigration Canada, the economic component of the Canadian immigration program. The 17th report deals with Royal Canadian Mounted Police services for Canada's law enforcement agencies. All of these reports come from the April 2000 report of the Auditor General of Canada.

International Plowing Match And Farm Machinery ShowStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Lynn Myers Liberal Waterloo—Wellington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Wellington county on hosting the International Plowing Match and Farm Machinery Show 2000. People from around the world attend this annual event which this year was held in my riding of Waterloo—Wellington.

It is important to note that the annual International Plowing Match and Farm Machinery Show is Canada's largest outdoor farm machinery show and the premier showcase for plowing in our country. The famous tent city on over 100 acres featured lifestyles exhibits and vendors from across Canada. Held every year in a different county or region within Ontario, the match of 2000 was proudly scheduled for historic Wellington county. This year over 150 competitors from across Canada competed in this event with $35,000 in prize money.

Plowing matches give us an opportunity to celebrate Canada's agricultural heritage and educate Canadians, both urban and rural, on the history and the future of agriculture. This year's event was a great success.

A big thank you to George Robinson and all his committee members and volunteers for a great job well done. Congratulations.

HealthStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Reform

Keith Martin Reform Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Health likes to talk about supporting Canadians' access to timely, high quality health care. Let us talk about what is really going on in the trenches.

In Prince George the waiting time to see an orthopedic surgeon is three years. In Victoria the waiting time this year has doubled. Why? No beds, no money, no nurses. The result is that people are going down to the United States to get essential health care. The government's response is to bring back the funding to the 1993 level. In the words of Dr. Ralph Lapp, an orthopedic surgeon in Victoria, “Things are getting worse at a time when people are thinking that they are getting better”.

The Minister of Health said that the status quo is not an option, that medicare will soon be unable to provide Canadians with timely access to health care until major reforms are taken. The Minister of Health said that one year ago. Where are those reforms?

The Late Right Hon. Pierre Elliott TrudeauStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Rey D. Pagtakhan Liberal Winnipeg North—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, last Tuesday Canadians bid farewell to the Right Hon. Pierre Elliott Trudeau. “Before we go our separate ways,” said Cardinal Turcotte, “let us reflect on what he means to us”. From the lips of Justin, his dad reflects tolerance and respect, kindness and sharing, sanctity of the individual and pride in country. Never have I felt so proud as a Canadian.

As new immigrants, my wife and I were not eligible to vote when Mr. Trudeau first became prime minister in 1968, but our minds and hearts voted for him. He opened Canada's doors to immigrants from all over the world, championed diversity through our multiculturalism policy and enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms the balance of rights between citizenry and state.

He lived the noble purpose of politics: serve the people and challenge them to greater heights. In life he inspired a nation. In death he inspires us to keep on. To him, a true scholar of humanity and social justice, Canada says thank you.

Breast FeedingStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, the healthy outcomes of children is an important priority for all Canadians and Health Canada advises that breast feeding plays a very important part in that regard.

For the growing child breast feeding reduces infectious diseases during childhood, promotes optimal brain development and provides protection for premature infants against life threatening illnesses.

For the mother breast feeding reduces the risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer and enhances the bonding process and decreases the risk of osteoporosis.

For the family and community breast feeding reduces the cost to families, protects the environment, improves the health of our population and decreases our health care costs.

Clearly, the benefits of breast feeding are very substantial. Therefore, I am very pleased that effective January 1, 2001 maternity and parental leave benefits will be extended to one full year so that more mothers will have the opportunity to breast feed their children during infancy.

Stratford FestivalStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

John Richardson Liberal Perth—Middlesex, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise in the House today to announce that the Stratford Festival Theatre has been a recent beneficiary of a $5 million donation to its For All Time Endowment Campaign from Senator Michael Meighen and his wife Kelly. This donation was not only the largest ever received by a festival but also the largest ever made to a not for profit theatrical organization in Canada.

The Meighen family's donation will help the festival enrich two of its major programs, one being the Stratford Festival Conservatory for Classical Theatre Training and the other to support the commissioning and development of new Canadian plays.

At this time I would like to thank Senator Meighen and Kelly for their truly wonderful gift. They have been heavily involved with the festival for well over 15 years. This gesture illustrates again the level of effort they have made to improve and promote Canada's theatrical arts.

World March Of WomenStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Guy St-Julien Liberal Abitibi, QC

Mr. Speaker, on October 17, the efforts of the Comité des femmes en Abitibi pour la marche mondiale des femmes will focus on the world rally converging on the United Nations building, in New York City, as part of solidarity events taking place all over the world.

“It's Time for Change” is the policy statement of the Canadian and Abitibi committee, which seeks a comprehensive reform of the fundamental laws by eliminating poverty and violence against women in Canada and in Quebec; increasing by 1% the portion of the global budget earmarked for social housing; improving old age security benefits to allow older women to have a decent standard of living; and supporting women who organize themselves so as to achieve equity in a democratic society.

I strongly support the 13 pressing claims that require a positive response from the governments, including the Quebec government.

Cancer AwarenessStatements By Members

October 5th, 2000 / 2 p.m.

Reform

Grant McNally Reform Dewdney—Alouette, BC

Mr. Speaker, last April our three year old son was diagnosed with cancer and I just wanted to take a moment to thank my colleagues, my staff and my constituents for all their warm thoughts and prayers. It has been a great encouragement to all of us at home.

I want to say that as our son is battling leukemia there are many others that have battled cancer in this place.

I want to give a special thank you to the doctors, nurses and staff at the Children's Hospital in B.C., especially to Dr. Jeff Davis, Jenny Parkes and also to Dr. Finch in Mission. We know that at times like this it is family that means the most. I want to thank all my colleagues for their support during this really rough time.

I also want to encourage all of us to pull together. We celebrated the Terry Fox Run and the Run for the Cure which are very important things and we know that by working together cancer can be beaten.

Cancer AwarenessStatements By Members

2 p.m.

The Speaker

Our prayers are with you.

The Late Right Hon. Pierre Elliott TrudeauStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the constituents of Mount Royal, for whom Pierre Elliott Trudeau will always be the most distinguished and esteemed MP, may I express my condolences to the Trudeau family at this moment of private and public mourning.

Pierre Elliott Trudeau, whom I knew for some 40 years as colleague, confrere and friend, was a unique combination of intellect, integrity, passion, wit and commitment. But the thing I remember most, and what I believe touched Canadians the most, was his personal courage and his moral courage inspired by a vision not only of who we were but what we might aspire to be.

It was this vision and the courageous pursuit of this vision that found expression in an enduring legacy of a more just society whose centrepiece is the charter of rights and freedoms and the values that underpin it.

While we mourn the passing of Canada's greatest statesman and citizen of the world, let us celebrate and be inspired by the heroic life he lived.

World Teachers' DayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Maud Debien Bloc Laval East, QC

Mr. Speaker, on this, World Teachers' Day, I wish to pay tribute to those professionals who play a fundamental role in the development of any society.

By transmitting knowledge and values to our young people, they are helping to shape the Quebec of the future and, by providing upgrading for an increasingly large adult clientele, they are contributing to the vigour of our economy.

Because teachers guide and motivate student learning, their commitment and passion for knowledge have marked many of us.

I wish to underscore the government of Quebec's current campaign to promote education, the teaching profession and occupational and technical training. “The spark that lights a lifetime of learning” is the theme of this televised campaign, which was launched on September 21 and will last three years.

The Bloc Quebecois wishes to express its gratitude to teachers, who are on the front lines battling against ignorance and complacency.

TaxationStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Reform

Jim Pankiw Reform Saskatoon—Humboldt, SK

Mr. Speaker, we have now endured seven years of Liberal waste and mismanagement. However, I have good news. The Canadian Alliance has a plan to pay down our national debt and to lower taxes for everyone. We will end tax discrimination against single income families and replace the current Liberal tax system which penalizes hard work and overtime.

Under the Canadian Alliance plan, everyone will receive a basic personal deduction of $10,000 including a $3,000 deduction per child. A family of four under the current regressive Liberal tax plan starts paying tax at an income of only $16,000. Under the Canadian Alliance plan, a family of four would not start paying income tax until its income exceeded $26,000, and then only at the single rate of 17%.

In light of this very simplified and fair tax plan, Mr. Speaker, perhaps you yourself will join with millions of other Canadians in the next election and vote for the Canadian Alliance.

World Teachers' DayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Jordan Liberal Leeds—Grenville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to Canadian teachers on this World Teachers' Day, the 300,000 teachers who work hard to expand the horizons of their students to ensure they are equipped to succeed in a changing world. Thanks to teachers, Canada prides itself on having one of the best public education systems in the world.

To acknowledge the invaluable contribution teachers make, Canada has initiated the Prime Minister's Awards for Teaching Excellence and is proud to be partnering with the Canadian Teachers' Federation in the new sharing teaching excellence pilot program, which also includes recipients of the former CTF Roy C. Hill awards program.

We are honoured to have with us today in Ottawa the president of the Canadian Teachers' Federation, Marilies Rettig and six award recipients: Linda Dickson, Doreen Casserly, Dalia Naujokaitis, Trudy Bradley, Ralph Carney, and Erica McCarthy.

I am certain that members of the House know a teacher who has made a difference in their lives. I invite the members to join me in thanking all of them on this World Teachers' Day.

World Women's MarchStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Michelle Dockrill NDP Bras D'Or, NS

Mr. Speaker, October 15 is the World Women's March. This is an opportunity for women all over the world to gather together and continue to struggle for equality in society.

It is very unfortunate that we still have to struggle for equality. Violence against women is still a reality today. Women are still being attacked, abused, beaten, and even murdered. Just last night an advocate on the issue of violence against women herself became a victim. Sally McIntyre, an Ontario representative for the National Action Committee on the Status of Women, was attacked by her husband.

This leads me to ask just how this can happen in this country. We have a government that flaunts Canada as being the best country in which to live. But for whom? Certainly not women.

The government says that it is committed to the rights of women. The Prime Minister loves to remind us of how many women he has appointed to cabinet and the Senate. Does this help women who are continually being beaten? The answer is simple. It does not.

Canadian women call upon the government to begin working with us and not against us.

Status Of WomenStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Bloc Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, all women in Quebec and in Canada know that the Liberal government is centralizing and arrogant.

The Minister of Canadian Heritage has no trouble coming up with $12 million to promote Canadian unity, but the Secretary of State for the Status of Women prefers defending her government to defending women.

Even though everyone knows that one woman in five in Canada is poor, we did not see her defending pay equity or calling for the changes to EI that women wanted.

The Minister of Human Resources Development may remain oblivious to female workers' concerns, but the Prime Minister does not hesitate to impose his parental leave on the families and women of Quebec and thus dismiss their demands.

This government's track record is not one that favours women. The World March of Women should give members opposite a chance to understand what it means to live in the real world.

Canadian AllianceStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Andy Scott Liberal Fredericton, NB

Mr. Speaker, tonight the reform alliance releases its election platform and early reports show that one thing is clear. It plans to stick it to Atlantic Canada.

The Alliance is committed to ending all funding for ACOA, privatizing CBC television, privatizing VIA Rail, slashing the budget of HRDC, eliminating Technology Partnerships Canada, gutting the employment insurance system, removing mechanisms for the federal government to enforce the principles of the Canada Health Act and eliminating subsidies for farmers and fishers. All of this is expected to be in the Alliance's platform to be unveiled tonight.

Who wrote the Atlantic Canada section of this brutal platform? John Mykytyshyn. With this kind of platform, the Alliance will get exactly what it got in the last election in Atlantic Canada; zip.

Gun RegistryStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Mark Muise Progressive Conservative West Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Justice does not get it. Her long gun registry is nothing but a colossal failure. Rather than admit her government's mistake, she is spending millions trying to convince Canadians that this new registry will somehow reduce crime.

Is it not ironic that the Minister of Justice televised ads portraying two hunters sitting at a bar discussing the long gun registry? I am sure her intent was not to encourage drinking and hunting, however, one cannot help but notice the irony.

Once a strong advocate for the new long gun registry, the Canadian Police Association is now withholding its support until it sees indications that the registry will not siphon away the much needed resources from enforcement agencies.

Let us face it. This registry will not have any impact on reducing crime in the country. Those intent on committing crime will not register their firearms. Therefore, what purpose is this long gun registry serving? At present it is only serving to save face for a government that is totally out of touch with millions of law-abiding Canadian gun owners.

Our party is committed to cancelling—