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House of Commons Hansard #47 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was housing.

Topics

Municipal Grants ActGovernment Orders

10:45 a.m.

Mississauga Centre Ontario

Liberal

Carolyn Parrish LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, as all other speakers in the House today have noted, this legislation ensures that the federal government pays its fair share of taxes to all municipalities in a timely fashion. The development of this legislation should be considered as a model in terms of co-operation and consultation with interested stakeholders.

When representatives of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities testified before the committee examining Bill C-10, they indicated their strong support for the bill and praised the level of consultation between themselves and the Department of Public Works and Government Services. In light of the depth of consultation that has taken place, including amendments made by the Conservative Party that were accepted at report stage, the government will not be supporting any further amendments, specifically those listed in Group No. 1.

References have also been made to the dispute advisory panel that is enshrined in this legislation. It will serve as a forum for the presentation of respective positions of both municipalities and departments or crown corporations when differences of opinion respecting amount of payments in lieu of taxes arise between the two parties, which is to be expected at times. This was a key recommendation by the municipalities during the minister's consultations.

Members will also note that appointees will be required to possess a background of knowledge in the areas of real property evaluation, real property assessment, real property or assessment law, or other related disciplines. This is a relatively small area of expertise and typically the same people are recognized as impartial experts by municipalities, assessment authorities and federal officials.

The municipal payments programs has served both the government and municipalities well since 1950. Extensive consultations between the government and municipalities have led to the bill before the House today. It improves existing legislation and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities supports the bill in its current form. It applauds the relationship with the Department of Public Works and Government Services. I believe it is time to adopt the bill without any further amendment.

Municipal Grants ActGovernment Orders

10:45 a.m.

Reform

Howard Hilstrom Reform Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to see progress being made in the relationship between municipalities and senior levels of both the provincial and federal governments. The debate today concerns Bill C-10 and the Group No. 1 motions.

Before I continue I would like to commend the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the Association of Manitoba Municipalities and the individual municipalities in my riding that have contributed to and worked on the legislation to enable the rules to be more clearly defined and set out, in effect making the federal government responsible on paper and accountable for the grants it will be giving to the municipalities in lieu of taxes. Legislation is never perfect. As a result several motions and amendments are being submitted to try to improve the legislation. I will touch on those later in my speech.

I will now touch on the purposes of this act. Not everyone in my riding is fully clear on what Bill C-10 is doing. It essentially addresses the issue of compensation for untimely payments. It deals with the fair and equitable administration of payments in lieu of taxes, setting out clearly the responsibilities of the senior level of government. It also establishes an advisory panel to advise the minister on disputes concerning payment amounts.

The interaction between government levels is of utmost importance. We have another level of government in the area of the aboriginal reserves which is getting into the situation of acquiring additional lands by removing lands from the local municipalities in given areas. In the riding of Selkirk—Interlake the area of the Regional Municipality of Grahamdale is running across this problem. It does not seem the government has dealt fully with setting out the guidelines and the terms for grants in lieu of taxes on behalf of Indian reserves that should be made payable to local municipalities when they lose their taxes.

That is an issue for another day and another debate, but it is an issue that should be addressed. I am taking this opportunity in the debate on Bill C-10 to raise it so clarity can be brought to the relationship between Indian reserves and local municipalities in how they deal with taxes between each other and providing services to the citizens of those communities.

The history of concern over the levels of responsibility among the different governments goes back to 1950 when the government initially started making payments in lieu of taxes. It has taken some time, but we now see that it is being codified in legislation to remove a lot of the ambiguity.

The committee set up in 1995 was the joint technical committee on these payments. It was formed to examine issues associated with federal payments in lieu of taxes. Its findings addressed some of the issues through non-legislative means, which is fine and dandy when there is good co-operation between the federal and provincial levels of government. As we are seeing in agriculture today, that co-operation is not always there. The agriculture issues I talk about are the safety net ones where the provincial governments and the federal government are not working co-operatively. That relates directly to the necessity for bills like Bill C-10 to clearly establish this relationship.

One of the legislative changes that is primarily in place deals with interest on payments made after an agreed upon date when the taxes or grants in lieu of taxes should have been paid. The legislation states that it is in the opinion of the minister and at the minister's discretion.

With something as straightforward as the payment of taxes or the payment of a grant in lieu of taxes which has a set and agreed upon date, the minister does not need any leeway in compensating municipalities for money they lose because the federal government has failed to live up to its agreement to pay its taxes on time. The average Canadian property owner who must pay his taxes would quickly find out if he were late by one day that interest begins to be applied. I think that discretionary aspect of the legislation could certainly be removed.

With regard to third party leases there is some question in my mind as to whether or not the people who lease government property or a portion of a government property are paying their full share of business taxes.

The Canadian coast guard building in Selkirk—Interlake has been partially leased out to a private business entity. I have tried to find out some information on it, but the coast guard is kind of like HRDC. It does not want to give out any information. It really drives us nuts, but we will keep trying. Is this business entity paying its full and fair share of taxes, the same as any other business located in the city of Selkirk? I raise that question so that the government will hear it and address it if in fact there is a problem in that area.

The amendments put forward by the official opposition and the other parties should be seriously considered by the government. Where they are actually improvements to the bill, I would like to think that the government will support those amendments.

The Reform Party and I as the member of parliament for Selkirk—Interlake support the legislation. As I have said, we recognize that a lot of work by the municipalities and their associations has gone into this issue. The most redeeming feature of the whole legislation is the level of co-operation that has been shown and the recognition that the federal government should not be telling the provinces how they will negotiate and imposing rules on local municipalities.

As I said, I am in favour of the legislation. It will be an improvement to the relationship between the municipalities and the federal government.

The Late Delphine Patricia CollinsStatements By Members

10:55 a.m.

Liberal

Paul Steckle Liberal Huron—Bruce, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise in memory of the late Delphine Patricia Collins, my friend and the wife of our former colleague, Bernie Collins.

Del was born in September 1936 in Regina. She met Bernie in high school and on July 30, 1955, they were married. Bernie and Del raised eight children, all of whom became an important part of Estevan, Saskatchewan.

Del was heavily involved in her local church community. She was also a member and chairperson of the local public library board, the regional representative of the board and an active member of the Estevan branch of the Saskatchewan Association for Community Living. Aside from this, Delphine worked hard within the Liberal Party. She was, among other things, president of the Saskatchewan Women's Liberal Commission, co-chair for the Prime Minister's leadership campaign and a key figure in her husband's campaigns.

I would say that although Delphine was a very active individual her most significant contribution to the world was that despite all the difficulties her failing health caused, she managed to remain compassionate, caring and patient. She valued her friends and family, and they valued her with equal vigour.

I would ask hon. members to join with me in expressing our sincere condolences to the family and many friends of the late Delphine Collins.

AgricultureStatements By Members

10:55 a.m.

Reform

John Williams Reform St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, over 100 farmers showed up at a meeting in my riding this week to show protest, concern and disgust at the lack of concern by the government in dealing with the farm crisis.

The family farm is in jeopardy. That means that small towns across the prairies are in trouble and that businesses and farms which families built up over two and three generations are likely to disappear.

The Canadian Wheat Board came under universal condemnation. It is an organization which is completely failing farmers today. I heard how the wheat board prevented a 200,000 tonne export shipment of canola from being realized. I heard how the wheat board is more concerned about orderly marketing than maximizing revenue to the farmer.

There is no justice in a wheat board that is answerable to no one, has a monopoly on western wheat and barley, and fails miserably in its obligation to serve the farmer. While every farmer was concerned about whether he could survive, there was universal agreement that the Canadian Wheat Board should not survive.

Super Blue Box Recycling Corp.Statements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

Roy Cullen Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to inform the House about a leading edge company whose head office is located in Etobicoke. Eastern Power Limited has developed a total solution waste management technology called Super Blue Box Recycling Corp., or SUBBOR for short.

The SUBBOR process addresses two major problems confronting not only Canada but indeed the entire world. First, it disposes of municipal solid waste in an environmentally responsible way and second, it meets our Kyoto commitment to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.

Industry Canada has taken a key partnership role in this technology through its TPC program.

Unsorted solid waste deliveries will be required for these facilities. SUBBOR is working with municipalities around Toronto as well as elsewhere in Ontario.

SUBBOR looks forward to bringing this technology to Etobicoke, Toronto and the rest of Canada. Good luck SUBBOR.

Black History MonthStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

Susan Whelan Liberal Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, Black History Month is dedicated to the recognition, learning and celebration of black history in North America.

It started in the United States in 1926 by Carter G. Woodson. The celebration of Black History Month in Canada first gained acceptance in the 1960s as awareness among black Canadians of their contributions to Canadian society was heightened as a result of the civil rights movement in the United States.

Since then the celebration of Black History Month has become an annual event in major Canadian cities. In December 1995 parliament passed a motion officially designating February as Black History Month.

Activities that take place during Black History Month are varied in both scope and nature. This month is an important part of preserving our heritage.

The heritage of black Canadians is evident in my own riding of Essex by the North American Black Historical Museum, the Nazrey African Methodist Episcopal Church and the Walls Site to name a few.

Southwestern Ontario is an example of how slaves who sought haven contributed to the building of our great country.

This month is an opportunity to remember and celebrate the contribution of black Canadians to the building of Canada.

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

Julian Reed Liberal Halton, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada's Kyoto commitment to reducing greenhouse gases has been described as the greatest challenge facing this country since World War II.

A reduction in emissions of 6% from 1990 levels means a 25% reduction from 1999 levels, or roughly 26 million tonnes of gases are to be offset.

Since Canada has rarely experienced a year when greenhouse gases have not increased, the challenge becomes enormous. Over the past year hundreds of Canadian experts have been working hard to submit recommendations to the Climate Change Secretariat which will provide the basis for action.

In spite of the naysayers who think we cannot achieve our targets, I believe that these recommendations will result not only in a cleaner, healthier environment, but in an economic upsurge through the utilization of our untapped renewable resources. I urge all Canadians to support this giant leap into the future.

Eric NewellStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Reform

Dave Chatters Reform Athabasca, AB

Mr. Speaker, on Wednesday, February 16, Mr. Eric Newell, chairman and CEO of Syncrude Canada Limited was awarded the Order of Canada.

Mr. Newell hails from Fort McMurray, Alberta. As his MP I am pleased to extend the congratulations of myself and all MPs for his achievement.

Mr. Newell is not only extremely active within the world of oil production, he is also very involved in his community particularly in education related activities. His accomplishments are far too numerous to mention them all, but I will name a few.

Mr. Newell received the 1997 Canadian Business Leader Award from the University of Alberta. He is the chairman of the 2000 Governor General's Canadian Study Conference. He is vice-chairman of the Conference Board of Canada. He is the director of the Canadian Millennium Scholarship Foundation. He is on the board of directors for the Keyano College Foundation.

Accomplishments such as these deserve recognition. I am pleased that Mr. Newell has joined the prestigious group known as the Officers of the Order of Canada.

Public Service Of CanadaStatements By Members

February 11th, 2000 / 11 a.m.

Liberal

Eugène Bellemare Liberal Carleton—Gloucester, ON

Mr. Speaker, we need to reinforce our public service. We need to put an end to the employment freeze. We need to drastically reduce the practice of contracting out for temporary help. We need to considerably diminish the number of term and casual employees. Permanent employment is what we need to encourage young competent Canadians to choose the public service as a profession.

Hiring young professionals full time would provide the public service with highly qualified replacements, as well as safeguarding its professionalism and corporate memory.

It is vital for young Canadians to have the possibility of a career in the public service, if we are to maintain the quality of services to all Canadians in the years to come.

David PelletierStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Bloc

René Canuel Bloc Matapédia—Matane, QC

Mr. Speaker, on the weekend of January 30, David Pelletier, who is from the Quebec riding of Matapédia—Matane, and his partner Jamie Sale, from Alberta, won the Canadian figure skating championship for pair skating. They won with the highest marks ever in that annual event. They got five perfect marks of 6.0 and two 5.9s. This is extraordinary.

As David's father Jacques Pelletier said, “This achievement is evidence that work, patience, determination and courage allow us to meet challenges, reach beyond our limits and to accomplish goals deemed impossible by others”.

I wish the best of luck to Jamie and David in their next two competitions this season, and I congratulate them on their performance.

Invention FairStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the first invention fair will be held in Montreal from July 7 to 9, at the Maurice Richard Arena. The fair is organized by the Association des inventeurs du Québec. It will bring together inventors, innovators, designers and engineers.

Participants will represent the world of creativity and the industry in general. The public will have an opportunity to discover Quebec's engineering and innovative feats.

This is an opportunity to promote those who like to dare and innovate. Often, a simple idea or a fortuitous discovery can lead to surprising products and revolutionize an economic, social or cultural sector.

We wish the best of luck to the organizers of that show and to each and every participant.

Human Resources DevelopmentStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Reform

Eric C. Lowther Reform Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, in the past the Minister of Human Resources Development has repeatedly said that the department funds were being managed appropriately even though at the time her own department knew things were in very bad shape. She made the damaging audit results public only because the Reform member for Calgary—Nose Hill was going to if the minister did not.

Now the minister tells us she is going to fix the problems. This is the same minister who said there were no problems. Her credibility is gone and she should go with it.

There are 180,000 Canadians on health care waiting lists but the minister gives $535,000 to a group which bought jewels and claimed them as office furniture. It takes three months to see a health specialist but a failed project at McGill did not have to wait to get $100,000 more than it asked for from the minister. The brain drain takes 1,400 doctors a year but HRDC paid students $14,000 each for three weeks of work.

There is more, but the bottom line is that the Liberals' priority is to buy votes, not the health care of Canadians.

BombardierStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Quebec giant, Bombardier, has just snagged another major railway contract in the Netherlands.

This contract worth $660 million provides for the delivery of 13 four-car double-deck EMUs and 12 six-car EMUs.

Bombardier is a one of our companies that has made an international name for itself. Its expertise in the area of transportation is its vocation, and is a source of pride for all of Canada.

Bombardier has long understood that the key to economic success is to occupy much of the market and be based in an economic and a political entity such as Canada.

We congratulate Bombardier on this latest success and encourage them to continue their growth worldwide. Indeed, Bombardier is a real jewel of our economy and we are all very proud of it.

RailwaysStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, today I would like to raise again with the Minister of Transport and with others an issue which I think should be of concern to all members of parliament, or at least those members of parliament who have rail lines running through their constituencies.

The fact is that the railways, all of them, are running longer and longer trains. We are now seeing 10,000 foot trains as a rule. I am told sometimes there are 12,000 foot trains. They are tying up railway crossings for a much longer period of time than is allowed for in the rules. It is only supposed to be five minutes. However, there are crossings in my riding, and others may have the same, where trains are taking 45 minutes to clear the crossings.

This means that traffic is backed up. It means that public safety concerns are raised in terms of ambulances and emergency services that cannot get from one part of town to the other.

I have raised this with the Minister of Transport before. This is a real issue which needs to be dealt with. The railways are abusing the rules and some day someone is going to die because they are abusing these rules and because the government has refused to do anything about it.

Once again I urge the minister to act.

Renewal Of Infrastructures ProgramStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Bloc Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, really, the more things change, the more they stay the same. It would seem that the Liberal government wants to renege on another of its commitments.

In a recent article in La Presse , we learn that the Liberals would like to delay the renewal of the infrastructures program in order to use it for purely electoral ends. This federal, provincial and municipal program is vital to Quebec and Canada. This is true too for quality of life and especially public safety.

Quebec, the Canadian provinces and territories and the municipalities have long called for this program. It would be totally unacceptable and incredibly irresponsible if the government were to delay it and use it for such partisan purposes.

When will the Liberals finally honour their commitments? When will they stop pulling the wool over people's eyes and when will they stop making the provincial governments and the municipalities pay and then turn the situation to their advantage?

Human RightsStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Bill Graham Liberal Toronto Centre—Rosedale, ON

Mr. Speaker, today the Minister of Justice will table in the House legislation to ensure that federal laws conform to our human rights obligations. This represents the culmination of the work of many groups and individuals around the country, too many to name, who have worked so hard over the past 15 years to achieve the goal of equality in our society. They deserve our thanks.

This historic legislation will enshrine in the statutes our obligations under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Canadian Human Rights Act.

This is the right thing to do. It is also supported by a vast majority of Canadians who believe that one of the most important characteristics of our society is its tolerance based on the elimination of discrimination.

Recent court decisions have indicated that our statutes must be updated and this will end the need for constant litigation such as that presently brought by the Foundation for Equal Families.

This is an important piece of legislation for all Canadians and of particular concern to my constituents. I commend the government for acting proactively in this place to ensure equality for all our citizens.

Fuel CostsStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, I rise today on behalf of Nova Scotians who are being severely threatened in relation to rising fuel costs. The price of oil has jumped to more than 50 cents from 32 cents per litre in recent days. Diesel has gone up 70 cents a gallon in four months forcing truckers out of competition.

Nova Scotians are finding themselves financially burdened due to the increase in fuel costs throughout the province largely in part due to federal taxation. In April 1997 this Liberal government was supposed to rid Canadians of the GST but actually created the HST in three Atlantic provinces to a fixed rate of 15%. This tax is applied federally and cannot be changed at the point of sale. This has hurt many citizens, in particular seniors and low income earners. Essentials in life are becoming more and more unattainable for those on fixed incomes.

I urge the Minister of Finance along with the Minister of Industry to take immediate action to examine closely these huge increases in prices of crude oil. Nova Scotians and indeed all Canadians cannot continue to struggle under crippling high fuel costs compounded by massive tax grabs. There is a budget coming. Please give Canadians relief.

Rural HealthStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

John Finlay Liberal Oxford, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Health and the new federal rural health directorate have been working hard to tackle the special health problems of rural Canada and small towns like Ingersoll and Peterborough.

The Summit on Rural Health Research in Prince George brought together representatives of all stakeholders in rural health care. There are in effect two health care systems in Canada: one for the big cities and one for the rest of the country.

While it is clear that some major health facilities have to be in large cities, there is no good reason why basic, rapid response, modern care cannot be available to all Canadians. It is the task of the federal government to make sure that our health care system is available to all.

I urge that Health Canada be given the resources to translate its fine preliminary work into action. This will improve health care for all rural Canadians.

Employment EquityStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Reform

Jim Pankiw Reform Saskatoon—Humboldt, SK

Mr. Speaker, state sanctioned discrimination is prominent in Canada under the code names of employment equity and affirmative action. Supporters of these programs hide behind subterfuge and politically correct rhetoric in order to mask their true intent. In fact, employment equity quotas are as insulting and offensive to those they purport to help as they are to those against whom they discriminate.

Hiring quotas based on race or gender imply that members of target groups are somehow inferior and therefore incapable of competing on a level playing field. Such programs foster suspicion and resentment, and rob us all of dignity and self-worth.

Affirmative action programs breed resentment and suspicion among co-workers, and these hiring quotas foment inequality and bitterness in society at large. That is because of an inescapable universal truth which is that it is not possible to discriminate in favour of someone because of their race or gender without discriminating against someone else because of theirs.

Affirmative action and employment equity programs are inherently unfair, they violate the principles of equality and merit based hiring, and they must therefore be stopped.

Aboriginal Referendum In Lac-Saint-JeanStatements By Members

11:15 a.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Bloc Verchères, QC

Mr. Speaker, a few days from now, the federal government will hold a referendum among the Montagnais of Lac-St-Jean. Let us take a look at the clarity of the question that will be asked:

“Do you accept and approve the settlement agreement dated, for reference purposes, the 14th day of December, 1999, between the Montagnais band of Lac-Saint-Jean and Her Majesty the Queen in right of Canada?

Do you agree to sanction, pursuant to sections 38(1) and 39 of the Indian Act, the absolute transfer to her Majesty the Queen in right of Canada by the Montagnais band of Lac-Saint-Jean of all rights and those of its members pertaining to all parcels of reserve land on concession IX of the Ouiatchouan township?

By voting yes, you authorize the Chief of the Montagnais band of Lac-Saint-Jean or any other member of the band council duly authorized by resolution to sign on behalf of the band council and its members all documents and to take all measures required to put into effect the settlement agreement and the absolute transfer of all parcels of the reserve land on concession IX of the Ouiatchouan township. Yes or no?”

Is that clear, Mr. Speaker, as a question?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Reform Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the human resources minister was asked to make public a copy of her master list of grants and contributions by riding. She continually denied that such a list existed.

However, the Toronto Star this morning tells a very different story.

Yesterday, Liberal MPs were given a copy of a riding by riding list.

Why did the minister tell one story to the public while giving Liberal insiders special information?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to report to you and to all Canadians that according to a media report I saw this morning, my harshest critic, the member for Calgary—Nose Hill, agrees that our six point plan is actually going to work.

I note she recognized that it was long overdue, but from the points she made I have the distinct impression she agrees that what we are doing is exactly the right thing. I would say that it must be a terrific day when we can agree on something as important as that.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Reform Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, the minister continues to live in dreamland. I certainly never said any such thing.

The human resources minister also stated publicly that opposition members could not have a copy of a master list because no such thing existed while Liberal MPs were being handed copies of that very list.

I will ask her again: Why did the minister tell Canadians there was no list when she knew full well that right then one was going out to Liberal MPs?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I repeat again, there is no master list of all the grants and contributions that exist riding by riding. However, I have a feeling that by the time this undertaking is over, my department will be the master of making lists.

I have asked the people in my department to respond in a timely fashion to all requests from members of parliament and the media. I have also asked them if they would to look at all our data bases to is if there is a way to bring this information together in an effective way for the use of the members of the House.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Reform

Diane Ablonczy Reform Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, the only group that ever gets information in a timely fashion is binder boy and Liberal MPs.

The human resources minister has been caught in still another cover-up. I am wondering if she can tell us what other information she is hiding that the public has a right to know.