House of Commons Hansard #43 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was referendum.


An Act To Give Effect To The Requirement For Clarity As Set Out In The Opinion Of The Supreme Court Of Canada In The Quebec Secession Reference
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

It being almost 2 o'clock, we will now move on to Statements by Members.

Lilianne Perrault-Mercier
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Guy St-Julien Abitibi, QC

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Prime Minister of Canada and all federalist members of this House, I would like to pay tribute to Liliane Perraud-Mercier, a native of Amos, who has always been heavily involved in the betterment of her community.

An excellent music teacher, she has provided countless young people with the basic foundations for further studies in the various cegeps of Quebec that offer music programs. She was awarded the Jeunesse musicales du Canada medal at its annual convention and has also had the great distinction of being appointed to the Order of Canada.

At the present time she is actively involved in the Liberal Association in the riding of Abitibi West. She has a deep conviction that it is vital to make room for our young people so that we will have the right kind of replacements coming up.

We can use the experience of this great Canadian and her ideas for maintaining Canadian federalism to good advantage.

Chinese New Year
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Inky Mark Dauphin—Swan River, MB

Mr. Speaker, I welcome back all members of the House by wishing them a happy new year. I am honoured, on behalf of Canadians of Chinese descent, to extend Chinese new year greetings to everyone.

February 5 marked the beginning of the year of the dragon, the most revered sign of the Chinese zodiac. It symbolizes happiness, power, fortune and love.

Canadians of Chinese descent can be proud of their heritage and history in Canada. It started with the Chinese railway workers whose labour helped unify this great country. The story of their struggle to become equal Canadians must be told and passed on to future generations.

Who would ever believe that today Chinese would become the third most spoken language in Canada? Canadians of Chinese descent are forever thankful to this country. In the new millennium the roar of the dragon will be heard across the land. Happy new year.

Eating Disorders
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Lynn Myers Waterloo—Wellington, ON

Mr. Speaker, this week is eating disorder awareness week. It provides us with an opportunity to educate the public on the relationship between dieting, body dissatisfaction and eating disorders.

This week is an opportunity for all Canadians to evaluate the way our attitudes toward shape and weight impact the quality of our lives. Food and weight concerns should be taken seriously, and most women and a growing number of men in our society struggle with these issues. Some 90% of women experience body image dissatisfaction, 80% have dieted before the age of 18 years, and 15% have many of the symptoms of an eating disorder.

Informing the public about food and weight issues is only the first step in the fight against the development of eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia. Healthy lifestyles, healthy eating and appropriate, enjoyable exercise are but a few simple preventive measures that can be taken by people of all ages, genders, shapes and sizes.

I encourage all Canadians to learn about food and weight issues and applaud the efforts of all those involved in this very important issue.

Genie Awards
Statements By Members

2 p.m.


Sarmite Bulte Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, 20 years ago a small group of filmmakers had an idea to help foster the development and promotion of the feature film industry in Canada by founding the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television and establishing the Genie Awards. On January 30, 2000 the Genies celebrated their 20th anniversary.

In 20 years we have all witnessed the outstanding growth to the Canadian film industry. However, Canadian films command only 2% to 3% of the Canadian national box office. This figure clearly demonstrates the need for increased support to take Canada from a producer of world respected art films to a globally competitive producer and exporter of popular and entertaining films that are undeniably Canadian in content.

I would like to commend the academy, Telefilm Canada, CBC Television and Canadian Heritage for their support of our national film awards, and I congratulate this year's award nominees and recipients for their dedication to the art and craft of Canadian film.

The Late Anne Hébert
Statements By Members

February 7th, 2000 / 2 p.m.


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

Mr. Speaker, on January 22, Quebec writer Anne Hébert, recipient of the 1982 prix Fémina for Les Fous de Bassan, died in Montreal after a long illness.

Born in Fossambault-sur-le-lac, near Quebec City, she was not long in developing a passion for poetry and the theatre, her first poems being published in periodicals in 1939.

Anne Hébert's considerable literary output was divided between novels and poetry. She was a leading literary figure in Quebec for more than half a century.

The recipient of an impressive number of awards both here and in other countries, the author of Kamouraska and Chambres de bois leaves a large literary heritage behind her.

My condolences to the members of Anne Hébert's family. She will always remain with us in the pages of her works.

Health Care
Statements By Members

2 p.m.


Bob Mills Red Deer, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are telling us that health care is in trouble.

At the premiers' conference last week all agreed that the health care system is not sustainable and that it is not able to maintain the status quo. The premiers know there is a problem. Reform knows there is a problem. Change must occur in the health care system and it must occur now.

In an Angus Reid poll conducted last month, 78% of Canadians agreed that the health care system in their province is currently in a crisis.

Is it any wonder that the health care system is in such peril? We have a government that is showing no leadership, offering no solutions and taking no action. The Liberals have squandered more than $1 billion as patients sit in crowded waiting rooms and are shuffled between hospitals.

Can hon. members imagine how many MRIs we could have bought if we had not wasted that $1 billion on a boondoggle?

Black History Month
Statements By Members

2 p.m.


Jean Augustine Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to remind the House that February is Black History Month.

In communities across Canada people of African descent are celebrating their heritage and are paying tribute to the contributions of black people to the social, economic and cultural fabric of this great country.

In 1995 when the House passed a motion declaring February as Black History Month, it gave recognition to the African experience in Canadian society.

From the newcomers of today to the slaves who came to Canada via the Underground Railroad, African people have pioneered in many sectors of our society, including medicine, law, politics, education, science and the arts.

As we move into the 21st century let this be the era in which governments and institutions heighten their efforts to educate young people about the rich and diverse history of Canada's peoples.

Bill C-20
Statements By Members

2 p.m.


Richard Marceau Charlesbourg, QC

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of Canadians and Quebecers concerned about respect for the rules of democracy, the Bloc Quebecois would ask the Liberal government to be reasonable and to hold broad public hearings on the controversial Bill C-20.

This government, which prides itself on seeking clarity, must recognize that democrats want to be heard on this bill.

Even today, many stakeholders and interested parties in Quebec and Canadian society are calling on the government to be transparent and to respect democracy. They are calling for the most comprehensive hearings possible to ensure their democratic right and basic freedom of expression are not threatened.

It would be far more preferable for the government to withdraw its hateful bill. Should it decide to proceed, it must not silence the people of Quebec and Canada in the process.

Heart Awareness Month
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.


John Harvard Charleswood—Assiniboine, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to inform the House and all Canadians that February is Heart Awareness Month.

We are proud of the internationally known Canadian Heart Health Initiative, a partnership in which Health Canada is collaborating with provincial departments of health and with the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation to encourage Canadians to adopt healthy lifestyles and to create working and living conditions conducive to healthy choices.

Major challenges remain to ensure that progress continues in the reduction of the major risk factors: smoking, high blood pressure, elevated blood cholesterol and diabetes.

By investing in heart health we can reduce significantly this disease. By mobilizing society as a whole to invest in heart health we can enhance the quality of life of countless Canadians.

Canadian Alliance
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Gary Lunn Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I was privileged to have had the opportunity to participate in the formation of the new Canadian alliance. I want to tell members of the House how exciting it is to be part of history making as this new political party takes shape.

Our opposition and pundits said it could not be done, that true small c Conservatives could not be united. Nothing could be further from the truth. Our leader has proven all the naysayers wrong. His vision, conviction and determination to stay the course and think big has once again proven his tremendous leadership ability.

People from across the country proudly worked together to create the new Canadian alliance. Their common cause is to bring accountability and respect back to this institution. The reaction across the country has been overwhelming, as people call to ask how they can be part of this exciting movement.

At the end of the day the big winner is Canada. All Canadians will have an opportunity to vote for real, positive change.

Canadian Economy
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Robert Bertrand Pontiac—Gatineau—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, the employment figures released by Statistics Canada on Friday indicate that economic growth is continuing.

This situation inevitably reflects on the rate of unemployment, which was at only 6.8% in Canada and 8.2% in Quebec in January.

These encouraging results show that our government has made the right economic and financial decisions. The return of healthy government finances is now benefiting all of Canada.

The sectors of the economy where job creation was most encouraging include the manufacturing sector, which recorded a net gain of 13,000 jobs last month.

I therefore encourage our government to continue its efforts in this direction so that the improvement of the quality of Canadians' life remains a priority.

Liberal Government
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Yvon Godin Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, when one takes a hard look at how certain ministers of this government have squandered billions of dollars, one wonders about the government's integrity.

The government has not taken responsibility for these actions. Citizens have the right to expect that the public purse is properly managed. The government has broken that trust. It is hiding from the evidence that there was political interference for the benefit of Liberal members. The October 1998 audit of HRDC raised concerns about projects which may have been approved for political reasons rather than based on the strength of business plans.

Canadians have lost confidence in the Minister of Human Resources Development and in her predecessor. The NDP is asking the Prime Minister to take action and ask for the resignations of the current Minister of Human Resources Development and her predecessor.

Minister For International Trade
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Francine Lalonde Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, recently, the Minister for International Trade took great pleasure in commenting on the problems experienced by Emploi-Québec. He arrogantly made fun of the situation, taking advantage of the fact that he was no longer Minister of Human Resources Development.

But now he has gone into hiding. He is no longer giving press conferences abroad, something he was so fond of, and has invoked some old parliamentary tradition not to appear before the Standing Committee on Human Resources.

We do not see why the Minister for International Trade, who allowed himself to criticize Emploi-Québec, does not feel compelled, as a matter of honour, to answer the committee's questions on one of the worst administrative scandals ever to happen in this country, and this while he was the minister responsible.

The minister, who loves to travel all over the world stressing the need for good governance to ensure economic development, should realize that he will lose all credibility if he is not capable of defending his own management practices. He should know that a great many questions are going to be directed at him and there will be no avoiding them.

National Defence
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Mark Muise West Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, Canada's participation in the Gulf War ended in 1991. However, for many of our veterans, their battle for survival has just begun. Hundreds of our veterans returned to Canada suffering from mysterious illnesses that our Canadian military conveniently attributed to stress.

The late Terry Riordan was one such soldier. Soon upon his return Terry began showing signs of illness that would eventually ravage his body. Terry died on April 29, 1999. The cause of death read “Gulf War Syndrome”.

Test results done on Terry's body have identified high levels of weapons grade depleted uranium. Where else but during the Gulf War could he have been exposed to this deadly element? What is the correlation between this poisonous element and Gulf War illness?

Is our military conducting tests on our Canadian veterans to find out if they also have this poison within their bodies? If not, let us ask ourselves why not. How many more of our Canadian soldiers must die before the government acts to find out the answers?