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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.

Topics

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 ReferenceGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

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

Lilianne Perrault-MercierStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Guy St-Julien Liberal 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 YearStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Reform

Inky Mark Reform 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 DisordersStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Lynn Myers Liberal 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 AwardsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Sarmite Bulte Liberal 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 HébertStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal 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 CareStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Reform

Bob Mills Reform 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 MonthStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Augustine Liberal 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-20Statements By Members

February 7th, 2000 / 2 p.m.

Bloc

Richard Marceau Bloc 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 MonthStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

John Harvard Liberal 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 AllianceStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Reform

Gary Lunn Reform 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 EconomyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Robert Bertrand Liberal 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 GovernmentStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP 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 TradeStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc 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 DefenceStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Mark Muise Progressive Conservative 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?

Dr. Henry De JongStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Andy Scott Liberal Fredericton, NB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to recognize the outstanding efforts of one of my constituents. Dr. Henry de Jong has recently returned to Fredericton, having worked in Nicaragua for CESO. Henry was asked to advise on agricultural co-operation in potato production and marketing. He visited potato growing locations, many of them very difficult to reach, to get a picture of current production. During Henry's assignment the entire potato production chain was analyzed and recommendations were made for improvement.

Henry is typical of CESO's highly skilled volunteers. Last year CESO volunteers provided almost 23,000 days of assistance to developing nations, emerging market economies and Canadian aboriginal communities. CESO is supported by CIDA, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada and by hundreds of Canadian corporations and individuals.

I am pleased to congratulate and thank Dr. Henry de Jong for his contribution in this worthwhile effort.

World Anti-Doping AgencyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Rick Limoges Liberal Windsor—St. Clair, ON

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to endorse the recent initiative by the hon. Secretary of State for Amateur Sport to bring to Canada the recently established World Anti-Doping Agency.

We recall the decision taken at the February 1999 conference hosted by the International Olympic Committee to establish the World Anti-Doping Agency in a major effort to eliminate drugs in sport. At its inaugural meeting the IOC announced its intent to conduct an open bidding process to find a permanent home for the new World Anti-Doping Agency.

It would be a distinction for Canada to house the new World Anti-Doping Agency. I offer my best wishes to the member of parliament, the Secretary of State for Amateur Sport, for his efforts in this regard.

Health CareStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, Canada's system of public health care is facing serious pressures which threaten its very survival. Federal cuts to transfer payments have put medicare on a precipice. They have made public health plans vulnerable. They have opened the door to privatization. They have fueled the fire of two tier advocates, with Ralph Klein in the lead. This is the fight of our lives.

Today the Canadian Health Coalition with Tommy Douglas' daughter, Shirley, who is with us today, launched its campaign to stop Klein's privatization plans, to restore health care transfers in the upcoming budget and to strengthen medicare now. They represent all Canadians. They want the government to act now. They expect the government to take immediate action to stop two tier health care.

We know the threats are real. We also know we have a great opportunity to develop the same kind of gutsy solutions that Tommy Douglas and the Saskatchewan CCF launched in the 1960s.

AgricultureStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Reform

Howard Hilstrom Reform Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, in December the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food sent the standing committee on a whirlwind tour of western Canada and pretended to consult with farmers. The Liberal dominated committee only held nine meetings to discuss the ongoing farm income crisis.

In spite of efforts by the Reform official opposition, the Liberals, PCs and NDP all refused to extend the meetings into Ontario and B.C. and refused to travel more than one week. This is disgraceful.

The official opposition continues to hold real consultations with farmers. Again, we have held over 55 town hall meetings with farmers across B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario and have seven more meetings scheduled.

In the past, farmers believed that the Liberals did not understand the farm income crisis. Not anymore. Now they know for a fact that the Liberals just do not care.

Farm families have grown tired of announcements that do not have any meaning. How can they believe the minister's promises of new assistance when he has only delivered 25% of the AIDA money he pledged last December?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning ReformLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, Canadian taxpayers pay the highest personal income taxes in the western world. No wonder they are angry therefore when they find out that more than a billion of those hard earned taxpayer dollars have been grossly mismanaged by the Minister of Human Resources Development.

If the human resources minister had any respect for Canadian taxpayers and respect for the principle of ministerial accountability, she would rise in her place today and resign from cabinet. Will the minister resign from cabinet?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I would not accept the resignation if it were to be offered because, as usual, the opposition is exaggerating.

An audit was commanded by the department related to $200 million and 459 projects, of which 37 had some problems representing around $30 million. Of these projects, $11.5 million have been cleared in the last few days and the rest will be reported upon very soon.

We are very proud that our department is looking at the management problems. Today, the deputy minister—

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Leader of the Opposition.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning ReformLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister intervenes not to protect Canadian taxpayers but to protect the discredited minister.

In 1991 the Prime Minister said “When we form government, every minister in the cabinet will have to take full responsibility for what is going on in their department. If there is any bungling in the department, the minister will have to take responsibility”.

When did the Prime Minister abandon the principle of holding cabinet ministers accountable for squandering taxpayers' money?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the minister has taken full responsibility. She is working on the report that was presented. I described that report. She has been in touch with the auditor general who approved all the needed rectifications this morning. If there is money that has been lost, we will collect it back.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning ReformLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, a fish rots from the top down.

We pointed out last year that moneys from the transitional jobs fund were being misused in the Prime Minister's riding. The Prime Minister excused it. He accepted no responsibility. He set the wrong example. Now that little scandal from Shawinigan has become the billion dollar boondoggle in human resources.

Why does the Prime Minister not start accepting responsibility for this gross misuse of taxpayers' money and fire the Minister of Human Resources Development?