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House of Commons Hansard #63 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was yea.

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.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. If the hon. member would understand the facts of what the member for Winnipeg—Transcona said—

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 Acting Speaker (Ms. Thibeault)

That is debate. That is not a point of order.

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.

Liberal

Lynn Myers Liberal Waterloo—Wellington, ON

Madam Speaker, I will tell you what I am saying. It astonished me, and the member reminds me of what the leader of the NDP did when we first brought in the clarity bill. Outside she was quoted as saying that the bill was stupid and provocative. Those were exactly her words. I find it shameful that the NDP would take that kind of attitude on such an important bill, the clarity bill which underpins the very importance of not only who we are but what we represent.

I say to my hon. colleagues in the Progressive Conservative Party opposite, the party of Sir John A. Macdonald and Cartier, imagine how they would be spinning in their graves. Imagine how they are today listening to the Progressive Conservatives not standing up for Canada, not being on the right side of history, being on the wrong side of history, and their leader Joe Clark saying the kind of nonsense he has been saying with respect to this all important bill. It is shameful that the party of Sir John A. and the party of Cartier has come to that. It is absolutely disgraceful.

I had to give my head a shake to really understand what the Bloc member who spoke before me was trying to say. Imagine having to bring in an amendment to an amendment. Imagine threatening, as Bloc members have now done, a thousand amendments on three clauses. Imagine getting up day after day in the House of Commons, in this great place of democracy, and reading 300 press clippings and always caterwauling away. They say they represent the democrats when in fact it is quite the opposite. They are undemocratic. All they are trying to do is stall the business of the House, stall what Canadians want us to do which is to bring clarity to the debate once and for all.

But what do they do? They keep stalling. Even at the committee they went on for five hours to try to talk it out so that the business of the committee could not take place. Imagine the disgrace and the shame. Quebecers and Canadians wherever they live want no part of that kind of nonsense because it is ridiculous. It undermines the very Canada for which we stand.

I cannot believe that they—

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

2 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. The hon. member has at least five minutes left to speak, but it is 2 o'clock and we will now proceed to Statements by Members.

Commonwealth DayStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Sarmite Bulte Liberal Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, today I invite Canadians to celebrate Commonwealth Day, remembering our shared heritage and ready to work together to tackle the challenges that lie ahead.

This year's theme, the communications challenge, is highly appropriate at the start of the new millennium. Recent advances in communications technology bring the challenge of ensuring that the advantages of modern communications are available to all and that they are used to bring us closer together.

Just a few months ago the Commonwealth held its heads of government meeting in a democratic South Africa. There leaders praised the role that the Commonwealth played in bringing an end to apartheid. Nigeria, fresh from its own elections, also expressed its gratitude for the Commonwealth's efforts to restore democracy there.

Clearly the Commonwealth is making a positive contribution in the world today.

ReligionStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Reform

Jim Abbott Reform Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, last Thursday protesters vandalized the Mary Queen of the World Cathedral in Montreal. They were yelling against religion, spray painting and defacing the cathedral, and overturning the tabernacle and ripping up hymn books.

Seven people have been charged with unlawful assembly, assault against police officers and obstruction. Hate crime charges were not considered because “the elements were not there for charges of that kind”.

Anti-religious vandalism such as this cowardly act is a hate crime regardless of the religion, denomination or location, yet our justice system discriminates between religions. A National Post editorial notes:

What is missing is media and political outrage. Anti-Christian hostility is one of the last acceptable bigotries in Canada. It is observable not only in the bigots and thugs who attacked the cathedral, but in federal bureaucrats, for example, who instructed Swissair crash site mourners to make no mention of Jesus Christ.

We would never accept an attack on other religious groups. We should not remain silent when Catholics are the targets of intolerance. Where is the outrage?

Dan DoyleStatements By Members

March 13th, 2000 / 2 p.m.

Liberal

John Finlay Liberal Oxford, ON

Mr. Speaker, on March 6 at 10.30 a.m., Dan Doyle of Woodstock, Ontario demonstrated great generosity and selflessness when he jumped between a car and a baby stroller, saving Brenda Craig and her 22 month old son, Barry. In the resulting collision, Dan Doyle suffered a fractured leg and rib while the mother and her child were unhurt.

Police and public alike are calling Mr. Doyle a hero. Mr. Doyle's wife commented that his actions did not surprise her as he is always watching out for other people and lending a hand whenever possible.

We are not often faced with life-threatening situations. It is heartening to know that there are some citizens who are not afraid to put themselves in harm's way to save the life of another.

I am proud to acknowledge the heroism of Dan Doyle. Thank you, Dan, for your heroic example.

SeniorsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Andrew Telegdi Liberal Kitchener—Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Alliance of Seniors to Protect Canada's Social Programs represents 25 organizations with a combined membership of over 500,000 seniors.

The alliance has declared Toronto the most diverse city in the world. It has noted that seniors reflect this diversity racially, ethnically and culturally. Many seniors who are immigrants are socially isolated due to limited language skills, cultural inhibitions and discrimination. This makes accessibility to social programs and services more difficult particularly in the areas of health, community care access, housing and education.

The Government of Canada and the Alliance of Seniors to Protect Canada's Social Programs recognize the importance of funding for health care, the specific needs of seniors, and the special linguistic and cultural requirements of minority communities.

We are committed to working with seniors toward programs and services consistent with cultural backgrounds and needs of our diverse and aging population. Together we will maintain and enhance Canada's social programs in keeping with Canada's reputation as the best country in the world in which to live.

Mining IndustryStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Guy St-Julien Liberal Abitibi, QC

Mr. Speaker, RSW-Béroma of Val-d'Or will operate the first small scale mine in the Abitibi, with a modular plant for ore concentration.

The unique features of this concept, compared to a conventional plant, are its investment costs, its quick installation and its mobility.

This initiative was made possible thanks to the leadership of Laurent Bérubé and his team at the Val-d'Or plant, Charles Veilleux, Gilbert Rousseau and Roger Jolicoeur, and the involvement of the National Research Council of Canada and of the Secretary of State for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec and Liberal member for Outremont, through his IDEA-SME program.

The project is located at the Granada gold deposit, northwest of Val-d'Or, in the Abitibi.

Tara SloanStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Reform

Eric C. Lowther Reform Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay respect to Tara Sloan, one of Canada's top swimmers. Ms. Sloan passed on two days ago in Calgary after being involved in a tragic car accident.

Tara was a five time Canadian breaststroke champion and set the women's 100 metre breaststroke national record in the short course pool. She was a great competitor with a passion for life who proudly represented her country at the world championships, the Pan American Games and the Commonwealth Games. She won 17 international medals.

At the national championships this weekend her Calgary teammates dedicated their events to Tara. Her teammates won. They won the men's and women's overall team titles.

Today our sympathy and the thoughts and prayers of this House join with those of the family, friends, teammates and competitors of this wonderful young Canadian, Ms. Tara Sloan.

Fight Against RacismStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Bernard Patry Liberal Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, the launching of the week against racism is taking place today, at the Cinémathèque québécoise. This year's theme is about the faces of racism in Quebec.

We must lead the fight against racism on an individual and collective level.

We must always appreciate the opportunity that we have to share our values of support and solidarity with cultural communities.

As individuals, we have a responsibility to apply these values in our daily lives, so that those who settle in Canada feel at home here.

However, the fight against racism is far from over. We must eliminate the resistance that still exists, to ensure that all new Canadians have access to a certain quality of life.

I call on all governments and organizations to work together to ensure the best possible future for those who decide to come to live in Canada.

Bill C-20Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

René Laurin Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Chairman, for the past few days, the government House leader has been suffering from proceduritis, and has been trying to change the rules of Parliament through trickery.

Not content to have limited the debates on Bill C-20 in committee, and not content to have rammed Bill C-20 through, the specialist in dirty tricks and double-dealing has added insult to injury with Motions Nos. 8 and 9, in order to change the rules of the game in the midst of the debate.

How shameful, particularly for the Liberal members, who do not want to voice their opinions on Bill C-20. We can understand that the sole intent of the latest trick of the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons was to allow his colleagues to avoid their duty as parliamentarians.

When the voting on Bill C-20 takes place, the people of Quebec will finally know who is prepared to stand up to defend its rights and who is prepared to stand up to defend democracy.

Farm SafetyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Rose-Marie Ur Liberal Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, ON

Mr. Speaker, with National Farm Safety Week about to end, let us resolve to reduce farm related injuries throughout the year.

Farming is a way of life for over 200,000 farm families from coast to coast to coast. It is also a profession with one of the highest risks of on the job injury and death. Close to 700 Canadians died of farm related injuries between 1990 and 1996. Most of these could have been prevented. Working with tractors and other self-propelled equipment remains the leading cause of death and injury with rollovers and runovers a serious concern.

Agriculture Canada and the Canadian Federation of Agriculture along with other farm safety groups are urging farmers to equip their tractors with rollover protection structures and seatbelts. That is what National Farm Safety Week is all about, getting farmers and their families thinking about how they can protect themselves from what are often needless injuries on their farms.

CurlingStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Reform

Jay Hill Reform Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the people of British Columbia I would like to declare that B.C. now stands for “Best Curlers”.

Yesterday skip Greg McAulay of New Westminster completed the trillium of champions by capturing his first Brier championship against the formidable Russ Howard.

British Columbia will be representing Canada at the World Curling Championships in three categories: men's, featuring Greg McAulay's rink of Brent Pierce, Brian Miki, Jody Svestrup and Darin Fenton; women's, featuring Richmond's Kelley Law's rink of Julie Skinner, Georgina Wheatcroft, Diane Nelson and Elaine Dagg-Jackson; and junior men's, featuring Kelowna's Brad Kuhn's team of Kevin Folk, Ryan Kuhn and Hugh Bennett.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the people of Saskatoon who organized and supported the Year 2000 Brier, setting a new attendance record.

Curling has long been one of Canada's favourite sports and now British Columbia leads the way. Congratulations and good luck to all at the world championships.

Chief Joe MathiasStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Lou Sekora Liberal Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, Chief Joe Mathias passed away unexpectedly on Friday, March 10. He was a strong advocate and defender of the treaty process.

I knew Chief Mathias personally. He was a man greatly respected by his people, myself and many other people. Our blessings are with him and his family.

Overseas Development AssistanceStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Dennis Gruending NDP Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, the recent federal budget comes as a major disappointment to Canadians who care about the poorest of the poor in our world.

The Prime Minister talks big when he travels abroad but under his watch, Canadian overseas development assistance has fallen off dramatically. Canada's target was to provide .7 of 1% of the gross national product to foreign assistance. Under this government we have slipped back to about one-third of that target and the budget does not improve things.

The Canadian Council for International Cooperation tells us that we will be spending a smaller and smaller percentage of GNP on foreign assistance through to the year 2003.

The development needs are enormous in the areas of food, nutrition and agriculture, for basic education and health care, especially for women.

In the budget the government has lost an opportunity to do something really constructive for the poor and the vulnerable in other countries. Canadians are a generous people but the government has not matched their generosity.

The Late Marcel PépinStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, on March 6, we lost Marcel Pépin.

Marcel Pépin left his mark on Quebec and on his era, first as President of the CSN from 1965 to 1976, and then of the World Confederation of Labour. After studying under Father Lévesque at Laval University, he went on to contribute greatly to making the CSN, a labour federation that was as combative as it was democratic, the spearhead of the Quiet Revolution.

The “society built for man” which he sought could only come about as the result of a fight to the finish between the workers and all those with power. The union movement needed to unite andopen up a second social front in order to constitute a counter-balance to prevent workers from being crushed, dominated and deprived of their voice.

His texts and moral reviews, containing such sayings as “There is no more place for Quebec in the present system” or “Our own means are all we can count on” have marked Quebec in general, but have had far more impact on the public sector coalition, which would never have existed without him. With his great experience as a negotiator, Marcel Pépin had the knack of obtaining the best settlements, always in favour of the little people above all.

Thank you, Marcel Pépin.

Job Creation In CanadaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, on March 9, Statistics Canada released encouraging news about Canada's employment situation.

Based on its labour force survey, Statistics Canada determined that the unemployment rate was at 6.8% in February 1999, the lowest rate since April 1976.

Moreover, in February, 36,000 new jobs were created, thus continuing a pattern that began three years ago.

Finally, 1.9 million jobs were created since we came to office, in 1993.

In short, all Canadians are benefiting from economic conditions that promote job creation. These conditions were largely created by our Liberal government.

RefugeesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

David Price Progressive Conservative Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have just returned from a refugee camp in the northern part of Kenya. The camp has over 120,000 refugees, mostly Somalians, displaced for over nine years, living in conditions we could not even dream of.

I have to commend the people working in these camps, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and all the NGOs, such as Médecins sans frontières, the World Food Organization and all the dedicated church groups.

I want to thank the Canadian High Commissioner in Nairobi and all of his staff for setting up the details for this very important visit. I want to thank our immigration officers and staff in Kenya and London for letting our group sit in during interviews which included the minister of immigration and the member for Mississauga West.

Last but not least, I want to thank the minister's staff for setting up this on the ground experience of looking at how we determine refugees, immigrants and visitor visas.

Juno AwardsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Eleni Bakopanos Liberal Ahuntsic, QC

Mr. Speaker, last night we all celebrated with Canada's best at the 29th annual Juno Awards in Toronto. The quality and diversity of Canadian artists nominated at these awards reflects the excellence of our country's musical creators and performers. The awards they won are a prestigious national recognition of their talent.

Congratulations to Bryan Adams and Chantal Kreviazuk, for winning best male and female artists of the year.

Let me congratulate Paul Brandt for winning best country male artist and Shania Twain for best songwriter. Let me also congratulate SKY for winning best new group and Sarah McLachlan for winning the international achievement award.

I also want to congratulate Diana Krall—she is my favourite—for winning best vocal jazz album, the Quebec group La Chicane, for winning best-selling francophone album, and all the other Juno winners. We cannot name them all today, because we do not have time.

Canada can be proud of its musical talent and of the recognition it receives from both Canadian and international audiences.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning ReformLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, in August the human resources department prepared a communication strategy for the minister. The aim was to manage the release of an internal audit that pointed to gross mismanagement of taxpayer dollars by the minister. The document suggested three options for releasing and communicating the results of that audit: a reactive approach, a low key approach, and a proactive approach. Each came with suggested advantages and disadvantages.

Why did the minister choose the reactive approach as outlined in that communication strategy?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, let us be clear that the communications plan was a draft. It was prepared before the audit was even complete. It is usual for departments, particularly communications officials, to prepare this kind of information. It was not forwarded to me, nor would I have expected it to have been.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning ReformLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, let us be clear. We have a copy finally of this communications brief. It outlines three distinct approaches, going from the most transparent, the proactive approach, to the least transparent, the reactive approach. The reactive strategy suggests carrying on business as usual and not releasing the results of the audit until forced to do so by an access to information request.

We are talking about an audit dealing with gross mismanagement of taxpayer dollars. Why did the minister choose the least transparent strategy for handling that internal audit?

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, again let me say that this was a draft report.

If the hon. member wants to talk about fact, let us look at what we did. It was this side of the House, it was me, as minister, who made this report public. Quite frankly, it had nothing to do with an access to information request by that party.

Human Resources DevelopmentOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Reform

Preston Manning ReformLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, let us go over it again. The minister had an internal audit on her desk revealing gross mismanagement of taxpayer dollars. Her departmental spin doctors presented her with three options for releasing the information to the public. The words “demonstrates transparency” were only used in connection with one approach, the proactive approach. The approach the minister chose was described as simply “demonstrating business as usual”.

Again, how can the minister claim she is being transparent when she rejected the one communications approach her own departmental people said—