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House of Commons Hansard #117 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was endangered.

Topics

Korean WarStatements By Members

1:50 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Mercier Bloc Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Korean war has been called Canada's forgotten war, although 27,000 Canadian soldiers took part in it. Of these, 516 Canadians, 113 of them Quebecers in the 22e Régiment, perished. They must not die forgotten.

I wish to mention last Sunday's unveiling in Quebec City of a commemorative plaque in tribute to these Quebecers. The 22e Régiment laid on a guard of honour for this ceremony, which was attended by Quebec's Lieutenant Governor, Lise Thibault. I find it regrettable that the Department of Veterans Affairs did not see fit to contribute financially to this tribute, as it was asked to do.

Personally, and on behalf of the Bloc Quebecois, I congratulate the Korea Veterans Association of Canada, especially Roland Boutot and his wife, Carmen, on this fine initiative, which will serve as a memory to future generations of the sacrifice made by these Quebecers, who lost their lives in the Korean war.

Political PartiesStatements By Members

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

John Bryden Liberal Wentworth—Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are tired of political party leaders who want to download government, who urge slashing taxes to benefit the rich, who are prepared to jeopardize our health by privatizing public services, who think backbench politicians are better at home in their riding schmoozing for votes than debating how to make the best laws possible.

Canadians are not fooled by political party leaders who think governing is a series of personal photo ops, publicity stunts, private press conferences and attack ads. I have proof, unassailable proof. On September 8, in a provincial byelection in my riding, the Liberal candidate swung 20,000 votes away from the Ontario Tories in a landslide rejection of the policies of Premier Mike Harris.

Where walks Mike Harris stalks the leader of the Canadian Alliance. It may take some time—

Political PartiesStatements By Members

1:50 p.m.

The Speaker

I ask hon. members to use the names of ridings and not our regular names.

Organized CrimeStatements By Members

1:50 p.m.

Reform

Jim Abbott Reform Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, last night the House sat until after midnight debating the issue of organized crime in Canada. This insidious force that is a cancer in Canadian society has grown in our lives in the last seven years under the Liberal government.

In their speeches last night it was evident that the justice minister and solicitor general have no concept of the complexity of this problem. They do not understand that organized crime presents a threat not only to the personal security of Canadians but also to Canada's national security as terrorists link arms with organized crime. Dangerous forces attempt to undermine the freedom of speech and association of Canadians as they threaten, coerce and attempt to bribe people in public life.

When will the government finally get serious and recognize the solid link between organized crime and national security? It is time the government came forward with a strategy that will encompass foreign affairs, immigration, armed forces, CSIS and our national police forces. A united solid front is the only wall between Canadians and the forces of destruction.

International DevelopmentStatements By Members

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Eugène Bellemare Liberal Carleton—Gloucester, ON

Mr. Speaker, on September 5, the Minister for International Cooperation tabled a five-year plan targeting four key sectors of social development in developing countries.

A total of $2.8 billion will be invested in these priority sectors over the next five years. Funding for health and nutrition will more than double, while amounts earmarked for basic education, the fight against HIV/AIDS, and the protection of children will quadruple.

CIDA's social development priorities will allow Canada to bring a greater focus to its international development priorities. It will ensure that Canadian resources are invested where the needs are most pressing.

This framework for action presents a clear vision that will make Canada's development assistance program even more effective in building a better quality of life for some of the poorest and most marginalized people in the world.

Canadian AllianceStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Lorne Nystrom NDP Qu'Appelle, SK

Mr. Speaker, welcome to the Bay Street golden trough Olympics where Liberal, Tory and Alliance parties fiercely compete for corporate gold.

Bay Street dinners have seen Tories charge $500 a plate, the Liberals $1,000 and the Alliance's Tom Long $5,000 a person for a picnic in the Muskokas. However this year's winner of the golden trough award is the so-called grassroots Canadian Alliance for organizing a $25,000 a table corporate fundraiser in Toronto.

Twenty-five thousand dollars is the yearly income of an average working family in my riding. Twenty-five thousand dollars is more than two years salary for a person working at minimum wage in the province of Alberta.

This is the Alliance's price for democracy. This is its price for access to its corporate agenda. This is a party where Bay Street is now paying the piper and a party where Bay Street will call the tune.

Leader Of The Government In The House Of CommonsStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Ghislain Lebel Bloc Chambly, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government House leader thinks we oppose his coming to Quebec because he is a Franco-Ontarian.

I would remind the leader that the Bloc Quebecois opposes visits by all federal ministers touring Quebec at the expense of the Canada Information Office, the famous CIO, in tours organized by the good friend of the Minister of Public Works, Michèle Tremblay, and a former Liberal candidate, Serge Paquette, to whom the Liberals have paid out over $4.2 million since 1997.

Why are the visits to Quebec only? Why the heck are these visits organized by the CIO and not by the various ministers' offices? Why are the contracts for the organization of these visits being given to friends of the Liberal Party of Canada?

The government leader would be better advised to rise in defence of his minority, which has been rather mishandled these days.

Leader Of The Government In The House Of CommonsStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Mississauga West.

Member For Mississauga WestStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Steve Mahoney Liberal Mississauga West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am a member of parliament and I am a Liberal. I believe in universal health care and the Canada Health Act, not the CA's two tier American style health care system.

I promote tax cuts, not the CA's proposal for a flat tax. I wear a business suit, not a wet suit, thank goodness. I do not even own a personal watercraft. I work seven days a week, not four. I believe in a clear majority on a clear question, not the Bloc's intention to confuse Quebecers and other Canadians.

I believe in sound fiscal management, not the NDP's urge to spend, spend, spend. I believe that when we circle the wagons we shoot outward unlike the Conservative view of pulling together.

By the way, I believe in the Canadian Olympic dream. Our team will win more medals to come and the 2008 Olympics are coming to Canada. Yes, I am Canadian and I am a Liberal.

Member For Kings—HantsStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Progressive Conservative Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, I am a Progressive Conservative and on behalf of the Progressive Conservative caucus I am pleased to welcome back to the House of Commons the new member for Kings—Hants.

I had the honour and pleasure of serving with this member from 1988 to 1993, at which time he proved to be an outstanding international leader and represented our country so very well.

More recently I served with him going door to door in Kings—Hants and could not help but be impressed as people came out to shake his hand. They brought their children across the street. They said “I want my daughter to meet Joe Clark. I want my son to meet Joe Clark”. This is just an indication of the honour and respect that people hold for this man.

There is a void in Canadian politics that is not now being met. Under his leadership in the House, the Progressive Conservative Party will now fill that void. Every single one of us will be there to follow his leadership in reaching out to Canadians and meeting their needs.

On behalf of his entire caucus welcome back to the House of Commons, the Right Hon. Joe Clark.

New MembersRoutine Proceedings

September 19th, 2000 / 2 p.m.

The Speaker

I have the honour to inform the house that the Clerk of the House has received from the Chief Electoral Officer the certificates of the election and return of the following members:

The Right Hon. Joe Clark, for the electoral district of Kings—Hants.

Mr. Stockwell Day, for the electoral district of Okanagan—Coquihalla.

Joe Clark, member for the electoral district of Kings—Hants, introduced by Mrs. Elsie Wayne and Mr. Peter MacKay.

Stockwell Day, member for the electoral district of Okanagan—Coquihalla, introduced by Miss Deborah Grey and Mr. Chuck Strahl.

New Members IntroducedRoutine Proceedings

2:10 p.m.

The Speaker

I guess as they say in the Olympics, let the games begin.

New Members IntroducedRoutine Proceedings

2:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

New Members IntroducedRoutine Proceedings

2:10 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we can wait a few minutes so we can be serious before the fun of the coming weeks.

I want to give a very special welcome to the hon. Leader of the Opposition to this House, and to federal politics. He will soon discover we do things a little differently here on dry land. There are no life jackets in the House of Commons.

It gives me great pleasure again to see new leaders of the opposition. In fact the member for Okanagan—Coquihalla is the sixth leader of opposition to sit across from me. It is a very dangerous occupation.

I had discussions with my caucus and I want to assure the Leader of the Opposition that my caucus will work very hard to make sure that he has a long and fruitful career as the Leader of the Opposition.

Seriously, in the House of Commons politics is very important. We may speak in the House from different points of view and have different policies and approaches, but anyone who sits in the House of Commons is here because that person believes that we are working together to make Canada an even better country. That is why I welcome the opposition leader to this House.

I know that the new Leader of the Opposition is arriving here full of good intentions. He will work very hard and put a great deal of energy into promoting his ideas. We will have serious and sometimes heated debates. But in the end, we will both be working to ensure that Canada gets off to a good start in the 21st century.

I wish to welcome the opposition leader in the House of Commons and, as I said earlier, I know that the members on this side of the House wish him a very long career as Leader of the Opposition.

I welcome the new member for Kings—Hants, the leader of the Conservative Party. He has been a servant of this House for a long time. I was a minister in 1972 when this young member of parliament came from Alberta and immediately made his name in this House.

He had a terrific task. He became my critic when I was minister of Indian and northern affairs. I had two critics at that time, the hon. member and the then member from Kingston, Flora MacDonald. I used to call them the flora and the fauna.

However, more seriously he was an extremely good parliamentarian. He was very effective in the opposition, he was always well prepared and he would give it to you very straight. However, he was a soldier because he would take it too.

He became the Leader of Opposition when he was very young. He also became the prime minister when he was very young. After that he served the nation with great distinction as minister of foreign affairs. I am very happy that he is back with us because he is a parliamentarian from the school of Ged Baldwin, Stanley Knowles and Jack Pickersgill, people who made their names here in the House of Commons.

As for me, I am pleased to welcome a soldier with whom I had many battles in my life, but for whom I have the utmost respect. This is a man who is fully dedicated to public life and sincerely committed to making Canada an even better country.

I am sure that the House of Commons has much to gain from the return of the hon. member. I wish him good luck.

New Members IntroducedRoutine Proceedings

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I join with the other members of this House in welcoming the two new members from the ridings of Kings—Hants and Okanagan—Coquihalla.

Although they are newly elected, these two new members are not new to politics. Mr. Clark's experience as party leader, minister and Prime Minister will stand him in good stead here.

Mr. Day will now be able to defend his ideas in the House, ideas I do not share for the most part, but which will lead to a democratic debate in the House and improve the quality of the debate, since it is through debate that we get a better grasp of ideas.

I have no doubt that we will engage, in the coming weeks and months, in vigorous debate reflecting the high level of the House, of parliamentary procedure and of our parliamentary democracy. The arrival of new members in parliament is always an important occasion in parliamentary life, because it is the tangible expression of the voters' choice. It reminds us pointedly that we are all representatives of the public whom we have a duty to defend and whose interests, values and hopes we must express.

I have no doubt that the arrival of the two party leaders will help to keep alive this parliamentary tradition so important to us and which they will contribute to through their energy, talent and determination.

I welcome these gentlemen to the House and wish them luck.

New Members IntroducedRoutine Proceedings

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, I too rise to participate in that time honoured parliamentary tradition of welcoming new members to the House. I would like to associate myself perhaps for the first, last and only time, with the Prime Minister of Canada during this session, with the comments that have been made to sincerely welcome the new members, the new leaders to the House, but at the same time not extend to them too much in the way of wishes for good electoral success. I think that is the more honest thing to do.

I think we are all aware that the two members who today take their positions as leaders of their respective parties are no newcomers to politics, no political rookies, and so I will not attempt to give them any advice today, or at least not too much advice. For one thing they would not take it anyway coming from this corner of the House.

I do want to say a special word to the leader of the Conservative Party, as I think Nova Scotians would want me to, to welcome him as an honorary Nova Scotian at least for the moment. I would only say that if he endeavours to reflect the true values and the true hopes and dreams of Nova Scotians in his work on behalf of the people of Kings—Hants, then he will have served Canadians very, very well indeed.

Let me say to the new member who has taken his position today as the Leader of the Official Opposition, as a member who faced the transition from provincial to federal politics as he does now, do not be too afraid of the scrums. Take it from one who knows. It can be tough sometimes but it can only get better.

We are living today in a world of the 500 channel universe. In the everyday lives of people there is no shortage of sports spectacles or circus entertainment. So I say with all due respect to the Speaker, because I do understand the context and the spirit with which the Speaker has said let the games begin, let us instead hope that this will be the dawning of a new day in the life of this session of parliament. Let us instead commit ourselves to ensure that the real debate begins.

People have asked whether I think the dynamics of this place will change as a result of the two leaders taking their seats. I can only say let us hope so. Let us hope we see some change for the better because in the end, there is only one challenge that we all face in common, and that is to try to make the Parliament of Canada work for the people of Canada and to ensure that the government of the country is accountable to the people.

Again I say congratulations to the two leaders who now have joined us in this place. Let us let the real debate begin.

New Members IntroducedRoutine Proceedings

2:20 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I thank you very much for your warm welcome to the House.

I recognize that this is indeed an historic Chamber. Much history has been written here and much will be written.

I would like to first acknowledge those who have made it possible for me to be here, and possibly for each of us to be here in our own way. It was in this Chamber that a constitution was recognized which was prefaced with a clause that said “recognizing the supremacy of God” and by the grace of God we are all here.

I am also here by the grace of my wife and my family. They have continued to put up with me through the years, to encourage me, to let me know when I am getting too serious, and to let me know when it is time to lighten up. “Take off the pinstripe suit and put on a wetsuit” they tell me. I acknowledge them for being such a significant reason for my being here.

I wish to acknowledge the constituents in Okanagan—Coquihalla who gave to me such a wonderful mandate and such support from the farms, the ranches, the towns, the cities and the vineyards of that fabulous constituency. I owe thanks.

Yes, this is an historic Chamber. I experienced history just outside the Chamber. As a young teenager I stood outside of these doors when a flag was lowered and the new maple leaf was raised. At that moment as a young person excited about that event, I felt pride and expectation for the future. I witnessed a former prime minister, Mr. Diefenbaker, who stood there with tears coming down his cheeks at that moment. Beside him was the prime minister of the day, Mr. Pearson. I respected Mr. Pearson's respect at that moment in time for a great change that was taking place. I learned the power of change but also the importance of respect at moments like that.

I also learned outside of the Chamber, down the cement corridor that leads to the sidewalk. I participated in my first protest. I was about 15 years old. I was with a friend. We circled with other protesters. I cannot remember what the protest was about. We joined them because it looked like fun. As the cameras approached I had a horrifying thought: What if my parents saw me on the news? So I ran and I have been trying to overcome my fear of cameras ever since.

Mr. Speaker, I say through you to our Prime Minister that we will have debates in the Chamber. We will have greater debates in the great crucible of the next general election. Yes, my party and I will question his policies and I will question his plans. Sir, I have watched you over the years and I want to assure all members that I will never question your love and your dedication for this country and for the high office which you hold.

This is the start of a new era, one in which the public wants governments that respect democracy, the House of Commons, the legislature and taxpayers, governments that hold freedom in respect.

With that respect, we will bring forth the plans and the priorities that we think will lead to a better, a stronger and a healthier country with more hope and more opportunity. Under that umbrella of respect and optimism, we will conduct ourselves.

New Members IntroducedRoutine Proceedings

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, it will be an unusual thing for me to have the last word in the House, at least until the next election.

I want to begin by expressing my deep appreciation to the people of Hants county and Kings county in Nova Scotia. May I say to the leader of the New Democratic Party that while I am an honorary citizen of that province, my great-great-great-great-grandfather was not from away. I take very seriously the trust that they have vested in me as their member of parliament. I look forward to working with you and others in the House to advance the interests of those Canadian citizens and the others represented by others here.

I think members of the House would allow me a brief departure from parliamentary practice to recognize and thank someone who is in the gallery, Scott Brison, the former member of parliament for Kings—Hants. There may be less applause for what I intend to say next, which is that I fully expect Mr. Brison to be back in this place after the next election.

As the House is aware, the highest tides in the world are found in the riding of Kings—Hants, and those tides swept away the Liberal Party from Nova Scotia in the last federal election. I can assure you that the tide is stronger than ever now.

I want also to congratulate the new Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition both on his victory in Okanagan—Coquihalla and in the leadership process of his own party. I wish him good luck in the give and take of democratic debate.

I notice he made reference to his family and I can be forgiven for making reference to mine. My wife and daughter are in the gallery as they have been with me through 20 some years of active public life. I do not want to intrude on the Leader of the Opposition's family life, but I noted he said that from time to time his family told him when he should lighten up a little bit. I can tell him that this House will take care of that.

I deeply appreciate the words of welcome from the other party leaders in the House. The Prime Minister noted that I was his critic when I first entered the House years ago. Do not take this unkindly, Mr. Prime Minister, but it is easy to be your critic.

We in the House have a parliamentary duty to hold the government accountable, and I look forward to that responsibility, but we also have a Canadian duty to draw together the diverse interests of this truly extraordinary country. In all of Canada the House of Commons is the place that can best claim to represent all the communities of Canada. The nation is here. I hope to play some role in drawing out the better instincts of this nation, of having parliament reflect less of our divisions and more of what we can aspire to together.

I am honoured to be back among you and back to this House of Commons of Canada.

New Members IntroducedRoutine Proceedings

2:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

New Members IntroducedRoutine Proceedings

2:30 p.m.

The Speaker

This is such a good day I am almost tempted to cancel question period.

Fuel TaxesOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, only yesterday the Minister of Finance said that he could not take leadership in seeing taxes lowered on fuels because there was no provincial interest. I am aware of two ministers of finance, myself formerly being one of those, who wrote letters to the Minister of Finance expressing interest in this.

Even if that could have been an excuse, which it now is not, why will the Minister of Finance not commit to seeing these fuel taxes reduced?

Fuel TaxesOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, since the Minister Finance often takes questions for me, I will take a question for him today.

We have a serious problem and we are looking into it. The Minister of Finance has asked the provincial governments to collaborate with him. However, as he has said, we have to make sure, as any move has an impact on consumers.

Perhaps I could quote an expert on that who said at one time “If we look at lowering the gas tax what kind of guarantees do we have that the gas retailers will also drop the price, or are they just going to fill in the ditch?”

Fuel TaxesOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

An hon. member

Who said that?

Fuel TaxesOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Liberal Saint-Maurice, QC

It was the Leader of the Opposition when he was the treasurer in Alberta.

Fuel TaxesOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, that is quite right.

First, I am surprised that the Prime Minister did not let one of his most loyal supporters answer the question that was put to him. However, I will go on.