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House of Commons Hansard #120 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was pornography.

Topics

Crime PreventionStatements By Members

September 22nd, 2000 / 11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Julian Reed Liberal Halton, ON

Mr. Speaker, Statistics Canada has recently reported that the national crime rate was down 5% in 1999. That makes it now eight consecutive years that the national crime rate has gone down. In fact, Canada's crime rate is at its lowest level in 20 years.

The numbers released earlier this year for youth crime were headed in the same direction, down. Youth crime was down for the seventh year in a row.

We are pleased that crime is declining but we are not satisfied. The Liberal government continues to commit $32 million a year to the National Strategy on Community Safety and Crime Prevention in order to prevent crime and attack its root causes.

We are supporting communities large and small in developing projects on the ground to prevent crime where we live. It is only when we achieve safe communities and a sense of security that Canadians can focus on their larger hopes and dreams.

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Reform

Chuck Strahl Reform Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Sumas energy project is a power plant proposal that will pump three tonnes of pollution every single day into the narrow air shed over the Fraser Valley. The Fraser Valley already has one of the most polluted atmospheres in Canada, with one of the highest rates of respiratory disease in the country.

Virtually every person and every group in B.C. is opposed to this project. The Canadian Alliance is opposed to the project. The B.C. Liberal Party, the provincial NDP, the Abbotsford and Chilliwack city councils, and even the B.C. Lung Association is against it. So the questions for the Minister of the Environment are these.

Why has he failed to back up the Abbotsford city council, who have been fighting this proposal on both sides of the border? Why has he refused to tell the Americans that Canadians just do not want this plant near the border? Why has he failed to raise the alarm about air pollution with an industrial plant, but feels free to tell B.C. residents that it is up to them to clean up the valley air? Why as a B.C. minister has he completely failed to aggressively represent British Columbian interests?

Finally, why does he insist on acting more and more like an American industry minister and less and less like a Canadian environment minister?

Young Offenders ActStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Bloc Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday a member of the Canadian Alliance accused me of holding up the work of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights through my systematic objection to each of the 200 clauses of the Minister of Justice's bill to criminalize young people who are having problems with the law.

It is true that I have made use of all the parliamentary tools available to me in order to prevent Bill C-3 from ever getting passed. It is true that we heard many witnesses, but none from Quebec supports the Minister of Justice's bill.

It is true that I had a duty to do everything within my power to have the bill die in committee. I am here to defend the interests of Quebec. I have done so and I will continue to do so with all the energy available to me.

The Bloc Quebecois will continue this battle with solidarity.

Fort LawrenceStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Progressive Conservative Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, a recent discovery of a 1958 infrared photograph taken by the Royal Canadian Air Force confirms the exact location of the Acadian village of Beaubassin established in the late 1600s. This Acadian village survived until 1750 when the Acadian leaders burnt the village down and the inhabitants moved across the river to an area now known as Fort Beauséjour.

In the meantime, the British took possession of the site of the Acadian village and built a settlement there called Fort Lawrence, named after the fort of the same name. Throughout this exercise, native peoples were involved and present throughout.

The Fort Lawrence Heritage Society has done a great deal of research and work on this project. It proposes that the federal government should assume ownership of the land before any more damage is done to the site and any more artefacts are removed.

I will be meeting with the Minister of Canadien Heritage, as soon as possible, to seek her support in arranging for the federal government to acquire the land to protect it for the future. This one site reflects important aspects of our English, French and native history. I urge the government to move quickly to preserve this historic area.

Veterans AffairsStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

NDP

Gordon Earle NDP Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, while this House is currently debating Bill C-41, veterans benefit legislation, it is significant to note that the issue of compensation to our merchant seamen has not yet been satisfactorily concluded.

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, almost half of the claims received from merchant mariners are still waiting to be processed. These Canadians risked life and limb during the war to deliver fuel, food, goods and people and were under attack from German submarines, facing casualties and all too often death.

Every month more and more of these brave members of our community succumb to illness and old age. It has been estimated that the merchant mariners are dying at the rate of 12 per month.

I ask this government to resolve this matter immediately and pay those who qualify so that this injustice will not persist one day longer.

Fuel TaxesOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, appreciating the rules about remarking on attendance, I will be faithful to that and pose my question to the acting Prime Minister.

In terms of knowing with some sense of confidence in which government documents we as Canadians can have confidence, when I asked the Prime Minister yesterday about his commitment to reduce the 1995 excise tax on gasoline he simply said “Never mind that, just refer to the red book”.

I need to know which government documents or which statements can we rely on as being accurate and factual. Is it the red book? Is it the budget? Is it documents from the House? Is it statements the Prime Minister stands up and reads? Since there has been some history of inaccuracy, which statements and which documents can we rely on as being truthful?

Fuel TaxesOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

All of them, Mr. Speaker.

Fuel TaxesOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, then we hold the Prime Minister to his commitment to reduce the 1995 excise tax. Why is that not happening?

We have helped the government remove all the obstacles. It said that there was no provincial co-operation on gas tax. We now have provinces talking about it and one province saying it will match it penny for penny. We have said that it will not be a non-confidence vote. Every area the government raises, we are helping it with the obstacles.

Are there any more obstacles that the Prime Minister would like us to help him with so that we can see this gas tax reduction go to Canadians?

Fuel TaxesOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition could help the government by understanding the work the government is doing to deal with this issue and give the government its support. It is not doing that. It should do that and it is about time.

Fuel TaxesOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, we have been doing a lot of work clearing the way for this. There seems to continue to be obstacles although the government will not name them.

The finance minister was decent some time ago in terms of apologizing for not reducing or eliminating the GST. I wonder if the Prime Minister would be willing to make an apology at least to Canadians. If we do not get the money back can our hearts be somewhat comforted with an apology from him for not doing something about the 1995 commitment relating to the excise tax on gas?

Fuel TaxesOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, when will the Leader of the Opposition apologize for sitting in the Alberta legislature as minister of finance for nine years and not doing anything to remove the increases in gasoline taxes in that province which came into effect before he was minister of finance. He could have dealt with that when he was minister of finance but did not. Where is that apology?

Fuel TaxesOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, I think he did quite a few things in terms of lowering taxes in Alberta.

Let me read from the minister's 1995 budget. It said “Federal excise tax on gasoline will be increased to help reduce the deficit”. The deficit is gone but the tax is not.

It is not just low income Canadians who are worried about this fuel crisis and who are in the midst of it. All Canadians are worried about heating their homes this winter and putting gas in their vehicles.

Is it not time that the gas tax being lowered would be one promise that the government should keep?

Fuel TaxesOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to helping Canadians, including homeowners, the best thing the government can do is to have the amendment proposed by the member for Pickering—Ajax—Uxbridge included in the debate and in the record in terms of the motion that was proposed by the opposition party yesterday.

The Alliance proposal to us does not do anything to help homeowners, truck drivers or the public at large.

Fuel TaxesOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Reform

Deborah Grey Reform Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am sure as a member of the government he would be happy to bring that legislation in any time under government orders. We would be happy to deal with it.

I said that it was not just low income Canadians who are worried about this. Canadians of all brackets and all walks of life have vehicles that need gas and homes that need heat this winter.

I find it interesting that the government all of a sudden says that it has to consult with the provinces. It sure did not consult with them when it jacked up the tax. I do not know why it is so worried about consulting them now. No one will ever buy that argument. The Canadian public sees right through it.

If the Liberals could get their nominations through in holy haste, surely to heaven they could lower this tax about that fast as well.

Fuel TaxesOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalSecretary of State (International Financial Institutions)

Mr. Speaker, we challenge the official opposition to accept on the spot, because it can do it, the amendment to its motion proposed by the hon. member for Pickering—Ajax—Uxbridge. This would ensure that the relief got through to Canadians and was not just gobbled up by the oil companies.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Bloc Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, there are, within the Liberal cabinet, significant differences of opinion on the rules governing access to employment insurance. Everyone knows this, it is an open secret.

Does the minister intend to support the position taken by the Prime Minister, on the eve of an election, of making the changes necessary in the field of employment insurance?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, we on this side of the House are all of one mind. We are here to help Canadians who do not have the benefit of work to find work.

As I have said on a number of occasions in the House, as part of the 1996 amendments there is an annual review of the Employment Insurance Act to see if the changes are doing what they are supposed to do. If there is evidence that changes need to be made, we will make them.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Bloc Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, will the minister finally be brave enough to listen to public opinion and announce significant changes to the employment insurance plan established by this government, which affects women, young people and seasonal workers especially.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, it is incumbent on the government to ensure that its programs are efficient. As I have said on a number of occasions, we continue to look at the impact of the employment insurance legislation and, if changes need to be made, we will make them.

I want to remind the hon. member that we are having this debate in the context of making sure that Canadians have the opportunity to work. In that regard, I am very proud of our record. Since taking office in 1993, the level of unemployment has been reduced significantly. That is something we should all be supportive of.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, the people who made the greatest contribution to eliminating the deficit are the very people denied their fair share of the fruits of the economic recovery. Cabinet bickering is denying justice to seasonal workers, women and young people.

Will the Minister of Human Resources Development drop this pointless bickering, assume her responsibilities and announce the specific measures that these workers and unemployed individuals have been awaiting for all too long?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, I would ask the hon. member to look at the facts. He makes reference to women. We see that the unemployment levels for women are particularly positive over the course of the last number of years. A million more women are working today than there were in 1993.

When it comes to seasonal workers, again, we understand the realities facing men and women who work in seasonal industries, but the status quo is not acceptable. We are in communities in the Gaspé and the Acadian Peninsula, working with employers and employees to change that status quo. I just wish the hon. member opposite would assist us in that regard.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Human Resources Development responsible for the mess created by the Liberal's employment insurance scheme also has all the information she needs to make quick decisions in order to remedy the injustices created by her government.

What is keeping her from announcing changes to the system in order to give seasonal workers, young people and women their due? Is she waiting for the election call?

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Brant Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart LiberalMinister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is speaking out of both sides of his mouth. He sits there and talks about the grants and contributions with reference to the investments that we have been making and it is those grants and contributions that go directly to seasonal workers, that go directly to women and that go directly to Canadians who want to improve their own capacity to be part of this great economy. Is he now saying that we should not be making those investments?

FisheriesOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, mediator Bob Rae's report on the volatile situation at Burnt Church recognized a role for all communities dependent upon the fishery. He also expressed the view that a negotiated result was possible, but that at this point the parties were too far apart.

My question is for the Deputy Prime Minister. Is the government prepared to do its part to reduce that distance, to reduce that gap between the parties and to get back on course toward a peaceful resolution?

FisheriesOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Vancouver South—Burnaby B.C.

Liberal

Herb Dhaliwal LiberalMinister of Fisheries and Oceans

Mr. Speaker, let me once again commend Bob Rae for the excellent work he has done. I also want to thank him for continuing to say that he will make himself available where he feels he can do more good work. I appreciate that very much. Certainly I have always said that it is through dialogue and co-operation that we can get real agreements in the long term.

Meanwhile, at this time the Miramichi is closed for conservation reasons. Our scientists have said that fishing there threatens the resource. The Miramichi is closed for fishing and our enforcement officers enforced that last night and removed traps.

We will continue the dialogue because in the long term we will resolve it at the table not through enforcement.