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House of Commons Hansard #122 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was animal.

Topics

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Reform

Dale Johnston Reform Wetaskiwin, AB

Mr. Speaker, I too am quite concerned that we are not hearing from speakers on the opposite side. Members opposite drafted the bill and should be here to defend it. Their non-participation and indeed their ambivalence to this whole thing perhaps could be interpreted in a couple of ways.

Maybe they think the legislation is so great that there is absolutely no way it could be improved upon, although I do not know how they could get that idea, because every one in the House who has spoken on it so far today has suggested improvements to the bill. Perhaps they are so ashamed of it that they just want it to slip through the House like a dose of salts, with nobody noticing it. Otherwise why is someone from that side not responding from time to time?

The other question my colleague raises is the one about wilful intent. I spoke to that at some length during my remarks but I would not mind actually expanding on that just a little. He talks about the ritual slaughter of animals by certain religious groups, which absolutely does date back to the time when history began to be recorded.

We have customs whereby the native people are still allowed to carry out their whale hunt. The Inuit are allowed to kill a certain amount of whales by harpooning them. I wonder if that has been considered in the bill.

I keep going back to two points. We have to consider what has been accepted practice for literally hundreds of years. We also have to be very cognizant that whatever we put into the statutes has to be tempered with copious amounts of common sense.

Perhaps common sense is not something that is very easily divined. We can argue that what is common sense to my knowledge is not necessarily common sense to others and vice versa, but the generally accepted term of common sense should be applied in liberal doses to this particular act.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Reform

Myron Thompson Reform Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to participate in the debate today, and I am pleased for a couple of reasons.

The first reason is that it gives me an opportunity to explain to the people out there in television land—I do not have to explain it to people in the House as they pretty well understand the strategy behind all these things—that we are once again seeing a bill that deals with some very questionable issues.

Along with that, some of the legislation that has been put forth does truly answer the need of our law enforcement people, which in turn answers the need for public safety. This has been combined with some much needed regulations in the gun legislation, which has been flawed for quite a while. This has been mixed all together and called an omnibus bill.

Like good children who take their medicine, if we sprinkle a little sugar on it they are supposed to swallow it and like it. I have risen in the House too many times to count to address a number of bills that come with a whole pile of things in them, some that make perfectly good sense as to why they are there and others that make no sense to me at all.

I cannot understand for the slightest moment what the disarming of a policeman has to do with cruelty to animals. Why are these two issues combined in the legislation? I want to support the particular part of the legislation which says that trying to disarm a policeman will be a criminal offence, and it should be a serious one. That is a good part of the bill. However, we also have to deal with another section of the bill regarding cruelty to animals. There are so many questions that need to be answered it is not even funny.

There is no definition with regard to what is meant by so many statements. Am I supposed to warn my five year old grandson when he goes fishing that somebody might be watching him as he puts a worm on his hook? According to the legislation that possibility exists. There is nothing in there that says a chicken farmer who raises chickens for the purpose of harvesting them for food for the public is allowed to trap or harm a weasel that might be trying to destroy some of his chickens.

Nothing in the legislation explains what is considered to be cruel. Believe me, I certainly do not condone the abuse of a pet in any form or fashion. That should never be allowed and, as far as I understand, it is not allowed today. Charges can be brought against an individual who exercises these kinds of abuses.

However, the bill clearly does not set out what is an intentional, unreasonable act of abuse upon an animal for no other reason than maliciousness. There is nothing in the bill that says that the chicken farmer or my grandson will not be responsible for hurting or causing pain to an animal that is being used for the purpose for which they use them.

Why are those things mixed up? I am really surprised there is nothing here to seriously address child pornography. Why not mix that in with all this? Why not take some other issue that the government slides around and stick it in there to make it look good? Is that the reason we have this particular section stating that it is a criminal offence if someone tries to disarm a peace officer? Is it to make the other sections of this flawed bill look good? Or, is it to make me look bad for not supporting a bill because of certain aspects of it, even though I want to support it because of other aspects of it?

It makes no sense to me that grown men and women who are supposed to have at the heart of the reason for being here, one of their most elemental duties being to provide protection and safety for the citizens of our country, would put together an omnibus bill of this nature that has good little aspects, silly little aspects and unexplainable little aspects in it. It makes no sense to me at all.

Grown men and women have put together a document that is all over the map, so we will be asking for some amendments. We want some things in here that will clearly define animal cruelty for the farmers and harvesters of animals who earn a living doing what they do. According to what I see as written, it could be very dangerous to these people in their activities and could cause a lot of grief.

There are some really good reasons why someone would brand an animal but it is painful. If members do not believe me they should come out to Alberta sometime. I will take them to a branding party and show them that it is painful.

Mr. Speaker, I do not know whether you go fishing, but if you catch one on your little hook and you plan to take it home to eat because it is good for your diet, do you let it flop to death or use a stick to club it on the head? You would probably club it on the head. Wait a minute, Mr. Speaker, the way the bill is written it could be construed as cruelty to animals. I would be the last one in this place, Mr. Speaker, to want to see you toted off to court so a judge could decide, on behalf of all these brilliant ladies and gentlemen who put these documents together, whether or not it was against the law because these people cannot put something together that clearly defines what it is they mean.

I think the intent of the bill, particularly the intent on cruelty to animals, is good. I think it is well-intended. However, surely most of the people in here have a brain bigger than the fish that I was talking about. Surely their brain ought to operate a little bit to know that the bill needs some clarification. Surely the government members would not want a group of people hauled off to a court so a judge could decide for these wonderful people what it is they are trying to say in a bill. Why can they not say what they mean? Why can they not clarify the bill? What does it mean? I read it and the meaning is not there. It does not clarify whether a farmer will be charged because he dehorns. Dehorning is painful. Clarity in the definitions is not there. It will take some amendments to do it. It will be tested in committee when amendments are brought forward to make it a better bill, to make it a bill with a little common sense and allow people to understand what the intent of the government is.

To the member on the government side who is doing all the heckling and yelling about what the bill does, I am afraid it does nothing at all. It is not clear at all. What would we expect from a Liberal government except unclarity? What would we expect from a Liberal government except high hopes that a document will be placed before a judge some day so the judge can once again decide for Canadians what the law will be and what it will not be. The Liberals do not have the courage or the intestinal fortitude to make the kind of laws that say what they mean.

They are doing a fine job at jumbling them all up. They jumble them all up so no one can point the finger in their direction and say that they are not doing their job very well. They are not. Believe me, Canadians of today recognize how the government deals with justice and they do not like it. I can understand why.

The Parliament BuildingsStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Murray Calder Liberal Dufferin—Peel—Wellington—Grey, ON

Mr. Speaker, we will have the occasion tomorrow outside the Chamber to reflect back on an incident which occurred during the 12th Parliament of Canada. On the night of February 3, 1916, the former Centre Block building burned to the ground. One of the few remaining artifacts to survive the blaze was the Victoria Tower Bell which continued to chime the hour until the stroke of midnight that February night.

I am happy to announce that a restored monument incorporating the bell will be unveiled tomorrow, September 27, at noon behind the Library of Parliament, facing the Ottawa River.

The Canadian Bankers Association has generously contributed financial support for the refurbishing of the bell monument and to have it prominently displayed for the many tourists who visit Parliament Hill.

I invite you, Mr. Speaker, and all my colleagues here to attend the ceremony and to learn about this fascinating event in our parliamentary history.

ChurchesStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Reform

Philip Mayfield Reform Cariboo—Chilcotin, BC

Mr. Speaker, beginning in 1883 the social reformers in the government and the churches developed a system of residential schools across Canada for native children.

The common wisdom of the day was that these were necessary for resocializing native children to integrate them into non-aboriginal world. For some the experience was beneficial. For many it was painful and harmful. The Canadian Encyclopedia , page 2007, tells us that:

From the 1890s till the 1950s the government tried constantly to shift the burden of the schools onto the churches, whose members made donations, and the students, whose labour was a contribution.

Today's government is doing the same thing, attempting to place its responsibilities on the backs of the parishioners of the churches. Many of our churches face financial ruin by this callous action of the government.

I call on the Minister of Justice to acknowledge the responsibility of the government for these failed social policies and ask her to stop dragging the churches into the courts as third parties to evade her own responsibilities.

Liberal Party Of CanadaStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Paradis Liberal Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to welcome two new members to the big Liberal family: the hon. members for Shefford and Compton—Stanstead. After much reflection, they have decided to join the ranks of the Liberal Party of Canada. I congratulate them for responding to the wishes of their constituents in this way.

When I was elected in the 1995 byelection, and again in the general election in 1997, my constant message was this: let us not divide the federalist vote. As a continuation of that message, I am delighted to welcome my two new Liberal colleagues. The federal Liberal team is strengthened by their presence, and the entire Eastern Township region will reap the benefit.

Anne MontminyStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Clifford Lincoln Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to express our warmest congratulations to Anne Montminy of my riding for her bronze medal win at the Sydney Olympics in the 10 metre dive. This is the first time Canada has ever won a medal in this event.

This exceptional honour could not have gone to a more accomplished or more likeable athlete.

Anne Montminy is a wonderful human being and an example to our youth everywhere. It took untold courage and perseverance to come back from the setback in Atlanta in 1996 and reach the very top of world excellence in Sydney. Anne deserves our warmest thanks for her courage and her class and our very best wishes in her new career as a lawyer.

I thank Anne Montminy.

Laryssa BissenthalStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Ovid Jackson Liberal Bruce—Grey, ON

Mr. Speaker, today I rise to congratulate a great Canadian. Laryssa Bissenthal of Walkerton, Ontario again captured bronze at the Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. Laryssa is the daughter of Dave and Carolyn Bissenthal of Walkerton, Ontario.

We in Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound and Walkerton are proud of Laryssa. She has made us proud for the second time in a row. I say to Laryssa: “You are a great Canadian. We are proud of you and you are great for all the young people of Canada”.

Softwood LumberStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Reform

John Duncan Reform Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, the federal government is exposing taxpayers to a risk that could cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

Pope & Talbot Lumber Company is suing under NAFTA because of what it says is unfair treatment in its amount of softwood lumber quota. The government is refusing to provide background documents to explain how its softwood quota was established. Without these documents the NAFTA tribunal is more likely to decide against Canada.

The government must demonstrate that favouritism and political considerations did not influence quota decisions. By agreeing to the 1996 softwood lumber agreement and then setting up a secret and flawed administration, the government has invited this NAFTA challenge. The softwood agreement has already cost Canadians billions. It is time for the government to demonstrate that it has nothing to hide.

Canadian Hot Air Balloon ChampionshipStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, this summer, the Canadian Hot Air Balloon Championship was held as part of the Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu Festival de montgolfières M. Christie.

Denis Unsworth, a pilot in my riding, turned in a brilliant performance to win the prestigious event.

With its great technical complexity, this championship is the pinnacle of hot air balloon competition and Mr. Unsworth led the field of a dozen Canadian participants.

He is also Quebec champion, and turned in his winning performance aboard the Fierté , which sports the colours of the fleur-de-lis. He is the first pilot to win the Canadian championship for the third time.

In 2002, Mr. Unsworth will take part in the world championship in Châtellerault, France.

On behalf of the Bloc Quebecois, I am proud to pay tribute to Mr. Unsworth, the Canadian hot air balloon champion, and wish him good luck at the world championship in 2002.

Gary O'DwyerStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Christine Stewart Liberal Northumberland, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to acknowledge the hard work and commitment of Mr. Gary O'Dwyer. Mr. O'Dwyer is a noted teacher at St. Mary's Secondary School in Cobourg and is one of 12 teachers nationwide to be nominated to receive the 2000 Governor General's award for excellence in teaching Canadian history.

A national award, it recognizes teachers for their dynamic and innovative approach to teaching Canadian history. Mr. O'Dwyer started a speakers forum at the school 16 years ago allowing students to interact with noted speakers from around the world.

Through dialogue and debate in class, touring outside the class, students have experienced and participated in dynamic discussions of such topics as war and peace, the holocaust, religious intolerance and international development issues.

National leaders and more humble participants, including victims of history, have been part of Mr. O'Dwyer's well-respected speakers forum. Notable to me was the cold war era meeting of the Soviet Union and American war veterans discussing war and peace. Eye-opening, mind-opening experiences all.

TaxationStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Reform

Gary Lunn Reform Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, we are all aware of the tax free transfer of the mysterious $2.2 billion trust which was transferred to the United States on behalf of a wealthy, well-known family. This family received a tax free coupon from the government saving them $800 million in taxes.

The government is not only refusing to open the books on this questionable transfer but it is using taxpayer money to delay the courts from looking into this matter.

Two levels of court have ruled that a trial should be held into the merits of this questionable transfer. The auditor general believes that this transaction may have circumvented the law on capital gains and has been unable to obtain minutes of secret meetings which were held to permit this dramatic loss of tax revenues.

Who is the government trying to protect? What is the government trying to hide? Where has the money gone? Why does this government insist on helping their rich friends?

MPs are sent to Ottawa to seek the truth and speak the truth. When will taxpayers get the truth?

Canadian AllianceStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Eleni Bakopanos Liberal Ahuntsic, QC

Mr. Speaker, once again, there is dissension in the ranks of the Canadian Alliance. Unlike their leader, members of his party feel that simple possession of marijuana should be decriminalized.

The party's critic, who is now drafting the party's justice policy, supports decriminalization for simple possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana.

This is the sort of issue that clearly demonstrates to Canadians the confusion that reigns in Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition. I am sure the leader of the Alliance will continue to allow confusion to reign on this and other issues during the next election not for policy but for political expediency.

Aboriginal AffairsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Louise Hardy NDP Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, unfortunately Liberal aboriginal policy persistently defaults on treaties and written agreements. On the west coast, a group of young aboriginals feel they must occupy the fishery minister's office to protect aboriginal rights on the east coast. In Alberta, the Lubicon struggle to resolve their longstanding claim. In Quebec, Domtar logs on unceded land. In the Yukon, fees are imposed on permits and licences, even though 16.4.10 of the claims agreement clearly prohibits this. From coast to coast to coast the divide between aboriginal and non-aboriginal Canadians is widening.

If we are to repair this breach it is imperative that we honour the existing treaties right now.

AsbestosStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Guy Chrétien Bloc Frontenac—Mégantic, QC

Mr. Speaker, today in Montreal, communities in the Asbestos and Thetford regions are launching a pro asbestos movement. This dynamic organization will act as a counterweight internationally to the anti asbestos lobby, which for a number of years has been lowering the value of this product, with its exceptional qualities.

I congratulate the workers who initiated this movement and its spokespersons, Laurent Lessard and Rolland Beaulieu. I also wish them considerable success in the many projects they have planned, including a visit to Geneva in support of Quebec City and Ottawa, which are appealing the decision of the WTO on France's ban on asbestos.

I invite the Council of Canadians and the NDP, which oppose Ottawa's appeal in this matter, to follow the activities of the pro asbestos movement. Their position makes it clear once again how little they know Quebecers and how incapable they are of defending their interests.

MercazStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to offer my most sincere congratulations to a charitable organization in my riding, Mercaz, on its annual food drive aimed at fighting hunger and poverty.

Since 1993, Mercaz has provided food, clothing and household articles to new immigrants and low income families.

The last drive was a success. Thanks to the generosity of the people in our riding and the help of some 100 young people, over 15,000 non perishable items were collected.

Employment InsuranceStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Angela Vautour NDP Beauséjour—Petitcodiac, NB

Mr. Speaker, seasonal workers may not find a comfortable home with either the Liberals or the Reform Alliance.

The Liberals are bragging about a $12 billion surplus, of which about half belongs to the workers and employers. EI dollars are not going to the unemployed who desperately need help.

Yesterday the member for Calgary—Nose Hill revealed her party's position on low income seasonal workers when she said “Seasonal workers already earn a comfortable income”.

I would like to present some figures. In 1996, before the Liberals slashed the EI program, 75% of seasonal workers in New Brunswick made less than $10,000 a year. Is the member saying that $10,000 a year is a comfortable income?

The Liberals were well aware of these figures before they chose to slash the EI program. How can they justify their cuts knowing that 75% of seasonal workers in just one province were already living well below the poverty line?

Aboriginal AffairsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

John McKay Liberal Scarborough East, ON

Mr. Speaker, one of the most difficult issues facing Canadian society is the litigation concerning aboriginal schools. It brings the Government of Canada, a number of major churches and aggrieved aboriginal complainants into the courtrooms of the nations to settle one of the most vexatious issues of our time.

The courts, however well-meaning, are among the least qualified forums for settlement and reconciliation. At the end of the day, if it ever comes, a lot of money will change hands, a small number of lawyers will do very well, the complainants less well, the churches will be bankrupt and our society diminished.

There will be no healing in the lives of the complainants. The money will dissipate with alarming rapidity and the healing so necessary in the lives of litigants will happen outside the courts, if at all.

Courts by definition exaggerate the distance between litigants, exaggerate lines of hostility and protract issues. It is the nature of the beast and, arguably, the last place to deal with the issues.

I call upon the Government of Canada to follow the lead of South Africa and set up a truth and reconciliation—

Aboriginal AffairsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Fredericton.

Brain Tumour Foundation Of CanadaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Andy Scott Liberal Fredericton, NB

Mr. Speaker, next month is the designated Brain Tumour Awareness Month in Canada. Brain tumours are located at the control centre for thought, emotion and movement and their effects on an individual's physical and cognitive abilities can be devastating.

Whether benign or malignant, a brain tumour can leave its recipient visually impaired, hearing impaired, overcome with seizures or even paralyzed. Each year 10,000 Canadians are diagnosed with a brain tumour and more than 100 different types have been identified.

Improving the outlook for children and adults with a brain tumour requires research. Since 1982 the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada has raised $1 million. On behalf of all members, I commend the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada for their good work on behalf of all Canadians.

AgricultureStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Reform

Rick Casson Reform Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, like many farm families across Canada, Ontario grain and oilseed producers are suffering because of record low commodity prices, poor weather and inadequate support from the federal government.

In the past, Ontario farmers have received some relief from foreign subsidies from the market revenue insurance program. Created in 1991 to address specific income problems caused by U.S. and European subsidies, MRI is the best safety net program for many grain and oilseed producers in Ontario.

However, the integrity of the MRI program is threatened by the federal government's insistence that the remainder of the $112 million in federal funds previously contributed to the MRI account be refunded after this crop year. This early termination stands in stark contrast with the new federal-provincial safety net program which extends to 2002-03.

Given this government's weak record on farm support, what guarantee can the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-food give Ontario farmers that their market revenue insurance program will remain viable?

Atlantic CanadiansStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, I want to inform the House and all Canadians that I am not a lazy maritimer.

The recent comments by John Mykytyshyn of the Alliance Party, a senior policy advisor, as well as the comments yesterday in the House by the hon. member for Calgary—Nose Hill, demonstrates what the Alliance Party thinks of us in Atlantic Canada.

I, my colleagues and all elected representatives who serve the over 3 million Atlantic Canadians, many of whom have moved to other parts of Canada, wish to inform the leader of the Alliance Party and the Alliance Party itself that we are not only some of the finest people in the entire country and in the entire world, we are also caring and sharing people as well.

It is about time the official opposition realized what truly great people live in Atlantic Canada.

TaxationOral Question Period

September 26th, 2000 / 2:15 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, this is the day. If the Alliance motion passes to reduce gas taxes then the charge of tax on gasoline will be reduced by 3.3 cents per litre.

Without referring to any of the excuses of last week, why will the Prime Minister not agree to a gas tax break for Canadians?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this is the Chrétien believing very much in responsible government. I have said and have repeated many times that we are looking at all the options.

We are not sure that the option of a reduction in tax will be passed on to consumers. We have to make sure that if we move, we move to make sure that those who we want to help are helped. We may choose another way.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, that is what we thought, no action at all.

On September 14 the finance minister, when talking to the Toronto Board of Trade, was quoted as saying that high marginal tax rates in the country are a burden on middle class incomes.

It has also been recorded by the World Economic Council on Competitiveness that interestingly over the last year the United States has moved from second to first place in terms of international competitiveness. Ireland has moved from tenth to fifth place and Canada has dropped. Will the Prime Minister change his high tax policies which continue to be a drag on our economy?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have worked very hard on the reduction of taxes. There were some measures two years ago and some last year. Some came into force in July. We have also reduced the capital gains tax. We are doing it step by step.

Here is what one person said about the most recent federal budget: “I am saying this live and on television: We give credit to the Minister of Finance and the federal government for some of the good things in that budget. I give them full credit for some of the good things they did in terms of reducing income taxes for all Canadians. Good for them”. The Leader of the Opposition said this in Alberta on February 29.