This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #115 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was liability.

Topics

Canada National Marine Conservation Areas ActGovernment Orders

1:20 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Scott Brison Progressive Conservative Kings—Hants, NS

Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to speak to Bill C-10, an act respecting the national marine conservation areas of Canada.

I very much enjoyed hearing the comments of my colleague from Edmonton North. She mentioned the pleasure she derived from driving her Honda GoldWing through Canada's national parks, always on the pavement though, not through the woods and trails. That would not be possible in one of Canada's new marine parks. While it would not be possible, it would not be politically advisable either to do it on a Sea-Doo or perhaps a pumpkin, but that is another story.

The legislation in general makes a great deal of sense. For generations we have recognized the importance of protecting our parklands and national parks. These have been a source of pride for Canadians, as we recognize the importance of protecting our ecosystem and our natural environment, not simply for the sustainability of that environment but also for the pleasure that we and future generations derive from that national environment.

We recognize that we have the same responsibility over our coastlines and our water areas as we have over our lands. If we compare our responsibilities up to the 200 mile limit with those responsibilities we have over our terrain, they are almost identical. It is only intuitive that we move in the direction of recognizing the importance of protecting marine conservation areas in the same way we protect our national parks in Canada.

This is particularly important as we enter an age where ecotourism is becoming increasingly important. Many people who travel to Canada and its coastlines are not coming for theme parks or shopping. However, with the Canadian dollar having been bludgeoned so consistently by this government, perhaps shopping would not be a bad alternative.

In many cases, tourists who come here from other parts of the world come because of our unique, important and very special ecosystem and environment.

We have seen many examples of bad environmental policy in Canada in the past, in part, because we have taken for granted the wealth of our natural resources. Canada has wide open spaces and much natural beauty. In many ways we have taken that for granted over the years. We have seen bad environmental policy ultimately become bad economic policy. The cost to fix some of the catastrophic effects of decades of neglect does not take into account the sanctity of our lands and our natural resources.

Canadians can be united under the vision that bad environmental policy ultimately is bad economic policy. This becomes increasingly self-evident as ecotourism becomes a more important industry in Canada. That is certainly the case in our national parks and their surrounding areas and is obviously will be the case in our marine conservation areas.

I heard some concerns expressed in the House today, including some by the member for Dewdney--Alouette who has stewarded this legislation at committee for our caucus.

Some concerns that I share are the degree to which the federal government has a habit of consistently running roughshod over provincial jurisdictional boundaries. Instead of working with the provinces or with some subnational governments in a pre-emptive way to develop legislation that fully respects the sanctity of provincial and subnational jurisdictional boundaries, the government tends to create the legislation. Then, during the post-implementation period, it determines exactly how far it can push and trample on the legitimate jurisdictional responsibilities of provinces and other governments.

It would make far more sense for the government to sit down with provinces and subnational governments, consult pre-emptively and develop legislation as partners, as opposed to presenting legislation and ultimately creating what would and could very easily become an adversarial environment. It is unfortunate the government does not take that opportunity and take its responsibility more seriously to consult with and work with the provinces in a more genuine way.

The member for Edmonton North made a great point earlier. She said that if the federal government took a proactive role and worked with the provinces, this could be an initiative of which all Canadians could feel proud and which would be a uniting initiative as opposed to what ultimately can be a divisive initiative of the government.

Some other concerns I have heard expressed in the House have been addressed by the government. The government has moved somewhat and there has been some success at the committee level and beyond.

In terms of order in council powers, this government, more than any government before it, has abused those powers and that authority. As the power has become increasingly concentrated, not just in cabinet any more but in the Prime Minister's Office, we have seen a significant reduction in the role parliament and in the role of members of parliament in determining the priorities of legislation like this and in helping shape this type of very important legislation. That is unfortunate not just for members of the House, but it is unfortunate for every Canadian represented by members in the House. When we reduce the rights of parliament and the rights of individual members of parliament, we ultimately reduce the democratic rights of individual Canadians.

If there is something that can unite almost every member of the House, regardless of whether they are on the government side, in the back benches or in opposition, it is the need for greater parliamentary input. This is not just lip service to legislation to make the television viewers happy when watching our deliberations. It involves genuine input that shapes legislation which will have a significant effect on future generations. Institutional reform is something to which we ought to devote far greater effort.

We support in principle the direction of the legislation. It makes a great deal of sense at this juncture to move in this direction. However we believe that the provinces and other subnational governments should have been, and should be, consulted in a more vigorous way prior to the formation of this legislation. If we expect the subnational governments to be part of the solution, we cannot impose this type of legislation on them. We need to work with them to build legislation that will impact significantly on their general business.

Canada National Marine Conservation Areas ActGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jim Abbott Canadian Alliance Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Madam Speaker, as I do every time I stand to speak on national parks I want to quickly recite my own background and the relationship I have with national parks. My family and I decided in 1973 to move to a piece of property on a lake on the west side of the Rocky Mountains. We have lived there since 1974. We continue to live there today. Our family grew up there.

I have nothing but the greatest respect for the wildlife, the environment and the ecology. We have made a very strong personal family commitment to the environment, waking up in the morning and watching the bald eagles swooping down over the coots, or watching the muskrat burrowing out from the under the ice on some of our docks in the winter. I know our neighbours do not necessarily always appreciate the number of deer we have around in the winter because they chew at the hedges, but I live in an area with 500 people who have nothing but the greatest of respect for the ecology, the environment and certainly for all the wildlife species there.

With those personal qualifications, I would like to make some remarks on the whole issue of the establishment of the marine conservation areas. The change of the name from marine park, which is the name of the act from another parliament, to marine conservation area reflects a realization that national marine conservation areas are not simply parks in the water. Marine conservation areas involve a partnership among several federal departments.

Under the Oceans Act, the Ministry of Fisheries and Oceans can establish marine protected areas. Additionally, Environment Canada can establish national wildlife areas or marine wildlife areas under the Canada Wildlife Act, as well as migratory bird sanctuaries under the Migratory Birds Convention Act. We see, then, with respect to what the government is attempting to do here that there already are a lot of federal laws with respect to the protection of the marine conservation areas.

What is very unfortunate is that these national laws end up overlapping and creating many more layers, like layers of an onion, on top of all the provincial regulations as well. Because the act would be administered under Canada's national park agency, I would like to take a look at how the national park agency is currently relating to issues of ecological integrity and the environment.

I will refer to a document that was done by the Fraser Institute. I believe the name of the document is Off Limits: How Radical Environmentalists are Shutting Down Canada's National Parks . It was done by Sylvia LeRoy and Barry Cooper and I want to give them full credit for what I am about to say here. Bearing in mind that the marine conservation areas would be administered by Parks Canada, let me read from one of the sections in this report, which states:

Much of the confusion over current parks policy stems from the language adopted over the course of a cumulative policy review process initiated by the federal government with the appointment of the Banff-Bow Valley Task Force in 1994. Reflecting recent trends in the wilderness conservation movement, ostensibly scientific discourse has been turned into highly charged political rhetoric in order to redefine the basic assumptions and parameters of parks policy. Specifically, the overriding consideration is to evaluate the impact of activities in the parks on what is called their “ecological integrity.” No one would in principle argue against a common sense understanding of ecological integrity, or EI as it is called by Parks Canada officials and environmentalist groups. Obviously, preservation of the integrity--the wholeness and soundness--of the ecology--the natural environment--must be an important priority in park management. In fact, however, the effective meaning of EI is far from clear. As a technical term, a term of art, as the lawyers say, it has been used to promote everything from the common sense meaning of environmental stewardship, to a most unusual and basic restructuring of the mountain parks, especially Banff National Park.

In the name of ecological integrity, it has, for instance, been proposed that Moraine Lake, the image of which used to grace the back of the $20 bill, be either bombed or poisoned so as to eradicate all non-native fish species described as “biological pollutants” by one government ecologist. Science projects already under way at the less well known Bighorn Lake are just as astonishing. There are trout in Bighorn Lake today, but according to EI advocates, once upon a time there were none. Ecological integrity today apparently requires that the existing fish be exterminated and the lake returned to pristine sterility. Bighorn Lake, a few miles from the Banff townsite, is a popular destination for hikers with fishing poles. It seems a curious policy of wildlife management that requires the extinction of wildlife.

It is this kind of extremism we see currently within Parks Canada which I am addressing as it relates to the future administration of this marine conservation area. When I visited Gros Morne National Park about three years ago I was astounded to see some of the largest mammals that I have ever seen wandering around in the wild in Canada. These were moose, absolutely gigantic moose. I was told that there were no fewer than 7,000 moose within Gros Morne park. Why have they thrived there? First, the top of the flat areas in Gros Morne park is a smorgasbord for the moose. It is perfectly and ideally suited for the moose, which is probably why God did not put moose in Newfoundland. Someone did. Someone introduced a pair of moose around the turn of the century. That pair has subsequently increased to 7,000 head and on top of that are literally eating Gros Morne out of existence.

In this report from the Fraser Institute we see on one side of the coin that selectively Parks Canada is prepared to poison Moraine Lake or to blow up the fish in Bighorn Lake so as to get back to a pristine standard, while on the other side of the coin, perhaps because the moose are so big and so magnificent, there is an absolute ban on any idea of there being a cull or any way of actually getting the number of moose under control, the balance being that the park likely within a number of measurable years will not be able to sustain those moose nor will the park be able to sustain itself and its ecological balance.

I visited Riding Mountain National Park about four years ago in the summer to find that someone had decided to plant some spruce trees on the far eastern boundary of the park. It was an area that was supposed to be a grassland or by nature was a grassland area. The spruce trees thrived and then we had spruce trees that were 80, 90 or 100 years old being cut down. These were beautiful clear spruce trees that were being cut down and burned because of park policy to try to return the area to grasslands.

On one side of the coin we are prepared to poison, blow up and annihilate fish. On the other we are not prepared to do anything about the moose that are destroying the park, but we are prepared to cut down and burn perfectly merchantable timber. This does not give me a whole lot of confidence in the environmental understanding of Parks Canada at this point.

I will read again from the Fraser Institute study, which states:

Parks policy has tended towards ever-greater restriction on enjoyment in order to promote ever-greater preservation. With the completion of reports of the Parks Canada Panels on Outlying Commercial Accommodations (OCAs) in 1999 and on Ecological Integrity (EI) in 2000, this policy trend has been emphatically affirmed . Bolstered by the scientific discourse that established benchmarks in [the Banff-Bow Valley study], and aided by the legal advice of the Sierra Legal Defence Fund, the EI Panel has reinterpreted Parks Canada's historic dedication both to visitor use, and to park protection. Thus according to the Panel, “a proper reading of the National Parks Act of 1930 reveals that...there was no dual mandate.” Rather, ecological integrity was the one and only goal. Such a revision of the plain language of the Act calls into question the legitimacy of the general process by which parks policy is made, and in particular it raises the issue of informed public involvement. Since new guidelines for outlying commercial accommodations and ski areas are to be settled within the parameters of the EI Panel conclusions, the economic impact of the revised understanding of ecological integrity is bound to be significant. Moreover, these same assumptions are also bound to establish the context of future amendments to the National Parks Act as well as of future changes to regulations and interpretive guidelines made by Parks Canada under the terms of the Act.

As I stated at the outset, my primary concern about this issue is that we are giving to Parks Canada, an organization of questionable ecological understanding at this point, a club that it will be able to use in the national marine conservation area.

Canada National Marine Conservation Areas ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Bloc

Marcel Gagnon Bloc Champlain, QC

Madam Speaker, I am not sure if I am required to say it is my pleasure to speak to this bill, but I do not think that is the case. I would be lying to the House if I said that it is my pleasure to speak on this bill, for the simple reason that it is completely unacceptable for us, for all of the provinces and especially for Quebec.

The federal government has the knack when it comes to causing trouble; it is as though they have specialists working on it. When something is working fine, they find a way to introduce legislation to interfere as much as possible in provincial jurisdiction.

The bill contains titles that look good: protecting submerged lands, protecting the environment. By and large, these titles appear to please everyone and it is difficult to argue against them.

Yet this bill interferes directly in areas of provincial jurisdiction, clearly contravenes Canada's constitution. My colleague, the member for Châteauguay, an eminent lawyer, explained to what extent this bill is designed to go against common sense, against the rights set out in Canada's constitution.

A question that comes to mind is: Why does the government do everything it can to show disdain, be insulting and disorganize what should actually be organized? This is the question we may ask ourselves, because if the federal government wants to protect marine areas, I believe it could very well do it within its own area of jurisdiction, without disorganizing what can be easily organized, with the co-operation of all.

I had the opportunity to speak in this House about polluted submerged lands, for example, by Canadian Forces and by the federal government. If a am correct, those submerged lands have been intentionally polluted since 1952. I come back to this matter that is a federal responsibility because it is the polluter who must clean it up.

Back home, there are still 300,000 mortar shells on the bed of lake St-Pierre waiting to be fished out. The banks of the St. Lawrence have been damaged by the navy, by ships, a sector which I believe is entirely a federal jurisdiction. As a matter of fact, we would like to see the federal government assume its responsibilities in that area, which is without a doubt under its jurisdiction. There would be no problem. Everyone would be happy, though I suspect that pleasing Quebec is what the federal government dislikes the most.

We are always left grappling with situations with which the federal government refuses to deal. But when it is a matter of finding ways to interfere in Quebec's jurisdiction, for example, they are experts and are impatient to act.

Non only does the government try to duplicate what the provinces are doing, it also tries to do the same within its own areas of jurisdiction. Concerning protection of seabeds, three or four government departments are stepping on each other's toes. They will expand into provincial jurisdictions, namely in the area of environment. So there will be duplication. How can this bill be seen as a way to manage the country efficiently?

I find it somewhat disappointing to have to deliver a speech which goes against common sense, against what we should be doing here and against discussions which could move things forward.

I am always extremely disappointed to see how they do not seem interested in potential areas of cooperation. And yet, there are many of them. We cooperated after the events that took place this fall. The Bloc agreed to cooperate as much as possible for the good conduct of business in the wake of these events.

The discussions held in committee this morning on a bill were intended to further the interests of the whole of Canada and of Quebec. Unfortunately, a bill such as this one leads us to believe that everything is being done to destroy good understanding, scale down the jurisdiction of the provinces and increase dissatisfaction.

The Bloc Quebecois does not support this bill. Indeed, it is not the first time we speak to this legislation. I do not know how much an amendment can change a piece of legislation, but I do think that the best amendment we can put forward is for the government to step aside and work in its field of jurisdiction.

I would ask the federal government to assume its responsibilities and stop wasting our time with issues and legislation whose only purpose is to destroy harmony. It should act to clean up the banks of the St. Lawrence, Lake St-Pierre and the Jacques-Cartier River. It should recognize its responsibilities in these areas instead of constantly trying to annoy provinces and creating overlapping between its own departments.

Canada National Marine Conservation Areas ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Lanctôt Bloc Châteauguay, QC

Madam Speaker, following the moving of the amendment to the amendment, I would like to rise again today because I believe it is very important that I make the following comments.

Once again today I am addressing the House, not only as a member of parliament, but also as a citizen concerned with protecting the environment.

Like my colleagues in the Bloc Quebecois, I am in favour of legislation aimed at protecting the environment and of measures focusing on environments at risk, on land or under water. Is it necessary to remind this House that the Bloc Quebecois supported the bill creating the Saguenay—St. Lawrence marine park?

Our support, however, is neither blind nor naive. We will continue to support pro-environment bills, but not at any price, not in just in any way. Hence our opposition to Bill C-10.

Our primary objection is that the federal government's intention is to use this bill to appropriate the lands and areas of jurisdiction belonging to Quebec and the provinces by creating marine areas.

As I explained earlier today, for the federal government to be able to take over everything, several critical elements must be present including as a prerequisite that it has clear title on the submerged lands. But it does not own them.

This is not only because the Constitution Act, 1867 says that the management and sale of public lands are an area of provincial jurisdiction, but also because Quebec's legislation on public lands applies to all public lands in Quebec including the beds of waterways and lakes as well as the bed of the St. Lawrence river, the estuary and the gulf of the St. Lawrence river, which belong to Quebec by sovereign right.

The Canadian heritage backgrounder mentions three areas: the St. Lawrence River, the estuary and the gulf of the St. Lawrence. The government wants to apply the bill to three areas under provincial jurisdiction.

The federal government would contravene section 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867, which provides that the management and sale of public lands are within the jurisdiction of Quebec and the provinces and not the federal government. The federal government cannot use an environmental protection measure to appropriate lands belonging to Quebec and the provinces. Rather it should seek the provinces' co-operation.

This is yet another example of the federal government's stubbornness about a process that works well. Again, the establishment of the Saguenay—St. Lawrence marine park is the result of co-operation and partnership.

Why does the government refuse to listen to reason? It was the case with the young offenders legislation. The Quebec approach, which is based on rehabilitation and reintegration, has proven effective, but the federal government continues its push for a hard line approach. Today, I realize that the government is using the same process with this bill in that it wants to pass it first and then look at the issues.

I fear for the future of intergovernmental relations because we cannot trust a process that does not respect the public interest and, more importantly, because we cannot trust a government that does not respect its own departments. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans already has a program of marine protection zones in place. I stress the fact that this program is already in effect.

The result of all this is a state of confusion, and particularly of lack of respect. This is a case where the winner will be the one that will manage to gain the upper hand. Within the same government, we could end up with a duplication of tasks and skills. Why do they want duplication? How can the government justify this duplication? Why is it necessary? How many levels are required? How far will the federal government go in its quest for duplication? What worries me about this scenario is the rivalry that will result.

On the one hand, we have the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, which has expertise in this area. There is the Department of the Environment, which also has expertise in this area. And, now, we have Canadian heritage, whose mandate is limited to promoting Canadian unity. Which of them can we trust? Which of them should we trust?

Canadian heritage uses the environment for national unity purposes, while fisheries and oceans manages our marine natural resources. Can we trust the federal government to make the right choice in this case? Sometimes, I wonder whether the government has any judgment left, let alone common sense.

My main concern about the bill is the flagrant lack of co-operation within the government itself. I strongly doubt whether such behaviour would reassure the other levels of government regarding the introduction and enforcement of a bill whose intentions are noble, but which really boils down to unhealthy rivalry.

This brings me to another question: who will have the upper hand in the event of conflict? Which department will have the last word? If the federal government answers this, it will be tantamount to revealing its true objective and its true nature as far as the purpose of this bill goes. This could easily become a double edged sword.

On the one hand, the government insists that the environment is a priority, while on the other it takes advantage of this fine principle to flog national identity, using Canadian heritage which, I would remind hon. members, possesses no expertise whatsoever as far as the environment is concerned.

The result is pitiful. Even if we do not go so far as to call it a downright dangerous appropriation of funds and resources, there is confusion, total and insurmountable confusion. There is such confusion that even those in charge of the various departments are lost themselves. There is no way of sorting it out. Confusion reigns among the departments.

If there is confusion amongst the departments, it is easy to imagine what confusion there would be among the key stakeholders. Which department will be the one to really administer this protected zone? Which one will really be in charge of the stakeholders? Which will penalize those breaking the law?

All of these questions remain without answers, and no answers will be forthcoming, for there is no one capable of answering without sinking into a morass of duplicating and overlapping policies.

Marcelle FerronStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Sarmite Bulte Liberal Parkdale—High Park, ON

Madam Speaker, yesterday we learned the sad news of the passing of Quebec artist Marcelle Ferron.

Born in Louiseville, Marcelle Ferron was one of the key artists to modernity in our country. From her first solo show in Montreal in 1949, to the retrospective on her work at the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal in 2000, Marcelle Ferron was always an innovative and involved artist. In 1948 she cosigned the Refus global , the manifesto that marked Canada's cultural life.

In 1961 she was awarded the silver medal at the Sao Paulo Biennial, and she was the first woman to win the prestigious Prix Paul-Émile-Borduas in 1983.

On behalf of the Government of Canada, I salute her for her work and offer my most sincere condolences to her loved ones.

HealthStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Larry Spencer Canadian Alliance Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Madam Speaker, last year Saskatchewan's Premier Romanow appointed a commission on health care in Saskatchewan headed by Mr. Ken Fyke. The report was submitted to the current premier, Lorne Calvert, on April 6 of this year. Among other things it recommended 50 fewer hospitals, a reduction in acute care beds and suggested turning family physicians into salaried employees of the health districts.

The Fyke report was submitted only three days after the government commissioned former Premier Romanow to head a commission on the future of health care in Canada. These studies cost millions. Thankfully Saskatchewan has not yet taken action on the Fyke report. The Romanow report will not be completed for another year.

Saskatchewan was the birthplace of medicare. Yet its NDP government policies are eroding health care. The Liberal government contributes only about 12 cents of every dollar expended on health care. This also contributes to the erosion.

In Saskatchewan like a rock refers to a song or a tough truck—

HealthStatements by Members

2 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)

The hon. member for Niagara Centre.

MulticulturalismStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Tony Tirabassi Liberal Niagara Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, in 1996 the UN general assembly declared November 16 the International Day of Tolerance. Tolerance is the foundation of democracy and human rights and the foundation of civil society, but we should never forget that the responsibility for tolerance rests with all of us.

Today more than ever we need to rededicate ourselves to our common values of tolerance, respect and equality, values that have come to define who we are as Canadians.

Unfortunately many people around the world are still victims of intolerance. We must continue to be vigilant in our efforts to educate. We must continue to ensure we work to promote tolerance of diversity around the world.

Cultural diversity has been a fundamental Canadian characteristic since our beginning. Intolerance of others has no place in Canadian society. It undermines our fundamental values of respect, equality and security and causes damage to our multicultural, tolerant and law abiding society.

Let us use the observance of this important day to reaffirm our faith in the tolerance of all peoples and beliefs and to strengthen the mutual respect that is fundamental to our Canadian values.

Fetal alcohol syndromeStatements by Members

November 20th, 2001 / 2 p.m.

Liberal

Hélène Scherrer Liberal Louis-Hébert, QC

Madam Speaker, in April 2001, private members' motion M-155 called for the introduction of warning labels on the risks of congenital abnormalities associated with drinking alcohol during pregnancy.

In response to this motion, the Minister of Health asked the National Advisory Committee on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome/Fetal Alcohol Effects to study the issue and come up with a recommendation.

I am pleased to announce today that the committee supports this motion and urges that the warning labels be a part of a comprehensive prevention strategy.

The Committee recommended that a visual logo accompany the written information and that there be a number to call for help. As well, each time that liquor is sold, information on the dangers associated with consuming alcohol during pregnancy should be provided.

Over the coming months, Health Canada will study the advisability of this approach, taking expert recommendations into consideration. I look forward to seeing these labels on the market as soon as possible, and I would like to congratulate the minister and the National Advisory Committee for this good initiative.

Wayne FastStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Bill Graham Liberal Toronto Centre—Rosedale, ON

Mr. Speaker, it truly is an honour to pay tribute to the life and career of police constable Wayne Fast who served the Toronto police service with great distinction for more than 25 years including 6 years in 51 Division in my riding of Toronto Centre--Rosedale.

Constable Fast believed strongly in the value of community policing, an element of police work that is more important than ever in our complex urban environment. This was reflected in his work advising community members on crime prevention and improving safety in Regent Park in my riding.

His partner, police constable John Segriff, noted that Wayne was a very dedicated police officer and was well respected by his fellow officers and the community.

I extend my sincere condolences to his wife Karen and daughters Jacqueline and Marni. I hope they will always take comfort and satisfaction in knowing that our communities are safer and healthier places in which to live because of the good work of their husband and father and officers like him.

National Child DayStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Carol Skelton Canadian Alliance Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, today is National Child Day which recognizes the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989.

It has been said many times that our children are our future. This is definitely the case. We must stand together to protect our children and ensure a future for them. We must strive to build healthy relationships with the children in our lives.

A great amount of joy can be found with the time spent with our children. We must encourage their talents, applaud their achievements, nurture their spirits and instill in them a love for learning and exploration.

If today's children are to become tomorrow's leaders we must do all we can to provide for them a country with a sound future, a country that is economically and socially viable, a place they can call home. I encourage all those who have children in their lives to take time today to continue to guarantee for them a bright and happy future.

Science and TechnologyStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, everyone remembers September 11 as the date of the tragic incidents at the World Trade twin towers. However the week of September 11 was also the United Nations International Week of Science and Peace.

This special week of action was an opportunity to raise awareness about the links between scientific advances and global peace and security. Universities, scientific institutes and professional associations across the country held lectures, seminars and special debates to raise public awareness about these topics.

Scientists around the world are constantly working on ways to share their knowledge with one another and to begin a dialogue between political leaders and the public in the hope that it will help advance socioeconomic progress and human rights.

At this time when individuals are so concerned about security issues I urge Canadians to think about the ways in which science and technology can be used to achieve peace and security.

Marcelle FerronStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, Marcelle Ferron is known as the artist of light. Her passing is a great sorrow to all those who admire her painting and glasswork. Fortunately for us, however, Marcelle Ferron, a woman who has left her mark on her century, leaves behind a body of work that will ensure her immortality.

A sovereignist and lover of freedom like so many other Quebec men and women, she joined with Paul-Émile Borduas in signing the Refus global manifesto in 1948. As a person living on the fringes of the society of that time, she chose to exile herself to Paris where the liberating atmosphere enabled her to create her luminous body of work, which has made her a leading artist of the 20th century, one known the world over.

Her commitment to public art resulted in the magnificent glass adorning various public spaces throughout Quebec.

Our most sincere condolences are extended to Madame Ferron's family and friends. Quebec will always remember this artist, who will continue to illuminate the world of art and painting for a long time to come.

MiningStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Ben Serré Liberal Timiskaming—Cochrane, ON

Mr. Speaker, today a special event is happening on Parliament Hill as senior representatives of the mining industry are here for Mining Day. On behalf of the Minister of Natural Resources I extend my greetings to all delegates and congratulate them for their outstanding work in the mining industry.

The Canadian mining industry is a global leader and it is one of the few industrial sectors where Canadian knowledge, technology, expertise and leadership dominate internationally. Investing $350 million a year in R and D, Canadian mining is one of the most productive and innovative sectors of the Canadian economy.

The mining industry has played a significant role in Canada's economy and is a major ally for the development of the new economy. The mining industry accounts for close to 400,000 jobs Canada-wide.

Let us continue to work together to ensure Canadian mining reaches new levels of achievement, leadership and opportunities because mining works for Canada.

AgricultureStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rick Casson Canadian Alliance Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, the recent World Trade Organization talks held in Qatar were heralded as a success for Canada and all the countries of the world.

While the agreement promises to eventually phase out all forms of agricultural export subsidies and deal with production distorting domestic support, these changes will take up to 10 years to take effect. Canadian farmers cannot wait a decade for things to improve while they are fighting droughts, floods and blockades of their products at the border.

We in the official opposition call on the government to implement serious change and implement it now. There are things that could be done. We could eliminate the fuel tax for producers to help them out in the current cash crisis, support and promote the official opposition proposal for a rapid response process for dealing with agricultural trade disputes, encourage farmer driven and owned value added processing and give grain farmers the marketing choice they are asking for.

These are just a few of the things the Liberal government must do now, not 10 years from now, to support this vital industry.

Airline IndustryStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Competition Bureau needs new rules in order to act more quickly and prevent future collapses like that of Canada 3000.

The bureau seems to be incapable of swift action to preserve competition in the airline industry. Canadians have watched small competitors bleed to death for weeks and weeks while the bureau ponders whether to step in. The announcement that it almost acted before Canada 3000 went under is another case of too little, too late.

Atlantic Canada depends on air transport to save it from economic isolation. Reliable, regular and affordable access to the airways is an essential part of Atlantic Canada's infrastructure, no less than the highways, railways or seaways.

I believe Canada could support competing airlines but this could only happen if there is an effective referee to put an end to predatory pricing. It is essential that the Competition Bureau implement new rules to prevent Air Canada from driving out any airlines that set up shop here in the future.

National Child DayStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, today is National Child Day.

In 1989 members of the House unanimously resolved to eliminate child poverty in Canada by the year 2000 but, tragically, 1.4 million children still live in poverty and the gap between the rich and the poor just keeps growing. That means more children joining parents in the queue at homeless shelters, more children being fed from food banks and more aboriginal children seeking suicide as a way out.

The government's response to children's needs is nothing short of a crime. Adopting the UN convention on the rights of the child means little when we drop to 11th on the international poverty index with barely a whimper.

Canada's poverty today is avoidable, unnecessary and unfair. Government policies, dismantled social safety nets, jobs lost to unfair trade agreements and lucrative breaks to the wealthy are to blame.

We call on the government to set clear targets to eliminate poverty in the upcoming budget. Nothing less will do for Canada's children on this National Child Day and every day of the year.

Normand LesterStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, the controversial Heritage Minutes , which were secretly sponsored by the Canadian government, sought to make Canadians and Quebecers believe that they share a common history, in the hope of creating an artificial Canadian identity. The most recent book written by journalist Normand Lester shows that it is impossible to write a national history on which there is a consensus in Canada.

For example, Mr. Lester points out that Prime Minister John A. Macdonald thwarted the Metis people at the same time that he let their leader, Louis Riel, be hanged. Macdonald's cynicism led him to take a sick man to court, to resort to lies and to falsify documents to make sure he would be found guilty and executed. Let us not forget that Macdonald provoked the massacre of Metis people by mobilizing over 5,000 militiamen.

History always has a perspective and it is of course interpreted differently by different people.

Normand Lester's book reminds us that there are two sides to a coin.

National Child DayStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Diane St-Jacques Liberal Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, in 1993, the Government of Canada passed Bill C-371, the National Child Day Act, which designates November 20 of each year as National Child Day.

This day marks the adoption, by the United Nations, of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. By ratifying that convention in 1991, Canada pledged to ensure that all children are treated with dignity and respect.

This commitment implies that children must have the right to express themselves, be protected from mistreatment and violence, see their basic needs met, and benefit from every possible opportunity to fulfill their potential.

Let us continue together the work already begun to achieve our objectives by improving the conditions that will ensure the health and well-being of our children, and by getting them involved in decisions that will affect their future.

On this special day, let us celebrate children and let us think about their lives, their achievements and their vision for the future.

Airline IndustryStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Val Meredith Canadian Alliance South Surrey—White Rock—Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, despite the minister's claims to the contrary, competition in the airline industry is sadly lacking, but it did not have to be this way.

Two years ago the transport committee put together an excellent report on restructuring Canada's airline industry, a report that had multi-party support. The transport committee had a number of recommendations that could have increased competition in Canada's airlines and benefited the travelling public.

While the committee recommended initiatives like Canada-only carriers, a modified sixth freedom, reciprocal cabotage and an increase in the foreign ownership level from 25% to 49%, the minister refused to implement them in his legislation.

With the recent demise of Canada's second largest airline, will the minister explain to Canadians why he chose to ignore these recommendations that would have increased competition in Canada's airlines?

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, on virtually every issue since September 11 the government has fumbled and stumbled.

Whether it is terrorism legislation, airline security, deporting dangerous criminals, purchasing anthrax, securing the perimeter or even the decision to go to ground zero, it has fumbled and stumbled, and yesterday, incredibly, it fumbled and stumbled again on the decision to send 1,000 troops to Afghanistan. One day we hear the troops will be sent there on 48 hours notice. Yesterday we heard they would be brought home if there is a big fight. Today we heard they will not go at all.

Will the Prime Minister assure the troops, their families and Canadians what the policy is today?

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it is not very complicated. A week ago we were asked if we were ready to send troops there to help deliver aid to the people who needed it. We said that we had 1,000 good Canadian soldiers available and that we would put them on 48 hour notice.

Since that time the British and French have tried to go there without an agreement and have had to back away. We are not like the opposition. We think first and then we make sure that when we get there we will be able to do the job we are expected to do.

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, how about thinking first about our troops?

It is one thing to say that we will stand shoulder to shoulder with our allies. It is time we started saying that we will stand shoulder to shoulder with our own troops. Apparently two-thirds of the Hercules force is not even equipped to send troops.

Will the Prime Minister give a statement of support to our troops today, to their families and to all Canadians by letting us know that the $2 billion per year extra that is required to support our armed forces will be in that December budget?

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the best way to reassure the families is not to create horror stories which they try to fabricate all the time to frighten Canadians who serve Canada in the armed forces.

Everywhere they went the Canadian soldiers have done a great job over the last eight years. We have always been proud of them.

I do not think it is very good for the opposition party to try to scare the families in situations like these ones.

TerrorismOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, our troops are brave everywhere and that is why they need to be rewarded.

Mr. Speaker, we ask questions on the war in the House every day, and we never get answers. The citizens of this country know what is happening in Afghanistan thanks to the news on television.

How can we be assured of having objective television coverage, when the Liberals are suspending a Radio-Canada journalist because they do not agree with his ideas? Why this censorship and press gag?