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House of Commons Hansard #19 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was election.

Topics

Right Hon. Tony BlairStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Ovid Jackson Liberal Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, ON

Mr. Speaker, today all of Canada's parliamentary representatives had the distinct pleasure and privilege of hearing the Right Hon. Tony Blair, the Prime Minister of Great Britain, deliver his address to the Canadian people.

Prime Minister Blair paid tribute to and talked about the deep links between our two countries, which he said went beyond economics and were deeper than commerce. We were very pleased with Prime Minister Blair's words about Canada's honourable reputation and how prominent Canadians are around the world.

Prime Minister Blair noted the development between Britain and Canada in the use of the human rights act. Prime Minister Blair astutely pointed out that our two countries continue to have a special relationship, with Canada being the country in North America closest to Europe and Britain being the country in Europe closest to North America.

TaxationStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Joe Peschisolido Canadian Alliance Richmond, BC

Mr. Speaker, in April 1999 the federal government started requiring Canadian residents to report their foreign assets.

This was a ham-fisted way of trying to reduce tax evasion. It has not worked. In fact, it has discouraged many immigrant investors and has done nothing for compliance. People are moving from resident to non-resident status, thus paying no taxes at all. This threatens to take as much as $1 billion out of the B.C. economy.

Therefore, tomorrow I will send a letter to the Ministers of Finance and National Revenue asking them to commission the auditor general to conduct a cost benefit analysis of the foreign asset disclosure rule.

I hope that the ministers and auditor general will respond quickly.

AntarcticaStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Liberal Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, this year scores of young Canadians visited Antarctica with the Students on Ice Expedition.

Students and teachers from all across Canada participated in this remarkable experience. They included: Ben Whatley of PCVS, Justin Tighe of Norwood District High School, Aimie Elliot of Omemee, Virissa Lenters of Cobourg West Collegiate and Justin Standeven of Clarke High School. Most of these students are with the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board.

These students are now ambassadors for Antarctica in Canada. Their “Statement on Antarctica” calls on Canada to become a full member of the Antarctic treaty and to ratify the treaty's environmental protocol. To learn more about these students, visit www.studentsonice.com.

Let us take the advice of these wonderful young Canadians. As a great polar nation, we have a moral responsibility to participate fully in the protection and appropriate use of Antarctica.

Member For Sydney—VictoriaStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Eyking Liberal Sydney—Victoria, NS

Mr. Speaker, it is a great pleasure that I rise in the House today to thank my constituents of Sydney—Victoria, my family and my staff. It is an honour and privilege to be the member from one of the most beautiful parts of Canada, Cape Breton Island.

As a professional farmer I have worked on agricultural projects in my community and around the world, and I can tell members that there is no better place to live than in Canada.

I have a very diverse riding, diverse in cultural backgrounds, styles of living and occupations. I have rural constituents and urban constituents. We have many challenges in our area. We have a downturn in our coal and steel industries and we have over 30% unemployed.

Cape Breton is a very diverse society. We have to communicate and work with all the various departments of this government. This gives me a great challenge. As a new MP I have to learn very quickly to make sure our concerns are heard. I also want to help other Canadians to keep this country the number one place in the world to live.

HockeyStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Liberal Bras D'Or—Cape Breton, NS

Mr. Speaker, we are all well aware of the national institution called Hockey Night in Canada , brought to us every Saturday evening during our winters on CBC television and on Radio-Canada.

This coming Saturday, Hockey Night in Canada will celebrate the true spirit of the game with a 13 hour extravaganza, programming from coast to coast to coast. Canadians from Yellowknife, Sydney, Powell River, Fox Valley, Rankin Inlet, Glace Bay and many other communities will share their experience and love of the game. Through those stories we will share hockey's place in the hearts and heartland of Canada.

To draw attention to this celebration, I have the pleasure of proclaiming Saturday February 24 Hockey Day in Canada.

Government Of CanadaStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Garry Breitkreuz Canadian Alliance Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, this government should be ashamed. It should be ashamed because it continues to fuel the flames of western alienation.

This past Friday a meeting was held in my hometown of Yorkton, where over 300 people joined together to discuss the idea of western separation. At the meeting it was stated over and over again that Ottawa ignores the west, and people had plenty of examples to back up their statements: the lack of attention to the farm crisis; the unaccountability of our Prime Minister; the lack of democracy in the House of Commons and Senate. The list goes on.

Unfortunately the government refuses to address any of these issues, which only adds fuel to the fire. We have been telling the Liberal government about the dissatisfaction of westerners for years and we have been giving the government ample ways to deal with the problems, yet it refuses to listen.

The movement for western separation did not just pop up overnight. It is the result of years of Liberal neglect of western issues and a lack of democracy. Now the government wants to blame farmers for this movement. What the Liberals cannot seem to realize is that it is their fault this whole issue arose and it is really not Canada that—

Government Of CanadaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Perth—Middlesex.

AgricultureStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

John Richardson Liberal Perth—Middlesex, ON

Mr. Speaker, the last couple of months have been especially difficult for farmers. I certainly understand the difficulties farmers are going through, especially with poor prices and bad growing conditions this year.

This year will be no exception. Farmers are facing rising costs of production and an unfair playing field with the European Union and the United States when it comes to subsidies. Some grain and oilseed farmers in my riding, for example, cannot afford to buy their seeds.

I call upon the federal government to come forward with an assistance program that will deal with this financial hurt. This is a critical time for our farmers and their farms, especially with spring seeding just around the corner.

I want to reassure all farmers in my constituency that I have not forgotten their situation and that I will continue to voice their concerns.

Saint-Placide Festi-Vent Sur GlaceStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, at Saint-Placide, on the shores of Lac des Deux-Montagnes, last Sunday marked the end of the third annual “festi-vent sur glace”, a celebration of kites on ice. This is the biggest kite-related event of its kind in Canada, and the second-largest winter event of its kind in the world.

This year, the theme of the festival was; “Let the child in you take wing and soar”. Once again it was a great success with an attendance of some 15,000 people.

I extend my congratulations to the municipal council of Saint-Placide, its mayor, the army of volunteers, all of its citizens, as well as the multitude of participants. Together, they made this third edition the great success it was.

The people of Saint-Placide, working together on a voluntary basis, have again shown the strength and spirit of leadership that characterize the Quebec people.

My wishes for a long life to the Saint-Placide festi-vent sur glace.

Girl Guide MovementStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Eugène Bellemare Liberal Ottawa—Orléans, ON

Mr. Speaker, today, Thursday February 22, is World Thinking Day for the Guiding movement. May I take this opportunity to salute the Franco-Canadian Girl Guide movement, Les Guides franco-canadiennes, of Ottawa District and across the country.

In Ottawa, this movement has more than 500 members, and has been active in the region for the past 50 years. The focus of the Guides franco-canadiennes is to educate francophone girls and women of Canada and help them to develop their full potential. Guides play a vital role in our communities and their devotion and contribution must be acknowledged.

The guides of the Ottawa District, and guides around the world, are remembering the founders of their movement on this World Thinking Day.

William E. McKinneyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Paul Forseth Canadian Alliance New Westminster—Coquitlam—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, I pay tribute to Colonel William E. McKinney, who passed away in New Westminster on February 12, 2001. Born in Boissevain, Manitoba, on June 25, 1915, he is survived by his loving wife of 60 years, Beryl, four children and six grandchildren.

He arrived in New Westminster in 1937 and retired as vice-president of Johnson Terminals in 1980. He was president of the Lions, a school trustee, chair of the YWCA board, chair of the city crime prevention committee, director of the Kiwanis Care Centre, Citizen of the Year in 1985 and president of the Canadian Diabetes Association Vancouver, to name just a few.

He was awarded the Order of British Columbia and was made honorary chief constable of the city. He joined the army in 1940, was commissioned and served in the U.K. and Europe. Upon his return he joined the local militia and later commanded his Royal Westminster Regiment for two different terms and was later honorary colonel from 1980.

He left the community a better place than he found it. A man of action, strong opinions and a heart of gold, who showed us all how to live and never stop giving, my friend Bill was indeed a great Canadian.

VietnamStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, I recently met with some of my constituents, including Dr. Lam Thu Van of the Vietnamese Canadian Federation, who expressed their concerns about the continuous violations of human rights in Vietnam.

They mentioned the following concerns: attacks on freedom of religion such as the arrest and detention of Catholics, Protestants and Buddhists; the repression against intellectuals, writers, democrat political leaders and protectors of human rights; the greater control of the state over the national and foreign press; and the decision to impose the death penalty for 29 different crimes, which led to the execution, in April 2000, of a Canadian citizen, Nguyen Thu Hiep.

While noting that Vietnam marked the 25th anniversary of its reunification by freeing over 20,000 prisoners in the year 2000, I join my voice to those of the Vietnamese in my riding, in Canada and elsewhere to call on Vietnam to end its continuous violations of human rights.

Canadian Pacific RailwayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Dick Proctor NDP Palliser, SK

Mr. Speaker, from the day it was created 120 years ago, Canadian Pacific Railway has always lived off public largesse. Now we learn that it has been living off the backs of its employees as well.

Using access to information, CP pensioners in Moose Jaw have calculated that between 1937 and 1985 CP Rail collected more than $700 million in employee pension contributions without paying one cent of interest to its employees.

It gets even worse. When employees were terminated and pension money was refunded, CP deducted 1% as a handling fee. Estimates indicate that the corporation and its shareholders benefited likely to the tune of about $6 billion in what amounts to interest free loans over five decades. That is $6 billion that should have gone to CP employees or their survivors.

Before this conglomerate is permitted to separate itself into five companies, it must first be required to pay the interest on this loan to CP pensioners and their families.

Employment InsuranceStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Gérard Asselin Bloc Charlevoix, QC

Mr. Speaker, last fall, the Prime Minister of Canada admitted that he made a mistake in imposing the new employment insurance program. Now, the government is back at it with Bill C-2, which only partially corrects the mistakes of the past.

In addition to the permanent perverse effects of the current program, the Minister of Human Resources Development penalized, in the whole Lower St. Lawrence, North Shore, Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean and Charlevoix region, the workers whose applications were submitted between July 9 and September 17, 2000, by requiring them to work 525 hours to qualify and by giving them only 21 weeks of benefits. All this to correct the injustice resulting from the minister's improvised review of the employment insurance regions. There is no reason justifying such discrimination.

The office of the Prime Minister was informed of the situation on December 22 and we are still waiting, like the unemployed concerned, the quick restoring of a fair treatment for seasonal workers in our region.

Black History MonthStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Augustine Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the recipients of this year's Mathieu Da Costa Awards. The Mathieu Da Costa Awards program is the main vehicle in which the federal government celebrates Black History Month.

This year's nine winners, from six provinces, are: Celeste Milborne from Toronto, Ontario; Kristi Leavitt from Lethbridge, Alberta; Sandra Djivré from Sudbury, Ontario; Elliot Skierszkan from Kanata, Ontario; Amanda Merpaw from Nepean, Ontario; Ricky Green from Winnipeg, Manitoba; Kelly McMillan from Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island; Laurie Du Temple-Quirion from Candiac, Quebec, the home of our deputy whip; and Charity Lloyd from Springfield, New Brunswick.

I call upon all of my colleagues to join me in congratulating these young people for their tremendous efforts.

Annick GagnonStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Andy Savoy Liberal Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Mr. Speaker, this year's 13th annual East Coast Music Awards, held in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, was once again a huge success. Held every year to honour east coast musical talent, the award show caps off a four day festival of singing, dancing, jamming and other raucous activities.

This year Annick Gagnon of Grand Falls, New Brunswick, won urban artist of the year for her self-entitled album. Annick is no stranger to ECMA, having won francophone album of the year in 1996.

Annick's stellar career started at the age of 10 when she began singing in her local church choir. With the quick realization of her musical talent, many appearances soon followed, such as opening for superstar Céline Dion and playing here on Parliament Hill during the 1994 Canada Day celebrations.

Currently pursuing both an educational and a musical career in Halifax, I would like to extend my congratulations to Annick on her musical success and wish her good fortune.

Human RightsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Maurice Vellacott Canadian Alliance Saskatoon—Wanuskewin, SK

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian government is being complicit with the government of Sudan in the perpetration of human rights abuses.

The government of Sudan has inflicted unrelenting misery on the people of Sudan. It bombs schools, hospitals and churches. It denies food aid to war affected populations. It incites slave raids.

This brutal regime is financing its genocidal war by partnering with the Canadian oil company, Talisman Energy. Some of the profits from that joint venture are supporting the Sudan government's genocide. The Liberal government acknowledged this to be true, as a result of the Harker report released by the government one year ago, but it took no action.

One year later, it is clear that the government's policy of constructive engagement has failed. Last month even Lloyd Axworthy acknowledged on CBC Radio that Talisman “has not lived up to its obligations at all” and called the company's behaviour deplorable.

It is time the Canadian government put an end to any Canadian commercial complicity in Sudan's genocidal war.

Member For Calgary CentreStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Greg Thompson Progressive Conservative New Brunswick Southwest, NB

Mr. Speaker, on February 23, 1976, the Progressive Conservative Party chose, as its new leader, a young Alberta MP, Mr. Joe Clark.

Member For Calgary CentreStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. The hon. member I think is referring to the right hon. member for Calgary Centre and he will want to continue to do that.

Member For Calgary CentreStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Greg Thompson Progressive Conservative New Brunswick Southwest, NB

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. On February 23, 1976 the Progressive Conservative Party chose, as its new leader, a young Alberta MP, Mr. Joe Clark.

Member For Calgary CentreStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

They may have but I know that the member for New Brunswick Southwest means the hon. member for Calgary Centre and I invite him to continue to refer to him by his proper title.

Member For Calgary CentreStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Greg Thompson Progressive Conservative New Brunswick Southwest, NB

Mr. Speaker, I apologize. It is the past tense, the member for Calgary Centre.

Our party, our country and our world have lived a lot of tumultuous history in the 25 years that have intervened. During much of that history, up to and including the present day, the right hon. member has played a leading and constructive part.

The young Albertan became one of Canada's most effective parliamentarians, an international statesman and an eloquent advocate of national unity. He has been elected to this House eight times. and is today the acclaimed leader of our party, respected by all Canadians for the passion and integrity he brings to our public life.

Long may he continue to make history. Long may his outstanding qualities of leadership continue to inspire his colleagues and fellow Canadians.

A former prime minister often referred to the right hon. member as a warrior, a description to which I am certain our present Prime Minister would agree.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, just this morning the Toronto stock market dropped below 8,000. We have not seen numbers that low since 1999. How much lower does the market have to drop before the Minister of Finance will table an up to date budget?

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we are going through a volatile period. Everyone understands that. Everyone understands what has happened in the United States. The simple question is why on the other hand is it that the Leader of the Opposition will not point out the good things that are happening instead of trying to talk us into a recession as he has been doing?

Let me just tell the House that our housing starts, as an example, are up more than 20%. That is the highest in six years. Why does he not point that out?

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance is the only person using the recession word in the House. I am not. And I was not talking to the market this morning when it fell below 8,000.

Falling markets do not just affect so-called rich people. It affects many Canadians: those who invest in union pensions, in RRSPs, and in the CPP. All of those investments have taken a hit. As a matter of fact, about half of all Canadians are invested in some way in the markets.

How much money will Canadians need to lose before the Minister of Finance brings in an up to date budget and shows that we have a plan to take us through these choppy economic times?