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House of Commons Hansard #20 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was children.

Topics

Long Distance ChargesStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Quebec government's bill 170 will force the merger of the cities of Hull, Aylmer, Gatineau, Buckingham and Masson-Angers on January 1, 2002.

Unfortunately, a number of the 220,000 residents of the big new city will have to pay long distances charges if they want to phone each other. This is the case between Aylmer and certain areas of Gatineau, as well as between Aylmer and Buckingham-Masson-Angers.

All these fellow citizens of the newly created municipality will not be able to speak to each other without paying long distance charges.

I have therefore made representations so that they will not have to phone each other long distance, from the very first day of the existence of the new city of Hull-Gatineau.

I invite the management of the CRTC and of Bell Canada to co-operate in this matter and to abolish these long distance charges.

Canada CustomsStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Myron Thompson Canadian Alliance Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, almost a year ago the minister for customs publicly announced to smugglers and cross border criminals that he planned to increase security at 32 of our 147 border crossings in Canada.

The minister went a step further and listed the 32 crossings and what he planned to do at each site. I compliment the minister on giving this practical guide to criminals on which border points to avoid.

The only thing these initiatives have accomplished is to increase traffic at our unmanned border crossings where criminals know they can cross into Canada without even slowing down.

The government has single handedly created a punishment free zone for all international criminals. We have loosened our border to the point where our American neighbours no longer trust our citizens travelling south, where jets are free to land without inspection and where international felons know that our justice system is reluctant to extradite.

Only Walt Disney himself could have designed this resort for criminals that Canada is fast becoming.

Nunavut Trade ShowStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Nancy Karetak-Lindell Liberal Nunavut, NU

Mr. Speaker, on March 1 the 10th annual Nunavut trade show will take place in Iqaluit. Small business owners, entrepreneurs, retailers and government organizations from all over Nunavut will enjoy opportunities to promote their goods and skills to the public. Interesting workshops will take place.

I thank my friend, the hon. member for St. Catharines, who will be attending the Nunavut trade show to learn about the unique challenges of northern businesses and to share his expertise on small and medium size enterprises.

I look forward to this dynamic trade show which highlights the energetic and creative businesses that populate Nunavut.

Employment InsuranceStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Bloc Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, the auditor general is clear, and I quote:

The employment insurance act does not specify how decisions on eligibility are reached or how appeals are to be carried out. This situation has gone on for several years now, and to date no steps have been taken to make the process transparent. Employers and unemployed workers are still at a disadvantage when dealing with the federal bureaucracy.

It is a regular occurrence for people who have been treated unjustly to be deprived of benefits for years. The Liberal government's attitude is unacceptable and disdainful.

By neglecting to follow up on the constructive criticism by the Auditor General of Canada, the government is demonstrating how little importance it attaches to treating workers fairly.

Job CreationStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Eugène Bellemare Liberal Ottawa—Orléans, ON

Mr. Speaker, Statistics Canada announced this week that the number of people on employment insurance had decreased by an average of 7.2% since last year.

This fact shows the enormous job the federal has done in creating jobs. The throne speech pointed out, in fact, that at least 2 million jobs had been created since the Liberals took office.

It must be said that this announcement occurs in a particular context. We note that Canada has experienced the longest period of economic growth since the 1960s.

The federal government is doing everything it can to make Canada a leader in the economic community. And it has met its objectives. Even the boldest.

HockeyStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Carol Skelton Canadian Alliance Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, this morning I recognize an event that will be going on this weekend in my riding of Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar. The Hull Canadiens, an over 50 hockey team from Hull, Quebec, have travelled to Biggar, Saskatchewan, to play hockey in the communities of Landis, Saskatoon and Biggar.

Twenty people from Hull are staying in Biggar this weekend and are enjoying the hospitality of the Biggar Oldtimers and the Biggar community.

Last year the Hull Canadiens, with hockey players from Hull and Montreal, and Stuart Busse from Biggar, travelled to Austria, Germany, Italy and Switzerland to play hockey as ambassadors of Canada and Canadian recreational hockey.

I congratulate the Hull Canadiens and all the organizers from Biggar for this wonderful cultural exchange and I wish them a great weekend.

Sri LankaStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, Sri Lanka is not only one of the worst of contemporary killing fields, but one of the most tragic in terms of humanitarian consequence.

The indicators are chilling. Over one million internally displaced people with UNHCR have a limited mandate for protection. There are over 12,000 unresolved cases of disappeared persons, second only to Iraq. Both government and LTTE forces have been implicated in a variety of humanitarian abuses, with civilians as target and victim. The UN special rapporteur on violence, who is herself Sri Lankan, has emphasized government complicity by security personnel in sexual violence. UNICEF has expressed concern for child victims of war and denounced the LTTE's use of child soldiers.

Given the above, we should therefore be encouraged by two lesser known developments. First, we are in the second month of an agreed upon and long awaited ceasefire in Sri Lanka and, second, a Quebec coalition for peace in Sri Lanka has been founded by one of my own constituents, which ought to augur well for an enhanced humanitarian sensibility within Quebec and Canada to developments in Sri Lanka.

Foreign AffairsStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

NDP

Lorne Nystrom NDP Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada endorsed the cruel and useless bombing of Iraq by the United States and the United Kingdom without any regard for the consequences of those illegal bombings on the people of Iraq, wounding many and probably killing some.

Ironically, one of the consequences of our country endorsing that bombing of innocent civilians is that it has also thrown a financial bomb at Canadian wheat producers.

Last year our farmers exported 262,000 tonnes of wheat to Iraq, worth about $50 million, primarily from my home province of Saskatchewan. One of the results of the endorsement by our government of the bombing of Iraq is that Iraq has now informed our Canadian wheat exporters that it will no longer accept wheat from Canada. This has just driven another financial spike into the coffin of our prairie grain producers.

Our farmers are already suffering enough. They are in Ottawa today lobbying for better prices and for a better deal from our federal government and now they have lost yet another market because of the action of the government across the way.

Let us stop the bombing in Iraq. Let us lift the economic sanctions and save another market for Canadian grain producers.

Oil IndustryStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conference Board of Canada tells us that there is no problem in the oil industry, that everything is doing the best it can. The petroleum free market is in good shape. But who is in good shape?

Shell Canada has announced unprecedented profits of $858 million over the past year. Petro-Canada's profits are $893 million and Imperial Oil's, $1.4 billion. Clearly, the oil companies are in good shape.

These three companies control 75% of the market. They are suspected of collusion in setting their prices and they are governed by toothless competition legislation.

Most importantly, however, they were involved in the Conference Board report analyses. And so how, as judge and jury, could they do otherwise but say that everything is fine and nothing must be changed?

When will the federal government stop mocking the public and pass real legislation on competition that will have teeth as pointed as those of the oil sharks?

Natalie MacmasterStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, as the member of parliament for Bras d'Or—Cape Breton it is a great pleasure to stand in the House today and offer congratulations to a constituent of mine, Natalie MacMaster, on her recent Grammy nomination for best traditional folk album.

The fiddling sensation from Troy, Inverness County, has dazzled audiences in community halls from Judique to Glencoe to sold out performances on the world stage. Earlier this month she was named instrumental artist of the year at the East Coast Music Awards and her latest CD In My Hands won a Juno award for best instrumental album in 2000.

Her energy and ability are matched only by the passion she demonstrates for her musical roots. Natalie MacMaster is truly a remarkable young woman and has emerged as a wonderful ambassador for Cape Breton Island. We wish her continued success in her future endeavours.

Member For Windsor WestStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Rick Borotsik Progressive Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today disheartened to have heard the comments made yesterday by the member for Windsor West. The words from the Deputy Prime Minister were inexcusable given his long years of experience as a parliamentarian.

In response to a question from the right hon. member of parliament for Calgary Centre, the Deputy Prime Minister stated “He has a lot of nerve lecturing to me about the law. Which law school did he ever graduate from?” These base and appalling comments by the member for Windsor West are insulting to every member of parliament in the House. It is our duty as legislators to question the government on any matter of concern to Canadians. It is our right.

I am not a lawyer. My right to question the laws of the House comes not from a law school but from my democratic right given to me by my constituents. My question to the Deputy Prime Minister is this: because I am not a lawyer do I have the right to stand and make this statement today in the House?

Guide-Scout WeekStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Serge Marcil Liberal Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind the House that this is Guide-Scout Week.

It is essential that Canadians support the activities of the Guide-Scout program. In Canada, this program began in 1910. Since then, it has enriched the lives of many young Canadians. Together, the Association des scouts du Canada and the Boy Scouts of Canada have close to 253,000 young members.

I salute the contribution of the scouting movement to our society. Since their creation, boy scouts' and girl guides' organizations have been helping young people thrive. At a time when we are so concerned about the health of young Canadians, the scouting movement helps them develop physically, intellectually, socially and morally.

I invite Canadians to show their support for a movement that does an excellent job with young people.

Criminal CodeStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Deepak Obhrai Canadian Alliance Calgary East, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians view break and enter crime as more than a property offence. They view it as a personal violation worthy of firm punishment.

A 1997 report by the city of Calgary police service indicated that break and enter offences were the number one concern of Calgarians.

I will be introducing a private member's bill on Wednesday that will amend the criminal code and impose a minimum two year sentence for repeat break and enter offenders. Statistics show that a high rate of repeat offenders are committing 80% of all break and enter crimes. This says to me that existing penalties are not deterring repeat offenders.

Many provinces are also calling for tougher sentences. Home invasions, because of break and enters, have led to violent incidents. Keeping this in mind, I hope my colleagues will support this initiative.

FundraisingOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Strahl Canadian Alliance Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, we now know that the CIA, our own foreign affairs department and the Sri Lankan government warned that the organization called FACT has been used at times as a front for an international terrorist group. The immigration department is also saying the same things in its arguments at the supreme court this week.

The minister responsible for CIDA attended the fundraising dinner. Did she or did she not receive a confidential briefing note warning her that FACT has been associated with an international terrorist group?

FundraisingOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Beaches—East York Ontario

Liberal

Maria Minna LiberalMinister for International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, I have said many times in the House that I went to a community cultural event that was celebrating new years. Hundreds of people were at the celebration. In fact when I spoke that evening I explicitly discussed the importance of peace negotiations in Sri Lanka. That was very well received by the people.

My main concern is to ensure that there is negotiated peace in Sri Lanka and that we have peace.

FundraisingOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Strahl Canadian Alliance Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the question was pretty straightforward: Did she receive a confidential briefing note?

The answer is, yes, she did. I have a copy of that note in front of me. The note clearly indicates that the minister was warned ahead of time that the organization at times raised funds for international terrorism, yet she ignored it.

When she had this briefing note in her hands prior to the FACT dinner, why did she decide to support a group that she knew was used at times as a front for an international terrorist group? Why did she do it?

FundraisingOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Beaches—East York Ontario

Liberal

Maria Minna LiberalMinister for International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, there were a great many organizations there that evening which were part of the festivities. I do not judge all the Tamil community as being part of a terrorist group. I attended, as I said, a cultural event that evening which was attended by hundreds of people, Canadian citizens and contributing citizens of the country.

I spoke very openly that evening about the importance of peace and negotiated peace in Sri Lanka, for which I received a great deal of support. Other members on this side of the House are working toward that kind of solution for that country.

FundraisingOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Strahl Canadian Alliance Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the minister stands in her place and says that it is okay to go to these dinners because everyone else is doing it, but everyone else did not have access to a confidential briefing note warning them about the association between FACT and that criminal organization, the international terrorist group.

FACT has been associated as a front organization for an international terrorist group. The CIA confirmed it. Our own foreign affairs department confirmed it. The Sri Lankan government confirmed it. Immigration officials confirmed it. CSIS confirmed it. Her own personal briefing note confirmed it.

When everyone else in the country seemed to know about it, why did the minister attend a fundraising dinner for an organization associated with international terrorism?

FundraisingOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. minister gave a very clear answer. She attended what she considered to be a cultural event. She made a vigorous plea for settling problems in Sri Lanka by peaceful negotiations.

Why does the Alliance oppose that type of constructive effort and engage in what amounts to a smear of hundreds of thousands of people of Tamil origin in the country who are not involved in terrorism or anything inappropriate in this country or in Sri Lanka?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Diane Ablonczy Canadian Alliance Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, there is worse to come.

News stories in today's La Presse and the Globe and Mail raise still more questions about the Liberal government's commitment to and fitness to protect public safety and its openness to terrorism and organized crime.

An alleged top mafia figure who is wanted for murder and is on Interpol's 500 most wanted list was given a Canadian visitor's visa by the government.

Why on earth would the government give a safe haven in Canada to someone who is known and wanted as a criminal?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Gatineau Québec

Liberal

Mark Assad LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, when the department learned about the case the officials proceeded to detain the person. We will do everything possible to remove these persons from the country as soon as possible. That is what is being done now.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Diane Ablonczy Canadian Alliance Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, is the parliamentary secretary seriously suggesting that we give visitor visas to people who are on Interpol's most wanted list and that we do not have a clue that is happening? That is ridiculous. Canadians should not be sleeping easy in their beds with that lot in charge of the public safety.

What we do know is that the public works minister wrote a letter trying to get permanent landed immigrant status for the wife of this character. The status was granted in record time and then the wife turned around and made a sponsorship application for her husband who is on Interpol's most wanted list.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member said something about the minister of public works that is absolutely inaccurate and has been categorically denied by him. I want to read in part from a statement that he issued today.

Mr. Gagliano repeats that the only correspondence by the staff in his constituency office...

—this is not from him—

—sought to enquire about the progress in the file of Maria Sicurella, who had applied for permanent resident status.

The hon. member should withdraw her allegation. The minister did not write a letter in the way she said, or any letter, in support—

ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Longueuil.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Bloc Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, this morning, we read in the newspapers that Immigration Canada has granted one of Interpol's 500 most wanted criminals entry into Canada.

How does the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration explain the fact that Gaetano Amodeo, who has been charged with murder and Mafia connections in Italy, made it through her department's entire investigation process?