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 #6 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was benefits.

Topics

Youth Criminal Justice ActRoutine Proceedings

3 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-7, an act in respect of criminal justice for young persons and to amend and repeal other acts.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Clean Internet ActRoutine Proceedings

3 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Musquodoboit Valley—Eastern Shore, NS

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-210, an act to prevent the use of the Internet to distribute material that advocates, promotes or incites racial hatred, violence against women or child pornography.

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to take over the bill that was first introduced in the House by my hon. colleague, the former member of parliament for Halifax West, Mr. Gordon Earle, himself being an African-Canadian.

The purpose of the bill is to protect those citizens in the country who are vulnerable to attacks through the use of the Internet. We are hoping that, with the co-operation of all parties and once the bill has been carefully studied, it will be enacted into law in the very near future.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Income Tax ActRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Musquodoboit Valley—Eastern Shore, NS

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-211, an act to amend the Income Tax Act (herbal remedies).

Mr. Speaker, again I bring sweeping legislation to the House of Commons in the fact that as we become an aging generation, millions of Canadians are looking for alternatives to cure their many ailments.

One of those alternatives could be a herbal alternative. Quite simply, the bill states that if a licensed physician prescribes to an individual a herbal alternative in lieu of a prescription drug, the individual should then be able to claim that herbal alternative as a medical expense.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Internet Child Pornography Prevention ActRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Musquodoboit Valley—Eastern Shore, NS

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-212, an act to prevent the use of the Internet to distribute pornographic material involving children.

Mr. Speaker, I am reintroducing a bill that I introduced two years ago in the House. As a father of two young children, it is extremely imperative that we as legislators in the House of Commons do everything we can to protect our most valuable resource, our children.

Through the inadequacies of the Internet and the danger that it poses for our children, I believe that once the bill is carefully reviewed by all political parties, it will sweep into legislation and protect our most valuable resource, our children.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Canada Elections ActRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Bev Desjarlais NDP Churchill, MB

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-213, an act to amend the Canada Elections Act.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you on your position as Speaker of the House.

This bill is one that I am following up on for the hon. member from Kamloops, Thompson and Highland Valleys. It would lower the voting age to 16. I think Canadians were greatly surprised that our voter turnout in the last federal election was at probably an all time low. We have a very apathetic group of Canadians with regard to the electoral system. People just do not have faith in the democratic system any more.

This is an opportunity for young people who are still in school and still learning about our electoral and parliamentary systems throughout the country to be active participants in the electoral system. We often hear colleagues suggesting that 16 year olds, even 10 year olds sometimes, should be treated as adults through the adult court system. Certainly if anyone can suggest that young people be treated as adults through the adult court system, then young people should be given the opportunity to vote in federal elections. This is the time for it and Canada needs to address the issue.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Holocaust Memorial Day ActRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North Centre, MB

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-214, an act to establish the Holocaust Memorial Day.

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to introduce this bill and to place again before the House the idea of an act to establish the Holocaust memorial day.

Many of us in the House have been touched in different ways by the horrors of the Holocaust. When I first introduced the bill in the House last spring, I had just returned from a pilgrimage marking the 55th anniversary of the liberation of Holland and a visit to Camp Westerbork, where the Dutch Jewish population was sent en route to the death camps.

In total, 6 million Jewish men, women and children perished as a result of a deliberate and planned state sponsored persecution and annihilation of European Jewry by the Nazis and their collaborators between 1933 and 1945.

The bill proposes to establish a national annual Holocaust memorial day to be called Yom ha-Shoah. I urge all members to consider the importance of this initiative, which will ensure that a sorry chapter in the history of the world is never allowed to repeat itself.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Aeronautics ActRoutine Proceedings

February 5th, 2001 / 3:10 p.m.

Liberal

Beth Phinney Liberal Hamilton Mountain, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-215, an act to amend the Aeronautics Act (automatic defibrillators).

Mr. Speaker, as you know, when a person suffers cardiac arrest, time is of the essence. The bill ensures that commercial passenger services in Canada with flights over one hour carry automated external defibrillators, providing passengers and crew with life saving technology. This would place in law a practice that many airlines in the world, including American Airlines, Qantas, British Airways and Canada 3000, are already following.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements ActRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North Centre, MB

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-216, an act to amend the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act (prevention of private hospitals).

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to reintroduce a bill that I had placed before the House last spring in light of a growing concern around privatization of our health care system. The bill is in response to that critical situation and in particular to the threats posed to universal public health care by Alberta's bill 11.

The specific purpose of the bill is to control the entry of private for profit hospitals into our public system. It amends the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act to provide that provinces be financially penalized if they allow public funds to be used for the provision of insured services in private for profit hospitals.

The bill ensures that the principles of medicare and the spirit of the Canada Health Act are absolutely and unequivocally reflected in the letter of the law.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Blood Samples ActRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Strahl Canadian Alliance Fraser Valley, BC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-217, an act to provide for the taking of samples of blood for the benefit of persons administering and enforcing the law and good Samaritans and to amend the Criminal Code.

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to reintroduce a bill that I had introduced in the last parliament. The bill would allow judges to order a blood sample to be taken when the judge believes that there is a strong case for either hepatitis C or HIV infection to a good Samaritan, a frontline emergency worker or someone who is helping those people do their jobs.

In the last parliament the bill passed unanimously through the House on second reading and was sent to committee. Unfortunately, the election got in the way and it died on the order paper. I do hope that members will again support the bill wholeheartedly. I have over 70 national and provincial organizations behind the bill. I do hope all members of the House of Commons will be able to support it.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Parliament Of Canada ActRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Musquodoboit Valley—Eastern Shore, NS

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-218, an act to amend the Parliament of Canada Act.

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to reintroduce the bill that I call the MP floor-crossing bill. Basically it tells all Canadians that in order for us to reform parliament, we have to first reform ourselves. The intent of the bill is to state quite clearly that a member of a sitting party cannot cross the floor and join another political party during his or her term of office.

When members have a falling out they must quit, run in a byelection where they can be nominated by a new party, and allow the people of their constituencies to decide their political fate. That is probably one of the finest pieces of legislation ever to hit the floor of the House of Commons.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Employment Insurance ActRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Musquodoboit Valley—Eastern Shore, NS

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-219, an act to amend the Employment Insurance Act (persons who leave employment to be care-givers to family members).

Mr. Speaker, my last bill for the day basically states that any person who gives care to an infirmed relative or a relative in palliative care should be able to collect employment insurance and have job protection while caring for the individual at home.

The bill would allow those with serious illnesses or under palliative care to avoid becoming institutionalized. It would allow them to stay at home for the remainder of their lives and to die with some sense of dignity.

It addresses financial concerns and would give remuneration to thousands of caregivers throughout Canada while they care for their loved ones at home and prevent their institutionalization. In addition, it would save millions of dollars in our health care system.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Fuel Price Posting ActRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Guy St-Julien Liberal Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik, QC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-220, an act respecting the posting of fuel prices by retailers.

Mr. Speaker, under this bill, when a fuel retailer causes a poster, label or sign to be posted indicating the selling price for a fuel, the price must be indicated without regard to any taxes imposed on the consumer under an act of parliament or an act of the legislature of a province.

Presently in Canada oil companies are afraid to show what the price of one litre of oil is before taxes. It will have to be on the bill, but the price of a litre of oil before taxes will also have to be posted. The oil companies are afraid to do so.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Transfer Of Offenders ActRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Janko Peric Liberal Cambridge, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-221, an act to amend the Transfer of Offenders Act (removal of foreign offenders).

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to introduce my private member's bill that would seek to make amendments to the Transfer of Offenders Act.

The bill was developed in conjunction with amendments to the Immigration Act. Its goal is to facilitate the deportation of non-Canadians convicted of crimes. The bill would assist the crown in its removal of such criminals.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Income Tax ActRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Beauport—Montmorency—Côte-De- Beaupré—Île-D'Orléans, QC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-222, an act to amend the Income Tax Act (deduction of expenses incurred by a mechanic for tools required in employment).

Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this bill is to permit mechanics to deduct the cost of providing tools for their employment.

For the benefit of my colleagues, I should point out that during the previous parliament, this bill passed second reading, members supported it by a vote of 180 against only 11. So, my purpose today is to ensure that this bill is deemed adopted immediately, if possible.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Sarkis Assadourian Liberal Brampton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order No. 36 it is my pleasure to present to the House a petition duly certified by the clerk of petitions and signed by numerous Canadians.

Whereas Canada has the second highest incident rate of breast cancer in the world, the petitioners pray that parliament enact legislation to establish an independent governing body to develop, implement and enforce uniform mandatory mammography quality assurance and quality control standards in Canada.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Liberal

Sarkis Assadourian Liberal Brampton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order No. 36 it is my pleasure to present to the House a petition duly certified by the clerk of petitions and signed by numerous Canadians.

The petitioners condemn the Government of Canada's participation in the Yugoslavian war which they feel is against international law.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Peter Goldring Canadian Alliance Edmonton Centre-East, AB

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate you on your selection as Speaker.

I am pleased to rise today to introduce a petition from 440 concerned residents of Alberta. These petitioners speak in unison as they express concern for the firearms bill, Bill C-68.

They ask parliament to refute Bill C-68 and to redirect those millions of wasted dollars into reducing crime and adding more police on the street. A great number of Canadians agree with these petitioners.

Questions On The Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Scarborough—Rouge River Ontario

Liberal

Derek Lee LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

Questions On The Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

The Speaker

Is that agreed?

Questions On The Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-2, an act to amend the Employment Insurance Act and the Employment Insurance (Fishing) Regulations, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Employment Insurance ActGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Keith Martin Canadian Alliance Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, this is the first time I have had the floor since your election as Speaker. I join my colleagues in congratulating you. As was reported in the papers, you are the finest selection of Speaker in the last quarter century. We look forward to working with you over the next few years.

The government had an opportunity to change employment insurance into a true insurance plan. As it stands today, the government is taking $10 billion out of the pockets of employers and employees. We feel this is nothing more than a tax.

The government should be trying to strike a balance on this sensitive issue. Certainly it must be able to reduce the amount of moneys that employers and employees pay so that there will be enough money for those who are unemployed through no fault of their own.

When the government takes excess money from employers and employees, that is a tax. It prevents businesses from having the money to train their people, invest in their companies and be competitive. That excess tax acts as a lodestone around the neck of a company, preventing it from being competitive internationally. It is at a disadvantages because it pays more out of its pockets as time passes.

This does nothing to help those who are most vulnerable in society. It does nothing for those who are making the least amount in society. It also panders to a level of mediocrity that my party and our country are fed up with catering to.

Let us talk about what can be as opposed to what is. Canada can have a more competitive environment which lets the private sector employ more people, have money to invest in its own companies and have the infrastructure needed to compete not only domestically but internationally.

These moneys should be invested in education. They should be applied to the debt. They should be used to lower taxes and ensure that companies and employees have the skills to be competitive in a global environment.

We live in a very complex and changing world, one which is more globalized and more interconnected. What happens half a world away impacts upon our employers and employees.

We also have a changing demographic in our society that no one is talking about. The population over the age of 65 is set to double in the next 20 years.

Do we ever hear from members on the other side of the House what they will do about that? Do they ever talk about what will happen to old age security, guaranteed income supplements, GIS? Do we ever hear about what that will do to CPP? Do we ever hear about what that will do to the changing age of our working population?

No, we do not. It is absolutely imperative, however, that we implement changes today so that our workforce will be able to provide for the social programs we have come to enjoy.

When our demographic changes as more and more people retire, our tax base will shrink unless we make effective changes in all the areas I have mentioned. Only then can we become competitive and have money through our tax base for a good health care system, for OAS and GIS plans and a CPP that works.

All those things must be dealt with proactively, not reactively. That is why many organizations do not support this bill. Ones we might have expected to support it, such as the Canadian Labour Congress, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business and others, do not. The Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association does not support the bill. Organizations in the maritimes, many of which rely on seasonal employment, do not support it.

Why? It is because the bill does very little to address the concerns of people. It also does little for places that are underdeveloped and could have more, such as the maritimes or indeed my province of B.C. which has had the lowest growth of any province during most of the last seven years.

The government should have taken a cold, hard, pragmatic look at the EI plan, grounded it in true insurance principles and decreased the amount of money paid out of the pockets of employers and employees. It also must work with the provinces to reduce the rules and regulations that choke off the private sector. It needs to work with the provinces so we can have a good education system that invests in people and lets the private sector invest in its employees.

We also have to look at reducing other taxes because they are hamstringing the ability of private sector employers to be competitive, to hire people and to provide the most important social program of all, a job.

It is incumbent upon the government to listen well and act responsibly. If it does that and listens to members from across party lines, we can build a true and effective EI program on true insurance principles that can be sustained into the future.

Employment Insurance ActGovernment Orders

3:25 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Musquodoboit Valley—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, I admire greatly the member from Vancouver Island who just spoke, but I have a couple of concerns.

The member from Mississauga finally did admit on behalf of the Liberal Party that EI funds were used for other purposes. That is simply unacceptable.

I want to give the member from Vancouver Island one opportunity and one opportunity only to apologize to Atlantic Canadians for the disparaging remarks made by John Mykytyshyn, and by a certain leader of his party who indicated in Acadie—Bathurst that better EI was needed but who immediately upon leaving New Brunswick changed his mind.

He should also apologize for comments the member for Calgary—Nose Hill made before the last election. They were disparaging remarks against the EI system and workers in Atlantic Canada.

I will give the member the opportunity, being the honourable person that he is, to once and for all apologize to Atlantic Canadians for remarks made by the Canadian Alliance Party over the last few months.

Employment Insurance ActGovernment Orders

3:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Keith Martin Canadian Alliance Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, the member's question draws attention to a very important issue. There is not a single member of the House who does not want to see every Canadian fully employed. There is not a single member of the House who does not want to see the future of the country be the best it can become.

My friend from Nova Scotia who asked the question wants exactly the same as we in this party want. We have spoken at length about what we want: a future in the maritimes that is better than what it has been over the last 10 to 20 years. We do not want in any way, shape or form the same level of mediocrity the government has offered to the people of the east coast.

We have drawn attention to the example of Ireland. We have said that the east coast can look at Ireland. By reducing taxes, by eliminating egregious rules and regulations, and by working with the federal government to reduce interprovincial trade barriers the east coast could become an economic tiger in Canada. There is no reason it cannot.

There are many areas and economic niches that the east coast can maximize. Furthermore, it can maximize north-south trade. I know the member has worked hard in this area and knows that there is an enormous market companies on the east coast can maximize.

Why do we accept that people on the east coast want seasonal work? They do not want seasonal work. They want full time work and they want to make a lot of money. They also want to take care of those people who cannot take care of themselves. That is a Canadian sentiment. That is what we stand for as Canadians and that is what we will strive for.

Employment Insurance ActGovernment Orders

3:30 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski-Neigette-Et-La Mitis, QC

Mr. Speaker, except for today's question period, this is really the first opportunity I have had to rise in the House in this 37th parliament.

First, I want to thank the constituents of Rimouski—Neigette-et-la-Mitis for their tremendous support during the last federal election. I am proud of the confidence they have shown me and I can assure them that I will continue to make their interests my first and foremost priority.

To you, Mr. Speaker, I also want to extend my congratulations on your election as Speaker of the House. I was very impressed by all the comments I have read about you in the papers. Best of luck in your new duties.

Let us now turn to today's debate. Last Friday, February 2, the government introduced Bill C-2, an act to amend the Employment Insurance Act and the Employment Insurance (Fishing) Regulations.

Those of us who have followed the recent election campaign of the Liberals, mainly in the maritimes, the lower St. Lawrence, the Gaspésie area, the North Shore and Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, expected the government to show a little more respect for the people and not to have so much amnesia.

If that had been the case, the government would have introduced a very different bill from the one now before the House. When I saw the Secretary of State for Amateur Sport, I told him “Now we will look for results. We have kept abreast of the promises you made”. He answered“ Do not worry, we will keep our promises”.

We are off to a really bad start. The bill we have before us for study is, unfortunately, identical, but for a few commas here and there, to one introduced just before the House was prorogued, Bill C-44.

I would like to make some things perfectly clear concerning Bill C-44. Just before the last general election was called, the Liberal government wanted to head off to the hustings with the advantage of Bill, C-44, which brought in a few changes to the conditions for eligibility for employment insurance.

It therefore sought the unanimous support of all House leaders in place at that time to help accelerate the process of getting Bill C-44 passed.

All opposition parties refused to give this consent to the leader of the government. The Canadian Alliance had its reasons and the Bloc Quebecois had its own, as did all parties in opposition.

We were mainly opposed to the outright theft of the surplus in the employment insurance fund. We had the support of Action Chômage and various lobby groups in the province of Quebec. They were not prepared to trade a few meagre improvements for the theft of billions from the fund's surplus. We therefore opposed rapid passage of the bill.

When the government says that the Bloc Quebecois voted against the bill, it is engaging in misinformation, disinformation and even demagoguery, since a vote on this bill was never held in the House. It is true that the Bloc Quebecois refused to be an accomplice to the theft of the employment insurance fund, because we learned at a very early age that he who holds the loot bag is just as guilty as the one who fills it. So, we refused to be the accomplices of this government by agreeing to quickly pass this legislation.

Then came the general election. What happened? Every day, there were all kinds of polls. Among other things, we heard that the Progressive Conservative Party and the New Democratic Party would disappear, that they would fall into oblivion, that they might manage to save a few seats, but that they would no longer be official parties in the House.

We also heard an increasing number of experts, analysts, parliamentary correspondents, journalists and professors of political science say that we seemed headed for a minority Liberal government, something which became a source of concern for the Liberal Party's top strategists. These people said to themselves “We need a good cause. We should make a good sales pitch so that Canadians will like our party and give us a majority government. Then we can do whatever we want”. It was to be promises during the campaigns and then arrogance, contempt and, above all, no recollection of the commitments made.

In order to make sure the Prime Minister would get the Guinness record he wanted so badly, that is to get a third straight majority mandate, top Liberal strategists said “What would be good for the Liberals would be to make people from the maritimes and Quebec believe that if they elect us we will change the employment insurance program”.

Several ministers got down to work and travelled throughout Quebec and the maritimes, especially in the regions most affected by unemployment, and promised that the employment insurance plan would be changed.

It is amazing how easily people let themselves be fooled once again. The government has broken its electoral commitments. The new Bill C-2 is the exact copy of Bill C-44, introduced before the election.

The government has done exactly what it did when it promised to scrap the GST, to use the Prime Minister's words.

We should examine what some members of the government said. It is a very revealing exercise. On January 17, 2001, La Presse reported comments by the Secretary of State for Amateur Sport, who never misses an opportunity to make promises concerning the employment insurance system. Unfortunately, he is not as good at it as when he makes promises about sports. He has a better command of his own portfolio than that of the human resources minister, who does not seem to understand the commitments he has made on her behalf.

Here is what La Presse wrote on January 17 “ If well reasoned and justified arguments are brought forward, we are open to change”. He further clarified “The public works minister and myself are open to this kind of dialogue. We are open to discussions”.

Some openness. The government's mind is completely closed. We are caught in the same situation we were in with Bill C-44. The dilemma is absolutely unbearable: we are penalized if we vote for it and penalized if we vote against it. The government puts us in a very uncomfortable position.

The Secretary of State for Amateur Sport said that if we had good and justifiable arguments, his government would be open to change. We have been here since 1994. We were elected in 1993 and began sitting in parliament in 1994. What have we been doing since 1994? Day after day, all the critics for the Bloc on that very important issue, be it the hon. member for Mercier or the hon. member for Kamouraska—Témiscouata—Rivière-du-Loup—Les Basques, asked questions about the issue first to Mr. Axworthy, then to Douglas Young and to the current Minister of International Trade. As for the present minister, we confronted her day after day, but to question her about a scandal so outrageous that we did not have time to ask questions about the employment insurance plan.

However we did question her three predecessors about their employment insurance reforms. We reminded them of the position they had taken when they were in the opposition and were opposed to the changes proposed by Mr. Valcourt but that was like talking to a wall. They all had the same answer, always the same answer: “The hon. member did not read the documentation. He or she does not understand and will not understand anything about the reform”.

This is what we were told day after day. All those ministers showed how they betrayed Canadians.

They have never been able to explain the real idea behind the reform. The government wanted to get more money into its coffers because it needed billions of dollars to pay for its scandals, for its expenses and to grease its friends' palms; that is why it had to reform the EI on the backs of workers and employers, that is on the backs of those contributing to the EI fund.

Time and again at committee stage, we put forward justified and justifiable arguments showing the need to change that plan which is against the young and discriminates against them. It is so discriminatory to young people that I cannot see how it could be constitutional.

Earlier, I heard the member opposite—I do not remember the name of his riding, but it is close to Nunavut or Abitibi—say that young people do not leave our regions because they do not have jobs. Of course, they do. Over the past five years, in my region, we have seen 700 young people aged between 15 and 29 leave.

Do you know what it means when young people aged between 15 to 29 leave? It means that the population is declining, that we no longer have the resources we need to develop, that the government could not care less what happens to the regions. Yet, it is prepared to spend millions of dollars to get elected, as we have seen in the Gaspé, while letting people wallow in unemployment.

They are asked to work 910 hours. It is impossible for a young person to work 910 hours. They really have to leave the region and go to a large centre to find other jobs in order to manage, and to work the famous 910 hours. Then, they never come back to the region, or almost never.

I myself heard the Prime Minister, the member for Saint-Maurice, make his promise during the campaign. He had forgotten, and his organizers made him get back up on the stage. I saw him with my own eyes and heard him with my own ears say “Oh yes, that is true. I had forgotten to promise that we will rework the plan”. What did he say? He said that they would, in February, give money to the unemployed retroactively. “Housing costs are not paid retroactively”, commented my leader.

How can the Prime Minister, who knows what really goes on in his government, say that there will be retroactive measures? We tried for retroactive measures for those who lost their job between July 17 and September, so they would be included in the same plan as the temporary measures proposed by the government. The government refused to allow a retroactive arrangement for these people. However, they will have to face the gap, as my colleague from Acadie—Bathurst said. The spring gap is coming. The Prime Minister will not notice, any more than will the minister.

What was the Secretary of State for Amateur Sport saying during the election campaign? He said “Once a Liberal majority is elected”—ah, now the cat is out of the bag. They wanted a Liberal majority so they could continue being arrogant with people—“we will reinstate the process and make sure that the changes are effective and meet the needs, for the most part, of the people of the Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean and Canadians as a whole. I have made a commitment to change the law and we will see to it”.

The Secretary of State for Amateur Sport, who is also a boxer, has become a featherweight in this government since he has been unable to include one single amendment in this bill. Not one.

Moreover, we may soon be gagged both in the House and in committee because the government will find that too many people are complaining about its arrogance. It makes no sense at all.

The Prime Minister added “We realized that it was not a good decision, and that we should not have done it”. That is what he admitted, in the Canadian Press, on November 4, 2000, in the middle of the election campaign, on the subject of the cuts to the employment insurance plan his government had imposed. He recognized that it made no sense but now that he is back in power with a majority government, it suddenly makes sense to him to keep on being arrogant.

I could keep on quoting clips collected during the electoral campaign, but it would remind Canadian and Quebec people too many bad memories.

I am sure they bitterly regret now what they did on November 27, because in other cases they did the right thing. In my riding, 60% of the people supported me when I told them I would come to Ottawa with a strong voice to represent them and to defend their interests about unemployment insurance and the Young Offenders Act. The government is up to its old tricks.

As for parental leave, the government has no idea of what makes sense.

My colleague from Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, our critic on this issue, explained very well this morning that we will unfortunately be faced with having to vote against the bill, not because we are against tiny improvements, at least they are improvements.

There are some improvements. There is the elimination of the intensity rule, the elimination of discrimination concerning the rule of tax clawback for frequent users, the change in the definition of new entrants or re-entrants to the labour force for special benefits, which applies mainly to pregnant women, the indexing of yearly insurable earnings and the reduction of the premium rate to $2.25, which is not enough but is still better than nothing.

What is terrible is the stealing of the fund. Never would I have thought that the Liberal government would do such despicable things. Once again, it has fooled the people on all counts.

Canada made some progress when minority governments were in office. It is very sad that there is not one this time. Imagine how different the bill would have been if the leader of the government had to deal with the four opposition parties to give us a bill that fulfilled the Liberal Party's promises.