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House of Commons Hansard #7 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was riding.

Topics

Charlie GrantStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Comuzzi Liberal Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I bring to your attention today the story of a great Canadian, a fine citizen of Thunder Bay and a very good friend.

Charlie Grant was born in Winnipeg in 1918. His first job was selling newspapers to help support his family. He married his childhood sweetheart, Dorothy, in 1943. They have 5 children and 12 grandchildren whom they love very deeply.

Charlie worked for the CPR and was transferred to Thunder Bay, thank goodness, in 1949. Every award that can be bestowed upon Charlie Grant by the city of Thunder Bay has been bestowed upon him. He was a builder of his church and was involved in little league baseball, the minor league hockey, Boy Scouts, Red Cross, United Way and so on. He was a teacher at Confederation College. When he retired he went into business for himself and now owns several travel agencies throughout Ontario. In his spare time he is up at 6 o'clock in the morning and finds his way home some time around 10 o'clock in the evening.

The real tribute to him is that like you, Mr. Speaker, in his spare time he reads Hansard . His motto in life is never retire. He is a wonderful person. I wish him luck.

Food Freedom DayStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rob Merrifield Canadian Alliance Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, today is Food Freedom Day, which means that it takes only 37 days for Canadians to earn enough money to pay for their food supply for an entire year. I salute the farmers who provide Canada with the safest, highest quality and most affordable food supply in the world.

However I must raise an important point: the increasing gap between what consumers pay and the money that actually reaches the farmer's pocket. Do we realize that by January 9 we have paid the farmer for a year's worth of food? Nine cents is all that a farmer receives from a $1.50 loaf of bread.

The agriculture industry is the third largest employer in Canada. When it is hurting, all of Canada is hurting. It saddens me to say that the only place there will be starvation this year is down on the family farm.

Farmers have built this country. Canada must not turn her back on them in their time of need. The government needs to recognize these facts and be willing to take some action.

Food Freedom DayStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Steckle Liberal Huron—Bruce, ON

Mr. Speaker, happy Food Freedom Day. It is like Tax Freedom Day except that it pertains to food. It is true that if we put 100% of our income toward our basic food requirements, today is the day that we would have our bill paid in full.

Oh happy day, unless one is a farmer. The portion of this bill that is paid to the farmers was paid way back on January 9. It is sad, is it not, that it takes us 37 days to pay our entire food bill and only 9 days to pay our farmers?

In last week's throne speech the Governor General stated that the government would help Canada's agriculture sector move beyond crisis management. I applaud her for that. I also applaud the Prime Minister for promising that the matter of high U.S. agricultural subsidies would be the first order of business when he meets with the U.S. president this month.

In the meantime our farmers need support that they can take to the bank. I am calling upon every member to support our primary producers with a lobby for cash. Let us make Food Freedom Day a celebration for everyone.

David IftodyStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Speller Liberal Haldimand—Norfolk—Brant, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is with shock and sadness that I stand today to extend my sympathy to his family and loved ones on the sudden death yesterday of our former colleague, David Iftody.

David was a good friend to many of us. As a former roommate of his, I knew how dedicated he was to his constituents, his province and his country.

He chaired and was an active member of the rural caucus and we fought many agricultural battles together. David was outspoken on behalf of the people of Provencher and we could always count on David to be in our corner when we needed support on rural issues.

David was a hard worker and a good parliamentarian and will be remembered for his positive outlook on life and his cheery smile to match.

On behalf of all his colleagues, I extend our sincere condolences to his family. David's voice and presence will be sorely missed in Manitoba and in the House.

Food Freedom DayStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Rose-Marie Ur Liberal Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, ON

Mr. Speaker, today is Food Freedom Day in Canada, as the annual food bill for consumers is paid in full. As of today Canadians have earned enough money to pay for their entire year's food supply, food which is the safest and most affordable in the world. It takes just 37 days for us to pay for our groceries. That is just 10% of our personal disposable income. In France, it is 13%, in Germany 15% and in Mexico 33%.

Our farmers are the most efficient and productive in the world, but while those who eat food celebrate today it is astonishing to note the date on which farmers get paid for all this food. It is January 9. It takes only nine days to pay farmers for a year's worth of food. Statistics Canada figures show that a waiter or waitress will make more on tips for serving the food than the farmer does for producing it in the first place.

Auditor GeneralStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Philip Mayfield Canadian Alliance Cariboo—Chilcotin, BC

Mr. Speaker, today the auditor general released his report on the state of affairs in our public service. He warns of a crisis in the ability of the government to deliver essential services to Canadians.

He blasted the inability of the Public Service Commission to compete with the private sector in the hiring of the very best personnel. Seventy per cent of senior executives are expected to retire by the year 2008 and there is no plan to replace them.

I quote the auditor general, who states “The short term hiring practice shows a lack of long range planning with little regard for long range needs. There is no analysis of labour markets to assess trends”.

The best and brightest are being courted and recruited by the private sector while the government pays no attention to filling their ranks. I call on the government to follow the advice of the auditor general to end quota hiring practices and start attracting the best recruits before this crisis cripples the ability of the government to competently deliver even basic government services to all Canadians.

Bill CorcoranStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Bryon Wilfert Liberal Oak Ridges, ON

Mr. Speaker, I pay tribute to Bill Corcoran, who passed away on February 3 following a courageous battle with cancer.

Many of the people in Richmond Hill remember Bill from his long years of service to the town of Richmond Hill as town councillor and hydro commissioner. He also served his country by serving overseas with the Queen's Own Rifles and the Cameron Highlanders.

Corky, as he was affectionately known, was a generous, kind hearted man with a wonderful sense of humour who stood by his word. Although I did not have the pleasure of working with Bill on council, I did have many opportunities during his tenure as hydro commissioner to discuss with him many issues of mutual concern to the community.

In particular, we will remember his great sense of duty, his warmth and his propensity for telling jokes. His dedication to public service and his concern for his fellow citizens were hallmarks of his political career.

I express my condolences to his wife, Eleanor and to his children, grandchildren and many friends. We will miss him.

Soirée Des MasquesStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, over the years, the Soirée des Masques has become a special occasion for focussing the spotlight on Quebec theatrical genius.

The seventh edition, held this past Sunday night at the Monument-National, demonstrated this once again. The evening, with actress Pierrette Robitaille as the mistress of ceremonies and orchestrated by Fernand Rainville to the texts of Pierre-Yves Lemieux, was a theatrical event in itself. The atmosphere was thick with emotion.

Quebec is fortunate indeed to have such talented artists, creative people, performers and production teams.

Bravo to the award winners and to all the nominees. Bravo and thanks also to all those numerous actors and actresses who were not nominated this time. Thank you, all the creative people who provide us with such thrills every time the curtain goes up. Thanks to all members of the theatrical world.

Toque TuesdayStatements By Members

February 6th, 2001 / 2 p.m.

Liberal

John Godfrey Liberal Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, homelessness is one of the greatest social problems of our time. Sadly we are accustomed to people sleeping in shelters and on the street. Even worse, there are far more who are invisible to us: people who live in appalling substandard housing.

While the reasons for homelessness are many, solutions to the problem are in short supply. Raising the Roof is a national charity dedicated to finding long term solutions to homelessness. It is asking that we warm our hearts and indeed our heads this winter. Today is Toque Tuesday. Thousands of Canadians across the country are donning toques to draw attention to homelessness.

While I understand that props are not allowed and neither are funny costumes, I hope in this case you will forgive me for donning my toque.

Toque TuesdayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

The Speaker

I am sure we all admire the toque but some of us may have missed that.

Canadian Foodgrains BankStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Deepak Obhrai Canadian Alliance Calgary East, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to rise today and voice my support for a true Canadian success story, the Canadian Foodgrains Bank.

The foodgrains bank core program involves the provision of food to vulnerable people and households throughout the world. Started by prairie farmers, this program is expanding rapidly in Ontario and interest is mounting in the maritimes.

The Canadian Alliance caucus supports the work done by countless volunteers and private sector contributors involved with the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, who donate their time, resources and services to help feed the world's hungry.

Canadians should look to the foodgrains bank as an example of how the private sector can lead and how the government can play a crucial supporting role in humanitarian assistance.

The foodgrains bank's three year funding agreement with CIDA expires on March 31. We urge the government to renew the agreement and continue this very successful program.

David IftodyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Tony Ianno Liberal Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise with great sadness today to pay tribute to a former seatmate, colleague and good friend, David Iftody, on his sudden passing.

I pay tribute to the dedication and devotion with which he served in the House, working tirelessly for the people of Provencher and championing many of their causes from the rural base he was so proud to represent. He was not afraid to stand up for what he believed in, at times when it might have been easier to go with the flow.

He fulfilled his role as a parliamentarian on issues that were dear to his heart. His position as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and his work on behalf of small business allowed him to display in the House his sharp wit.

His love of the outdoors and his support for the rural way of life were always evident. One could feel the pride he felt in his grandparents' struggle to establish roots in their chosen country. The opportunity to return to his grandparents' homeland, Romania, as a member of parliament, along with the Prime Minister of Canada, was an historical and emotional moment for David.

There is so much more I could say about this great friend, but I will end by expressing, along with my friends in the House, my heartfelt sympathies and condolences to his family at this very difficult time.

Food Freedom DayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Lorne Nystrom NDP Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

Mr. Speaker, today is Food Freedom Day. Canadians have now earned enough money to pay for groceries for an entire year. It takes Canadians 37 days to pay for food for one year, but it takes only 9 days, to January 9, to pay the farmer for producing that food.

Farmers receive a small share of the Canadian food dollar. From a loaf of bread that sells for $1.50, the farmer receives only 9 cents. From a food basket of $10.50, including chicken, bread, vegetables and milk, the farmer receives only 73 cents. The farmers, not the large corporations, deserve a greater share of the food dollar.

Finally, because of the crisis in agriculture now, the federal government needs to put an immediate cash injection in the hands of farmers and come up with a long term farm program based on the cost of production.

ChinaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Antoine Dubé Bloc Lévis-Et-Chutes-De-La-Chaudière, QC

Mr. Speaker, this morning, as a democratic citizen concerned with the respect for human rights and as the Bloc Quebecois spokesperson for the Asia-Pacific, I took part in a press conference organized by the Canada-Tibet Committee in order to support a demand that the Prime Minister of Canada bring to one negotiating table representatives of the Dalai Lama and of the Chinese government.

The Canadian government is well known for its fondness for appearing in the eyes of the international community as a broker of peace and an untiring defender of human rights. In that context, our current special relationship with China offers us a unique opportunity to put our principles into concrete actions.

The Bloc Quebecois does not want to see human rights sacrificed to the economic benefits of the Prime Minister's visit to China. The Tibetans have the right to retain their culture, a culture that is unique to them.

The EconomyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Scott Brison Progressive Conservative Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, Canada's equalization system is a cornerstone of our social policy. In fact it is the only constitutionally enshrined spending program.

The stated goal of equalization was to provide approximately equal levels of taxation and services across the country, regardless of province. Yet today the provinces that have the greatest need for economic growth are also suffering under the highest levels of taxation. As such, clearly Canada's equalization system is broken.

The premier of Nova Scotia, John Hamm, is in Ottawa today, leading a crusade to fix Canada's equalization system, starting with eliminating the clawback of offshore revenues which denies provinces like Nova Scotia and Newfoundland the opportunity to use offshore revenues to lower taxes, to lower debt and to create greater levels of economic growth for their people.

I urge all members of the House, regardless of province or party, to support John Hamm, premier of Nova Scotia, in this legendary crusade on behalf of all Canadians.

David IftodyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in tribute to a young man whose life ended at all too young an age. I had the privilege of working with David Iftody for more than seven years. He was a faithful and dedicated member of the House.

David served his fellow citizens with enthusiasm and passion, and his extraordinary efforts in issues related to Indian and Northern Affairs testify to this.

David had strong opinions. He knew where his constituents stood on issues and he relayed their views with zeal. I saw how much the people of Provencher appreciated that when I visited his riding in 1997 in Lac du Bonnet, and most recently during the campaign, at a high school in Oakbank.

I was disappointed when I learned that he would not be joining us in this parliament and today I am greatly saddened by his passing. Thank you, David. You will be missed by all of us.

David IftodyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Vic Toews Canadian Alliance Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, I too would like to express my condolences at the sudden death of Mr. David Iftody. I first met Mr. Iftody a number of years ago at the University of Manitoba where he was my student. He was a bright and enthusiastic student. It was not surprising to me that he decided to pursue a career in the public service.

As an energetic and hard working member of parliament, he served the people of Provencher for seven years, representing their concerns in Ottawa and working in good faith to improve the lives of all Canadians.

He will be sadly missed by his former constituents, his family and friends, and by his colleagues in the House of Commons.

David IftodyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, it is with consternation and sadness that we learned yesterday of the passing, at age 44, of our former colleague, David Iftody, who, when parliament was dissolved on October 22, was the member for Provencher, in Manitoba.

Mr. Iftody was first elected to the House of Commons in 1993 and re-elected in 1997. He was the chairman of the rural caucus of the Liberal Party, a member of the Standing Committee on Industry and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development.

Born on June 15, 1956, in Winnipeg, Mr. Iftody studied at the University of Manitoba where he received a B.A. in social services and a masters degree in public administration. We will remember our colleague as a strong person dedicated to social justice, to which he devoted several years of his life.

I join all my colleagues in presenting to his family and friends our most sincere condolences.

David IftodyStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of my NDP colleagues and as a member of parliament from Manitoba, I too join in expressing the shock and the sadness we all felt yesterday as word began to proceed with respect to David's sudden death.

I join with others here in paying tribute to the work that he did in this place; to his commitment to his constituency, the area around Lac du Bonnet and throughout the whole area of Provencher; his commitment to his constituents; and the way in which he struggled from time to time, I think he would want it said, with what he thought his constituents wanted, what he thought his party wanted, and what he thought his church wanted.

In a time when we are talking a lot these days about free votes, he might want it noted that sometimes, to the Prime Minister's distress, he was one of the original free voters around here. We honour that memory of him as well.

We join with others in expressing condolences to his family and friends.

David IftodyStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Rick Borotsik Progressive Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday we lost one of our former members at the too young age of 44. David Iftody's untimely death was a shock to all of us in the House who knew him. He will be greatly missed by members of the House and the people of Manitoba.

David Iftody will be remembered best for his dedication and commitment to his constituents, whether it was helping out the people of Provencher during the 1997 Red River Valley flood or voting his constituency's wishes against his own government on gun control legislation. Members from all parties can respect that kind of commitment.

David was first elected to the House in 1993 and re-elected in 1997. He served his constituents and his party as parliamentary secretary of Indian affairs and as chairman of the Liberal rural caucus. David understood rural Canada. He fought and worked for the rural way of life in Manitoba.

I extend my condolences on behalf of the PC Party to the surviving members of the Iftody family. On behalf of Manitoba I thank David for his years of public service.

David IftodyStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

I invite hon. members to rise for a minute of silence for our former colleague, David Iftody.

Auditor GeneralOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the auditor general's latest report was tabled just minutes ago in the House. Sir, if you are looking for a good sleep tonight, I would not suggest that you read this book before retiring, retiring for the evening that is.

It says that Canadians are justifiably upset about scandals, about mismanagement and about waste. The auditor general states that things are getting worse and that he shares the frustrations of Canadians.

So do we. This is wasted and lost money that could have gone to health care. It could have gone to helping students with high debt loads. It could have gone to community agencies. It is lost forever.

The Prime Minister promised year after year that he would clean up his act. He has not. This is a mess. Why is it that way and why does he not care?

Auditor GeneralOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have an auditor general who reports four times a year. Previously the auditor general reported once a year.

He is there to find out where we have problems in the administration. We receive the report. We study it very seriously and we implement the recommendations that he makes. It is a very good process. It is public and it is done to make sure that taxpayer dollars are well spent.

Auditor GeneralOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, that just does not reflect reality. I am quoting the auditor general. He says that the problems are by no means exclusive to one program or to one department. He goes on to say:

It is discouraging to witness new incidents of waste and mismanagement crop up hydra-like after older ones have been discovered—

New and ongoing mismanagement. In the red books that we hear about from time to time there is a promise that the Prime Minister will hold ministers responsible for waste and mismanagement. Which ministers is he holding responsible?

Auditor GeneralOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, they are all responsible for their departments and they are very diligent.

I would like to inform the Leader of the Opposition that when we came to office in 1993 the federal government was spending something like $121 billion on programs every year. Since that time we have reduced the level of spending on programs by 20%. After seven years we are not back to the $121 billion.

This is great testimony that the government is taking public spending extremely seriously. Whenever there is an error we correct it as quickly as possible.