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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

Interest ActRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Lorne Nystrom NDP Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-223, an act to amend the Interest Act (interest payable on repayment of a mortgage loan before maturity).

Mr. Speaker, the bill would ensure that everyone has a chance to repay a mortgage before the mortgage expires or before the maturity of that mortgage without an interest penalty, thereby putting into law what is only fair practice in financial institutions.

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

Family Farm Cost Of Production Protection ActRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Lorne Nystrom NDP Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-224, an act to provide cost of production protection for the family farm.

Mr. Speaker, the bill would provide a guarantee that the farmers receive a price that reflects the cost of production for their products. It is similar in many ways to what the European countries, or indeed the United States, have for many of their products.

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

Income Tax ActRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Lorne Nystrom NDP Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-225, an act to amend the Income Tax Act (deductibility of expense of tools provided as a requirement of employment).

Mr. Speaker, the bill would amend the Income Tax Act. It would provide for the very fair provision that mechanics should be able to deduct the cost of their tools when they have to purchase these tools for work purposes. Again, it is a bill that is based on equity for all Canadians.

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

Bank ActRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Lorne Nystrom NDP Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-226, an act to amend the Bank Act (bank mergers).

Mr. Speaker, this is a very important issue. The bill would amend the Bank Act with regard to mergers among our big banks. It would allow mergers to take place on two conditions. The first would be that if one bank were to become insolvent then, of course, a merger could take place. The other condition would be that a merger applicant would be successful only if the application passes in the House of Commons by virtue of a resolution of the House of Commons, whereby we collectively make the decision, not the Minister of Finance.

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

Pension Ombudsman ActRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Lorne Nystrom NDP Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-227, an act to establish the office of Pension Ombudsman to investigate administrative difficulties encountered by persons in their dealings with government in respect of benefits under the Canada Pension Plan or the Old Age Security Act or tax liability on such benefits and to review the policies and practices applied in the administration and adjudication of such benefits and liabilities.

Mr. Speaker, the bill has the purpose of creating the office of a pension ombudsman to deal with all the problems that people have with the Canada pension plan, the old age security act and pensions of that sort under federal jurisdiction. The powers of the office of an ombudsman would be in terms of the traditional powers those offices hold.

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

Canada Pension PlanRoutine Proceedings

February 6th, 2001 / 10:10 a.m.

NDP

Lorne Nystrom NDP Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-228, an act to amend the Canada Pension Plan (early pension entitlement for police officers and firefighters).

Mr. Speaker, members are quite familiar with this bill. It would provide for the early retirement of firefighters and police officers because of the hazardous occupations in which they are involved.

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

First Nations Veterans Compensation ActRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Lorne Nystrom NDP Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-229, an act to provide compensation to First Nations veterans on a comparable basis to that given to other war veterans.

Mr. Speaker, this bill would attempt to right an historical wrong in the country. It would provide first nations veterans who fought in the first world war, the second world war and the Korean war, or their families, with four things: first, an apology; second, adequate compensation; third, a scholarship in their honour; and, fourth, a war memorial that is dedicated to their fighting for the country over the course of three different wars. I am sure all members of the House would support this bill.

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

Business Development Bank Of Canada ActRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Lorne Nystrom NDP Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-230, an act to amend the Business Development Bank of Canada Act and the Canada Student Loans Act to provide for a student loan system that is more supportive of students.

Mr. Speaker, this bill would provide changes in legislation to make sure that students have a more reasonable interest rate for student loans and a more reasonable repayment rate that favours students rather than private financial institutions.

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

Credit Ombudsman ActRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Lorne Nystrom NDP Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-231, an act to establish the office of Credit Ombudsman to be an advocate for the interests of consumers and small business in credit matters and to investigate and report on the provision by financial institutions of consumer and small business credit by community and by industry in order to ensure equity in the distribution of credit resources.

Mr. Speaker, this bill would establish the office of a credit ombudsman to look at the problems that consumers and small businesses have with credit and to advocate on their behalf. The office would have the traditional powers of the office of an ombudsman.

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

Conscientious Objection ActRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Svend Robinson NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-232, an act respecting conscientious objection to the use of taxes for military purposes.

Mr. Speaker, this bill would permit individuals who object on conscientious grounds to paying taxes that might be used for military purposes to direct that an amount equivalent to a prescribed percentage of the income tax they pay in a year be diverted to a special account established by this enactment. This account would direct funds toward peaceful purposes such as peace education, war relief, humanitarian and environmental projects.

The fund would be established in consultation with groups including: The Canadian Yearly Meeting—Religious Society of Friends, or Quakers, the Canadian Conference of Mennonites; Conscience Canada Inc.; Mennonite Central Committee of Canada; and Nos impôts pour la paix.

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

Corrections And Conditional Release ActRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Cadman Canadian Alliance Surrey North, BC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-233, an act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (withdrawal of applications for full parole by offenders serving two or more years).

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Lethbridge for seconding this bill that would amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act.

The present act not only permits offenders to make application for parole but allows them to withdraw their application at any time with little, if any, repercussion.

My amendments attempt to protect the taxpayer and the victims. Unless there are reasonable and valid grounds for withdrawal by the offender, the reapplication would be delayed for two years.

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

Supreme Court ActRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

John Bryden Liberal Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Aldershot, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-234, an act to amend the Supreme Court Act.

Mr. Speaker, the bill would require the Supreme Court of Canada to hear from and consider the intentions of parliament when it considers charter challenges. Moreover, it would also require that in the event of a less than unanimous decision on a charter challenge, the supreme court's decision would not be considered binding other than to the case being heard at the time.

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

Young Offenders ActRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Cadman Canadian Alliance Surrey North, BC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-235, an act to amend the Young Offenders Act.

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Lethbridge for seconding this bill which would amend the Young Offenders Act to make the offence set out in section 7.2 a hybrid offence.

The bill was originally introduced in the last parliament as Bill C-260. The Minister of Justice recognized the value of the legislation as she incorporated it in its entirety in the failed Bill C-3 in the last parliament.

I am endeavouring again to introduce this amendment to the Young Offenders Act that is in currently in force since we have no new legislation yet approved.

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

Hazardous Products ActRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

John McKay Liberal Scarborough East, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-236, an act to amend the Hazardous Products Act (fire-safe cigarettes).

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Sydney—Victoria for seconding the motion. The bill would force cigarette companies to make fire safe cigarettes. If we could save a dozen lives a year, we would do so. If we could save 100 injuries a year, we would do so. If we could save millions of dollars in property damage, we would do so.

Cigarette companies have known how to make fire-safe cigarettes for years but have failed to do so. The proposed bill would remedy that situation. I hope to solicit the support of all members.

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

Divorce ActRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jay Hill Canadian Alliance Prince George—Peace River, BC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-237, an act to amend the Divorce Act (joint custody).

Mr. Speaker, the purpose of the bill is to ensure that the courts grant custody of a child to both parents unless there exists evidence that to do so would not be in the best interests of the child. Automatic joint custody could reduce the number of parents forced to go to court to gain access to their kids, increase the likelihood of support payment compliance and reduce the likelihood of one parent denying the right of the other to see the children.

The report of the Special Joint Committee on Child Custody and Access recommended two years ago that joint parenting be included in new legislation but the justice minister has yet to do so.

Children have waited long enough.

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

Criminal CodeRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jay Hill Canadian Alliance Prince George—Peace River, BC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-238, an act to amend the Criminal Code (conditional sentencing).

Mr. Speaker, conditional sentencing was introduced in the 35th parliament as Bill C-41. Since that time, tens of thousands of conditional sentences have been handed down. Most of these sentences are for petty crimes. However, many have been handed down for crimes as serious as sexual assault, manslaughter, drunk driving and drug trafficking.

In 1997 the British Columbia Court of Appeal stated in a decision regarding conditional sentencing that “if parliament had intended to exclude certain offences from consideration, it should have done so in clear language”.

My bill does precisely that. It lists the offences to be excluded from any possibility of receiving a conditional sentence.

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

Criminal CodeRoutine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jay Hill Canadian Alliance Prince George—Peace River, BC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-239, an act to amend the Criminal Code and the Young Offenders Act (capital punishment).

Mr. Speaker, I believe Canada should hold a binding referendum on capital punishment so that all the Canadian people, and not political parties, can decide whether or not it should be reinstated. An Alliance government has pledged to do this, however the Liberals do not believe in allowing Canadians to exercise this power.

Today I am reintroducing the bill to reinstate the death penalty for adults convicted of first degree murder. In addition, the bill also imposes a range of stiffer penalties for youths convicted of murder.

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

Criminal CodeRoutine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Randy White Canadian Alliance Langley—Abbotsford, BC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-240, an act to amend the Criminal Code (prohibiting certain offenders from changing their name).

Mr. Speaker, once again I am introducing legislation in the House of Commons which would, if adopted, prevent serious offenders from changing their names while incarcerated. It must be a right of Canadians to know who is residing in and around their homes if one of these persons is a convicted killer or serious sex offender.

Currently incarcerated inmates are able to apply for and receive changes of names, changes of drivers' licences and other documents. When on parole or released, they can slip into any neighbourhood while an innocent, unsuspecting public believes all is well. I am personally aware of serious sex offenders who have changed their names and even admitted they were a danger to the public when they were released.

We cannot wait for offenders who have hidden their identity to reoffend and then say we have made mistakes. We have an obligation to protect the public.

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

Questions On The Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Scarborough—Rouge River Ontario

Liberal

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

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

Questions On The Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Is that agreed?

Questions On The Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

The House resumed from February 2 consideration of the motion for an address to Her Excellency the Governor General in reply to her speech at the opening of the session and of the amendment.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

10:20 a.m.

Liberal

Reg Alcock Liberal Winnipeg South, MB

Mr. Speaker, before I begin my remarks, I would like to note that I am splitting my time with the member from Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik.

I also wish to mark the passing of a colleague of ours, a former member of the House, Mr. David Iftody, who died suddenly last night. He will be missed.

As this is the first time I have had an opportunity to speak in the House since the election, I will begin by thanking my constituents who have demonstrated their faith in me for the third time. I am honoured by their support and I pledge, as I have always done, my efforts to serve them to the best of my ability.

I also want to thank my wife and family. I am blessed with three wonderful children and a wife who takes on a lot of extra responsibilities so that I may be here. She gives up a lot and I really appreciate her efforts.

I also want to thank my many friends and volunteers who worked so hard for my re-election and worked with me throughout the intervening years to serve the people of Winnipeg South.

Finally, I want to thank my staff who I believe are among the best in Canada and who work very hard for very poor pay, very limited remuneration and do an excellent job.

I want to welcome the new members. I also want to welcome you, Mr. Speaker, as Deputy Speaker and Chairman of Committees of the Whole. We have a new Clerk but I think we have the same table officers returning.

I also want to thank all of the people around the Hill who work unseen by us to make our lives so much easier, whether it is the drivers, the security guards who are always so friendly and helpful, the people who clean our offices, the Hansard staff and an enormous number of people who toil day in and day out so that we may do the work that we are here to do. They do not often get the recognition they deserve.

Since I have very limited time, I want to simply highlight a few things. I was very disappointed in the way this campaign evolved in the last election.

I hold the leader of the Progressive Conservative Party responsible for starting it. We all launched into what was a very bitter and personal campaign. As a result, I think the Canadian people lost an opportunity through that process to hear us debate some of the things we debate all the time around here. They lost an opportunity to hear some discussion of ideas to improve the country. We lost a lot in that.

There were a few things our party put forward that were exceptional. As a person who represents a suburban riding in the south end of Winnipeg and a university, there were a couple of things that went entirely unnoticed in the Speech from the Throne that are enormously exciting and important for our country.

We made a commitment, and it was repeated by the Prime Minister, to make Canada among the top five countries in the world in investments in R and D by the year 2010. That is a staggeringly important announcement, not just for the research community but for our entire quality of life. The government made that commitment and I am enormously proud of it.

We also made a commitment to bring broadband access to all homes by 2004. I am sure a lot of people do not know what that means. It is an enormously important commitment, one that says we will all have high speed broadband, wideband access to our homes.

Everyone talks about getting television on their computers. That is a very small part of what it means. It means having the power to drive the kind of interfaces needed in order to have user friendly access so we can take advantage of the services which can be made available with the new information and technologies. It means we can literally talk to our television sets and order whatever we want by voice. It means my mother and grandmother can interact with the technology. It is shatteringly important and I am surprised we made it. It will take a lot of effort to get there.

I represent the University of Manitoba, one of the best universities in the world and certainly an important resource in my community. There are commitments around research and development, broadband access and registered learning accounts.

We talked about this as being the knowledge economy and the need for lifelong learning. The government has now put its resources behind that. We are giving people an opportunity to retrain, build their skills and invest in their own futures. It is an incredibly important initiative and one that I am sorry was not debated more wholesomely during the election.

I will focus on one set of issues because I have such limited time. Each time I run for election I come back here and set my own agenda in addition to the ones that I have committed to with my constituents during the campaign. We have some local infrastructure, an underpass and urban transit that we are going to work on. I see that reflected in the Speech from the Throne.

My big passion is the whole business of what is euphemistically called e-government, the adaptation by government of the information and communications technologies that have become so pervasive in the private sector. Either Gates or Michael Dell said that the Internet changes everything. We are just beginning to realize how true that is and what a profound change is going on.

If we look back at what has happened in the private sector with large corporations and all the talk about downsizing, rightsizing, flattening, speeding up and the customer is king, all the stuff that has taken place in the last decade and a half, there have been enormous and profound changes in the way businesses do business. The world has speeded up. Bill Gates calls this decade the decade of velocity. The skill necessary now is how to deal in a world that is moving faster and faster. Government will have to get there and learn how to live in that world.

Whether we want to or not, we are going to evolve from a structure of government that is hierarchical and based on traditional methods of accountability and department structure into a more network form of government. We are interacting on a very immediate basis with the levels of government and citizens in ways that are just unprecedented. We have to get our heads around that and start thinking about what this means for our role.

If we change the structure and operations of government we cannot help but affect the accountability mechanisms, the governance. We cannot change the way in which information flows in a government and not affect the way that decisions are made.

I do not have a particular passion for parliamentary reform. It is not the thing that drives me. However I see some portions of parliamentary reform as being critically important to advance the rate at which we adapt new technologies and the way in which our government will change.

It is important that Canada lead that change. We go back and forth in that leadership position around the world, but other governments in the industrialized world such as Japan and Australia are making some important strides right now.

I want to sound a note of caution. There is a commitment in the Speech from the Throne to bring forward a review and a redrafting of the existing privacy legislation. This will be a critically important debate, one to which we need to pay a lot of attention and one that I am concerned about.

Privacy is a right. It is not just a right in the charter but it is a right that the supreme court has read into the charter. It is a right that we all exercise. I am a little tired of people talking about customers, that we will move to a customer style of government. This is nonsense.

It has been tried around the world. It has failed all over the place because it fails to recognize the fact that I may be a customer of government in a few transactions but I am a citizen of Canada all the time and as a citizen I have rights. The government is accountable to me as a citizen. One of the ways I exercise that right is in the way it respects me and the way it treats the information that it has about me.

At the same time there are huge values to be gained as a citizen by allowing the government to accumulate information to better serve me and to better understand how government functions and how society functions.

At the heart of that is privacy legislation. Currently it is being worked on by a committee of bureaucrats. I am sure they are bright and beautiful people. However this is a bill that must be crafted on the floor of the Chamber by all of us. This is a bill that concerns the rights of all of us. It is something that we must be very involved in. We cannot let it go through the House simply because it has received the stamp of approval of the executive.

In conclusion, I wish all members well. I think it will be an extremely interesting few years in which we can make some major improvements.

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jay Hill Canadian Alliance Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, I listened to my hon. colleague's speech very carefully. I certainly agreed with him when he talked about how unfortunate it was that the election campaign was very vicious and dirty. Probably members from all parties would agree with that. I noted that he singled out one or two people as deserving some criticism in that regard.

I remind the hon. member with all due respect that his leader, the Prime Minister of Canada, who at the start of the election campaign referred to my party, the Canadian Alliance, as the forces of darkness. That kicked off the campaign and started us down the road of everybody tearing at each other.

All Canadians were absolutely embarrassed for the Prime Minister in the dying days of the campaign when he was in Atlantic Canada. He referred to the fact that he liked to do politics in the east because he did not understand westerners. I think he said they were different. Then he said that he was kidding and then that he was actually serious.

Did the hon. member make a note of that fact? Has he had a chance to talk to his leader to find out whether the Prime Minister was kidding or was he serious in the way he feels about westerners?

Speech From The ThroneGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

Liberal

Reg Alcock Liberal Winnipeg South, MB

Mr. Speaker, I will resist the urge to play with this response. I have never been embarrassed by the Prime Minister, and I am a westerner. The things that I talked about in my speech, which I think are so important to the future of this country, are there because of the Prime Minister's willingness to listen and work on these issues.

I did single out one party. It is possible for us to constantly spend our time in this Chamber looking at that little phrase that each one of us will misspeak at some time or another and pounce on it saying that this is what we mean. The reason I singled out the leader of the Conservative Party was that was the first set of deliberate insults and deliberate fabrications that were put on public record in the first set of ads. I think that is different from debate where we get into pulling out those little twists.

I recently wrote a paper on communication. It is very difficult for us, as politicians, to communicate because we are so used to listening to a person on the other side just long enough to find that phrase that we can flip back at them in order to discredit what they are saying. We do not listen to what they are talking about and that soon becomes the way we function. We never really hear what we are saying.

I dismiss that part of the debate. However, I do think there were some deliberate acts that did not serve all of us very well. There has been a concern about the drop in voter turnout, but I think that has less to do with disinterest on the part of Canadians and more to do with disgust in this last process.