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House of Commons Hansard #26 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was judiciary.

Topics

Canada Shipping Act, 2001Government Orders

1:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Norman E. Doyle Progressive Conservative St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, I have been reading over the bill and I think the minister has good intentions in trying to protect the environment. I sincerely hope the parliamentary secretary will bring the minister up to speed on some of the things I have said here today.

We can have all the good intentions we want with respect to the bill, but if we do not have the enforcement capability to protect the environment in the way it should be protected the bill is simply of no use whatsoever.

I am glad the hon. member has given me the opportunity to hammer home the point. Prior to the minister introducing the bill in the House of Commons, the Minister of National Defence, only a few weeks ago, cut back on Aurora aircraft surveillance in Atlantic Canada.

We have many instances where ocean going tankers are blowing their bilges at sea. We do not have the ability to catch them in the act. Therefore it is very difficult to convict them in a court of law.

We should have that ability. It should be a fairly easy thing for us to do. I know we have hundreds of thousands of miles of coastline. If we cut back on our ability to catch polluters that are blowing their bilges at sea and are causing all kinds of difficulties for seabirds and water fowl of every kind, we would essentially have an act that does not have the necessary teeth to enforce these laws.

I sincerely hope the Minister of Transport and the Minister of National Defence will be able to come together and get some kind of co-operation going between the two departments to allow us to catch these people. What is a good act if it cannot be enforced?

Canada Shipping Act, 2001Government Orders

1:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jim Gouk Canadian Alliance Kootenay—Boundary—Okanagan, BC

Mr. Speaker, I was very impressed with the detail and passion with which the hon. member spoke. Coming from Atlantic Canada, he is very concerned about marine environment, and rightly so.

The member continually referred to the Grand Banks. Could he tell us if he feels this is a concern of equal weight in all parts of the country? He mentioned the overblowing of problems with the breakup of oil tankers at sea as compared to other problems he outlined in some detail.

On the west coast we have shipping lines that take tankers fairly close to our shore. I am not sure they have the same problem on the east coast. Does he think the bill gives equal consideration to both shores? Should there be some differential to deal with differing problems on the east coast versus the west coast?

Canada Shipping Act, 2001Government Orders

1:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Norman E. Doyle Progressive Conservative St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, I think the member makes a very good point. Canadians from all parts of the country are very concerned when it comes to pollution and to protecting our environment. There is no less concern in the west than there would be in the east for this kind of thing.

I mentioned the Grand Banks in particular because it is a world fishing resource. That area off the coast of Newfoundland has some of the most sensitive spawning areas in the world. Tankers are passing that way almost on a daily basis and are doing damage. They have very little concern for the environment when they blow their bilges at sea, to which I have referred on a couple of occasions in debate.

All Canadians are concerned about that kind of activity. They want the minister to put teeth in the bill to ensure that the people who are responsible are brought to justice.

Canada Shipping Act, 2001Government Orders

1:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jim Gouk Canadian Alliance Kootenay—Boundary—Okanagan, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak to Bill C-14, the Canada Shipping Act.

I would have liked to have been able to put some questions to the hon. member from the Bloc Quebecois who spoke earlier on the bill. I thank him for restoring my faith a little in the Bloc Quebecois after that diatribe from his colleague this morning on Bill C-233. I was shocked and I thought surely those members do not do this on everything. I felt that perhaps they were slipping away. He has partially restored my faith by sticking to the subject and speaking with great passion and interest on something that has certainly a big impact on his province.

The bill is really two bills in one. It sounds like one of those old Doublemint chewing gum TV commercials. We get two for our money. First, there is the Canada Shipping Act which is an old bill. Like many things the government has done in the past, it brings forward legislation and tells us when it is introduced that it is so important that the House must get going. It is so concerned about its legislation and feels it is so urgent to get it through that it has brought in closure 70 times since I have been in the House.

In the past the government brought forward a lot of legislation like the Canada Shipping Act. It has come forward with legislation and then diddle around with it until the clock ran out. It would either prorogue the House to get rid of legislation it knew was bad and was embarrassed by or, as it has done twice since I have been here, prematurely call an election which also torpedoed its own bills.

I cannot say I blame the government. Some of its bills are pretty bad and should be torpedoed. If I may use an analogy, it is interesting to use torpedo when we are talking about a shipping act. I have to be careful because we have enough problems with our shipping act right now without starting to talk about things of that nature.

As I have mentioned, the bill has two parts. One is the Canada Shipping Act which is regulatory in nature. The other one is the Shipping Conferences Exemption Act which is primarily a financial consideration. This was what the hon. member spoke to at some length. Coming from Quebec he mentioned his concern about shipbuilding, about trying to get more ships built in Canada or at least in his province, and having better tax flows in Quebec and from the federal government toward the shipbuilding industry. Certainly we want to see it preserved in British Columbia. He did make one particular reference to shipbuilding in British Columbia that I will come back to in a couple of minutes.

The Shipping Conferences Exemption Act is primarily financial in nature. It is something we should look at, particularly with regard to Quebec and funding for shipbuilding there. Part of the problem of getting funding is the collection of taxes and since this is the shipping act we should be looking at the shipping industry.

In Quebec there is a company known as Canada Steamship Lines which ironically is owned by our own Minister of Finance. He is one of the principals in this company. It is a very big company, a huge company with tremendous assets.

I would imagine that taxation on those assets would provide tremendous revenues for the federal government. Hopefully in its compassion it would provide some to Quebec and other regions to help with the shipbuilding industry. Canadians should be very proud of our shipbuilding industry, which is slowly slipping away from us.

As the hon. member stated, Quebec is putting quite a bit of money into this area already. There are many demands on tax dollars as we all know. Whenever Quebec does that, it is draining it from other areas where it perhaps would like to use it. Is it not ironic that the man in charge of raising taxes, who has such a wonderful asset located in the province of Quebec, has all those ships registered in other countries so that no taxes are paid on them in Quebec and in Canada? I was hoping to have the opportunity to ask the hon. member if he felt that was fair.

Before we start talking about the Shipping Conferences Exemption Act, we should examine some of the exemptions that we already have. We have a Canadian based company that has all its ships registered in foreign ports to specifically avoid paying fair taxes in Canada toward the very industry that spawned those ships that are hidden away in foreign ports. I would love to hear the hon. member's comments on that. Perhaps under questions and comments he may be able to shed some light on his feelings in that regard.

The hon. member also mentioned British Columbia when talking about shipbuilding which has a great shipbuilding industry as well. We are very proud of it. Some tremendous ships have been built and there is the capacity to continue doing so long into the future. Certainly we like to be diversified in British Columbia. We have some problems out there right now, aside from government, in terms of employment, our industry and our economy.

If one flies over the province of British Columbia one may wonder if there are any towns, particularly in the interior. All one sees are forests. We are a province covered in great stands of timber. My region particularly has a very forestry dependent economy. We have had a great deal of trouble in our province because of the softwood lumber quota system. It has been absolutely devastating.

As we come to the end of the five year term we are now looking at the possibility of trade wars. The Americans have basically put us on notice that they intend to put countervailing duties in place, tariffs, to devastate an industry upon which British Columbia depends.

It would be excellent to get our shipbuilding industry and many other things going to diversify the economy in British Columbia and to soften at least some of the impact we will likely look at because of future problems with softwood lumber.

Notwithstanding that we have gone through the World Trade Organization's dispute settlement mechanisms three times to deal with the fact that Americans are making false claims against our product in British Columbia, they still end up threatening to do it yet again. It is very expensive for both the government and the industry to deal with these charges. I would like to see the shipbuilding industry flourish in British Columbia.

When the hon. member mentioned shipbuilding in British Columbia he made specific reference to ongoing aluminum shipbuilding, which is a bit of a sore point to British Columbians right now. The notorious aluminum shipbuilding involved the provincial government building three aluminum fast ferries to serve as a link between the mainland and Vancouver Island. Notwithstanding the incredible abilities and dedication of the shipbuilding industry in British Columbia, they were a tremendous anomaly. These things were an unmitigated disaster.

I spoke earlier about the Shipping Conferences Exemption Act being financial in nature. We will probably never know the final figure, but the aluminum ferries the government saw fit to build have blown somewhere between half a billion and a billion dollars.

Do we know where the ferries are? They are tied up. The government is trying to sell them. The last I heard, it was trying to get $35 million for them. There are a lot of people in British Columbia who feel so incensed about this that they came to me with an idea as to how we can deal with it. They suggested that rather than trying to sell the ferries, even for $35 million, we should donate them to the government of British Columbia because it is about to be outgoing. As it has its final caucus meeting it might consider getting on board one of the ferries and heading west at a high rate of speed. We will see how sound they are once they get out on the open ocean.

I apologize to the hon. member from the Conservative Party. I realize it is a different type of pollution that we would be sending into the marine environment, but I hope he would agree that it might be a worthy exemption for this and perhaps we can let it go. Maybe it would not be quite as bilious as an oil slick. If it is we will need to boom it up, chain it up, take it away and hope that it never comes back again.

Another thing I am concerned about is that the bill is being rammed through in such a hurry. The government, as I mentioned earlier, has used closure so many times to rush forward bills and here is yet another one it is rushing forward. As the hon. member from the Conservative Party said, there are so many other things that need to be done, both in conjunction with this and with other issues entirely.

In terms of defence, at a time when we are talking about marine safety and the environment and doing a better job of looking after our oceans and our coastlines, the government is cutting down on patrols by the military off our coasts to ensure there is enforcement of our regulations and that the coastline is properly protected.

It is a little hard to do some of the things that are necessary in the marine environment with some of the equipment we have provided to our military. Sea King helicopters are a prime example. It would be appropriate if perhaps the Liberal caucus one day arranged for a little tour over the ocean, in rough weather, ideally, so it could get a sense of what it is really like in a Sea King helicopter. I think that would be good for a variety of reasons. I will let your imagination decide what the possible advantages might be.

There are so many other things that are such a priority to Canadians that one must wonder why the government is rushing forth with a bill like this. The bill failed before because the government let it sit there. It had the opportunity to bring it forward but obviously it was not a priority for it. It did the same thing with the Young Offenders Act.

From 1997 right up until the election call the Minister of Justice said that the Young Offenders Act was her highest priority. My God, if that is her highest priority I would hate to think what her low priorities are. Somehow this bill is a priority for the Liberal government when there are still things like the Young Offenders Act to be dealt with.

There are things like the Corrections and Conditional Release Act. This morning we talked about a simple amendment that could make it much better but the government has absolutely no patience for a good amendment that was put forward by my colleague from Surrey North. It just wants to rush forward with something like this, which it obviously thinks has a much higher priority than the basic rights of victims. I think that is rather shameful.

We have organized crime in the country, particularly in Quebec. We talked about it this morning. The hon. member from Quebec, who talked about the Canada Shipping Act, is, I am sure, also concerned about organized crime. It is a problem in the province of Quebec and all across the country. Why is the government not bringing forward legislation that deals with organized crime as a priority instead of Bill C-14? It is sometimes very confusing as to what the government is really concerned about.

When we start talking about the marine system, the ports themselves are very much affected by federal legislation dealing with labour. We have had ports shut down on both our coasts. We have had them in labour strikes in Quebec. What does the government do about labour strikes? It waits until the whole thing shuts down. As if our poor farmers on the prairies do not have enough problems, if a port on either the east coast or west coast is closed down they are devastated. As bad off as they are now, they are 100 times worse off after a port gets shut down.

The government has done absolutely nothing to introduce legislation that would put into place some form of dispute settlement mechanism to ensure a fair settlement for workers in the ports and other places without having a labour disruption that is devastating to people all across the country. It is absolutely shameful. It is puzzling why the government is in such a rush with this bill when it is passing up on many other areas as well.

This bill is a transport issue put out by the Minister of Transport. What about the other things in transport that need to be dealt with? We are talking about regulations to make the marine environment a lot safer.

The hon. member from the Conservative Party talked about environmental issues. He specifically mentioned the freighters that flush their tanks out in the ocean and what a despicable thing that is. However VIA Rail, the government owned passenger rail system, has no holding tanks in any of its passenger rail cars. As they travel down the track, everything goes straight out onto the tracks.

There have been a lot of complaints already from workers from both CN and CP who work on the rails. They are very concerned about their safety because of what they must in some cases work in on the rails, which is quite disgusting, and the environmental problems that it brings forth. Never mind the poor fishermen on the river underneath a train trestle as a VIA Rail passenger train happens to go over it. That makes quite a statement. It is almost applicable coming from the Liberal government. I hear them firing up now. It is a kind of statement on that poor fisherman, “You-know-what on you”. There are so many things the minister could be working on instead of this bill.

Air Canada is an irony for both the east and west coast. We have regulatory agencies right now telling Air Canada it cannot cut its fares as much as it has done to certain parts of Atlantic Canada because it is anti-competitive. Ironically, at the same time they are telling Air Canada it must stop gouging British Columbians so much and that it must cut fares on some of its routes because it is overpricing and gouging Canadians.

Where is the regulation to deal with that? That is much more harmful to Canadians right across the country at this time. We need a general overhaul of the air regulatory system. Much of this bill is regulatory in nature. When there are so many things of a regulatory nature that need to done, why are we focusing so much time on this one while disregarding all the other things that need to be done?

The bill certainly deals with some issues that have worth. We think there could be a lot of improvements. As we have pointed out to many people, we do not write the legislation. Any legislation we ever get, good or bad, must come from the government. There is no other way. Sure, we can try a private member's bill, but we saw what happened this morning on that. The hon. member for Surrey North came out with a very good piece of potential legislation that was slapped down and made non-votable. Therefore, it automatically dies no matter how good the arguments that are brought forward.

We must live with legislation brought forward by the government any time something needs to be changed. If we need a change to the Young Offenders Act we need a piece of legislation from the government, even if it is bad. We need that to be the impetus to get us to start. We can then try two things, as we will do with this bill. We can first bring the attention of the public to the shortcomings of the bill. We can consult with the public, find out their concerns and listen to the changes they think are necessary. Once the bill gets to committee we can ensure that a consultative process goes on and that, ideally, the government listens to what comes in.

I have always found this an irony in the past. I remember one transport bill where over 100 witnesses appeared before the committee. There was a clause dealing with the dispute settlement mechanism that most witnesses found offensive. It happened on the Canada Transportation Act. I do not know the exact number, but over 90% of the witnesses who came forward were very clear that they did not want that clause in the agreement and he government ignored them. This begs me to ask why it bothered to consult. Why did it spend all the money and waste the time of this parliament consulting if it does not listen to what Canadians say?

We will support getting the bill through second reading so it gets to committee, where we hope the government will do the consultative process. We hope this time it will also listen to people who come forward to point out things that need to be changed in the bill, and that it will support the amendments no matter where they come from.

The government can bring in its own amendments or accept our amendments, but it should recognize that we are not here for partisan purposes. Once bills get back to the House they are here to serve Canadians, and we need to do that together. I hope government members will work with us in committee to ensure that the bills and the legislation reflect the needs and wishes of Canadians.

Canada Shipping Act, 2001Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, in response to my representations and speech earlier, my Alliance colleague asked me a question on guidelines and on all that does not appear in the bill and, among other things, with regard to shipbuilding, why the government has not analyzed the tax havens available to shipowners in all this concept. I think this is a very interesting idea.

According to what my Alliance colleague told me, we must understand that, concerning the industry of the shipowners, the Minister of Finance apparently has investments in the business. I hope it is not embarrassment that is preventing him from investing and having the Government of Canada give tax credits to shipbuilding.

As I was saying earlier, shipbuilding in Canada is operating at 25% capacity. The Canadian economy is doing without millions and millions of dollars because the Government of Canada has decided not to support this industry. The governments of Quebec, Nova Scotia and British Columbia decided to support the shipbuilding industry in Canada by giving it tax or other forms of credit.

My colleague from the Alliance is exactly right. The shipowners should, through taxes due the provinces and the Government of Canada, do their part in the revival of shipbuilding.

I hope that, if our research went deeper, we would not realize that companies belonging to Canadian shipowners are having ships built in Asia, for example, where they are getting investment credits of 30% more than what they would get in Canada. In Europe, the industry gets 9% in government support.

I hope that we would not discover that Canadian shipowners are having ships built outside the country, where the industry is subsidized, because—

Canada Shipping Act, 2001Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

I am sorry to interrupt the hon. member for Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, but it is time now to proceed to Statements by Members.

Juno AwardsStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Tony Tirabassi Liberal Niagara Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, on March 4, the 30th annual Canadian Juno Awards were presented. The Juno Awards showcase Canada's musical talent and the cultural diversity and linguistic duality which is Canada's cultural hallmark.

Canada has a rich chorus of musical voices across all genres and from all regions of the country. Critically acclaimed artists, such as Bruce Cockburn, The Guess Who, Nelly Furtado, Lara Fabian, Jann Arden, Wide Mouth Mason, The Barenaked Ladies, Ginette Reno, Terri Clark, Paul Brandt, The Wilkinsons, Joni Mitchell, The Tragically Hip, Florant Vollant and Sue Foley, are a testament to Canada's rich talent base which is known the world over.

CARAS has just issued a four CD collection of Canadian music, Oh What A Feeling 2 , in commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the Juno Awards. Proceeds from this collection will go to charity. I encourage all Canadians to purchase a set.

MuseumsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rob Anders Canadian Alliance Calgary West, AB

Mr. Speaker, over the past few years veteran groups and private donors have been raising money for a new war museum to be built at the former Rockcliffe air station. Right beside the aviation museum and the national military cemetery, this site is a perfect location. At 35 acres it would have ample space to store and display the museum's vast collection of tanks, artillery and even a submarine.

However, just three years before its scheduled completion, the government has now unexpectedly decided to switch locations to LeBreton Flats, which is half the size. This change in plans will not only delay the opening by years but will also significantly reduce the outdoor display area and likely double the original $80 million price tag.

Would it not be wiser to stick with the original plan, which would give us a bigger and better space sooner and without wastefully spending another $80 million? Perhaps the heritage minister could explain this persistent Liberal habit of spending more to get less.

Commonwealth DayStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Sarmite Bulte Liberal Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, today I invite Canadians to celebrate Commonwealth Day. This year marks the 52nd year of the creation of the Commonwealth, an association built upon common traditions, a shared language and, most important, a shared commitment to fundamental principles of human rights and democracy.

The theme for this year's celebration is “A New Generation”. The theme was chosen to cast the spotlight on the youth of the Commonwealth and on the challenges and unprecedented opportunities that our rapidly changing world offers them.

The combined population of the Commonwealth is about 1.7 billion, half of whom are under the age of 30. Our challenge will be to ensure that these young people benefit not only from this period of tremendous growth and change but also from strengthened links across the Commonwealth and strengthened democratic institutions at home.

Let us celebrate Commonwealth Day as a symbol of this diverse yet close knit community of which Canada is a strong and committed member.

Kyle Challenge 2001Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize a special 12 year old in Kitchener Centre. Kyle Stevens has never been afraid of a challenge. On a skateboard, a snowboard or a mountain bike, Kyle is ready for anything.

This past December Kyle faced what may be the challenge of his life. He was diagnosed with leukemia and has since embarked on a three year treatment of blood transfusions, chemotherapy and radiation.

However, true to his upbeat spirit, Kyle has launched the Kyle Challenge 2001, which is a three part community campaign. First, Kyle is on his way to recruiting 2,001 blood donors. Second, he is fundraising to collect donations to benefit Camp Trillium, a summer camp for young cancer patients. To date over $3,000 have been collected. Third, Kyle is hoping his fighting spirit is contagious and is inviting Canadians to embark on personal challenges in his name.

Kyle will not be out there pushing the limits this year, so we can do it on his behalf. Whether it is shooting goals for Kyle or volunteering at a soup kitchen, I encourage everyone to share in the Kyle 2001 Challenge. Check out his website at www.kyle2001challenge.com.

Potato IndustryStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, it is now day 152 since potato wart was discovered in the corner of one field on Prince Edward Island. CFIA and the industry immediately established proof that this was an isolated case and that our potatoes meet all the requirements for movement.

However, since that time potato producers have seen their product illegally kept out of the United States market and have had very little in the way of a firm indication of federal financial support. Retaliatory action at the border by Canada has not occurred.

The question Islanders want answered is why. On softwood lumber the federal government is quite prepared to take the fight to the U.S. We as a country are right on that issue and the United States is wrong. The same standards should apply to potatoes.

It is time for aggressive trade action and far past time that an assistance package was put in place for the P.E.I. potato industry. Would Agriculture Canada please get the job done?

HockeyStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jim Gouk Canadian Alliance Kootenay—Boundary—Okanagan, BC

Mr. Speaker, today marks the 40th anniversary of Canada's last world hockey championship win in Geneva, Switzerland.

The winning team was not made up of disguised professionals. Nor was it from a major population centre. It was the Trail Smoke Eaters from the small smelter town of Trail, British Columbia.

Much of the team was made up of local residents who learned to play along the banks of the Columbia River. Although the community and the Cominco smelter helped with their expenses, many players went deep into debt to pay for the honour of playing and representing our country.

The team was given little chance of winning but its plays defined the very word teamwork. I believe its winning spirit came from its small town environment. It caused a bonding that could only come from such a close knit community. The team proved it did belong in a world championship and demonstrated its pride in being Canadian.

Although some team members did go on to play in the NHL, most returned to their homes and families in Trail and the surrounding area. They are the ones who helped make Trail the true home of champions.

I am sure all hon. members would join with me on this special anniversary in saluting those champions who brought this honour home to Canada.

Canada Foundation For InnovationStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

David Price Liberal Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, on March 6, the Government of Canada announced a new investment of $750 million in the Canada Foundation for Innovation, which was a major commitment in the last throne speech.

This new investment will extend the CFI's various research infrastructure funding programs to 2010. With it, the Government of Canada has now raised its total investment to the CFI since its inception in 1997 to $3.15 billion.

To date, grants by the Canada Foundation for Innovation have totalled over $850 million. This funding has helped train our brightest minds and keep them in Canada.

Thanks to the bold and forward looking initiatives we have taken during our time in government, we have built the foundations for a modern and international calibre research structure for Canada and created a business climate that fosters innovation.

Canada DayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, true to its objective of creating and promoting Canadian identity, Heritage Canada has recently released a primary and secondary teachers' guide for celebrating Canada Day.

Obviously, this candy pink guide contains no reference whatsoever to the key role played by Quebec in the history of Canada.

Moreover, it might have been worthwhile to remind students of certain facts, such as the fact that during the last century all provinces with an anglophone majority passed legislation which in some cases did away with French language schools in order to assimilate their francophone populations; the francophones of Canada have never obtained any reparation for these discriminatory laws. In 1982 the federal government repatriated the Canadian constitution, thereby reducing the powers of Quebec, contrary to the wishes of Quebec.

By trying to convince the youth of Quebec and of Canada that Canada is a wonderful country where freedom and diversity reigns, once again the Liberals have concealed whole chunks of history that were not to their liking.

International Year Of VolunteersStatements By Members

March 12th, 2001 / 2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Yvon Charbonneau Liberal Anjou—Rivière-Des-Prairies, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to inform the House and all Canadians that the United Nations have declared 2001 the International Year of Volunteers.

The commemoration of the International Year of Volunteers is being co-ordinated by Volunteer Canada in collaboration with government and business as well as national and local volunteer organizations.

The federal government is supporting the International Year of Volunteers through activities which recognize both the contributions volunteers make to our organizations and the contributions public servants who volunteer make to their communities.

Volunteers are a pillar of Canada's economic and social life. The International Year of Volunteers is an opportunity to pay tribute to the 7.5 million volunteers in the country and to point to their contribution.

I urge Canadians to find ways to do volunteer work in their communities.

CurlingStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rick Casson Canadian Alliance Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, over the past week a great Canadian tradition took place right here in Ottawa, the Canadian men's curling championship, the Brier.

Provincial and territorial champions came together to compete for this coveted prize now known as the Nokia Cup. The host committee composed of 1,100 volunteers did a wonderful job and the 150,000 or so spectators were treated to some great hospitality. Canadians were treated to tremendous shot making by all teams. Their skill and sportsmanship were something to behold.

When the dust and ice chips settled—and oh yes, a few feathers—the champions were the boys from Alberta, curling out of the Ottewell Curling Club in Edmonton. Skip Randy Ferbey, third David Nedohin, second Scott Pfeifer, lead Marcel Rocque, fifth Dan Holowaychuk and coach Brian Moore left no doubt that they were the Canadian champions.

Besides winning the Brier, they also qualified for the Olympic trials, and now, as Team Canada, they go to the world championship representing all of us. They did a good job and I wish them good luck.

The FrancophonieStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Hélène Scherrer Liberal Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, many activities relating to the Francophonie are taking place this week.

First, there is the Semaine nationale de la Francophonie and the Rendez-vous de la Francophonie. The major event will be the Journée internationale de la Francophonie, on March 20.

This great celebration will be an opportunity to express our appreciation for a wonderful language that reflects such a rich culture.

Over 9 million Canadians speak French, including 6.6 million for whom French is their mother tongue. The Rendez-vous de la Francophonie are an opportunity for all of us francophones to show our cultural diversity and our contribution to the Canadian society.

The activities relating to the Francophonie will undoubtedly strengthen the ties between Canada's francophones and anglophones.

National DefenceStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Bev Desjarlais NDP Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, Russia's president has said that if the U.S. goes ahead with a missile defence shield Russia will consider it a violation of the 1972 anti-ballistic missile treaty. If this treaty falls apart, the entire international system of nuclear arms control will be jeopardized.

Our NATO allies in Europe are pressuring President Bush to turn away from this dangerous course. NATO's relationship with Russia is too high a price to pay; but where is Canada? The Liberal government is sitting on the fence. The Prime Minister cannot say this is none of our business. As U.S. allies, a breakdown of relations with Russia will affect us as well.

The Liberal government is asleep at the wheel, just like it was with everything from Burnt Church to skyrocketing energy prices. The government ignores issues until they turn into crises.

It is time for the Liberal government to take a stand. The Prime Minister has to tell President Bush now that Canada does not support this defence shield. Unless the U.S. is isolated in the world community, it will not alter its plans.

I call on the Prime Minister to get off the fence and join the rest of the world community in opposing President Bush's reckless plan.

Richard LegendreStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Lanctôt Bloc Châteauguay, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Quebecois congratulates Richard Legendre, the former director of Tennis Canada in Montreal and of the Montreal international tennis championships, on his appointment as minister for tourism, recreation and sport.

As an outstanding organizer and key player in Quebec's amateur and professional sports scene, his appointment will be a big plus for Quebec. All sports stakeholders in Quebec will be fortunate to have at the helm a man of action and ideas whose reputation is well known.

The Bloc Quebecois was delighted by Mr. Legendre's statement that sport was of the utmost importance to him, that “Sport brings together families, parents and children. It is a uniting force for all of us in our daily lives”.

Instead of getting upset at seeing Mr. Legendre go over to the sovereignist forces, the Secretary of State for Amateur Sport should be glad to be able to work with an energetic man whose track record is solid and who wants to devote his energy to sports in Quebec.

For its part, the Bloc Quebecois is anxious to start working with Mr. Legendre.

Supreme CourtStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Guy Carignan Liberal Québec East, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Supreme Court of Canada is setting an example internationally.

Many of the decisions handed down by our supreme court are influencing cases in other countries, such as England, the United States, India and Israel.

Our criminal law is being held up as an example in such important areas as presumption of innocence, administrative law, native law and civil responsibility. Even more important in my view is the impact of our jurisprudence on rights and freedoms.

The Canadian values of freedom, responsibility, transparency and equality are transmitted through our institutions. This is one more reason why I am proud to be a Canadian.

Jurgen SeewaldStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, this past Saturday hundreds lined the streets of Antigonish to say goodbye to RCMP Constable Jurgen Ziggy Seewald. A sea of red serge marched to the sounds of pipes and bells to a service at St. Francis Xavier chapel, where over 600 RCMP and peace officers from across the country gathered with friends and colleagues to support the Seewald family in an emotional farewell.

Forty-seven year old Constable Seewald, a 26 year veteran, was gunned down last Monday in Cape Dorset, Nunavut, while responding to a domestic dispute. Serving 22 years in Nova Scotia, he was described as a gentle giant, quick with a joke, a grin and a helping hand.

He received the duty service award for peacekeeping in Bosnia. His brother Horst said Ziggy believed that through conversation one could overcome confrontation, and he pleaded for an end to the violence in communities.

Nunavut government Commissioner Peter Irniq similarly echoed those sentiments, calling for solidarity and reflection across Canada to heal this wound.

Constable Seewald was a caring, compassionate man of great bravery, humility and honour. He left behind a wife, Tanis, children, Carla and Aron, parents, a brother, and a remarkable legacy that will live in the hearts and minds of many for years to come.

MembertouStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Eyking Liberal Sydney—Victoria, NS

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure today to tell the House about an exciting initiative in the community of Membertou, Cape Breton.

The Membertou Band Council will research and develop a learner booklet on the history of Membertou. Out of school youth aged 16 to 24 will be recruited to engage in this unique and historical project. While participating in the development of the learner booklet, they will not only be learning more about their history by interviewing elders, visiting museums and archives, but they will also be improving their own reading, writing and oral skills, as well as learning to edit and produce a booklet. The learner booklet will be used as a learning resource for the Mi'kmaq and to educate the Mi'kmaq community about its history.

Creative projects like this one sponsored by the Membertou Band Council are helping to unite this community by sharing history and encouraging reading and writing skills.

This knowledge and these skills will enable them to chart their own course in the future.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, Gaetano Amodeo has been a fugitive living in Canada on and off since 1996. Among his accused crimes is the murder of an Italian police officer who was shot in the face at point blank range.

Two weeks ago, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration told the House that her department recently moved to deport Mr. Amodeo shortly after learning there was a warrant for his arrest. Now we discover that the Italian government informed the RCMP over two years ago that Mr. Amodeo lived here.

Would the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration please tell us when she really learned that the RCMP knew Mr. Amodeo was wanted?

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Windsor West Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray LiberalDeputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, Canadian officials have been co-operating and sharing information with Italian officials since 1999. When there was sufficient information, including a positive identification and knowledge of Mr. Amodeo's whereabouts, the RCMP engaged the assistance of immigration officials. As stated previously by the minister, her department took appropriate steps to initiate deportation proceedings after receiving this information.

Within three weeks of the proceedings beginning, Mr. Amodeo was arrested. He is now in custody and is awaiting the appropriate legal proceedings.

ImmigrationOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the government's supposed facts are all out of line. Just two weeks ago, the minister of education-immigration stood in the House and refused to acknowledge these very important details. For two years the RCMP apparently knew about this information. The solicitor general was also in the House and he refused to inform the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and he refused to inform the House.

I ask him: When did he really know about this file? When did he find out the RCMP had the information? When did he inform the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, or did he at all?