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House of Commons Hansard #52 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was chapter.

Topics

International Workers DayStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Judi Longfield Liberal Whitby—Ajax, ON

Mr. Speaker, today is International Workers Day. On behalf of all Canadians I would like to acknowledge and salute the efforts of the 15 million workers across the country. Today is a day to reflect upon the tremendous contribution of labour to the economic strength of Canada.

The Liberal government has always committed itself to policies such as employment insurance, job creation and training programs, which ensure prosperity for workers and all Canadians. Since this government has come to power, over 2 million new jobs have been created in Canada.

We believe that a strong workforce leads to a strong Canada. Today we would like to reinforce our support for all Canadians who work so hard every day to build this great society.

International Workers DayStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, May 1 is the international day to recognize workers' rights to organize and bargain collectively.

On May 1, 1886, workers were gunned down in the Haymarket riots in Chicago while striking for the eight hour day. By 1889, the International Socialist Congress of Paris had designated May 1 as an eight hour holiday out of respect for its fallen comrades in Chicago. The tradition continues today.

Yet in many countries, including many of Canada's trading partners, basic workers' rights are just a dream. In Colombia, 3,000 trade union leaders have been murdered since 1987. Many other developing nations deny the most basic workers' rights, using violence, abuse and harassment.

On this May Day the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions calls upon the world for global support for basic, fundamental labour standards.

For those workers around the world who are still struggling for basic rights, I wish to remind them of the slogan of the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike: “The great only appear great when we are on our knees. Let us rise”.

International Workers DayStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, on this International Workers Day, I wish to stress the generous contribution of workers to the promotion of their rights and working conditions in our society.

Like them, I feel that labour laws must help in the fight against social injustice. However, that view is not shared by the Liberal government which, during the review of Part II of the Canada Labour Code, refused to include measures allowing for the preventative withdrawal of pregnant or nursing female workers.

This is why, this morning, I tabled in the House a bill to allow pregnant or nursing female workers to avail themselves of the Quebec legislation.

This will eliminate the disparities between the Quebec and Canadian legislation in that regard and ensure adequate protection for pregnant or nursing women by using the Quebec preventative withdrawal model.

This is a concrete and convincing way by which the Bloc Quebecois contributes to workers' social progress and acknowledges a positive measure in Quebec.

International Workers DayStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Gérard Binet Liberal Frontenac—Mégantic, QC

Mr. Speaker, today is an important day since we are celebrating the contribution of workers all over the world.

There are over 15 million workers in Canada, and each one of them makes a very important contribution to our country. We should never underestimate the role played by workers in the building of our society.

Workers are well treated in Canada, but we must be vigilant and continue to improve their working conditions.

Over two million jobs have been created in Canada since our government took office. This means that today we are celebrating the contribution of an even larger number of workers.

Workers have a special place in our society. Today, we celebrate their contribution to our economic and social growth.

NursesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, I rise to recognize the vital importance and significant contribution of Canada's nurses, who number in the tens of thousands.

These professionals are on the frontlines of our health care system and are called upon to provide medical assistance, care and comfort to our most vulnerable: children, the elderly and the terminally ill.

The sad reality for nurses in Canada is low wages, a lack of financial assistance and an aging workforce, as well as demanding physical requirements, resulting in an exodus from the profession and out of Canada as they pursue their careers in other countries.

The National Federation of Nurses' Unions and its president, Kathleen Connors, are calling upon the government to address these dire circumstances, specifically the need for whistleblower protection and financial assistance, perhaps through the EI program, to assist nurses nationally. Nova Scotia president Heather Henderson is working on behalf of nurses to address the growing crisis at hospitals and clinics throughout the province, including at St. Martha's, the Aberdeen and Sutherland Harris in my riding of Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough.

While both St. FX and Dalhousie universities offer impressive programs for those wishing to study, the financial burden is onerous and job prospects and returns are grim. Nurses are the backbone of our health care profession. We have to encourage and assist those entering this rewarding profession.

Emergency Preparedness WeekStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

John O'Reilly Liberal Haliburton—Victoria—Brock, ON

Mr. Speaker, in our day to day lives disasters may seem a distinct possibility. Yet natural disasters like floods, tornados, technological or environmental accidents such as chemical spills or disruptions to power and telecommunication services can strike anywhere and at any time.

That is why the Government of Canada through the office of critical infrastructure protection and emergency preparedness works in co-operation with other government departments, provincial and territorial governments, the private sector and non-governmental partners to promote the first full week of May as Emergency Preparedness Week in Canada.

The theme for this year's Emergency Preparedness Week is “Reducing the Risk: Toward Safer Communities in the 21st Century”. In marking this special week from May 7 to May 13 emergency preparedness partners throughout Canada have organized a wide range of activities.

Being prepared starts with each and every one of us. I therefore urge my colleagues in the House of Commons and all Canadians to explore ways to help their families and their communities to become better prepared.

HealthOral Question Period

May 1st, 2001 / 2:15 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, Canadians should be able to rely on the federal government to do a few things well in order to protect them, but apparently that is not even the case in terms of neglecting Canadians.

We have just found out today that Canada's physicians will now be relying on prescription drug warnings from the United States to protect Canadians from certain uses of certain prescription drugs. This is wrong. The government has only itself to blame for this state of affairs.

Will the Prime Minister explain to Canadians why Canadians cannot count on the government to protect them and have to rely on the United States?

HealthOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are justly proud of the quality of Health Canada's work in protecting their health and safety.

It is also clear that there is always room to improve. Last week a jury came back in an inquest in Toronto involving the tragic death of a 15 year old girl named Vanessa Young. That jury made recommendations on a variety of ways Health Canada can improve its surveillance of pharmaceutical drugs in the marketplace.

We have accepted all those recommendations. We will work in Health Canada and with our partners across the country to make it an even better system.

HealthOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Medical Journal does not share the same confidence that indeed Canadians will be protected.

We want to know what specific steps the minister has shared with physicians, and to which they have agreed, that will protect Canadians. We want the specific steps and the agreement from the Canadian Medical Association.

HealthOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I have asked my officials to explore the possibility of Health Canada putting on its website for all Canadians including physicians any developments in relation to adverse drug reactions reported by the FDA or elsewhere in the world that is relevant to their use in Canada.

If it is found that is legally feasible, we will do it because we believe it is important to get up to the minute information available to Canadians, physicians and patients in relation to reactions to all medical drugs.

HealthOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, no action is forthcoming. At least one life was lost because of Health Canada's mismanagement.

Before giving us assurances and telling us about any future action of his, will the minister explain how he could let things get to this point before taking action?

HealthOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, Canadians' health and safety is the number one priority of our government.

Over the past three or four years, we have significantly increased available resources at Health Canada to manage this area, and we will continue to strengthen the system. Ensuring the safety of available drugs on the Canadian market is a key priority for us.

HealthOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Diane Ablonczy Canadian Alliance Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Medical Association Journal has declared that from now on it will post the much more reliable American drug warnings “because we cannot rely on Health Canada to do it”.

In fact, it goes so far as to say that with respect to the drug that caused Vanessa Young's death “Canadians would have been much safer if Health Canada didn't exist” and we just relied on U.S. federal drug administration.

Why do trusted Canadian experts have to take over the job the health minister is supposed to be doing?

HealthOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the jury in the Vanessa Young case heard the long chronology of events. It heard that as long ago as 1995 and 1996 Health Canada was taking out pages in the Canadian Medical Association Journal to report on reactions in relation to the drug Prepulsid.

Let us put aside the arguments and get to the bottom line. The bottom line is the health and safety of Canadians. We welcome the CMA approach. We will look at it for our own website.

Let me point something out as a matter of interest. This morning the CMA announced that one of the drugs it will put on its website is a drug in relation to which—

HealthOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Calgary—Nose Hill.

HealthOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Diane Ablonczy Canadian Alliance Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, the government has a troubling record of having to say “Sorry, we were asleep at the switch but we will get on with it now”.

Sadly innocent Canadians like 15 year old Vanessa Young too often pay a terrible price for the fact that the government is behind the competence curve. I ask the health minister again to explain how his department could have failed so terribly to protect the safety of Canadians.

HealthOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I was in the process of saying that the Canadian Medical Association Journal said that the first drug in relation to which it would put information on its website is a drug that last week the FDA issued a note on in terms of adverse drug reactions. It so happens that last week so did Health Canada. We acted the same week as the FDA in relation to that drug.

The point is that by whatever means it is important to get this information out to physicians and patients. Health Canada has accepted all the recommendations of the jury. We are committed to doing the job well.

EnergyOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the American energy strategy unveiled yesterday by vice-president Dick Cheney is based exclusively on the use of fossil fuels and nuclear technology, but makes no provision for the development of clean energy sources.

This is of concern, particularly as the Prime Minister said that he was prepared to sell more oil and gas to the United States.

When it comes to energy, does the Prime Minister intend to play the dangerous game being played by the Americans to the bitter end, and neglect the development of alternative energies, which are less damaging to the environment?

EnergyOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as I have said several times, the government's policy is to try to achieve, here in Canada, the objectives that we agreed upon in Kyoto.

We want to achieve these objectives by including in our policy some slightly controversial features such as selling natural gas, which does not pollute, to the United States, and selling more electricity, which also does not pollute, to them. We want Canada to receive the credit for these anti-pollution policies of the Canadian government.

EnergyOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, we know that petroleum and carbon are the principal factors in the development of CO2. We know that the way the Americans operate also has an impact on Canada.

In order to protect the environment and ensure Canada's long-term economic development, will the Prime Minister undertake not to sign any energy agreement with the United States as long as the United States does not commit to signing the Kyoto accord?

EnergyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, there is no question of signing an agreement with the United States.

What we have in the United States right now is an opportunity for Canadian products to find markets, both for the electricity generated by rivers and for the energy from natural gas and oil. We are going to find out what these opportunities are and develop them.

But here in Canada, we intend, as I said earlier, to meet the objectives set in Kyoto.

EnergyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, first we had the meeting between President Bush and the Prime Minister of Canada where energy was discussed. Then we had the Prime Minister announcing that he was in favour of increased energy sales to the United States.

Now we have the announcement yesterday by U.S. Vice-President Dick Cheney of his government's intention to give top priority to the use of fossil and nuclear energy and to the production of these energies.

Is this not a worrisome scenario for Canada to be involved in a partnership with the United States to put in place an energy policy that defies all the principles of environmental protection?

EnergyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, a few minutes ago, the hon. member suggested that we stop energy sales to the United States.

I trust that he did not mean that Hydro-Québec should stop selling its completely non-polluting energy on the U.S. market.

EnergyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, on April 22, after a Canada-Mexico-U.S. meeting, the Prime Minister raised the possibility of building new natural gas pipelines and of Alberta oil sands exploration in order to meet the American demand.

Are these recent developments not proof that Canada has decided to subordinate its environmental policy to the U.S. energy policy?

EnergyOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, let us take for example the matter of natural gas in the Northwest Territories.

The ones making the strongest demands on the Canadian government to speed up the sales of natural gas from the Delta are the Inuit and Indians who live along the Mackenzie Valley.

I can see therefore that the Bloc Quebecois has no interest in the economic development of the aboriginal populations.