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House of Commons Hansard #54 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was provinces.

Topics

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

May 3rd, 2001 / 2 p.m.

Liberal

Gurbax Malhi Liberal Bramalea—Gore—Malton—Springdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week more than six million Canadians across the country took part in efforts to help protect our planet's environment as they celebrated Earth Week.

Students in Bramalea—Gore—Malton—Springdale learned about recycling, composting, alternative energies and climate change. I was pleased to see students out in the community planting and cleaning parks, all in the effort to improve and protect Canada's environment.

I encourage the federal government to continue its efforts to promote sustainable development in Canada and across the globe.

MauricieStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Rocheleau Bloc Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, a real catastrophe occurred in the Mauricie region this week, with two plants announcing their upcoming closure in July and the lay-off of nearly 750 employees, 90 at the Norton plant in Shawinigan and, to add insult to injury, 650 at the Fruit of the Loom plant, the second largest employer in manufacturing in Trois-Rivières, where a large majority of the workers are women.

Clearly, more than ever, the Mauricie region needs a strategy to revitalize the economy, in which the federal government, which collects 50% of Quebecers' taxes, will work with the Government of Quebec to offset the job losses and to rebuild our industrial sector as well.

More generally, specific measures should be put in place to fight the negative effects of globalization on both the public and private sectors.

Most importantly, however, right now, we must give thought to women, children and families. Everything must be done to save these businesses and their 750 employees.

World Asthma DayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Jeannot Castonguay Liberal Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, today we are celebrating World Asthma Day, the theme of which is that asthma can be understood and controlled.

Asthma is on the increase in Canada. Every year, it claims over 500 victims. This is 10 deaths a week.

Today is an opportunity to become familiar with the facts of this disease. Asthma is one of the major causes of hospitalization in Canada. Yet, if Canadians had a greater awareness of this disease, emergency room visits could be reduced by 50% and hospital stays by 80%.

As one of the most common diseases in Canada, asthma carries a high price tag. It lowers productivity but, worse, it diminishes the quality of life of asthma sufferers and their families.

I urge hon. members and all Canadians to find out more about this disease. It concerns every one of us.

Press Freedom DayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

John Harvard Liberal Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia, MB

Mr. Speaker, today is World Press Freedom Day. Freedom of the press is essential to ensure that democratic rights and freedoms are protected.

A free press not only promotes transparency and accountability in governance but also encourages lively debate and engages citizens in public life.

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said “Freedom of the press ensures that the abuse of every other freedom can be known, can be challenged, and even defeated”.

In Canada, freedom of the press and freedom of speech are protected within the charter of rights and freedoms. Unfortunately, that is not the case in all countries.

Today we pay tribute to journalists around the world who risk their lives to report on injustices and fight for the rights and freedoms that we in Canada so cherish and to Canadian journalists who contribute to ensuring a real public dialogue in our society.

ZimbabweStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Deepak Obhrai Canadian Alliance Calgary East, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canada's silence on the crisis in Zimbabwe is deafening. Democracy, rule of law and respect for human rights have been replaced with violence and intimidation. People live in fear of the government.

By not acting, the government is complicit in the abuse of basic human rights by a dictatorial regime. I call on the government to send a strong message to the government of Zimbabwe by temporarily suspending all international aid assistance.

Further, the government must insist that our commonwealth partners do the same. Canada must demonstrate a clear resolve to President Mugabe that human rights abuses will not be tolerated.

I urge the government to act in the name of democracy.

Polish Constitution DayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Sarmite Bulte Liberal Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to Polish Canadians, and in particular the Polish community in my riding of Parkdale—High Park, who today celebrate the 210th anniversary of the Polish constitution.

In my riding, the Toronto branch of the Canadian Polish Congress will be celebrating this important event with a parade on Sunday, May 6, from High Park Boulevard to St. Casimir's Church, followed by a mass and a parade to the Katyn Monument.

The constitution of May 3, 1791, the second written constitution in Europe and third of its kind in the world, was a magnificent crowning of the Polish enlightenment and of the activity of the Polish pro-reform camp.

Constitution Day is a proud heritage for Canadians of Polish descent and a confirmation of the basic values and freedoms of our own society.

On the occasion of Poland's national day, I wish to express the hope that the excellent relations that exist between Poland and Canada will further strengthen and develop for the benefit of our two nations.

Crab FishingStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, following the Marshall decision, the Liberal government bought back boats and crab fishing licences for aboriginal reserves, without consulting aboriginals and non-aboriginals.

The result of this ill-advised decision was the layoff, without compensation, of 20 crab fishers, frustration among aboriginals, and job losses among fish plant employees.

Right now, these 20 crab fishers are without jobs and income, and the aboriginals on these reserves have decided not to use these boats and fishing licences. The consequences of these decisions are disastrous.

Today, we have the best example yet of a government that has no conscience and is irresponsible.

Statistics CanadaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, Statistics Canada is now busy distributing its questionnaires and guides to the public for the May 15 census.

Question 17, which deals with ethnic or cultural origin, will not yield any worthwhile responses. The guide indicates that this question refers to the ethnic or cultural group to which the person's ancestors belong. It adds that most people can trace their origins to their ancestors who first came to this continent, and that ancestry should not be confused with citizenship or nationality.

Yet Question 17 requires people to indicate the ethnic or cultural group of their ancestors, and the first example of a possible response is—guess what, Mr. Speaker—“Canadian”.

So the ancestor who came to this continent could come from Canada? This completely skews the results this question aims at, or is it perhaps a new propaganda exercise?

Amateur HockeyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Lynn Myers Liberal Waterloo—Wellington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to inform the House today that the Elmira Sugar Kings Hockey Club of Elmira, Ontario, in my riding of Waterloo—Wellington, has won the Sutherland Cup, which is emblematic of junior B hockey supremacy in Ontario.

In 1997 the Sugar Kings brought home their first championship to Elmira and now this season the Sugar Kings have captured their second junior B championship crown by defeating the Thorold Black Hawks four games to two.

For the fans of amateur hockey in Waterloo—Wellington, the Elmira Sugar Kings have provided an excellent season to remember.

I wish to express congratulations to general manager Graham Snyder, coach Dave Officer, team captain Darran Fischer and all the Sugar Kings players, coaching staff and trainers for a job well done. They bring honour to themselves, to their families and to their community.

Atlantic CanadaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, over the past number of months Atlantic Canada's provincial governments have pressed the federal government for a reduction or an outright elimination of federal clawbacks under the equalization program.

During the St. John's West byelection, the finance minister speculated out loud about reducing the equalization clawback, but he retreated into bafflegab as soon at the plane hit the runway in Ottawa.

During the last election Liberal candidates in Newfoundland were all in favour of doing something about the clawback, but now that the Liberals, including the industry minister, are back in government, their ardour for the cause has cooled considerably.

We support a reduction in the equalization clawback. We call upon the government to stop playing politics with this issue and actually make some changes that would allow Atlantic Canadians to become equal partners in this federation.

Huntingdon's DiseaseStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Gérard Binet Liberal Frontenac—Mégantic, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to inform the House and all the people of Canada that the month of May has been proclaimed Huntingdon's Disease Awareness Month by the Huntingdon Society of Canada.

Huntingdon's Disease is an inherited brain disorder with devastating effects on the body and the mind.

One Canadian in 10,000 has this disease, which leads to disability and eventually death. There is still no cure for Huntingdon's Disease, nor is there any treatment to prevent it or slow down the progression.

The Huntingdon Society of Canada is a national network of volunteers and professionals working together against the disease. It is busy seeking new treatments and working toward one day finding a cure for Huntingdon's Disease.

Let us all wish the Huntingdon Society of Canada and all of its many volunteers throughout the country an excellent month of increased public awareness.

Rocky Mountain College ChoirStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Ken Epp Canadian Alliance Elk Island, AB

Mr. Speaker, occasionally the competitiveness of this place is interspersed with moments of pure serenity.

That was the case this morning when young people from Calgary's Rocky Mountain College choir gave a short concert in front of our parliament buildings. It was sheer delight to hear their songs of joy, worship and praise.

I thank their leader, Henric Ideström, all the singers and instrumentalists, and Jeremy Siemens who phoned to inform me of the event.

It is young people like these with their sincerity, enthusiasm and faith that give us optimism for the future of our country. I wish that all members of the House could have heard them this morning. It was truly an inspiring occasion.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Governor of the Bank of Canada said something very interesting. He said that Canada might adopt the U.S. dollar as its currency within as early as 10 years.

I know the finance minister will say that there is no immediate fear of that happening, but it seems strange that the governor of the bank, a former close employee of the finance minister, is publicly musing about the possible death of the Canadian dollar in an early as 10 years.

Does the finance minister agree with this, or is the governor simply floating some trial balloons on behalf of the finance minister?

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, chasing headlines really does not help. It is not incumbent upon the Leader of the Opposition to sort of make up stories.

The Governor of the Bank of Canada stated unequivocally that he supports the Canadian dollar. The studies of the Bank of Canada over the last five years have demonstrated unequivocally the importance of Canada maintaining the Canadian dollar. That is the government's position and that is our position unequivocally.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, that is not the position of the governor.

We have here the comments of a former senior public servant from the Department of Finance, who said something interesting. He said that the way this government is dealing with the issues of taxation, spending and the debt weakens our dollar. The Governor of the Bank of Canada anticipates the demise of the Canadian dollar. These comments are from our own experts.

Does the Minister of Finance agree with these remarks, yes or no? If not, what will he do? We have a problem here.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we do indeed have a problem, and that is because the leader of the official opposition understands neither English nor French.

The fact is that the Governor of the Bank of Canada supports the Canadian dollar and so does the federal government.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, he is obviously shaken by the question, but I need to ask this question then. As North American—

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. Whether shaking or not, the Leader of the Opposition has the floor and he is entitled to put his question.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian Alliance Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

If he can put aside the personal slights, Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask him a question. North American currencies are becoming increasingly integrated. We know that. As our currencies become integrated economists are quite rightly saying that the assets of Canadians are being valued based on the U.S. dollar, a dollar without borders.

As our Canadian dollar goes down as it has under the policies of the Liberals over the last several years, the assets of Canadians, their homes, their savings and their RRSPs, go down. What will the Minister of Finance do to turn this around?

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we have brought in the largest debt reduction in Canadian history. We have brought in the largest tax cuts in Canadian history. Canadian disposal incomes are at an all time high. Inflation is under control. Our interest rates are down.

That is what the government has done and that is what it will continue to do.

HealthOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Cheryl Gallant Canadian Alliance Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday in Toronto the Prime Minister demonstrated that the government's priorities are wildly out of line with those of Canadians. In giving $560 million to the arts, Canadians are left wondering how many MRI machines those tax dollars could have purchased.

Could the Prime Minister explain to Canadians why their tax dollars are being spent on culture as defined by the government instead of being invested in health care?

HealthOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the opposition fails to understand that for the very reasons the Minister of Finance just gave, the government is able both to provide record levels of transfers to the provinces for health and to invest in the arts.

If it is MRIs the member is concerned about, she should know that $1 billion is now in the hands of provincial ministers to buy MRIs for Canadians wherever they are needed.

HealthOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Cheryl Gallant Canadian Alliance Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, the opposition understands perfectly. Canadians want investment in health care.

Only this week we learned that one of the few parts of health care that the federal government actually manages, prescription drug testing and warnings, is so poorly managed that our physicians are now relying on Americans for information about drug safety.

Will the Prime Minister rethink the $560 million and invest those dollars in health care?

HealthOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, in making that announcement yesterday the Prime Minister was following through on a commitment made in the election platform.

It was part of the mandate we got from the Canadian people. By the way, in the platform of the Alliance there was not a single word about culture, and that may explain the results of the election.