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House of Commons Hansard #68 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was tax.

Topics

SportsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Cheryl Gallant Canadian Alliance Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, synchronized swimming is a sport involving thousands of female athletes across Canada. It was one of the few team sports to bring home a gold medal from the 2000 Olympics.

Yet recently the junior minister for amateur sport took the unprecedented and unwarranted step of withholding funding from Synchro Canada in order to force the relocation of its national training centre out of Ontario to his own city.

Why is the junior minister discriminating against these female athletes and destroying their dream of swimming for Canada?

SportsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Parkdale—High Park Ontario

Liberal

Sarmite Bulte LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, unfortunately the member opposite does not quite understand what she is talking about. The hon. member's facts are not quite correct. I welcome this opportunity to set the record straight.

In fact, Synchro Quebec appealed the decision to locate the sports centre of excellence that was established to take place in Etobicoke. The appeal committee recently handed down its decision and found that in fact there was bias at that time. Now Sports Canada is working with both Synchro Quebec and Synchro Canada to help them with mediation through two separate—

SportsOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Renfrew—Nipissing— Pembroke.

SportsOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Cheryl Gallant Canadian Alliance Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, the junior minister for sport is completely disregarding the timely and transparent findings of the internal review panel set up to deal with this issue.

He has not spoken to nor met directly with the board of Synchro Canada, with members of the national team nor with synchro clubs across Canada. In short, he is beyond his depth and out of sync.

Will the Prime Minister tell the junior minister for sport that he will not be promoted in the next cabinet shuffle unless he stops micromanaging the affairs of Synchro Canada and discriminating against these female athletes?

SportsOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Parkdale—High Park Ontario

Liberal

Sarmite Bulte LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, let me try to repeat what I said. Before I do, I welcome the member's sudden interest in the heritage department and in Sports Canada.

Let me say again that the matter was appealed. The appeal decision was rendered in April. Sports Canada is now willing to assist both Synchro Canada and Synchro Quebec to come to an amicable resolution by two mediation processes, which have been set up.

Air CanadaOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Bloc Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, today representatives of the Association des Gens de l'Air have shown, with figures to back them up, that francophones are under-represented at Air Canada.

According to their figures, it will take Air Canada 32 more years to get to the 25% target for francophones it set itself 15 years ago. It will have taken then a total of 47 years. It is as if a policy set in the time of Louis St-Laurent were just getting implemented now.

What concrete action does the minister responsible for application of the Official Languages Act intend to take to correct this unacceptable situation, which has been going on at Air Canada for too long?

Air CanadaOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalPresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question.

Air Canada is subject to the Official Languages Act. We constantly hear complaints about Air Canada's not respecting the Official Languages Act. Once again we have heard testimony. The Gens de l'Air as well as the Commissioner of Official Languages will be appearing before the committee this afternoon. We are going to lend an attentive ear.

The Government of Canada is greatly concerned about Air Canada's non-compliance with the Official Languages Act.

Chief Of Defence StaffRoutine Proceedings

3 p.m.

Haliburton—Victoria—Brock Ontario

Liberal

John O'Reilly LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 32(2) I have the pleasure to table, in both official languages, two copies of “An Honour to Serve”, the 2000-01 annual report of the chief of defence staff.

As members know, the chief of defence staff, General Baril, will soon retire and, as such, this is his fourth and final annual report.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank General Baril for his time as chief of defence staff and commend him on the outstanding job he has done serving his country and leading our armed forces.

I am certain all members of the House join me in thanking him and wishing him well in his retirement.

Government Response To PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3 p.m.

Scarborough—Rouge River Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to nine petitions.

Statutes Of CanadaRoutine Proceedings

3 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 32(2) I have the honour to lay upon the table of the House, in both official languages, proposals to correct certain anomalies, inconsistencies and errors, and to deal with other matters of a non-controversial and non-complicated nature in the Statutes of Canada, and to repeal an act and certain provisions that have expired, lapsed or otherwise ceased to have effect.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

3 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the third report of the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans.

Pursuant to the order of reference of February 27, 2001, your committee has considered the main estimates for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2002.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Andy Scott Liberal Fredericton, NB

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the third report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.

Pursuant to the order of reference of Thursday April 26, your committee has considered Bill C-24, an act to amend the Criminal Code (organized crime and law enforcement) and to make consequential amendments to other acts, and has agreed to report it with amendment.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Maurizio Bevilacqua Liberal Vaughan—King—Aurora, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the eighth report of the Standing Committee on Finance regarding its order of reference of Thursday, May 10 in relation to Bill S-16, an act to amend the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) Act. The committee has considered Bill S-16 and reports the bill without amendment.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Susan Whelan Liberal Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the first report of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology in relation to Bill S-17, an act to amend the Patent Act. The committee reports the bill without amendment.

I also have the honour to present, in both official languages, the second report of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology on the main estimates 2001-02. The committee reports the main estimates without amendment.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Bill Graham Liberal Toronto Centre—Rosedale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the second report of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

Pursuant to the order of reference of Monday May 8, your committee has considered Bill C-6, an act to amend the International Boundary Waters Treaty Act, and has agreed to report this important legislation protecting one of our greatest natural resources with one amendment.

I also have the honour to present, in both official languages, the third report of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

Pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), and on a motion from the member for Calgary East, the committee considered the situation in Afghanistan. It condemns the recent actions of religious intolerance in that country and recommends that the government work through the United Nations to promote and protect religious freedom in Afghanistan.

Statutory Instruments ActRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jim Pankiw Canadian Alliance Saskatoon—Humboldt, SK

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-355, an act to amend the Statutory Instruments Act (regulatory accountability).

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to introduce this private member's bill entitled, an act to amend the Statutory Instruments Act.

The effect of the bill is that all proposed regulations made by ministers would have to be laid before the House of Commons so that the appropriate committee could study them, conduct inquiries or public hearings and then report back to the House. In effect, it would improve the accountability of the regulatory making procedure.

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

Tobacco Youth Protection ActRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Clifford Lincoln Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

moved that Bill S-15, an act to enable and assist the Canadian tobacco industry in attaining its objective of preventing the use of tobacco products by young persons in Canada, be read the first time.

(Motion agreed to and bill read the first time)

Main EstimatesRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

The Speaker

The following motion, in the name of the hon. the Leader of the Opposition, is deemed adopted:

That, pursuant to Standing Order 81(4)(a), consideration by the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade of Votes 20 and 25 under Foreign Affairs and International Trade—Canadian International Development Agency in the Main Estimates for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2002, be extended beyond May 31, 2001.

(Motion agreed to)

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Bloc Longueuil, QC

moved: That the second report of the Standing Joint Committee on Official Languages, presented in May 2001, be concurred in.

Mr. Speaker, to convince parliamentarians of this House that it is urgent to adopt the report without delay, allow me to make a few remarks on some recommendations.

The issue studied in the report is essentially that of the broadcasting and availability of debates and proceedings of parliament in both official languages.

In its analysis, the committee found, and I quote:

—that broadcasting of the debates and proceedings of Parliament plays an essential role in the democratic process in Canada ... [and] that Canadians have a right to access to the debates and proceedings of their Parliament in their preferred official language.

The sixth and seventh recommendations of the report are of particular interest to me. They relate to the closed captioning in French of Oral Question Period and the closed captioning in both official languages of Senate committee proceedings, when they are broadcast.

Captioning is important. By now my interest for captioning and for people who are deaf or hearing impaired is known. I take this opportunity to tell them that they have my support and to salute them.

In this special Better Hearing Month, it is good to remind ourselves that 10% of the population is deaf or hearing impaired.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

May 30th, 2001 / 3:10 p.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Bloc Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, for one minute, you did not understand anything. Imagine that for a whole life. Personally I find it harrowing. That is why my struggle for captioning remains so actual and crucial.

As I was saying in LSQ, May is Better Hearing Month. I take this opportunity to remind the House that over three million Canadians live with a hearing problem, 750,000 of them in Quebec alone.

This problem now affects one in ten individuals. Deafness is the handicap that affects the largest number of people and, what is more, it is invisible. We cannot remain unconcerned about that alarming fact.

More than ever we must become aware of this fact and take concrete actions we must not only express pious hopes but take concrete legislative actions.

Need I remind the House that television plays an essential role in the lives of a very large number of deaf and hearing impaired people, and for good reason: because some of them have no other means of communication not everyone can have a computer and access to Internet.

To deny them access to this source of information and entertainment could lead to isolation, not to mention all the various safety aspects.

Since these persons cannot hear the radio, television remains the only media of information in real time for them. Just think about weather warnings or disasters. Without captioning, these people will have no idea about what is going on. To learn about the events through the newspapers the next day would be too late in many instances and that could have serious consequences on their safety.

In Quebec, the deaf or the hearing impaired remember quite well the ice storm because they had no access whatsoever to real time information.

These are but a few examples to illustrate the very complex difference between those who are fortunate enough to hear properly and those who are not. I remain optimistic however and my goal is to obtain 100% captioning for television programs. Overall, I find the report of the Standing Joint Committee on Official Languages to be a good start.

I am very happy to see that the motion on captioning that I tabled in 1999, and which received unanimous consent of the House, is finally echoed within parliamentary committees. The analysis of the Standing Joint Committee on Official Languages and its recommendations for mandatory captioning of all debates in the House are a clear example of that.

However, it is only a start, only one tool among others to truly facilitate the integration of deaf or hearing impaired persons into our society.

I was also pleased to hear the last Speech from the Throne because the federal government promised to increase its support for the CBC/SRC in order to help that corporation better play its role as public broadcaster serving all Canadians.

That is the end of the good news because, despite this fine inclusive speech, I still wonder about the priority given to those three million people with a hearing disability.

I am also concerned about the deaf and hearing impaired francophones who have access to a meagre 38% of the French network's programming of Radio-Canada, while the figure is 90% for the English network. These statistics are disturbing, to say the least.

It is totally inconceivable that, in a country that brags about respecting the two official languages, French closed captioning lags so far behind closed captioned programming provided in English.

I believe there is only one way to solve this sensitive issue of access to communications for those three million people: legislation to require broadcasters to provide closed captioning for their video programming in both official languages and to give the same rights to hearing impaired people. The federal government has full leeway to legislate quickly on this.

I remind the House that I introduced a bill, Bill C-306, which would amend the Broadcasting Act to require every broadcaster to provide closed captioning for its video programming. Unfortunately, my bill is still not on the House's priority list.

Since this is hearing and speech month, I challenge the government to show its true intentions regarding the priority it intends to give to deaf and hearing impaired people. To that end, I offer the government the opportunity to take over my bill so that members of parliament can debate it as quickly as possible.

For those very legitimate reasons, and I am sure members will agree, I ask unanimous consent of the House so that the second report of the Standing Joint Committee on Official Languages be concurred in now. In conclusion, I hope that the federal government will understand that closed captioning allows deaf and hearing impaired people to read what we hear.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

The Speaker

Is the House ready for the question?

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Question.

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

The Speaker

The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Committees Of The HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

(Motion agreed to)