This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #58 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was insurance.

Topics

2 p.m.

The Speaker

As is our practice on Wednesday we will now sing O Canada, and we will be led by the hon. member for Saint John.

Genetically Modified OrganismsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Kraft Sloan Liberal York North, ON

Mr. Speaker, on Monday several members opposed to Bill C-287 quoted the recent report of the Royal Society of Canada as saying there was no need for mandatory labelling of genetically modified foods in Canada.

What the members neglected to mention was the very next sentence in the report. I quote:

The Panel wishes to emphasize, however, that these conclusions are premised upon the assumption that the other recommendations of this Report concerning the conditions for the effective assessment and management of the risks of GM organisms are fully implemented by the regulatory agencies.

We have a very long way to go before we can dismiss any need for mandatory labelling. I encourage all members to read the full report before they so disingenuously cite it.

HighwaysStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Ted White Canadian Alliance North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, this year alone the Liberal government will take more than half a billion dollars from the people of B.C. in the form of fuel taxes. That is an annual tax grab that could pay the entire Vancouver area highways budget until the year 2006.

Yet the Minister of Transport stubbornly refuses to return to B.C. a single cent of those taxes to support our highway system. While greater Vancouver residents line up in gridlock on a Trans-Canada Highway built in the 1950s the government pumps over $500,000 in grants into cultural special interest groups in central Canada.

Our taxed to the hilt drivers have had enough of filling up the pork barrel for the Prime Minister. They want their share of the national highways funding and they want it now.

When is the minister going to deliver?

Foreurs De Val-D'OrStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Guy St-Julien Liberal Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Foreurs de Val-d'Or have emerged as the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League playoff champions.

The Guy Lafleur Trophy for best player in the playoffs went to Simon Gamache.

Along with all the people of Abitibi, I was filled with pride by this sensational victory. With their win over the Acadie—Bathurst Titan for the President's Cup, our junior team has made it abundantly clear that the calibre of hockey in Quebec is truly at the national level.

Our players' victory was a tribute to their skills, playing strategy and tenacity. Not only are they an honour to us all but they have made the world of hockey realize that Val-d'Or is a force to be reckoned with.

Hats off to Coach Claude Bouchard and each and every player for this remarkable exploit.

I am sure their stellar performance in the playoffs is an indication of future success in the Memorial Cup tournament at Regina.

Education Merit AwardsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Shawn Murphy Liberal Hillsborough, PE

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the hard work, talent and innovation of seven professors and researchers from the University of Prince Edward Island.

Dr. Raymond Doiron, Dr. Paula McLean, Dr. Kay Diviney and Professor Lawrence LeClair were each awarded the UPEI Faculty Association Teaching Merit Award for their commitment to success and outstanding dedication in teaching.

Dr. Alastair Cribb, Dr. Gordon MacDonald and Dr. Henry Srebrnik were each awarded the UPEI Faculty Association Research and Scholarly Achievement Award for their accomplishments and innovation in research.

The faculty and students at the university identified and honoured them as being exceptional teachers and researchers. The merit awards for excellence have been designed to acknowledge individuals whose work has contributed to the instructional excellence at this university.

On behalf of all residents of Prince Edward Island, I am proud to pay tribute to these seven individuals. Their commitment and devotion has enriched the education and lives of many students at this university.

It is my belief that our future depends on the skills, knowledge and innovation of such dedicated Canadians.

VolunteersStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Paradis Liberal Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, in recent weeks during my weekends in the riding of Brome—Missisquoi, I have had the pleasure to attend several galas as part of National Volunteer Week.

I must again express my admiration for the men and women of Farnham, Magog, Bedford, Cowansville and many other localities who give time and energy to their community.

I told them at these galas just how much I have been touched over the years by the anecdotes and little stories I have heard from them all because of their great human interest.

They never make the headlines yet they are unique examples of the spirit of respect, sharing, patience, generosity, love and creativity.

In this the International Year of Volunteers, I salute all the volunteers of Brome—Missisquoi whose contribution is so vital to our communities.

National Drinking Water StandardsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rahim Jaffer Canadian Alliance Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, most Canadians turn on the tap and expect the water to be safe to drink. The recent developments in North Battleford and the tragedies in Walkerton raised questions regarding the potential dangers lurking in our taps.

As an Edmontonian, I am relieved to know that Alberta regulations require drinking water to be 99.5% free of contaminants, which is the highest standard for water quality in the country. The problem is that parasites like cryptosporidium are microscopic and can pass through mechanical filtering.

Researchers at the University of Alberta, in partnership with Epcor and the provincial government, are working to perfect a process using ultraviolet light to kill microscopic parasites such as cryptosporidium. If this process is proven effective, the province has agreed to pay a substantial increase for water treatment costs.

I want to take this opportunity to congratulate the government of Alberta, the University of Alberta and Epcor for their continued efforts to improve the quality of drinking water for Alberta families.

Women's Army CorpsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, today I invite members of the House to join me in honouring the Canadian Women's Army Corps.

Last weekend 1,200 people attended the unveiling of Stepping Out, a statue of a uniformed corps member that stands just outside of the new Kitchener armoury.

More than 21,000 women served in the CWAC during the second world war and of those 17,000 came to Kitchener.

The Canadian Women's Army Corps was one of the most striking innovations of Canadian military policy during the war and one of its most successful. The CWACs launched women into a much broader, more active role, both in Canadian society and more particularly in the modern day Canadian forces.

This new statue is a lasting monument to those who led the way. Through its image, the story of the Canadian Women's Army Corps will be told. It is a story of pride, purpose and great accomplishment.

I wish to extend congratulations to the CWAC Memorial Fund Association for creating this lasting monument.

Warren PerrinStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Bloc Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday in Montreal, I had the great honour of meeting the strong supporter of Acadian culture and francophone rights in Louisiana, Warren Perrin, when he made a presentation at the 11th symposium on international law organized by Mr. Justice Allen Babineaux as part of the Quebec bar's annual convention, in co-operation with the French section of Louisiana's bar and the council for the development of French in Louisiana, which is chaired by Mr. Perrin.

Warren Perrin, who is himself a descendant of deported Acadians, became acutely aware of the consequences of deportation when he was trying to answer his children's questions on the origins of their family. They could not understand why their ancestors had been treated like criminals and deported all over the world.

This remarkable man then decided to pursue an initiative launched over 200 years ago when, after 1763, a petition condemning the deportation was presented to King George II by a group of deported Acadians. The British crown never deigned to follow up on that petition. Mr. Perrin is now asking the British crown to apologize to Acadians.

It is never too late to recognize that a mistake was done. I want to salute Mr. Perrin and ensure him of our support in the pursuit of his efforts.

EthanolStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Rose-Marie Ur Liberal Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, ON

Mr. Speaker, the use of ethanol blended fuel across Canada has prevented the release of almost 25 million kilograms of carbon dioxide over the past year.

That is good news for our environment, as research proves that ethanol reduces greenhouse gas emissions by up to 36% compared to conventional fuels.

It is great news for our farmers. The most commonly available ethanol fuel, known as E-10, is a high octane, water free alcohol produced from Ontario corn and agricultural feedstock.

Chatham-Kent and Essex counties produce 150 million litres of ethanol, more than half of the 248 million litres produced in Canada each year.

With our government's vow to triple ethanol production to help meet our Kyoto targets, it will help our transportation sector reduce emissions and give more environmentally friendly choices to drivers.

Our farm sector is part of the solution.

Canada Customs And Revenue AgencyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Deepak Obhrai Canadian Alliance Calgary East, AB

Mr. Speaker, the long arms of the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency picked the pockets of thousands of Alberta taxpayers expecting to receive a provincial energy rebate this spring.

Canada's revenue agency improperly seized the provincial heating rebates of at least 3,000 Albertans when it had no legal right to do so.

The excuse provided by Revenue Canada is that it had no idea if these people intended to send in a payment for taxes owed, so it kept their heating cheques.

This guilty until proven innocent mentality of our revenue agency is disgraceful. This high handed approach by Revenue Canada must stop. It is time it learned to respect taxpayers.

Foreurs De Val-D'OrStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Claude Duplain Liberal Portneuf, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to mention yesterday's victory by the Foreurs de Val-d'Or hockey team.

This is the Foreurs' eighth season in Quebec's major junior hockey league and they have won the playoffs for the second time in their history.

I am proud of what the team has achieved, particularly considering that it finished in last position last year. I am also proud because my son Samuel plays for the Foreurs.

I also want to mention the performance of all these young players, particularly Simon Gamache, who had at least one point in each of the 21 playoff games to end the series with a record 57 points. He was also awarded the Guy Lafleur trophy.

Maxime Daigneault's performance is also worth noting. At 16 he is the first rookie goaltender to lead his team to the President's cup.

Congratulations to the team, the coaches and all those who took part in this victory.

Government Of CanadaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Bev Desjarlais NDP Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, the finance minister will be giving Canadians an economic update next week. It has been reported that he plans to announce paying down the national debt by the amount of $15 billion to $17 billion.

Paying down the debt is important, but at this time it is crucial that as a country we address the crises of our lack of housing and our failing infrastructure.

A commitment by the government of $1 billion per year for 10 years would address the housing shortfall in all of Canada. A commitment of $1.5 billion per year would give us a real start on improving our highways as well as supporting increased public transit and green infrastructure like water and sewers.

One of the main reasons we have a surplus is that the government has abandoned its responsibility for housing, roads and infrastructure. Now the health and lives of Canadians are at risk. Canadians have lost confidence in a safe water supply and local governments are resorting to tolls to improve road safety.

The finance minister has more than enough resources to address these problems. No more excuses: let us fix the problem.

MinisterStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, last week in Toronto the Prime Minister of Canada told us that the countries of the Americas were adopting Canadian values.

Does this mean that the values of the people in all these other countries are lower than those of Canadians?

Is this another version of Canada “the best country in the world”? This attitude is condescending and contemptuous of the people. And what are these values the Prime Minister is citing?

Do they include the abuse of democracy through the denial of parliamentarians' right to know the content of the texts of the free trade area of the Americas?

Do they include the attack on young people and women in particular under the employment insurance regime?

Do they include values opposing the family as expressed in the rejection of a real parental leave policy for Quebec or in the policy of the stick for young offenders?

Holding values is one thing, expressing them in specific action is another. Rather than preach at other people, the Prime Minister should be true to himself and put his own values into practice.

Millennium ScholarshipsStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Diane St-Jacques Liberal Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation last week distributed its excellence awards for the 2001-02 academic year.

One hundred and twenty-four graduates in Quebec were awarded scholarships in recognition for their academic achievement, community involvement, leadership and innovation.

I want to congratulate Mathieu Carignan of Saint-Césaire in the riding of Shefford, who is among the winners of an excellence award.

Winning this award represents a unique moment in the life of a student. It is an excellent way to encourage and recognize the academic work of our young people, the next generation.

Created through the initiative of the Government of Canada, these awards represent a major investment in the future of our students. It is a fine way to promote academic excellence.

Bravo Mathieu, once again. Canada enjoys great wealth in the promise of its youth and you are a shining example.

Chrysotile AsbestosStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

André Bachand Progressive Conservative Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, today hundreds and hundreds of demonstrators are meeting in Quebec City to call on this government to take action and set an example in the safe use of chrysotile asbestos.

These men and women from Asbestos in my riding, and Thetford Mines in the riding of Frontenac—Mégantic are fighting for their survival and want their MPs to do something.

Here in Ottawa we should lead by example. This week's announcement about the removal of asbestos from the parliament buildings sends a very mixed message.

I am joining these men and women in order to raise parliament's awareness regarding the safe use of chrysotile asbestos, a natural product which is found in Canada and which saves lives.

Parliamentary ReformOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, a former prime minister and former leader of the Liberal Party has indicated just yesterday that he believes that parliament needs to be reformed. Those comments show that it is not only Canadian Alliance supporters across the country who want to see democratic reform but there are others also, and we are encouraged by that.

Will the Prime Minister listen to the advice of his former leader and take immediate steps to bring in true parliamentary reform to the Chamber?

Parliamentary ReformOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, a committee will be reporting in June on that very topic.

I could quote the hon. member when he was in Edmonton, where he did not want parliament to sit, because when parliament was sitting in Alberta it was creating too much demand on the treasury. I just want to say that I do not want to follow his example. We do want some reform and we are working on that. The committee will be reporting on that next month.

I want to say that there were no free votes before this government came to power. We have authorized more than 100 free votes on this side, which is much more than on the other side.

Parliamentary ReformOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, this matter is too serious to just reply with old rhetoric. Forty per cent of Canadians stayed home during the last election because they felt so dissatisfied. They felt their voices did not matter since their own members of parliament could not even speak for them or vote freely.

Would the Prime Minister be specific right now? Mr. Turner said that at the very least, at a minimum, MPs should be able to vote freely on all matters other than possibly the throne speech and the budget speech. Would the Prime Minister agree to at least that much?

Parliamentary ReformOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as I said, free votes were not part of this institution until we formed the government.

I would like to say, for the edification of the House of Commons, that the Leader of the Opposition chaired a special committee on parliamentary reform in 1993 in Alberta. It recommended that committees should not be allowed to issue minority reports. That is a good example of the type of reform he has in mind.

Parliamentary ReformOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I am talking about members' right to vote freely here in this House. The former leader of the Liberal party says that the present government has too much control over its members.

Does the Prime Minister agree with his former leader, his former friend? If so, what specifically is he going to do to reform parliament?

Parliamentary ReformOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, when he himself was House leader in Alberta's legislative assembly, he did not allow a single free vote.

Right now, he is the last person who should be offering opinions on members' freedom.

Members Of ParliamentOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Canadian Alliance Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians have had somewhat troubling news today. They found out that an ageing veteran who went to his MP was turned down simply because the MP said that he had not voted Liberal. Is that not a dreadful thing?

Will the Prime Minister tell his members that they are members for every single constituent, not just those who voted Liberal?

Members Of ParliamentOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I talked with the member of parliament a few minutes ago and he said that he was willing to help his constituents. He said that he has always received all of them. It is unfortunate that this letter was written. He said that he was hoping the person would call him and he would help him.

Members Of ParliamentOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Canadian Alliance Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, now that it is public and now that every Canadian knows about this, I am sure he will help him as fast as he can.

Let us imagine a helpless, ageing veteran going to his member of parliament asking for help and he is told that because he did not vote for that member of parliament he could not help him. Will the Prime Minister simply say here in the House today that this will not happen again?