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House of Commons Hansard #3 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was destruction.

Topics

Speech from the ThroneGovernment Orders

4:15 p.m.

Liberal

Jim Karygiannis Liberal Scarborough—Agincourt, ON

Madam Speaker, the difficulty we face today is that people who come to this country and who might find someone here and marry them are having to wait up to three years for their paperwork to go through. I have discussed this matter with the minister and his predecessors. I wonder if the minister today could let us know how he is proposing to take away this three-year wait that is happening in my riding of Scarborough. These people have absolutely no status. They cannot work. They cannot have health care. What if someone were to get sick? Or if a wife were to become pregnant, the child born would be a Canadian and the father would have to bear the brunt of having to pay for the medical coverage of the birth. In light of this, I am wondering if the minister has anything in new proposals.

Speech from the ThroneGovernment Orders

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Madam Speaker, it would take more than 30 seconds to answer. Indeed, the reason we changed the legislation and the regulation was to address those kinds of issues. We talk a lot about skilled workers but we also can talk about family reunification. It is clearly a priority for us.

Efficiency is also the name of the game. We have to take a closer look. Of course every case is specific so we should take a closer look at that, but we are totally dedicated to making the system work. We saw in the Speech from the Throne that this is a priority for the government when we are talking about immigration. We want to create the proper environment to make sure that the person coming here will be able to bring family. That is what we are dedicated to.

Speech from the ThroneGovernment Orders

4:20 p.m.

NDP

Svend Robinson NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Madam Speaker, I know time is limited so I will try to be brief. I want to congratulate the minister on two specific initiatives. One is with respect to control of immigration consultants. We know there has been serious abuse in that area. Second is the recognition of foreign credentials. It is long overdue and I welcome that. I want to ask two specific questions.

First I will ask for an assurance from the minister that there will be absolutely no weakening in the government's resolve to ensure that those who are alleged to have been responsible for war crimes, Nazi war crimes, will in fact be brought to justice in Canada or will be denaturalized and deported.

My second specific question is with respect to the recent denial of a visa to the foreign minister of Taiwan who was in Seattle and wanted to come north to Vancouver for a very brief visit with a representative of the Taiwanese economic and cultural office in Vancouver. He was denied a visa. It was shameful. Taiwan is a thriving, vibrant democracy and a strong trade partner. I would like to ask the minister if he will assure the House that this mistake will not be repeated.

Speech from the ThroneGovernment Orders

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Madam Speaker, first I would like to thank my colleague and announce that tomorrow morning we will have an important press conference where we will talk specifically about what we intend to do with immigration consultants. We will make a major and clear announcement for the future.

As for the specific case of his colleague from Taiwan, I do not know what happened. Maybe there is always a way. A lot of my colleagues around here come to me when there are specific issues. Maybe we should take a closer look at that, but it is always a matter of an approach balanced between vigilance and openness. I will not comment on the specifics, but we should talk about it.

Regarding the war crimes, frankly there is zero tolerance. It is zero tolerance and we want to be focused. It is not a matter of years or money; it is a matter of efficiency. It is not just about World War II. It is about what happened in Rwanda, in Kosovo and in several places in the world. We want to make sure that Canada is clearly dedicated against those war criminals. Specifically, when we talk about the legislation of citizenship it might be a great opportunity to reinforce that.

Speech from the ThroneGovernment Orders

4:20 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Madam Speaker, I am amazed that the minister, who was accused during the caucus meeting in the Saguenay by more than 2,000 demonstrators of having misled the public by making campaign promises at the time of the last election about major changes to be made to employment insurance, has not risen in this House today, when he can comment on the throne speech, to speak out against his government. He made promises, committed to significant changes during the election campaign. He heard from the 2,000 protesters in the Saguenay, who had understood very clearly that they had been misled, that they had been betrayed by the minister.

Should this minister not resign, or take a position against his government in order to honour his commitments, rather than burying his head in the sand and continuing to play politics? He made formal commitments that have not been honoured, and has thus misled people who have had $40 billion stolen from them by the government since 1993.

Speech from the ThroneGovernment Orders

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Madam Speaker, I find that regrettable. I went to Rivière-du-Loup on several occasions; I visited the member's riding on several occasions. People tell me “Mr. Coderre, we want solutions that will make us feel like full-fledged citizens. We too have our place in the sun”.

As for the future former member for Rivière-du-Loup, I think he would do better to look at what is going on in his riding than try to play politics. We are doing serious work here.

When it was time to vote on this bill, he again opposed it, because the Bloc Quebecois is now motivated less by passion than by pension, and is focussing on temporary effects in an attempt to make political hay out of them.

Speech from the ThroneGovernment Orders

4:20 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

You betrayed the public.

Speech from the ThroneGovernment Orders

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

We have betrayed no one here. Madam Speaker, I ask that the member be made to withdraw the word “betrayed”. There is no traitor on this side of the House.

Speech from the ThroneGovernment Orders

4:25 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)

I would ask the member for Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques if he wishes to withdraw the word “betrayed”.

Speech from the ThroneGovernment Orders

4:25 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Madam Speaker, I maintain that the minister betrayed the public by not honouring this commitments. He was told this in Chicoutimi by 2,000 people, who allowed us to speak on their behalf, while you people did not even dare to come out of your hotel because you were too afraid.

Speech from the ThroneGovernment Orders

4:25 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)

The hon. member may continue debate, because this is a debate; he said “betrayed the public”, and this is not an attack on a member or a minister.

Speech from the ThroneGovernment Orders

4:25 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Paul Forseth Canadian Alliance New Westminster—Coquitlam—Burnaby, BC

Madam Speaker, I will be splitting my time.

I have represented my community in every throne speech debate since the 1993 election. The Liberal pattern has been to tantalize with messages to make Canadians feel good as offer generalities and hints of a political direction. On the surface, many of these former throne speeches have created some temporary hope for national achievement. Then subsequent administration has not fulfilled that anticipation.

I want to applaud the government for mentioning national economic fundamentals for I have always said that a strong economy is the foundation of a strong society. The government must also provide the right balance of programs for people, such as health care and education. However I wonder if some advocacy groups today will be very happy with the throne speech.

For example, in a previous throne speech in January 2001 there was given an expectation, which today we can observe was not fulfilled. Here we go again. I quote from a January 2001 commentary about a former throne speech. It says:

The speech from the throne is the signal that this government plans to ensure that all Canadians share the prosperity of Canada, and especially those people who have been shut out from the prosperity time and again.

We were particularly pleased by the emphasis on promoting a healthy democracy in which leadership can come from everyone. In the view of the National Council of Welfare, making sure that all Canadians share in Canada's riches must include the highest possible level of public participation.

That was a quote from nearly two years ago. Where are we today? What has changed for the better? The government cannot hide how poor they have been. This throne speech was just too predictable. Called “The Canada We Want”, the speech does not reflect the government we need. It is a pedestrian laundry list of intentions and largely a repeat of much of what was needed to be done. High priority items were not mentioned. Many of the points should and could have been done years earlier. This statement certainly will not inspire Canadians. They must be saying, “Is that all there is?”

The biggest cost item is the Kyoto protocol. Parliament will be forced to vote on it without any sound basis of cost. There will likely be no cost benefit analysis laid before Parliament. The government will go forward on mostly environmental goodwill and emotion looking for the votes rather than working for Canada's fundamental international interest. Is the average family better off economically this year? Do we have more participatory democracy?

We do not have that, but what we do have now, I am sad to say, is a lot of talk about legacy rather than leadership, promises rather than policy. We are no further ahead. In fact we have slipped and continue to slide on the United Nations index of nations. On the world market our dollar buys less than it ever has before. The dollar value benchmark is one that the government cannot hide from or explain. It is the world's judgment about our economy now and our future prospects. The low dollar represents the undeniable failure of the government to meet the people's needs.

Significantly, in the throne speech there is no clear ultimatum to finally fix medicare once and for all, but just more talk and deliberations with the provinces. It has always been my community promise to compliment and help the government when it appears to be going in the right direction. It is my parliamentary duty to hold the government accountable when it strays and falls short. It is also my commitment to a vision that I provide constructive alternatives and improvements for the betterment of Canada.

I oppose the throne speech and the government today because Canada can do better. I hope that I will again be elected as the official opposition vice-chair of the House Standing Committee of Government Operations and Estimates. There we anticipate breaking new ground with this committee, to greatly enhance the accountability of government spending plans and examine the efficacy of much of the spending that is statutory and does not come before Parliament each year. It is about accountability and also about doing the right things. It is what a throne speech should be all about.

Parliament needs better oversight of where most of the taxpayer money is going. We have not had that under the former finance minister since 1993. In fact he is so out of it that he even voted in a lark for the Tobin tax on an NDP motion.

That is an esoteric international socialist idea to tax international monetary flows and redistribute world income. Heaven help Canada if this rogue has his way as prime minister in view of his past performance.

His one claim to significance was even a borrowed policy from us to balance the national books. However he did not have the wherewithal for the whole package, balanced budget legislation or programmed pay down of the national debt.

Even as we as a country stand shoulder to shoulder with our allies, it is necessary that we are not diverted from protecting the Canadian way of life. We must balance national security needs with the Canadian Alliance long term agenda for building a more prosperous, inclusive and democratic society.

Regardless of the mediocre government leadership we have had, Canada is still one of the world's success stories. We enjoy prosperity and a higher quality of life compared to many on the globe. We have grown from a small agrarian people at Confederation to a complex, multicultural economic powerhouse. However we recall that we were not touched on our shores by World War II and we emerged at that time on top of the social and industrial world order. Sadly our great leadership position has been squandered since then and now we can count ourselves lucky just to remain in the G-8 of countries.

In the global knowledge economy our world position will depend upon innovation as we invest in the future of science and research and skill development. We must do better to invest in the new technology but also help young Canadians to get a head start. With a more principled government, it could be envisioned that someday our people would find a culture of freedom and inclusion. More than ever we need a skilled workforce and an innovative economy for everyone.

Innovation is the bridge between today and tomorrow; between fresh ideas and new opportunities for all Canadians. Canada must become more debt free, keep inflation and unemployment low and become more internationally competitive in tax and regulatory structure. The barriers to greatness as a nation are often ones of our own making, such as the socialist bad habits, the politics of envy and regional resentment.

What I am saying is that Canada's fall from international leadership is Canadian made. Our missed opportunities or also-ran status as a nation is a legacy of Liberal and Conservative governments. What we really need is more freedom. We need the basic freedom to move goods, capital and labour. We need the freedom to learn, through investments in education and skill development. We need the freedom to become, through participatory democracy and support for rights.

I love my country. We are a blessed nation and there is no better place to live. Indeed we are a great country but we have accomplished much, not because we have had great governments. Our achievements have not come from great political leaders. We are favoured because it is the Canadian people who have built a great society. Canadians have overcome geography. We have made cultural and language differences an advantage rather than a problem. It is the people who paid the price for peace and justice. Graves of brave Canadians around the world is the testament.

The many waves of arrivals to our shores made their contributions. First, aboriginals came in successive migrations. Then the Europeans and Asians came in many waves. We became a destination of hope and opportunity. We now have a rich cultural mix which gives us an international advantage.

However Canada remains below its potential. We are poorly led and not wisely governed. The old habit of electing either a Conservative or Liberal federal government is not good enough any more. Canadians can do better. Canada can earn its way to the top if we forsake our old ways of voting.

We must vote for our children's future, rather than old prejudice. We must vote greater democracy, rather than Liberal and Conservative special interest.

Canadians can free themselves by electing a Canadian Alliance government. Canada has everything it needs to be the best.

Our task in the next two years is to give us a government worthy of the good Canadian people. We must vote to build, rather than just to avoid risk. We must vote for achievement, rather than old loyalties. Canadians must vote to give themselves a prosperous democracy that includes everyone, where no corner of the land is left behind.

The best is yet to come for Canada. I believe that it is not overreaching to say that we can be the world leader, to make a truly peaceful and sustainable world.

Speech from the ThroneGovernment Orders

4:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rob Merrifield Canadian Alliance Yellowhead, AB

Madam Speaker, it is a privilege and a pleasure for me to speak in response to the throne speech as the hon. member for Yellowhead and as opposition health critic.

As Parliament resumes, the minds of Canadians are on the state of the beleaguered health care system. What they see and what too many Canadians have experienced is a system that is under decay and under a tremendous amount of stress. Look at the strikes going on from coast to coast right now, or the acute problems with wait times, which are absolutely phenomenal, or the nursing shortage or human resources problem.

On the nursing shortage we can say that projections for growth in that field are such that we will need 113,000 new nurses by 2011. That will hinder patient care in tremendous ways, ways in which we have no idea at the present time.

When we look at how we are doing in comparison with other OECD nations, we see that we rank 18th when it comes to access to MRIs. We are 17th in CT scanners and 8th in radiology equipment. It is no wonder and no surprise that Canadian confidence in the health care system is decaying and waning at the present time.

An example of this is that in 1988 a study was done and 43% of Canadians said that they thought the system was fundamentally flawed. Last year the same study was done again and an astounding figure of 77% came forward. Clearly the patient is ailing.

The Liberal health care legacy of underfunding and neglect has come home to roost. The Prime Minister and the former finance minister presided over the massive cuts in the middle of the 1990s and the consequences of that action at the time are being felt now in today's health care system.

The Prime Minister and the former minister of health announced the Romanow commission almost two years ago. It was a desperate attempt by the Liberal government to just buy more time. That is exactly what happened. Then they sat back and comfortably waited while somebody else tried to do the dirty work and wrestled with the tough problems of reforming the health care system. We are waiting for the report in November of this year.

It is not the first time we have seen this action by the Liberal government. We remember the National Forum on Health in 1997. Its report sits on the proverbial shelf collecting dust. We can see that this is a ploy the government has used once before.

There are some things the Liberal government does do well. It studies health care. We asked the Library of Parliament how much money had been spent by the Liberal government since 1993 just to study health care. A figure of $243 million came back. The Liberal government has shown a grave lack of leadership when it comes to health care over the last 10 years. All the problems I just mentioned lay right at the feet of the Liberal government. Nobody else can take responsibility for them.

The health highlight of the throne speech was the announcement of the forthcoming first ministers conference early next year and the necessary federal funding that would have to go into investments in the long term security of our health care system. I say better late than never, but did we really need a throne speech for that announcement?

Most of the other health care items offered in the throne speech consisted of vague promises on health protection, prevention and aboriginal health. Many of these are just recycled ideas. We have heard them many times before in previous throne speeches. We could go through the last eight or ten throne speeches and there are similarities in all of them.

Here is just one of the examples. I quote, “The government will take further action to close the gap in health status between aboriginal and non-aboriginal Canadians”. That is a worthy goal, but we have heard that many times before. It is no wonder the aboriginal community is thinking that this government speaks with a forked tongue on that.

Some alarming numbers came out earlier this week. They show that the rate of diabetes among first nations peoples is two to three times that of the Canadian population as a whole. The amount of tuberculosis on native reserves is eight to ten times higher than for the Canadian population.

The government should acknowledge that its current aboriginal policies are failing. It should announce firm targets for improving aboriginal health and life status.

I was particularly concerned about the government's pledge to speed up drug safety approval. We have a drug problem in the country and it is a serious problem. Up to 10,000 Canadians die each year because of avoidable prescription drug reactions. Up to 46% of our seniors receive at least one inappropriate prescription per year.

The Vanessa Young inquiry cited a number of problems in Health Canada's drug safety regime. The minister's rebranded Marketed Health Products Directorate still cannot remove drugs from the market.

Do not get me wrong. We are not opposed to bureaucrats working faster or more efficiently to speed up drug approvals. There are some very good benefits in that. However this is clearly a matter of the cart going before the horse and announcing faster drug approvals before adequately addressing the drug safety concerns that we have across this nation.

One glaring omission in the throne speech was the mention of the government's plan of dealing with the possible bioterror attack. Last year the government promised to obtain the smallpox vaccine for every Canadian. The government still has not obtained that vaccine. Where is the long-range plan that the government promised Canadians? By the way, where is the reproductive technology bill that was also promised? It met the same fate once before of dying on the order paper, so it is not the first time that has happened.

Canadians could be forgiven for having expected some leadership on health care this week from the government. However on most fronts, they were very sorely disappointed.

The government will soon be reviewing the recommendations of the Romanow report. As it prepares to do so, the official opposition should offer some principles and proposals that would guide its deliberations.

The Canadian Alliance is clear about its values on health care. Our policy states our commitment to ensuring that “timely, quality and sustainable health care is available to every Canadian, regardless of their financial means”.

The Canadian Alliance supports adequate, stable funding and transparent funding for health care. More funding will be required to shore up our ailing health care system and to place it on a firmer footing for the years and decades ahead. I am pleased to see an acknowledgment of this in the throne speech. However the federal transfer for health care has only now surpassed what it was back in 1993 and 1994. In the meantime, we have a population growth of 8% and an increase of over 15%, and our population is also growing older at the same time. Therefore, the federal government's contribution is 14¢ on every dollar right now. That is a far cry from the fifty-fifty split of a generation ago.

In putting more funding into health care, the government should resist its natural urge. Guess what that is? To raise taxes. Canadians do not want to pay any more taxes. Believe it or not, we would not want to see the finance minister jump from that Peace Tower. However, the government has chopped $25 billion from the CHST, but has left $16 billion a year in questionable grants and contributions. This is all about priorities or the lack of them.

It must be noted that more money, in the absence of other reforms, is not a viable or long term solution. This has been the recognition of many of those who have taken a look at our health care system over the last couple of years, whether it be Fyke, Mazankowski, Clair, Kirby or Romanow.

In return for more funding there must be a greater accountability of how that money is spent. The government must use this opportunity of another cash injection to encourage health reform and efficiencies.

We also reiterate the call for stable funding for health care. To prevent the kind of unprecedented, unilateral cuts inflicted by the Prime Minister and the former finance minister in the mid-nineties, we must entrench the commitment in the Canada Health Act for stable funding.

The Canada Health Act needs to be modernized. All five of the act's principles are routinely compromised. Moreover, there is a growing recognition that the act does not make provisions for important contributions such as quality, timeliness, sustainability or accountability. New provisions need to be added in the act.

The delivery of health care has changed dramatically since the act was passed in 1984. Through the development of new technologies, drug therapies and new treatment options, what constitutes medically necessary needs to be revisited in an era of new medical technologies and those therapies. A view of the scope of the services covered under the public system should be undertaken as a viable component of the first ministers consultation after Romanow.

I want to address the controversial issue of the private involvement in our public health care system. The provinces should have the maximum flexibility around health care delivery within a universal health care system, and I stress within a universal health care system.

The Canada Health Act discourages private payment of medically necessary health care services but does not prohibit nor does it discourage private delivery of those services. What is important is not who provides a service but that the service is provided and that it is provided in a timely and a quality fashion regardless of the individual's financial means to pay.

As our leader pointed out yesterday, the government monopoly is not the only way to deliver health care to Canadians. The federal health minister cannot stop the provinces from acting within their jurisdiction nor should she. Let me be clear. No province, no federal party, including the Canadian Alliance, is calling for a private parallel system.

Finally, the government owes it to Canadians to act quickly and responsibly once the Romanow commission report is called. Health care reform is too important to place on another waiting list. The government should act within 90 days after receiving the Romanow report.

Health care is the number one public policy priority of Canadians. It is clear that our system is in need of renewal. Health care requires innovative ideas and approaches in order to address the pressing challenges of increased expectations, escalating costs and aging population.

The Canadian Alliance will continue to engage the government in vigorous debate on the reform of the health care in this country. We will work--

Speech from the ThroneGovernment Orders

4:45 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)

I am sorry, the hon. member's time is up.

Business of the HouseGovernment Orders

October 2nd, 2002 / 4:45 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalMinister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, there have been a number of consultations among all parties in the House. I am pleased to say that there is agreement for the following motion, and I will explain the purpose of it. This evening we were to have a debate, which would have lasted a long time, on a very important issue involving Iraq. The motion allows us to have a shorter debate this evening and to have one tomorrow evening to permit people to speak at hours that are more reasonable. In exchange, there would be no quorum calls either evening. I move:

That the final paragraph of the Order of September 30, 2002, respecting the take-note debate with regard to Iraq, be amended to read as follows:

That, at the ordinary time of daily adjournment on October 2, 2002 and 2003, the House continue to sit in order to resume the said debate, provided that, during the said debate, the Chair shall not receive any quorum calls, dilatory motions or requests for unanimous consent to propose any motion, and that, at 12:00 a.m. during the sitting of October 2, 2002, the debate shall be adjourned and the House shall adjourn and that, at 12:00 a.m. during the sitting of October 2003 or when no Member rises to speak, as the case may be, the motion shall be deemed to have been withdrawn and the House shall adjourn.

Business of the HouseGovernment Orders

4:50 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)

The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Business of the HouseGovernment Orders

4:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

(Motion agreed to)

The House resumed consideration of the motion for an address to Her Excellency the Governor General in reply to her speech at the opening of the session, of the amendment and of the amendment to the amendment.

Speech from the ThroneGovernment Orders

4:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Lynne Yelich Canadian Alliance Blackstrap, SK

Madam Speaker, could the hon. member tell me if he believes that there is, as was mentioned in the throne speech, a paved and a speedy process for drugs, both illicit and prescription drugs? Would he explain what he thought of that particular clause in the throne speech?

Speech from the ThroneGovernment Orders

4:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rob Merrifield Canadian Alliance Yellowhead, AB

Madam Speaker, it is difficult to know exactly what is in that throne speech because the words are so vague.

There is some reference to illicit drugs. We all know the problem of illicit drugs in the country. It is acute, regardless of what our friends in the Senate. They perhaps would like to see marijuana legalized. I believe we have a serious problem with illicit drugs, but that was not the question.

The question refers to speeding up the process for prescription drugs. That is something we should take a serious look at because there are some up sides to that in the sense that faster, newer drugs and newer technologies have some benefits.

As we go into the 21st century drug therapies will be much more used than we have seen before. However, if we approve more before we deal with the abuses that are within the system right now, we will be making a terrible error. We have to look after the problem of abuse of prescription medications. It is an epidemic out there. It is something that we have talked about very little in the House and it is high time we started to do that.

Speech from the ThroneGovernment Orders

4:50 p.m.

Liberal

Jerry Pickard Liberal Chatham-Kent—Essex, ON

Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Scarborough—Agincourt.

September 30 was an important day for the government as it set out an ambitious plan for Canada's future. The Speech from the Throne 2002 outlined the next steps in the Liberal government's plan to build an ever-widening greater opportunity for all Canadians.

Since taking office in 1993 our Liberal government has worked hard with Canadians hand-in-hand to build an economic and social environment which is good for all Canadians. No one can deny the tatters in which the former government left Canada in 1993. We refer to the huge deficit, little direction, Canada's credit rating being downgraded, interest rates being intolerable and an environment where no one was satisfied.

Canadians looked at what the former government had done and virtually wiped it out. There was good reason for that because it did not have an agenda, it was not in touch with reality with Canadians and as a result Canadians would not support it.

Today I note that many of the opposition have no reality with Canadians again. Canadians tell me that since 1993 the government has done a fabulous job in its economic work. The government has done a tremendous job reducing the deficit. Our trade with other countries has dramatically increased.

Today we can talk about $2 billion a day flowing back and forth between Canada and the United States in trade. We can talk about the wonderful concepts of things moving forward.

When the opposition says the government has not paid any attention to health care I can say that there was an agreement signed in September 2000, where the government put on the table $21 billion to further advance health care.

However let us look at some of the things that were referenced in the throne speech. A throne speech, and everyone in the House knows, is not there to itemize and give in detail all the acts the government will be introducing. The throne speech is there to set direction and give ideas of where the government feels important issues need to go. It is a setting of priorities for Canadians and quite frankly health care was placed far up front in Canada's priorities.

There is no question that one of the ambitious steps put forward in the last Parliament was the appointment of Mr. Roy Romanow to look at health care across the country, to consult with all health care specialists, members of the House of Commons and with the provinces. He had a tremendous task.

I recall him coming to Parliament and listening to members of Parliament putting forth their ideas, concepts and their constituents' feelings about what health care needed to have to improve.

That takes time and there is no question that when we look at the throne speech, we look at the fact that Mr. Romanow's report will be laid on the table this fall. The throne speech made it clear that in the spring of next year the government will work on a comprehensive plan to deal with the recommendations that Mr. Romanow will put on the table. Anyone who suggests that the government is not serious, is not working hard at health care and is not concerned, is out of touch with what is going on. I would like to point out that if we look at a comprehensive plan in the year 2003 that does not mean that all health care problems will cease to exist.

It means that we will put a plan together. We will have steps that we can work on. We will look at doctor shortages. We will look at facilities that would most accommodate drug restrictions and an aging society. All of those things are important to a comprehensive plan and cannot be answered in a minute or two as the opposition would suggest.

The Prime Minister made it clear that children and low-income families are most important. In the throne speech we heard of families and family support, energies put toward helping those children who need a lot of extra care and extra benefits. We know that education is a key important issue to ensure that younger people have the greatest opportunity possible in this country.

The government has laid on the table that quality of life, sharing economic prosperity, low-income families with better benefits, and fair and proper education for all young people are high priorities. That is extremely important when we realize that in the future our young people will lead this nation and be responsible for all of the progress that goes forward. That is clear to me.

I heard the opposition talking about the tremendous costs of Kyoto but I have not heard a word about the positive benefits or the commitments around the world. Last week I was in Japan. The first thing the Japanese said to the Canadian delegation was to ensure that Kyoto was approved. Why? Because it is important to the world community.

It is important that a nation like Canada shows world leadership in cleaning up our environment. It is important that we put actions and activities in place that will make the future of young people and future generations much better. I have no doubt that if we start looking at Kyoto there are great benefits that can be achieved.

In my riding I have an ethanol plant which is typical of ethanol plants found throughout the United States and some other areas of the world. That ethanol plant is world class. It generates a tremendous amount of green fuels which we know, if anyone looks at it, benefits society dramatically. It ends a lot of bad pollution problems in our major cities. It helps with jobs in the farm and rural communities across the nation. It is a facility by which we can improve our environment, our air quality, and at the same time we can employ Canadians and build a nation of greater strengths.

Within the Kyoto protocol there is no question that there are many good environmental projects that can be carried out to make this nation stronger, to make our future generations more healthy and to help the environment. I look forward to the debate on the Kyoto protocol accord.

It is clear in my mind that we must be cautious and careful about where we are going in the future and we must open to debate all of the issues. It is not really the government that sets down all the steps and says how much each step will cost. It is important that we listen to industry and talk about the barriers and the opportunities that industry has in things like the Kyoto accord.

It is important that we look at the infrastructure program that we have suggested. At the border, Windsor happens to be the bottleneck of Canada's trade. We must look at infrastructure that will improve that and do tremendous change for us.

I believe that the Speech from the Throne is setting a direction which will carry on the tremendous Liberal development over the last several years. There is no question in my mind that Canada is far better off than it was under a Tory government with a huge debt and deficit increasing by $42 billion annually.

Speech from the ThroneGovernment Orders

5 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)

Before I take questions and comments, because we have avid readers of Hansard , I want to ensure that everybody understood the motion that had been moved earlier because there was a question in terms of the date. I want to read into the record the exact motion that we all agreed to:

That, at the ordinary time of daily adjournment on October 2, 2002 and October 3, 2002, the House continue to sit in order to resume the said debate, provided that, during the said debate, the Chair shall not receive any quorum calls, dilatory motions or requests for unanimous consent to propose any motion, and that, at 12:00 a.m. during the sitting of October 2, 2002, the debate shall be adjourned and the House shall adjourn and that, at 12:00 a.m. during the sitting of October 3, 2002--

Not October 2003, as was earlier indicated:

--or when no Member rises to speak, as the case may be, the motion shall be deemed to have been withdrawn and the House shall adjourn.

Questions and comments.

Speech from the ThroneGovernment Orders

5:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Dave Chatters Canadian Alliance Athabasca, AB

Madam Speaker, I could not help but notice the many references to the Kyoto accord in the member's presentation. It always frightens me to listen to Liberal members who do not seem to understand what the Kyoto accord is all about and yet support it.

The member makes reference to improved air quality and reduction of air pollution. The Kyoto accord is about the reduction of CO

2

emissions, which in fact is an essential element of life on this planet. Many greenhouses pump it into the greenhouse to grow plants. Would the member tell me how reducing CO

2

will clean the air quality and how sending billions of dollars of Canadian money to Russia to buy credits when Russia produces six times the amount of CO

2

Canada does will help the environment in Canada?

Speech from the ThroneGovernment Orders

5:05 p.m.

Liberal

Jerry Pickard Liberal Chatham-Kent—Essex, ON

Madam Speaker, I think the member opposite is naive when he talks of Liberal members not knowing what is happening.

I believe the Alliance has been out of touch with Canadians that it shows in the numbers of people it has sitting in the House of Commons. I do not believe that at any time the government has lost seats or lost support. The fact is that if we go to the Kyoto accord and we start looking at green fuels, we are increasing the quality of air in all countries of the world. Oxygen is the base of all breathing animals. CO

2

is used by plants to ensure they grow better.

The member is right on one fact but he is only half right, as he always is. He does not follow the reality of what happens when too much CO

2

emission gets into the air. We are talking about all kinds of problems in urban centres, heating globally our environment, problems that are created by an imbalance of what the natural balance is in this country and industrial smog and emissions. They are caused by all kinds of other problems. In the greenhouses we do not create imbalances. We look at an environment where people live and talk about the best opportunity to have clean air and great oxygen content in the atmosphere.

Speech from the ThroneGovernment Orders

5:05 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Loyola Hearn Progressive Conservative St. John's West, NL

Madam Speaker, I listened with interest to the comments made by my colleague from across the House. Will he tell us, because nobody has yet, what the government's plan is for addressing the Kyoto requirements and how much it will cost the people of Canada?