House of Commons Hansard #14 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was accord.


Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Western Arctic
Northwest Territories


Ethel Blondin-Andrew Secretary of State (Children and Youth)

Mr. Speaker, I come from a riding in an area of Canada that depends on cold weather. We are very challenged in terms of infrastructure, unlike my colleague from the Yukon whose communities, all except for one, are accessible by road. We do not have that kind of infrastructure. Most of our communities are isolated and we depend on a winter road structure.

With the melting of the permafrost, our winter road season is becoming shorter. It is a very difficult problem for the north. The north is probably most graphic in its illustration of how we are the repository of all things bad in terms of the environment, not because we do not have a beautiful environment, but because we are an area that is very vulnerable. We receive the persistent organic pollutants from around the world. The heavy metals from around the world wherever those industrialized countries are collect in the colder climate areas, that being northern Canada.

We could be compared to the canary in the mine when it comes to the environment. We are the warning sound. We are the warning bell, and very graphically so, for other parts of the world if things go wrong.

People can question how is it that Inuit mothers have pesticides or chemicals in their breast milk that they pass on to their children. How is it that many of our animals will be affected? For instance, if we have warmer climates, or if we have hot and cold climates that run up against one another, our animals will not be able to feed properly. The caribou depend on lichen. They can only get to lichen when there is light snow. If there is a melting of the snow and a freezing of the snow, they cannot get to their food. It affects the every essence of how people live traditionally in the north.

Having said that, many members will know that I am a huge fan and a proponent of oil and gas development in the north. I consider myself a friend of the industry but I am also a friend of the environment. I want to see a northern gas pipeline develop. I believe it is not a carbon intensive activity in the sense that oil would be. I believe it is less polluting than other sources and it is possible. I also think in my position as a northern representative that we can have both.

If we think we can have a clean environment without having a strategy and without setting a target like we have in Kyoto, it is impossible. There is a price to pay. We will not regain the cleanliness and the pureness of our environment no matter where we live in the world without a price. It is ridiculous to think that we will. It will cost money.

My colleague across the way talked about consumer behaviour. He belittled such aspects as making sure the clothes dryer is full. As in health care, the only way to really affect the health care of people is to change the behaviour of people. Consumer behaviour is a big part of what we do in terms of the environment as it would be with our health.

We have to change the way human beings behave. In some countries around the world recycling is a way of life. It is a consumer behaviour that has been endorsed and people do it. It was never thought of before. In some places we still struggle with it but if we have that kind of attitude, things will never change. It will cost money. It will take a bit of effort. It will take compromise but we need to care. What could be more important than the environment that our children and our grandchildren are going to live in? In my area it is absolutely important.

People generally accept what the intergovernmental panel on climate change and its more than 3,000 scientists from around the world have to say. People accept it when that panel says that most of the warming observed over the past 50 years is attributable to human activities; that human induced climate change will accelerate in the years ahead; and that extreme weather events will be more frequent and more severe due to climate change. They should accept it.

There are 17 national academies of science from around the world that have independently reviewed this work and endorsed its conclusions. I am sorry if some people do not like good science. Certainly I, and everyone in the House who has spoken, accept that there is an issue that merits action and of course the Government of Canada accepts it and has done so for many years.

Our elders in the Northwest Territories have been talking about climate change for years. It is not a new thing. It is not as abrupt and as comic as some people would refer to it as. This is a very serious issue and we all have a stake in it, including the members opposite.

It has been just over a decade that the rest of us have clued in basically. In the Northwest Territories we are feeling the effects of climate change on a daily basis with our warmer and somewhat shorter winters and our wetter and hotter summers. This does not sound like a bad thing but the north is built on the premise that it is cold. Special construction techniques have been used on all our infrastructure to accommodate the permafrost below the surface ensuring that it remains frozen.

I am sharing my time, Mr. Speaker, with the hon. member for Davenport and I am honoured to do so.

I am very enthusiastic on this issue and I am very resolved to supporting the Kyoto protocol, as are my premier and the people in the Northwest Territories. They too want a pipeline but we understand that we have to care about the environment as well.

Special construction techniques, as I have indicated, have been used on our infrastructure to accommodate the permafrost. Most people who have spoken do not know what frost heave is and how expensive it is. Most people do not understand, except for my colleague from Nunavut who lives with permafrost and has to deal with that sort of condition. The warmer temperatures are now beginning to slowly melt that permafrost. The repercussions of this phenomenon are obvious and expensive.

Because of the long commitment to action, when Canada ratifies the Kyoto protocol, we will not be starting from square one. Over the past few years the Government of Canada has built a record of consistent action on climate change. I want to take a few minutes to point out some of these actions now.

One of the most fundamental points that I have to make about these actions is that they usually are built around partnerships. They are not just Ottawa doing something all by itself. These are actions that are encouraging collaborative approaches to an issue that affects us all. These are actions that are bringing together partners in government, business, communities and more. Indeed a lot of the initial work involved collaboration to examine the issues and identify options for action even before Kyoto. There were many discussions where there was consensus and agreement. Some people have conveniently forgotten that.

For example, much of this work has taken place under the direction of ministers of energy and the environment from the Government of Canada and all the provinces and territories since 1993, including my territorial counterparts in the government of the Northwest Territories who have been actively participating at the table on this issue. These ministers generally have met annually and often more than that. Many of the provincial and territorial ministers have been included in Canada's delegations to international climate change meetings and conferences, including Kyoto in 1997. In fact, there has indeed been a great deal of time and money spent on climate change consultation since 1992. Ten years and $22.3 million has been spent on consultations with provinces alone.

That collaboration set the stage for broader partnerships such as the work of the national climate change task group. This group brought together the Government of Canada, the governments of the provinces and territories, industry and environmental groups. They have looked at climate change and related issues affecting specific sectors and affecting Canada in general. That task group consulted with stakeholders and developed the general report with recommendations.

In 1994-95 it took the report out for public consultation across Canada that led to a summary report. All this work, plus input from ongoing federal-provincial meetings, fed into Canada's action plan on climate change released in 1995. I say this because there are people sitting here now who are not aware of the history of this evolving process. It also helped to identify priorities for other efforts and investments.

There is so much more I could speak to. I have so many other notes, including the announced Government of Canada action plan, a $500 million five year initiative plan, a planned 2,000 targets and key sectors, including initiatives in transportation.

Let me finish by saying I unequivocally support the ratification of the Kyoto protocol with my northern counterparts and with all the people of the north. We know we will feel the effects of it, but we do not walk away from our intent to be progressive and to work on resource development.

Healthy Workplace Week
Statements By Members

October 24th, 2002 / 1:55 p.m.


Gurbax Malhi Bramalea—Gore—Malton—Springdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, this is Healthy Workplace Week. Launched by Health Canada two years ago, this week is dedicated to increasing awareness of how important healthy workplaces are to the success of organizations.

This year's theme is healthy leadership, and the labour program of HRDC, along with other government and private organizations are the sponsors. The government is committed to building healthy workplaces and has many programs and services to support its employees.

We can all be leaders when it comes to promoting a healthy workplace. I encourage all members to get involved in Healthy Workplace Week, both here and in their constituencies.

Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Medal
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Peter Goldring Edmonton Centre-East, AB

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow evening on Friday, October 25, a prodigious event will take place at Queen Elizabeth Composite High School in Edmonton, the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee medal award ceremony.

Created to commemorate Her Majesty's 50 year reign, these distinctive medals will be presented in a celebration hosted by Principal Tony Rankel, along with the staff and students of the Queen Elizabeth Composite High School.

The Honourable Lieutenant Governor Lois E. Hole will attend this event to present medals to 40 extraordinary Canadians who, in their own way, have made a valuable and outstanding contribution to both community and country.

A special expression of gratitude is extended to Principal Rankel, the staff and the student body of the Queen Elizabeth Composite High School. Please join them in extending congratulations to these 40 remarkable Canadians.

The Environment
Statements By Members

2 p.m.


Peter Adams Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Kyoto accord is more than a rigid formula for the reduction of greenhouse emissions. It is a frame of reference for each of us in our daily lives. Humans in their billions are the cause of the changes in the atmosphere which are causing global warming. We humans, by small changes in our daily lives, can reduce those emissions dramatically.

It is my hope that the Kyoto process will encourage us all to think differently about how we live. This is not a matter of a reduced standard of living. It is about a change in the way we live. One aspect of this is increased use of public transportation. Many of our communities already have good but underused transit systems. Let us begin by using existing facilities to full capacity. Then let us increase that capacity so that Canadians can travel cheaply and conveniently by public transportation.

In southern Ontario, where highway gridlock and air pollution are features of everyday life, this means improved rail transit in and around the major cities, including VIA service to places like Peterborough.

Governor General's Award
Statements By Members

2 p.m.


Jerry Pickard Chatham-Kent—Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I rise to congratulate a constituent of mine, Megan Reid, of Leamington, who won the Governor General's Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case, an award saluting the accomplishments of contemporary women in advancement of women's equality.

Megan received the award for promoting positive body images for women and for her volunteer work organizing events and raising money for breast cancer research.

Ms. Reid is a remarkable volunteer in her community. Her work in her local student government and other school activities is a tribute to her desire to make a contribution to society and be a positive influence. She has a passion for justice and equality of the sexes that makes her a wonderful role model for her peers.

This award was instituted by the Governor General of Canada in 1979 to honour the 50th anniversary of the Persons Case and five Alberta women whose determination led to a landmark victory in the struggle of Canadian women for equality.

I congratulate Megan on an honour well deserved.

Literacy Action Day
Statements By Members

2 p.m.


Irwin Cotler Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, as we welcome representative organizations to Parliament Hill for the annual Literacy Action Day, we are reminded of the theme that inspires this gathering, that literacy is for life.

Indeed, literacy engages and impacts upon every aspect of our individual lives. It is at the core of our early childhood learning, our personal development, our economic opportunity and our capacity to participate fully in all aspects of life and society, from individual and family literacy to workplace and political literacy. It is no less vital to us as a people, for in a knowledge based economy literacy has a crucial role to play in ensuring that Canada continues to be a productive, competitive and economically secure environment.

Regrettably, the final report of the International Adult Literacy Survey revealed that some 40% of Canadians between the ages of 16 and 65 have very low or limited levels of literacy, while 8 million Canadians, or 2 in 5 working age Canadians, do not even have the skills to contribute as full participants in our society and economy.

Accordingly, I am encouraged that the government's skills and learning agenda and the Speech from the Throne reaffirmed the government's commitment to knowledge as the engine of the new economy with the imperatives of literacy at its core.

Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Howard Hilstrom Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, thousands of western Canadian farmers do not have the basic human right to sell their own grain. They are forced to sell it to the Liberal imposed Canadian Wheat Board monopoly against their will. Quebec and Ontario farmers can sell their grain to whomever they want.

The Canadian Wheat Board minister has criminally convicted the following prairie farmers for selling their own wheat, some of whom are here in Ottawa today: Gary Brandt, Ron Duffy, Marcel Desrocher, Jim Chatenay, Rod Hanger, Martin Hall, Noel Hyslip, Ike Lanier, Mark Peterson, Jim Ness, Bill Moore, Rick Strankman, John Turcato and Darren Winczura.

Having already criminally prosecuted these prairie farmers, the Canadian Wheat Board minister is now going to physically throw them in an Alberta jail on October 31.

Why does he deny western Canadian prairie farmers the same opportunity given to farmers in the rest of the country?

International Literacy Day
Statements By Members

2 p.m.


Mac Harb Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to announce to the House that today is International Literacy Day.

Today, some 22% of Canadians face barriers because of problems with reading and writing, and 26% do not have the skills required to work in today's economy, the knowledge economy.

There is a direct correlation between literacy and health, economic growth, crime prevention and social cohesion.

Therefore, I invite all of my colleagues to join me in highlighting the importance of literacy and its contribution to Canada's development.

Civets de la nature
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Jean-Yves Roy Matapédia—Matane, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise to pay tribute to a business in my riding that employs 12 persons and that has only been in existence for one year.

The Civets de la nature de Carleton, on Chaleur Bay, was recently been awarded two gold medals and two silver medals at the Masters européen de dégustation, an international culinary competition for fine preserves, held in Brussels.

The company, led by Michel Massouty, prepared a very creative menu quite typical of the region. This was not the first time that chef Christian Menant has won the award. He won honours at the Masters in 1999, when he lived in France.

It is worth noting that the award-winning food products almost never reached Brussels, because of long negotiations with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, which refused to issue an export permit.

International Literacy Day
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Mauril Bélanger Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, I too would like to highlight International Literacy Day.

Once again this year nearly 100 adult learners, teachers and volunteers from literacy groups are on Parliament Hill to make us aware of the needs of people to combat illiteracy in this country. According to Statistics Canada, 22% of Canadians have difficulty reading simple text. It is simply unacceptable.

We must all work together to ensure that Canadians have the tools they need to be full participants in the social, economic and cultural life of our country, as well as in the age of information.

Canada is blessed with many extraordinarily talented writers, including Yann Martel, who won the Booker Prize this week for his book, Life of Pi . It is unfortunate that some Canadians do not read, it is tragic that some cannot read.

Let us all contribute to--

International Literacy Day
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Fraser Valley.

Liberal Leadership Campaign
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Strahl Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, on Wednesday the Prime Minister set loose the dogs of war. He has taken the leash off the cabinet ministers seeking to replace him and is allowing them to campaign for his job.

Being a cabinet minister is a fulltime position and a very heavy responsibility, but it is not, as the Prime Minister suggests, whether or not ministers can walk and chew gum at the same time. It is the fact that ministers angling for the leader's job are simply in a conflict of interest.

A few months ago the Prime Minister said that if ministers wanted to campaign, all they had to do was resign. He even fired his former finance minister when he refused to stop campaigning but apparently now those rules no longer apply. Why the double standard?

In the recent Canadian Alliance leadership race, our party led by example when the member for Okanagan--Coquihalla, the member for Macleod and the member for Calgary--Nose Hill all resigned their critic portfolios and other responsibilities so they could campaign fulltime for the leader's role.

It is clear that the right and honourable thing to do would be for those ministers to step down from their posts and campaign to their heart's content. To try to do two fulltime jobs at once does a disservice to their roles as ministers and an even greater disservice to the Canadian public.

United Nations Day
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Bernard Patry Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, today is United Nations Day. I am pleased to acknowledge the importance of this organization to Canada.

A founding member of the United Nations Organization, Canada has always been a strong champion of the system based on rules established when the UN Charter came into effect, on October 24, 1945.

We believed at the time, and still do, that multilateral cooperation is the safest way to ensure the safety and security of the world community in the long term.

Today, we look back on recent achievements—the summit on sustainable development in Johannesburg, the special session on children and the consensus achieved in Monterrey, Mexico—that have strengthened the partnership between developing countries and donor countries.

The potential for improvement has increased considerably under the leadership of Secretary-General Kofi Annan, whose ideas for a reform of the organization have earned him the Nobel Peace Prize.

The UN must be and will be at the heart of the international community's response to the challenges it faces today. Canada will continue to provide it with its steadfast support in this regard.

Literacy Action Day
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Wendy Lill Dartmouth, NS

Mr. Speaker, today is Literacy Action Day and I would like to welcome all of the literacy delegates who are here today to give us an important message.

We all know in the House as parliamentarians the importance of solid reading, writing and comprehension skills in the full process of democratic debate and in the knowledge based economy that we are all working in now.

Canada has one of the highest literacy rates in the world and yet, ironically, in a country that has produced award winning writers, such as Yann Martel, close to half of our citizenry may not be able to even read his novel.

The development of a larger, more skilled workforce is crucial to Canada's future economic success, as well as creating a culture that values lifelong learning.

Today I join with the literacy delegates and call on the government to ensure that making advancements on literacy is a policy and a budget priority.

The Environment
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Serge Cardin Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Environmental Excellence Awards ceremony was held on October 22. These awards are presented jointly by the Fondation estrienne en environnement and the Conseil régional de l'environnement de l'Estrie. It is my great pleasure to name the recipients:

UPA Estrie and Rivers and Lakes Foundation of Canada, agriculture or forestry sector category; the municipality of Saint-Herménégilde, municipality, city or town category; Envirotel 3000 of Sherbrooke, small business category; Kruger of Bromptonville, large or medium size business category; Action Saint-François of Sherbrooke, environmental group, NGO or institution category; and Daniel Bergeron of Orford, personal contribution category.

Finally, the Centre universitaire de formation en environnement at University of Sherbrooke received the special recognition award.

All the residents of the region can enjoy a quality environment, thanks to the actions and dedication of all these people.

Our congratulations and thanks to all the men and women involved in conserving and improving the environment. Keep up the good work.