House of Commons Hansard #27 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was disabled.


SupplyGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.


Dennis Mills Liberal Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, I do not know how snafu translates, but the bottom line of today's debate is that the chamber has spoken. I have listened to every speech today. We are all in accord. It is now up to the executive of the government to do what it has to do to fix the problem.

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.


Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, does the member not find it very clear that the motion presented to the House is that the government should withdraw its proposal and refer to the proposed recommendation of the committee, which was a recommendation of all the parties? It would be pretty hard to vote against that if we agree to have a democratic committee established to make some recommendations to Parliament. To withdraw from that or move around the motion just brings it to light and it does not mean anything any more.

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.


Dennis Mills Liberal Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, I agree with the member for Acadie—Bathurst. However, if words came along that could even improve on those recommendations, we would be irresponsible to ignore them.

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Betty Hinton Canadian Alliance Kamloops, Thompson And Highland Valleys, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to join in this debate. It has been very interesting to listen to my colleagues in the House, most of whom have said what we all feel on this side of the House anyway, which is that this is a very unfair thing that is about to happen.

It is awful to realize that the House does not respect the work of the committee. When groups of people from all parties sit together to come up with recommendations, that is something that takes a lot of effort, time and cooperation, and is something that is unusual in politics. When a committee can come together and make a firm recommendation as to what has to happen to better serve the people of Canada and then the government throws that recommendation out the window and puts forward whatever it is it wishes to do, it does not sit well with anyone.

In my own constituency I have heard from many of my constituents about this exact problem. For years people have qualified for the disability tax credit. Their disabilities have not gone away. Disabilities do not just disappear overnight. There have been no miracles. These people are still as disabled as they were when they began.

On top of all of the other trials and tribulations they have to go through on a daily basis, they now have to justify still being disabled. I cannot imagine a government wasting time on something like this. I would be the first person to stand and say that if fraud was taking place, then we need to use the full measure of the law to prevent the fraud from happening.

However, in cases where people have AIDS, as do 12 of my constituents, in order for them to survive on a day to day basis, they require $400 to $500 worth of medication every month. It is obvious that people who have AIDS still have AIDS. Either people have it or they have passed away. It is not a matter of its having miraculously disappeared. These people are now in a position where they cannot afford to buy the medication that is required to keep them alive. This has come from a government that says it supports all people. I have a great deal of difficulty with that.

I have also talked to another one of my constituents who finds himself in an even worse predicament. The predicament I suppose to some would be called pride, but it is not pride. One of the questions on the questionnaire is “Can you dress yourself?” This man has been a contributing member of society his entire life. The disability happened to him without very much warning. He has the pride of being able to continue to dress himself.

What this man does not get a chance to say on that questionnaire, and what his doctor does not get a chance to say on that questionnaire, is that it takes him three full hours to get dressed. When he gets up in the morning, that is his daily routine. By the time he gets his buttons done up, his arms in the sleeves, his socks on his feet and all the rest of the things that go into getting dressed in the morning done, which we could probably do in 30 seconds if we were in a hurry, he is so exhausted, that is it for the day. He has to lie down and rest .

Does this man require some support through disability? Yes, indeed he does, but with the way the form reads, he will not be entitled to it. His doctor has to put the x there because, yes indeed the man can dress himself. That is about all he is able to do and it takes him all day to do it, but with the way the questionnaire is worded, there are no options.

When I was growing up, I had the privilege of having a man in my life, my sister's brother-in-law, whose name is John Stranne. John Stranne is a brilliant man who at a very early age was destined to be a prodigy. His interest was in science. At the age of 12 years he decided to build a rocket. As he was putting the rocket together, he very foolishly, and I know John would not mind my saying that, held the rocket between his legs at the knees. As sometimes happens, things did not go right, the rocket exploded and John lost his legs.

If we were to tell John today that he was disabled he would be very offended. He is probably the most independent man I have ever met in my life. He has taught me many lessons over the years about handling adversity, making do with what one has, and being grateful. He does qualify as a disabled person. To be quite honest with my colleagues, we have not talked about this. I am not sure whether he is even on that disabled list, but I will tell members that having no legs is a definite disability.

John has managed over the years to overcome his disability. He can get around faster than most people with two good legs. He has also managed to make major contributions to the country, to his family and to all those who have known him.

There are things that he must do to be able to do his job. One of those things is putting in a hand steering wheel with special gears. There are day-to-day things that we would not even think about that is something that he lives, eats and breathes every day.

Is he entitled to some compensation or are people like himself entitled to compensation? Of course they are. So are the people who have found themselves in the same position as one of my constituents who takes the better part of a day to put on his clothes.

Several times today the question has come up of whether the person can get the spoon to his or her mouth. Certainly there are a lot of people who can get the spoon to their mouth. That is not the hard part. The hard part is preparing the food that goes into the bowl that the spoon goes in so the person can sustain his or her body. We are not taking that into consideration.

The government has made some poor choices in the two years that I have been here. This is a perfect example of another poor choice. It seems to me that the government targets the disabled and the elderly. I am speaking from only two years of experience.

However, I have seen what happened with my own constituent, a war veteran who is being ignored. We have the war veteran situation that is being ignored and now disabled people have their disability credit taken away. They still live day in and day out with this issue.

We have so many things done by the government that are wasteful and that we could go after and attack, pare down, and make Canada a better country. Why is it that the government would choose to pick those who are least able to defend themselves? This legislation would be damaging, harmful and of no benefit to any Canadian.

Recent court rulings regarding this credit have interpreted the legislation in a more humane and compassionate manner than the finance department is willing to accept. I come from a party that believes in accountability for taxpayers' dollars and believes we must be transparent in our dealings with money. It may sound odd that I would think that the finance department should take a better look at this. However, that is truly what I do believe.

Let us try our best as a government to eliminate any possibility of fraud, but in that process let us not damage and harm people who are not in a position to defend themselves. That is not what Canada is about.

We have just celebrated Remembrance Day. We have seen what people have done to give us the rights and freedoms we have. We cannot ignore that and we cannot pass things that are absolutely contrary to what Canadian values are all about.

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.


John Bryden Liberal Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Aldershot, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite in her closing remarks touched on an area of great sensitivity in this issue.

I would ask her a very direct question. I am very much with her on the need for transparency and accountability. We have in some sense the conflicting intent of wanting to show compassion for those who need the help of government because of circumstances beyond their control.

I would ask the member a risk management question. Would she, as a legislator, be prepared to accept some fraud in the system if it meant reaching out to more people who actually needed the help of government as disabled people?

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Betty Hinton Canadian Alliance Kamloops, Thompson And Highland Valleys, BC

Mr. Speaker, that question is not relevant. This issue does not have a lot to do with fraud. There is a wonderful little invention called the computer and computers contain the records of many people. I am telling the member opposite that we should look at the people listed in these computers who have obvious disabilities that did not just disappear and go away. Why do we plague their already troubled lives by sending them notifications telling them they must prove they are still disabled? Is this fraud? No. I do not accept fraud. We have all the means at our disposal to make certain that there are no fraudulent claims.

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Philip Mayfield Canadian Alliance Cariboo—Chilcotin, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank and compliment the member for Kamloops for her comments.

We are talking about people who have already been classified as disabled and are suddenly being taken off the list until they can prove once again that they are still disabled. This concerns me because those who are at the extreme of their resources right now are being asked to go further and reprove what has already been done.

What we are talking about here is tax benefits and that is another point that troubles me. We are talking as though this is government money that we are going to give to these folks. What we should be talking about is what the government is not going to take away from people. This money belongs to them. The government in some instances seems to justify theft by legalizing it, by taking away peoples' money that they need to sustain themselves. This is also part of the unfairness. The government feels that what people have belongs to it until it says they can have it back again. I really have a lot of difficulty with that. The cruelty that this imposes upon those who are unable to defend themselves is unjustifiable.

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Betty Hinton Canadian Alliance Kamloops, Thompson And Highland Valleys, BC

Mr. Speaker, my colleague and I are certainly on the same page. I agree with him wholeheartedly. There are already assurances in place that people have qualified and that they do require these exemptions from their taxes. I do not understand why we would waste time by going through something that is to me a given. If people are disabled and have met the qualifications, and we have all kinds of ways of checking that, why would we put them through this aggravation? They are able to deduct their costs and they should continue to be able to do so.

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Roy H. Bailey Canadian Alliance Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, I want to begin by taking a slightly different format. I am sure it is the same for all members of the House that in our constituencies we are probably more in contact with the human resources people than any other branch of government. I want to accentuate the positive a little. In most cases I must say that the regional offices of the department are extremely helpful to us. The staff in my offices would say the same thing. For the most part we deal more with human resources, because of all the various programs, than with any other department.

Before I get into the problem which we are discussing I will say that the human resources department in the field, in the constituency, has served me well. I want to accentuate the positive because it has been positive.

I heard on the radio this morning about the corruption in the GST. As long as we have people, as long as we have governments, we will have corruption. It is not that we must accept it, but we must continually fight it. If we want to take a look at the GST scandals and the scandal of the Minister of National Revenue, I have big one. It is terrible that an audit is being done of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. It is completely out of this world, but that is another topic and we will fight that another day.

Of all the claims, correspondences, and people who come into my office, the disability tax credit issue takes precedence over everything else: immigration, farm aid, and everything that has ever come to my office. The problem is, as my colleague has pointed out, the possibility of fraud in the disability claims. There is no question about that. Members should ask any insurance company or province with respect to the workman's compensation.

I want to deal specifically with an issue which we could have dealt with differently. With all due respect to the government and the minister, they have bungled this one.

When people come to my office with a temporary disability, they could be checked out with one flick of the switch with computerization and so on. However if I have a woman, living 60 miles from my office, who has MS, who qualified years ago, whose situation is getting worse with that disease, and she has to come all the way in, through some rather nasty weather at some expense, not only to get the doctor's certificate, but to prove that she is still disabled, I believe that could have been avoided.

That is the argument I have with this department. Would there be people trying to get disability credits that did not deserve them? The answer is yes. On the other hand, I say this to the members opposite. If we were going to make a mistake I would much rather, as a Canadian and as a taxpayer, see it go too far this way than too far that way.

I have been around Parliament, boards and public life for a long time. When we push it to the extreme, as we did in this case, I had more heartaches and more nights without sleep over these people coming into my office than I had in many years in public life. This was a mistake made by the government and I know that it will do it right the next time because it has all the machinery in the world to check on disability claims quickly and accurately.

It is extremely difficult to deal with disability. I sat on some boards. We had people who came in and claimed they were sick and we asked them to get proof, like every insurance company. Somebody said that everyone who comes in claiming disability should get something. I do not believe that and I do not believe in that philosophy.

I want to describe very clearly a couple of cases I had. I saw a cartoon that was very good. A fellow was sitting in a wheelchair holding up two parts of wooden legs, saying “I haven't grown any new legs” in reference to this particular call for proof of disability. I would challenge the government and the department. I have no quarrel with asking for proof from some people who are on temporary or extended disability, but I have every reason to believe that those people who are severely disabled are known by the department. It really was very cruel to call in all those people. Frankly, it was very inhuman, yet we had to deal with those people.

I am glad that we have this program. I am glad that for the most part we do not abuse it, but I will say to the government that in the future when it is doing this it should make sure that it does just not pull every name out of the file and have everyone go through the same thing. It is wrong. I think the government knows now that it is wrong. Let us do it right the next time and let us remember that these are people who are suffering now and will continue to suffer as long as they live.

In my own thinking, I understand it. I understand what we go through with insurance companies and what the 10 provinces go through with workers' compensation. I have met people on workers' compensation and teachers on sick leave who abuse it, but the people who were hurt the most were not those who were abusing it. The people who were hurt were those who were truly suffering and had to spend money and suffer to prove their point. Let us not have this happen.

University of WaterlooStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Andrew Telegdi Liberal Kitchener—Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to inform the House that Dr. Mike Lazaridis, founder, president and co-chief executive officer of Research in Motion has been appointed chancellor of the University of Waterloo.

He is a passionate, eloquent and compelling champion for education and fundamental research. He is recognized as one of Canada's leading visionaries and entrepreneurs and is also known as a powerful and passionate advocate for education at all levels.

Dr. Lazaridis is a community leader and a philanthropist whose private support of research is unparalleled in Canada. He founded the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in 2000. In donating $100 million toward its creation, he embarked upon the fulfillment of a vision for research that is unlike anything ever seen in Canada.

In addition, his gifts to the University of Waterloo have helped establish the Institute for Quantum Computing, projected to be one of the leading centres of its kind anywhere.

I wish to extend congratulations to Dr. Lazaridis.

Senate of CanadaStatements By Members

November 19th, 2002 / 1:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Ken Epp Canadian Alliance Elk Island, AB

Mr. Speaker, Senator Nick Taylor reached the magic age of compulsory retirement on Sunday. Now the question is, who will replace him?

In the past the Prime Minister has snubbed his nose at the people of Alberta, who have elected their choice of senator. It requires no constitutional change to appoint the person the people have chosen. It takes only the will of the Prime Minister.

It was very interesting to hear the Prime Minister's statements when he was seeking the support of the people before the 1993 election. He told the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce “You want a Triple-E Senate and I want one too”.

Later he promised to dismantle the patronage system of appointing senators and he said he would establish an elected Senate within two years of the Liberal Party forming the government. Maybe the Prime Minister's problem is that he cannot count. He has been here for nine years and has done nothing.

When will the Prime Minister appoint Bert Brown, the people's choice?

International Day of ToleranceStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Yvon Charbonneau Liberal Anjou—Rivière-Des-Prairies, QC

Mr. Speaker, Saturday, November 16, was the UNESCO declared International Day of Tolerance. On behalf of the Secretary of State for Multiculturalism, I call upon all Canadians to reflect on what we have accomplished and what remains to be done.

As Canadians, we should be proud of our multiculturalism policy, which has been a part of our heritage for over 30 years. Canada was the first country in the world to introduce such a policy, the success of which is reflected in the scores of diverse newcomers who choose to make Canada their home.

We should be proud that we are moving beyond tolerance, through acceptance and respect, to valuing and cherishing deeply the diverse nature of the people who make up our country. It is our duty as Canadians to work together to build an inclusive society. Our diversity is recognized as being a source of strength. It is a national asset.

Let us continue to build a truly multicultural country and—

International Day of ToleranceStatements By Members

2 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Cambridge.

Community LeadershipStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Janko Peric Liberal Cambridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, since 1916 when the Chaplin family bought Canadian General-Tower, this company has exemplified the very best in community leadership.

A North American leader in the production of flexible polymer covers, including vinyl for the automotive, construction, leisure, publishing and environmental sectors, this Cambridge based company was chosen top business by the Junior Achievement of Waterloo Region.

CGT's motto, “Best service”, explains its reputation for quality and service, its investment in employees and the Chaplin family tradition of excellent corporate citizenship.

I am very pleased to extend congratulations to the Chaplin family, CEO and President Jan Chaplin, and the management and employee teams at CGT for their ongoing success.

Governor General's Literary AwardsStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Sarmite Bulte Liberal Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the 14 Canadian authors, translators and illustrators who have won this year's Governor General's literary awards, presented for works written in both English and in French.

Canadian literature in English has been enriched by the works of these following winning authors: Gloria Sawai, author; Roy Miki, poet; Kevin Kerr, playwright; Andrew Nikiforuk, for non-fiction; Martha Brooks, for children's story; Wallace Edwards, for illustration; and Nigel Spencer, for translation.

In the realm of Canadian literature in French, congratulations are due to: novelist Monique LaRue; Robert Dickson, for poetry; playwright Daniel Danis; Judith Lavoie, for non-fiction; children's writer Hélène Vachon; Luc Melanson, for illustration; and to translator Paule Pierre-Noyart.

All these authors, translators and illustrators can be proud of the contribution they have made to Canadian literature for which they have earned this distinction.

I would like to extend congratulations to them and wish them continued success in their literary endeavours.

The BeachcombersStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Canadian Alliance West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

Mr. Speaker, there is good news for all Canadians, especially those in Gibson's Landing on the Sunshine Coast: The Beachcombers are back.

On Sunday, Canadians watched a CBC documentary on The Beachcombers , the longest running comedy-drama series in Canadian television history. Executive producer was Jackson Davies, one of the stars of the original series, who played Constable John.

Next Monday, Beachcombers , the movie, will air on CBC and will again feature one of the most beautiful locations in Canada, the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia. There will be new characters in the movie and we know they will be as beloved by today's viewers as all the characters in the original series.

I hope that the CBC will see the value in giving the world The Beachcombers again. What a terrific program it was, and what a profitable one for the CBC and all the networks that brought the series into syndication.

I hope the CBC brings it back as a series for another reason. The Sunshine Coast and Gibson's Landing are too beautiful to keep to ourselves. We should be happy to share the natural splendour and beauty of my home with the whole world.

EmploymentStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jim Pankiw Canadian Alliance Saskatoon—Humboldt, SK

Mr. Speaker, in response to my recent question about the government's discriminatory state-sanctioned hiring scheme, the Treasury Board minister confirmed that racial quotas dictate hiring and promotion in the federal government.

Sadly, the NDP supports this blatant discrimination and the Canadian Alliance has steadfastly refused to address the issue on behalf of the vast majority of Canadians who oppose racist hiring quotas.

The quotas, or “targets” as the Liberal minister prefers to call them, are the imposition of race-based hiring, which is as demeaning to those it discriminates in favour of as it is to those against whom it discriminates. The truth is that we cannot discriminate in favour of someone because of their race without unfairly discriminating against someone else because of theirs. To do so fosters racism.

Unfortunately, this fact is intentionally ignored by the Canadian Alliance and socialist MPs in the Liberal and NDP who, because they hide behind politically correct rhetoric instead of a white sheet, are nothing more than modern day Klansmen.

Fernand OuelletteStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Bloc Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is with great emotion that I pay tribute to Fernand Ouellette, recipient of the Prix Gilles-Corbeil for 2002. With its recognition of his work, the Fondation Emile-Nelligan is underscoring the key role played by this poet, novelist and essayist in casting light on the Quebecois soul.

Co-founder of the journal Liberté , this determined independantiste and passionate lover of art and music has been the recipient of numerous awards. Some will surely recall his refusal of the 1970 Governor General's Award as a protest against the War Measures Act. Despite having abandoned the formal side of religion like so many of his fellow Quebeckers, Fernand Ouellette has not abandoned a life-long quest for spirituality. His last work, Le danger du divin , is a record of his personal spiritual quest.

I thank the author of Lucie ou un midi en novembre and Je serai l'amour for his carefully honed language, so rich and yet so restrained, the sure mark of literary greatness.

Agricultural CooperativesStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Claude Duplain Liberal Portneuf, QC

Mr. Speaker, today and tomorrow, representatives of Canadian agricultural cooperatives will be here to submit to members of Parliament and other stakeholders their plans for funding and capitalization.

There are cooperatives in western Canada, Ontario, the Maritimes and Quebec, representing in all thousands of members, and thus having a finger on the agricultural pulse.

In Quebec alone, there are 37,000 members. They rank seventh in Quebec in job generation, generating 14,700 jobs. As well, they generate $4 billion of business, ranking them fourth in Quebec. Last year alone, they created 700 more jobs. The cooperatives deserve to be listened to in their search for funding and capitalization, as it will involve investments in excess of $1 billion and will create thousands of jobs, without any direct cost to government.

I invite my colleagues to support them in their endeavours.

National DefenceStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Dave Chatters Canadian Alliance Athabasca, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present a glaring example of how arrogant the government has become. On a mission in the high Arctic, our troops were promised a daily $38 American living allowance, but on return from the mission they were told that there had been a mistake and that they would receive only $14 American a day.

Now they must pay back the difference within six months.

I cannot help but compare this shoddy treatment with the fact that when the Prime Minister attended a three day summit in Mexico on poverty, he and his entourage spent an average of $5,104.90 per person per day. That works out to a total of $643,345 over the three days.

Our soldiers get peanuts while the politicians get pearls. What a telling example of this government's out of control arrogance. Canadians really deserve better.

World Road CyclingStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Beth Phinney Liberal Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, on November 18 the 2003 World Road Cycling Championship Organizing Committee launched the countdown for the 2003 World Road Cycling Championships scheduled for Hamilton in October 2003.

The Minister of Canadian Heritage announced that the Government of Canada will contribute $10 million to the event. This event will be an opportunity for Canadian athletes to compete against the world's best cyclists right here in Canada.

This event will involve some 800 athletes, over 50 countries, nearly 1,000 coaches and officials, over 1,000 volunteers and approximately 500 journalists. More than 500 million viewers from all over the world are expected to tune in.

The Championships are a great example of the partnership between federal, provincial and municipal governments, the private sector and the volunteer sector.

All the best to those involved with the 2003 World Road Cycling Championships taking place in Hamilton next October.

Mental HealthStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, the critical issues raised in today's NDP motion on disability tax credits are compounded for Canadians facing mental health disabilities. Five of the ten leading causes of disability worldwide are rooted in mental illness. Yet sufferers cannot access tax relief because the government does not recognize the unique nature of their illnesses.

The Canadian Mental Health Association has asked the government to improve the fairness of this credit, but to no avail. The government's response to mental illness, a problem affecting 20% of Canadians, has been abysmal. It has recently cut back its paltry mental health budget.

The Auditor General last month reprimanded the government for its lack of surveillance of mental health. We do not even know how severe the problem is or what is being done about it across the country.

We desperately need a national strategy for mental health in Canada, one that includes research, an information base, public education and policy infrastructure. We need the government to do that, to withdraw its meanspirited disability tax credit changes and to stop ditching its responsibilities for the most vulnerable in our society.

Eccellenza AwardsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, on Saturday, November 9 the Eccellenza Awards Testimonial dinner was held at the Caboto Centre in Winnipeg. Hosted by the Italian-Canadian League of Manitoba and the Italian-Canadian Centre of Manitoba, this dinner recognized four exemplary Italian-Canadian citizens, who also happen to be recipients of the Order of Canada.

Mr. Sam Fabro was honoured for his tireless efforts in promoting and organizing sports in the Winnipeg area.

Dr. Sam Loschiavo was honoured for his innovative research in the field of entomology as well as being a founder of the Italian-Canadian League of Manitoba and of Winnipeg's own Folklorama.

Mr. Tony Tascona was recognized for his art. He is an internationally renowned painter, sculptor and printmaker.

Dr. Arthur Mauro became a Member of the Order of Canada in 1987 for his work as a lawyer and financial executive and his community leadership. In 1992 he was promoted as Officer of the Order of Canada for his impressive career in the business world and his role as chancellor of the university.

It was a privilege to be part of this celebration.

Rendez-vous national des régionsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Odina Desrochers Bloc Lotbinière—L'Érable, QC

Mr. Speaker, the rendez-vous national des régions was a great success, with all of the participants from Quebec's regions giving Quebec Premier Bernard Landry a spontaneous standing ovation.

The meeting provided an opportunity for a productive exchange between the Government of Quebec and Quebec's regions. Even Jean Charest and Mario Dumont, who had been critical of the meeting, agreed with the consensus that was struck.

Real commitments, such as reducing the cost of air travel to and from outlying regions, and even more importantly, creating a standing parliamentary committee on the future of the regions will have a real impact on the development of rural areas.

Hats off to the regional leaders. And congratulations to Premier Bernard Landry. Now let us hope that the federal government will do its share.

YMCA Peace WeekStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Aileen Carroll Liberal Barrie—Simcoe—Bradford, ON

Mr. Speaker, November 17 to 23 marks YMCA World Peace Week. Last week in my riding of Barrie--Simcoe--Bradford I had the honour of receiving the 2002 YMCA Peace Symbol pin presented to me by Mr. George Jonescu, president of Orbit Design Services.

The YMCA commissioned the Barrie firm to design the pin, which was manufactured in Schomberg. Orbit's principal designer, Ms. Sue Beard, as well as Tracy Hansen from the Barrie YMCA were present at this special occasion.

YMCA Peace Week originated in 1984 when YMCA Canada decided to add an entire week of peace-related activities to Peace Day. During this week local associations are encouraged to promote peace from a personal, community and international level.

I would like to congratulate the Barrie YMCA and Orbit Design Services for their dedication to such a worthwhile event.