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House of Commons Hansard #21 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Divorce ActRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-294, an act to amend the Divorce Act (custody of grandchildren).

Mr. Speaker, this amendment to the Divorce Act would allow grandparents to apply for custody of their grandchildren without leave of the court. Clearly, it would still have to be granted by the court in the final analysis, but would do away with any blocks to do it. It would give automatic standing should the grandparents choose to seek it.

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

Criminal CodeRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-295, an act to amend the Criminal Code (recruitment of children and swarming).

Mr. Speaker, the bill is an amendment to the Criminal Code aimed specifically at the more recent phenomenon of swarming, wherein individuals like Jonathan Wamback have suffered grave injuries as a result of this type of offence. It would amend the Criminal Code to make it illegal to recruit individuals, most often teenagers, to commit offences that result in this type of activity of mass beatings, where an individual's life and limb are put at jeopardy.

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

Income Tax ActRoutine Proceedings

3:10 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Musquodoboit Valley—Eastern Shore, NS

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-296, an act to amend the Income Tax Act.

Mr. Speaker, the bill in essence allows those who volunteer for regular church service or charity organizations to deduct $1,000 from their income tax if indeed they donate 250 hours a year or more to that particular institution.

We are talking about people who volunteer for the Lions Club, for the Legion, for hospices and hospitals. We are talking about the Rotarians, Kiwanis Club members, and all those people who volunteer countless numbers of hours in order for them to assist us in building a better country.

I think the bill, after careful consideration by all the members of Parliament, will sweep through the House like wildfire and become votable very soon.

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

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Liberal Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, if the House gives its consent, I move that the seventh report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs presented to the House earlier this day be concurred in.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

The Speaker

Does the hon. member for Peterborough have the unanimous consent of the House to propose the motion?

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

(Motion agreed to)

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Liberal Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise to present a petition from Canadians who are concerned about a possible pre-emptive strike against Iraq. These citizens are not only from Peterborough, but from as far away as Minden, Harrowsmith, Millbrook, Picton and various places in eastern Ontario.

They point out that a pre-emptive strike to overthrow the Government of Iraq would be a flagrant abuse of the United Nations charter. They also point out that we all mourn the deaths of up to 3,000 people as a result of the insidious attacks on New York last year. They point out that by rejecting violence and lifting the sanctions against the Iraqi people we would win the goodwill of Iraqi citizens and open the door for them to make political changes leading to peace.

They call upon Parliament to refuse to cooperate in any way in a war against Iraq and to use Canada's diplomatic efforts to convince the United States, Britain and the United Nations to choose the tools of diplomacy, not the weapons of war, for establishing peace in the Middle East. They further call for the lifting of all but military sanctions against Iraq.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Philip Mayfield Canadian Alliance Cariboo—Chilcotin, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have four petitions from citizens of Cariboo--Chilcotin who condemn the use and creation of child pornography. The petitioners call upon Parliament to protect our children by taking all necessary steps to ensure that all materials which promote or glorify pedophilia or sado-masochistic activities involving children are outlawed.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Philip Mayfield Canadian Alliance Cariboo—Chilcotin, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have another petition from citizens of Cariboo--Chilcotin who are concerned for Canadians suffering from debilitating illnesses and diseases such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, diabetes, cancer, muscular dystrophy and spinal cord injury. The petitioners call upon Parliament to focus its legislative support on adult stem cell research to find the cures and therapies necessary to treat the illness and disease of suffering Canadians.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Progressive Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, I wish to present a petition with regard to child pornography. It contains over 800 names. The petitioners call upon Parliament to protect our children by taking all necessary steps to ensure that all materials which promote or glorify pedophilia or sado-masochistic activities involving children are outlawed.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Norman E. Doyle Progressive Conservative St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition signed by about 100 people in St. John's in my constituency of St. John's East. They are making the point that non-embryonic stem cells which are known as adult stem cells have shown significant research progress without the immune rejection or ethical problems associated with embryonic stem cells. The petitioners call upon Parliament to focus its support on adult stem cell research to find cures and therapies necessary to treat the illness and disease of suffering Canadians.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

3:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John M. Cummins Canadian Alliance Delta—South Richmond, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure today to present a petition signed by citizens primarily from the city of Maple Ridge, British Columbia.

The petitioners are expressing their concern about the Coast Guard, diving regulations and so on. They are concerned that the government is no longer providing adequate funding for the Coast Guard. They note that a new hovercraft is essential and that the old one needs to be replaced.

The petitioners call upon the government to separate the Coast Guard from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans so it can be a stand-alone body dedicated to marine safety and its other functions.

Starred QuestionsRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Halifax West Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, would you be so kind as to call Starred Question No. 20.

*Question No. 20Routine Proceedings

November 4th, 2002 / 3:20 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Progressive Conservative Cumberland—Colchester, NS

With respect to reports that 32,736 cases of people who applied to come here from Thailand, but whose files were reported missing in May 2002: ( a ) has the RCMP initiated an investigation; ( b ) if an investigation has been initiated at what stage is the probe; ( c ) if no investigation has been initiated, why; ( d ) has it been confirmed that the missing files did not belong to anyone who had entered the country from Bangkok; and ( e ) what action has been taken to ensure that the National Archives of Canada is indeed the only department destroying files when required?

*Question No. 20Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Halifax West Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Insofar as Citizenship and Immigration Canada, CIC, is concerned, the reply is as follows: a) CIC has had no contact with the RCMP on this matter. The hon. member should be advised that no data files were destroyed. Files were simply moved from an active database. b) See the answer to a). No investigation has been initiated. c) Files were not destroyed. Data that have no operational value are retired from the active database but the information is still maintained on the system. The information contained in these files was and is still available. d) There are no missing files. The data has simply been moved from the active database. It is permanently on site and at CIC national headquarters. e) Treasury Board policy regarding the management of government information holdings adheres to the requirements of the National Archives Act with respect to records disposition. CIC's management of the database is in full compliance with both the law and government policy on the retention of information.

*Question No. 20Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

The Speaker

Is that agreed?

*Question No. 20Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

The House resumed consideration of the motion.

SupplyGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Musquodoboit Valley—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, first let me congratulate the hon. member for Saint John for her tireless efforts in support of our men and women who are currently in the military, as well as our veterans corps and the reservists. For as long as I have known the hon. member, previously when she was the mayor of her town and now as the member of Parliament representing her area, she has stood up valiantly and courageously for the men and women of the military. For that she deserves our deepest applause.

I have a concern with the motion put forward today. I absolutely agree that more resources must go to the military, even after a full review, but the reality is that the motion before us is so vague that if the Liberal government puts in just one extra dollar, it will have met the conditions of the motion. That is not what I believe the member would like to have in the motion. I think she would like a constructive effort by the government. For that matter, all members of the House would like to have a constructive debate and dialogue about the future of our military, its resources and its capability domestically as well as its capability and alliances not only with our greatest trading partner, the United States, but with our other allies around the world as well.

The hon. member for Nepean—Carleton, the chair of the Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs, has done yeoman's work in being very pragmatic in his approach to bringing the five parliamentary parties together to try to reach a consensus on what is the best approach for the future of our military. For that he deserves our applause. I find him to be a very credible and fine chair of our committee. I hope he will regain that position when the committees resume sitting.

Many groups, the Conference of Defence Associations, the Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs, the Senate committee and many individual Canadians across the country have encouraged the government to allocate more resources for our military. Recently, a woman from Calgary, Ms. Corrie Adolph, put forward a petition on this issue. They all should be complimented.

At the same time, these same voices are also saying we cannot just allocate x number of dollars to a particular department under the authority of the Liberal government, because we know most of it will get wasted without a clear direction and, I would suggest, a new white paper. It does not have to drag out for years. We have the expertise internally and externally and from all political parties. We need to get together for that desperately needed forum to ensure that the additional resources that go to the military are spent with the future in mind while considering the current conditions of our military personnel and the reservists.

I also want to pay special homage to a wonderful woman from Nova Scotia who will be the Silver Cross Mother. Doreen Coolen from the Hubbards, Nova Scotia area will lay the wreath as the Silver Cross Mother. I want to pay her special thanks and homage for the great service she will provide on Remembrance Day. Her family went through a terrible tragedy when her son passed away in Afghanistan. She will have the honour of coming to Ottawa and, on behalf of all Silver Cross Mothers in the history of our country, laying a wreath at the wonderful Cenotaph here in Ottawa. What a special tribute she will be paying to all the current military personnel as well.

I and others in the New Democratic Party are asking what is our position on the military. Some people say that the NDP and the military is an oxymoron, but that simply is not true. Many people in our party have fought long and hard to address the serious concerns of our military with the present government and previous governments as well.

Yesterday was the ninth anniversary of the cancellation of the EH-101 contract, the Sea King replacement. Nine years ago that was cancelled. As we speak, there is not a word on when those Sea Kings will be replaced. Just as important, our vessels desperately need to be replaced. They need to be replaced as soon as possible. Not only would this be an investment in our military and our country, it would be an investment in jobs in all the shipbuilding cities not just in Atlantic Canada, but across the country in Lévis, Quebec, in Welland, Ontario and in British Columbia.

I have always said that an investment in the military is an investment in one's country. We cannot talk about sovereignty unless we have a defence that is proactive and reactive. We have the longest coastline in the entire world. Our maintenance on our coastline is dwindling not only in terms of the Coast Guard but in terms of our military patrols. Our Aurora fleet has been cut back and our frigate patrols on our coastlines have been cut back. It is no surprise that we have environmental spills, illegal fishing, illegal immigration and illegal drugs coming into the country. We are simply not patrolling our waters.

Anyone who says that the military should not have additional adequate resources is simply fooling themselves. The reality is that the motion before us is very vague in its context and unfortunately is unsupportable at this time, but the premise of the motion brought forward by the member for Saint John, New Brunswick is definitely supportable. The fact is that the government has been derelict in its responsibility toward the military. It is time that we started looking at the military in a much more positive and proactive light.

The men and women of our military are some of the bravest people in the country. They are willing to lay their lives on the line in defence of democracy and freedom. It is no surprise that we are debating this during Veterans' Week. The fact is that we have 116,000 men and women much younger than I am who have laid their lives on the line in over 70 countries around the world so that I can live in peace and freedom.

If it were not for the decision of this House during World War II that sent the troops overseas to save my mom, my dad, my oldest brother, thousands of other Dutch people and their families and millions of others from the tyranny of Naziism, I probably would not be here today. That decision was not made in haste. That decision was made with careful reflection. It is very ironic that I can stand in this House today and am able to say that I represent my constituents in the same House where the decision was made to send overseas the troops that liberated my mother, my father and my oldest brother. For that I will always be grateful to Canada and its young men and women who sacrificed so much so that we could be free.

It is ironic and rather pleasing, actually, to see the defence minister of Canada stand up at a board of trade in a business meeting and say that the military requires more resources, but I have yet to hear him make that declaration in the House so that all of Canada can hear precisely what he is saying.

His statement, by the way, is very reflective of today's motion. It was very vague and there is a lot of wiggle room in this motion. It is simply unacceptable that he would use that type of language to ascertain the current situation of our military, but I am pleased that he will go to his cabinet and fight for more resources, as he says, with all the spending priorities out there. I only wish that the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans had the same fortitude to fight for the men and women of our Coast Guard in the same manner.

I do not believe we have to increase taxes to do this either, because by replacing the Sea Kings and the vessels of our country, for example, there would be so many people going back to work making high salaries that the taxes would pay themselves. It is not an expenditure. It is an investment. This is what we need in this country.

I am surprised by those who talk about sovereignty, those who want to send troops to East Timor or Kosovo or around the world. I remind them that peacekeeping means very well that peacekeepers must use lethal force if they have to. They have to be combat trained for peacekeeping. That means they must have the resources in place to be properly trained and be effective when they are out in the field.

On behalf of our party, I salute the men and women of our military. We support our veterans and those who have come back from overseas. We will support our reservists and those who are thinking of the military as a career. We want them to know that they have our support, not only of this party but of all members of the House of Commons.

SupplyGovernment Orders

3:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Cheryl Gallant Canadian Alliance Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, it has always been a pleasure to serve with this hon. member on the Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs. His message has been consistent and this is one issue on which the opposition is united. I was wondering if the member would give us his thoughts on the issue of the supply chain project.

SupplyGovernment Orders

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Musquodoboit Valley—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member from the Alliance Party, who is an active member on the committee, for this very important question. In brief, the supply chain consists of all services and materials supplied to the military from within, the nuts, the bolts and everything else.

The government has entered into a sort of preliminary contract with a company called Tibbett & Britten, of England, to look at the privatization of that supply chain, which basically means we would “war-mart”, or sort of Wal-Mart, our military supply chain. That is simply unacceptable. The fact is that over $800 million would then be transferred to a foreign company. This is completely unacceptable. We have 1,674 public service workers attached to the supply chain now, who are working very proudly, I may say. Some people call them the invisible force of the military, the fourth arm, as well as our men and women who are attached as spouses to the military.

Just as important, there are over 3,000 businesses across the country that supply the military and its bases, from Gander, from Renfrew, from Esquimalt, from Shearwater and so on. These are small businesses that need this business with the military in order to survive.

To privatize it means that Tibbett & Britten of England can get those supplies from anywhere in the world and thus knock out many of these businesses and the hopes and dreams of many people who work in those businesses. It is simply unacceptable. We in the NDP and others, I am sure, are saying that it should not be privatized, that it should remain a public service. I am sure that when the government finishes its review it will find out that indeed is the way to go.

SupplyGovernment Orders

3:30 p.m.

Haliburton—Victoria—Brock Ontario

Liberal

John O'Reilly LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I do not mean to rise in response to members every time something is said, but I do want to correct the record. Tibbett & Britten Group Canada is a Canadian company.

SupplyGovernment Orders

3:30 p.m.

An hon. member

A shell company.

SupplyGovernment Orders

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

John O'Reilly Liberal Haliburton—Victoria—Brock, ON

Five Canadian companies bid on this process and responded to the contracts. They were all Canadian companies. No foreign companies bid on the process, so I just wonder if the member would stand corrected. I know that there is a lot of work going on right now and I would not defend the change to the supply chain yet, because I have not been convinced that there are savings there. When I am convinced I will take a look at it.

I think the member should acknowledge that TBG is a Canadian company.

SupplyGovernment Orders

3:35 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Musquodoboit Valley—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, I hate to rise every time I hear the parliamentary secretary make a mistake, but the reality is that Tibbett & Britten is a British firm with corporations and companies within Canada. It is still a British company. That is like calling Shell Canada a Canadian company. It is not. It is owned and operated, eventually, by Royal Dutch/Shell in Holland. The fact of it is that it is a franchise of Tibbett & Britten in England and the profits, like Chrysler's, like GM's and like Ford's, eventually leave this country and end up in another country. That is simply unacceptable.

We in the NDP have always believed in a strong public service. We believe that the public service excels. We believe that it does excellent work within the military and in the supply chain. We simply do not agree with the concept of alternate service delivery or giving away jobs so that other people can eventually do them much cheaper with no benefits and no guarantee of quality or of work. We will not accept that the supply chain should be privatized in any way, shape or form.