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House of Commons Hansard #38 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was million.

Topics

2:05 p.m.

The Speaker

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

[Editor's Note: Members sang the national anthem]

National ParksStatements by Members

December 4th, 2002 / 2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Liberal Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, on November 28, 1885, Canada's first national park was established around Banff, Alberta. This was an extraordinary far-sighted fact by the government and people of Canada.

Since then our park system has spread across the country to deliberately include a wide variety of natural heritage. Also, the protection, which our national parks provide for plants and animals, has been strengthened. Our national parks are sanctuaries for plants and animals, investments in the biological diversity of Canada and the planet.

I urge all members to celebrate the establishment of Banff National Park by pledging that our generation will build on the work of our ancestors by further extending and strengthening the national park system with marine conservation areas to provide similar sanctuaries in the oceans.

The Speech from the Throne pledged that we would do this. Let us do it.

Firearms RegistryStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jay Hill Canadian Alliance Prince George—Peace River, BC

Yesterday, Mr. Speaker, Canadians found out the true cost of the useless Liberal firearm registry. The Auditor General presented her report detailing a $1 billion price tag, yet the Liberal government assured Canadian voters it would cost only $2 million. These cost overruns were quietly swept under the carpet, hiding the waste from Parliament and taxpayers.

Now that the Auditor General has confirmed what the Canadian Alliance has claimed for years, will the government scrap the registry? Not likely.

What else is the government hiding from Canadians? We now know the Liberals are also hiding the true costs of implementing the Kyoto accord. As Canadians line up at hospitals and clinics across the country waiting for critical medical services, Liberals continue to waste billions of dollars on their pet projects. How many more gong shows do we have to sit through?

Canadians are tired of their standard of living being constantly reduced by an arrogant Liberal government that blows billions of dollars. Taxpayers deserve better.

Economic DevelopmentStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Gérard Binet Liberal Frontenac—Mégantic, QC

Mr. Speaker, the town of Thetford Mines is trying to diversify its industry and open its economy to new market opportunities. To this end, various regional stakeholders are promoting a project that would make the Amiante RCM the Quebec capital of the oleochemical industry.

There is enormous potential here, and I want to acknowledge the promoters of this kind of initiative to create new and innovative sectors of activity and, in so doing, create new jobs.

On November 8, Canada Economic Development contributed $81,500 toward the implementation of a strategic development plan for this industry.

This contribution is a good example of our interest in supporting projects which will protect and improve the environment, while repositioning this region to deal with new technologies. This is great news for Frontenac—Mégantic.

Ottawa—Vanier CommunityStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, today I would like to pay homage to three pillars of the Ottawa—Vanier community, who have passed away recently: Laurette Roy, Paul St-Georges and Robert Madore.

They were exemplary in their dedication to our community. Ms. Roy, Mr. St-Georges and Mr. Madore were always there to lend a helping hand to individuals and organizations in need.

They will be sorely missed at the Centre Pauline-Charron, the Canadian Legion (branch 462), the Knights of Columbus (council 5571), the Optimist Club and the Institut canadien-français d'Ottawa, among others.

It is impossible to truly honour these three citizens in one minute. Nonetheless, I wanted the House to know that the people of Ottawa—Vanier will not soon forget them.

I wish to express my sincerest condolences to the members of their respective families.

Fred WardStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Janko Peric Liberal Cambridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week my riding lost a former city counsellor known for his gentle nature and determination that was key in helping to establish the new City of Cambridge almost 30 years ago.

Fred Ward served with the Perth regiment during the second world war, was a member of Branch 121 of the Royal Canadian Legion, and a former member of the Galt Kinsman Club.

A lifelong resident of Galt, Ward served two terms on Galt council, served on regional government , and was elected to the first ever Cambridge city council.

I would personally like to extend my condolences to his wife Irene, his son Wayne, his daughter Sandra, and his extended family and countless friends in Cambridge.

Member for LaSalle—ÉmardStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Rajotte Canadian Alliance Edmonton Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, official Ottawa was all abuzz this week about the new suggestion from the member for LaSalle—Émard that the federal government should sell its share of Petro-Canada to help pay for climate change technology.

That is an interesting suggestion but it sounds familiar. It sounds familiar because this is actually not a new suggestion. In fact, the finance committee and the Canadian Alliance recommended selling those shares in the 2001 prebudget report to the then finance minister. Unfortunately, the finance minister at that time ignored the good advice in his next budget.

Who was the finance minister who ignored this advice? It was the very same member for LaSalle—Émard who now suddenly endorses this idea and expects Canadians to accept this as his new brilliant proposal.

This is one more example of this prime minister wannabe just flipping his position to suit the latest fad. The former finance minister has done so many flips and flops that it makes one wonder whether he is truly seeking to become prime minister or if he is instead practising for his new career as a performer with Cirque de Soleil.

Violence Against WomenStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Liza Frulla Liberal Verdun—Saint-Henri—Saint-Paul—Pointe Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, today is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women . This is, first of all, a day to commemorate an act of hate and violence against women. But violence against women did not start with the death of 14 women at École Polytechnique in Montreal, and unfortunately did not end there either.

Violence against women knows no boundaries and often deprives its victims of the ability to speak up or stand up for themselves. Some women experience it daily and fear for their lives and that of their children and family members. Others, like more than 60 women from Vancouver's downtown east side, have simply gone missing, because someone thought that they did not matter or would not be missed.

We are all human beings, regardless of our social standing, race, religion or gender, and all lives are precious. We must all ensure that women are never alone or forgotten, especially on this National Day—

Violence Against WomenStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Repentigny.

Berthier—Montcalm ByelectionStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Bloc Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, the tune being sung these days by the Liberal candidate in the byelection in Berthier—Montcalm is a well known Liberal tune in Quebec: silence.

While the ADQ, PLQ and PQ unanimously passed a resolution in the National Assembly of Quebec, demanding that federal health transfers be unconditional, an embarrassed Liberal candidate saw his federal Liberal friends reiterate their intention to set out conditions.

Worse yet, instead of going ahead with the health care reform, the Liberals decided the best thing was to further centralize by creating a new bureaucracy in Ottawa to deal with health.

After cutting nearly $150 million in health alone in the riding of Berthier—Montcalm and in Lanaudière, the Liberals now want to pass themselves off as saviours. Having set the fire, they are now trying to put it out.

We have here a Liberal candidate who says he has to defend what is indefensible. It is clearer now why this candidate once was a contributor to the Bloc Quebecois. Deep down, he knows full well that the Bloc is the only party in Ottawa—

Berthier—Montcalm ByelectionStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Parkdale—High Park.

Louis Applebaum Composers AwardStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Sarmite Bulte Liberal Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, I wish to congratulate two of my constituents, Alexina Louie and Alex Pauk, who on November 29, 2002, were awarded the 2002 Louis Applebaum Composers Award.

The Louis Applebaum award was established in 1998 to recognize excellence in music composition. Alex and Alexina are the second recipients of this award for their musical compositions in film and in television.

Ms. Louie is well-known for her compositions, such as The Scarlet Prince , and has been recognized with a Juno Award and the Order of Ontario. I am also proud to inform the House that Alexina is one of the recipients of the Queen's Jubilee medals in my riding.

Alex Pauk founded the Esprit Orchestra in 1983 and is also its conductor and artistic director. He has written orchestral, choral, chamber and electronic music which has been performed and broadcast throughout Canada, the United States, Europe, Russia and Latin America.

Their compositions, both individually and together, have enriched the music world both in Canada and abroad.

I congratulate them on their achievements and look forward to their creations in the years to come.

Kyoto ProtocolStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rob Anders Canadian Alliance Calgary West, AB

Mr. Speaker, on Monday the MP for Edmonton Southeast showed Albertans his true colours. He is going to vote in favour of Kyoto, despite vowing previously to quit rather than support the accord.

Albertans have long memories and are not so easily duped by displays of debatable allegiances. One need only be reminded of the 1993 election results and the stand taken by Alberta Tory MPs who threatened to quit over the GST. Of course jumping ship and joining the Liberals is another strategy of a political shape changer.

Actions speak louder than words. This action, voting in favour of Kyoto, an accord which will cripple the economy and put Albertans and other Canadians out of work, is sheer economic suicide.

Now we learn that the only other Alberta Liberal MP will also vote in favour of the Kyoto accord.

Betraying one's constituency to hold on to a cabinet position shows where Liberal loyalties lie.

Persons with DisabilitiesStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Tony Tirabassi Liberal Niagara Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, during this week of activities acknowledging persons with disabilities, we should be reminded that all Canadians should have the opportunity to display their talents and their skills. Canada needs, and must have, access to these talents and skills in the knowledge based economy.

I am encouraged that the government committed in the Speech from the Throne in September to work with provinces to fast track a comprehensive labour market agreement to remove barriers to working and learning for persons with disabilities.

As we work together we are building a more inclusive society that supports independent living and sustainable livelihoods.

Fair Vote CanadaStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Lorne Nystrom NDP Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

Mr. Speaker, last week was the second anniversary of the 2000 election, an election that handed most of the power to a party for which, once again, only a minority of the Canadian people voted.

In the wake of this distorted outcome, Fair Vote Canada launched a grassroots campaign to make every Canadian's vote count.

Just an hour ago the president of Fair Vote Canada, Doris Anderson, joined with opposition members, including myself, calling on the government to take real action on electoral reform.

The last time the House of Commons voted on proportional representation was in 1923 when a cautious Mackenzie King led 20 of his fellow Liberals in supporting PR. Canadians think it is high time for another vote.

According to Environics, support for PR has risen to 62%. The success of this campaign shows what can be achieved through multipartisan cooperation, both inside and outside the House.

On behalf of my party, I salute the perseverance of Doris Anderson and Fair Vote Canada and its supporters, and I can assure them of our continued support on proportional representation in Canada.

Lac-Saint-Jean—Saguenay ByelectionStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Beauport—Montmorency—Côte-De- Beaupré—Île-D'Orléans, QC

Mr. Speaker, Gilbert Tremblay, the Liberal candidate in the Lac-Saint-Jean—Saguenay by-election, has stated without turning a hair to the regional press that, had he not sat on the regional sociopolitical committee, the federal government would never have been aware of the issue surrounding Agropur of Chambord.

Nothing could be further than the truth. We have proof of this in Hansard . The member for Roberval was the first to speak out against this situation, on October 29, and then my colleague from Jonquière carried the ball by bringing it up on November 7, 8 and 29.

The same cannot be said of the federal member for Chicoutimi—Le Fjord. A painstaking examination of Hansard does not yield a single instance in which the Liberal member for Chicoutimi—Le Fjord brought this situation to the government's attention publicly.

What cheek for the Liberal candidate in the riding of Lac-Saint-Jean—Saguenay to make such a statement, when there are official records which prove the contrary.

Violence Against WomenStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, December 6 is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. On this day in particular Canadians are encouraged to discover methods to deal with violence in the daily lives of many. One of the many forms of violence against women that needs to be addressed is spousal assault.

Twenty years ago this topic was brought up in this very Chamber to the apparent amusement of some of the hon. members. As was the case in 1982, the numbers today are certainly no laughing matter. In the year 2000, female victims of reported spousal assault were in the majority. There were over 28,000 of them. That number could have been twice as much since only 37% of suspected cases of spousal assault are reported when a female victim is involved. Many more women live in silence and fear.

Last year 69 women were victims of spousal homicide. This number has significantly increased in just one year. That is slightly more than one woman being killed by her current or ex-spouse every week.

It is important that Canadians take these facts to heart. We can all make a difference in taking action against violence against women today and everyday.

Firearms RegistryStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Rick Borotsik Progressive Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Auditor General's report once again put the spotlight on the government's ill-fated gun registry program. In the report she highlights the “astronomical cost overruns” and the government's “failure to report to Parliament”.

It is not at all surprising to see that the government has once again mismanaged Canadian taxpayer dollars.

Let us not forget who was the architect of this fiasco: the current Minister of Industry. There seems to be a dark cloud that follows the minister wherever he goes. Who can forget his legacy: the Airbus blunder, the hepatitis C controversy and the Cipro affair.

However, the biggest and most expensive Christmas gift of all was the $1 billion gun registry program. It is costly, inefficient, confusing and, above all, legislation that is prepared to make honest people criminals and criminals, like the Hell's Angels Maurice “Mom” Boucher, a registered gun owner.

The way the Kyoto accord is going, the minister must have had his hand in that one too.

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I want to return to the Auditor General's report and government mismanagement.

Last week the government denied suggestions of a billion dollar cost overrun in the firearms registry, yet the Auditor General says the government has known this for two years.

All of this sounds very familiar. The government denied the billion dollar boondoggle at HRDC, it is attempting to sweep the sponsorship scandals under the rug and it is headed toward a multi-billion dollar boondoggle on Kyoto.

My question is straightforward. What financial controls will the new finance minister put in place to end the mismanagement problems of his predecessor?

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, as I said yesterday, the numbers are known by the population.

The question raised by the Auditor General is basically a question of reporting: the way we should report to be accountable to the population. Numbers were known, whether through Justice Canada or other stakeholders that are involved in the program delivery and administering.

As I said yesterday, we accept the recommendations of the Auditor General. Indeed, are we concerned? Yes, we are concerned and we will fix the problems.

Firearms RegistryOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the justice minister says the numbers are known. In his defence of the massive overspending on the firearms registry, yesterday his office put out a press release stating that the projected costs for this year were $113.5 million. That forecast did not even include the extra $72 million that the justice minister asked for and received from the House in supplementary estimates two months ago.

How can the justice minister's financial oversight be so incompetent that he does not even know about the current expenditures in his own department?

Firearms RegistryOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, as I have said many times, the numbers are well known. The Auditor General recognizes that all the numbers have been approved by Parliament.

The question raised by the Auditor General was on the way we should report. Of course, the Department of Justice and I, as Minister of Justice, are accountable and are seen as being the single point for being accountable to Parliament. We will manage with the external audit that we have asked for. We will manage in order to make sure that we will organize the books in a manner that is supported by the Auditor General.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the numbers, he says, are well known. The truth is, the justice minister does not have a clue about how much this is costing.

On another issue of mismanagement, yesterday the public works minister prevented a second audit of the sponsorship scandal from seeing the light of day. He is hiding behind a police investigation to prevent this information from coming to Parliament.

Surely the minister is not suggesting that every page of a 2,500 page audit is subject to police investigation. Will the minister agree in the House to reveal the portions of the audit that the police are not using in their investigation?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, there is absolutely no second audit. There was a second sampling done after the first, which confirmed the first findings. We went through all of the ATIP release procedures to provide this information to the public, to provide the information to Canadians, and it was indeed the advice of the RCMP that we could not release it. If the RCMP changes that advice, I will release it.

Employment InsuranceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Monte Solberg Canadian Alliance Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Auditor General ripped the government over its failure to respect the intent of the EI act.

The finance minister and his predecessor think that workers and employers should be satisfied with thin dime reductions of EI premiums when the Auditor General and the Chief Actuary both say that the reduction should be 50¢.

How long will the finance minister perpetuate the EI rip-off started by his predecessor?