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House of Commons Hansard #156 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was americans.

Topics

Guaranteed Income SupplementStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Gérard Binet Liberal Frontenac—Mégantic, QC

Mr. Speaker, as part of its responsible approach to guaranteed income supplement, the Department of Human Resources Development has embarked upon a number of initiatives to inform those who are entitled to this comprehensive pension program.

Even though the Bloc Quebecois supports the recommendations of the committee that reviewed the guaranteed income supplement, the reactionary nature of Bloc Quebecois members pushes them to use their own operating budget to give information that has already been provided by my office or by HRDC, which, incidentally, has done an exceptional job.

The hon. member for Lotbinière—L'Érable has launched a biased and incomplete information campaign in my riding on this program. Is he trying to justify his salary by redefining the boundaries of his riding?

I am disappointed by his attitude. I think he was ordered to do that by his leader, who is using every possible avenue, even if it means being unethical, to justify his presence in Ottawa.

Softwood LumberStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Duncan Canadian Alliance Vancouver Island North, BC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to report that today at 1.30 p.m. all parties joined together in a non-partisan, unanimous vote to support the Canadian Alliance motion in favour of free trade in lumber. Given that the Prime Minister is still in Washington meeting with President Bush this is very timely coming from the House. I will repeat the motion. It reads:

That...the principles and provisions of the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, FTA, and the North American Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA, including their dispute resolution mechanisms, should be fully applied to trade in softwood lumber, and it urges the government not to accept any negotiated settlement of the current softwood lumber dispute outside of the FTA and the NAFTA unless it guarantees free and unfettered access to the U.S. market, and includes dispute resolution mechanisms capable of overriding domestic trade measures to resolve future disputes.

I thank all hon. members who spoke to the issue this morning.

York UniversityStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Madam Speaker, York University is one of Canada's leading research institutes and I am pleased to rise today to announce the opening of an exciting new computer sciences building on its campus in my riding.

The state of the art building demonstrates the growing interest in pure and applied science at York University and solidifies the key role in the development of scientific expertise. It also sets a high standard for energy efficient green buildings designed for cold climates. Because of unique building materials utilized in the construction as well as special methods for harnessing solar power, natural heat from the earth and lots of natural light and fresh air, the facility will use two-thirds less energy for heating and cooling. The building is an example of green technology at its best.

I am proud that the faculty and students at York University play such a large and integral role in the advancement of science in Canada. I ask members to please join me in congratulating York University for leading the way in innovative architectural and environmental design.

2002 Winter Paralympic GamesStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Judi Longfield Liberal Whitby—Ajax, ON

Madam Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to stand today to acknowledge the accomplishment of Brian McKeever of Calgary, Alberta, one of Canada's outstanding paralympians.

On March 12 Mr. McKeever along with his guide and brother Robin McKeever brought home a gold medal Monday in the Men's Cross-Country Middle Distance (10 km) event. At 22 years old Brian has also had excellent results at the able bodied Canadian Cross Country Championships in 2001 where he had two 4th place finishes in the sprint and 15 km freestyle events. This is not the first experience for his brother Robin who also participated in the Olympics at Nagano in 1998.

Also on March 12, making her country proud, Shauna Maria Whyte of Hinton, Alberta placed 6th in the Women's Cross-Country Middle Distance (5 km) event at her second Paralympic Games.

At his second Paralympic Games Scott Patterson of British Columbia won his first Paralympic medal. Scott won the bronze yesterday in the Men's Giant Slalom with a combined time of 2:25:25 on a very difficult course. At 40, Scott is still considered one of the--

2002 Winter Paralympic GamesStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Fredericton.

Arts and CultureStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Andy Scott Liberal Fredericton, NB

Mr. Speaker, I take this occasion to speak about the four hour dramatic series Trudeau which will air on CBC television on Sunday, March 31, and Monday, April 1. The two part series was produced by Nova Scotia's Big Motion Pictures. It takes a candid look at 15 years in the political and personal life of one of our greatest prime ministers, Pierre Elliott Trudeau.

I am also pleased to have with us on the Hill today a splendid actor who has appeared in over 40 Stratford Festival productions. He also frequently acts on television and in film and is well known for his performance in the title role of Thirty-Two Short Films About Glenn Gould , portraying the eccentric concert pianist. It is my pleasure to salute Mr. Colm Feore as Pierre Elliott Trudeau in the miniseries Trudeau .

Employment InsuranceStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gary Lunn Canadian Alliance Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, we heard a lot about the EI fiasco over the last few days and now we find out the government is not only refusing to pay back employees but is refusing to pay back employers.

Each year over 3 million Canadians overpay EI and CPP premiums which amount to $411 million and they get the money back at tax time. Employers, though, are not so lucky. Last year they overpaid an estimated $628 million. How much of this do they get back? Absolutely nothing. The government charges that it is too complicated to give the money back. It never makes that claim when it comes time to collect taxes.

There is no provision to refund EI or CPP overpayments to employers. The government just keeps it and for every dollar it keeps in its hands it takes away from jobs and from the people doing the hiring.

It is pretty simple. EI and CPP overpayments belong to the employers.

IsraelStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Colleen Beaumier Liberal Brampton West—Mississauga, ON

Mr. Speaker, information received at my office this week from Amnesty International, Physicians for Peace, and Rabbis for Human Rights in Israel compels me to call on our government to act immediately to assist in assuring that an international body be present in Israeli occupied territories.

Over the past week more than 130 Palestinians have been killed. At least 18 of the wounded have died because of denial of access to medical services. Physicians for Peace reports that Palestinian children are being slaughtered, towns and villages are being sealed off and Red Cross vehicles are being fired upon. As a result all medical services in Ramallah are completely cut off. Neither doctors nor patients can get to the hospitals.

Rabbis for Human Rights in Israel is pleading for foreign governments to force an immediate end to the atrocities and for the restoration of medical services.

Remaining silent amounts to condoning the escalation of killings, violence and retaliation. Respect for human rights and humanitarian law is the only viable path toward lasting peace and security in the region.

Rendez-vous de la FrancophonieStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Bloc Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, les Rendez-vous de la Francophonie began on Monday and will continue until March 24. This event, which was created four years ago is a celebration of the French language and culture through more than one thousand activities across Quebec and Canada.

The Bloc Quebecois is taking this opportunity to salute all the stakeholders who are contributing to the development and preservation of the ties between the various players in the Francophonie.

It is important to remember that French is used in every part of the cultural spectrum, often with original accents, and that the use of this language by the various communities not only helps promote French, but also the communities themselves.

International Criminal CourtStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, I wish to draw members' attention to a preparation meeting for the International Criminal Court to be held this week in The Hague.

The Government of Canada is co-sponsoring this meeting with the governments of the United Kingdom, Germany and the Netherlands. The International Criminal Court is a key element of Canada's Human Security Agenda and Canada has long been one of its principal proponents.

The preparation meeting will bring together representatives of government and experts from the international criminal tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda to assess the documentation of human resources, budgetary and operational issues. Canada's leadership on the ICC continues with experts from Canada participating in the meeting.

The Statute of Rome now has 55 ratifications and needs only five more to become reality. This meeting is being held so that the documents needed to get the court up and running quickly will be available and so that the court can operate effectively.

I invite members of the House to join with me in wishing the delegates to this meeting every success in their important work of getting ready for the International Criminal Court.

Forest IndustryStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Dick Harris Canadian Alliance Prince George—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, after years of mine being the pre-eminent voice on softwood lumber issues in the House, after years of me warning the government about the perils that awaited if it signed the softwood lumber agreement, after me warning it about the crisis that would occur once this SLA ran out if it did not act in a much prior way, the government finally got it. I want to congratulate the government for supporting our motion today. It may have been a little slow, but it got there and should be congratulated for that.

Now I would like to ask the government to be just a little bit faster on recognizing the devastation caused by the mountain pine beetle out in British Columbia. Literally tens of thousands of hectares of good softwood lumber are being devastated as we speak because help has not been forthcoming from the government. It has had a formal request for help on this issue from the province of B.C. and it has yet to respond.

Farm Safety WeekStatements by Members

March 14th, 2002 / 2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Rose-Marie Ur Liberal Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, ON

Mr. Speaker, March 13 to March 20 is National Farm Safety Week and the theme for this year's event is “Safety While Handling Livestock”.

It is estimated that every year in Canada there are 130 farm related deaths, 1,200 people are hospitalized from farm related injuries and 50,000 people sustain farm related injuries requiring them to either seek medical attention or to take a day away from normal work activities. Of all agriculture related injuries, 65% of all fatal injuries and 50% of injuries requiring hospitalization are related to the use of agricultural machinery. The very young and the elderly are at greatest risk on the farm.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the Canadian Federation of Agriculture are urging farmers and their families to think about how they can protect themselves from the possible hazards of living and working on a farm.

I too would like to take this opportunity to urge all my constituents in Lambton--Kent--Middlesex and other farm families throughout Canada to participate in safe farming practices.

Arts and CultureStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Wendy Lill NDP Dartmouth, NS

Mr. Speaker, the cast and producer of the miniseries Trudeau , premiering tonight in Ottawa, are in our gallery today. I want to salute the creators of this important drama.

We hope this series is just the latest success for the CBC, which started with Canada--A People's History and continued with Random Passage and

The Last Chapter. Trudeau has been produced and written by the Big Motion Picture Company and Halifax resident Wayne Grigsby, which have also brought us Black Harbour, North of 60, ENG and

Blessed Stranger.

These are Canadian stories. They talk about the realities of life in our parliament, they look at how small maritime fishing communities face hard times, they explore the passions of life near the Arctic Circle, and they show us the fast paced relationships of a Toronto newsroom. Programs such as these tell the stories of our people. They let us pause and reflect on what keeps us together, not on what drives us apart.

We should also be frank here. These stories are only told because of a strong public broadcaster, strong Canadian content rules and a strong Telefilm Canada.

I would like to thank Wayne and the cast for telling our stories.

Winter ParalympicsStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Lanctôt Bloc Châteauguay, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Winter Paralympics are being held in Salt Lake City, Utah, until March 16.

The Paralympics are based on three principles: the awakening of the mind, the liberation of the body and the inspiration of the emotions. These athletes have shown us that they possess an unshakeable will and exemplary determination when the mind overcomes physical obstacles in the pursuit of the highest summits of their sport.

Quebecers can follow the example of these athletes in the attainment of their dream. These are athletes who reach beyond their own limits.

On behalf of the Bloc Quebecois, I wish all the athletes and trainers taking part in these games, as well as the medical staff who play a large role in the athletes' success, the best of luck. We are all proud of you.

Miniseries

TrudeauStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to draw attention to the dramatic series Trudeau , which will feature a number of our top television and screen performers in both French and English.

Moreover, we have the pleasure of welcoming some of the cast to the Hill today. They are: in the role of Gérard Pelletier, Montreal's Raymond Cloutier; in the role of the hon. member for Shawinigan, Guy Richer of Montreal; in the role of Mitchell Sharpe, R. H. Thompson of Toronto; in the role of advisor Greenbaum, Don McKellar of Toronto. Patrick McKenna of Hamilton will play executive assistant Duncan, and none other than Jean Marchand of Montreal will play Marc Lalonde.

We are very much looking forward to seeing them in Trudeau when the miniseries airs shortly on CBC/Radio-Canada.

St. Patrick's DayStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Progressive Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, this Sunday, March 17 is St. Patrick's Day across this whole nation of ours and all of our Irish people will be celebrating. We need to thank the Irish people for what they have done to help build this country of ours. Now I ask all of my colleagues in the House of Commons to join me in paying respect to the Irish by singing:

When Irish eyes are smiling, Sure it's like a morning spring. In the lilt of Irish laughter, You can hear the angels sing. When Irish hearts are happy, All the world seems bright and gay. And when Irish eyes are smiling, Sure, they'll steal your heart away.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast B.C.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the finance minister may be trying to talk up the dollar but his leadership rival, the Deputy Prime Minister, seems to prefer trash-talking the dollar. His ill considered remarks drove the dollar down one-third of a cent in one afternoon.

Does the finance minister agree with the financial community that the Deputy Prime Minister's comments were irresponsible and hurt our already battered dollar?

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Infrastructure and Crown Corporations

Mr. Speaker, I know that Herb Gray said I had a real job, but not quite as much power as the Leader of the Opposition is trying to ascribe to me.

What is clear is that in order to have a strong currency we need strong economic fundamentals. That in fact is what we have been producing over the last eight years of our government: eliminating the deficit, creating a surplus, paying down our debt and lowering taxes. Corporate taxes are at lower rates than in the United States. Those are the elements that are contributing to a stronger currency and that will in turn help Canadian firms be more competitive.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast B.C.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, a stronger currency, after one comment by the Deputy Prime Minister yesterday, drops a third of a point.

In this government the minister of human resources blames victims and the public works minister loses documents worth half a million dollars.

Why do they not look in the mirror to see who is really causing the problem? Who is at fault here? Hard working Canadian businessmen or the failed economic policies of the government?

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Infrastructure and Crown Corporations

Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition surely knows that the dollar moves around frequently. In fact it has moved up today.

The point is, what exactly does it take in order to create a strong economy? We know what those fundamentals are.

We also know that for Canadian businesses as they move into export markets, they need to be continuing to make the investments in technology and equipment in order to ensure that their productivity is such that they continue to be competitive with firms in those markets they are trying to succeed in.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast B.C.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I am sure his leadership rival, the Minister of Finance, hopes he does not make too many speeches that move the dollar around a little bit too much.

We agree with the Deputy Prime Minister and with the Minister of Industry that productivity is weak in Canada, which is a statement he made yesterday, but we think that instead of blaming Canadian businesses he and his cabinet colleagues should look in the mirror.

Instead of blaming the business sector, why will the government not end Canada's shameful record of having the highest income taxes and the second highest debt levels in the G-7?

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, if the Leader of the Opposition had been paying attention to government policy in the House what he would see is that as a result of the actions of the government, our corporate taxes, in a couple of years, will be lower than the United States'. Our capital gains taxes are now lower than the United States'. Those are the kinds of policies that will lead to increased productivity. On our debt, we have the highest reduction in the debt ratio of any industrial country over the last number of years. The fact is, we have produced and Canadians are producing.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Canadian Alliance Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, even if the Minister of Finance tries to avoid saying anything negative about the dollar, one of his main rivals for the leadership, the Deputy Prime Minister, seems to prefer a more negative approach.

In fact, he has succeeded in bringing the loonie down half a cent in a single afternoon. Good work.

Can the Minister of Finance tell us whether he agrees with the financial community, which accuses his rival of irresponsibility in this affair?

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Infrastructure and Crown Corporations

Mr. Speaker, it is rather silly to say that the value of the dollar went down merely because of a comment, when it has already gone up today.

It must be clearly understood that we have a highly competitive economy, because we have reduced our debt, eliminated the deficit, and reduced taxes, particularly for corporations, compared to the U.S. These are factors that will create a competitive economy here in Canada.

The EconomyOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Canadian Alliance Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, this is the same minister who two years ago said that high taxes help make Canadian companies more competitive. Now he is blaming those companies, saying “it's not up to us...the private sector has got to make the investments”.

How does the minister expect Canadian companies to cure the falling loonie when they are having to deal with the pressure of the highest income tax burden in the G-7, the second highest debt burden, a debt that is $35 billion higher than when the government took power, and labour markets that do not work? How does he expect the private sector to solve the problems that the government has created?