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House of Commons Hansard #175 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was wto.

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 Winnipeg North Centre.

Parkinson's Awareness MonthStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Yolande Thibeault Liberal Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to inform hon. members and the Canadian public that the month of April has been designated Parkinson's Awareness Month by the Parkinson's Society of Canada.

Parkinson's disease is a slowly progressive neurodegenerative illness characterized by tremor, trouble speaking and difficulty with walking and balance.

Today in Canada, there are approximately 100,000 people suffering with Parkinson's, mainly older adults. Although there is no cure at present, researchers are working to develop treatments that will slow down the disease's progression, and one day they will be successful.

The Parkinson's Society of Canada and its regional partners have been involved for the past 37 years in lessening the burden of people with Parkinson's and working toward a cure, through research, education, advocacy and support services.

I invite hon. members to join with me in supporting the Parkinson's Society of Canada and the thousands of Canadians with this disease.

CubaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian Alliance Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Mr. Speaker, in a quiet move late in March Fidel Castro banned to his own citizens the sale of personal computers, printers, photocopiers and the necessary supplies. Cuban retailers are now only allowed to sell these goods to Castro's government. Cubans could have computers and Internet access if their government allows them.

Free speech and communication with the broader world are not something that the repressive Castro regime wants its citizens to have. Castro knows that the more people hear about freedom the more they will want it. Thousands of Canadian tourists flock to Cuba annually and our businesses seek out opportunities inside that dictatorship.

Canada led the way in the fight against apartheid in a nation thousands of miles away on a distant continent, but for too long we have led in the wrong direction when it comes to Cuba.

Why does our government hypocritically pick and choose which oppressed peoples we will stick up for and which we will not? Canada needs to do more to speak out against the violations of the freedoms of the people of Cuba.

Multiple SclerosisStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Beth Phinney Liberal Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the citizens of Hamilton for raising $220,000 for the Multiple Sclerosis Society last weekend.

Last Saturday morning more than 1,300 people gathered at St. Thomas More High School in Hamilton and Salt Fleet High School in Stoney Creek for the 11th annual Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada super cities walk.

Multiple sclerosis is a disease which attacks the central nervous system, causing inflammation and destruction of the protective covering around the spinal cord and brain. Canada has one of the highest rates of MS in the world with one out of every 500 Canadians suffering from the disease. Every day three more people in Canada are diagnosed with MS.

We do not yet know what causes this unpredictable disease. The money raised this weekend by Hamiltonians as well as other Canadians in 140 communities across the country taking part in the super cities walk will go to research and support services for MS sufferers and their families.

I wish to thank all the participants of the walk for their contributions and help.

CitizenshipStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Stan Keyes Liberal Hamilton West, ON

Mr. Speaker, 127 individuals from 38 countries recently attended a citizenship ceremony in my home town of Hamilton. Each of these individuals, representing all points of the globe, swore an oath committing themselves to Canada and sang the national anthem for the first time as Canadian citizens.

This ceremony is one of thousands that takes place each year across our great country. Indeed, last year more than 2,000 ceremonies were held, which welcomed 167,000 newcomers to our shores. The importance of these events must never be taken for granted. For new Canadians the citizenship ceremony marks the fulfillment of dreams that are often many years in the making.

Anyone who has ever attended a citizenship ceremony will tell us what a moving experience it is. It moves us because it reminds us of how very lucky we are as Canadians to live in a country whose values, ethics and principles of multicultural co-operation are admired the world over.

By warmly welcoming new citizens into our Canadian family, we further assist them with their integration into our society so that they can have the earliest opportunity to contribute fully to our collective life.

VaisakhiStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Sarkis Assadourian Liberal Brampton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to join with Sikhs in Canada and throughout the world in marking the 303rd anniversary of Khalsa.

This past weekend I joined with over 25,000 Canadian Sikhs in a wonderful celebration of faith and pride in their culture. From its origins in the Indus Valley the Sikh faith has spread throughout the world, including Canada, where the first pioneers settled over 100 years ago.

Today Sikhs are represented in every occupation and facet of Canadian life, including being elected as members of the House of Commons, provincial parliaments and municipal governments.

I wish to congratulate the Canadian Sikh community on the 303rd anniversary of Khalsa and those in my own riding of Brampton Centre.

Government ExpendituresStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Rajotte Canadian Alliance Edmonton Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Alliance believes in encouraging business to business competition, rather than government interference in the marketplace. We also believe in disclosing how taxpayers' dollars are being spent.

Two disturbing stories have appeared recently regarding Industry Canada and subsidies to business. Industry Canada approved $99.6 million in spending on March 12, 2001, for Pratt & Whitney. However, Industry Canada blocked the disclosure of further information about the investment that was sought through a follow up access request. I would remind the House that Pratt & Whitney is a company whose sales increased in 2001 to $2.6 billion.

General Motors of Canada has suggested it receive more government money for R and D. Yet GM Canada is the second largest corporation in Canada and recently revved up production at 12 plants to meet increasing demand. Clearly, the new Minister of Industry has some work to do to ensure he is not squandering hard earned tax dollars.

It is about time the government reversed its industrial policy of giving handouts to multi-million dollar corporations and embraced the Canadian Alliance vision of decreasing the tax burden on all Canadians.

HealthStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Andy Scott Liberal Fredericton, NB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to acknowledge the Romanow commission's hearings in Fredericton last Friday. Mr. Romanow's visit followed a people's forum, which I held in Fredericton on March 24, the findings of which were submitted to the commission.

I am extremely proud of the quality of the debate around health care that took place in Fredericton. Nearly 100 people gave up a Sunday afternoon because they care about the future of health in Canada. They emphasized wellness; primary health care; more federal funding, but with strings attached; and an end to federal-provincial finger pointing.

They advanced the need for a third party arbitrator of federal-provincial agreements, and a greater federal role in human resource issues. They clearly distanced themselves from a privatized American system as being inconsistent with the values underlying medicare.

I wish to thank co-chairs Russ King, Linda Silas and to all the participants for sharing their time and talent in this important debate.

Organ Donor Awareness WeekStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

Mr. Speaker, April 21 to 27 is National Organ Donor Awareness Week. We all know that we can save a life by being a donor. The majority of Quebecers are very much aware of this. According to the results of a survey carried out last week, 75% of them totally supported organ and tissue donation, and felt it was important for health professionals to provide them with information on this.

Only 53% of them, however, reported that they had taken the necessary steps to donate their organs and had notified their next of kin. As a result, we can see that more public awareness of this act of incomparable altruism is necessary.

Anyone, regardless of age, is a potential donor. If you have not done so, sign a donor card and tell your family and friends that you have done so.

Organ donation is a simple gesture but one that can save lives. Let us give some thought to it.

Residents of the riding of Rosemont--Petite-PatrieStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Diane St-Jacques Liberal Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to inform the House of the generous contributions made by the residents of Rosemont--Petite-Patrie to the fundraising campaign organized by the parish of Saint-Ambroise to renovate the interior of their church.

This church is used as a gathering place for a great many residents, for both religious and social purposes. The church has been able to preserve a part of its history and charm thanks to the donations that were collected.

Renovations, which were begun in January, have restored the floor and the choir of the church which dates back to 1925 and is the work of the famous architect Ernest Cormier.

Once again, I congratulate the residents of Rosemont--Petite-Patrie for their generosity and their involvement in the community.

Government ExpendituresStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Ted White Canadian Alliance North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, over the past seven years the Liberal government's technology partnerships program has doled out $947 million to the who's who of corporate welfare bums across Canada.

That is almost a billion dollars of hard earned taxpayers' money. Despite the assurances of successive ministers of industry less than $25 million, that is less than 3%, of those so-called loans have ever been paid back.

Why has Bombardier, an enormous multi-billion dollar company, not repaid the $87 million it received? Why has Ballard Power Systems not repaid the $30 million it received? Why has CAE Electronics not repaid the $32 million it received? And why were so many of these handouts given just before the 1997 election? Too many unanswered questions and not enough answers from dozens of corporate welfare bums for the handouts of public money.

It is time to stop these handouts and return the money to taxpayers in the form of tax reductions and smaller government.

International Noise Awareness DayStatements By Members

April 24th, 2002 / 2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Clifford Lincoln Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, today is International Noise Awareness Day. The World Health Organization calls noise induced hearing loss the number one hidden disability in North America.

According to the Canadian Hearing Society more than seven million Canadians suffer from hearing loss, approximately a third of whom are affected by noise induced hearing loss. It is not just in the workplace. Hearing loss today targets an ever younger population from children to young adults whether it be through toys, movies, electronic equipment or others.

The real tragedy is that noise induced hearing loss is 100% preventable. Prevention of hearing loss is considerably cheaper than the economic and social toll of suffering hearing loss. Hearing loss takes a huge toll, not only on lives and families but on productivity in the workplace.

Next month is hearing awareness month. Let us create awareness of this terrible but preventable disability because silence on this issue is not acceptable.

ArmeniaStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, today marks the 87th anniversary of the genocide of 1.5 million Armenians. The tragedy does not end there.

To this day Turkey persists in its refusal to acknowledge this grotesque inhumanity. To our collective shame our own Liberal government still refuses to officially acknowledge that the Armenian genocide ever took place.

When the Deputy Prime Minister was pressed yesterday for an official acknowledgment in the House he stated the Minister of Foreign Affairs made a full and complete statement in the House of Commons regarding the issue. However, the Minister of Foreign Affairs actually said:

We still urge that we should consider these tragic events in their historical context and remember that we must move forward and try to ensure peace and harmony among all people.

That is the government's idea of a full and complete statement on the genocide that remains a raw wound for Canadian Armenians. It is an insult to the Armenian people, here at home and around the world. They deserve better from their government. Genocide is genocide in any context.

ArmeniaStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Antoine Dubé Bloc Lévis-Et-Chutes-De-La-Chaudière, QC

Mr. Speaker, today, April 24, the international community is commemorating the Armenian genocide of 1915, which resulted in the death of one and a half million people.

In France, the National Assembly, the Senate and President Chirac recognized the genocide of 1915. France even passed legislation stating that just as we cannot deny the Holocaust, nor can we deny the Armenian genocide. Any person who denies it may be accused of distorting history.

In North America, Quebec's National Assembly, the Ontario legislature, and the states of California, Delaware, Massachusetts and New York have all recognized the Armenian genocide.

The Government of Canada has had numerous opportunities to do so in the past, but has never officially recognized the Armenian genocide. It is the hope of the Bloc Quebecois that the House of Commons and the government will finally have the courage to recognize the Armenian genocide of 1915.

Let us stand in solidarity—

ArmeniaStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Vancouver Kingsway.

Taiwan Chamber of CommerceStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Sophia Leung Liberal Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, recently I had the pleasure to attend the 10th anniversary gala of the Taiwan Chamber of Commerce of British Columbia, TCCBC. This organization was established in 1992 to promote business opportunities in Canada for Taiwanese and Canadian investors.

The Taiwan Chamber of Commerce has promoted many business and investment programs and activities for British Columbia and it continues to strengthen Canadian-Taiwanese business relations.

I wish to congratulate Mr. Jacob Lai and his members of the TCCBC for their contribution to B.C. I ask all members to join me in congratulating the hard work of the TCCBC for furthering Canada-Taiwan business relations.

FirefightersStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, the government is redrafting public security legislation. I urge it to take a closer look at the initiatives brought forth by the International Association of Fire Fighters.

A $500,000 annual investment, a fraction of the cost of the Prime Minister's luxury jets, gives firefighters access to hazardous material training. While military reaction to disaster is often hours or days away, firefighters are on the scene within minutes. Training is necessary for their protection and ours.

Liberal cuts to ports policing, the coast guard and the military put safety and security of Canadians at risk. The events of September 11 and the ill-advised changes to airport policy have created new dangers. The real threat of bioterrorism, delays in response time and inability to board planes could cost lives. Firefighters, professionals and volunteers need the support of the federal government in the area of pensions and compensation for spouses and children.

On these and other important issues the Liberals pay lip service. What firefighters need to do their job is action and resources. The lives of our firefighters and those who they selflessly serve and protect deserve no less.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast B.C.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the government took less care spending $750 million on four subs than people do when they buy used cars. When people buy houses, they hire a house inspector. When people buy boats or submarines, they hire marine surveyors.

Could the minister explain to Canadians if he hired a professional, independent marine surveyor to ensure that taxpayers were getting subs that worked?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, there were numerous inspections, tests and test trials before the subs were handed over. The matter of this minor dent is being fully examined at the moment and all precautions are being taken.

I must say though, for the price the hon. member noted, we got a great bargain. It was 25% of the cost of what it would have been to build new submarines. It takes a while getting them into service and ensuring all these matters are resolved. That is being done.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast B.C.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, that is all good and nice but it does not answer the question. Even the Minister of Finance knows that when someone buys a boat, the person gets someone else to check it out. Canadians are always wondering if the minister is minding the store.

I ask him this again. Could the minister tell taxpayers what due diligence was applied to this deal and was an independent marine surveyor hired by the Canadian government to ensure that these subs were seaworthy and safe for our services?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I have already said an all due inspection was made and due diligence was carried out to ensure that these were ready. The submarines were brought over to Canada. Further work was being done on them and in the course of the work this dent was discovered.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast B.C.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, we still do not have an answer whether there was an independent surveyor, which should have been done.

The minister has failed to replace the Sea Kings. A billion dollars wasted and not a helicopter has been ordered yet. The clothe the soldier program is far over budget and delayed by three years. A $174 million went into a satellite system that is still in storage. We have a destroyer sitting in mothballs in British Columbia only a few years after it received a multimillion dollar refit. The list goes on and on.

Now we have submarines that have a problem and he cannot tell us whether there was an independent survey. When will the minister admit that he does not have control of his department?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

That is absolute nonsense, Mr. Speaker. What the hon. member and his party do not point out is the fact that the government has invested some 20% increase in the budget of the defence department. It has bought new armoured personnel carriers and new Coyotes. We have in fact invested a great deal to support the Canadian forces over these years, and that is what we are doing.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Canadian Alliance Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, that is nonsense. The facts are that the government spends less on the military than it did when it took over government nine years ago.

The whole submarine fiasco points to a larger flaw in Canada's approach to replacing military ships. We know that if the government had not purchased these used submarines we would not have had any subs. That is because it has done nothing to plan for an ongoing shipbuilding industry.

When will the government finally draft a policy to replace our naval ships which will certainly lead to a Canadian shipbuilding industry?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, we have an excellent group of ships. We have the frigates and the coastal defence vessels. These submarines had seen only one or two years' service and were really quite new when they were mothballed by the U.K. We purchased them for a quarter of the price it would have cost to buy new submarines. When all of the work is done to get them ready, they will serve this country well.