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House of Commons Hansard #180 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was students.

Topics

2 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 St. John's West.

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

ImmigrationStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian Alliance Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Foreign Affairs appropriately acknowledges the role of our embassies in foreign lands in doing all they can to limit the possibilities of terrorists getting into Canada. It is therefore completely unacceptable that the Canadian government is giving ultimate decision making authority to local employees of our immigration offices overseas to select who gets into the country and who gets visas.

Canadians should be concerned when we hear reports of alarming rates of bribery and smuggling involving some of our embassy employees overseas. It damages our reputation as a country and the reputation of the many excellent embassy employees at home and abroad. Four out of every five employees at our embassy immigration offices overseas are local hires. While hiring locally is appropriate, the ultimate decision as to who is eligible to enter Canada must be left in the hands of Canadians citizens.

Sutherland CupStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Roger Gallaway Liberal Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Mr. Speaker, hockey is everywhere these days. As we slowly slide toward the end of spring it is a great national preoccupation. No matter what one does or where one goes the game cannot be avoided.

With that fact in mind I am pleased to inform the House that the Sutherland Cup, representative of Ontario Junior B supremacy, was decided and ended last night in the old Sarnia arena in my riding. For the players and coaches of the Sarnia Blast, game seven of the final series against Elmira allowed them to truly be number one in the province.

First presented in 1919, the Sutherland Cup, named after pioneer hockey coach Tom Sutherland, is dedicated as a memorial to our young men who died in the first great war. On this the 83rd year of the Sutherland Cup presentation I congratulate players, coaches and fans of this Sarnia team for a championship year. They have achieved a win and become part of Sutherland Cup history and the heritage of our national preoccupation: hockey.

Albert BéchardStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Georges Farrah Liberal Bonaventure—Gaspé—Îles-De-La-Madeleine—Pabok, QC

Mr. Speaker, we were saddened to hear of the death of Albert Béchard, notary, which occurred on Sunday, April 28.

Albert Béchard sat in this House from 1962 to 1972 as the member for Bonaventure, and from 1972 to 1979 as the member for Bonaventure and Îles-de-la-Madeleine.

He chaired several of the House standing committees and was as well chairman of the committees of the whole.

From July 1966 to April 1968, he was Parliamentary Secretary to the Secretary of State of Canada, and from 1970 to 1972 Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada.

This was a great Canadian who defended the interests of his province in the Parliament of Canada. Albert loved his native Gaspé, and after his retirement spent five months of the year there at Carleton.

To his wife Lucette and his children, Carl and Pierre, I extend my most sincere personal condolences as well as those of the people of the Îles de la Madeleine and the Gaspé.

Centre d'action bénévole de Saint-HubertStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Yolande Thibeault Liberal Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the Centre d'action bénévole de Saint Hubert, in the riding of Saint-Bruno--Saint-Hubert, which encourages exchanges between organizations and business people.

Last Tuesday evening, a meeting was held in order to encourage exchanges and co-operation between the various organizations and th business community in Saint-Hubert. They took advantage of this opportunity to issue an official invitation to take part in Volunteer Week from May 1 to 5.

Rollande DiLalla, honourary Volunteer Week chairperson, and Henriette Lemire, director of the centre, are already delighted with the prospects for exchanges and partnerships.

My congratulations to these people of Saint-Hubert. I encourage everyone to take part in Volunteer Week.

Sylvain LelièvreStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Carole-Marie Allard Liberal Laval East, QC

Mr. Speaker, we were shocked to learn of the death of Sylvain Lelièvre.

An accomplished artist, he had won the hearts of Quebecers. A creator, writer, lyricist, pianist and educator, he told Quebec's story as few have.

I still recall the lyrics of a song of his, Petit matin , that I used to hum:

Petit matin sans horizon Petit café, fumée d'usines Je r'garde le derrière des maisons Les femmes sont à leur cuisine

Thank you, Sylvain Lelièvre. In your own quiet but distinctive way, you have left your mark on our culture. What you have created has become a part of our history.

Mr. Speaker, my colleagues join with me in offering our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Sylvain Lelièvre. Together, we mourn his passing.

AgricultureStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Carol Skelton Canadian Alliance Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government and the agriculture minister do not understand what is happening outside their comfortable offices, limos and jets. Last week's announcement by the agriculture minister that $21 million will be spent for a soil conservation advertising campaign is insulting.

Advertising the benefits of soil conservation to people who already know about it is a waste. Farmers and ranchers are among the finest conservationists in the country and do not need the government wasting millions of dollars to tell them something they already know. While farmers and ranchers face unbelievable hardship due to weather conditions, foreign subsidies and low return on their products the government is funding awareness programs.

The minister needs some awareness. Agriculturalists need reliable safety net programs, open access to marketing, drought relief programs and help in fighting foreign subsidies. The government's lack of priorities and vision for agriculture is incomprehensible.

Technological InnovationStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Nick Discepola Liberal Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, today I wish to tell the House about the incredible support provided by the Canadian Foundation for Innovation toward the creation of a unique Canadian research and development laboratory in Varennes, Quebec.

Thanks to this funding of over $5.8 million, Canada now has a state-of-the-art nanotechnology research infrastructure. The scientific and technological spinoffs from this initiative will have a significant impact in the telecommunications, biomedical, aerospace and intelligent transport sectors.

This is something tangible that the Government of Canada has done to develop a unique Canadian network of excellence with a number of universities and research centres. For the people of the riding of Verchères--Les-Patriotes, it is one more example of the contribution the federal government is making to the development of excellence in the regions and of our commitment to put Canada right up there with world leaders in technological innovation.

Sylvain LelièvreStatements by Members

May 1st, 2002 / 2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am grief stricken today because one of my classmates from the Collège Maisonneuve died prematurely yesterday. Sylvain Lelièvre was a singer, songwriter, composer, and poet who started his career at the age of 15 by writing his first poems and composing his first songs, which led to him winning the grand prize of the 1963 “Chansons sur mesure” international competition.

A poet who chronicled everyday life, over the years, Sylvain Lelièvre gave us masterpieces such as Marie-Hélène , Petit Matin and Lettre de Toronto . He was awarded a Félix for best songwriter in 1994 for his album entitled Qu'est-ce qu'on a fait de nos rêves? , and the 2001 Félix for anthology/re-release/compilation of the year.

In addition to his work as an artist and teacher, Sylvain Lelièvre was a staunch advocate for songwriters' royalties. He believed strongly in developing and encouraging new talent. I remember him saying, in jest, “I have been considered new talent for 30 years now”.

His voice, his lyrics and his piano playing will remain etched in our memories forever. Hats off to a virtuoso who never had the pretensions to be one.

Look Good Feel BetterStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Beth Phinney Liberal Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week was National Volunteer Week in Canada, a chance to recognize and honour those individuals whose contributions make our communities better places to live. Many volunteer organizations took this opportunity to honour their volunteers and highlight the good work they are doing.

Look Good Feel Better was one group in Hamilton which did exactly that. Celebrating its 10th anniversary nationally and 7 years of service locally, Look Good Feel Better provides a unique service to women in the acute stages of cancer therapy. Volunteer hair and wig specialists and cosmeticians give women practical advice and demonstrations on how to manage the appearance effects of radiation and chemotherapy treatments. Since 1992 Look Good Feel Better has assisted over 350,000 women suffering from cancer. The program operates on the philosophy that looking good on the outside can help cancer sufferers feel better on the inside.

On behalf of all the women they have helped and the residents of Hamilton Mountain, I thank the group and its volunteers for their time and service.

National DefenceStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Canadian Alliance Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, plans for a review of Canada's defence policy are long overdue. It has been nearly a decade since the last white paper and our Canadian forces are in crisis. It is alarming that whatever is being done is occurring in secret despite the defence minister's promise that MPs, senators and ordinary Canadians would be involved. Even the House of Commons defence committee has no indication of what its involvement will be. This is completely unacceptable.

We do not need another unaccountable review process run by the Prime Minister's Office which reaches conclusions that are predetermined. That is not what we need. I call on the government to fully engage parliament and produce a full white paper by the spring of 2003. This white paper must include a specific commitment of money to carry out the plan, starting with an immediate $2 billion added to the defence budget.

The defence minister promised a new defence review. Canadians expect a new defence policy and they expect to be involved in the process.

Responsible Fishing AwardsStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to acknowledge and congratulate the winners of the Roméo-LeBlanc National Awards for Responsible Fishing.

This award recognizes four Canadian fishermen who have contributed to the development and promotion of responsible fishing practices from coast to coast to coast. It is individual fishermen who are most aware of the need to manage fisheries in a responsible manner. This award gives them the recognition they deserve.

The 2002 recipients are: Allen Gordon, Arctic laureate; Gary McLeod, Atlantic laureate; Milford Purdy, freshwater laureate; and Jake Fraser, Pacific laureate and recipient of the Roméo-LeBlanc Medal. These fishermen, finding better innovative methods of fishing, are role models for a younger generation who will be looking to Canada's great ocean resources for their future.

RefugeesStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, the true Liberal position on refugees has now been exposed. It is not pretty and it has inflicted untold damage on Canada's international humanitarian reputation.

On Monday, the government unilaterally dropped the vital refugee appeal provisions in the new Immigration Act, leaving refugee claimants worse off and at greater risk than under the old act. Next, it was totally ineffective in defending refugees from being equated with terrorism, allowing them to be scapegoated for its own incompetence in running our immigration program.

Government cuts and understaffing, not refugees, are responsible for backlogs and enforcement problems, but the scapegoating did not end there. Instead of showing that a hearing is the only fair way to determine if a refugee claim is valid, the Liberals joined the Alliance chorus to turn refugees away point blank as queue jumping opportunists, an unpardonable smear against all those refugees who have fled here and need our protection.

The Liberal government apparently prefers to join with the Alliance in a frenzy of refugee bashing instead of owning up to its own incompetence. Liberals like to talk the talk. It is time for them to walk the walk.

International Workers DayStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, it being May Day, a day dedicated to workers, the Bloc Quebecois is asking the federal government to grant pregnant or nursing women under federal jurisdiction the same rights granted to women in Quebec. We have been talking about this for ten years now. The time has come to take action.

The government should also take advantage of today to announce that it will stop treating a woman who has a child as a woman who has lost her job, and to finally contribute to Quebec's parental leave program.

I also urge the government to admit that it is mistaken in refusing to eliminate the provisions of a collective agreement that discriminates against new members of the workforce and by continuing to tolerate scabs.

I remind the government that employment equity must be seen as something from which everyone benefits, and that we cannot afford to avoid it.

I salute the workers who are shaping our society. Our thoughts are also with those who have been deprived of this basic right. They deserve better than this federal government's inaction.

Research and DevelopmentStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Liberal Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate NSERC and SSHRC on following through on their commitments to strengthen northern research. The announcement of six university chairs for northern research, representing a $6 million investment, is a major step in the right direction.

I also congratulate the universities receiving the chairs, McGill, Carleton, Wilfrid Laurier, Laval, Manitoba and Alberta, along with the recipients themselves. I am pleased that the research spans the physical, life and social sciences.

The NSERC-SSHRC task force on the state of northern research also proposed scholarships, strategic research projects, partnerships between universities and northern communities, and new equipment and infrastructure to reinvigorate northern research in Canada.

I hope this first step means that we are well on the way to systematically strengthening northern research. This is a polar country. We need strong northern science and it should be one of our special contributions to global research.

TransportationStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Loyola Hearn Progressive Conservative St. John's West, NL

Mr. Speaker, the present government has completely ignored the transportation needs of many rural parts of the country.

The costs of travel to Newfoundland and Labrador are prohibitive to most. This has a major effect on the central Newfoundland area and on Gander in particular, where there is now only one Air Canada flight in and out each day.

This makes it almost impossible for businesses who depend on the movement of goods and services to compete on a level playing field. Tourists and the travelling public are being hit. The net result is having a negative effect on the economy. This area and other areas of rural Canada deserve better.

The government says these problems are at arm's length, out of its reach, and so will the Gander--Grand Falls seat be on election day.

Ethics CounsellorOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast B.C.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, a cloud of corruption hangs over the government. We have been trying to get at the truth but no one over there seems willing to tell it.

We asked for information about the ethics counsellor's handling of the arrangement between the finance minister and Jim Palmer. The issue is Palmer's position as a departmental consultant who also raises money for the minister's under the table leadership bid. A request for details of records of this discussion was answered this way: There is no record.

Could the Prime Minister tell Canadians, what is this government covering up?

Ethics CounsellorOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, when ministers or members of parliament talk to the ethics counsellor, they call, they talk, they discuss the problem. That is exactly what the Minister of Finance did, twice.

There is no need to have a record of a private discussion. Members go there and discuss their private affairs with him. They receive advice.

He gives them the advice to follow all the guidelines and that is exactly what the Minister of Finance did.

Ethics CounsellorOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast B.C.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, we asked the right person and the right department the right questions, but there was no answer, no record, not even a single piece of paper.

Still, we know that something was done because a $25,000 donation to the stealth leadership was returned. How do we know that is where the conflicts of interest ended?

Surely the Prime Minister must be concerned. Will the government table Mr. Palmer's contract and a list of all those he was paid to consult with?

Ethics CounsellorOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the counsellor, Mr. Wilson, discussed that with the Minister of Finance. He looked at all the facts and he concluded that there was no conflict of interest. That is the end of the matter for me.

If the hon. member wants to have information about the contract, he has access to information. He can file the application with the Department of Finance and of course according to the law it will have to table the document eventually. It is the process that has to be followed and I know that in this case the Minister of Finance has followed the regulations properly.

Ethics CounsellorOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast B.C.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister just says there is nothing wrong, but it is obvious that somebody thought something was wrong: The minister's off the books leadership organization sent back the offending cheque.

We wonder if there are other ghost campaigns that had undocumented ethics meetings resulting in other returned cheques from his ministers who are seeking the leadership of his party. How can the Prime Minister assure us that this $25,000 cheque that was sent back is the only one sent back and how can he assure Canadians? There has to be something in writing or the ethics counsellor should be reporting to parliament, not to him.

Ethics CounsellorOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the ethics counsellor appears regularly in front of committees where they can ask questions.

He is there to advise members of parliament. Some from both sides have consulted him, ministers and the Prime Minister, and his role is to give advice. There was no such job before we formed the government. He is there. He is knowledgeable about that. He is involved in the registry of the lobbyists too. He gives very good advice. He has been very useful to the government. He has been a very good witness very often in front of committees, replying to all the questions from members from all sides.

Ethics CounsellorOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Canadian Alliance Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, as the Prime Minister said, he has been really useful to the Liberals. Indeed.

In fact, there is a little stench of sleaze and corruption hanging over the government like a cloud. The Prime Minister interestingly enough claims that there is no corruption because no ministers have resigned. Might I remind the Prime Minister that our ambassador to Denmark did not get there as a promotion?

The Prime Minister also says that everything is fine because no authorities have been called in. Might I remind him that on the Shawinigan affair, two of those individuals have been convicted by the courts?

My question is, do those things not count?

Ethics CounsellorOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I can measure the dishonesty of the member across. Yes, two persons were found guilty in my riding, and it is my office that called the police. He should get up and say so to the House of Commons.

Ethics CounsellorOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Canadian Alliance Macleod, AB

There is more, Mr. Speaker.

Here is another example of what I call sleaze. The opposition brings forward an issue on Groupaction and how the government paid twice for it. The auditor general is now called in on that issue. When the auditor general says that should go to the police, what is the Prime Minister going to say then?