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House of Commons Hansard #181 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-55.

Topics

Public Safety Act, 2002Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Madam Speaker, as I said, the privacy commissioner has raised a lot of concerns about this. I am sure he will be before the committee whenever the bill gets to committee.

This is a new Achilles heel of the government's legislation. It is something that is new. It was not in Bill C-42. It is a new thing and it cannot be passed off as just modified Bill C-42 legislation. It is a brand new requirement and is a brand new power given to the RCMP, CSIS and the government. It is something that the government has yet to convince me or other Canadians is necessary to fight terrorism.

It might be a convenient tool for a whole variety of purposes, but there are all kinds of convenient tools that we do not provide to government because we value other things. I again refer to what the hon. Liberal MP and chair of the Ontario caucus said about this new police power. He said that it was wide open to what he referred to as function creep. It goes from terrorism to organized crime to ordinary criminality to invasion of privacy of Canadians who are otherwise law abiding. This has a lot of potential for abuse.

Canadians should be concerned. That is the reason why we need a rather lengthy legislative process on this. Part of the purpose of delay, just to speak to parliamentary dynamics for a minute, is not delay for its own sake. It is not delay to be inefficient or obstructionist. Delay is what gives the public time to find out what is going on.

If everything was done in a hurry and done “efficiently”, everything would be over before the public figured out what was going on. As far as I am concerned, here is a classic example of the function of parliamentary delay. This needs to be delayed until the Canadian people can be made more fully aware of this new dimension of the legislation that the government has before it. Then, as political parties, we can all make our respective judgments to whether or not the Canadian people are willing to accept that. We cannot make that judgment if it is all over and done with before they realize what has happened.

Public Safety Act, 2002Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to ask a question to the learned hon. member on the statements made by the Minister of National Defence. I personally have lost faith in the minister since his terrible blunder regarding the issue of prisoners in Afghanistan. I find it unacceptable that he should get so much power under this legislation.

This morning again, he told us that the public would not lose its recourses and that it could still launch court challenges. I wonder if the hon. member could comment on this, because section 260.1(14) reads as follows:

No action for loss, damage or injury lies by reason only of the designation of a controlled access military zone or the implementation of measures to enforce the designation.

The minister is obviously misleading the House and I wonder if the hon. member could comment on this.

Public Safety Act, 2002Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Madam Speaker, the member raises a good point about the extent to which any claims can be made as a result of damage or loss of economic opportunity or whatever the case may be with respect to the effect of these controlled zones.

He also made the other point about the minister of defence. It would be very shaky ground indeed for us to try and define what should or should not be the role of the minister of defence based on the performance of this Minister of National Defence because it might be a very circumscribed role indeed.

Public Safety Act, 2002Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Gerald Keddy Progressive Conservative South Shore, NS

Madam Speaker, I only heard the last bit of what the member just said. Certainly I am sure everyone has discussed the effect of the interim orders and the fact that they are only good for 45 days if they have not been approved by governor in council, and they can last for a maximum of one year.

Of all the departments affected here, one part that is not affected by the same time is the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. It certainly has different time lines.

Could the member engage on why there are different time lines for the Canadian Environmental Protection Act?

Public Safety Act, 2002Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Frankly, Madam Speaker, I am not sure why there are different timelines for the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. That is one of the things which we would want to pay attention to in committee.

SoccerStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Madam Speaker, I rise today to report on a tremendous victory for members of parliament. I speak of course of the tremendous thrashing the MPs gave the pages during last night's annual soccer game.

The score was an astounding 4 to 1. It was an all party event. The members for Yukon, Edmonton--Strathcona, Fundy--Royal and the Secretary of State for Science, Research and Development all contributed markers to this great victory.

I suppose I should mention page Tristan Dumbarton who scored the one lonely goal for the other side. Special mention, however, must made of my friend from Yukon as the best dressed player on either side, and also of my learned friend from Fundy--Royal for breaking Tory tradition and truly using his head.

We should all thank the member for Sackville--Musquodoboit Valley--Eastern Shore and his staff for organizing the event. I would ask all members to join with me in celebrating this clear vindication of members' privileges.

Press Freedom DayStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jay Hill Canadian Alliance Prince George—Peace River, BC

Madam Speaker, tomorrow is World Press Freedom Day. The freedom of the press is something we at times take for granted in Canada. Fortunately, with rare exceptions, the media in this country do not have to worry about being bombed or shot on their way to work.

However, in dozens of other countries members of the media are assaulted, kidnapped and murdered simply for telling the truth. In the last two years more than 100 journalists have been killed while covering violent conflicts. This year World Press Freedom Day is devoted to the question of terrorism and media freedom.

May 3 is a day for the media around the world to remind governments and the public about the necessity for freedom of the press, which is essential to democracy. One of the most cherished and fundamental rights is freedom of speech.

I use this day to thank and honour those journalists who are putting themselves in danger while reporting on international conflicts and to the media in this country for continuously searching for the truth and assisting in upholding democracy.

AgricultureStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

David Anderson Canadian Alliance Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Madam Speaker, yesterday the legislative assembly of Saskatchewan held an emergency debate to discuss potential U.S. increases in agricultural subsidies. Saskatchewan's minister of agriculture said, “We've played by the rules fully and in Western Canada we've been beat up by playing by the rules.”

The premier said, “This is the time for the national government to come to the aid of Canadian farm families. We have implored the government to help farm families combat foreign agriculture subsidies but to no avail.”

Even the European agriculture commissioner called the bill “a retrograde step that will bring further market distortions” and “create serious difficulties for developing countries.” The farm bill will seriously damage agriculture in Canada.

When will the government start working for Canadian producers? When will the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food along with his colleague in international trade take some action against these unfair subsidies? When will the government finally take action to keep our farmers competitive?

Economic DevelopmentStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Madam Speaker, I am delighted three northern municipal associations are in Ottawa today: the Association of Yukon Communities, the Northwest Territories Association of Municipalities and the Nunavut Association of Municipalities. They have a majority of the population of half of Canada in their memberships.

These northern associations made a passionate plea before the Standing Committee on Finance this morning for economic development funding and infrastructure for the north.

They offered several solutions on how to do it: development of a northern regional development agency, economic development agreements for the north, and recalculation of the way northern infrastructure programs are delivered in the north. All Canadians would benefit by having a productive, self-sustaining and dynamic northern economy that could be created by federal investment.

I encourage all members of parliament, and indeed all Canadians, to travel to this beautiful part of our nation during all seasons of the year.

Polish Constitution DayStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Sarmite Bulte Liberal Parkdale—High Park, ON

Madam Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to Poles worldwide, Polish Canadians and, in particular, to the Polish community in my riding of Parkdale--High Park. Tomorrow, May 3, will be the 211th anniversary of the Polish constitution. This day is not only celebrated in Poland but also throughout Canada.

May 3 is a day to reflect upon and celebrate the heritage and ideals of humanitarianism, tolerance and democracy. The constitution of May 3, 1791, was the instrument that gave rise to parliamentary supremacy and it also gave Polish citizens new found access to parliament. Constitution Day is a proud heritage for Canadians of Polish decent and a confirmation of the basic values and freedoms of our own society.

I am proud to offer my best wishes on this very memorable anniversary.

South Asian Heritage MonthStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Canadian Alliance Lakeland, AB

Madam Speaker, South Asian immigrants started arriving in Canada at the end of the 19th century and have made a marvellous contribution to this country over the past century. To recognize this, the government of Ontario recently proclaimed May of each year as South Asian Heritage Month and May 5 as South Asian Heritage Day.

The first South Asian immigrants arrived in my constituency in Lac La Biche more than a century ago. In fact, they celebrated their 100th anniversary two years ago.

I would like to recognize today Sam Chopra, president of the South Asians of Ontario, and all members of this association for the great work they have done in building stronger communities and for the wonderful hospitality and friendship which they have shared with me for the past three years.

I wish to thank all Canadians of South Asian descent for the important part they have played in making Canada the best country in the world in which to live.

Bill C-286Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, last February 28 the member for Saskatoon--Humboldt presented a private member's bill that caused a bit of a ruckus in this House. As I stated back then, his bill, now referred to as Bill C-286, would essentially gut the Official Languages Act and eliminate the rights of most linguistic minorities in the country, be they francophone or anglophone.

At the time I challenged the member for Saskatoon--Humboldt to select the bill should his name be drawn during the private members' business lottery. He accepted this challenge not only in the House but also in a press release dated April 3, 2001. I would be happy to table a copy. Despite all of this the member for Saskatoon--Humboldt did not select Bill C-286 when his name was drawn on April 11.

I can only conclude that the member for Saskatoon--Humboldt has finally realized the folly of Bill C-286 and I now invite him to do the honourable thing and withdraw the bill entirely.

Press Freedom DayStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, today is World Press Freedom Day, reminding us of the profound importance of freedom of expression, itself consecrated in the fundamental freedoms section of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the lifeblood of a democracy.

Indeed, as the Supreme Court of Canada has put it, “liberty in freedom of expression is little less vital to man than breathing is to his physical existence”, and “it is difficult to imagine a guaranteed right more important to a democratic society than freedom of expression.”

Accordingly, Canadian jurisprudence has articulated a three-pronged purposive rationale for freedom of expression, which freedom of the press seeks to promote and protect. First, that seeking and attaining truth is an inherently valuable exercise; second, that participation in social and political decision making is to be fostered and encouraged; and third, that diversity in terms of individual self-fulfillment and the capacity for human potential ought to be cultivated in a tolerant and welcoming environment.

I am sure my colleagues will join me in celebrating World Press Freedom Day in recognition of press freedom that sustains democratic debate and fundamental values in this country, and in the hope that press freedom will yet be acquired as a feature of democratic development in countries less fortunate than ours.

Francophone CultureStatements By Members

May 2nd, 2002 / 2 p.m.

Liberal

Claude Duplain Liberal Portneuf, QC

Mr. Speaker, a Canadian play is doing well at the box office in Lebanon at the present time. People are flocking to see Le collier d'Hélène , and I want to point this out.

Works like the one by Quebec dramaturge Carole Fréchette are contributing to making francophone culture known worldwide. I feel that our creative people need to be acknowledged for their contribution.

As hon. members are aware, the Francophone summit will be held in Beirut this coming fall.

I am pleased to learn how dynamic the francophone culture in Lebanon has become, and this augurs well for the great success of the Beirut summit, I am sure.

ChildrenStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, from May 8 to 10, I will be in New York City with the Canadian delegation attending the United Nations Special Session on Children.

Despite the progress that has been made as far as health is concerned, one of every twelve children in the world dies before the age of five years. In a country as rich as Canada, one in five does not get enough to eat, and this has a significant negative impact on that child's ability to learn.

Massive investments in favour of children's rights and development are more necessary than ever, if they are to escape from the vicious circle of poverty.

A campaign in favour of children's rights, around the theme “Say Yes for children” is under way just about everywhere in the world. I invite all parliamentarians and the population as a whole to add their voices to this initiative by signing the virtual petition to be found on the UNICEF web site.

Let us join in solidarity with the children of the world and let us demand of our governments that they keep the promises they have made to those children.

SportsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I want to recognize Canada's special Olympics athletes and the volunteers and coaches who work with them to provide one of this nation's greatest sport programs.

This month and throughout the summer, special Olympics athletes will be participating in regional and provincial games in varied sports. I am pleased to note that Manitoba will be holding a variety of games including powerlifting, bowling, swimming, soccer, athletics, golf and bocce, one of the most popular sports in the world.

Many of these fine athletes will qualify to represent their provinces at the Canadian Special Olympics Summer Games in Prince Albert from July 8 to July 14. Some may even represent Canada at the World Special Olympics Summer Games in Ireland next year.

I am sure my hon. colleagues will join me in warmly wishing all special Olympics competitors, coaches and volunteers the very best in their endeavours this summer.

Aboriginal AffairsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, we have tried repeatedly in the House to get the federal government to acknowledge the very difficult situation facing first nations people and the quality of their health care system.

To date the government has chosen to ignore those calls of concern and action. I hope today, given new statistics in a report produced by the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy, that the government will choose to listen and choose to act.

The report provides devastating evidence of the appalling health situation faced by residents of first nations communities. Compared to other citizens of this land life expectancy among first nations people is eight years shorter overall, with two to three times as many deaths among young people. The hospitalization rate is twice as high. Diabetes rates are four times higher and diabetes related amputations are 16 times higher.

This is an area that demands federal action. This is an area that falls within federal jurisdiction.

Highway InfrastructureStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Jocelyne Girard-Bujold Bloc Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, this morning, the Association des camionneurs artisans and the FTQ, which represent close to 100,000 workers, joined with me in demanding that the federal government respect its commitment to pay its share of the construction costs for highways in Quebec.

The federal government must at last announce investments to build highways 175, 185, 30, 35 and 50, and it must sign the memorandums of agreement prepared by Quebec. Ottawa has no excuse, considering that it will have a budget surplus in excess of $9 billion this year.

For many independent truckers and workers, implementing these projects would make all the difference by the end of the year. During the last election campaign, the Liberal Party pledged to invest $3.5 billion in our highways.

These comments reflect those made on Tuesday by the mayor of Ville de Saguenay, to the effect that the federal government is desperately dragging its feet regarding highways in Quebec, including highway 175.

The money that was promised must be allocated this spring, so that workers can have jobs immediately.

Inuit Tapiriit KanatamiStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Nancy Karetak-Lindell Liberal Nunavut, NU

Mr. Speaker, today the national Inuit association, the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, which means “Inuit are united in Canada”, unveiled its new logo illustrating the four Inuit regions of Canada: Labrador, Nunavik in Northern Quebec, Nunavut and the Inuvialuit in the Northwest Territories.

At the heart and centre of the logo is the national symbol of Canada, the maple leaf. Also incorporated in the design is the women's knife, the ulu. The contest to design the new logo generated 228 submissions from all across Canada.

I would like to congratulate the following people whose designs have been used in the final version of the logo: Putulik Ilisituk of Salluit, Nunavik; Chris Dewolf of Fort Smith, Northwest Territories; and Mary Ugyuk of Taloyoak, Nunavut. Honourable mention goes to designs by Sammy Kudluk of Kuujjuaq, Nunavik; John Metcalf of Nain, Labrador; and Chris Eccles of Rankin Inlet, Nunavut.

AgricultureStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Rick Borotsik Progressive Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, this statement is meant as a wake-up call to the minister of agriculture and the Liberal government.

There is a real possibility, even a probability, of a serious drought again this year. One-half of the farmland in western Canada has received less precipitation this year than ever before. In fact five counties in Alberta already have declared themselves disaster areas. Saskatchewan and Manitoba are not far behind.

One would think that with this knowledge the department of agriculture would be looking at a drought program just in case the rains do not come. Not so. I asked the agriculture director of financial programs if he had developed a drought plan. His answer simply was no. I then asked him if he approached the government for additional funding and additional money in case those rains did not come. His answer was no.

To make matters worse, the PFRA spends only $5.5 million on water programs and $15 million is spent on a PR program.

Battle of the AtlanticStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

David Price Liberal Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, every year on the first Sunday of May Canadians remember and salute those who lost their lives in the Battle of the Atlantic. Canada played a significant role in the battle, which ran from September 1939 until the end of the second world war.

Starting from a tiny base of ships, aircraft and personnel, Canada grew into one of the foremost allied powers. While Canadian warships and aircraft sank and shared in the destruction of 50 U-boats, the main objective of Canada's Atlantic forces was protection of shipping. The outcome of the war was dependent on the Atlantic convoys reaching the United Kingdom.

However, participation came at a high cost. More than 2,000 members of the Royal Canadian Navy were killed during the war, the vast majority in the Battle of the Atlantic, and 750 members of the Royal Canadian Air Force died in maritime operations. The Book of Remembrance for the Merchant Navy lists over 1,600 Canadians and Newfoundlanders who served.

This Sunday I encourage all Canadians to remember those who lost their lives and to salute the veterans of the Battle of the Atlantic.

AgricultureStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rick Casson Canadian Alliance Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, thousands of softwood lumber workers have been thrown out of work due to United States protectionism and the Liberal government's lack of action and foresight.

Another crisis in trade is at hand: Our agriculture sector could be crippled by the new U.S. farm bill that will soon become law. Along with the disastrous increase in production distorting domestic subsidies, the U.S. farm bill also calls for country of origin labelling to be mandatory within two years. For a commodity to be labelled as a U.S. product it would have to be born in, raised in and processed in the U.S. This will cause shock waves to resonate throughout Canada, affecting all sectors of our economy.

Canada's threatened agriculture and agrifood exports are worth $25 billion per year. The sector employs almost two million Canadians.

With NAFTA and WTO appeals taking years to settle, I call on the Minister for International Trade and the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food to get prepared this time and to challenge this policy the minute it is signed into law.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Veneman is in Ottawa today. She must hear this message loud and clear.

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:10 p.m.

West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast B.C.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the softwood lumber decision handed down by the United States government is a disaster for tens of thousands of Canadian families who depend on this industry.

We are disappointed and angry today that the Americans have forgotten who their friends are. They have also forgotten they are supposed to be free traders.

We are disappointed with the American ruling but disgusted with the government's mismanagement, negligence and neglect of this file. The Prime Minister brags that he is always on the phone to President Bush, but the phone line on softwood lumber has not been permanently cut. At what time did the Prime Minister phone the president and what assurances did the Prime Minister receive?

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:10 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, there was a decision that was rendered today. We were not surprised by this decision but we are still of the view that they should not block the coming of Canadian softwood lumber into the American market. We have developed a policy on that with the collaboration of the industry and the provinces. We have worked with them very closely, and we have decided to refer the case to the WTO and to a panel of the free trade agreement that we have with the Americans.

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast B.C.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, nothing has worked and we have families out of work.

The government has known for a long time that this decision was coming. Warnings came from everywhere, from forestry communities, the industry, labour groups and many times from the member for Vancouver Island North. The government has not been listening.

We have all learned something, especially the senior minister from British Columbia, the Minister of Natural Resources, who is all talk and no action, but he has learned at the feet of the master, the Prime Minister.

Will the Prime Minister tell the House now what his action plan is and when he will release details of this contingency plan for the people who are unemployed?