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House of Commons Hansard #194 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-55.

Topics

2:05 p.m.

The Speaker

I wish to inform hon. members of a major fire this morning at the Cliff Street heating and cooling plant, which services Parliament Hill. The chilled water and steam services will not be available until further notice, hence there will be no air conditioning service in any of the Parliament Buildings for at least the rest of the day. Public Works and Government Services Canada is assessing the damages, apologizes for any inconvenience and will remedy the situation as quickly as possible.

I am not urging members to ask questions of the minister as a result of this, but I can urge members on all sides to limit the emissions of hot air during this afternoon's proceedings so that we can continue in relative comfort.

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.

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

Millennium ScholarshipsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

John Richardson Liberal Perth—Middlesex, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to recognize students from the riding of Perth--Middlesex who have qualified for the Canada millennium scholarship awards for the year 2002.

Based on the strict criteria for eligibility and selection of the millennium excellence program the following students have been awarded millennium scholarships: Lita Tretina of Nancy Campbell Collegiate Institute of Stratford was awarded a National Award; Cynthia L. Innes of Stratford Central Secondary School was awarded a Provincial/Territorial Award; and Danielle E. Jacques of Medway High School in Arva and Steffen Marcus of Listowel District Secondary School were both awarded Local Awards.

On behalf of the constituents of Perth--Middlesex I congratulate all these students for their hard work and perseverance.

EthicsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Lynne Yelich Canadian Alliance Blackstrap, SK

Mr. Speaker, let us review some recent public opinion polling.

Seventy per cent of Canadians believe there is corruption in the political process. This is an indictment of all of us who serve in elected office. We must examine why Canadians have come to this conclusion. If we dig a little deeper we find that in the case of the Liberal government, 46% believe it is corrupt.

We have had a few incidents with particular ministers over recent weeks. Canadians have some opinions on these matters too. Some 82% believe the former defence minister deserves to be the former defence minister; 60% believe the former minister of public works deserves harsher punishment than getting his old job back; and 70% of Canadians do not think the firings, demotions and the Prime Minister's public relations efforts on ethics are enough.

Did members notice that is the same percentage who think politics is corrupt?

DES Awareness WeekStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, this week has been designated as DES Awareness Week.

DES is a synthetic estrogen that was prescribed to pregnant women between 1941 and 1971 to prevent miscarriage and ensure a healthy pregnancy. Instead it caused serious health problems for both the mother and the child, ranging from malformations of the reproductive system and infertility to cancer.

Recent scientific research suggests that the third generation of DES exposed people may have an increased risk of developing cancer of the reproductive system. D.E.S. Action Canada is an organization whose goal is to identify all the people exposed to DES and to inform them as well as health professionals of the tragic consequences of that exposure.

I ask members to join me in applauding D.E.S. Action Canada for its achievements and in wishing it a successful public awareness week.

Millennium ScholarshipsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Stan Keyes Liberal Hamilton West, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation is part of this government's economic plan to help students acquire the skills and qualifications needed to compete in the global, knowledge based economy. Each year through the millennium excellence awards the foundation recognizes a select group of students based on their academic achievement, community service and leadership potential.

I am proud to note that three students attending schools in my constituency of Hamilton West were among the 379 recipients of this year's scholarships. Sidra Abid of Sir Allan MacNab Secondary School, Catherine Kates of Hillfield Strathallan College, and Daniel Meester of the Hamilton District Christian High School were chosen from more than 7,000 applicants.

The creation and endowment of the millennium foundation exemplifies the forward thinking commitment of this government to ensuring access to education. I would ask that all members of the House support the ongoing efforts of the foundation at every opportunity.

Rural Expo 2002Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, Rural Expo is held annually at different locations in Ontario. This year I am pleased to say that it is being held in my riding of Lambton--Kent--Middlesex from September 17 to 22 in Glencoe.

Rural Expo is a showcase bringing together both rural and urban communities. The event demonstrates the whole rural experience. One will still see the machinery, new and antique; and the plowing, modern and horse drawn. It will also feature local entertainers, food and fashion shows, multicultural activities and learning opportunities for all ages.

There are 1,100 acres to celebrate our agricultural heritage and our vibrant future. It will run for six days, adding Sunday, September 22 to the traditional five day run. As well, Rural Expo 2002 will be joining with the Glencoe Fair to celebrate the attractions and achievements of the town and surrounding area.

I take this time and opportunity to invite all Canadians to this wonderful event and to come and meet us in the country. A warm southwestern Ontario welcome awaits. For more information people can call 1-866-IPM-2002.

EthicsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gary Lunn Canadian Alliance Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canadians deserve better. The Prime Minister has made efforts to explain his and his government's ethical standards but Canadians think poorly of him, his actions on ethics, his cabinet and his standards of behaviour.

This is entirely understandable. We have already seen one disgraced minister moved overseas to a cushy job. Another minister in trouble was fired but then rehired in his old job. We have seen polling today that suggests Canadians do not buy any of this as a solution. Perhaps it is because of the way the government approaches its apologies. There are none.

Government members do admit their actions may have offended some people but they do not admit any wrongdoing. They blame the bureaucrats for doing it. They blame the opposition for raising it, the media for reporting it, the pollsters for asking about it and Canadians for believing it.

It is time the government looked in the mirror.

TerrorismStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Bonwick Liberal Simcoe—Grey, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to once again offer our thoughts and prayers to the families who lost loved ones in the terrorist attacks that took place on September 11, 2001. I believe it is important for the survivors to know that as Canadians our hearts are with them throughout the year and not simply on one day.

Sadly enough, our riding lost a person in this tragic attack. Ken Basnicki was a devoted husband and a proud and loving father. As Ken's wife Maureen and his children Brennan and Erica attempt to pick up the pieces of a shattered life it is imperative that we as a government, in fact we as a country, offer them the support they require during these difficult times. It is my hope that in this home we call Canada, as a family of Canadians we rise to the challenge and help take care of our own.

To the Basnicki family and all the survivors of 9/11, I offer on behalf of the House of Commons our sympathy, our prayers and a promise: We shall not forget.

Société Radio-CanadaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage is now hearing from numerous witnesses as it reviews the Broadcasting Act. One of their primary concerns is the concept of local broadcasting and production. Witnesses want radio and television programs which they can relate to and which inform them about their community. The local concept implies not just broadcasting, but production in particular.

Yesterday, on returning to work at the Radio-Canada offices in Quebec City, the staff of Au coeur du monde were stunned to learn that their program was being cancelled and would be replaced by a program from Toronto.

Every summer, a show was produced and broadcast network-wide from Quebec City. Last year, this show was called Le temps d'Épicure and was hosted by Catherine Lachaussée. For now, it appears that no new show will be produced in Quebec City for the upcoming season.

Only two programs produced in Quebec City will remain on the Radio-Canada network, compared to four last year. This shows just how little importance is attached to the local concept by Radio-Canada management.

Young PeopleStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Hélène Scherrer Liberal Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, today I had the pleasure of welcoming a group of young people from my riding, students from Rochebelle school in Sainte-Foy and from the Petit Séminaire de Québec, who have become involved in their community through Plan Nagua.

They are here today with a declaration signed by almost 4,000 young people. This declaration was drawn up by a committee of young participants and sets out the foundations of the society in which they would like to live. Since first being drawn up in April 2001, the document has been translated into eight languages and has been circulated in several countries.

The declaration was read out at the people's summit in Quebec City, as well as being used as a springboard for special activities in a number of schools in the Quebec City area.

Today, the declaration was presented to various ministers and secretaries of state, so that the young people could present publicly the values they feel are important and the means they intend to use to bring about this blueprint for society.

This declaration has been a unifying exercise which has given everyone a chance to reflect on the importance of social commitment now and in the future in a responsible civil society.

I encourage these young people to pursue this project and to inform those around them of these values, which all Canadians hold so dear.

EthicsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Garry Breitkreuz Canadian Alliance Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, after reviewing just a sampling of today's 70 news clippings on the subject, I must report to the House that the term Liberal ethics is an oxymoron.

After hearing these headlines the Liberals will likely try to shoot the messenger: National Post , “PM 'offended' Canadians”; Charlottetown Guardian , “PM didn't go far enough”; Montreal Gazette , “Money at the root of the rot”; Ottawa Citizen , “Federal cabinet is failing ethics 101”; Winnipeg Sun , “Leadership vote behind purges”; Toronto Star , “One reason PM finally acted: Rumblings about poor approval ratings”; Windsor Star , “Cabinet shuffle just a public relations stunt”; London Free Press , “Prime Minister's double standard”; Globe and Mail , “The arrogance of power”; Ottawa Sun , “PM's willingness to flaunt his integrity has done him in”; Edmonton Journal , “Prime Minister's con job” and “Open up fundraising books”; and Vancouver Sun , “What? Not again! How could you, Mr. Prime Minister?”

Mr. Speaker, I wish I had more than one minute. There are many more.

ManufacturingStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Roy Cullen Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, on Parliament Hill today are more than a dozen CEOs from companies that make food and consumer products.

These are products Canadians use every day. This sector is an important part of our national economy.

It is second only to the automotive sector in terms of its share of Canada's manufacturing GDP. It employs 320,000 Canadians directly in every region in Canada and it uses 35% of all Canadian agricultural commodities in the manufacture of its products.

I ask colleagues to join me today in recognizing the important contribution this industry makes to the Canadian economy.

Liberal GovernmentStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Ghislain Lebel Bloc Chambly, QC

Mr. Speaker, by refusing to respond to the opposition's request for a public inquiry into the allegations of corruption within the government, the Prime Minister is exposing himself to the worst possible of scenarios.

By systematically refusing to allow any witnesses who might cast some light on the situation to appear before the committee, where they are always in the majority, the PM's mercenaries are feeding the most negative of speculations about their ministers and decision makers.

By refusing to call for a public inquiry, despite the collateral damage to his party, the Prime Minister estimates that damage to be less than what would result from the truth if it were to come out.

While a very considerable majority of Canadians feel that this government is corrupt, the Prime Minister's attitude has a negative impact on politicians as a whole.

The Prime Minister is forgetting that the future is long, and one of these days history will judge, from all the details available to it, and will paint a picture of a man that could bring shame to his descendants.

Disability Tax CreditStatements By Members

May 29th, 2002 / 2:15 p.m.

NDP

Wendy Lill NDP Dartmouth, NS

Mr. Speaker, the arrogance of this government is astonishing.

Last October the government told 106,000 Canadians with severe and prolonged disabilities that they had to reapply for their disability tax credit. These are Canadians who are quadriplegic, who are blind, who have Down's Syndrome and who have schizophrenia. In response MPs from all sides of the House wrote to the minister of revenue demanding these letters be withdrawn. We never received a reply or an acknowledgement.

Today I am asking again for the government to fix this problem. I call on it to respond to the MPs' letters and tell these 106,000 disabled Canadians that last October's letter was a mistake, that the review is on hold and that the rules for the 2000 tax year will be applied until a reasonable and appropriate review of the program can be conducted.

I also call on the government to redo the medical form after real consultations with the disability and medical communities, and most importantly, I ask that this arrogant government offer these Canadians a written apology.

Cambridge Memorial HospitalStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Janko Peric Liberal Cambridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, Cambridge Memorial Hospital recently received the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment's 2001 CCME Pollution Prevention Award. Cambridge Memorial Hospital is the first hospital to win this award recognizing companies and organizations showing leadership in pollution prevention.

With support from Natural Resources Canada and through strategic investments, Cambridge Memorial Hospital continues to raise its energy efficiency. For the third year in a row CMH also received the Recycling Council of Ontario's Institution Award for its waste reduction.

I join the House in recognizing the environmental commitment of staff and volunteers at Cambridge Memorial Hospital and the exceptional leadership and vision of Helen Wright, CEO of Cambridge Memorial Hospital.

Safe Water ActStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Inky Mark Canadian Alliance Dauphin—Swan River, MB

Mr. Speaker, last May the House passed a motion to act immediately to initiate a safe water act which would have seen a safe drinking water committee made up of advisers from provinces, municipalities and native reserves. We are still waiting for that legislation.

This week the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development announced that mandatory training for reservation water treatment staff and a plant maintenance funding review would be forthcoming very soon. Had this government done what it promised a year ago the minister would not have excluded Canadians who do not live on native reserves.

Currently Manitoba has 27 boil water advisory orders, two in my riding. When can we expect the government to finally fulfill its promise on the safe water act? Lives depend on safe water.

EthicsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has fired the Minister of National Defence for having done a favour for a friend and he said that the credibility of the government was affected. Yet it was the Prime Minister himself who did the same thing by helping friends in his riding and telling us that it was his duty as a good member of parliament.

How can the Prime Minister justify removing the defence minister for giving a favour to a friend when he set the standard himself in the Shawinigate affair?

EthicsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it is the duty of every member of parliament to work for his constituents, especially in a case like that when it was a project that created 22 new jobs. The loan was the third loan. Two other loans had been accepted by the Caisse populaire and the fund of the unions in the area. The third loan was from the bank. It was eventually approved. After seven years the loan was paid back every month.

It is a duty of a member of parliament to create jobs in his riding.

EthicsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, on Sunday the Prime Minister admitted there were ethical problems. Now he is back to rationalizing his own actions again.

The Prime Minister has one ethical problem after another: the public works minister, the solicitor general, I could go on and on. Even the Deputy Prime Minister now says that some Canadians were offended by his behaviour during the Shawinigate affair.

Having failed to establish in nine years clear ethical standards for his cabinet, for himself and for his government, will he now act and appoint a fully independent ethics commissioner?

EthicsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, in a project that we announced two weeks ago we said that the ethics counsellor would be reporting his activities to the House of Commons annually. He is an ethics counsellor advising members of parliament, ministers, myself, bureaucrats and so on. I have asked him to report from now on to the House of Commons and he has obliged.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, we will see whether the counsellor will be fully independent.

We have all these contradictions. On Thursday the Prime Minister stood behind the public works minister. On Sunday what he did warrants removal from cabinet. Mr. Gagliano was removed and then rewarded to Denmark. We could go on and on.

I want to ask one question about the Prime Minister's actions of last weekend. When exactly did the Prime Minister learn of the contract the Minister of National Defence gave to his former girlfriend?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, Saturday afternoon at 5 o'clock.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Canadian Alliance Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, let us go deeper into the ethical morass that the Prime Minister is in.

On Thursday he said that what the public works minister had done was just fine and on Sunday he demoted him. What changed between Thursday and Sunday?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I had to make some changes in the cabinet so I had a discussion with the House leader. We came to the conclusion that he was a very good House leader and it was better for him to be there at this moment because the minister of public works was willing to take on the task. I changed my ministers according to the present need.

The House leader graciously accepted the transfer. The minister of public works of today became the minister of public works Sunday afternoon.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Canadian Alliance Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, the ethical standards are so interesting, are they not?

We come back to the red book promise. The red book promise was pretty specific. It stated that we would have an independent ethics commissioner that would report to parliament. When will we get that?