House of Commons Hansard #183 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was farmers.


SupplyGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Madam Speaker, I am very pleased and honoured to have an opportunity to speak to this supply day motion, this debate that has been brought forward by the Alliance. I think it is very timely. Coming from the rural riding of Pictou--Antigonish--Guysborough, I am very pleased to say that I empathize greatly with the sense of frustration that many people are feeling in the rural parts of Canada.

I come from a riding where a great number of people still make their living in the fishery and they still make their living by getting up early every day and going to work in fields and in forests. These very same people in the riding I represent and in ridings across the country are feeling a sense of abandonment, in many cases a sense of hopelessness in pursuing their way of life in rural Canada, because of policies that the government has introduced and pursued.

The motion itself speaks of calling on the government to “cease and desist its sustained...political attacks on the lives and livelihoods of rural Canadians”. I would disagree with the motion only insofar as I do not think that this attack is intentional. I think it is a byproduct of rural Canada being ignored. I do not think it registers on the political radar screen of the government, for simple, terrible political reasons.

The concentration of the population of the country is increasingly being found in the urban centres. The last demographic surveys from Statistics Canada indicated that Canadians are headed in droves to big cities: Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver. That is fine. That is the freedom of mobility. Yet they are being forced to do so because of lack of employment, lack of opportunities and lack of attention from the federal government.

The Liberals have been in office for almost 10 years. They have been in power for almost a decade to the detriment of rural Canada. I want to acknowledge that the parliamentary secretary comes from an rural area himself and has very clearly demonstrated a concern about this issue. I commend him for that. I commend him for taking the issue and trying to bring it forward, yet I cannot help but be disappointed with some of the political rhetoric that already we have heard in this debate. We will hear more of it. We will hear it from all sides. It will not help to address the fundamental problems and the challenges that rural Canadians are continually faced with.

The Progressive Conservative Party has consistently spoken out for rural Canada in this parliament and in previous parliaments. We have brought in policies that were aimed at infrastructure and aimed at helping rural Canadians. The Confederation Bridge to Prince Edward Island is a perfect example. It was aimed at helping transport goods to market. We helped bring in policies and took initiatives to get shipbuilding projects, like the frigates in Saint John. We helped bring in policies that allowed parts of rural Canada to access undersea resources the same way that underground resources are accessed in the west.

The hon. members opposite do not like to acknowledge that. They do not let truth get in the way when we are talking about issues such as this, but the record is there. It speaks for itself.

I want to take some time to talk about some of the specific issues that are challenging young people, people from families that have lived in rural Canada for generations. In the three counties I represent, Pictou, Antigonish and Guysborough, there are severe problems facing industries like the fisheries: Little Dover, Ecum Secum, River John and Merigomish, places where for centuries people have lived and worked and existed by virtue of relying on natural resources. It is not just fisheries. Clearly forestry and farming complete that three pronged pillar that has kept the country growing.

Let us not forget that the country was built out of rural Canada. The origins of the country completely sprung up from rural Canada and the hard work, sweat and strain of people, our ancestors, who recognized that they had to be productive, they had to be innovative and they had to work hard to build the country. They are still there. The ancestors of those original settlers are still very much engaged in that exercise. It is that passion, that difference in culture, I would suggest, that is sometimes what is challenging for the government. It has lost touch with that pioneering, frontiering attitude that exists in the rural parts of Canada.

We have to ask ourselves some basic questions when examining the government's performance. The questions are simple: Is our health care system getting better? Do we feel we are making more money now and keeping more of it? Do we feel the country is being more productive?

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.


Larry McCormick Liberal Hastings—Frontenac—Lennox And Addington, ON

More people are working.

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

The hon. member says that more people are working. Yes, more people are working because of free trade, a policy which the Liberals adamantly campaigned against. Members may remember the duplicitous flip-flop of the Prime Minister. He was going to rip it up along with the GST, another monumental olympian backflip done by the Prime Minister.

That is why Canadians feel that the government itself is corrupt and that it is deceiving people. Canadians are completely disgusted with the performance of the government and the Prime Minister. I would say that the percentage of Canadians who feel that way is even higher in rural Canada. If we were to look at the numbers representing how people in rural Canada view the government and its level of corruption, those numbers would be up at 80% to 90%. Canadians, rural and urban, are doing well in spite of the government, not because of it.

I will now turn my attention to an issue that has plagued a region within Nova Scotia for some time and that region is the town of Canso in Guysborough county. What is taking place in that historic little town is indicative of what has gone on, particularly in provinces like Newfoundland, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island to some extent. The scenario playing out there is simply tragic. It is a perfect example of what happens when a government bails out and completely backs away from its responsibility to help people living in rural regions of Canada. It is happening in Burgeo, in Trepassey and in all kinds of communities.

The same argument could be made for what has happened to farmers and what is currently playing out in British Columbia with respect to the forestry issue. The government is simply walking away. It is simply saying that it is not its problem. It has failed in terms of its negotiations with the Americans on the softwood lumber deal in the same way that talks broke down with respect to the potato import issue in Prince Edward Island.

There was a time when the Prime Minister of Canada may have taken a personal initiative by calling the president of the United States to deal with an issue in an upfront, straightforward way. This Prime Minister used to berate the previous Conservative government by saying it was going fishing but now golf is the flavour of the day. We know how much President Clinton and the Prime Minister used to hit the links. We know the Prime Minister himself used to own a golf course so he has a specific interest in that area of real estate.

What is more important is that we address these particular challenges. We can go into a number of areas and a myriad of solutions could be found but it must happen soon, particularly in places where the infrastructure is struggling and crumbling. I am speaking of roads in rural parts of the country, the very lifeline that allows farmers, fishermen and forestry workers to get their products to market. How on earth can a farmer get his beef to a market if the roads do not allow passage? How can we get an oil and gas industry going on the east coast if it involves taking heavy equipment over bridges that do not have the capacity to hold that equipment?

We know the government abandoned the ports and the ports police. It pulled out all the supports for the upkeep, maintenance and safety of ports. That has been completely eviscerated by the government through the policies it has put in place.

I want to turn back to the town of Canso for a moment. A plant in Canso, which is currently closed, employed over half of the entire population of the village. People are now looking to the government, not only for access to resources but for assistance to ensure they will be able to live and prosper in what was once a very prosperous village.

The government can talk about these issues. It can talk about travelling, about hearing from people and about displaying all sorts of compassion but it needs to display some initiative. It needs to show that it is prepared to do something, not just come up with another study that quotes statistics on how bad it really is.

We need initiatives that will allow people to keep more of their money. We need initiatives that will allow students to handle their debt. We need the government to take some initiative and cancel programs that are not working, one being the gun registry which is a huge waste of money.

Time and again we hear the talk, the rhetoric and the political promises and yet the true record will show that those promises have been broken time and again, and all Canadians see it.

SupplyGovernment Orders

May 6th, 2002 / 1:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

David Anderson Canadian Alliance Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Madam Speaker, the member for Pictou--Antigonish--Guysborough is being far too generous to the government. He mentioned earlier that he thought the problems arising in rural Canada were because the government ignored rural Canada, not that it was an intentional thing it was doing.

I want to run through a list of the problems we have in rural Canada. He talked a little about fisheries policies and how destructive they had been in his part of the country. We now have softwood lumber problems at the other end of the country in rural areas.

After all this time we still do not have a cost on Kyoto. This morning we heard that it would be somewhere between $5 billion to $12 billion a year. The government cannot decide which study or which number it should use as it tries to convince Canadians that Kyoto is a good idea.

We are all familiar with the gun law, Bill C-68, which was aimed directly at rural Canadians and drew a target on their backs.

We had a lot of hubbub last week over Bill C-5, the species at risk bill, and the fact that it contains no provisions for compensation. We just have another tired commitment that regulations may be made at some point. It has been very frustrating to hear some of the Liberal rural members try to take credit for making changes in the bill and then to hear them later laughing about the stunt they pulled on the farmers and on the media. That is really reprehensible.

We also have other things. Bill C-15B, the animal cruelty legislation, is also geared toward rural Canadians. Bill C-53, the pest control act, also deals with rural issues. Maybe we could use the pest control act to get rid of the DFO people who have invaded the prairies. These people have come in and said that they will not allow municipalities to put in new culverts unless they get permits from DFO.

Could it be that the government is so incompetent that it is actually doing these things to rural Canada by accident?

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Madam Speaker, my colleague's question as to whether this is a deliberate policy direction that the government has taken or whether this is sheerly by neglect is one that bears examining. I would argue that in many cases it comes down to a political direction that the government has taken, although it may be a combination of both.

The government has targeted putting in infrastructure, putting in the effort and putting in the political goodwill that it feels it has to invest in order to get re-elected.

The Liberal government reminds me a little bit of Elizabethans and sex. It claims to loathe it and protest against it but it secretly lusts for it and cannot live without it. The Liberals have made this a political issue. Instead of targeting rural Canada and saying that they need to put in the time, effort, money and infrastructure and come up with long term plans to help Canadians live and exist in communities like the hon. members and my own, they have targeted cities. They have targeted building up the areas of the country where they already hold the political power and the political base.

The Liberal vision that the hon. parliamentary secretary spoke about was the Liberal vision not the Canadian vision. Canadians are not looking to this government for inspiration or direction.

Another issue, which has not been touched on yet, is rural health care. Rural health care is a huge problem for Canadians. It impacts in a very direct and real way on the ability of Canadians to access quality health care. Do members know that 99.8% of Canada's 10 million square kilometres are rural by area and yet 31.4% of the population or roughly 9 million people live in predominantly rural areas? Towns under 10,000 account for 22% of the population and yet they are only served by 10% of the physicians. Canada's larger rural and regional centres of 10,000 to 100,000 constitute 15.9% of the population and have only 11% of the physicians.

Recruitment, retention of physicians, the ability for people living in rural Canada to access the most rudimentary medical services is waning and is in real jeopardy. In places like Canso and Guysborough they do not have the ability to get proper medical care. If it is more complicated, such as needing surgery or X-rays, they are forced to travel extensive distances. Thank goodness for the able paramedics who act as stopgaps for the fact that we are seeing many services in terms of medical procedures being done only in the urban centres. That is a huge problem for rural Canada.

I touched on the firearms registry and my colleague from Yorkton--Melville spoke at length about this issue. We talk about the priority of Canadians, particularly around policing in rural Canada, which is another big challenge because of the size of regions they have to patrol and the ability to get around to all the corners of large rural areas. Let us consider the billions of dollars being wasted by the government, with the firearms registry perhaps being the most prime example. Others that come quickly to mind were the cancellation of contracts such as Pearson and helicopters where there was no return. It was money burned. It was like driving down the Trans-Canada Highway, rolling down the window and throwing hundreds of millions of dollars out the window. That is what happened, only in that instance rural Canadians may have been able to pick it up on the side of the road. In this case it was thrown into a furnace.

We saw what happened during the HRDC scandal and the way in which that money was being funnelled into the hands of good supportive Liberals. We see it in Prince Edward Island today where the president of the Liberal Party for the island is getting hundreds of contracts and millions of dollars because of his loyalty.

That type of patronage is absolutely offensive to many Canadians. That leads to the cynicism and apathy that we are seeing in politics. Canadians are staying away in droves, which is of great benefit to the party in power because the lower the voter turnout, the lower the numbers that come out. It is the loyal Liberals who come out and vote. They win ridings with 38%. The hon. member opposite knows. He is good at it. He spreads the money around in his riding.

Rural Canada is not a priority for the government. It has not been and will not be until the voice is heard, until there is a feeling that there will be a political cost for ignoring this part of the country, for ignoring regions such as the west and the farmers with severe problems either due to drought or flooding. Members will recall the Prime Minister's visit out west in 1997. He went there and threw a couple of sandbags around. Then he headed back to Ottawa, pulled the plug and called the election. That was opportunism.

Politically motivated, corrupt and patronage is what Canadians are saying. The Prime Minister likes to brag because he has never had ministers resign. That is because he shuffles them off months later into obscurity or sends them off to a diplomatic post. Talk about corrupt. There was a good likelihood that there was going to be an RCMP investigation into the matter involving Alfonso Gagliano and all of a sudden he is representing Canada abroad in Denmark. What did the Danes do to deserve that?

That is the type of image Canadians are getting now of the government. That is the type of lasting impression and the legacy that the Prime Minister may be searching for so desperately as he reaches the end of his tenure and as the dogs around him start to close in. That is the image that Canada will have of the Prime Minister, particularly in rural parts of the country where people are suffering immensely, where students are burdened with a debt the size of a mortgage by the time they finish university or leave school to pursue a career. These are Canadians who are looking at the country and the government with a very jaded eye.

When we have these types of debates and talk about the challenges we must talk about how to be more productive. We must talk about sharing the wealth. We talk about getting money back into the hands of Canadians through incentives. We talk about getting companies to locate in rural parts of the country instead of always funneling them into the golden triangle here in Ontario. That is fine if we want to be a completely split rural-urban country.

It is ironic that we have two competing task forces, a rural task force and an urban task force. The parliamentary secretary talks about his vision for Canada and yet it has been divided up. The government has given the task forces little projects to go off and work on at separate times instead of having a national strategy or coming forward with real ideas that will allow Canadians to go back to work and be productive, to keep some of their hard earned money, to face the challenges in health care and education and to look at ways in which we can grow industries in rural Canada because the geographic challenges that used to exist are no longer there.

Technology allows Canadians to access health care via the Internet in certain instances. It allows them to participate from a rural location in the high tech industry. It allows rural Canada to benefit from greater use of natural resources like natural gas off the coast of Nova Scotia. It allows farmers to use greater technology in the implementation of their activities and access to markets. The government is an abysmal failure in terms of its response to the needs of rural Canada. It can talk all it likes and bring forward some miniscule examples but its record over time is the true test.

When Canadians ask themselves the basic, fundamental questions of whether their quality of life has improved, whether they see the Liberal government being responsible for helping them get ahead, for making sure their children have a brighter future and can live and grow, and continue to keep family and rural traditions in the country alive, do they look to the government with any sense of hope or optimism? Sadly not.

When the rhetorical question is asked from the opposite side: how will this change? There is only one way it will change and that is when the government is defeated and there is a government that is sensitive, open to ideas and prepared to act on behalf of rural Canada.

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Dick Harris Canadian Alliance Prince George—Bulkley Valley, BC

Madam Speaker, listening to my friend from Pictou--Antigonish--Guysborough talk about the corruption that is present within the Liberal government is no surprise to us because we have been talking about that for some time now. Finally the media is starting to see it and write about it.

This talk of corruption should be no stranger to the Conservative member because when his party was in power there was example after example of corruption within the Progressive Conservative Party. I do not know who is teaching who to be more corrupt, the Liberals or the Tories, but neither has an exclusive right to practise open corruption within the politics of our country.

It is fun to talk about corruption with the government. When the former Liberal minister, Alfonso Gagliano, was quickly shuffled off to a diplomatic post in Denmark, I wondered whether there was more than one reason. Can the member tell me whether a Canadian diplomat who has diplomatic immunity in the country that he or she is serving have diplomatic immunity of some sort in Canada? Is that why our Prime Minister shuffled Mr. Gagliano off to a diplomatic post, so that he could avoid an RCMP probe or maybe charges being brought forward in this country? Can the member enlighten me on that and perhaps the House as well?

Softwood LumberStatements by Members

1:55 p.m.


Guy St-Julien Liberal Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik, QC

Madam Speaker, the Quebec forestry company Tembec of Abitibi-Témiscamingue has initiated proceedings to recover $200 million in damages from the U.S. government for the duties that have been imposed on Canadian softwood lumber by President George W. Bush.

Frank Dottori, CEO of Tembec, has stated that this measure “is tantamount no more and no less to expropriation of our market, in violation of the Free Trade Agreement, and we are therefore demanding compensation”. He went on to say, “We entered into a free trade agreement and we expect the United States to respect their international and national commitments. This they have not done”.

G-8 SummitStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Myron Thompson Canadian Alliance Wild Rose, AB

Madam Speaker, last week the Alberta legislature leaked a memo regarding the G-8 summit in Kananaskis. The memo described that negotiations have deteriorated to the point where the Alberta government has threatened to ban federal officials from the summit. The problem of course is money and who will pay the bills.

The government assures Albertans again and again in the House and in the media that it will pick up the tab. The problem is that the costs associated with the summit go well beyond security and logistics. For example, the cost of prosecuting Jaggi Singh should not go to the province.

In addition, small business owners stand to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars. In the case of Canadian Mountain Holidays in Banff, this heli-hiking company has had to turn away 176 customers and stands to lose about $270,000 due to a four day no-fly zone. These small business owners are demanding that they be compensated sooner than later.

It is time for the government to be straightforward and honest for a change. These business owners, local residents and Albertans cannot afford to take the government to court for their compensation.

Elizabeth Fry WeekStatements by Members

2 p.m.


Andy Scott Liberal Fredericton, NB

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise in recognition of the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies as it celebrates National Elizabeth Fry Week.

Elizabeth Fry societies work to enhance public awareness and education around the circumstances of women involved in the criminal justice system. They seek to challenge and break down the negative stereotypes that exist about women who are victimized and criminalized.

National Elizabeth Fry Week ends on Mother's Day each year in order to draw attention to the fact that the majority of women who come into conflict are mothers, most of them the sole supporters of their families at the time of incarceration. When mothers are sentenced to prison, they and their children are also sentenced to separation. Many women find this the most severe punishment.

Elizabeth Fry societies across the country have organized public events in their communities. I wish to commend them for their most important work toward the development of, and support for, community based alternatives for women rather than costly incarceration.

AgricultureStatements by Members

2 p.m.


Peter Adams Liberal Peterborough, ON

Madam Speaker, I rise to salute the Canadian Adaptation and Rural Development showcase, a celebration of agricultural innovation and opportunity.

The CARD fund, created in 1995, is an initiative of the government to foster long term growth, employment and competitiveness in Canada's agricultural and agrifood industry. CARD supports farmers by providing measures that assist a sector in adapting to change and market opportunities. Creating partnerships among industry groups and between industry and government is a key feature of many CARD programs.

This evening in Ottawa visitors to the CARD showcase will meet program recipients from across the country and view 44 CARD exhibits under CARD's six priorities: rural development; marketing; innovation; food safety and quality; environmental sustainability; and human resources capacity.

All Canadians who care about safe and healthy food and who want a strong Canadian agriculture and agrifood sector will take pride in the--

AgricultureStatements by Members

2 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)

The hon. member for Souris--Moose Mountain.

Battle of the AtlanticStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Roy H. Bailey Canadian Alliance Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Madam Speaker, when Winston Churchill uttered the words “Give us the tools and we will finish the job” Canada responded in a way that was described later by the British as remarkable, astonishing and magnificent.

The Battle of the Atlantic began September 3, 1939 when the German submarine U-30 torpedoed the passenger liner SS Athenia bound for Montreal with more than 1,400 passengers and crew, killing 118 people. The Battle of the Atlantic became the longest running conflict of the second world war, lasting 2,075 days.

Canada's navy began the war with a mere 13 vessels. When the war ended it was the third largest navy on the allied side. The Battle of the Atlantic did not just involve the brave men of our navy, but it also included the merchant marines who suffered the highest percentage of casualties.

More than 2,000 members of the Royal Canadian Navy were killed in all theatres, but most in the Battle of the Atlantic. Additionally, the Book of Remembrance of the merchant navy lists by name--

Battle of the AtlanticStatements by Members

2 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Barrie--Simcoe--Bradford.

Women's InstituteStatements by Members

2 p.m.


Aileen Carroll Liberal Barrie—Simcoe—Bradford, ON

Mr. Speaker, on Sunday, May 5 I attended the 100th anniversary of the Thornton Branch of the Women's Institute. The first branch of the Women's Institute was founded by Adelaide Hoodless in southern Ontario in 1897.

The Women's Institute is now an international organization. Its motto “For Home and Country” provides an educational forum for women, with an emphasis on civics. The Thornton Women's Institute has six women who have been members for over 50 years.

This is a time when governments and organizations throughout North America are searching for ways to get people together, to discuss means of enhancing the quality of life in their communities, to increase opportunities to bring people together for companionship and support, and to further social cohesion. This is one of the primary ways to prevent isolation and fragmentation which too often results in social breakdown.

I wish to congratulate the Thornton Women's Institute for 100 years of strength and leadership.

SportsStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.


Robert Lanctôt Bloc Châteauguay, QC

Mr. Speaker, from May 1 to May 31, large numbers of Quebec students will be taking part in the various activities available during Quebec's physical education and student sport month.

This event is organized by the Quebec Student Sport Federation, with a view to raising awareness of the value of physical activity and sports, and the pleasure we can get from them.

This eighth edition, the theme of which is, “Healthy living is fun”, will focus on sports ethics, diet, an anti-smoking, anti-doping campaign. The spokesperson will be short track speed skater, and Salt Lake City Winter Olympics bronze medallist, Marie-Ève Drolet.

The Minister responsible for Youth, Tourism, Recreation and Sport will reach this year's target group via his department's Kino-Québec program.

The Bloc Quebecois salutes this initiative to link fun and health.

Information Technology WeekStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.


Gérard Binet Liberal Frontenac—Mégantic, QC

Mr. Speaker, from May 3 to May 12, 2002, we will pay tribute to those who have played a role in making information technology more accessible, visible and interesting.

Information Technology Week is jointly promoted by Industry Canada and the Information Technology Association of Canada.

For these ten days, communities, businesses, employees, teachers and students are encouraged to work together to find innovative ways to highlight and showcase achievements in information technology. In a knowledge-based society, people are the greatest resource.

Canada's Information Technology Week complements the “Connecting Canadians” initiative to make Canada the most connected country in the world.

Economic DevelopmentStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Larry Spencer Canadian Alliance Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, can members imagine government policy designed to actually bring people together, help them understand contributions that are made by both the urban and the rural economies? The Liberal government has created a divide between our rural and urban areas.

How could it ever come to such a state? I will tell members how. It is the arrogance of the Liberal regime that allows it to feel that it is okay to neglect our rural residents. They are smaller in number which means fewer votes. It means the Liberal machine can be maintained without the rural vote. This negative attitude has to stop. This is unacceptable if we are to stabilize rural Canada and adopt policies that will foster growth in both rural and urban Canada.

Can we imagine a Canada with no farmers, no small towns, and no villages? Can we imagine a Canada with no backbone, no one to care for the land, no one to supply the food this nation consumes, and no one to supply its commodities? Can we imagine forgetting rural Canada?

Health and Safety WeekStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.


Judi Longfield Liberal Whitby—Ajax, ON

Mr. Speaker, from May 5 to 11 we will be celebrating North American Occupational Health and Safety Week. This year's theme, Prevention is the Solution, focuses on taking preventive measures to create safer work environments.

On average in Canada three workers are killed every working day. Unfortunately, young people are the most likely to be killed or injured on the job. We have to keep on working together to protect our young workers.

Canada's labour program is proud of its close collaboration with the Canadian Centre for Occupational Safety and Health and the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering to provide healthier and safer workplaces for today's workers.

I hope members will join me in wishing all participants a very safe and successful week.

AfricaStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.


Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the government is arrogant and out of touch. The Prime Minister's latest attempt to restore Canada's tarnished image abroad suffers from the boorishness that Canadians know all too well.

I am referring to the Prime Minister's African development agenda. We now hear from development leaders that this African development plan was put together largely without input from those on the ground and closest to the people.

Most frightening of all, the Prime Minister's plan for Africa fails to come to grips with the single most devastating pandemic facing that continent. HIV and AIDS receive a single mention in a 67 page document that promotes trade and governance. The statistics are appalling, with 14 million African AIDS orphans, and in Mozambique alone, 17% of the country's teachers will succumb to this disease within the decade.

We fully support increasing economic development aid to Africa but the government must understand that a healthy economy can only be built by a healthy population.

YMCA Fellowship HonourStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.


Paddy Torsney Liberal Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is a great privilege to rise in the House today to recognize a Burlington resident, a noble Canadian and a fabulous volunteer, Dr. Mahmoud Ali.

Dr. Ali has been a community leader for many years. His commitment and service have earned him the YMCA's highest distinction, the YMCA Fellowship Honour. In addition to chairing the board of directors of the YMCA of Hamilton--Burlington, Dr. Ali was instrumental in opening a downtown YMCA to family membership in 1988 and presided over the international development and health sciences advisory committees. He had hands-on involvement in the establishment of the YMCA's first international partnership with Costa Rica. Most recently, Dr. Ali collaborated with Hamilton Health Sciences to incorporate hospital services within a new YMCA facility.

Since 1978, 75 exemplary YMCA leaders have received the Fellowship Honour under the sponsorship of the Governor General of Canada.

I wish to extend congratulations to the YMCA and say “way to go” to Dr. Ali.

Gala des MercuriadesStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.


Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, on May 23, the Quebec Chamber of Commerce will host the 22nd gala du concours Les Mercuriades. I am happy to say that three Drummondville businesses have been chosen as finalists in four categories.

Armotech Inc. has garnered two nominations, one in the category for contributing to regional economic development and the other in the foreign markets category.

Fempro Inc. is nominated in the new investment project category.

And ALPHA insurance company is a finalist in the customer service category.

These companies, and all those they are competing against, do work that deserves being recognized. Being nominated for this gala is in and of itself a remarkable accomplishment.

I wish them good luck at the gala, which will take place in Montreal's Palais des Congrès.

Women's RugbyStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.


David Pratt Liberal Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, Nepean--Carleton is the home of the Twin Elms Rugby Club and the people of Nepean--Carleton are big rugby fans, so it is my pleasure to rise today to wish success to the members of our Canadian women's rugby team competing at the 2002 Women's Rugby World Cup to be held in Barcelona, Spain from May 13 to 15.

Our team is comprised of 26 players selected from across the country and five coaching staff. Quebec's Josée Lacasse and Gillian Florence will be attending their third world cup, while for most of the other players this will be their first world cup experience. Our team is confident it can improve on its fourth place finish at the 1998 world cup considering their international experience and their recent performance against the United States women's rugby team. Canada defeated the second ranked U.S. team in Ottawa on July 7, 2001, by a score of 23 to 3.

The members of the women's rugby team continue to be great ambassadors, both for their sport and for Canada.

National Nursing WeekStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

André Bachand Progressive Conservative Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, this week is National Nursing Week. Nurses have a long tradition of caring for families, as well as the knowledge and skill to make a difference to family health. The theme of this year’s National Nursing Week is “Nurses Always There For You: Caring for Families”.

Economic constraints, the aging of the population, the increase in chronic health problems, and technological advances in the treatment of diseases have added to the burden borne by families. With the federal government evaluating the future of our health care system, it is more important than ever to acknowledge this burden and to draw attention to the role which nursing staff can play in taking some of the load off families in difficult times.

On behalf of its members, the Canadian Nurses Association has long advocated a collaborative approach to medical care which recognizes the respective expertise of nurses and of families.

I encourage all members to underscore the wonderful work being done by nursing staff throughout Quebec and Canada by taking an active part in National Nursing Week.

Michener AwardStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.


Karen Redman Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I ask the House to join me today in extending congratulations to Kitchener's daily newspaper, the Record , which has recently been presented with the 2001 Michener Award recognizing meritorious public service journalism.

The Michener Award is Canada's most prestigious journalism prize. Kitchener's hometown newspaper has captured the coveted prize a remarkable four times since inception of the prize in 1970 by the then governor general, Roland Michener. The Record has consistently demonstrated a reputation for persistence and a commitment to solid journalism. Certainly the newspaper keeps our feet to the fire on all topics of public interest.

The Michener award was presented in acknowledgement of the newspaper's efforts to uncover a complicated leasing deal between the city of Waterloo and MFP Financial Services. The Record's coverage provided a compelling read for our community. Special mention goes to Record journalist Kevin Crowley, who led the eight month effort and who was recently named Journalist of the Year at the Western Ontario newspaper awards.

I congratulate the Record for its ongoing commitment to indepth journalism.

Government ExpendituresOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast B.C.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, like so many Canadians we are wondering why the government and the Prime Minister have the wrong priorities.

With the mess that the government has created for hardworking Canadian families in softwood and agriculture, along with its ongoing problems with corruption, taxpayers are wondering why the Prime Minister is preparing to jet off to sunny Spain.

Could the Prime Minister explain to Canadian families what he is going to do to clean up the mess he has made in softwood, in agriculture and in his corruption riddled government?