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House of Commons Hansard #209 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was nafo.

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 Souris—Moose Mountain.

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

Turner Fenton Secondary SchoolStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Sarkis Assadourian Liberal Brampton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is my distinct pleasure to rise in the House today to congratulate the staff of Brampton Centre's Turner Fenton Secondary School on their receipt of the Prime Minister's Awards for Teaching Excellence, and in particular Ms. Patricia Mooney, a teacher at Turner Fenton, for receipt of the Certificate of Achievement.

The awards are presented by the Prime Minister in recognition of outstanding support for teaching excellence.

I know that my constituents of Brampton Centre join me in congratulating Ms. Mooney and all those involved in supporting excellence in education at Turner Fenton Secondary School.

Divorce ActStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jay Hill Canadian Alliance Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, every day I hear more tragic stories from frustrated fathers, mothers, grandparents, brothers and sisters who have been alienated from their children or siblings because of a divorce or separation.

Canada's Divorce Act is highly antiquated and it must be amended. Child custody and access must be replaced with a commitment to shared parenting. Except in cases of neglect or abuse, children should have access to both parents and parents should have equal rights and responsibilities. As it currently stands the justice system has a winner take all approach at the expense of many innocent children and extended family members.

This government is more concerned with child support guidelines and getting more money for itself than it is about the improved emotional well-being of children which would result from shared parenting. Over three years have now passed since the joint House-Senate committee presented its report “For the Sake of the Children”, and except for endless delays and excuses there has been no action taken by the Liberal government.

Canadians deserve better.

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Charles Caccia Liberal Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Kyoto agreement will come into effect when developed countries whose combined emissions equal 55% of the total emissions ratify it. The countries of the European Union have already ratified, and Japan too.

Canada should drop the idea of seeking credits for clean energy exports and ratify Kyoto. Its signature could be enough to put Kyoto into effect. Waiting for developing countries to join is unrealistic. They have made it clear they have no intention of acting now. Instead, creating opportunities for improved energy efficiency, energy innovation and economic incentives in developing countries is the better approach.

By ratifying, Canada would give badly needed leadership in North America and assume its share of responsibility for the security of the global community.

Serpent Mounds ParkStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Liberal Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Serpent Mounds Park of the Hiawatha First Nation became a national heritage site recently. This is a burial and village site that dates back to 58 BC. It is a site of great cultural and spiritual meaning for the Mississauga people of the Peterborough area.

The text of the plaque in Ojibway, French and English reads “Two thousand years ago aboriginal people gathered nearby in large settlements in spring and summer to hunt, fish and collect freshwater mussels. Here for over three centuries these people built mounds to bury and revere their dead. These nine mounds and other closely related sites provide an exceptionally complete record of life at that time. The mound, shaped like a serpent, the only one of its kind in Canada, is over 60 metres long and almost eight metres wide. Mississauga people of this area are now the proud stewards of these ancient sites”.

I know members join me in sending best wishes and thanks to the Hiawatha First Nation.

Catholic Family Counselling CentreStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I ask the House to join me today in extending congratulations to Catholic Family Counselling Centre in Kitchener-Waterloo which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

In 1952 the agency's sole counsellor helped 100 individuals and families. Today the centre boasts a dedicated staff of more than 50 employees who have helped more than 15,000 individuals and families this year alone.

Catholic Family Counselling Centre in Kitchener-Waterloo is a not for profit professional counselling agency whose team of passionately committed staff and volunteers sees its work as an expression of Christian caring through promoting well-being within individuals, families and the community. The non-denominational agency works hard to ensure everyone in Kitchener will enjoy a strong and healthy community for the next 50 years.

I extend warm wishes to Catholic Family Counselling Centre in Kitchener-Waterloo as it celebrates 50 years of caring.

National Aboriginal DayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Peter Goldring Canadian Alliance Edmonton Centre-East, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canada is not two founding nations, nor is it three, but is rather a work in progress begun by the aboriginal peoples, joined by Europeans then followed by those from throughout the world who have chosen to make our country their home.

June 21, the day of the summer solstice, is a symbolic time, a time of meaningful historical reflection, a time of importance to the aboriginal peoples of Canada. Friday, we will honour and give respect to National Aboriginal Day, a day that celebrates the unique, diverse and valuable contribution of the aboriginal peoples to the cultural fabric of Canada.

Each year it is a day to mark and celebrate their contributions and to recognize the different cultures of the aboriginal peoples of Canada. That day would be June 21, and was it first recognized in 1996.

This coming Friday let us celebrate National Aboriginal Day, a national day of respect.

Celebrate CanadaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Lynn Myers Liberal Waterloo—Wellington, ON

Mr. Speaker, Celebrate Canada is a special time for Canadians from coast to coast to coast. It is an opportunity like none other for Canadians to demonstrate their pride in Canadian accomplishments and their love for their country.

Celebrate Canada is an 11 day celebration beginning June 21 with National Aboriginal Day, covering St. Jean Baptiste Day on June 24 and culminating on July 1 with Canada Day. The theme of this year's celebration is a spotlight on 50 years of Canadian achievements.

Over the course of the last half century we have made our mark in various fields. We have shattered records. We have taken a leadership role to ensure the betterment of fellow citizens. We can be justifiably proud of the nation we have built together over the past 135 years.

Canadians throughout this great land are encouraged to celebrate, participate in the activities, show their pride in being Canadian, enjoy themselves and celebrate Canada.

Infrastructure ProgramStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Jocelyne Girard-Bujold Bloc Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to announce that the Kénogami curling club in my riding of Jonquière has obtained $100,000 in phase 3 of the infrastructure program.

With this funding, the club, which was founded in 1920 and has over 300 members, will be able to renovate its four sheets of ice. The Kénogami curling club is affiliated with Curling Québec and is the oldest of the region's seven clubs.

This project, which was studied and recommended to Ottawa by the Government of Quebec, is evidence of the commitment of Quebec's department of municipal affairs to the development of sport in the Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean region.

It is also tangible proof that an opposition MP is capable of obtaining funding for her region, contrary to what certain misinformed people may say.

Canada-Ontario Infrastructure ProgramStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Janko Peric Liberal Cambridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, recently the federal government provided a $4.1 million contribution to the Canada-Ontario Infrastructure Program for the University of Waterloo school of architecture to be located in my riding of Cambridge.

Originally the brainchild of Jim Cassel, it was enthusiastically endorsed by Tom Watson, John Wright and Val O'Donovan who became the Cambridge consortium. These four business visionaries are the prime movers in the establishment of a worldclass architecture school in Cambridge. Remarkably, the consortium has already raised half the $12 million required to convert the old Tiger Brand building to the new school of architecture.

I encourage the entire community, especially the business community, to support the consortium's fundraising campaign to transform Cambridge into a university city and make it the best place in North America.

Provincial Mine Rescue CompetitionStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Andy Burton Canadian Alliance Skeena, BC

Mr. Speaker, last weekend I attended the Provincial Mine Rescue Competition in Smithers, B.C. My riding of Skeena has huge potential for mineral exploration success as well as a past history of operations like Granduc, Premier and Cassiar, to mention but a few.

Competing in underground mine rescue on the weekend were teams from Quinsam Coal, Barrick Gold at Eskay Creek, and Boliden Westmin at Myra Falls. Open pit rescue teams competing were Fording Coal, Luscar Line Creek, Bullmoose, Endako, Highland Valley Copper, and Ash Grove Cement. Miners' first aid competitors were Luscar Line Creek, Elkview Coal, Bullmoose, Northgate Exploration with the Kemess Mine, Texada Quarrying, and Ash Grove.

All competitors proved their excellence and dedication to the development of the necessary skills required for mine rescue and first aid requirements at the mine site.

I congratulate all involved. Let us keep mining in Canada.

Canada DayStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

John Maloney Liberal Erie—Lincoln, ON

Mr. Speaker, for Canadians this has been a memorable year. As we reflect we can appreciate what a great deal we have to celebrate this Canada Day.

Who can forget the Olympic gold medals of our skaters Salé and Pelletier and the men's and women's hockey teams, or the loonie under centre ice in Salt Lake City?

There have been many sentimental reminders of our ties with Great Britain such as Queen Elizabeth's Golden Jubilee celebrating 50 years on the throne, of our own sovereignty with the 20th anniversary of bringing home the constitution, and also of the many ways we join the two as we celebrate 50 years of having a Canadian as Governor General.

Canada Day serves as a reminder of how fortunate we are to live and enjoy extraordinary blessings as citizens of this great nation. We are a people with a common ideal and identity bound together by the pride we possess for the place we call home: Canada.

The inscription on the statue of Sir George-Étienne Cartier located on Parliament Hill says it best: Above everything, we are Canadian.

I wish each and every one of my colleagues and all citizens of Canada a happy Canada Day.

G-8 SummitStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Svend Robinson NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, next week the eyes of the world will be on Canada as we host the G-8 leaders summit in Kananaskis.

New Democrats urge the Prime Minister to show leadership on the critical issues of global poverty and famine particularly in Africa, the HIV-AIDS pandemic, militarization and the threat of nuclear weapons, and growing corporate rule and the loss of democracy.

We condemn the increase in criminalization of dissent in Canada and other G-8 countries and fully support the right to peaceful protest, including civil disobedience. We urge the government to allow full participation of journalists and third world delegates in events around the summit. Harassment at the U.S. border must end.

Members of the New Democrat caucus, including our national leader, will be joining people from across Canada and around the world in protesting the G-8's destructive corporate agenda that puts global profits ahead of people and the environment.

Finally, we voice our solidarity with the G6B alternate summit and together with them reaffirm that another world is possible.

The MediaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, the firing of Russell Mills as editor of the Ottawa Citizen is just one more illustration of how harmful media convergence can be, and how unacceptable it is to the public. As a result, the public is being deprived of complete and impartial information, and as well journalists' rights to disseminate that information are being hampered.

These rights no longer exist when the Asper family's policy of “do as we say, or else” puts the most basic of freedoms at risk.

Moreover, muzzling freedom of the press can go very far. One need only think of journalist Robert McKenzie, who was invited to take early retirement from the Toronto Star because he spoke out in favour of investigative journalist Normand Lester, when the latter's best seller, Le livre noir du Canada anglais was released.

In order to protect the basic principles of ethics and the moral code of journalism, I, as a member of the standing committee on heritage call for an indepth investigation into the ownership of the news media and for real action.

ZimbabweStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday in Zimbabwe police arrested and beat 70 people, including opposition MPs and trade unionists, who had gathered to commemorate anti-apartheid activists killed in the Soweto uprising. This is yet another manifestation of the state sanctioned violence, beatings, arrests and intimidation of opposition MPs, human rights activists, trade unionists and civil society generally. It takes place against a backdrop of impending crisis in Zimbabwe which is on the brink of a humanitarian disaster coupled with escalating political instability.

Accordingly, Canada should join with African countries like South Africa in putting pressure on Mr. Mugabe to cease and desist from all forms of state sanctioned violations of human rights; to put an end to a state orchestrated starvation policy while including the MDC in food and other distribution; to ensure the actual distribution of aid, and there is a need for massive amounts of food aid in which Canada can play a leading role, is taken out of the hands of Mr. Mugabe and put into the hands of churches, NGOs and other apolitical groups.

AgricultureStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Progressive Conservative Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, the department of agriculture has recently participated with the Nova Scotia agricultural community in a program to address the significant changes in climate and the resulting drought in Nova Scotia.

By sharing expertise through the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration, or PFRA, with Nova Scotians, the department of agriculture was able to act as a catalyst to encourage co-operation among government agencies and the agricultural community on key issues such as water sharing with the communities and also water quality.

The PFRA provided the industry with an opportunity to benefit from its expertise gained in the western provinces. The staff involved in this experiment demonstrated a rational and common sense approach to both problem solving and industry relations which was very helpful to the farmers of Nova Scotia.

Mr. Doug Bacon, the president of the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture, extends his appreciation for this assistance which will enable them to cope with the climatic change that the industry has experienced in the last five years.

The farmers of Nova Scotia and the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture are very appreciative of these measures. They encourage the minister to expand this co-operation with Nova Scotia farmers by establishing a permanent agreement.

House of CommonsStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. Today, it gives me great pleasure to thank, on behalf of all the members, a group of students who worked with us during the past year.

We have enjoyed the services of this distinguished group of pages who have worked with us throughout the parliamentary year. I want to wish them the very best in their future studies.

I give them our thanks for the services they have performed for us in the House. I wish also that one day they will return to this place, whether it is as elected members, as people working at the table or in some other part of this great institution.

I thank you all and I wish you good luck for the future.

House of CommonsStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

The MediaOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, it is nice to see the Prime Minister back among us. I hope he will give us some straight answers.

There is growing concern about political influence in the firing of the publisher of the Ottawa Citizen . In the last couple of days the Deputy Prime Minister refused on at least five occasions to say whether the Prime Minister or his staff had recent meetings with CanWest Global people.

Will the Prime Minister tell the House if he met privately with any member of the Asper family in the past three weeks?

The MediaOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the last time I met with Mr. Asper it was at a reception and all the press was there. The leader of the fifth party was there. After, Mr. Asper said he did not want to stay with me and he had dinner with the Leader of the Opposition.

The MediaOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

The MediaOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

Order. We will want to hear the next question. The hon. Leader of the Opposition has the floor. I would like a little order, please.

The MediaOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, we all appreciate the Prime Minister informing us of a meeting that took place in front of the entire press gallery.

The Leader of the Opposition does not give out millions of dollars in lucrative advertising contracts. He is not part of a potential review of CRTC decisions affecting companies like CanWest Global to the tune of millions of dollars.

I will ask again, did the Prime Minister, any cabinet minister or any member of his staff have any private meetings with CanWest Global officials or the Asper family during the past three weeks?

The MediaOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, again in the House of Commons this week there was a very specific question about a meeting on Saturday morning at 24 Sussex. I was not at 24 Sussex that day. There was no meeting. I did not have breakfast with Mr. Asper or anyone in his family.

Last week opposition members made a big accusation about Harrington Lake being used. That was a lie. We gave the cheque. They have not yet apologized.

The MediaOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, there is still no straight answer to my question.

The problem is that the Prime Minister is not credible when it comes to issues of abusing power.

That is the government that has abused millions of dollars in lucrative sponsorship and advertising contracts. It is the Prime Minister who was involved in the silencing of a CBC reporter, Terry Milewski. It is the Prime Minister who called the Business Development Bank to influence its decisions. It is the Prime Minister who waged a petty war against the previous owner of the Southam chain, Mr. Black.

With this history, how can Canadians be sure that the Prime Minister did not abuse his power once--