House of Commons Hansard #198 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was chairman.


Nuclear Safety and Control ActGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.


Serge Cardin Bloc Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to know something from my colleague.

Of course, it takes political will to get rid, at some point, of this dependence on nuclear power. Politicians must really want to do so.

However, I wonder if my colleague has thought about the way to get rid of nuclear plants and nuclear energy. We are aware—we must be realistic—that this represents big investments. We are also aware that even bigger investments are required to maintain these plants. But we have, of course, the renewable energies that could be used to replace nuclear energy. We are able to use them. It has been demonstrated; my colleague has demonstrated this. It is feasible with wind power, and the money would be available if the government had the will to invest in this.

The fact remains that the day when we do away with nuclear energy, we will still have to manage that. I do not know if my colleague, following his erudite readings and reflections, has thought about a quick suggestion that the Liberal government would have no choice but to immediately agree with.

Nuclear Safety and Control ActGovernment Orders

1:25 p.m.


Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is an excellent question. I hope the Minister of the Environment will listen to the answer.

The best example is probably Germany, one of the European countries that produces wind energy. I see my NDP colleague, with whom I had the good fortune to go to Marrakesh, where we met people from the German embassy who explained to us—and I remember clearly—how Germany made the transition from nuclear to wind energy.

I have a few figures to show that it is feasible. In a few years, Germany went from producing nuclear energy to producing wind energy. Its current production is 8,753 megawatts, which accounts for 35.8% of the world's total wind energy production.

These countries did not succeed in making this transition by adopting measures that favour nuclear energy, as we are about to do today. On the contrary, they did it with financial incentives for every kilowatt-hour produced through wind energy. There are examples, including in California, where subsidies of nearly 2.6 ¢ per kilowatt hour have been given for wind energy.

This allows a country such as Germany to go from nuclear energy, a polluting type of energy, to wind energy, a non polluting type of energy. It also helps the environmental sector.

Let us not forget one thing. Those who claim that the ratification of the Kyoto protocol will create considerable economic costs for Canada are mistaken. In that regard, Germany is a conclusive example. Denmark is another example where wind energy production has been greatly increased.

To conclude, I will say that Germany is the best example. It went from nuclear energy to wind energy, which brought not only economic benefits, but also environmental benefits.

Nuclear Safety and Control ActGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.


Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, it brings me great pleasure to rise and speak to Bill C-57. I would like to thank my learned colleagues, the member for Rosemont—Petite-Patrie and the member for Sherbrooke, who so clearly outlined the position of the Bloc Quebecois on this matter and the fact that Canada is again sitting on the fence and continues to use traditional energy sources, when there are some wonderful developments around the world in all kinds of new energies that are far greener.

The purpose of my speech today is to focus on this legislative amendment, which appears to be simple, as certain Liberal members opposite have said, but which illustrates quite well this government's Liberal philosophy. This is what I am critical of.

The current legislation regarding the responsibility of those who do not respect their responsibility to decontaminate a nuclear site says that the occupants are:

—any other person with a right to or interest in, the affected land or place take the prescribed measures to reduce the level of contamination.

Today, this text would be replaced by:

—any other person who has the management and control of, the affected land or place take the prescribed measures to reduce the level of contamination.

The government's objective is clear. It wants to get the banks off the hook and it has said as much. They want to keep the bankers, who would support investment, from being held responsible in any way for the decontamination of a site, or for related costs that could be incurred. However, it goes even further. The words “a right to or interest in”, could even include the federal government, which, through subsidies to industry, might have been seen to have a legal right or responsibility. Obviously, this is the objective of this government. This Liberal philosophy is about ridding itself of any responsibility.

Once again today, we are getting its friends and bankers, who are often great friends of the Liberal Party, off the hook. Inevitably, this leads to getting ourselves off the hook. This bill gets the government off the hook and frees it of any responsibility for contamination that could occur at a nuclear plant site. This is terrible for Quebecers and even more so for Canadians, since most nuclear sites are located in the rest of Canada.

It is a terrible thing not to bring out the fact that the government is not taking this opportunity to show the public what its philosophy is. The government does not take any responsiblities anymore. It is leaving the private sector to make out as best it can. When bankruptcies occur, no one is held responsible. This happens all the time.

While governments tend more and more to take responsibility for contamination, this government is walking away from its responsibilities and getting its friends, the bankers, off the hook. This shows what the Liberal philosophy is. To me, this is probably the most difficult. Since my election in the fall of 2000, I have seen how, in keeping with this philosophy, the federal government has simply decided to no longer get involved in any community problems.

Here are a few vivid reminders of this. During the terrible events of September 11, Canadians and Americans witnessed a unique and unprecedented situation in North America. An industry suffered in the aftermath, and several airline companies were among the casualties. Believe it or not, the federal government did not invest a cent, except for closing down the Canadian airspace for six days and compensating air carriers for the increase in insurance premiums. Nothing more.

It has let several air carriers fold. Men and women who had a lot of experience in air travel lost their jobs. The government allowed this human capital to be lost, taking for granted that the market would pick up and preferring to let it decide all things. This is what the Liberal philosophy is all about.

The government did the same thing in the automobile industry. My riding of Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel borders Boisbriand, where the GM plant is located. The current Minister of Justice, who was responsible for regional development in Quebec, made the announcement: there was nothing that could be done anymore; the Boisbriand plant was going to shut down. He had just attended a meeting with GM officials in Canada and it so happened that he was the one giving the bad news that the plant would shut down.

These days, GM workers are engaged in very important discussions. On the table is a proposal whereby GM is offering to protect union members aged 50 or more. Under the orphan clause, the younger workers will practically lose everything with the closing of this plant. This never bothered the Liberal members of this House for one moment. We had a debate during an opposition day and Liberal members never even spoke. This is the reality.

They are letting the free market dictate things and even though Quebecers buy 26% of all automobiles in Canada, the federal government finds it perfectly normal not to have an auto manufacturing industry in Quebec. On the other hand, they centralize: everything is concentrated in Ontario and they find this very normal.

Again, this shows the Liberal philosophy of letting the free market dictate things, regardless of the consequences of the closing of GM's plant in Boisbriand. I am talking about human capital, about men and women who had a lot of experience. These people will lose their jobs but, more importantly, this human capital will no longer be available for Canada's automobile industry.

It was the same thing in the airline industry. After September 11, the government let the airlines down. Recently, it was the softwood lumber issue. We had long debates and extensive discussions during which the government stated its position.

We are very upset that the Americans imposed a 27% countervailing duty. The minister responsible for this issue told us in the House “We did everything that we could”. The result is that thousands of men and women are losing their jobs, a huge human capital will be lost, because plants are closing everywhere.

The only thing the government saw fit to do was to put forward a $75 million aid package for research and development, to benefit its friends of course. Once again, the mighty big is going to swallow up the small. With a $75 million aid package for research and development, major companies will once again take advantage of the bankruptcy of weaker companies. Bigger monopolies will be created. Often, this is where the major contributors to the Liberal Party are found.

Today, again, we have a fourth revelation through a bill the Liberal Party seems to have introduced in a rather inconspicuous way. In the nuclear industry, it wants only those in management to be responsible for taking measures to reduce the level of contamination in nuclear sites, mainly to exempt bankers.

The government wants to exempt bankers; it wants to let the markets decide. What it is hiding behind all this is the desire to exempt itself from any responsibility regarding contamination of such sites.

This affects the safety of citizens throughout Canada, slightly less in Quebec, but it is very difficult. We are not wishing any disaster on anybody, in Canada or anywhere else.

As we know, the Liberal Party has been going through rough times these past few weeks, and yet the government found a way to introduce a bill that is very important for the safety of people in Canada and Quebec.

This important bill is aimed at no longer holding accountable people who may have a right to or interest in the affected place; only those managing such a place will be held accountable.

Bankers are now exempt and so is the federal government, which could have been held accountable by law for having provided grants to renovate a plant. It will no longer have any responsibilities for such places.

Once again, as I have said, this is a Liberal philosophy that seems to leave everything up to private enterprise as far as responsibilities are concerned. Yet, with regard to safety and nuclear pollution, the damage cannot be assessed in financial terms. If there is a catastrophe, the damage will be terrible.

Today, this party ever so charmingly is introducing this bill, once again with the support of the Canadian Alliance, which is no better than the people opposite. Obviously, whenever the government enacts measures aimed at decentralization in favour of private enterprise or assigning responsibility to private enterprise, it always has the backing of the Canadian Alliance. In my estimation, they are worse than the Liberal government.

So there we have the Canada of today. There is no protection for the weak and the oppressed. There is no protection for those who are so in need everywhere in Canada. As far as the nuclear issue is concerned, there could of course be catastrophes that would totally devastate families.

No problem, though. The federal government wants no responsibility, particularly no responsibility for its buddies, the bankers, who might be the ones bankrolling projects. The federal government will not, of course, want to put its money into businesses.

What they want is for private enterprise to be able to get involved in lending to it without any responsibility except for getting its money back if ever any profit is generated.

Once again, we need to update the Liberal philosophy which is increasingly sloughing off responsibility and placing a lot of it on the private sector. As we know, private enterprise often exists solely on the paper that creates it. This has been seen in all the scandals that have been going on, companies behind other companies, numbered companies and the like.

There is the sponsorship scandal. Even for a single funding of any activity, regardless of how praiseworthy that activity might be, two or three companies will be skimming off some 12% or so, and then contributing to the Liberal Party subsequently. That is the way things are.

They really want to be able to do business with the private sector. When private enterprise has too many responsibilities, as is the case here with nuclear waste, steps are being taken to absolve their little banker friends of any responsibility, for otherwise none of their funds will be forthcoming.

The obvious solution is for the government, if it really does believe in nuclear energy to that extent, to give sufficient resources to those involved in this sector for the industry and its equipment to be safe.

It is therefore digging into its coffers and its marvellous surplus in order to be able to help the industry, rather than requiring the private sector and the banks to finance nuclear energy. It tells them “In any case, if you provide financing, you will no longer be liable. If anything happens, it will just be an unfortunate event”.

It is an unfortunate event for a banker, but a tragedy for all the people living in the vicinity of these plants.

Once again, our Liberal friends across the way have no social conscience. Their social conscience continues to shrink. The more time passes, the more we see that not only do they lack an economic conscience, but their social conscience is shrinking as well. This becomes clear with a bill such as Bill C-57.

As I said, I found it hard to accept this lack of responsibility toward communities. I gave four examples.

There was September 11 with the airline industry. There was the example in the auto industry, with the closing of the GM plant in Boisbriand. The government never stepped in to support employees or come up with reprimands or try to negotiate with GM to keep the auto industry in Quebec.

It is the same with the softwood lumber industry. There is no support there either. Once again, there is no concern about social support for men and women who often represent—in the auto, airline or softwood lumber industries—significant human potential with unprecedented skills. By not supporting these industries, all the government is doing is favouring its friends, who are the most powerful and the biggest in the industry, so that they can take over other companies.

In the process, thousands of jobs are being lost. That is the hard reality of it. In the case of the nuclear industry, people will be exempt from liability. Bankers, who have provided the financing for projects, will be allowed not to check. Without any liability, they will obviously be much less rigorous in their environmental checks.

When this bill uses the wording “any other person who has the management and control of”, it is so that the federal government will not have any liability in the nuclear sector.

In this regard, I agree with my colleagues from Rosemont—Petite-Patrie and Sherbrooke. While the use of such nice renewable and non polluting energies as wind energy is expanding worldwide, and great projects could be available in Quebec, including the Gaspé peninsula, this bill provides nothing to support the industry or wind energy. There is absolutely nothing, let alone a major program to replace nuclear energy with wind energy, so that bills do not have to be introduced in the House to try to take responsibilities away from almost everyone who could be affected by nuclear energy, including our friends the bankers, as the Liberals are doing. The federal government is washing its hands of responsibility, if ever it had to invest any money through a grant or otherwise. Otherwise, it would have been bound automatically, like a banker. This is the reality.

If we want to take away the responsibilities of bankers and if, as a government, we think that we did not have any responsibility, think again. When a bank invests in a business, it has responsibilities. When a government invests money through grants in a business, it has responsibilities.

With this bill, decontamination becomes the responsibility of those who manage the business. The federal government is already having trouble managing its own affairs. It certainly will not try to manage the private sector. People who are listening to us certainly understand that. Bankers manage their banks on behalf of their shareholders. What is most important to them is the dividends they pay to the shareholders every three months, not what may be happening in the field or the problems that a community may be experiencing because of nuclear pollution.

This is not an easy end of session for the Liberal government. It introduced Bill C-57 practically in a panic, to try to keep the members of this House busy. Again, and I will never repeat it often enough, the Liberal philosophy prevails. The government does not want to take responsibility for anything, especially not social and community problems.

It washes its hands of all that. What is worse, the Liberal government even divests its banker friends of any responsibility. In this regard, the bill clearly says that those who do not manage a company and could have some responsibility for the decontamination of nuclear sites will have no such responsibility.

Numbered companies will be allowed to continue to operate nuclear sites and, if there are damages, the people will suffer the consequences. Nobody will want to help these communities. Help will only come after the fact. They will never get help before a problem occurs or while a problem is occurring. A responsible banker and a responsible government see to it that the industry always complies with environmental standards. With this bill, bankers and the government will no longer be responsible.

Such a business will then be left to itself. When financial difficulties occur, businessmen do not focus on environmental problems. They rather try to resolve short term problems like paying the employees salary and others. In the last years of operation of a business, it tends to worry very little about the environment. This is the harsh reality of this bill: the bad managers will be left to themselves, and we will have to pick up the pieces after. But above all, nobody will ever be accountable. They will all be able to say that they co-operated to the project. The banker and the government, having given a subsidy, may say “It is not our fault. It is the fault of those who were there, if things went wrong”. What matters is being able to say “It is not our fault”. In the case of a nuclear pollution disaster, they will all say “It is not our fault, it is the managers' fault”.

This Liberal philosophy of divesting oneself of responsibilities and not having any social or community consciousness is reflected in Bill C-57. It was also present in all the problems that the airline industry experienced after September 11. It is also reflected in the problems faced by the automobile industry, with the closing of GM's plant in Boisbriand for example. It is reflected in the problems faced by the softwood lumber industry since the failure of the negotiations between Canada and the United States. It comes from the desire to skirt any responsibility, and to try and save friends, particularly banker friends in this case, and the government that could have had a certain responsibility. However, when it comes to the airline companies, the automobile industry and the softwood lumber industry, it is a matter of encouraging cronies whose greater might will enable them to gobble up smaller ones, even if it means that thousands of jobs will be lost.

Nuclear Safety and Control ActGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.


Serge Cardin Bloc Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of all Quebecers and Canadians, I want to thank the hon. member for Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel for his efforts to protect the environment in Quebec and in Canada.

I would like to make a comparison with one of the main issues that my colleague is responsible for, namely Bill C-55 on controlled access military zones. In this bill, which is brilliantly reviewed by my colleague, I cannot help but see how, on the one hand, the government is prepared to interfere with people's freedom in the name of security and, on the other hand, how it is prepared to jeopardize public safety for the benefit of the nuclear energy industry. We are well aware that nuclear energy produces waste that is difficult to control.

This is very clear. On the one hand, the government is leaning in one direction, while on the other hand it is leaning in the other direction. Who is the Liberal government trying to protect? The public or the interests of a nuclear energy program, this at the expense of public safety? I would like to hear the hon. member on this issue.

Nuclear Safety and Control ActGovernment Orders

June 4th, 2002 / 1:50 p.m.


Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for Sherbrooke for his question. He has interpreted the dichotomy in the Liberal Party's position very well.

In Bill C-55, the government is submitted to pressure from the machinery of government, from the bureaucrats, who for dozens of years have dreamed of imposing their views and their policies on Canadians, one department at a time. Using September 11 as an excuse, the Liberal government introduced Bill C-55, saying to Canadians “Canada will be a safer place once Bill C-55 is passed”.

The question we have been asking the Prime Minister and the Minister of Transport, responsible for this question, has always been the same: what could you not have done prior to September 11 that a bill like Bill C-55 would allow you to do?

Once again, based on the statements made by the Prime Minister and all of the ministers, we do not know any more. They talk about national security. Today, with Bill C-57, dealing with nuclear safety and regulations, the Government of Canada is shirking its responsibility for the safety of people who could be threatened by nuclear pollution.

This government is led and directed by its public servants. It is currently much more concerned about its Liberal leadership race than it is about problems experienced by the public. It just introduced a bill in the House in the name of security.

The only security provided in Bill C-57 is for their banker friends, who will now have no responsibility whatsoever if they decide to invest in nuclear energy. This is the security the government is providing for its banker friends with Bill C-57, while Bill C-55 is intended to provide security for all Canadians.

This is the sign of a government that, at this time, has a great many other concerns than the security of Canadians or Quebecers.

Nuclear Safety and Control ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)

I wish to inform the hon. member for Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel that, if he wishes, he will have five minutes for questions and comments after oral question period.

Billy BishopStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Ovid Jackson Liberal Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, ON

Mr. Speaker, last Sunday in Owen Sound I attended the 85th anniversary of the awarding of the Victoria Cross to William Avery Bishop. If we fail to respect our heroes, we have no past, no present and no future. Attending the ceremonies were Arthur Bishop, Billy's son, and his granddaughter Diana Bishop.

During World War I Billy flew several sorties that were defining moments in the war. For this he was awarded the Victoria Cross. When I was mayor of Owen Sound in 1987 we built an airport and we dedicated it in his name so that his memory could live on. In our cemetery we have David Currie, Billy Bishop and Thomas Holmes, all Victoria Cross recipients.

May they rest in peace because they were great heroes for our country and our democracy.

Softwood LumberStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant McNally Canadian Alliance Dewdney—Alouette, BC

Mr. Speaker, the government's inaction on softwood is hurting real people and real families in my riding and across British Columbia. Thanks to the government the problem will only get worse as the 27% duty now has to be paid in cash at the border.

In my own riding I recently visited Chasyn Wood Technologies in Maple Ridge which employs over 100 workers. I was moved listening to the concerns of Chasyn workers in their lunchroom about their frustration with the prospect of losing their jobs. Job losses in one sector often have a ripple effect and they could eventually devastate towns and grow to hurt the whole province.

Close to 100 Chasyn employees have signed a petition calling on the Minister for International Trade and the Prime Minister to act now. The Prime Minister must push the U.S. to consider the bigger picture and to set up a rules based trade body that works before workers and families at Chasyn and across British Columbia are thrown out of work.

I join with hard working families of British Columbia and urge the Liberal government to stop neglecting softwood and act now before more jobs are lost.

VolunteerismStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Gérard Binet Liberal Frontenac—Mégantic, QC

Mr. Speaker, since the International Year of the Family in 1994, the City of Plessisville has honoured a family that has been particularly involved in the community over the course of the year. In 2002, the honourees are the Morin family.

Marc Morin was the chief organizer of the Marathon of Hope, the objective of which is to raise funds for needy people in the region. His wife Chantal and their three children, Pierrick, Marielou and Émilie, are also involved in helping their fellow citizens. Whether the activity relates to culture, sports, community or economic development, there is often a Morin involved.

This family from Lotbinière—L'Érable has even gotten involved on the international scene as well.

My congratulations to them for their volunteer involvement. This family is a model for all Canadians. Well done, Morin family of Lotbinière—L'Érable.

National DefenceStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, on the evening of Sunday, May 26 I had the pleasure of attending a sunset ceremony parade for the cadet corps and squadrons of the Winnipeg area. The ceremony is one that is steeped in military tradition. Its most important part being the inspection of the troops by a reviewing officer.

Among the six cadet corps on parade was 553 Sergeant Tommy Prince (PPCLI), an aboriginal cadet corps named after Canada's most highly decorated aboriginal soldier. Also on parade that day were the 2295 Royal Winnipeg Rifles Cadet Corps, the 407 Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders, 2701 PPCLI, 170 Air Squadron and 77 Daerwood Selkirk Corps. All the units were reviewed and inspected by Major-General James Lucas. He will be relocating to Ottawa very soon where he will continue to add to his more than 32 years of experience with the Canadian military.

A special thanks goes out to Major-General Lucas, as well as everyone else who contributed to making the ceremony a success, especially the cadets whose hard work, long hours of rehearsal and dedication made it all possible.

Élevages Ruban BleuStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Robert Lanctôt Bloc Châteauguay, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to congratulate a business in my riding, Les Élevages Ruban Bleu of Saint-Isidore, which was recognized as the provincial award winner at the 27th congress of the Fédération des agricotours du Québec for its promotion of goat cheese.

The jury selected it because of the devotion and caring of its operators, Denise Poirier and Jean-Paul Rivard, to ensure that visitors have an opportunity enjoy “a total farm experience”.

One of the reasons for the 50% increase in the number of visitors to this farm and its great success over the past 10 years is its Pavillon Ruban Bleu. This interpretive centre provides visitors with the opportunity to learn more about the farm's products.

Congratulations to Les Élevages Ruban Bleu for their dynamism, their vision of the future and their contribution to raising the profile of the riding of Châteauguay.

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Peter Adams Liberal Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, June 5 is Clean Air Day, a day to increase public awareness of an action on air quality and climate change. Clean Air Day is part of Canadian Environment Week which promotes the reduction of greenhouse gases and pollutants. Clean Air Day and Environment Week are very much grassroots activities.

Examples of actions across the country this week include: a beach cleanup in Halifax, an environmental health workshop in Quebec City, collection of household toxic wastes for proper disposal in Toronto, and the commuter challenge among 28 communities to see who can cut air pollution the most.

Today in Peterborough the Clean Air Day Bus will be driving the message home. The festively decorated bus will be a reminder for Peterborough residents to get involved in Clean Air Day activities and will promote the importance of active and efficient transportation for our air and our health.

Clean Air Day and Environment Week are all about individuals creating a cleaner and healthier environment.

JusticeStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Vic Toews Canadian Alliance Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, last week Focus on the Family released the results of a nationwide poll on child pornography.

Some 80% of respondents believed that the federal government should raise the age of sexual consent to at least 16 years of age from 14 years, 86% disagreed with the recent ruling that acquitted John Robin Sharpe of possessing and distributing child pornography, and 93% said that strengthening child pornography legislation should be a priority for the federal government.

The Liberal government was clearly representing only a small minority of Canadians when it voted against last month's Canadian Alliance motion to strengthen our child pornography laws and to raise the age of sexual consent.

It is time for the Liberal government to fall into step with the rest of Canadians and take the necessary measures to protect our children.

Organ DonationsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Aileen Carroll Liberal Barrie—Simcoe—Bradford, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to applaud the efforts of a constituent of mine. Liver transplant survivor George Marcello and his Step-By-Step road crew are walking across the country to raise awareness for organ and tissue donation.

Throughout his 769 day walk he has been welcomed in over 500 communities, including Barrie, and has raised awareness at almost 4,000 events. His travels have taken him all over the country. He returned to Barrie yesterday and ends his journey at Queen's Park on July 27.

This is a very important issue and I recognized this in my riding of Barrie--Simcoe--Bradford by initiating an awareness campaign three years ago. The campaign is in April of every year and compliments the ongoing national campaign. Canada has almost 4,000 people on the waiting list hoping for lifesaving organs. That is why George Marcello's message is so vital.

I say to George to keep up the good work and wish to congratulate him on his courageous efforts.

Canada-U.S. RelationsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Joe Comuzzi Liberal Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Speaker, our friendship with the U.S. is built on our close economic reliance and mutual trust. We share the same air, water and ecosystems. We have respect for the freedom of the individual and we mutually respect a system based on the rule of law. The efficient flow of people and goods between our two countries is vital.

However maintaining this close relationship is not without its challenges. Up to now our relationship has been based mainly between the administrations of our two governments and at the ambassadorial level. This relationship I am pleased to report is strong and will be enhanced. Added to our U.S. policy are new initiatives to form stronger, long lasting and productive negotiations with elected members of the U.S. senate, the house of representatives and our elected members of parliament through parliamentary diplomacy.

I urge all members in the House to participate in this very new and exciting venture in foreign affairs.

Government of CanadaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rick Casson Canadian Alliance Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, due to the Liberal government's infighting and loss of focus it is being thrust further and further into an advanced state of turmoil. What exactly has the Prime Minister been doing while he should be addressing the important issues facing Canadians?

We see him on live TV threatening whistleblowers. We see him enlisting the aid of the national media in his witch hunt to silence those seeking the truth about maybe millions being stolen. We see him defending the donations to the Liberal Party from firms doing business with his own government. We see him firing ministers who will not bow to his wishes. We see him shuffling ministers out the back door to cover up their abuses of authority. We see him defending a government that is both increasingly arrogant and out of touch with Canadians. We see him losing control as more and more of his caucus refuse to yield to his bullying. We see his government with a weak agenda and no vision for the future.

The great Liberal legacy is shaping up and frankly Canadians deserve better.

TradeStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Joe Peschisolido Liberal Richmond, BC

Mr. Speaker, Dr. Hui Chi Ming is currently visiting Ottawa to discuss his plans to assist in developing the Chinese wood construction market via a pilot project.

Dr. Hui recognizes China's fast growing economy and enormous potential for wood frame development and is looking to Canada for technical guidance, lumber and practical know how. The pilot project will draw on Canadian talent and products in all stages of development and will promote more extensive use of Canadian softwood lumber as the Chinese market becomes more accessible and the quality and availability of Canadian products is fully realized.

Dr. Hui is one of China's most prominent and successful businessmen and philanthropists. He is a recipient of the United Nation's humanity and peace promotion award and is one of China's top ten poverty aid contributors. He is chairman of the Hong Kong Association of International Investment.

This important cultural and economic development initiative is most welcome in Canada, as is Dr. Hui himself.

Automobile IndustryStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, word has come of another blow to the auto industry. DaimlerChrysler will be closing its manufacturing plant in Ajax in December 2003 with a loss of 650 jobs. In the last 18 months approximately 15,000 auto related jobs have been lost in Quebec and Ontario.

The World Trade Organization's decision to kill the Canada-U.S. auto pact and the Liberals' blind faith in free trade have caused this problem. The Liberal government must recognize that there is a growing problem in this vital part of our economy and must act to ensure its long term health and survival.

With the end of the auto pact there is no longer a need for manufacturers to invest in Canada if they are going to sell vehicles here. While we wait for long overdue government action, let us hope that auto makers recognize that one of the costs of selling in this country is investing in this country. Besides which, unemployed workers are not going to buy new cars.

Liberal GovernmentStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Richard Marceau Bloc Charlesbourg—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker

The scandals are not over yet, Nor are the shuffles you can bet. The little guy from you know where Is all but tearing out his hair

In search of traitors 'mongst his men, But where to start, for then again, The Liberal Party helps its friends, And naturally the rules its bends.

It's just like PC days of old. Ten years ago, what were we told? Integrity was on the way. Imagine then our great dismay.

But tricks that worked for 40 years Are wearing thin as judgment nears And thoughts of legacies die hard When one is hoist on one's petard.

Queen's JubileeStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Stan Keyes Liberal Hamilton West, ON

Mr. Speaker, 50 years ago, February 6, 1952, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II ascended the throne.

The Queen's Jubilee is a special time for Canadians. Many of us will participate in celebrations in our own communities. Certainly we all share in the pride and excitement of Her Majesty's 50th anniversary as the monarch.

The last 50 years have brought great innovation and prosperity to Canada. This is also a time to reflect on our own achievements of the last 50 years and to look forward to the continued promise of financial and social success in the years ahead.

I know that many Canadians eagerly anticipate next October when Her Majesty the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh will visit Nunavut, British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick and the national capital region.

I ask this House to join me in congratulating the Queen on this momentous occasion.

Mining IndustryStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Rex Barnes Progressive Conservative Gander—Grand Falls, NL

Mr. Speaker, I want to talk briefly today about a topic of great importance to the people in my riding of Gander--Grand Falls and all of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Today I am given to understand that negotiations are ongoing between the province of Newfoundland and Labrador and Inco with respect to the development of Voisey's Bay. In fact I am told that a deal will be done soon.

Given our province's past history of resource giveaways, it is vitally important that the Voisey's deal be a good deal. To ensure that we are getting a good deal any agreement with Voisey's Bay must not be done behind closed doors. It should be publicly debated and should be ratified by the house of assembly in Newfoundland and Labrador before a deal is signed.

Voisey's Bay is a non-renewable resource. We only get one shot at doing it right. We found out with Churchill Falls that it was too late to close the barn door after the horse was gone.

Shree Swaminarayan Community ComplexStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Roy Cullen Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, recently I had the opportunity to participate in a pooja which is a construction commencement ceremony for the start of the Shree Swaminarayan Community Complex that will be located on an 18 acre site in my riding of Etobicoke North.

When completed this site will be an astounding combination of pillars, pinnacles and domes made of marble, stone and hand carved wood. It will be a remarkable architectural achievement and the first of its kind in Canada, making it a unique tourist attraction as well as a fully functioning community centre.

Please join me in celebrating the beginning of this important project for the South Asian community of Etobicoke North.

Parks CanadaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rob Merrifield Canadian Alliance Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, last September I rose to warn the heritage minister of the environmental harm that was going to occur if national park wardens were unable to fulfill their enforcement role.

Parks Canada has been churning out the line that “little lasting damage was done to national park resources and any that was done was a necessary cost of fighting to be sure wardens did not get side arms”.

Nathan Anderson of the Jasper Booster newspaper has obtained a leaked document from Parks Canada's serious incident reporting system which tells a very different story.

Numerous cases of poaching and other irreversible environmental damage has occurred.

As I said last fall, a little common sense is needed to save our parks. Park wardens are the best able to protect these national treasures.

Cabinet MinistersOral Question Period

2:10 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, it became clear yesterday that the Prime Minister fired his most influential senior cabinet colleague for reasons he is unwilling or unable to explain. He has now assigned his government's two most important functions, finance and national security, to a single minister.

Does the Prime Minister have so little confidence in the talent of his cabinet and his caucus that he cannot find separate ministers for public security and finance?

Cabinet MinistersOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec


Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the many talents of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance are very well known by the people of Canada and by me in particular.