House of Commons Hansard #46 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was pornography.


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1:30 p.m.


Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, another element that I forgot to address to the member has to do with the Criminal Code. My understanding is that there is no definition of pornography within the Criminal Code. In fact, it is a definition of obscenity. Even that definition has been around a long time.

Would the member concur that this issue, this dichotomy of language, ought to be addressed also in committee, whether it continue to be the definition of obscenity or a new definition of pornography, so that we clearly understand what we are talking?

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1:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Absolutely, Mr. Speaker. I again want to congratulate my colleague who has taken a great interest in this issue and has been consistent in his efforts to improve the legislation. That is exactly the type of improvement that I think should occur. A definition in the Criminal Code that the judges, the judiciary, the crown attorneys, the police, the lawyers and the victims could look to for direction as to what constitutes pornography is a very useful and positive suggestion. It is one I hope he and members of the government will support; given the source that they would support their own words.

Sadly we have seen too many examples in the past that common sense which prevailed on the backbench was annihilated by the front bench. This is not a partisan issue. This is by far the most practical, pragmatic issue that could come before the House on the very first day.

I am pleased and I am instinctively optimistic that parliamentarians will put aside partisanship in an effort to address this. I would suggest that this is the ideal opportunity on our first day back in the year 2003 to put that foot forward. I issue that challenge to all members, particularly on the government side.

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1:30 p.m.


Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I fully concur with the last speaker in that there is no more important issue for Parliament to address at this moment than this bill and particularly within this bill, the issue of the protection of our children from exploitation.

Throughout my parliamentary career I have tried to concentrate on children's issues and family issues for one reason, which is that I believe Parliament must be the voice for those who have no voice. In our society children do not have a voice that can influence their futures when they are dependent children.

Bill C-20 caught my attention because of the issue of pornography, but in fairness Bill C-20 has a number of provisions which I think are useful. This is the beginning of the debate at second reading. We will have preliminary discussions about what we see in the bill, the concepts, et cetera. As the previous speaker noted, this is an opportunity to define the ballpark in which we have some concerns that should be examined more closely.

That examination is going to happen in committee. Notwithstanding the character of the committee, I understand that the justice committee has worked very hard. It has done some very good work on behalf of Canadians to vet the very important questions that have been raised. I see this as an opportunity for members who are not part of the justice committee specifically to rise in this place to share the views of their constituents on key issues, whether they be exploitation, abuse or the issue of pornography.

This is the time to raise the bar to the level that should be addressed by the justice committee in doing its work. This is the time to raise the questions that need to be addressed. This is the time for us to have an influence as to the direction of this review. There will be many opportunities after this, but the more we can put some focus on this, the better.

For that reason I am rising to share what I would think are not only the views of myself and my constituents but the views of the vast majority of Canadians. The existence of child pornography in any form whatsoever is an abuse of children and it must be stopped, period. I could not say it more clearly.

I was concerned that this bill had some fuzziness to it. There was this new concept which I am not very familiar with called public good. I made inquiries of people from a number of backgrounds to give me examples. I need examples as a lay parliamentarian to understand what constitutes public good. Even among the people I spoke with, I got various opinions as to what the understanding was.

My understanding is that we cannot yet find the proper defence to the whole issue of artistic merit which is flowing from the Sharpe decision and which is still harbouring the problems within the judicial system for Parliament and for Canadians. We cannot seem to put a stake in the heart of artistic merit. People who argue or feel that possession of materials depicting pornography relating to children somehow has any merit whatsoever are very troubled people who need help.

That is a societal view. I always thought that the Supreme Court of Canada should not be a body that is there to make law or to interpret the law in a way which makes new law, but rather to apply the laws of Canada. I always thought that the Parliament of Canada was the highest court of the land. Yet time and time again this place has been very consistent, other than perhaps the NDP members who for some odd reason, want to balance the interests of artistic merit. I do not know where the NDP is coming from, but if it wants to support those who possess pornography, let us make sure the public knows that because it is not the public that I know about.

A motion will play a part of this. It is important that parliamentarians raise the rhetoric, raise the emotion, get Canadians engaged and make sure they understand. If Canadians do not understand the issue, they will be concerned that we have not done our jobs. I do not want the issue to continue to go around in circles.

In the materials provided to members of parliament, Bill C-20 will strengthen child pornography provisions. With regard to artistic merit, it does acknowledge that it will only narrow and not fully address child pornography. This is clearly an area that raises my interest in the debate at second reading. It will also create a new category of sexual exploitation. It will increase maximum sentences in certain areas, facilitate the testimony of children and also introduce the new offence of voyeurism.

Those are good and positive things. I think they will earn the support of the House, subject to proper review.

It still comes down to the fundamental issue within this omnibus bill. A lay person cannot read the bill and understand what is going on. The bill does not flow from paragraph to paragraph. There is a preamble and then it states that a certain section of the Criminal Code will be replaced by another section, et cetera. It is plugging holes and replacing or adding things. I printed a copy of the Criminal Code from the Internet. It is about six inches of paper. This is a very difficult bill for parliamentarians who are not fully engaged in analyzing the bill and asking questions.

This is why it is so important for parliamentarians to make sure in terms of highest principles and macro views and our reflections on some of the principles that the bill touches on that there can be no misinterpretation of the will of Parliament to address child pornography, exploitation, abuse, neglect and everything else.

I pulled out some of my old speaking notes from 1999 and there is something that moved me quite a bit. I was a member of the health committee. Health officials told me at the time that about 75% of the money spent on health care in Canada was remedial spending. Remedial spending is spending after there is a problem. Only 25% was spent on prevention. Those figures concerned me because Health Canada also said it was not sustainable.

There was another aspect which had to do with children. It implanted very deep in my heart a position in my parliamentary career for children. There was a statement made by an eminent child psychologist and researcher. His research had shown that back in 1999 in Canada, 25% of our children enter adult life with significant emotional, behavioural, academic or social problems. The monetary and social costs are so enormous that investing in children is an imperative, not an option.

I cannot believe there is anybody in this place who would not agree that investing in our children, protecting our children and being the voice of children in Canada is anything but our responsibility. We have to embrace this passion and let Canadians know.

We have to also understand that it will not be acceptable to have soft or partial solutions. As the courts get into court-made law rather than applying the laws of Canada and rather than reflecting the social and moral values of Canada, we need to take a stand. Public good will not make it. I cannot say to my constituents that it is not child pornography unless it can be demonstrated that it serves the public good. That is a non-starter. I say to justice officials and the minister that it is a non-starter. Parliamentarians have to say that time and time again. Let us deal with this.

These are issues I want the justice committee to look at. I want the committee to make sure when Canadians are told the language that they will not balk and ask questions. Public good as a concept raises more questions than it provides answers. This is wrong. The legislation should be addressing the issues. There is no issue that is more important to address at this time. We have been going around in circles on this issue for years.

There is no artistic merit in abusing children. There is no artistic merit in depicting children in horrendous ways. There is no question in my mind that Canadians abhor child pornography. Those who perpetrate it, who possess it, who produce it and who distribute it are problems in our society.

The Supreme Court of Canada made a decision on abortion. It did not say that children do not exist prior to birth. It decided that it would put the rights of the mother ahead of the rights of the child. This is an example of where the courts have not only tried to balance, but in fact have put the rights of one party ahead of the rights of another party. If the courts can do that, surely we can put the rights of children ahead of the rights of those who feel they have to demonstrate artistic merit by exploiting children.

I do not want to argue about what artistic merit there may be. In my view the answer is clear.

It is clear; for me, it is clear.

This is an issue that is clear for all Canadians.

I want the courts to know how Parliament feels. I want Canadians to know how Parliament feels. I encourage members to rise in their places and say what is in their hearts and to tell the House what their constituents have said to them about this issue. I do not believe there is any disagreement on these issues.

I want to comment on a couple of other issues for the justice chair. I know he has been following the debate.

I do not understand why the Criminal Code does not define pornography. I submitted a private member's motion a number of years ago to replace the definition of obscenity, which is in the Criminal Code, with pornography.

It is troubling to me that once people reach the age of consent, once they become adults, all the rules and all the concerns that we express with regard to the exploitation of children get thrown out the door and that same type of degradation and exploitation of human beings no longer is a problem. In our society, a terrible crossroads occurs when the values we hold with regard to children are not the values we hold for men and women.

We need to reflect very seriously on the social and moral values of our country. Parliamentarians have to be looked to for setting the tone and the example. We need to make sure that the legislation we deal with is put through a filter that reflects those social, moral and family values.

We cannot have it both ways. We are weak on obscenity with regard to adults and we want to be champions with regard to children. I am not sure whether our case is strengthened by having two sets of rules in terms of the degradation of human beings and the exploitation of women, children and anybody else who is incapable of having a voice for themselves.

These are serious issues which will be addressed in committee. I hope we can talk seriously about what happens with the notwithstanding clause. We have to start talking about this. I understand that section has been used rarely, two or three times, in very rare and obscure circumstances. If parliamentarians were to consult with their constituents and Canadians at large and they were to bring back their message Canadians would say that they could not think of another issue on which they would want the notwithstanding clause to be invoked than the protection of children. If it meant protecting children from exploitation, abuse and neglect, Canadians would say it was an appropriate use. It is certainly to be respected.

We need to discuss these things. People cannot stand out there all by themselves trying to whistle in the forest with nobody to hear them. This is not a forest. Everybody is listening. Now is the time to raise our voices, to express our views and to do what we can to protect the children of Canada.

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1:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Myron Thompson Canadian Alliance Wild Rose, AB

Mr. Speaker, I appreciated the member's comments and I will be looking forward to his no vote on the legislation when it comes as is. I am sure that will happen because what he is against is exactly what the bill would allow to happen.

More specifically, an omnibus bill always bothers me. We know there are a lot of parts of this bill that will take a lot of time to interpret, understand and clarify, and it will go to committee. Whenever anything of this nature goes to committee it usually means weeks that turn to months and months that could possibly turn to years, which can turn to an election which means it could be lost on the Order Paper. I see a lot of things that could develop in a short time that would never see any kind of change come to light because of the process.

However, there is one thing that I think the member would agree with and I would like to hear his thoughts. As a grandfather, and I seriously doubt there is anyone here who does not have connections to kids, I feel we should do something about banning and stamping out child pornography as quickly as possible because it is hurting our children every day. Let us not waste time with a measure that people across this land want to see gone.

Would the member agree that the section dealing with child pornography could be presented on its own? Could we not deal with it in a manner that says loud and clear to child pornographers, producers and distributors that there is no room in this country for child pornography? We will not accept it. Let us be leaders of the world and stamp it from our civilization.

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1:50 p.m.


Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I do not disagree with the sentiments of the member. We have had more than enough examples of committee work, but I think the member would concede that the justice committee is one that has carried a big load. No amendments can be made at second reading. It is simply if members do not want to talk about this bill at all, then they can vote it down.

The only way we will fundamentally address this is to get the bill on the table. The way to do that is to get it into committee and give our people the best opportunity they can to deal with it. There are several provisions within the bill that I believe are important to get through. I do not disagree with toughening up the whole scenario with regard to child pornography, but we must make that effort in committee, and at report stage if needed. I understand the member is concerned about timeframe, but those are the rules of this place.

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1:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Darrel Stinson Canadian Alliance Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for his speech in regard to child pornography, but I have the same concerns as the hon. member for Wild Rose. I have been here since 1993 and one of the reasons why I ran was with the understanding that as senior politicians it was our job to protect those who needed protection, the law-abiding citizens of this country, our women and children, and particularly those most vulnerable.

However, with regard to child pornography, we have seen this go on for a number of years. This is not new for the House, but it gets pushed back all the time. If we are supposed to be the lawmakers is it not time for us to take that responsibility? We do not need grey areas, such as for the public good, put into pieces of legislation and law.

I would like to ask the hon. member, if the bill is not amended will he stand here today and say that he will vote against it?

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1:55 p.m.


Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I believe the question was: if the bill is not approved, will the member vote against it? That is a double negative and I do not think the question works.

Let me say to the hon. member that he clearly knows where I stand on this issue and he knows that we must deal with this matter. We must get this bill into committee. That is the place where members of Parliament will have the opportunity to raise these concerns. Members of the committee, if they share our views, will come out and clearly say that we do not want to leave this lack of certitude in terms of the concept of public good.

We want to address it fundamentally and frontally, and if the courts do not accept it then we have the tool of the notwithstanding clause to ensure that it is the will of Parliament, the highest court in the land, and not the Supreme Court of Canada, that will speak on behalf of children.

Child CareStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


John Godfrey Liberal Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, in a poll released earlier today 90% of Canadians said they strongly agree with the statement “Canada should have a nationally co-ordinated child care plan”. Eighty-six per cent agree that there can be a publicly funded child care system that makes quality child care available to all Canadians. Clearly Canadians overwhelmingly recognize the importance of a national child care strategy.

It is time that governments caught up with our fellow citizens and put in place the child care architecture that would improve both our prosperity and our quality of life. It would allow parents to improve their education, upgrade their skills and enter the workforce while also improving the development outcomes of our children.

The fact is that Canada is falling behind many OECD countries in the provision of child care and preschool programs. Let us get on with catching up.

National DefenceStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Keith Martin Canadian Alliance Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is bad enough that the Liberal government has been chronically underfunding and neglecting our defence forces since it was elected, but what it is now doing to our military families while we are on the cusp of war is truly despicable.

In November the government increased the rents of our soldiers' homes $100 a month. Next month it will cut their cost of living allowance $150 a month. Even with their raises, our soldiers this year will be much worse off than last year. What kind of government do we have that gives a raise to our troops with one hand and then slyly takes much more money away from them while they are on deployment? This is atrocious policy and appalling timing. At our naval base in Esquimalt this has been greatly demoralizing.

To the government: do the right thing, freeze the rents on our military families' homes, stop cutting their PLD, and treat our military and its families with respect.

Family Literacy DayStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Karen Redman Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, Family Literacy Day is a national initiative that was created by ABC Canada in 1999. Family literacy refers to the various ways families develop and use literacy skills such as reading, writing and numeracy to fulfill daily tasks and activities. ABC Canada has done a tremendous job over the years of bringing sponsors together and raising awareness of the importance of literacy.

Across Canada, literary organizations and coalitions, as well as schools and libraries, are hosting literacy themed events such as read-a-thons, reading circles, story writing contests, and celebrity readings to raise awareness about the importance of family literacy. This year, Robert Munsch, Canada's best selling children's author, has agreed to be the honourary chair of Family Literacy Day 2003.

As a former writer and a mother of four, I would ask the House to encourage all Canadians to build and share within their families the wonderful gift of literacy.

Family Literacy DayStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Raymonde Folco Liberal Laval West, QC

Mr. Speaker, Family Literacy Day, which we are marking today, reminds us that it is important to read to our children every day.

What we learned in childhood and youth stays with us forever. Approximately eight million Canadians, or two in five working age Canadians, do not have the literacy skills required to participate fully in our society. Our common challenge is therefore to ensure that all Canadians acquire early the level of literacy that will enable them to participate in the country's economy.

Literacy begins in the family and continues at work.

I encourage my colleagues in the House and all Canadians to read to their children. I would also like to congratulate all those working to improve family literacy in Canada.

Member for LaSalle--ÉmardStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Strahl Canadian Alliance Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the member for LaSalle--Émard, the self-declared Moses of Canadian politics, has come down from the Eastern Townships and has delivered his ten commandments of democratic reform. These commandments are not written in stone since they change depending on who is in the listening audience, but near as we can tell they go something like this:

Thou shall not let other leadership candidates sell memberships.

Thou shall ensure provincial executives execute the first commandment perfectly.

Thou shall replace local riding executives who fail to observe these commandments.

Thou shall retain the leadership prerogative to appoint Liberal candidates where necessary.

It shall be necessary whenever a candidate fails to observe these commandments.

Thou shall not disclose thy donor list until after one wins the leadership race.

I shall not bad-mouth obviously less qualified candidates for leader since that is a job for my supporters.

Thou shall support the Prime Minister at all times, though this commandment is delayed until I become the Prime Minister.

Thou shall not observe the commandments of the red book since it was merely an election tool, and that was then and this is now.

The 10th commandment should really be: thou shall not take seriously any promises of democratic reform from anyone in the Liberal Party of Canada.

HealthStatements By Members

2 p.m.


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

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister of Canada is sincerely hoping to come to a cooperation agreement with the provinces to better integrate health care services in Canada.

The Prime Minister of Canada wants an effective health care system that provides access to a health care professional 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; that provides timely access to diagnosis and treatment, without having to repeat tests with every new health care professional that is seen; that provides access to quality home care, and finally, that provides access to needed drugs without causing financial pressures.

The Prime Minister of Canada wants a formula that is flexible enough to take into consideration the situation in each province.

The Prime Minister of Canada said that we need accountability, that the Canadian public demanded it. He is right. Quebeckers do not understand why their premier, Bernard Landry, refuses to be accountable to Ottawa for how it manages the money that Ottawa transfers to Quebec.

Marc-André FleuryStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Louis Plamondon Bloc Bas-Richelieu—Nicolet—Bécancour, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to pay tribute to a young man barely 18 years of age who thrilled sports fans over the holidays.

Marc-André Fleury from Sorel did us proud with his excellent work as a goalie at the World Junior Hockey Championship. He and his teammates returned home with a well-deserved silver medal. The experts concur that Marc-André is Quebec's best pick at the next National Hockey League Entry Draft.

In addition to his prowess as an athlete, Marc-André is a good ambassador for Quebec. The way he handled the many media questions showed his terrific personality.

Congratulations also to his family for their wonderful support. His family has instilled him with values that enable him to remain very down-to-earth despite the glory of the past few weeks.

In a sport where millions of dollars triumph over passion, he still enjoys playing hockey. I hope the season ends well, Marc-André, and, next year, bring home the gold.

Hockey Day in CanadaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Nancy Karetak-Lindell Liberal Nunavut, NU

Mr. Speaker, on Saturday, February 15 Iqaluit, Nunavut will be the main broadcast location for the fourth annual Hockey Day in Canada. I applaud CBC for broadcasting from the coolest capital city of Canada as all the six Canadian hockey teams face off against each other across the country. As well, on this special day, local hockey stories will be broadcast, players interviewed and coaches questioned.

I know that residents of Iqaluit are looking forward to this event. As home territory of Jordin Tootoo, a rising young Inuk hockey star, Nunavut is passionate about hockey and happy to be the hub of Hockey Day in Canada.

I would ask that all my honourable colleagues join with me in declaring that February 15 be Hockey Day in Canada for this year.

Child PornographyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Cadman Canadian Alliance Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, in the November 2002 issue of The Well , published by the Church Council on Justice and Corrections, Canadians were reminded of a new website, It was created by Child Find Manitoba to help prevent the online sexual exploitation of children.

This project provides Internet surfers with a place to report illegal content, child pornography and online activities such as child luring. Canadians can reach this service at There is also a toll free hotline at 1-866-658-9022.

Cybertip's aim is to investigate each tip and to refer leads to the appropriate law enforcement agencies. Parents will want to visit for important information to secure their children's personal safety in their busy day to day lives.

I encourage all parents to visit this website with their children and to spend the time necessary to learn and discuss this wealth of child safety information.

Avril LavigneStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


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

Mr. Speaker, thank you for this opportunity to recognize a young woman whose hometown, indeed her whole country, celebrates her success. I am speaking of Avril Lavigne.

Avril is from Napanee, the largest town in my riding of Hastings—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington but a small town just the same. We take pleasure in knowing that Avril grew up here, sang gospel at the Evangel Temple and practised, practised, practised. She sang at local fairs and events and attended Napanee District Secondary School, as I did.

Avril's doorway to a broader audience came when she won a contest to sing at the Corel Centre in Ottawa with Shania Twain in 1999. Avril's confidence and determination, along with her talent and voice, has led to an avid following after the release last June of her first CD, Let Go . Now, with over 8 million copies sold and 5 Grammy nominations, international success is hers.

Canadians from sea to sea to sea are cheering for Avril. Good luck and God bless her as she enters the realm of the stars. Everyone at home is cheering for Avril.

Family Literacy DayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Diane St-Jacques Liberal Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, January 27 is Family Literacy Day, which was created to celebrate literacy and to promote reading as a family activity.

This is also an opportunity to emphasize the government's commitment to literacy and the essential role of Human Resources Development Canada and the National Literacy Secretariat.

Each year, the Government of Canada invests nearly $30 million in literacy projects throughout Canada. As stated in the 2002 Speech from the Throne, the Government of Canada has made literacy a priority. The throne speech reminds us of the government's commitment to invest in literacy and education and its promise to promote work-based learning.

Being able to read and write is an essential skill in today's labour market. It is important to read to our children every day in order to teach them very early on the joys of reading and learning.

Family Literacy DayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Monique Guay Bloc Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, January 27 is Family Literacy Day.

What we learn during our childhood stays with us for our entire life. That is why as parents, it is so important to give our children an appetite for reading and learning at a very early age.

In Canada, 22% of adults have serious problems reading. According to Statistics Canada, there is a direct link between literacy and economic status. This study reveals that each additional year of education equals an additional 8.3% a paycheque.

The International Adult Literacy Survey also shows us that illiteracy reduces the chances of finding a job. And that is not the worst. People who are illiterate cannot fully exercise their rights as citizens and are often excluded because they do not have the basic tools to participate in societal debates.

Let us take the time to read together as a family and to share the joys of reading with our children.

Leader of the New Democratic PartyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, my New Democrat colleagues and I stand together and stand tall with our parliamentary leader in congratulating and welcoming our new leader, Jack Layton.

At our historic convention this weekend, 44,000 New Democrats took part in selecting our new leader. We invite Canadians to join us in rallying behind Jack's vision for hope, a vision that includes implementing Kyoto, adopting Romanow's health reform blueprint and saying an unequivocal no to war in Iraq.

As the U.S. continues to beat the drums of war, Canadians watch our government seesawing back and forth. The defence minister says, “Yes, Mr. Bush, Canadians will obey”. The foreign affairs minister says, “No, Mr. Bush, at least not today”. Our Prime Minister as usual says both at the same time.

In the words of Pierre Ducasse, “To attain the results you've never had, you have to do what you've never done”. And that is what we are going to do.

Welcome aboard, Jack.

Leader of the New Democratic PartyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the official opposition, I also wish to congratulate Jack Layton on his successful election Saturday as the new leader of the New Democratic Party. I managed to catch the announcement of the first ballot on television with my wife and saw that he received 31,149.9502 votes. I am really interested to know how he missed out on someone's .0498 of the vote, but maybe we can talk about that later.

While I hesitate to actually wish him good luck, I believe that I speak for all of us in the House in saying that we look forward to his active involvement in federal politics and presumably in the House itself.

Jack Layton has dedicated more than two decades of his life to public service. He has earned a reputation as a passionate advocate of social justice with a great love for the country.

While we will probably rarely agree with most of his ideas, the Alliance looks forward to his contribution to a positive public policy debate.

On a personal note, if the last year has taught me anything, it is that leadership and politics are very much a family affair. Therefore I wish to extend my congratulation and welcome to Jack, to Jack's partner Olivia Chow and to their daughter Sarah and son Mike.

Leader of the New Democratic PartyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Benoît Sauvageau Bloc Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian political landscape is changing, especially today as two new members enter the House of Commons in addition to the arrival of the new leader of the New Democratic Party, Mr. Jack Layton.

We wish them all a rewarding career serving our fellow citizens.

The members for Berthier—Montcalm and Lac-Saint-Jean—Saguenay passed the electoral test and we congratulate them. However, the new leader of the New Democratic Party still has that hurdle to cross.

To Mr. Layton I say, see you soon. To my two new colleagues, welcome.

Leader of the New Democratic PartyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of my hon. colleagues in the Progressive Conservative caucus, I want to welcome the new leader of the New Democratic Party, Mr. Layton, to federal politics.

He of course started his political life in the Progressive Conservative family, as did the leader of the Canadian Alliance, most of the members of the Bloc Québécois, too many stray members of the Liberal Party to mention, and Mr. Layton's distinguished competitor, the member for Winnipeg--Transcona.

As a parliamentarian who also knows the rigours of party elections, let me also commend the contribution to Canada of the member for Winnipeg--Transcona, for whom the immense respect of the House is undiminished.

I want also to congratulate the member for Regina--Qu'Appelle and the member for Windsor--St. Clair.

Jack Layton brings an image of energy and imagination to Canadian public life. He has had entrusted to him the stewardship of a political party which has helped shape and define the Canadian community. He made his mark in municipal politics, which is not always the same as the federal arena. When he needs help in learning how to adapt, my large caucus is full of people who have experience in that transition.

As others in the House will attest, Jack Layton's easiest days as leader of his party are behind him. We look forward to seeing him when he gets here, if he gets here, and we wish him success but not too much success.

Leader of the New Democratic PartyStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Bras D'Or—Cape Breton Nova Scotia


Rodger Cuzner LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I too would like to rise in the House today to congratulate the new leader of the New Democratic Party, Jack Layton.

Success of his leadership campaign was certainly evident in the commanding first ballot victory on Saturday in Toronto. A native of Hudson, Quebec, Mr. Layton has certainly become a political force in Toronto municipal politics since his first election to city council in 1982. On behalf of all Liberal members, I would like to welcome Jack Layton to the national political stage and hope to see him in the House very soon.

I would also like to offer congratulations to the other candidates, the members for Winnipeg--Transcona, Regina--Qu'Appelle and Windsor--St. Clair, as well as Pierre Ducasse and Bev Meslo. I am sure we will enjoy debating with all over the years to come.

Presence in GalleryStatements By Members

January 27th, 2003 / 2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

I draw the attention of hon. members to the presence in the gallery of the same Mr. Jack Layton, newly elected leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada.