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House of Commons Hansard #142 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was leader.

Topics

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, let me answer the future former Minister of Citizenship and Immigration by quoting a statement he made to the Devoir on September 23, 2003. He said, “The facts are clear. The hon. member for LaSalle—Émard is our de facto leader”.

Therefore, I find it rather strange, to say the least, that the future former Minister of Citizenship and Immigration would answer by praising the current Prime Minister when his statement kind of paved the way for the current Prime Minister to leave earlier than planned. The members opposite are all the same.

That is why they are turning today's motion into a non-confidence vote. They are scared witless. They are all afraid of being turfed out as ministers, the future former Minister of Citizenship and Immigration included. They will vote according to a very narrow interpretation of the motion brought forward by the Bloc Quebecois and say that it is a non-confidence vote that could bring the current government down.

That is what they are going to do in order to keep hiding their true colours and behaving like hypocrites. By showing the current Prime Minister the door—

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot has one more minute left to complete his answer. I would urge members to show some cooperation and be more careful in their choice of words so that we can proceed with this debate in the tradition of this House.

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, I greatly respect the future former Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. I respect him too much to use such terms. You are quite right.

However, the fact remains that the majority of members on the government benches take part in caucus meetings on Tuesday evenings, the future prime minister's caucus. Today, if this vote is being turned into a non-confidence vote, it is because they needed a reason to vote against the Bloc Quebecois' motion.

Even if the hon. member for LaSalle—Émard is present during the vote, he will vote against this motion, because he will say that it is a non-confidence motion and that it is a threat to the government, which is entirely untrue. Consequently, on his part, this is not hypocrisy—perhaps this term is too strong—but it is just like him.

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski-Neigette-Et-La Mitis, QC

Mr. Speaker, this debate needs to focus on the real issues. The hon. member for Winnipeg—Transcona does not appear to have understood the essence of our motion. Since we have been talking about former this and former that, I was surprised to learn that the former NDP leadership candidate did not understand our exact intention. We want the person calling the shots to take over, nothing more.

When I was a kid, we used to have a hymn that went, “The old and the new, there is only one god in the heavens”. Here, two people are trying to rule. That is why nothing is working.

I was listening to the speech by the hon. government House leader. He trotted out everything he could find in Montpetit-Marleau. He tried to make us believe that it would be really horrible if, by some chance, the Liberals dared to vote the way their conscience tells them to.

What would happen if, by chance, the Bloc's motion were carried? Are the Liberals even able to answer that question? Something very simple would happen. In our British parliamentary system, the Governor General would urgently call back from Asia the Prime Minister—who must have travelled there on his Challenger bought from Bombardier—and tell him, “Minister Prime Minister, I think you have a little problem”. He would say, “You are right, Your Excellency. It would seem that I have lost the confidence of the House”.

Having come to that conclusion, what could the Governor General do? She could ask, “Can you think of anyone in your party who could form a majority government?” Now, the cat would be out of the bag. The Prime Minister would say, “Sadly, yes, the member for LaSalle—Émard is ready to take over and form a new government”. The Governor General would then ask him to form a new government. We would not be facing a crisis, as the government House leader would have us believe. We would be out of the current crisis. That would make a big difference.

My hon. colleague and friend from Hyacinthe—Bagot said earlier that the picture of the future prime minister was making the front page of newspapers. That is not all we could see in the papers today. Eddie Goldenberg made a remark in a conversation that was overheard. The PMO is pretty sophisticated now. It can overhear conversations. Mr. Goldenberg, from the PMO, suggested that Team Canada missions abroad would be cancelled under the future prime minister. That is what came out of China today. The Prime Minister was asked about it. He said that, naturally, it would be up to his successor to answer the question.

We could go on for hours listing all the problems we are having because the man pulling the strings and running the show is not among us. He is the invisible man. Yet, like God, he is omnipresent. He influences every government decision. He is just everywhere. We can see him making comments here, and cancelling this or that there. He said we could pass legislation if we wanted to but that, once in office, he would not enforce it.

So, what did the government do? It shelved the bill. It is no longer dealing with it.

Consequently, I think that the fundamental meaning of our motion needs to be understood. We are tired of hearing that, on November 7, we will all go home because we have to wait for the Liberal convention, which will be held on November 15. The current Prime Minister wants to go to Africa, because he has not seen his friends in a long time; he wants to go to Mexico in January and he will do some major house cleaning on Sussex Drive in February. Then, he will let the other one take over.

We are saying that this is taking too much time. As members of Parliament, what are we going to do in the meantime? We will be waiting. We will not even be able to see the Quebec-Windsor train go by, because the Liberals cannot make up their mind; the future prime minister does not want the train, he prefers to fulfil his promises in western Canada and keep the money.

He surely will have plenty of time to choose his cabinet. If the Liberals are to be believed, I think they will break the record of Bangladesh, which has 63 ministers. I believe the Liberals will appoint 64 ministers, because so many backbenchers think they should be appointed to replace the current ministers.

Since the time is short, I believe it is important to get serious about this process. I tried to put some levity in my speech, because it is lunch time. We need to give this motion all the importance it deserves and we need to know that it is in the interests of Canadians that the Bloc motion get massive support from members of the House.

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

I remind the House that it is difficult to ask a member to begin a speech a few minutes before question period. However, if someone wants to ask a question, we could entertain it.

The hon. member for Rivière-des-Mille-Îles.

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1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles-A. Perron Bloc Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the few minutes remaining before question period, I would like my colleague from Rimouski-Neigette-et-la Mitis to comment on the statement made, on September 23, by the new future former Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.

The facts are clear. The member for LaSalle—Émard is the de facto leader. Is this not a case of running with the hare and hunting with the hounds?

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski-Neigette-Et-La Mitis, QC

Mr. Speaker, this is a very interesting comment. My friend, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, could very well end up with another portfolio. Maybe that is why he opened that door; who knows? In politics, to have any kind of future, one must know how to position oneself. Maybe he did say that the person he recognizes as the de facto prime minister is the member for LaSalle—Émard.

Maybe the member for LaSalle—Émard was pleased with that comment and maybe he will remember it and find a limousine somewhere on the hill so that the member for Bourassa—

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Order. We will now proceed to statements by members.

The hon. member for Parkdale—High Park.

Gemini AwardsStatements By Members

October 23rd, 2003 / 1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Sarmite Bulte Liberal Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television for its production of the 18th Annual Gemini Awards.

I would also like to offer my warmest congratulations to the winners and the nominees of these awards which honour excellence in English language television.

In our ever-globalized world, protecting, promoting and celebrating our country's cultural life is increasingly important. The Geminis help us in this cause by celebrating Canadian cultural achievements and by heightening public awareness of the tremendous work of our gifted performers and producers.

Our government did something remarkable when it invested in the arts and culture industries; however, they constitute an ongoing challenge and we must continue to look for effective and innovative measures to ensure that Canadian talents will continue to shine brightly and obtain all the success they deserve.

Congratulations once again to all those who continue to bring vitality to the telling of Canadian stories.

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Duncan Canadian Alliance Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, the old post office and the current federal fisheries office in Campbell River are partially sitting on fuel contaminated soil. The municipality and the developer have waited more than two years for competing federal departments to determine liability for cleanup.

Campbell River downtown development is stymied and the stewards of fisheries and oceans in the salmon capital of the world are housed on top of contamination.

I wrote to the Minister of the Environment in July to break the deadlock. His response in August referred me back to the deadlocked departments, which solves nothing. I talked to the environment minister in September and again yesterday.

The community deserves a solution. Patience is wearing thin and the environment minister must act now.

Scouts in Saint-NicolasStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Christian Jobin Liberal Lévis-Et-Chutes-De-La-Chaudière, QC

Mr. Speaker, on October 11, the Scouts in Saint-Nicolas celebrated their 25th anniversary. Just over 2,000 young men and women have benefited from this organization, thanks to the time and support provided by over 350 adult volunteers.

Belonging to the scouting movement enables young people and adults to take an active part in the life of their community. The movement provides access to numerous activity programs geared to various age groups. Focusing on participation and not on competition, on helping others and developing know-how, scouting provides young people with a basic system of values and ethics. Scouting offers an environment where young people learn to be tomorrow's adults.

Thanks to the involvement of the Government of Canada, the festivities surrounding the 25th anniversary of the Scouts in Saint-Nicolas was a great success.

Long live the Saint-Nicolas Scouts.

Small Business WeekStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to inform the House that this week is Small Business Week in Canada.

This year's theme is “You're the power behind the Canadian economy, let's share the energy”. As the theme suggests, Small Business Week 2003 focuses on the power within every entrepreneur who has taken an idea and used it as the foundation for building a business.

During this special week which began as a small event in 1979, Canadian entrepreneurs will have an opportunity to celebrate their innovative ideas and to demonstrate the benefits of nurturing research and development with Canada's small businesses.

A recent survey shows that small enterprises employ close to 4.8 million people, or 49% of the total private labour sector. Between the first quarter of 2002 and the first quarter of 2003, small businesses created 163,000 jobs, or 39% of the new jobs in the economy. Their role in the Canadian economy is increasingly important and their contribution to total employment is constantly growing.

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all small business employers and employees in Canada.

Shae-Lynn Bourne and Victor KraatzStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Jerry Pickard Liberal Chatham-Kent—Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to give tribute to one of the world's greatest ice dance teams, Shae-Lynn Bourne and Victor Kraatz, who just announced the end of their brilliant 13 year skating career. Bourne and Kraatz mesmerized the skating world with their captivating artistry on ice. If they did not always get the credit they deserved from the judges, they always won the hearts of audiences in Canada and around the world.

This twosome represented the very best of young Canadians every time they stepped on the ice. Their talent captured for them 11 Canadian titles, four bronze and one silver world championship medals, and finally in 2003, the world championship title.

We know that their success on the ice will carry forward to successes in other walks of life in the future. We wish them very well.

Although there remains a little sadness from seeing them bow out of competition, the images of their skating magic will remain in the hearts and minds of all in Canada as they go into Canadian history.

AgricultureStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Howard Hilstrom Canadian Alliance Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, the prime minister in waiting is claiming that he is working to improve relations with Washington even though he did very little as finance minister. Considering the damage the government has done to our relations, I would say that he has a huge challenge ahead of him.

What about Canada's relationship with Japan? The Japanese requested three times to participate in the BSE investigation and three times their requests were denied. Japan is a key player in re-establishing our ability to export our beef to Asia and to the United States. Good relations would help expedite the reopening of the U.S. border to live cattle and to the reopening of our beef trade with Japan.

If the member for LaSalle—Émard wants to play leader, he should not only be reaching out to the Americans but to the Japanese as well. Unfortunately he will continue to ignore agriculture generally and the BSE crisis in particular.

Jim BradleyStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Walt Lastewka Liberal St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker, I take great pride in rising in the House of Commons today to acknowledge and congratulate my provincial counterpart, the hon. Jim Bradley, who was named Minister of Tourism and Recreation by Ontario's new premier, Dalton McGuinty, during the swearing in ceremonies at Queen's Park this morning.

Jim's 26 years of exemplary service truly make him a dean of the Ontario legislature. He served as environment minister from 1985-90. He served as deputy house leader, interim leader of the Liberal Party in opposition from 1991-92 and official opposition leader from 1992-99. Prior to provincial politics, Jim was a teacher in the Lincoln County Board of Education and a member of the St. Catharines City Council from 1970-77 and served on many boards.

Even with the new responsibilities that Jim will have as tourism and recreation minister, he will continue to strongly represent the constituents in St. Catharines. We have developed one of the best cooperative services for both levels of government to the benefit of our St. Catharines constituents.

My congratulations to Jim. The people of St. Catharines and Ontario are fortunate to have Jim as their new Minister of Tourism and Recreation. I know that my friend will serve them well.

Video gamesStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, a video game to be launched by Sony early next year portrays Quebec sovereignists as terrorists who kill innocent people in the Toronto subway.

This is very close to hate propaganda. Reality or fiction, who can tell? We must remember that video game players are mostly young people who could be negatively influenced about Quebeckers.

Quebeckers are a peaceful people. It was in Quebec that the demonstrations against Canada's role in the war in Iraq had the highest turnouts, despite the cold weather.

The game, called “Syphon Filter: The Omega Strain”, instead of fostering better understanding between two groups of people, is a divisive factor and casts doubts on the legitimacy of the democratic process that may one day lead the people of Quebec toward independence.

The Bloc Quebecois is shocked that an apparently serious company like Sony could be involved in such propaganda. We demand that the company keep this game off the market and apologize to all Quebeckers.

UnescoStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Yvon Charbonneau Liberal Anjou—Rivière-Des-Prairies, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to announce in this House that UNESCO and the Inter-Parliamentary Union, or IPU, have launched an international network of parliamentarians to support UNESCO's mission and activities.

This network was officially launched on October 6, in Paris, during UNESCO's General Conference. The IPU will appeal to its 140 national branches to each designate a member to act as a focal point with UNESCO and its national commissions in 190 countries.

This international network will allow parliamentarians around the world to become more familiar with UNESCO and to better publicize this essential UN organization dedicated to the promotion of education, culture and science, and to humanizing globalization.

This network is totally consistent with the wishes of our own UNESCO Friendship Group of Parliamentarians and the Ottawa Declaration that closed the conference held here in June.

I am very pleased with the step that has been taken. Parliamentarians around the world will be able to contribute more to debates on current issues at UNESCO, such as the protection of cultural diversity, ethics and genetics, and the information and knowledge based society.

Alcoholic BeveragesStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Vic Toews Canadian Alliance Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to comment on the important democratic exercise that was conducted in Steinbach, Manitoba on October 22.

A referendum was held at the request of city council to determine whether to continue the 30 year prohibition on serving any alcoholic beverages in public dining rooms within the city limits.

While the voter turnout was approximately double what it was during the last municipal election, this was one of the largest municipal voting exercises in Steinbach's recent history.

In the end, residents voted to approve the sale of alcohol with meals in public dining rooms by the narrowest of margins. Regardless of which side individual residents supported, most agreed that this was an important exercise in democracy. It demonstrates how referendums can help decide important social issues.

Canadians across the nation should take note.

Literacy Action DayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

John Maloney Liberal Erie—Lincoln, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to recognize the annual Literacy Action Day.

Literacy engages and impacts upon every aspect of our individual lives. It is at the core of early childhood learning, our personal development, our economic opportunities and our capacity to participate fully in society. Regrettably, 40% of Canadians between the ages of 16 and 65 have very low or limited levels of literacy, while two in five working age Canadians do not have the necessary literacy levels to fully participate in society.

I am encouraged, however, by the government's skills and learning agenda and the government's commitment to knowledge as the engine of the new economy with the imperative of literacy at its core.

At this time I would call upon members of Parliament to join me in recognizing Literacy Action Day and the efforts of those who work tirelessly toward improving literacy across this country.

TaxationStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Scott Brison Progressive Conservative Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, yesterday we learned that the federal government has overtaxed Canadians in the last fiscal year to the tune of $7 billion. At the same time, the Canadian working poor have been struggling to make ends meet while paying their taxes.

The government has the opportunity to take the bold but important step to help low income Canadians by raising the basic personal exemption to $15,000. Doing so would take 2.1 million low income Canadians, the Canadians who can least afford to foot the bill for the massive federal surplus, off the tax rolls altogether.

It is just plain wrong for the government to boast of massive surpluses while overtaxing these low income Canadians. A progressive tax system should recognize that somebody making less than $15,000 per year should not be paying taxes.

The government should increase the basic personal exemption to help these struggling Canadians by giving Canadians a fairer tax system.

Literacy DayStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, October 23 is International Literacy Day. For ten years, delegates have been meeting with us to discuss rationalization projects, and literacy services and expertise.

In Canada, more than 10 million people have a moderate or limited level of literacy. This creates a loss of productivity and a major obstacle to social integration. We know to what extent the ability to read and write is a daily necessity.

In a report by the Standing Committee on Human Resource Development, we have acknowledged the importance of emphasizing the effectiveness of literacy. I would like to think that the minister responsible would firmly support the committee's recommendations for better suited action.

I applaud and thank the stakeholders who came here today to discuss the values and significance of literacy outreach.

Literacy Action DayStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Hélène Scherrer Liberal Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, like my colleague who preceded me, I want to rise today in recognition of Literacy Action Day.

Literacy influences all aspects of our lives. It is at the heart of our learning during our childhood and is what makes it possible to earn and contribute fully to society.

Literacy is also vital to us as a nation given its crucial role, in a knowledge based economy, in ensuring Canada remains productive and competitive. Although we live in a prosperous country that is rich in resources, there are still far too many adults unable to read and write properly.

We are aware of the challenges we face, and we are working hard to meet them.

Literacy Action DayStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, today marks the 10th annual Literacy Action Day on Parliament Hill.

Close to 80 literacy teachers, learners and administrators have come to Ottawa from every region of the country. They want decision makers to know that Canada's literacy challenge is serious. According to StatsCan, almost half of our adult population do not possess the literacy skills they need to thrive in the new economy and information driven society. This deficit undermines the economic and social vitality of families, communities and our country, and must be addressed.

Today there are many inequalities in access to literacy services across the country. Only one in ten Canadians who could benefit from services is being helped. Literacy organizations are working flat out while resources remain static or effectively diminish from year to year.

In keeping with the spirit of Literacy Action Day, I call upon the government to take action and adopt the recommendations of the HRDC committee report to ensure that all Canadians have the literacy skills they need to succeed.

Little Mountain Neighbourhood House SocietyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Sophia Leung Liberal Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, recently I attended the 25th anniversary celebrations of the Little Mountain Neighbourhood House Society in my Vancouver riding. This outstanding society has successfully provided many programs for the local residents, such as childhood development, young mothers' groups, employment services for youth and new Canadians, plus seniors activity groups. The society has been an active and vital resource in the community.

Recently it submitted an application under the Canada-B.C. infrastructure program and it has my full support. I wish to congratulate Joel Bronstein, executive director, and Ingrid Steenhuisen, president of the board, and all members and volunteers for their hard work over many years.

Post-Secondary EducationStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Lynne Yelich Canadian Alliance Blackstrap, SK

Mr. Speaker, figures released yesterday indicate the Liberals have cut more than $16 billion from health and social transfers to the provinces, funds that support health care, social services and post-secondary education. For college and university students this means escalating tuition fees, increased deb, and particularly for students with low or middle income backgrounds, fewer opportunities to pursue high end educational programs.

A report in the Canadian Medical Association Journal reveals that at Canadian medical schools, there are fewer students from low income families in general. Students in my riding say the increased financial pressure can be the difference between a successful education and having to put aside their studies.

Today's post-secondary students do not expect a free ride. They know they will benefit from their education and they should pay for that privilege, but when tuition and other costs double, triple, or more over a period, the financial burden can be overwhelming for students and their families.