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House of Commons Hansard #143 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was program.

Topics

Children of Deceased Veterans Education Assistance ActGovernment Orders

10:25 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Cheryl Gallant Canadian Alliance Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to speak to Bill C-50 on behalf of the official opposition and more particularly, on behalf of the official opposition critic for veterans affairs, the member for Souris—Moose Mountain.

After what the minister said, I am overwhelmed on behalf of the widows across Canada who will not be receiving the same life benefits as other widows. There is an overwhelming sense of betrayal. The widows who will be without benefits have the same grief that the widows of Corporal Beerenfenger and Sargeant Short feel today. There is no difference, but because of a decision, which can be changed, those women will be left out in the cold.

There was opposition to Bill C-50, even though by all accounts it appeared that the bill was going to further the cause of all veterans and widows.

Cliff Chadderton, chairman of the National Council of Veterans Associations, had concerns and wrote to the media. He talked about being scheduled for laser surgery on one eye and being unavailable for comment. Nevertheless, he stated that he was surprised to see comments in the National Post by the Minister of Veterans Affairs.

Mr. Chadderton had written to the minister on at least three occasions about the matter and never received a reply and now he knows why. He said that he would be bringing up the matter at the annual meeting of the NCVA but there was no indication that the government would be doing anything. At the last meeting they had specifically asked that the top brackets of widows be covered even though the funds were scarce. He said that other veterans organizations made comments to the effect that they would like to see all types of widows covered.

As far as Mr. Chadderton and his researchers are concerned, they stand by the comments in the letter to the minister of October 23, 2003 and the release of that date. He feels that it is up to the minister to give him specific replies. He certainly was not satisfied to hear the minister say that he was disappointed that Mr. Chadderton should ask for his resignation, bearing in mind that the minister has given no indication that anything will be done despite a promise from the Prime Minister.

We were hoping to be able to speak of a victory today. Our critic for veterans affairs would have been so pleased to share the happiness with the thousands of military widows who have been patiently waiting for the changes that are part of this legislation. Year after year the member for Souris—Moose Mountain has pursued the goal of equality. That is what it is about, equality. It is about equality for military widows.

This year my caucus colleague set November 11 as the special target date for achieving this goal. The Speaker knows there is a great likelihood that the House will rise on November 7, prior to November 11. This causes great concern for all of us in the House that any changes will be made to ensure that the benefits go to all of the widows.

I have to wonder whether the command from the prime minister in waiting that no more funds be allocated is a stall until he rises to the throne. Could it be that his new caucus is trying to create the illusion that he will be the great saviour of these widows, or is it just simply that they are waiting for more widows to pass away and never be able to receive the benefits that are rightly theirs?

We on this side of the House feel that these widows and dependants of deceased veterans have waited long enough for equality of treatment.

For these individuals, Remembrance Day will take on a new meaning. They will not have a grateful nation recognizing their sacrifice and that of their families in the service of their country.

The official opposition will continue to press for the changes outlined in respect of benefits for veterans and the children of deceased veterans.

Actions to be taken or that have been taken since the minister's May 12 announcement include the extension of health programs for veterans on a disability pension. This will provide veteran independence program recipients the health care benefits to overseas service veterans at home when they are waiting for a priority access bed in a long term care facility. However it provides nothing for the widows whose husbands passed away prior to May 12.

The legislation would provide long term care and health care benefits to allied veterans with 10 years post-war residence in Canada but it provides nothing for the widows whose spouses died prior to May of this year.

The bill would extend, from one year to a lifetime, the period of VIP benefits that cover the costs of housekeeping and ground maintenance, and would be given to widows after the death of their spouses or partners who were veterans and receiving such benefits. However it provides nothing for the other widows whose spouses died prior to May.

It is with hesitation, particularly because of who the bill was intended to help, but it is with a sense of urgency that I would like to be acting on these matters. The aging population of our veterans, their widows and dependants means that they will not benefit from the changes being announced in Bill C-50. Remembrance Day this year will be a yearly reminder that not only have they lost a loved one but their government was not prepared to act in a timely fashion. They will remember that the government turned its back on them this November 11.

I know our critic, the member for Souris—Moose Mountain, received over 1,000 letters from widows, including letters from constituents in my riding, who wanted to be able to thank the minister for going forward with those benefits. Why has the federal government not had a change of heart in all these years?

After years of lobbying for the changes outlined in Bill C-50, what gave the final push on this? I have no hesitation whatsoever saying that it was the hard work of the official opposition critic for Veterans Affairs, who brought this issue to the forefront in the first place.

I have never been one to believe in coincidences. Canadians cannot help but wonder about the timing. It just happens that passage of the bill would coincide with the deaths of Sergeant Short and Corporal Beerenfenger in an Iltis jeep in Afghanistan. If some good could have come from this tragic loss of life, it would have been to honour veterans' widows and make the announcement today that all widows will receive the lifetime benefits. Corporal Beerenfenger and Sergeant Short would have been heroes a hundred times over, more than they already are.

If the minister had announced that all widows would receive these benefits, perhaps I would have tempered my cynicism and that of many Canadians who have come to expect a government that can never be counted on to do the right thing unless someone else, either the media or the official opposition, pushes it in the right direction.

When the government does act it is by some half measure, as we have heard today, that is more designed to silence its critics than to actually solve a problem. This brings me to the issue of the thousands of widows who are excluded from the VIP benefits.

As recently as yesterday, the chairman of the National Council of Veterans Associations called for the resignation of the Minister of Veterans Affairs for not responding to their specific concern about the shortcomings in the legislation. Today I too must call for the minister's resignation. This is betrayal of the worst kind.

It is our desire that the issues raised by the National Council of Veterans Associations in Canada, in a letter to the minister dated October 23, 2003, will be dealt with in a timely fashion and that in the future there will be no confusion on behalf of the 23,000, more or less, widows whose spouses died prior to the May date. I hope these points will be clarified in writing, not this wishy-washy doublespeak that we are getting here in the House today.

As the member for Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, it is my pleasure to represent the women and men in the Canadian Forces who are based at CFB Petawawa.

Many individuals who experience the lifestyle in the upper Ottawa valley, choose to retire here. As a consequence, a significant number of retired military personnel now call Renfrew county home. Many military widows and their dependants in my riding follow this issue of equality of treatment with individual interest. Today I dearly would have liked to have shared in the joy that should have been forthcoming. Sons, daughters, brothers and sisters all write and phone in on behalf of the widows.

I know the opposition is united across the benches on this side of the House and will continue to force the issue on behalf of the widows until we all share in the joy and stand up and congratulate whoever the minister is at that time.

Children of Deceased Veterans Education Assistance ActGovernment Orders

10:40 a.m.

Winnipeg North—St. Paul Manitoba

Liberal

Rey D. Pagtakhan LiberalMinister of Veterans Affairs and Secretary of State (Science

Mr. Speaker, the member quoted one leader of a veterans organization who, regrettably, and which caused me pain, asked for my resignation, as did the member when she echoed the same sentiment.

I want to quote from the press release put out by the Royal Canadian Legion and the Army Navy and Air Force Veterans in Canada Association with respect to this particular issue and took issue with a statement made in the media. I want to put on the record the statement made by the two oldest and largest organizations for veterans and their families. During the May 7, 2003 meeting, they stated:

At that meeting it was made clear by [the] Veterans Affairs Minister..., and fully understood by all in attendance, that the extension of the VIP for widows beyond the one year period would not be retroactive.

I read that statement because the particular leader, who the member quoted, was at that meeting and, in all modesty, I was the one who raised this particular issue. However, everyone, with great dilemma, decided to proceed and immediately effect a change in the lives of surviving spouses.

However we could not do everything at that time. As I have said in the House repeatedly, because I am a very forthright person, we did not have the fiscal resources.

However, unlike the member, who, until toward the end of her debate, spoke only about her party as though the other opposition members did not matter, I am trying to come up with the word. Is that selfishness on my part?

As I indicated, this is not a partisan issue. I want to read again from the press release of those two major organizations. They state:

We respect the current Minister of Veterans Affairs for his honesty and forthright approach in dealing with veterans issues.

Children of Deceased Veterans Education Assistance ActGovernment Orders

10:40 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Cheryl Gallant Canadian Alliance Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

They were double-crossed.

Children of Deceased Veterans Education Assistance ActGovernment Orders

10:40 a.m.

Liberal

Rey D. Pagtakhan Liberal Winnipeg North—St. Paul, MB

You wait. I waited for my time. Mr. Speaker, I would like respect in this House.

The member in her debate was trying to create an illusion while alluding to the Prime Minister. It is sad when we have a pressing issue on which we cannot all work together. It is not one group trying to find credit. That is not the way I work. I work in a quiet way and when I get results it does not matter if my name is attached to it or not.

Let us remind ourselves that the nobility of politics is best measured when we continue to do our best, to achieve results, and when we go to the great beyond it does not matter that our name is remembered. It only matters what we have achieved for the people of Canada.

The member alluded to the fact that there is nothing for the widows. There are pensions for the widows. These are additional benefits and we are working for them.

There has been no betrayal, and I can lay my record before the member. Who, with all due respect and in all modesty, has spoken harder and stronger for veterans and their families than I?.

Children of Deceased Veterans Education Assistance ActGovernment Orders

10:45 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Cheryl Gallant Canadian Alliance Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government can purchase $100 million luxury jets for the Prime Minister and his cabinet to flit around in. It can do that in the link of an eye. However, we have deserving people who have earned the benefit being left out.

Concerning respect in the House, we in opposition want respect for the widows.

The minister talked about who would get credit. I know the member for Souris—Moose Mountain has been pressing for this for years. If there is a singular issue, it is this. However, this is not about who is taking credit.

I had prepared a speech today praising what would have been the success of finally providing justice for these widows. We truly believed that the minister was going to do the right thing and announce that all widows of veterans would be treated equally.

Therefore, I stand by my request. This is not only a betrayal of the widows. It is a betrayal of the currently serving personnel and their spouses as well. For this reason, I will ask again for the minister to resign.

Children of Deceased Veterans Education Assistance ActGovernment Orders

10:50 a.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Musquodoboit Valley—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, with respect to the hon. member's request for the minister to resign, as upset as I am and as upset as people like Cliff Chadderton and many others are over the minister's stalling tactics on trying to get a change in the legislation, the member knows very well that if the minister resigned today, there would not be a new minister probably until April to get the problem solved because of the change of leadership within the Liberal party. That will delay the proceedings even longer which would delay our fight.

I commend the member for her speech with regard to the widows. I am just as upset as she is over this, but if the minister resigned today, that would delay the proceedings even longer. As upset as the member is, and rightly so, would she not think that it would be just as good for all of us, including those Liberals on the backbench who support the changes to this, to keep pushing the minister as hard as we can on behalf of the widows to get this done? Would she think that it could be a better approach to this ongoing discussion?

I agree with the member's anger about this. She is justified. The fact is there is no reason this cannot be done. There is absolutely no reason these widows cannot be looked after.

Children of Deceased Veterans Education Assistance ActGovernment Orders

10:50 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Cheryl Gallant Canadian Alliance Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the other opposition parties on this side of the House. The Progressive Conservative Party of Canada, the New Democratic Party of Canada, the Bloc Quebecois, all of us have fought valiantly for these widows and for all veterans.

I find it difficult to believe that if a minister were incapacitated that it would hold up an entire bill. Just do the right thing, do the paperwork and have these widows included.

The Liberal Party of Canada says it stands for equality. There is no equality on this issue. This would be a fine time to see whether the Liberals stand for anything.

Children of Deceased Veterans Education Assistance ActGovernment Orders

10:50 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Brian Fitzpatrick Canadian Alliance Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Speaker, I want to summarize this matter. If I understand the minister correctly on this point, he has said that they are in agreement on the objective. Therefore, I presume the objective is to provide justice for the widows and to overcome this problem. In question period I heard him say that the cupboards were bare and that the resources were not there.

I have many problems with that. The Governor General's budget went up dramatically in the last few years, by millions of dollars. The trip to Russia alone would pay for a lot of widows' pensions.

I think of some of the cronies that we have heard of lately, like Mr. Radwanski. I did some calculations on his budget. We could probably cover 2,000 widows just with what he has squandered away through excessive overspending. Then something like $20 million went to the former finance minister's Canada Steamship Lines. That would probably fund this program for its duration.

Could the member accept the argument that there really is not any government resources to fund the pensions?

Children of Deceased Veterans Education Assistance ActGovernment Orders

10:50 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Cheryl Gallant Canadian Alliance Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for making such fine points. We need only take a look at government waste to see that the money really is there. For example, $2 billion was lost in HRDC and $1 billion went out the window for the gun registry. I think an estimated $500 million is available to keep the registry going and to get it working, but it really will not save lives. It will serve only to generate artificial work and if anything, trample on the rights of Canadians.

We also saw a waste of money in the issue involving Mr. Radwanski and lunches for the Minister of Canadian Heritage to the tune of $28,000 a year.

If we really look at the spending habits of the government, individual ministers and the mandarins, we would find enough money to take care of the women whose husbands fought so valiantly for the freedom we now enjoy.

Children of Deceased Veterans Education Assistance ActGovernment Orders

10:55 a.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am here today primarily because of Bill C-50. Like many members of Parliament, I have been seized with the issue of widows' pensions.

As members know, the bill was tabled at first reading on September 18 and it would amend a number of acts. Therefore, to find some continuity to it, we have to look at the existing acts. In the current act the date at which widows become eligible for pensions is in the regulations. The bill therefore would not amend the regulations; it would amend the acts.

I want to assure members, and I would ask the member if she would agree, that the effective date of widows' pensions is a matter which is incorporated in the regulations which can be changed by order in council at any time. Therefore, it is still possible for cabinet to make the announcement of an amendment to the regulations without any further amendments to the current bill. If the member is not sure of that, she may want to at least consider asking that formally of the minister in writing.

Would she agree that if it is by regulation, this can still happen by November 11?

Children of Deceased Veterans Education Assistance ActGovernment Orders

10:55 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Cheryl Gallant Canadian Alliance Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, there are many good things in Bill C-50 and we want it to pass as quickly as possible.

The member himself said that this is a matter of changing regulations and this can be done by cabinet at any time. Why has that not been done? What are we waiting for?

All veterans and widows are concerned that if the bill goes forward, the government will forget about it after November 11. These people will be forgotten again for another year. That is why we want to ensure that the issue is addressed now, not after November 7, but now.

Paul Martin Sr. AwardStatements By Members

10:55 a.m.

Liberal

Tony Tirabassi Liberal Niagara Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to Ralph Griffin, a resident of the city of Thorold in my riding of Niagara Centre, who has recently been honoured with the Right Hon. Paul Martin Sr. award for his dedication and commitment as an Ontario March of Dimes volunteer.

Mr. Griffin, who first became involved with the Ontario March of Dimes in 1987, has been volunteering continuously for 16 years, lending his support to various programs, particularly the befriending program which fosters friendships by matching a physically disabled adult with a volunteer who share common interests.

Mr. Griffin also organizes annual social events and fundraising activities.

Congratulations to Ralph and thanks for his devotion to the Ontario March of Dimes.

Foreign AffairsStatements By Members

10:55 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Cadman Canadian Alliance Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, while the Prime Minister is hobnobbing with Chinese leaders, Dr. Wang Bingzhang, whose parents live in Surrey, serves a life sentence in a Chinese prison.

For five months in detention, Dr. Wang was not told of the charges against him. He was denied legal counsel and the right to judicial review of his arrest and detention. He was denied the presumption of innocence, the right to prepare a defence, the right to a fair and timely trial and the right to cross-examine witnesses.

In July the United Nations arbitrary detention working group declared Dr. Wang's detention to be arbitrary and in violation of international law. It found no basis for charges of espionage or terrorism against him. He is being punished for advancing the cause of democracy.

Meanwhile, our Prime Minister was greeted with a 19 gun salute along Tiananmen Square, the site of China's most infamous violation of human and civil rights.

Dr. Wang's family in Canada is frustrated to tears and ashamed of the Prime Minister's glad handing ways with the regime that has jailed their son for life.

Correctional Service of CanadaStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, earlier this week my wife and I attended a rather unusual event organized by the Correctional Service of Canada. It was the fourth charity auction of offender art, an opportunity for offenders serving federal sentences to use their artistic talents and give back to the community. The auction featured 61 pieces of art created by 27 offenders.

I am pleased to tell the House that over $20,000 was raised, some of it from me, and that proceeds will benefit the Illitiit Society of Nunavut, the United Way and the Prison Arts Foundation.

I wish to applaud the Correctional Service of Canada for taking this initiative, the National Art Gallery for providing an excellent venue and, most important, the men and women who contributed their art and thus participated in a novel way of giving back to their community.

Well done and I look forward to the fifth such auction next year.

Canadian ForcesStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

David Pratt Liberal Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I rise in the House today to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Canadian Forces communications and electronics branch.

From its humble beginnings, the signal corps, as it used to be known, has emerged as a leader in the development and use of new technologies that have enhanced the communications and operational capability of the Canadian Forces.

Past and present members of the branch have been hard at work this year organizing an impressive array of events to mark their centennial. This August in Kingston, the branch's home station, a reunion celebration was held. The branch's Colonel-in-Chief, the Princess Royal, honoured participants with her attendance over the celebration weekend.

On behalf of the hon. member for Kingston and the Islands I wish to congratulate the centennial 2003 organizing committee and all who played a part in making the 100th anniversary celebrations such a solid success.

Canadians are very proud of the accomplishments of the C and E branch and wish them the very best for the future.

Science and TechnologyStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Cheryl Gallant Canadian Alliance Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, the decision by the federal government to give $15 million to a U.S. neutron research laboratory is a slap in the face to Nobel Prize winner Dr. Bertram Brockhouse.

As the only Nobel laureate who has born, educated and completed his life's work, in Canada, he was able to do this because the research facilities exited at the Chalk River laboratories. He will probably be the last.

To maintain and continue the international reputation that Canada has developed, thanks to the work of individuals such as Dr. Brockhouse in nuclear research, we must properly fund and build research facilities in Canada. Even non-nuclear countries such as Australia operate research reactors because of the enormous application to science and technology.

By relying on other countries for a modern neutron source, Canada will find itself falling behind other countries in this type of research where once we were world leaders.

A Canadian neutron facility is essential if Canada is serious about developing a knowledge based economy. Let us keep Canadian research dollars in Canada.

United Nations DayStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

John Bryden Liberal Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Aldershot, ON

Mr. Speaker, today is United Nations Day. It is a pleasure for me to tell the House how important this organization is to Canada.

We feel that multilateral cooperation is the best way to ensure long term international security.

The UN has experienced numerous difficulties in the past year. As a result, there are many questions about the organization's role and operation.

It is essential that the UN remain at the centre of the international response to the challenges the world is now facing.

Canada will continue to support it in that role.

Front d'action populaire en réaménagement urbainStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Bloc

Diane Bourgeois Bloc Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, FRAPRU, a community organization for urban renewal, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this week. This organization has led many battles for housing rights, particularly the right to social housing.

According to a recent press release by FRAPRU, the hon. member for LaSalle—Émard co-signed a Liberal report in 1990 that accused the Conservative government of having slashed housing budgets and programs.

However, the former finance minister went even further by failing to provide a single penny for new social housing in Canada eight years in a row, which, in Quebec, deprived individuals living in inadequate housing and the homeless of 40,000 social housing units.

The Bloc Quebecois will continue to support FRAPRU's demands that the future prime minister reinvest substantially in social housing, once he emerges from behind the curtains.

On behalf of all my colleagues, I want to congratulate and thank FRAPRU and its coordinator, François Saillant, for many years devoted to defending the most vulnerable members of our society.

Toronto and Region Islamic CongregationStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the 25th anniversary of the Toronto and Region Islamic Congregation, TARIC, and to congratulate it on the launch of phase 2 of its building project.

I was honoured to be invited to the recent 25th anniversary celebration.

TARIC was first registered as a non-share capital corporation in 1978 and over the last 25 years has grown into a large multipurpose organization, serving the Muslim community in the GTA. TARIC has since become a significant presence in our multicultural community.

The TARIC centre was opened in 1991 and now has a membership of over 10,000. The new building will meet an increasing demand for space and services.

I ask members in this House to join me in congratulating the chairman, Haroon Salamat, and the board of directors on this very special occasion, and to wish them much success in their new facility.

AgricultureStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Maurice Vellacott Canadian Alliance Saskatoon—Wanuskewin, SK

Mr. Speaker, inconsistent foreign restrictions on the importation of beef products have caused great harm to Canada's beef industry.

The Liberal government has been unprepared for this problem and since the worst has occurred, the government has taken minimal and inadequate remedial action.

What is needed is for the government to immediately institute internationally recognized protocols. We need to replace damaging political posturing relating to borders with sensible, agreeable rules for all concerned.

Farmers in my riding are not simply experiencing a slowdown in their business, they are going under. For many of them, this is the most disastrous time of their lives and the most distressing time for their family members. But the government has remained virtually silent.

We cannot even say that the government is missing in action because the government is really not a part of the action.

Cattlemen across the country have given up hope that the Liberal government will do anything and have had to take it upon themselves to deal with U.S. officials directly.

Liberal GovernmentStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Yolande Thibeault Liberal Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak today to acknowledge a very important anniversary.

Tomorrow, October 25, is the tenth anniversary of the Liberal Party's victory under the leadership of the right hon. member for Saint-Maurice.

Because of the proactive agenda of the government he has led, the country has enjoyed tremendous economic growth and been able to maintain quality public services.

On this tenth anniversary, we have much to celebrate and we should be proud of our achievements. The future will be built on our successes because we have put this country on solid footing.

We are now ready for a new mandate.

Conservative PartyStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Inky Mark Canadian Alliance Dauphin—Swan River, MB

Mr. Speaker, the biggest democratic deficit in Canada is the lack of opportunity for the electorate to change the government of the day.

The success of a proposed merger between the Alliance and the PC Party will stop the Liberals from winning successive elections by default through vote splitting. There are too many parties in the House of Commons fragmenting the votes to the point that the Liberals formed the government in 1993 with only 37% of the votes.

Canadians need a real option to the Liberals in the next election capable of forming a government. That is why a merger of Canada's two conservative parties is good for both our country and democracy. With a reunited Conservative Party our votes will really count. We will have the potential to throw out an unwanted government.

The leader of the Progressive Conservative Party and the leader of the official opposition have earned our thanks for putting the country and democracy first. They deserve the support of all Canadians.

United Nations DayStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Sophia Leung Liberal Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, today is United Nations Day. It was 58 years ago today that the United Nations charter came into force. It was a coming together of countries in the hope of creating a better world based on common principles and rule of law.

The challenges facing us in the world today are no less daunting than in 1945. In some areas, we have progressed immeasurably; in others, we face new challenges. These only underline the vital role and importance of collaborative international efforts and institutions such as the United Nations.

Canada was a leader in the creation of the original UN charter in 1945. We continue to play a leading role in the world. I am sure all Canadians will join me in celebrating this year's United Nation's Day.

Imprimerie DumaineStatements By Members

October 24th, 2003 / 11:10 a.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, on October 20, the Saint-Hyacinthe chamber of commerce, the Local Development Centre and the BDC named Imprimerie Dumaine small business of the year.

It is an honour to join the entire community in congratulating Marc Dumaine, his associate Mario Haineault, and the entire team at Imprimerie Dumaine on the excellent work they have been doing since 1988.

Over the years, Imprimerie Dumaine has taken advantage of the creativity of its managers, and new technology, to build an increasingly larger client base.

Dynamic companies such as this one have helped Saint-Hyacinthe enjoy continued economic growth and a very low unemployment rate. We should thank more often these small businesses and the people running them for generating wealth and thousands of jobs in the area.

Once again, I would like to commend Imprimerie Dumaine for contributing to the fame of the Saint-Hyacinthe area.

Prime Minister of CanadaStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Ivan Grose Liberal Oshawa, ON

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow is the Prime Minister's 10th anniversary.

He has led the government to three consecutive majority governments. Since day one, the government has pursued a bold, forward-looking agenda that has never faltered, and has been devoted to building a healthy and prosperous Canada.

We have much to celebrate and much to be proud of. As one who was here in those early, heady days in 1993 I share with so many of my colleagues a sense of accomplishment. As the Prime Minister said back then, we had a lot of work to do. Well, we have done a lot of good work.

In the past 10 years Canada has progressed as a nation and secured a strong future in our ever changing world. Canada's children get a better head start, our national parks system is growing, our books are balanced, our taxes are lower, and millions of jobs have been created, and those are just a few examples.

I know my colleagues will join me in congratulating the Prime Minister on 10 good years of government.