This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #136 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was federal.

Topics

2 p.m.

The Speaker

As is our practice on Wednesday we will now sing O Canada, and we will be led by the hon. member for Sackville—Musquodoboit Valley—Eastern Shore.

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

Mental HealthStatements By Members

October 8th, 2003 / 2 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour—Petitcodiac, NB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to acknowledge the dedicated work of Robert MacKay of Grand Barachois, New Brunswick, in promoting awareness and compassion for those Canadians who suffer with mental illness. Robert has shown much courage and determination in addressing the many difficulties facing Canadians who live with mental health challenges.

He has appeared at the New Brunswick legislature to call for stronger client-run and family-run programs and he has campaigned for an end to the many discriminations faced daily by people with these illnesses.

Robert MacKay is a man of courage and determination. I salute his devotion to these people who are in such need of our support and compassion.

Infrastructure FundingStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jim Abbott Canadian Alliance Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, under the regime of the former finance minister, Canadians pay $7 billion in federal gasoline taxes each year. This averages out to $222 per Canadian, of which only $9 is directed back to infrastructure funding.

For years the Canadian Alliance has attempted to get the former finance minister to treat municipalities with respect. He changed the meaning of the phrase “all politics is local” by attaching federal and provincial strings to municipal infrastructure spending.

Now that he is one of two prime ministers in Canada, he has been embarrassed into supporting the Canadian Alliance motion calling on the federal government to initiate new discussions with provinces and territories to provide municipalities with a portion of the federal gas tax.

Last month the Liberal leader was very vague and noncommittal when he announced he would consider such a transfer. In contrast, the Canadian Alliance is specific. We would give annually $2 billion of tax room to municipalities so they could make intelligent local decisions about their infrastructure requirements.

World Sight DayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Gurbax Malhi Liberal Bramalea—Gore—Malton—Springdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, the worldwide economic cost of blindness and low vision has been estimated to be $25 billion U.S., according to Vision 2020. A major object of Vision 2020 is to prevent the world's blind population swelling from its present level of 45 million to the projected total of 72 million.

All of Canada's World Sight Day organizers support this goal through ongoing programs.

Christian Blind Mission International provides funds and personnel to restore and save sight and enable those who are permanently disabled. ORBIS operates the world's only flying eye hospital. The Canadian National Institute for the Blind provides Canadians who are blind, visually impaired and deaf-blind with a variety of services, including orientation and mobility training, vision rehabilitation, technical aids, counselling and referral, and career development and employment.

I would like to invite all my fellow MPs to mark World Sight Day on Thursday, October 9, at 12:30, with a gathering outside on the steps in front of Centre Block.

World Sight DayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Bryon Wilfert Liberal Oak Ridges, ON

Mr. Speaker, World Sight Day will be celebrated on October 9 in over 100 countries, including right here on the steps of Parliament Hill.

With vision loss affecting 180 million worldwide, organizers of this year's World Sight Day on Parliament Hill are asking for greater support in combating the tragedy of avoidable blindness. It is estimated that 80% of the world's blindness is avoidable: either preventable or curable. In fact, both the causes and cures are known and we are even aware of what steps to take.

The Canadian National Institute for the Blind and its sister blindness organizations, both in Canada and worldwide, require our resources to ensure that blindness treatment and prevention are indeed a part of national health programs.

In Canada, the leading causes of blindness, which are macular degeneration, glaucoma and cataracts, are all age related. As the Canadian population ages, there will be a higher demand for resources to meet the needs of blind, visually impaired and deaf-blind Canadians.

I would therefore invite all of my colleagues to participate in World Sight Day activities planned for Thursday, October 9. Activities begin outside on the steps of Parliament Hill at 12:30 and are followed by a reception in the Commonwealth Room.

Robert ShortStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Andy Scott Liberal Fredericton, NB

Mr. Speaker, everyone in Canada was saddened to learn of the tragic deaths of two of our Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan on Thursday, October 2. One of the soldiers, Sergeant Robert Short, was from Charters Settlement, just outside Fredericton.

This tragic event has affected people across our country. Yesterday, in Pembroke, Ontario, more than 3,000 civilians and soldiers paid tribute to Sergeant Short and Corporal Robbie Beerenfenger. This Saturday, approximately 400 members of Sergeant Short's battalion at CFB Gagetown will gather at a graveside ceremony.

Not only was Sergeant Short a soldier, he was a friend, a father and a husband. I offer my sincere condolences to his family and friends. The community of greater Fredericton and in fact the entire country share in their sorrow.

Canada's military personnel make an invaluable contribution to help ensure that our world is a safer place. Their sacrifice is immense. I pay tribute to all of them.

Pope John Paul IIStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Canadian Alliance Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, October 16 will mark the 25th anniversary of the election of Karol Wojtyla to the papacy as Pope John Paul II, making him the third longest serving pope in the 2,000 year history of the Catholic church.

Since that time, he has been perhaps the most active apostle of the Christian message of hope and human dignity ever, travelling on over 100 foreign missions and testifying in person to hundreds of millions, on every continent.

A personal witness to the great horrors of totalitarianism in what he calls the “century of tears”, the Pope has fearlessly spoken truth to power. His message of solidarity and freedom was the spiritual spark that led to the fall of the Iron Curtain, and it energized the spread of democracy from Latin America to the Philippines.

He has continued to preach his message of the divine origin of human dignity against post-modern distortions of freedom, the excesses of materialism, and the culture of death.

Now coming to the end of his service, he offers a heroic witness. Burdened by crippling infirmities, he is a sign of hope to the elderly and the disabled.

On behalf of all Canadians, let us offer to John Paul II our gratitude, our prayers and our congratulations on this, his anniversary.

OktoberfestStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to extend an invitation to all Canadians to visit my community of Kitchener to celebrate Oktoberfest. This is North America's largest Bavarian festival and it celebrates Kitchener's German heritage.

People can come and polka the night away at one of the city's festhallen , join in the spirit of gemütlichkeit at the Oktoberfest Thanksgiving Day parade, and enjoy numerous cultural events. We are especially proud this year to host a Canadian great, Stompin' Tom Connors, as part of this year's festival.

The past 35 years have seen Oktoberfest host thousands of visitors from around the world. This year over 700,000 people will enjoy the festival and $18 million will be injected into our community.

It is a demonstration of Canadian hospitality of which Kitchener is very proud. I invite all hon. members to join me as we tap the keg and welcome everyone to this great Canadian festival. Ein Prosit .

Breast Cancer FoundationStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Today I am proudly wearing the pink ribbon of the Breast Cancer Foundation which recently announced at a press conference I attended some facts about its most important fundraising activity. For seven years now, the foundation has organized the CIBC Run for the Cure in a number of cities, including Quebec City for the first time this year. This event gives thousands of people an opportunity to walk or run to raise funds for this cause.

Because each week 100 women in Quebec are diagnosed with breast cancer and 28 die, and because everyone is affected, the foundation deserves our support for its mission to finance research, develop prevention programs, and offer various support services to women with breast cancer.

Last Sunday, the Quebec City Run for the Cure was a great success with 1,200 registrants and over $113,000 raised. The Bloc Quebecois congratulates everyone associated with this event and sends its wishes for a speedy recovery to all women with breast cancer.

Izzy AsperStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

John Harvard Liberal Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is with a heavy heart that I rise today to pay tribute to Israel “Izzy” Asper. His death marks the passing of a remarkable man.

He was a man of great empathy and compassion who was passionate about his city of Winnipeg, and he gave to it with his time, energy and money. Izzy was a visionary who believed in Winnipeg and he leaves his fingerprints all over it. An amazing philanthropist, Izzy was a patron of the arts, sports and education. He gave to them all and challenged others to do the same.

However, the legacy that he leaves with us is not only his philanthropy but his spirit, humanity and friendship. Izzy Asper was a champion of the west, a talented businessman and a clever attorney. He was a proud and loyal Liberal, but perhaps above all, a loving father and husband.

Izzy was a man who never forgot where he came from and never compromised on where he was going. His death is stunning. Winnipeg and Manitoba have lost a giant of a man whose legacy is almost everywhere in the city of Winnipeg. He will be greatly missed.

On behalf of my colleagues, I offer my condolences.

Atlantic Canada Opportunities AgencyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Lynne Yelich Canadian Alliance Blackstrap, SK

Mr. Speaker, add another well-heeled Liberal to the growing list of ACOA Atlantic innovation fund recipients.

John Bragg, uncle to former Nova Scotia MLA Ross Bragg and well known Liberal Party supporter, recently received an innovation fund grant for his company, Oxford Frozen Foods.

In addition, Mr. Bragg has been listed by Canadian Business Magazine as one of Canada's hundred richest people.

On top of that, Mr. Bragg recently contributed $50,000 to the next Liberal leader's campaign.

Corporate welfare is alive and well in Canada and the Liberals are responsible. Why are taxpayer dollars being exposed to a risk that should be shouldered by one of the wealthier businessmen in Canada?

While the government does play a part in promoting economic growth, that role should not be picking winners and losers through grants.

Izzy AsperStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday one of my constituents passed away. I know I speak for all Winnipeggers when I say we profoundly mourn the passing of Israel Asper, one of the most ardent supporters of Winnipeg.

Izzy was an unusual constituent. His support was constant. His comments and his advice were pithy, forthright and always wise. I shall miss our conversations about his vision for Winnipeg and Manitoba. For Izzy truly loved and championed his hometown. His legacy is everywhere, in the arts, in education, in sports and in his beloved Jewish community.

What an extraordinary life he led, a lawyer, a media tycoon, a businessman, a politician, a jazz aficionado, a builder of Israel, a philanthropist, a devoted family man and most recently, the champion of the Canadian Museum of Human Rights to be built at the historical Forks in Winnipeg.

He will be profoundly missed by his family. I offer my deepest sympathy to Babs, David, Gail and Leonard.

PesticidesStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

John Herron Progressive Conservative Fundy Royal, NB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the environment commissioner warned of a major environmental health crisis over government mishandling of pesticides. The government has ignored the commissioner's call for an overhaul of the way pesticides are handled in this country, an appeal that she has made four times since 1993.

The Liberal government has failed to ensure that current pesticides meet basic standards. It has only re-evaluated 2% of the current pesticides, leaving well over 400 that need to be addressed. In each case the pesticides that have been reviewed either have been pulled off the market or have had further restrictions added to them. What is more, the government is irresponsibly registering over 50% of all new pesticides with temporary permits, skipping critical steps in their evaluation.

The Prime Minister is leaving a toxic legacy that he should be very ashamed of. His legacy will not be one of protecting the health and safety and the environment of Canadians.

Congregation of Sisters of Sainte AnneStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Roger Gaudet Bloc Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw the attention of the House to a decisive event in the history of the municipality of Saint-Jacques de Montcalm.

It was 150 years ago, on August 23, 1853, that Mother Marie-Anne and her 27 followers arrived in Saint-Jacques de Montcalm, after a long and perilous two-day voyage from Vaudreuil, where the Congregation of the Sisters of Sainte Anne had been founded in 1850 by Esther Blondin, who later took the name Marie-Anne. This exceptional woman was beatified by Pope John Paul II on April 29, 2001.

A dinner in honour of the anniversary of the arrival of the Sisters of Sainte Anne was held on September 6. More than 400 people attended this event to commemorating the congregation's 150 years of history.

The Saint-Jacques boarding school, founded in 1853, eventually grew into the Collège Esther-Blondin in 1996, a private secondary school offering an international education to girls and boys, at last fulfilling Mother Marie-Anne's dream of coeducational schools for poor rural children.

In recognition of this great religious figure—

Congregation of Sisters of Sainte AnneStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for St. Catharines.

St. Catharines Canadian Polish SocietyStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Walt Lastewka Liberal St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to offer my congratulations to the St. Catharines Canadian Polish Society on the 75th anniversary of its founding.

The St. Catharines Polish Society's first meeting took place in May 1928. Its charter was granted on November 17, 1928. Mr. S. Konopka, Mr. L. Skoczylas, Mr. A. Shynel, Mr. A. Dutka and Mr. A. Glowacki were named charter members. Members decided that the club needed its own hall or home. An empty lot off Facer Street was bought in March 1929 for $200. Everyone's hard work paid off and on October 11, 1942 Dom Polski was officially opened.

In September 1979 Polonia Park became the official name of the farm property that had been acquired for use by the club. In January 1988 then president Leo Skorski introduced a new undertaking that would see the club construct the I. Paderewski Society Home for seniors, which opened in March 1991.

The club continues to focus on socio-cultural and recreational activities. Congratulations to all those who have played a part in the success of the St. Catharines Canadian Polish Society.

Violence Against WomenStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, missing women and unsolved women's murders, especially those working in the high risk sex trade, seem to be a low priority across Canada. In Vancouver a horrific 61 unsolved murder cases built up before it became an issue. In Edmonton there have been 22 cases. Now in Winnipeg the tragic death of Valicia Solomon has focused attention on 13 unsolved murders on the books there and has raised the spectre of either a serial killer or 13 murderers being on the loose.

Is there a systemic problem in law enforcement with a blind spot to missing and murdered women? Is the federal government paying attention to these disturbing numbers?

Women victims seem to be a low priority until we reach a critical mass of dead bodies. Women in Winnipeg and across Canada want to know, what is the critical mass necessary before this government takes action to better protect women's lives?

Gasoline TaxesOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, last night the House finally passed an Alliance motion to give a share of federal gas taxes to the municipalities. The motion was passed with a majority of the House, with the vast majority of Liberal members supporting it, with the vast majority of the cabinet supporting it, despite the longstanding opposition of the heritage minister, finance minister and Prime Minister.

My question is very simple. Could the Prime Minister now clarify for us, is it now the policy of the federal government to give gas taxes to municipalities or is it not?

Gasoline TaxesOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member would read the motion, we said we were to discuss it with the provinces. I read the motion. It was his party's motion and if he does not read his party's own motion, what can I do?

The motion says that we should engage in a discussion with the provincial governments about it. Of course I do not mind discussing it with the provinces. Some provinces might not be in agreement. If all the provinces were to be in agreement, it might be easier. What would be the reaction in Quebec where there is a law that prevents the municipalities from accepting money from the federal government?

Gasoline TaxesOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I am glad to see the Prime Minister read the motion, even if he did not vote on it.

I will point out that it does say to initiate discussions with the provinces and territories to provide the municipalities with a share of federal tax. My question is very simple. Has the Prime Minister contacted the provinces? When will he do so? When will he initiate these discussions?

Gasoline TaxesOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, even before, I met last week with Premier Charest and we discussed that. I met with Premier Doer in Winnipeg and we mentioned that. It is possible when I met a few days ago with Premier Campbell we might have discussed that.

I have very good relations with the premiers. Federal-provincial relations are very difficult and it is very rare that they want to return money to the federal government.

Gasoline TaxesOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I do not know what to make of that answer other than maybe the Prime Minister should be golfing full time rather than being Prime Minister if that is his attitude.

There is a serious fiscal disequilibrium in the country between the federal government that has these massive tax revenues and provinces and municipalities that need gas taxes to do the essential jobs that are given to them. We have proposed, and many others have proposed, roughly 3¢ or more a litre of federal gas tax to go to the provinces.

I ask the Prime Minister again, what share does he have in mind and when is he going to actually contact the provinces, take his job seriously and have a serious discussion on a motion--

Gasoline TaxesOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

The right hon. Prime Minister.

Gasoline TaxesOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I am always smiling when the hon. Leader of the Opposition talks about the problem of leadership. I think he will be the sixth leader of the opposition before I leave. The wedding is being reorganized again and they will have a new name.

This is a problem that is serious. We said we would discuss it with the provinces. I know the provinces are not unanimous on it. We will discuss it. The Minister of Finance is meeting on Friday with the ministers of finance from the provinces. Probably some of the ministers of finance will talk to him about it. It is a process of consultation. A decision will come in due course and probably he will not be--

Gasoline TaxesOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Edmonton Southwest.