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House of Commons Hansard #150 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was claims.

Topics

International Cinema Festival in Abitibi-TémiscamingueStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Gilbert Barrette Liberal Témiscamingue, QC

Madam Speaker, allow me to rise in this House to pay tribute to people from Rouyn-Noranda who help make the International Cinema Festival in Abitibi-Témiscamingue a success year after year.

The festival generates economic spinoffs estimated at $1.5 million annually and gives more than 20,000 moviegoers an opportunity to view a hundred or so films. During five intensive days, we get to venture into the worlds of the cinema of Quebec, Canada, Europe, Africaand South America. Our festival knows no boundaries.

Under the direction of the founding trio of Jacques Matte, Louis Dallaire and Guy Parent, some 60 volunteers and associates welcome each year a hundred or so producers, directors, actors, journalists and distributors.

My warmest congratulations to the organizers of the festival, which is celebrating its 22nd anniversary.

Foreign AffairsStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

Madam Speaker, we just concluded an all party press conference in support of the case and cause of Dr. Wang Bingzhang, the celebrated Chinese human rights advocate, regarded as the father of the overseas Chinese democracy movement, who has been sentenced to life in imprisonment in China, the longest sentence ever meted out to a Chinese dissident, on trumped up charges of terrorism and kidnapping. Ironically, as witness testimony has revealed, he was the victim of kidnapping and criminal violence rather than the perpetrator of them.

Indeed, the UN working group on arbitrary detention has determined that the charges are without foundation; that his continued detention is in violation of international law; that he has been denied the right to a fair trial; and that China should remedy these violations.

Dr. Wang Bingzhang has a close connection to Canada. He is a doctoral graduate from McGill University and his parents, children and siblings reside in Canada.

Accordingly, we call upon the Chinese authorities to abide by their undertakings under international law, undertakings also to Canada which is a co-signatory, to release Dr. Wang Bingzhang from prison, where, as his family testified today, his health is deteriorating, and permit him to be reunited with his family and colleagues in Canada and the United States.

National DefenceStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Cheryl Gallant Canadian Alliance Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Madam Speaker, if anything demonstrates 10 years of Liberal incompetence it is the sad tale of the Sea King helicopter.

Political expedience has been deemed more important than national security and the safety of the lives of the men and women who serve in the Canadian Forces.

Scheduled to be replaced in the 1980s, by the time they are actually replaced these helicopters will be 50 years old. Most pilots who fly the Sea King were not even born when that helicopter came into service.

The Prime Minister cancelled the Sea King replacement with a stroke of his pen and then happily paid 500 million in taxpayer dollars for cancellation penalties.

Ten years later, there are still no replacements. Continued government interference into the contract process will mean further delays.

Our soldiers deserve the best.

The Sea King will forever stand as a symbol for the most shameful legacy in the 10 years of neglecting our nation's defence by the Prime Minister.

Foreign AffairsStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Sarkis Assadourian Liberal Brampton Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, I rise in the House today to applaud the appointment of Mr. Bhupinder S. Liddar as Canada's new Consul General in Chandigarh India, an appointment made all the more important, as Mr. Liddar is the first Canadian Sikh to become head of a Canadian diplomatic mission overseas.

Mr. Liddar is no newcomer to the diplomatic scene as he has served as editor and publisher of Diplomat & International Canada magazine since 1989, host of CPAC's the Diplomatic World , a weekly panel discussion on current international issues, as well as contributing regular columns to the Hill Times and Ottawa Sun on international relations for many years.

I urge my fellow members of Parliament to join me in congratulating Mr. Liddar on his appointment and in wishing him all the best as he undertakes this important role as Canada's new representative in Punjab.

Middle EastStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Richard Marceau Bloc Charlesbourg—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Madam Speaker, after hate propaganda was broadcast last year in Egypt based on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a fraudulent document from 1905, something similar is now happening in Lebanon.

The Al-Manar channel run by Hezbollah, a recognized party in Lebanon, will broadcast a series called Al-Shatat , the diaspora, at prime time during the holy month of Ramadan. This offensive series is based on the classic anti-Semitic myth that the Jews want to rule the world.

All governments in this part of the world must prohibit all forms of hate mongering or calls for violence against neighbours. As long as people in the Middle East are exposed to such propaganda, it is foolish to believe that the peace we all want so badly will be achieved.

Quebec City BridgeStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

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

Madam Speaker, some say that it was the work of the devil; others claim one of its bolts is made of gold. Although it was the site of two disasters that claimed many lives, the Quebec City bridge is one of the most fascinating monuments in the entire world.

Proclaimed an international historical monument to civil engineering by the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering in 1987 and designated as a national historic site by the Minister of Canadian Heritage in 1996, the Quebec City bridge must be given its due.

Today, I want to tell the House about the excellent work done by the Coalition pour la sauvegarde et la mise en valeur du Pont de Québec, an organization that has been defending the interests of this legendary monument for ten years and that is doing everything possible to make the bridge ready for Quebec City's 400th anniversary celebrations.

I am proud that this bridge links the north and south shores of the Quebec region. As the member for Lévis-et-Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, I commit to ensuring the bridge repairs will be completed for Quebec City's 400th anniversary.

Veterans AffairsStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Darrel Stinson Canadian Alliance Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Madam Speaker, Frank Wright of Vernon, B.C. tells about volunteering for a social event at one of the local rest homes.

He served one senior a beverage and rather than accept the 50¢ change due him, that senior said Frank should put the four bits toward a boat. Now the boat in question was intended to be used for touring rest home residents around Okanagan Lake, so Frank Wright went shopping. He found a pontoon boat for sale at Kelowna. Problem, the price was $19,000.

He went back to Vernon and contacted local organizations, including the Legion, and raised the needed funds.

Launched in 1992, the boat called Heaven Can Wait has made many trips on Okanagan Lake, bringing joy to numerous seniors.

This is one of the many stories behind the Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendations being awarded to 62 Canadians, including Frank Wright and Hugh Rayment, of Vernon, B.C., and Roland Phillips of Chase, B.C.

A special thanks to them from a grateful nation for their continuing service.

North ThompsonStatements by Members

November 4th, 2003 / 2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Liberal Vancouver Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, we all watched on TV as the North Thompson-Okanagan regions were devastated by forest fires this summer. The North Thompson region was hardest hit since it depended almost fully on the forest industry and the Tolko mill, which was irretrievably lost. Prior to the fires, this region was already economically depressed by softwood lumber problems, pine beetle infestation and mad cow disease.

In the gallery today are representatives of the North Thompson Recovery Task Force, Chair John Ranta, Mayor Mel Rothenburger and John Smith, who are here to present their report, “A Route to Recovery”, to the federal government. They are to be congratulated for taking the initiative with their quick and innovative response.

This report is a made in the region comprehensive plan of action that would require the cooperation of federal, provincial and local governments, the private sector and the community. It focuses specifically on reviving the destroyed beef industry, reforestation, tourism and infrastructure building.

The federal government has already contributed $100 million to emergency relief, but this long term economic plan is essential to this region's recovery.

Liberal GovernmentStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, ten years ago this week, having been elected by the Canadian people, this government formed its first cabinet. With your permission, I shall highlight some of our achievements.

In the last three years, under a Liberal government, Canadians have seen their income taxes decrease and the national debt shrink. They have witnessed the creation of an impressive number of jobs.

They have seen impressive financial commitments for health, ratification of the Kyoto protocol, measures to fight terrorism, and increased aid to international development.

We have a lot to be proud of. Nevertheless, I can guarantee that we are ready to do more, so that our fellow citizens can enjoy a promising future.

National DefenceStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Progressive Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, today we mark an important anniversary in the history of the government.

Ten years ago today the Prime Minister cancelled the contract to buy a replacement for our aging fleet of Sea Kings.

Ten years ago today the Prime Minister cost the Canadian taxpayers $500 million in penalty fees.

Ten years ago today the Prime Minister put our military on notice that it would be neglected while he was in office.

Ten years ago today the Prime Minister put the safety of our Sea King and crews at risk.

Ten years ago today the Prime Minister agreed to put politics over principle.

Ten years ago today the Prime Minister put in place the foundation of his legacy, a legacy of neglect.

We mark the anniversary, but we do not celebrate it.

Crime Prevention WeekStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Ghislain Fournier Bloc Manicouagan, QC

Mr. Speaker, as this is Crime Prevention Week, I would like to draw the attention of the House to the importance of getting involved in this issue, which affects everyone.

We must pool our efforts in order to support the many devoted individuals working in the field. The legal and health systems are trying to find solutions, but there are also street workers who offer support and comfort, and of course the teachers who have the most important task, providing information to our young people.

I invite the hon. members to reflect on what concrete improvements could be made, in terms of technical and economic programs, job creation and especially new initiatives in order to focus on prevention and thus reduce crime.

It is still true that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Let us all get involved.

Liberal Government of CanadaStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

John Maloney Liberal Erie—Lincoln, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is with great pride that I rise in the House today to congratulate the government on 10 remarkable years of achievement.

It was 10 years ago today that I, along with so many others, arrived here on Parliament Hill to mark the beginning of a new era in Canadian politics. We were entrusted by Canadians to give them a new and better government, and we have more than fulfilled that challenge.

The Liberal government has lowered taxes and brought in six consecutive surpluses. We have invested in the priority of Canadians, in health care, infrastructure, communities, the environment and in Canada's future through the Canada child tax benefit, scholarships and innovation funding.

We built a safer and more just society domestically and we took a leadership role in the world, especially with the landmines treaty and the new partnership for Africa.

I cannot list all our accomplishments in just one minute, however, I ask my fellow parliamentarians to join me in celebrating this triumphant day for all of us.

MulticulturalismStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—St. Clair, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada is a multicultural nation. In my riding of Windsor--St. Clair, there are over 100 different nations represented.

Despite being a diverse multicultural nation many Canadians, continue to face racial discrimination or are subject to racial profiling on a regular basis.

It is very disheartening that through its inaction and silence the government tacitly condones this discrimination. Regrettably during this session of the House of Commons both the Prime Minister and the Minister of Canadian Heritage have not risen once to speak out against racism.

Over two years ago the federal government held a number of regional conferences across Canada to develop a concrete meaningful and coordinated federal strategy to address racism and determination.

It has been more than two years since those conferences and over 750 days since Canada participated in the United Nations World Conference Against Racism, otherwise known as WCAR in Durban, South Africa.

To date there has been no formal action plan developed by the government for the implementation of the recommendations. With only a few weeks left in the Prime Minister's mandate and likely a corresponding short period remaining for the Minister of Canadian Heritage, perhaps I can make a recommendation on how they can leave a lasting legacy: Act now to adopt a formal action plan to implement the declaration from WCAR and begin to end racial discrimination in Canada.

Foreign AffairsStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Catterall Liberal Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

Mr. Speaker, today Maher Arar, recently released from a Syrian prison, spoke for the first time on his terrible experiences of the last year.

Our government must demand explanations and apologies from the American government for his deportation after a hearing with no legal representation. We must demand redress from the Syrians for the torture and inhumane conditions Maher endured. We must investigate leaks from within our own government that has put his and his family's life, including two young children, at danger.

We must leave no stone unturned until he has a chance to clear his name and have his and his family's lives back to normal.

HockeyStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Carol Skelton Canadian Alliance Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, across Canada our youth have once again taken up the national past time for another winter. Rinks are alive with the sights and sounds of hockey. Our youth are in pursuit of NHL dreams.

Our rising stars and our teams in Saskatchewan are being pursued unfairly by the CCRA regarding taxes on their room and board away from home. Why were only Saskatchewan hockey players and teams targeted? Why are only Saskatchewan's young teenage players and teams being ordered to pay fines? Why do we have to wait for more than a year to get answers to these questions?

The Liberal government has such unfair tax policies that even its new leader has done everything to avoid paying his share. Instead of just honouring hockey on the back of a $5 bill, why do we not let our budding hockey players and their teams keep their money too?

Prime Minister of CanadaOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I see the Prime Minister is back in the House today and it makes me think of a song:

Start spreading the news,

He's leaving today,

He wants to be a part of it,

New York, New York.

My question for the Prime Minister is, if he thinks he can make it there, I gather he thinks he can make it anywhere, but will he be here until February?

Prime Minister of CanadaOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, through you, I would like to say thank you to the Leader of the Opposition for the colour of his tie on the occasion of this anniversary of mine.

In answer to his question, I will be alive in February. Where I will be, I do not know, no more than I am sure he will still be the Leader of the Opposition.

Prime Minister of CanadaOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, that is the kind of sharp and clear answer we have come to expect over the past years.

Let me bring it a little more up to date. When I got here the Prime Minister was going to fight another election, then he was going to go, but not for 18 months. Then last week his caucus voted that he was going to stay. Let me try to get a little more up to date. In a week or so, after the break in November, will the House be back here doing the nation's business?

Prime Minister of CanadaOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, there was a vote of confidence last week where the members of my party and other parties voted for me to stay in my job.

Prime Minister of CanadaOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Four more years, four more years.

Prime Minister of CanadaOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

Order. Everyone will want to hear the Prime Minister's reply.

Prime Minister of CanadaOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Liberal Saint-Maurice, QC

Mr. Speaker, today at this time the Alliance will vote for me.

Prime Minister of CanadaOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I wish the Prime Minister would have been so non-committal about being Prime Minister 10 years ago. It might have saved us all a lot of trouble.

Finally, the time has come for the new Liberal leader to pay back the Prime Minister. The new Liberal leader said he would review all the government decisions, even the bills that are part of the Prime Minister's legacy.

Which bills would the Prime Minister like to see passed by both Houses before he leaves for the United Nations?

Prime Minister of CanadaOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I do not want to live in New York. I want to live in Ottawa and in Shawinigan.

As for the bills before the House, obviously, if there is adjournment or prorogation, when Parliament resumes, according to tradition, the bills will be put back on the orders of the day. I am confident that the bills that have been introduced and voted on in the House by the party that I am currently leading will be finalized by the same party when the time comes to—

Prime Minister of CanadaOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough.