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 #153 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was parties.

Topics

International CooperationStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Deepak Obhrai Canadian Alliance Calgary East, AB

Mr. Speaker, as the official opposition's senior critic for international cooperation, I would like to pledge the Canadian Alliance's support for yesterday's announcement of the federal government's introduction of legislative changes to implement the August 30 agreement on access to medicines for developing countries at the World Trade Organization.

This important step taken by Canada to make a sincere commitment to fight the ravages of the HIV-AIDS pandemic is a great feat in the never ending struggle to combat this horrendous disease.

By supporting this legislation, the Canadian Alliance joins the war against HIV-AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other diseases. We owe it to future generations to ensure that diseases such as HIV-AIDS which have ravaged so many countries are brought under control.

Down SyndromeStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

Nancy Karetak-Lindell Liberal Nunavut, NU

Mr. Speaker, November 1 to 7 is Down Syndrome Awareness Week, an annual event sponsored by the Canadian Down Syndrome Society. At this time we take the opportunity to highlight the unique abilities, strengths and needs of fellow Canadians with Down syndrome.

Now is the time to demonstrate to each other and the rest of the world that Canada is a nation of people committed to ensuring that all individuals have opportunities to succeed and grow. About one person in every 800 is born with Down syndrome. Each one is a person first and a person with Down syndrome second.

Down syndrome presents challenges for a child or adult in all stages of development for the child's parents and family members and for professionals in the fields of health, education and social science. It is vital that these challenges be met to ensure that all people with Down syndrome have the opportunity to develop to their full potential.

As Canadians, we celebrate our similarities as well as our differences knowing we are richer as a result.

Angèle MalaisonStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Bloc

Jocelyne Girard-Bujold Bloc Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow, November 8, will be a very special day at the Résidence Georges-Hébert in Jonquière, where Angèle Malaison will celebrate her 100th birthday. This milestone will be matched by another, equally exceptional event, the 75th anniversary of her marriage to Eddie Lapierre.

Mr. and Mrs. Lapierre are remarkable people and, despite their advanced age, always have a twinkle in their eyes that leaves us in no doubt that they are just as alert and just as much in love as they were 75 years ago.

I want to wish a happy 100th birthday to Angèle Malaison and a happy 75th wedding anniversary to her and her husband. Your love is a shining example, and I wish you both many more years of happiness together.

Remembrance DayStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

David Pratt Liberal Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, next week on November 11, Canadians will be taking time out to remember the men and women in uniform who for well over a century now have steadfastly stood on guard for their nation and the world in times of peace and in times of war. They will also remember the over 100,000 Canadians who paid the ultimate price.

The call to remembrance was made just that much sharper in recent weeks with the tragic loss of two of our finest in Afghanistan. Their sacrifice was a stark reminder of the risks faced by our brave young men and women in uniform.

Even though the business of maintaining peace and security can be perilous, our Canadian Forces personnel are superb ambassadors for Canada and carry out their duties with courage, dignity and the utmost in professionalism. All Canadians remain so very grateful and proud of the service and sacrifice of the members of the Canadian Forces.

Rail CrossingsStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Scott Reid Canadian Alliance Lanark—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, in nearly every small town in Canada many streets are intersected by level rail crossings. Most such lines are used for freight transportation, and from the viewpoint of town residents, they represent a danger and inconvenience with no offsetting benefits.

One particular danger is the inconsistent markings of these crossings. In my hometown of Carleton Place, there are 10 crossings which are marked in three different ways. A motorist entering and leaving the town by different routes will encounter different rail warning markers. This goes a long way toward explaining why small town Canada continues to experience car-train collisions.

However, federal regulators have offloaded much of the cost of changing such markings to the cash-strapped towns and away from the railroads which are the sole beneficiaries of these lines. This amounts to accepting a high level of risk to motorists as an integral component of federal rail policy.

The Minister of Transport has announced a large financial package in aid of Canadian rail. Why not divert some of that money toward consistent marking of rail crossings in order to protect the safety of Canadians?

The EconomyStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

John Godfrey Liberal Don Valley West, ON

Mr. Speaker, once again Canadians are seeing the results of the government's wise fiscal management. The unemployment rate fell again to 7.6% and the Canadian economy created over 65,000 jobs last month. This is five times as many jobs as economists were predicting. Most of these jobs are full time jobs.

In particular, we see considerable growth in employment in British Columbia and Quebec. In British Columbia, the unemployment rate dropped from 9.1% to 7.8% in just one month. In Quebec, 26,000 jobs were created last month.

Ten years ago, when the Liberal government came to power, we promised to get Canadians working. Since then, three million jobs have been created. This is three million more Canadians who are working today since the government first took office.

I am sure my colleagues in the House will join me in celebrating the continuing success of the government and the benefits that 10 years of good government have provided for Canadians.

Remembrance DayStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Loyola Hearn Progressive Conservative St. John's West, NL

Mr. Speaker, next week we will remember those who fought and served us in the great world wars. All of them were heroes.

One of the great heroes was a young Newfoundlander, Tommy Ricketts, who lied about his age and at 15 joined the Royal Newfoundland Regiment.

In 1916, in Belgium, they came under heavy fire. He and his commander outflanked the German gun. They ran out of ammunition. He circled back, found ammunition, came back to his platoon and they drove back the enemy. He was the youngest soldier ever to be awarded the Victoria Cross.

We owe a debt of gratitude to people like Tommy Ricketts and all those who served. On November 11, let us remember them all for what they have done for us. Let us never forget that great sacrifice they paid for this country.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary DiseaseStatements By Members

November 7th, 2003 / 11:10 a.m.

Bloc

Richard Marceau Bloc Charlesbourg—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, November 19 is World Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease Day. According to the Canadian Lung Association, this family of diseases, often known as COPD, affects about 8% of Canadians, or some 2 million people, half a million of them Quebeckers.

In recent years, one of my constituents, Claude Lanthier, who suffers from pulmonary dysfunction himself, has moved heaven and earth to get the government, particularly Revenue Canada, to recognize the disability caused by COPD.

My statement today is intended not only to demonstrate our solidarity with our fellow citizens who suffer from these terrible diseases, but also to pay tribute to those who, like Mr. Lanthier, spare no effort to improve the well-being of others.

I invite all members of this House to find out more about the devastating effects of these diseases and to support current and future medical research initiatives.

Employment InsuranceStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Carole-Marie Allard Liberal Laval East, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday was a big day for the Liberal Party and this government's administration.

Finally the truth comes out. The Superior Court of Quebec made it clear to Bloc Quebecois MPs that they are exaggerating when they accuse the Liberal government of mismanaging the employment insurance fund.

I will quote from the ruling:

—in light of the evidence presented, the court is unable to conclude that the federal government used or appropriated the surplus accumulated pursuant to the legislation illegally. This surplus is still posted to the employment insurance account.

What a victory.

Will the members of the Bloc Quebecois finally understand that the people of Quebec are not stupid and that one day they will be unmasked? This only shows that truth always triumphs.

Westray MineStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, today Bill C-45 will gain royal assent.

The Westray bill is a victory for working people across Canada and culminates 11 years of work by New Democrats in solidarity with families of mine disaster victims, Westray survivors, steelworkers and other trade union partners.

This brings us one step closer to ensuring that corporations are held liable for irresponsible working conditions that end up costing workers their lives.

Justice Peter Richard, who presided over the Westray public inquiry, described Westray, as, “a story of incompetence, mismanagement, bureaucratic bungling, deceit, ruthlessness, cover-up, apathy, expedience and cynical indifference”.

Bill C-45 will ensure in future that corporate managers and employers are held criminally responsible for endangering the lives of workers. Let there not be another Westray.

Arts and CultureStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, soon Canadians will have the great pleasure of seeing and enjoying 13 late18th century watercolours of exceptional scenes from Quebec City, Montreal and other parts of eastern Canada.

These water-colours by Benjamin Fisher, a British painter and officer of the Corps of Royal Canadian Engineers, had been forgotten for 150 years in the basement of an English university.

Through the collaboration of both the National Archives of Canada and the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, and with financial assistance from the Department of Canadian Heritage, these rare and magnificent works will be returned to Canada.

Camp BordenStatements By Members

11:15 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jay Hill Canadian Alliance Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, in 1917 the Royal Flying Corps constructed a string of 17 purpose-built military aircraft hangars at Camp Borden, north of Toronto.

By the end of the first world war, 1,184 pilots had trained there. Again, during the second world war, this base was used to train not only Canadian pilots, but airmen from allied countries around the world.

Since that time these historic aircraft hangars have been so neglected they have fallen into a complete state of disrepair. Sadly, only eight hangars remain standing today.

Considered the birthplace of the Royal Canadian Air Force, these hangars were designated a national historic site in 1989. Yet the government has done virtually nothing to preserve this national treasure. Unbelievably, the Minister of National Defence has now authorized the destruction of three more hangars.

As usual his timing is impeccable. Despite Remembrance Day next Tuesday, he continues to support the destruction of these irreplaceable military heritage buildings.

International AidOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Canadian Alliance West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

Mr. Speaker, countries on the African continent need help fighting HIV-AIDS. They need medication and they need it now. Cabinet ministers put on a big flashy show yesterday when Bill C-56 was introduced. Now we want action to back up those flashy words.

Will the government commit to passing the bill today at all stages?

International AidOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria LiberalMinister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, several questions were asked on the floor of the House yesterday. This issue has been raised by a number of groups, NGOs, pharmaceutical companies, and a number of them have asked to testify before the parliamentary committee, which would be prepared to grant such a request.

A number of members on all sides of the House and I have had discussions today, and we certainly are prepared to have second reading go through today and to allow witnesses who want to appear before committee to be heard.

International AidOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Canadian Alliance West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

Mr. Speaker, the minister just about wrenched his shoulder yesterday patting himself on the back with regard to the bill, and the government would have us now believe it is still committed to the bill.

When countries are facing a crisis situation, why is the government now dragging its feet on this issue?

International AidOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, let us be clear. Yesterday we took an enormously important step on a matter of humanitarian importance. We introduced legislation as the first developed country to implement this international agreement to make drugs available on an affordable basis to the developing world.

We are committed to that. We are the ones behind it. We want to get it through second reading today and in front of committee to ensure that every group, the NGOs and the drug companies, have their chance to speak to the bill. If it can be improved, it will be improved.

Let there be no doubt about our commitment to this humanitarian bill.

International AidOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Canadian Alliance West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

Mr. Speaker, such outrage.

Led by the Leader of the Opposition and all parties on this side of the House, we have agreed to immediately pass the bill. The minister has not done his homework. The industry wants to have regulations before committee. It wants the bill passed.

Why did the government not do its homework and get the bill here so we could pass it immediately and help the people in Africa who need help now?

International AidOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, he has the facts wrong. We have done our homework for the last two months. After the August 30th agreement, we prepared the bill. We were careful with the way we prepared it. We believe it is the right way to go. We are very proud of it.

The bill was introduced in the Prime Minister's name, and reflects his commitment to Africa and humanitarian causes. We are anxious to see it become law. We want it at second reading today so it can get to committee and ensure that the bill will do the job.

Let there be no doubt about the government's commitment. The bill is ready. Is the member ready to work with us in committee to ensure that it is ideal?

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Gerald Keddy Progressive Conservative South Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, Premiers Hamm and Lord were in Washington last week fighting to protect the interests of Atlantic Canada's softwood lumber industry. The main issue of discussion was the reinstatement of Atlantic Canada's longstanding exemption from countervail.

What has the government done to support Atlantic Canada's interests at the bargaining table in Washington?

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, let me be very clear. It has been the government's point of view that remanufacturers should have always been out of this contestation and the challenge by the Americans.

Atlantic Canada's exemption has lasted for 25 years. We have been promoting the exemption of the Atlantic provinces from any measures. As far as I know, we have been very successful at exempting Atlantic Canada from the 18% duties that are imposed on the rest of the country. The government should be congratulated for that.

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Gerald Keddy Progressive Conservative South Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, I am sure remanufacturers will appreciate the comments, but that was not the question. The question was on Atlantic Canada's exemption.

Last May 21 the government promised that Atlantic Canada's softwood lumber exemption would be protected. The very next day it bargained it away to the Americans. Finally, on October 29, the United States responded to our May proposal and offered 30.5% of market share with the removal of Atlantic Canada's exemption.

What is the minister doing to reinstate Atlantic Canada's longstanding exemption since the early 1980s against countervail?

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I find it very regrettable that the Tories do not care about the remanufacturers, because I can say that remanufacturers are very important and should have been out of the present punitive measures by the United States.

As for the Atlantic Maritimes, what are we doing to reinstate this? There is no need to reinstate the Atlantic exemption because it is a fact: Atlantic provinces have been exempted from the punitive measures of the United States. We do not need to reinstate it. They are out and we want to keep them out.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Bloc Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, with regard to its investigation on Maher Arar, the RCMP conducted several searches in the Ottawa area in January 2002. No one knows what the RCMP seized because the search warrants are classified. The only thing we know is that, during the course of an interrogation, Maher Arar's lease was shoved in his face by U.S. authorities.

Do those two factors alone not justify a public inquiry into the Canadian government's actions in the Arar case?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine Québec

Liberal

Marlene Jennings LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, first, as the Solicitor General has already stated many times in the House, we cannot comment on the RCMP's activities, particularly when it is a matter of national security.

With regard to the lease, the RCMP complaints commission is currently reviewing the matter. It is now before the commissioner.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Bloc Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, contrary to what the parliamentary secretary has said, the Solicitor General has acknowledged that the intelligence services did exchange information and, at the same time, he exonerated the RCMP. He has made an unfounded conclusion that Maher Arar's lease was stolen by foreign spies.

The facts speak for themselves. The RCMP conducted several searches, and Maher Arar's lease ended up in the hands of U.S. authorities, who deported Mr. Arar without the Canadian consul taking the threat seriously.

Is a public inquiry not fully justified, given Canada's role in this sequence of events?