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House of Commons Hansard #56 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was children.

Topics

Richmond Hill Winter CarnivalStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Bryon Wilfert Liberal Oak Ridges, ON

Mr. Speaker, the town of Richmond Hill celebrated the 35th anniversary of its winter carnival last weekend.

The Richmond Hill Winter Carnival comes about as a result of a strong community effort. The event is organized and planned by a group of eager and tireless volunteers. The carnival is funded through button and food revenues and through financial support from local and area businesses.

The mandate of the carnival is to organize a community party with events that appeal to families and residents of all ages, from youngsters to grandparents alike.

There were a variety of events for everyone to enjoy. These events included an amateur band, snowboarding, ookpik mini-putt, and horse driven sleigh rides to name a few.

The town of Richmond Hill is to be commended for this very successful event. It is recognized that it would have been entirely unable to achieve these objectives without the generous support of community businesses, volunteer organizations, town departments and individuals.

A special applause goes out to the youngsters who came out to help all weekend. These kids helped with everything from running messages to face painting. They are the community builders of tomorrow.

The town of Richmond Hill looks forward to another smashing success next year.

CurlingStatements By Members

February 10th, 2003 / 2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

David Anderson Canadian Alliance Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Mr. Speaker, everyone who follows curling realizes the unique contribution Saskatchewan makes to the game, but this weekend was truly extraordinary. On Sunday, the Saskatchewan junior women's team of Marliese Miller, Teejay Surik, Janelle Lemon and Chelsey Bell, coached by Bob Miller, defeated Nova Scotia 6 to 4 to win the Canadian junior women's curling championship.

This followed the tremendous victory Saturday by the Saskatchewan junior men's team. Steve Laycock, Christopher Haichert, Michael Jantzen and Kyler Broad, coached by Barry Fiendell, won the Canadian junior men's curling championship by defeating Alberta 9 to 5. These young people have a memory that will last a lifetime.

Congratulations to both teams and wish them the best at the world junior curling championships, March 22 to 30 in Flims, Switzerland.

Speed SkatingStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is indeed a day to celebrate young people. It gives me great pleasure to stand today to acknowledge the accomplishment of a great Canadian athlete who earned a gold medal yesterday at the all around world speed skating championships in Sweden. I am referring to Clara Hughes of Winnipeg. Ms. Hughes also won a bronze medal Saturday in the 3,000 metres.

With these performances, last year's Olympic bronze medal in the 5,000 metres, and two bronze medals in cycling at the 1996 summer Olympics, she continues to demonstrate that she is one of the greatest Canadian female athletes in history.

I am sure all members will join me in congratulating this young athlete for her great victory and in thanking her for bringing much honour to Canada.

National Suicide Prevention WeekStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Diane Bourgeois Bloc Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, national suicide prevention week, under way until February 15, is primarily designed to convince young people between the ages of 15 and 20 that there are solutions to their pain and that suicide is not one of them.

A myriad of activities will take place in all regions of Quebec to demystify the issue of suicide and raise awareness of suicide prevention and crisis intervention.

As a society, we have an important contribution to make to our teenagers. A person's pain must never be underestimated, whatever that person's age or reasons.

Adolescence is a particularly difficult phase of life, one when suicidal behaviour is more likely to occur. This is an intense period of social, family, physical and emotional change. Lack of self-esteem, difficulties in resolving conflicts, despair and the belief that there is no other way out are all often the result of pain that has become unbearable.

As the slogan says, “Putting an end to one's life is never the solution”.

Mélanie TurgeonStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Hélène Scherrer Liberal Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is with great pleasure and emotion that I rise in this House today to pay tribute to Mélanie Turgeon for her performance.

I had the pleasure of rubbing shoulders with Mélanie when she was just starting to ski. Already, she demonstrated the passion, tenacity and potential suggesting a very promising future.

In spite of injuries and setbacks, Mélanie persevered and went on to win eight World Cup medals during her career with the senior team. In 1994, she won five medals at the World Junior Championship, a yet unsurpassed record.

Yesterday, she finally won the brilliant victory of becoming the downhill world champion in Saint-Moritz. This well-deserved victory made everyone in the greater Quebec City area who knew Mélanie and had been following her performances for years very happy.

Congratulations, Mélanie, and good luck to Canadian skiers Emily Brydon, Kelly Vanderbeek and Geneviève Simard, who, I am sure, will be there next time to give us a thrill.

Glacier National ParkStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jason Kenney Canadian Alliance Calgary Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise with sadness today to express profound condolences of the seven young Calgarians, among whom were three of my constituents, whose young lives were tragically taken in the avalanche last week at Glacier National Park.

Ben Albert, Daniel Arato, Scott Broshko, Alex Pattillo, Michael Shaw, Jeffrey Trickett and Marissa Staddon all students of Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School, were lost in the prime of their lives. We mourn them.

It is hard to find words to express adequately our collective sorrow at a time such as this.

Today thousands of Calgarians will join together to share their grief for the families and the entire Tweedsmuir community.

On behalf of all hon. members, I would like to give thanks for the lives of these seven young Canadians, and to pray those in grief may be consoled.

Speed SkatingStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure today to acknowledge the accomplishment of a great Canadian athlete who became the first Canadian in 27 years to win the overall title at the world all around speed skating championships. She is Cindy Klassen of Winnipeg, my home city, who finished third in the women's 1,500 and 5,000 metres Sunday to capture the overall gold, and be crowned the most complete speed skater in the world. That is a signal honour.

Ms. Klassen was also second at the world spring championship last month and has won four World Cups so far this winter.

I am sure all members will join me in congratulating this young athlete for her great victory and in thanking her for bringing so much honour to Canada.

Gasoline PricesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, since Secretary of State Colin Powell made his speech at the UN, the price of oil has risen 35¢ a barrel, an increase of approximately 1%. In that same period the price of gas rose on average 6¢ a litre across Canada. In Yellowknife they are paying almost a dollar per litre. In Montreal they are paying just under 90¢. In Winnipeg the price of regular unleaded gas at the pump has risen from an average of 69.5¢ to a high of 76.9¢.

It is unconscionable that Canadians should be forced to pay for price increases at the pump that in no way reflect price increases in the world market.

The government should have a strategy to protect Canadians from price gouging that seeks to hide behind war or the anticipation of war. It should also have a more forceful strategy to replace our dependence on fossil fuels. A bigger coalition of those willing to consume less fossil fuels might obviate the perceived need for coalitions of those willing to go to war for energy related geopolitical reasons.

Mélanie TurgeonStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Beauport—Montmorency—Côte-De- Beaupré—Île-D'Orléans, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate Mélanie Turgeon from Beauport for her win at the Alpine World Skiing Championships yesterday in St. Moritz, Switzerland.

Mélanie is a good example of determination. In 1992, when she was only 16, she earned a place on the Canadian Alpine Ski Team. In 1994 she was recognized as the best junior skier in the world. After a few years of training, she showed in 1999 that she was part of the world elite in this sport.

Since then, she has placed among the best in the World Cup several times: a bronze medal in the World Cup in Sierra Nevada, Spain and a gold and silver medal in Innsbruck, Austria, in February 2000. She also competed in the Olympic Games. Now the list goes on.

Mélanie Turgeon, member of the Mont-Saint-Anne Ski Club, brought home Canada's first gold medal in ten years from the World Cup—to the surprise of many experts.

The Bloc Quebecois joins me and all Quebeckers in congratulating Mélanie Turgeon and wishing her the best of luck and many more successes.

Prime Minister Göran PerssonStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Jordan Liberal Leeds—Grenville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I ask the House to join me today in welcoming to Canada the Prime Minister of Sweden, Göran Persson. This morning the Prime Minister met with Mr. Persson to discuss the shared values between our two countries.

Canada and Sweden have a very positive bilateral relationship based on our shared commitments to international peacekeeping, democratic development, human rights and a strong support for multilateralism in the United Nations.

Canada and Sweden have worked closely together on a number of issues, including protection for war affected children, alleviating the international trade and small arms and arctic and circumpolar research.

This morning Mr. Persson reaffirmed our close ties by referring to our countries as like-minded and calling the Prime Minister a distinguished leading politician.

I ask the House to join me in wishing Mr. Persson an enjoyable and productive visit to Canada.

Foreign AffairsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Gerald Keddy Progressive Conservative South Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, today the House has been debating Canada's position in the world and whether the government will take a position on Iraq. Certainly we have seen no leadership whatsoever from the government on the Iraqi question. We have seen no leadership from the government on any issue affecting foreign affairs with which Canada has to deal.

What we have seen after nearly 10 years of government, is a diminished position for Canada as a world player, as a country that is taken seriously. What we have seen after nearly 10 years of disastrous leadership and a lacklustre, difficult and poor understanding of the ability to negotiate with our foreign trading partners and our foreign NATO partners, is a government that does not know where it is headed, does not know why it is headed in that direction and does not know which position--

Foreign AffairsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Peterborough.

ParksStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Liberal Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, in the Speech from the Throne, we committed to 10 new national parks, 5 marine conservation areas and the expansion of 3 existing parks. Each one would protect for future generations a representative part of Canada's unique natural regions. We would not be protecting just land, sea and seabed, we would be protecting the biodiversity of Canada.

Each area would become a model of sustainable use of land, sea or lake. For example, the marine areas would have a fully protected core surrounded by carefully managed use zones. They would provide economic opportunity while protecting biological richness.

From the throne speech to the budget is sometimes a long step. In this case, it is a step which must be taken. I urge that these parks be a significant feature of the upcoming budget.

SportsStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Werner Schmidt Canadian Alliance Kelowna, BC

Mr. Speaker, this weekend the rest of the world had to take second place. Melanie Turgeon of Quebec won the first world alpine skiing championship in 10 years. Melanie's blistering 94 second run topped off a remarkable week for Canada's ski team.

Cindy Klassen of Manitoba became the first Canadian in 27 years to win the overall title at the world all around speed skating championships, while Clara Hughes, also of Manitoba, took the gold medal in the 5,000 metres.

Brian McKeever of Alberta placed first at the world disabled ski championships, while world cup bobsledder Pierre Leuders steered this team to a first place victory.

In golf, Kelowna's Dave Barr, became the first Canadian golfer ever to capture a Champions Tour event.

Congratulations on behalf of many Canadians. These athletes made us proud, gave us spirit, enthusiasm and now the rest of the world knows why Canada is tops.

Presence in GalleryStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

I draw the attention of hon. members to the presence in the gallery of His Excellency Göran Persson, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Sweden.

Presence in GalleryStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

Goods and Services TaxOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, reports are airing today on the latest GST fraud scam: $22 million collected in rebates by phony lumber companies.

We now know that the Auditor General warned of this specific case in 1999 yet, instead of auditing the claim, the government sent it back into the system with approval for a refund cheque.

After months of the revenue minister bragging to the House about the government's record on GST administration, how does she justify this appalling incompetence?

Goods and Services TaxOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, this particular case, which is now before the courts, came to the attention of CCRA in 1997. It is in the courts today because of the hard work of our auditors, not because of the CBC and not because of the Auditor General.

Goods and Services TaxOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, for weeks the minister has been telling the House that GST fraud is no more than $25 million and here is a case of where it is $22 million alone.

The question is obvious. Instead of feeding us these horse feathers, when will the minister come to the House and come clean on the real size of GST fraud in the country?

Goods and Services TaxOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, I have been absolutely truthful and forthcoming with the Leader of the Opposition and everyone else.

In the last six years, as identified by the courts, the total in GST fraud has been $25.4 million. That is a lot of money. However a lot of cases have gone to court because of the hard work of my officials. We are doing our job and he should stand up and acknowledge that.

Goods and Services TaxOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, that is the government that shut down the GST fraud unit and stopped reporting GST losses in the public accounts in 1994.

Even though this case was flagged and even though revenue ministers and finance ministers knew about the fraud in this case, managers at the credit union said that individuals were walking out with bags full of tens of thousands of dollars in taxpayer money.

Who does the Prime Minister hold accountable for this appalling incompetence and wasted tax dollars?

Goods and Services TaxOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Liberal

Elinor Caplan LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, it is important for everyone to know that as soon as CCRA has any suspicion of fraud, cheques are stopped. They should also know that we took the advice of the Auditor General in 1999 very seriously. We have implemented every one of the recommendations of the Auditor General.

As I said, we are doing our job. We have 5,000 auditors, 1,000 investigators and a special enforcement unit of 175 officers who are doing their job and doing it well for Canadians.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Deborah Grey Canadian Alliance Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, let us just see if the government really is doing its job.

One of Canada's NATO allies, Turkey, has asked for help to protect its borders in light of a possible war in Iraq. It is requesting emergency consultations under NATO's mutual defence treaty.

After a weekend of dithering, our Prime Minister appeared to say this morning that Canada should prepare to help Turkey.

In light of the Prime Minister's statement, is Canada prepared to pre-deploy troops to Turkey?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it is normal that Turkey would like to be ready in case there is a problem. Canada has always been ready for any situation. Because Turkey is Iraq's neighbour it is normal that it wants to be ready in case there is a conflict there. We all hope that this preparation will not be needed.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Deborah Grey Canadian Alliance Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, we could flip a coin as to whether that is a yes or no.

Of course everyone wants to be ready but Turkey feels that its territory is being threatened. It is the responsibility of NATO countries to respond to Turkey's request for consultations on this issue. Some of the allies seem willing to put NATO's credibility at risk.

Has Canada informed these waffling nations and members of NATO that they have a duty to protect their allies, yes or no?