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House of Commons Hansard #61 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was referendum.

Topics

Dennis McDermottStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Mac Harb Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to Dennis McDermott, who passed away last week at the age of 81.

Dennis McDermott was president of the Canadian Labour Congress from 1978 to 1986. Before that, he was the Canadian director of the United Auto Workers for ten years. He was widely respected as a model leader of the trade union movement.

Mr. McDermott will be remembered for his advocacy of human rights issues and his outreach to workers and unions around the world. He raised the profile of the labour movement in Canada, and in 1981 he led one of the largest rallies ever held on Parliament Hill.

I ask the House to join me in sending our condolences to the friends and family of Dennis McDermott. We will all remember him for his conviction and hard fought efforts.

CurlingStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Carol Skelton Canadian Alliance Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr.Speaker, Canada's best curlers come from Saskatchewan, no matter what my friends from Alberta might say. Last week, our men's and women's teams captured the Karcher Canadian junior curling titles in Ottawa.

Next week, Saskatchewan's girls curling representatives at the 2003 Canada Winter Games in beautiful Bathurst, New Brunswick, will be Biggar's Lindsey Barber, Claire Webster, Robyn Silvernagle and Hailey Surik. These four dedicated young ladies have worked hard to train for this competition and we are extremely proud of them. They are already Saskatchewan's provincial winter games champions and are very proud to be part of an outstanding Team Saskatchewan. Their determination and commitment to their sport will ensure their success.

These ladies are just the latest in an amazing string of top female curlers to come from the Biggar Curling Club, and we wish to say good curling, ladies.

Heart MonthStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Sue Barnes Liberal London West, ON

Mr. Speaker, February is Heart Month in Canada, a time to make Canadians aware of the things they can do to manage their risk for heart disease and stroke. They include avoiding tobacco use, following a healthy diet and being physically active.

Heart disease and stroke, the leading causes of death in Canada, cost the Canadian economy over $18 billion annually, and this represents 11.6% of all costs related to illness.

Today, representatives of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, the Canadian Cardiovascular Society and the Canadian Council of Cardiovascular Nurses are on the Hill to meet with us. They are here to speak to us about the things that we can do better to prevent and treat heart disease and stroke.

We also need to take a responsibility as parliamentarians to inform our constituents about the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle.

East Coast Music AwardsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, last night in Halifax the East Coast Music Awards celebrated the rich and diverse musical talent and heritage found on our eastern shores. Studded with great performances throughout the evening, the gala showcased the very best Canadian music has to offer.

In particular, I would like to congratulate Newfoundland's Great Big Sea for winning five awards. Last night's victories added to the band's long list of honours.

Let me also offer congratulations to Lennie Gallant, whose first full length French album, Le vent bohème , garnered Mr. Gallant both the male artist and francophone recording awards, while Cape Breton fiddler Natalie MacMaster took female artist of the year.

Canadian music embodies the creativity and spirit of Canadians. It helps define who we are and reflects the richness of Canada's cultural diversity. It is with pride that I invite all Canadians and all my colleagues to celebrate the successes of our east coast music artists. I wish to offer all the winners and nominees my warmest congratulations.

Lynda Lemay and Natasha St-PierStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Assad Liberal Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, two Canadian women have brought honour to Canada by being awarded Victoires for musical excellence in France.

Lynda Lemay was selected top female artist of the year, while Natasha St-Pier was awarded the only prize voted on by the public, for best new artist. These two talented singers richly deserve this recognition of their hard work.

My colleagues join with me in congratulating not only Quebec's Lynda Lemay but also, and equally warmly, New Brunswick's Natasha St-Pier. Well done.

Heart on the Hill DayStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rob Merrifield Canadian Alliance Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, today is Heart on the Hill Day.

Heart disease and stroke are responsible for approximately 80,000 deaths and almost half a million hospitalizations each year in Canada. We need to focus on disease prevention and health promotion.

We know that the ticking time bomb that could make the current numbers pale in comparison is the rate of obesity in children and youth. A study has shown that two million Canadian children aged nine to 12 are so inactive and have such poor diets that when they hit their thirties they will be at high risk of heart disease.

However, the federal government often prefers further studies rather than real action. Last year the health minister announced $15 million for further study of and research on the causes of obesity. In most cases, the cause of obesity is well known: poor diet and lack of physical activity. The $15 million could have been better spent in promoting genuine efforts to combat obesity among children and youth today.

Let us have a heart and invest wisely in our health and in our children.

Steve MichelinStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Lawrence O'Brien Liberal Labrador, NL

Mr. Speaker, it is my sad duty to pay tribute to a leader and community builder in Labrador, Steve Michelin, who has died at the age of 56.

Steve played a key role in political and social life in Labrador for many years. He was a founding member of the Labrador Heritage Society and an inaugural member of the first elected town council of Labrador City in 1981. He was a leader in the Combined Councils of Labrador, one of our most important regional bodies, and he was a driving force behind the campaign to create a separate federal riding for Labrador.

Steve helped create Labrador unity and he built bridges between the diverse communities that make up our region. Labrador is a better place for his dedication and we are poorer for his loss.

To Hilda, Denise and Stephanie, and to his family, friends and colleagues, I wish to convey my deepest sympathies.

Government SpendingStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Canadian Alliance Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, federal Liberals are famous for waste: the HRDC billion dollar boondoggle, the wasteful firearms registry, advertising contracts that are now being investigated by the RCMP and advertising for Kyoto that totalled $9.7 million.

Now we have another advertising contract that is wasteful: $2.9 million spent on a feel good, full page ad on Canada's new health accord, a full page ad in newspapers all across the country.

What would $2.9 million do if used for patients instead of advertising firms? Frankly, it could buy two new MRI machines that would allow a patient with headaches to reduce her wait for a scan by weeks. When faced with $2.9 million for a big, feel good newspaper ad or the same money for two new MRI machines, that patient's choice is obvious. If you had a brain tumour, which would you choose?

Peace RallyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Clifford Lincoln Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, last Saturday I and several others from this House belonging to the Bloc Quebecois attended the mammoth peace rally in Montreal, along with well over 100,000 others.

I find it most regrettable that the Premier of Quebec, mandated as he is to represent all of the people of Quebec, took advantage of the opportunity afforded by this eloquent public expression in favour of peace to read into it a pro-sovereignty message.

Not only does this diminish the premier himself, but it also casts a shadow on the intent and the meaning of this huge public appeal on behalf of peace. The event far surpassed any political or ideological partisanship, in fact on the contrary it sought to bring together all those who believe in peace, regardless of any political or ideological differences.

In such critical circumstances, it is the duty of the premier of all Quebec to take the high road and make every effort to unite people.

Indeed, it behooves the premier of all Quebeckers to rise above and beyond, and to take the high road, seeking in crucial circumstances--

Peace RallyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Châteauguay.

Lynda Lemay and Natasha St-PierStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Lanctôt Bloc Châteauguay, QC

Mr. Speaker, today I would like to congratulate two artists who have again won international honours, Lynda Lemay and Natasha St-Pier. This weekend, they were celebrated during the Victoires de la musique awards in France.

Lynda Lemay was nominated for the fourth year in a row as female artist of the year. This year, this singer from Quebec, who has been a hit in France for years, finally won this award that she deserved.

Natasha St-Pier won the best new artist award. This award is all the more important because it was voted on by the French public, which only adds to the legitimacy of this young singer's triumph.

The Bloc Quebecois joins me and all Quebeckers in congratulating Lynda Lemay and Natasha St-Pier for these honours. Continue to amaze us. We are so proud of you both.

Flooding in Newfoundland and LabradorStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Eyking Liberal Sydney—Victoria, NS

Mr. Speaker, over the weekend the residents of Badger, in Newfoundland and Labrador, were faced with a community emergency.

The frigid waters of the Exploits, Red Indian and Badger Rivers rose quickly and spilled over their banks, covering half the community with as much as 1.5 metres of water. Flooding has caused the sewer system to fail and back up into some homes.

Thankfully no one was injured, but blocks of ice smashed through doors and windows of homes after an ice jam caused the three rivers to overflow.

The flood has forced the evacuation of the town's 1,200 residents. The flood came quickly and many were unprepared, having to flee their homes without their belongings. It could be days or weeks before they are allowed to return to their homes.

On behalf of all members of the House, I would like to extend our care and concern to the residents of this troubled town. May the resourcefulness and strong spirit of these people serve them well as they pull together in this time of crisis.

Foreign AffairsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Wendy Lill NDP Dartmouth, NS

Mr. Speaker, while millions of people around the world marched against the war in Iraq, we should not forget that war is the leading cause of disability. War casts its mantle of death and destruction over life and limb.

Modern weapons of war devastate people in their body and soul. They sear human memory with permanent scars. They shatter the dreams and hopes of children. They sentence people to long lives without limbs, without loved ones, without sight and sound and without the ability to care for themselves. Those are the wages of war.

Canada first created disability support programs for disabled veterans from the first world war. Today thousands of members of the armed forces and their families struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder and the other effects of armed conflicts.

We must therefore be ready, both in our foreign aid and development aid, to support those in conflict zones, and also be ready to support those Canadians who are serving overseas in whatever capacity. We must remember that the real result of war is not to challenge a dictator. The real result is death and disability for innocent human beings.

Peace RallyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, ten million citizens around the world took to the streets in order to say no to war.

In Montreal alone, 150,000 people, more than ever before, turned up, as was the case in other cities of Quebec, like Sherbrooke, Quebec City, Trois-Rivières, Chicoutimi, Gatineau, Rimouski and New Carlisle. All had one common goal: to call for peace.

The size of the anti-war rally in Quebec is a good reflection of the desire for peace in Quebec and around the world.

Young people from my riding who are worried about the threat of an attack against Iraq are calling on the government to hear their appeal. “Please say no to war. Think of us, Mr. Prime Minister”, they wrote in a message to be delivered shortly.

If rallies do not wake up Washington, what kind of effect will our children's' anti-war messages have? It is up to the Prime Minister to answer them.

Heritage DayStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Carole-Marie Allard Liberal Laval East, QC

Mr. Speaker, today, February 17, we are celebrating Heritage Day. Organized by the Heritage Canada Foundation, this is an opportunity to celebrate the rich architectural heritage and historic places of Canada.

This year's theme is “The Heritage of Our Town”. City halls, libraries, court houses and other meeting places are being honoured. The history of each building and each street lets us discover our origins.

I invite all hon. members of the House and Canadians everywhere to spend Heritage Day reflecting on their surroundings.

Health CareStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Greg Thompson Progressive Conservative New Brunswick Southwest, NB

Mr. Speaker, despite repeated promises by the Prime Minister, he has made no effort to work out a plan to deal with the crisis in health care to northern communities. Sadly his legacy of neglect continues.

When the Liberal government took a wrecking ball to Canada's health care system in the 1990s, our three territories, because of the complex funding agreements, were hit four times harder than the rest of the country.

Recognizing the need for the territorial adjustment, all the provincial premiers have unanimously called for a separated designated health care fund for the three territories.

When will the Prime Minister act on the promise that he made to the territorial leaders to restore health care funding?

Riding of Saint-Bruno—Saint-HubertStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Pierrette Venne Bloc Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to speak for the first time as an independent member of the Bloc Quebecois because, during the past year, I had very little opportunity to speak in the House. I must confess that getting assigned a new seat is a bit like getting a promotion because it has put me closer to the Chair.

I would also like to take this opportunity to reassure the constituents of Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert about my new status. I want to tell them that there is no cause for concern, that I am no less conscientious and determined than I have ever been in representing them over the past 14 years.

I intend to take every available opportunity the Chair grants me to keep after the government on issues that are important to me, such as extending highway 30 and transferring the Saint-Hubert airport to Longueuil.

I hope, Mr. Speaker, that you will enjoy listening to me as much as I will enjoy making my views known.

Health CareStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Tony Tirabassi Liberal Niagara Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I wish to pay tribute to my constituent, Kim Stasiak. Kim graduated from the Mack School of Nursing in St. Catharines in 1977 and trained in hospitals throughout the Niagara region.

During her career Kim has worked for the Nurses Registry in Niagara, local nursing homes, the Lakeside Camp for Crippled Children in Port Colborne, the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and presently in the ER of the Hotel Dieu Hospital in St. Catharines.

Today I would like to recognize Kim's unwavering commitment to the Niagara Health Coalition, where she works under the co-ordination of the Ontario Health Coalition that is fighting to defend our medicare system.

Kim strongly supports the recommendations of the Romanow Commission. Over the 26 years that Kim has been a registered nurse, she has worked tirelessly to defend what many of us take for granted.

I thank Kim for her continuing hard work and dedication.

National DefenceStatements By Members

February 17th, 2003 / 2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Cheryl Gallant Canadian Alliance Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, the decision to expand the JTF2 anti-terrorism training base in suburban Ottawa without a proper environmental assessment, proper consultation and an offer of fair compensation to local residents smears the reputation of the Canadian military.

Given that the local residents do not want the military base in their residential neighbourhood, nor do they want their land expropriated, why has the government not given serious thought to moving the JTF2 to possibly Base Petawawa? As the helicopters that fly the JTF2 come from Base Petawawa, response times and operational efficiency in some cases may be improved.

The town of Petawawa and the entire upper Ottawa Valley extend a warm welcome to soldiers and their dependants. We have the community support in place to comfort the families during the long absences that mark the career of a JTF2 soldier. JTF2 soldiers will feel right at home immediately, as they currently train in Base Petawawa.

Why has the government not given proper consideration to bringing JTF2 and Base Petawawa together for all the right reasons?

IraqStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, this weekend we witnessed a remarkable outpouring of public concern over the prospect of war in Iraq. We all recognize that questions of war and peace rarely are to be settled by opinion polls, marches and rallies. However the millions of people who marched this weekend in all parts of the world sent a very powerful message to their governments. That message, I believe, is that all reasonable means to resolve the Iraqi question without resorting to war have not been exhausted.

On the question of Iraq possessing weapons of mass destruction or the capacity to produce them, the case today remains substantially unproved. Dr. Blix made this point on Friday. As noted, the absence of evidence does not prove there are none, but the absence of evidence does not prove their presence.

Compliance is the issue. There are many signs that the pressure on Saddam is forcing him to react. The pressure, not ruling out the possibility of war if the evidence is there, should be maintained, but war now continues to be extremely hard to justify.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow once again the government will reveal that it is hiding away surpluses by overtaxing Canadians. One way it does this is through the GST which is bringing in now a record $30 billion. It is still a regressive tax. It is still costly for the government and business to administer.

When will this government finally bring Canadians some real tax relief by lowering the rate of the GST?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have a program that is in its third year of reducing the taxes of Canadians by $100 billion over five years.

While we have reduced taxes, we have managed to have surpluses over the last five years. This is the sixth year in a row that we will have a surplus. We have the best situation in employment that we have had in years. We have low interest rates. Canadians have confidence, and there will be even more confidence tomorrow night.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, with CPP increases, air taxes, gas taxes and record GST revenue, Canadians could be forgiven for not noticing those tax cuts.

At a time when we have revelation of undisclosed GST fraud that has gone on for years, why will the government not commit to offer real tax relief, reduction of the GST to Canadian families and workers?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, if we have $30 billion of revenue from the GST, it is because the economy is performing very well.

I remember when we started, the type of taxes to the government were about $18 billion. However because we have a good tax system, because we have created jobs and confidence in the Canadian economy, the revenues from GST have gone from $18 billion to $30 billion in a few years. That is not bad.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister, the former finance minister and the heritage minister used to say that they would kill, scrap and abolish the GST. Now they brag about it.

Mr. Speaker, this government took power on its promise to abolish the GST. The GST is bad for low and middle income families. It is a bad tax for Canadians in general.

When is this government going to give Canadian families and workers a reduction in the GST?