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House of Commons Hansard #64 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was children.

Topics

Badger FloodStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Peter Goldring Canadian Alliance Edmonton Centre-East, AB

Mr. Speaker, a disaster has befallen the town of Badger in Newfoundland and Labrador this week. Waist deep flood waters drove 1,100 residents from their very homes. Houses and vehicles, half submerged, were abandoned to the ravages of nature. With a sinister twist, nature's torment of the town of Badger continues as a winter deep freeze has it locked in an iron grip of ice, unyielding but for the hope of an early spring thaw.

The surreal appearance of the deserted, abandoned town of Badger today belies an even more destructive hidden force soon to be released by warm weather.

All citizens should open their hearts to demonstrate support for our fellow Canadians' plight in the spirit shown by the Hay West initiative last summer: Canadians helping Canadians.

A campaign is underway to help the residents of Badger. I call upon all parliamentarians and all citizens of Canada to get involved and show the community of Badger that we truly do care.

Mercury EmissionsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Charles Caccia Liberal Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, a just published United Nations report entitled, “Elemental Mercury and Inorganic Mercury Compounds: Human Health Aspects” warns that the world's environment is being contaminated by alarming amounts of mercury.

Once emitted into the atmosphere, mercury travels thousands of kilometres to other continents by way of air currents and is then deposited through rain and snowfalls into the aquatic system and the food chain. The report claims mercury causes brain damage, particularly among infants. Also, mercury poses a major threat to the world's fishing industry.

The biggest source of mercury emissions is from coal-burning power plants and waste incinerators. Here in Canada, the Lakeview, Nanticoke and other coal-burning power plants should be converted to natural gas so as to reduce the quantity of mercury entering the environment and the food chain.

The BudgetStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister prides himself that this is a people's budget. Let us be clear, the people who have been hurt the most by 10 years of Liberal damage are still hurting after the budget.

I was desperately hoping for good news on the housing front, but we are barely closer to the 1% solution for affordable housing that is needed to produce 20,000 to 30,000 units a year. What we will get is maybe 2,500.

If Canadians are waiting for affordable quality child care, wait on. Take a number and hope to get one of the only 3,000 spaces over two years, when 82% of kids do not have access to quality child care.

Then there is the child tax benefit. What did the federal Liberals say to poor families? “You are a priority. Well, not until 2007”.

With accumulated surpluses of $80 billion, one would think that eliminating poverty in this country would be an affordable priority. However, the Liberals have shown yet again that their priorities are with tax cuts and helping well off Canadians get more.

So much for the people's budget.

The BudgetStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, the former president of the Treasury Board, Marcel Massé, announced with great fanfare on March 8, 1996, and I quote, “When Bouchard has to make cuts, those of us in Ottawa will be able to demonstrate that we have the means to preserve the future of social programs”.

The surplus that the Liberals are so proud of was built on the backs of the unemployed, children, the sick, young people and the less fortunate in our society.

When the complacent Liberal members applaud this heartless budget, penned by the Prime Minister himself, they are congratulating him for wanting to prevent the National Assembly of Quebec from implementing a parental leave program that young families in Quebec have been asking for.

Why are the Liberal members from Quebec not demanding that the government do something about the fiscal imbalance, which is a daily threat to Quebec's ability to meet the glaring needs of its people?

HealthStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to rise today to announce a very successful conclusion to a meeting at the Prime Minister's residence this morning, in which a basic understanding of northern health care needs was agreed to.

I would like to commend the Prime Minister, the three northern premiers and the members of Parliament from Nunavut and the Northwest Territories for developing this special arrangement to deal with the unique health care requirements of the north.

I also want to recognize all the officials in the federal and territorial governments who always work so hard anonymously behind the scenes to make these successes possible.

Finally, I would like to thank all northerners and all those people here in southern Canada who lent their support and understanding for the health care needs of the northern territories.

Badger FloodStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Rex Barnes Progressive Conservative Gander—Grand Falls, NL

Mr. Speaker, the residents of Badger are facing devastation as a result of the flooding of the Exploits River.

Their lives changed forever on February 15 when the raging water and ice floes resulted in the total evacuation of the community.

The devastation is phenomenal. Family homes have been destroyed. The town's infrastructure is collapsing. Businesses have shut down indefinitely. The social and economic impact is staggering. The despair and anxiety are gut wrenching.

Among these emotions there has been an outpouring of sympathy, generosity and caring. Compassion is what makes us proud to be Canadians.

I call upon the federal government to respond in our time of need. I ask that a special relief fund be put in place. The residents of Badger need to know that their country is with them at this very difficult hour.

Construction IndustryStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, spring will soon be here and the construction season in the National Capital area will be upon us once again.

Unfortunately, the conflict about construction worker mobility is still not settled. Since Ontario passed Bill 17 on construction labour mobility, Quebec workers have to comply with numerous formalities to work in Ontario. Furthermore, Quebec contractors cannot bid on government projects in Ontario. The Government of Quebec has, in turn, established a protectionist regime governing the right to work in the Quebec construction industry.

It is high time that the Ontario and Quebec ministers resumed negotiations so that construction workers and consumers in the National Capital Region do not have to bear the brunt of their disagreement.

B.C. Ear BankStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rob Merrifield Canadian Alliance Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, Health Canada's ability to ensure the health and safety of Canadians has been called into question once again.

The B.C. Ear Bank was shut down in October after local officials discovered shoddy record keeping. They could not determine whether tissues had been properly screened for diseases such as HIV or hepatitis. All tissues have been recalled and officials say that anyone who has received tissue since 1975 should undergo testing.

Concerns about the clinic were raised in the early 1990s and again in 1998. Is this another tainted blood scandal?

Canadians deserve to know why action was not taken when red flags went up in the 1990s. Why did Health Canada wait until yesterday to inform Canadians when the clinic was shut down in October? What national standards are in place to prevent such problems from occurring in the first place?

This afternoon those questions will be placed on the Order Paper. We expect clear answers from the government.

Aboriginal PeoplesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take advantage of this opportunity to invite all members of this House to meet first nations leaders from across Canada today, after 3 p.m., in Room 238-S, Centre Block.

This will provide us all, the Liberal MPs in particular, with an opportunity to learn more about aboriginal peoples and their aspirations.

This reception and the display that goes with it will help us discover the true reality of the first nations people as well as their positions on the various bills that will be coming up for debate in the House in the months to come.

This government needs to give up trying to convince Canadians and Quebeckers, and MPs, that its relationship with the aboriginal community is harmonious and constructive. To find out the truth, come and meet and greet the key stakeholders.

Haldimand War Memorial HospitalStatements By Members

February 20th, 2003 / 2:10 p.m.

Liberal

John Maloney Liberal Erie—Lincoln, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the Haldimand War Memorial Hospital in my riding of Erie--Lincoln for its voluntary commitment to join Natural Resources Canada's energy innovators initiative.

Recognized by the Minister of Natural Resources as an energy innovator, Haldimand War Memorial Hospital has made a long term commitment to use energy efficiency to reduce costs and slow the growth of Canada's greenhouse gas emissions.

All sectors of Canada's economy are being called upon to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. I would like to acknowledge and commend the Haldimand War Memorial Hospital for being a leader in this movement. I would also like to applaud Natural Resources Canada for its support of organizations such as the Haldimand War Memorial Hospital.

Canada's commitment to reduce greenhouse gases and to combat climate change has brought about effective and innovative programs, such as the energy innovators initiative, which will help pave the path to our future as a sustainable and energy efficient nation. Canadians everywhere are joining in the fight for sustainable development.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, there is increasing confusion about the government's position on Iraq.

I offer the following chronology of confusion. In December the Prime Minister said that there could be no action without the approval of the United Nations. On January 23 he said that with evidence from the allies he would support action. On Tuesday he said that Canada would not join a coalition of the willing. Yesterday he was back on the fence.

What is the Prime Minister's position of the day?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I am sorry if there is confusion on this issue. I have to believe it is in the minds of our hon. opponents, because the fact is that we have been clear throughout this whole issue that we are supporting the United Nations process. The Prime Minister clearly said that when he spoke to Mr. Bush some time ago. He has consistently repeated that message. Our diplomatic efforts have been in that respect.

Yesterday, Mr. Heinbecker clearly was trying to work through the United Nations process to see if we could bring clarity through that, and that is the Canadian position. We are very proud of the way we have been able to--

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Leader of the Opposition.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I can assure you that confusion is not just among all opposition parties, but Canadians and foreign governments around the world as well.

I go back to January when the French and German governments were already complaining and calling on Canada to take some kind of a position. Yesterday the British ambassador to the United Nations stated “Canada will have to take a position...on one side or the other. It is decision time”.

I ask the Prime Minister, which side of the fence does he find himself on today?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I had the opportunity of having a long conversation this morning with my colleague, Jack Straw, in the United Kingdom. There is no confusion in the mind of the United Kingdom government on the position of Canada and there is no confusion either on this side of the House or in the population of Canada.

Canada is on the side of peace and of working through the international institutions we have created throughout the years, and that is what we have always done.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, if the British government is not confused, that is not what it is saying at the United Nations.

So far, the Prime Minister has a history of flip-flopping on this matter.

On January 25, the Prime Minister did not know if a second resolution was needed. Four days later, he said the first resolution was enough. On February 11, the Prime Minister voted against a second resolution. The next day, he said he supported a second resolution.

What is the Prime Minister's position today?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker,our message remains the same to this House, to Canadians, and to the world: namely that there is a UN process that offers the best hopes of getting through this crisis without a war. Nothing has changed.

That was Mr. Heinbecker's message yesterday before the Security Council, when he told it that we are supporting the Security Council in its attempt to come up with a clear and precise solution that asks Saddam Hussein to comply so that the situation can be resolved peacefully.

Member for LaSalle--ÉmardOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Canadian Alliance West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

Mr. Speaker, the former finance minister continues to amaze the crowds with his dance of the veils, with the ethics counsellor standing just off stage catching whatever is shed. The first layer was the blind trust that no one could see through. Next came blind management. Now we are down to the last and flimsiest layer, the supervisory agreement.

Could the Prime Minister explain why the former finance minister was allowed the opportunity for hands on management by the ethics counsellor while all other ministers adhered to the stricter blind trust or blind management agreements?

Member for LaSalle--ÉmardOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the arrangements that were in place were those that were appropriate to the circumstances and, in fact, reflect the views of the Parker commission that reviewed these matters in the past. The former minister complied entirely with the requirements before him.

Member for LaSalle--ÉmardOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Canadian Alliance West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

Mr. Speaker, the supervisory agreement is a loophole big enough for the ancient mariner to sail his whole fleet through.

The loophole is “as the ethics counsellor otherwise determines”. The code says that a minister must dispose of his assets or put them in a blind trust or in blind management. There is absolutely no mention of a supervisory agreement in the code.

Is the Prime Minister admitting that only one cabinet minister in history has been allowed this exemption? Why did he allow the former finance minister this exemption when the Minister for Natural Resources and all others could not have it?

Member for LaSalle--ÉmardOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I would point out that Mr. Justice Parker, in his commentary on this, indicated that the blind trust should never be used for anything like a family business or a family firm.

The rules that were in place were complied with. The ethics counsellor overviewed the requirements and ensured that compliance was adequate.

IraqOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, UN weapons inspectors recently told the Security Council that Iraq is being more cooperative, that progress is being made, and that more time is needed to complete their work. This is what the inspectors said.

Since the inspections are working, and since the international community needs time, will the minister admit that giving Iraq a close deadline, as Canada is proposing, seriously jeopardizes the chances for a peaceful resolution to this conflict?

IraqOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I fully agree with the hon. member that time is needed to achieve a peaceful resolution to this conflict.

However, the situation cannot go on indefinitely. Even the French and all the countries that want peace recognize that only by asking Saddam Hussein to do certain specific things within a set timeframe can this issue be settled and a peaceful solution to this crisis be achieved.

This is the contribution made by Canada yesterday, and our position will not change.

IraqOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, setting a deadline is something artificial. Let us leave it to the inspectors to set the date, based on what the needs are.

It seems to me that Canada is not trying to save peace but, rather, to save face for Great Britain and the United States. But this is not what we should be doing.

IraqOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I think there is a misunderstanding here. Canada did not propose a deadline. On the contrary, we made it clear that we would not propose a specific date. We told the Security Council, “You are in charge. Therefore, you set a date that takes into account the requirements for peace and the obligation for Saddam Hussein to comply”.

This is where we now stand. This is the approach that we will pursue. I believe this is a very positive contribution on the part of Canada.