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House of Commons Hansard #53 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was life.

Topics

2:05 p.m.

The Speaker

As is our practice on Wednesday we will now sing O Canada, and we will be led by the hon. member for Sackville--Musquodoboit Valley--Eastern Shore.

[Editor's Note: Members sang the national anthem]

Black History MonthStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Ovid Jackson Liberal Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, ON

Mr. Speaker, February is Black History Week, a week in which we take some time out to celebrate the contributions by people of black heritage to Canada; people like Matthew Henson, the pioneer who discovered the North Pole; or M. Nourbese Philip, the poet who in her poems empowered women and gave self-esteem not only to women of colour but all women.

I urge all my colleagues to take some time out across this great country of ours to celebrate our diversity, to take time in their communities to pay tribute to a people who are sometimes not talked about in history.

What would our society be without air conditioners, refrigerators, the elevator, and blood transfusions? These are all contributions by people of black heritage.

Softwood LumberStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gurmant Grewal Canadian Alliance Surrey Central, BC

Mr. Speaker, what exactly is the international trade minister celebrating today in Washington? The government's incompetence with the softwood lumber file? The unemployment of 4,000 B.C. forestry workers? The bankruptcy of Doman Industries and others? Or maybe it is because the industry representatives from Canada and the U.S. have advanced softwood lumber talks further in five days than the Liberals have in the last three years.

The U.S. is threatening to double the current 27% duty on Canadian softwood lumber. Today our government responds by offering Americans Timbits, caribou meat and beer. This comes on the heels of the government's $17 million ad campaign that relied upon Leave it to Beaver nostalgia with slogans like “We grew up together” and “Let's keep a good thing growing”.

Is this the best the Liberals can do for our forest industry? When will this spineless, out of touch government shed its feel good tactics and give our lumber industry free access to U.S. markets?

Charlie BiddleStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Diane St-Jacques Liberal Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday we were saddened to learn of the death of Montreal jazz great Charlie Biddle, at the age of 76.

A native of Philadelphia, Charlie Biddle emigrated to Canada in 1948. He was a side man for such greats as Oscar Peterson, Thelonious Monk and Charlie Parker and was greatly respected by his fellow musicians. Charlie Biddle redefined the Montreal jazz scene.

He worked as a car salesman during the day for 18 years, while playing the clubs of Montreal at night. He made a name for himself internationally with his appearances at the Youth Pavilion during Expo 67. In 1979 he organized a three day long jazz festival which many consider the forerunner of the Famed Montreal International Jazz Festival, which began in 1980.

In January 2003, the Saint-Jean-Baptiste Society honoured Charlie Biddle with the Calixa Lavallée award for his contribution to the ever expanding jazz scene. The next day, he received the Order of Canada. His devotion and passion show through in his music.

On behalf of the Government of Canada, I wish to pay tribute to him for his body of work—

Charlie BiddleStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Louis-Hébert.

Beauport BayStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Hélène Scherrer Liberal Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, at a press conference yesterday, the chairman of the board and the CEO of the Quebec CIty port authority unveiled a development concept for the beach area of Beauport Bay.

The proposal makes it possible to further develop the natural attractions of the bay, while integrating its present and future vocation as a port.

This project, designed both to promote tourism and recreation and to underline the importance of expanded port activities, will gain the approval of all residents of the Quebec City area, I am sure.

I congratulate the port authority for this project, which will showcase the economic, touristic, sporting and environmental aspects of the region's potential.

The best of success to Beauport Bay and to all the various stakeholders involved in this collaboration.

Musgrave HarbourStatements by Members

February 5th, 2003 / 2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, I am saddened today to ask the House to join me in extending our condolences to the friends and families of the five hunters who lost their lives this week in Musgrave Harbour, Newfoundland.

Five men, including a father and his two sons, died while duck hunting near Wadman Island on Monday. There was only one survivor.

Every resident of Musgrave Harbour, and indeed every Canadian, has been touched by this terrible accident. These five men will certainly be remembered fondly by all those who knew them.

I am sure that all members of the House will join me in extending our deepest sympathies to the community of Musgrave Harbour and to those who lost loved ones in this devastating tragedy.

Government ContractsStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jay Hill Canadian Alliance Prince George—Peace River, BC

Mr. Speaker, during his time as junior minister of amateur sport, it was alleged the immigration minister personally intervened in awarding a half million dollar contract to advertising firm Groupe Everest, whose owner is a well known long time friend of the minister.

On November 5, three months ago today, following a suggestion made by the Deputy Prime Minister in question period, I wrote to the ethics counsellor, Howard Wilson, asking him to investigate.

Receiving no response, I again wrote to Mr. Wilson on November 20. Once again, I received no response. On December 5 I attempted to personally raise this matter with Mr. Wilson in committee, but my questions were ruled out of order by the Liberal chairman; yet again, no response.

It is now February 5 and we still do not know if the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration is guilty of a conflict of interest, but we do know that the so-called ethics counsellor is not doing his job.

Ontario Special OlympicsStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Aileen Carroll Liberal Barrie—Simcoe—Bradford, ON

Mr. Speaker, this past weekend I had the pleasure of attending the closing ceremonies for the Ontario Special Olympics winter games held in my riding.

In all, 300 athletes participated in the games and 800 volunteers helped to ensure that the games ran smoothly. The medal winners will move on to the nationals in Prince Edward Island next year.

I would like to thank the many volunteers in the community who worked hard and gave so generously of their time.

I would like to repeat what I said to the athletes on Saturday night.

“I applaud your spirit and your dedication. Your efforts have set an extraordinary example. Our community is richer because you have participated in the winter games here with us”.

Charlie BiddleStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Bloc Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebec has lost one of its pioneering jazz musicians. Charlie Biddle, the famous bass player, passed away yesterday at the age of 76.

His body of work was prodigious. His passion and dedication in setting a style that reflected his roots were unequalled. His love of Quebec and music, and his pride in expressing his art in his adopted home all contributed to feeding our hunger for jazz and also helped Montreal earn its international reputation as a centre for jazz.

This great musician whose fingers pulsed with emotion sent shivers down our spines for more than a half century and became one of the jazz greats. In recognition of his exceptional contribution to Quebec's music scene, he was awarded the Oscar Peterson Award and on January 18 he received the Calixa Lavallée Award for music, given annually by the Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste, from the Premier of Quebec, Mr. Bernard Landry.

On behalf of my colleagues from the Bloc Quebecois, I offer my sincere condolences to his family, his many friends as well as all his fans.

Thank you Charlie Biddle for having been Quebec's ambassador of jazz. Your music will play on in our hearts.

Industrial MaterialsStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Nick Discepola Liberal Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, on January 21, the Government of Canada announced a $11.3 million investment in Valotech for the establishment of the Crossroads for Industrial Materials Innovation (CIMI) on the NRC's Industrial Materials Institute site in Boucherville.

The Government of Canada is partnering with Valotech, a not-for-profit organization, whose mission is to contribute to Montérégie's economic growth in order to create a technological cluster providing space and services to new industrial materials enterprises.

This is yet another example of our government's dynamic research and innovation strategy in all regions of Canada.

New BrunswickStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Reed Elley Canadian Alliance Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, residents of New Brunswick have been hit hard by the ravages of an ice storm. Initially power was cut to 63,000 homes and businesses sending them into a cold darkness, and 27,000 still remain powerless. Now the weather forecast is calling for further severe winter storms to hit the Atlantic coast, adding to the bad news that New Brunswickers have faced.

Residents have been forced to take up temporary quarters in hotels, motels, with friends or neighbours or in emergency shelters. We understand what these brave people are facing. Frozen water lines, displaced families and lost business revenues are only some of the hurdles that people are dealing with.

I salute the hydro crews who have been working around the clock to restore power. Also the Red Cross volunteers and the host of caring friends, neighbours and even strangers who are reaching out to each other during this trying time.

It is during times like this that we see the very best qualities of our fellow human beings rise to the surface. Whether it be during the recent avalanches in my home province of B.C., the floods in Manitoba and Quebec or the ice storm in central Canada, we need each other.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of New Brunswick, and on behalf of the Canadian Alliance, I wish them all the best.

Community Access CentresStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Massimo Pacetti Liberal Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise in the House today to highlight the opening of three community access centres within the Haitian community of Saint-Léonard and Saint-Michel.

In recent weeks, I had the honour of giving, on behalf of the Government of Canada, a total of $51,000 to three organizations: the Association des citoyens d'origine haïtienne au Canada, the Association haïtiano-canado-québécoise d'aide aux démunis and the Centre d'action communautaire et d'insertion sociale multiculturel.

This program is establishing public Internet access centres. It gives Canadians opportunities for innovative learning, skills development and access to government services.

Several centres in the Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel riding have benefited from this program, which represents an investment of over $510,000.

FisheriesStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Musquodoboit Valley—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, we too, on behalf of the New Democratic Party, extend our condolences to the families and people of Newfoundland and Labrador over the recent tragedy of the five people who passed away.

Parliament has been inundated now and we have been bombarded with west coast fishermen, aboriginal groups, men and women of coastal communities and commercial fishermen who have come to Ottawa to address very serious concerns over the future of their livelihoods when it comes to commercial fishing on the west coast of British Columbia.

Their concerns are not that there is not enough fish. In fact there is enough fish for these people to have an economic opportunity. Last year the British Columbia coastal communities lost $240 million in economic activity because the regional department was unable to make decisions in consultation with the commercial groups.

We encourage the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to sit down and work with commercial fishing groups, aboriginal communities and coastal communities to develop long term strategies for economic--

FisheriesStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Lévis-et-Chutes-de-la-Chaudière.

International Development WeekStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Antoine Dubé Bloc Lévis-Et-Chutes-De-La-Chaudière, QC

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Bloc Quebecois I would like to mark International Development Week by congratulating the members of the many organizations that advocate and work for developing nations. A special thanks goes out to the organizations of the Association québécoise des organismes de coopération internationale.

Unfortunately, since the current government came into power in 1993, funding for international cooperation has been cut dramatically. Although an annual increase of 8% was announced in the last Speech from the Throne, the absence of $500 million promised for the fund for aid to Africa brings Canada's contribution to 0.27% of its GDP. Note that it was 0.45% under the previous government. This is far from the 0.7% recommended by the UN.

Worse still, the portion of Canada's contribution that is allocated to non-governmental organizations continues to decline because of the administrative costs of purchases made on Canadian soil. NGOs are central to—

International Development WeekStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Chicoutimi—Le Fjord.

AlumiformStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

André Harvey Liberal Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, on Friday the Secretary of State for the Economic Development Agency of Canada announced a major financial contribution of nearly $3 million for Alumiform, a small business in Chicoutimi that specializes in aluminum processing.

Alumiform hopes to use this money to tap into a future of great opportunities in foreign markets, especially the American and European markets.

The Canadian government's participation in this project is important, given the major impact it will have on the local economy. The Alumiform project will consolidate the 40 current jobs and create 80 new jobs.

This is another example of how the Canadian government helps in developing the regional economies of our country.

Canada-U.S. RelationsStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Progressive Conservative Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, in December Liberal MPs asked the government to appoint a special group of cabinet ministers to develop “a more coherent strategy to improve relationships with the United States”. Instead, we have the fiasco of the Minister for International Trade holding a sales event jammed in between memorials for the seven astronauts killed in the crash of the Columbia. This lack of respect not only trivializes the Columbia fatalities but diminishes the real issues between these two countries such as the ongoing problem of softwood lumber.

This Canada sales event should have been postponed for a more appropriate time and the government should make every effort to mend fences, not aggravate an already fractured relationship.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, we all know that Secretary of State Powell for the United States made a presentation this morning to the United Nations. The presentation was described and the evidence presented. It has been described by the Minister of Foreign Affairs as disturbing and persuasive.

In the presentation, Secretary of State Powell joined with the coalition of voices, including Australia, the United Kingdom and others, saying that Saddam Hussein was in material breach of the United Nations Security Council resolution 1441. Does the Government of Canada share that opinion?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, we certainly agree with the conclusions stated by the hon. member in terms of the excellent presentation made by Secretary Powell this morning.

I might say that Secretary Powell, along with other countries in the world, Canada included, have said that the United Nations process is the proper process for us to follow. This is where we are. It is clear that process will continue.

Dr. Blix will be reporting on these disturbing allegations of Secretary Powell. We will be taking action in conformity with the world opinion and the way in which peace and global governance can be assured.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, while we appreciate that, I thought I asked a clear question and I would like to get a clear answer.

Dr. Blix was clear. He already said that Iraq was in non-compliance of the UN resolution. The allied coalition, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, have been clear in saying that Iraq is in material breach.

Rather than sit on the fence for the world to see, would the government answer this simple question: Is it or is it not in agreement with our allies that Iraq is in material breach of the United Nations Security Council resolution 1441?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, unfortunately the question is not that clear because it contains within it the seeds of another question which is: if there is a material breach what are the consequences of that material breach?

Those consequences can only be determined when Dr. Blix reports back as to whether or not the process has had a chance to work.

I would remind the hon. member of his very wise words of last January, when he said that he thought everyone should wait and assess the evidence before deciding on the most appropriate course of action.

We are doing that. He agrees with that. Let us stay that course. It is working.

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, we are assessing the evidence. Canadians expect the government to be able to do that on its own for the benefit of the rest of the world.

Major countries have said that Iraq is in material breach of resolutions. I do not understand why the government is unable to. What is the logic at this point of giving Saddam Hussein the benefit of the doubt?

Foreign AffairsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Toronto Centre—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, that is why the government has consistently insisted on evaluating the evidence ourselves, for ourselves, in our own interest, not dictated by any other power.

The point of the matter is that resolution 1441 says that Iraq is in material breach in its first line.

The important thing is how do we make this system work in a way which disarms Saddam Hussein, if possible with peace, and reinforces the efficacy of the global security system we have established? That is what we are doing. We are doing it effectively. The Prime Minister, myself and all of the government is working on that. It is starting to work.