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House of Commons Hansard #82 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was money.

Topics

Budget Implementation Act, 2003Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—St. Clair, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to specifically address the budget as it impacts or does not impact, as the case may be, on bettering our environment.

We have heard from the Minister of the Environment and other government members that this is the greenest budget that has ever been passed. Historically one could take some issue with that but if it is, it is sorely lacking.

There was an opportunity for the government to address some of the issues that confront this country with regard to bettering our environment, cleaning up the environment, providing for a cleaner environmental future for subsequent generations.

The background work I did in preparing for this debate was interesting. Some of the environmental groups have prepared a government scorecard. They listed a half a dozen to a dozen issues that need to be addressed, longstanding concerns. They assessed the situation, determined what was necessary in government policy to deal with the issues and whether the budget addressed those issues to a satisfactory degree.

Not surprisingly, the results are not very favourable as far as the government is concerned. Let us look at some of the issues.

Do we have a meaningful energy efficiency building retrofit strategy? That one had a partial check mark as opposed to a total no. The only reason is that there is some money in the infrastructure dollars which may provide for a retrofit program but we do not know about that. It was not detailed in the budget at all. Part of that is because it is part of the whole Kyoto plan which the government has been so slow at getting off the ground.

The next point was whether there was a renewable energy strategy. Again, they could not really quantify this or give it a score other than to say that it is addressed but there are no particulars. They do not really know what the government is doing. That of course comes to the same point. There is supposed to be a Kyoto implementation plan, but in fact it does not exist. It was interesting to see how little material there was in the budget as far as implementing the Kyoto protocol in Canada is concerned.

Another issue which follows along the same lines of energy efficiency but also begins to address the issue of clean air is whether we are going to phase out the massive subsidies provided to the fossil fuel and nuclear energy industries in Canada. There were no changes in this regard at all from past practices. Those subsidies which run into the hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars each year will continue to be accorded to those industries and will continue to allow them to pollute the environment.

With regard to a sustainable transportation strategy and fund, there is some money so the government received a partial plus on that one. Again it comes back to what the Kyoto implementation plan is going to look like. It was impossible to tell how meaningful the approach would be.

One of the issues the budget could have addressed has been raised by environmental groups and by our party for quite some time, I would say going back three to five years. That has been to address a taxing figure for toxic waste and toxic substances so that there would be incentives to clean up the use of toxic substances and to clean up toxic waste sites. A very small amount of money was put into the budget to encourage that.

There was nothing done with regard to the ongoing use of toxic substances. There was no tax to discourage their use at all.

Of particular resonance for my community is the use of coal as an energy source. Rather than doing anything to discourage the use of coal, this budget would provide a new tax incentive for the mining industry. The coal industry would get part of this subsidy and Canadians will be encouraged to continue to use coal as an energy source.

HousingStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Steve Mahoney Liberal Mississauga West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to inform the House that April is New Homes Month, an annual event sponsored by the Canadian Home Builder's Association to profile building industry professionals, and their products and services. It is also an occasion to provide consumers with home buying information.

As Canada's national housing agency, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation is the most reliable and objective source of housing information in Canada. CMHC continues to provide a wealth of information to Canadians to help them sort through the many choices and decisions involved in buying, renovating and maintaining their homes. CMHC plays a key role in helping many Canadians make informed housing choices.

In this, and in many other ways, CMHC is committed to helping improve the quality of life for Canadians and communities across the country.

Aboriginal AffairsStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Maurice Vellacott Canadian Alliance Saskatoon—Wanuskewin, SK

Mr. Speaker, Canadians value the various mechanisms for seeking redress available to them when they feel they have been treated unfairly.

Tragically, first nations individuals have not had the same kind of mechanisms available to them. Both the Indian Act and the federal government have failed to provide grassroots natives with an impartial trusted process designed to resolve grievances with band leadership and with the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development.

The first nations governance act which revises the Indian Act, provides a window of opportunity. Written properly, Bill C-7 could provide first nations individuals with a truly independent ombudsman who would be genuinely trusted by grassroots natives. The ombudsman would be empowered to obtain the information needed to complete timely investigations and to provide that redress.

This would be an important step toward holding band governments and the federal government to account and would contribute to bringing justice and hope to Canada's aboriginal peoples.

Social Sciences and HumanitiesStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Liberal Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, here is the Canadian Alliance's view of the social sciences and humanities as expressed by an Alliance member during the budget debate. He said:

The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council spends money on all sorts of queer and strange projects... It does not produce any wealth for this country at all. Most of what it hands out... appears to go for vacation time for academics to travel... and take photographs. It is certainly not contributing to the running of the country.

It is in difficult times, nation building times, that we most need the humanities and social sciences. Education and research in these areas help us understand, appreciate and run our society. Without self-knowledge as individuals and as a nation, we are nothing.

It is disgraceful that the Alliance can condone such shortsighted, thoughtless, and damaging views such as these. The announcement by the Minister of Finance that funding to the social sciences will be increased received a standing ovation on this side.

Thank goodness the Alliance will never form the government.

Entraide jeunesse QuébecStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, Entraide jeunesse Québec is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year. I would like to recognize the commitment and energy of those who began such a wonderful initiative.

An organization founded by young people for young people, Entraide jeunesse Québec has been there every step of the way for thousands of girls and boys between the ages of 12 and 25 and their families. The topics discussed and the projects set up have enabled them to acquire and develop a number of essential personal skills.

Through its remarkable work, this organization has become a major community resource in the Quebec City area.

At the age of 15, you have the energy to take up challenges and meet them with success. My wish is that the team at Entraide jeunesse Québec will continue to do just that.

World Fencing CupStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the finals of the Montreal World Fencing Cup were held in my riding, Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, at the Leonardo da Vinci community centre, with the cooperation of Sport Canada, the Canadian Fencing Federation, and the sponsors, including Saputo and Divco.

This competition was enormously successful. I would like to congratulate the approximately 200 fencers from 30 different countries who participated all week in this tournament's 14th edition.

On Saturday, March 22, 2003, the finalists, including gold medal winner Fabrice Jeannet, from France, demonstrated their true championship skills, in the finest sporting and humanitarian spirit.

Young OffendersStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Randy White Canadian Alliance Langley—Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, today the federal government's Youth Criminal Justice Act comes into force.

So what is the big change? It used to be called the Young Offenders Act, but now it is called the Youth Criminal Justice Act. It must be a good thing that the government changed the act today because yesterday I listened as probation officers told me the significant problems they are having with young offenders: stealing from businesses, using drugs, beating up senior citizens in home invasions, leaving school early and leaving their homes for the streets.

Yes, after 10 long years of pushing the government to help improve life within the family unit, and to help put common sense and discipline back in the courtrooms, we get legislation that is costly, complex and offers no substantial improvements to the old act. This country needs a change all right, but it is a change in government that is needed.

The best the government could do is change the name of the act from the Young Offenders Act to the Youth Criminal Justice Act. What a disgrace. What a pathetic excuse for a government.

Canadian Cancer SocietyStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Sarkis Assadourian Liberal Brampton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, April is Canadian Cancer Society Daffodil Month. The daffodil is the Canadian Cancer Society's symbol of hope in the fight against cancer. Every April thousands of volunteers across Canada raise funds in their communities to support the work of the Canadian Cancer Society.

Daffodil month is about more than raising funds, however, it is also about raising awareness of cancer issues, and the work that the society does in support of its mission, which is to eradicate cancer and enhance the quality of life of people living with cancer.

In 2002, an estimated 136,900 new cases of cancer and 66,200 deaths from cancer occurred in Canada. Health Canada, in partnership with the Canadian Cancer Society and other major cancer stakeholders, manages the Canadian strategy for cancer control.

I would like to ask all members to join with me in wishing the Canadian Cancer Society and its volunteers across the nation wonderful success in their activities during the month of April.

Firearms RegistryStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Strahl Canadian Alliance Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the race to see which Liberal will be the poster child for April Fool's Day has begun, and they're off.

First one out of the gate is the member for LaSalle—Émard, bobbing, weaving, ducking and hiding while hoping no one notices that he is always out of position.

Close on his heels is the current Minister of Finance, doing his best on the heavy track, but being tripped up by the constant anti-American mud flinging that this race is famous for.

On the outside but already starting to fade is the heritage minister, still running hard while eating Tim Hortons donuts and hoping that someone will actually notice her next public pronouncement.

Now, the member for Mississauga Centre has pushed into the lead, flailing Americans left and right, and thrashing exporters indiscriminately about the head and ears.

And look at this, the Prime Minister has entered the race riding backwards on a camel and refusing to fight anyone while wondering which race is which.

But now, out of nowhere, comes the Solicitor General and the Minister of Justice, teaming up on a horse called “Gun Registry”, throwing potfuls of money in all directions, transferring control of the horse first to one then to the other, then finally giving up and dropping the reins altogether.

It looks like the winner is the dynamic duo, “Gun Registry”, for betting the whole farm on an additional $59 million in funding and then announcing today that they cannot even transfer control of the gun registry on time and budget. They may be winners in this race, but the payout is nothing because the Canadian taxpayer is nobody's fool.

Canada Customs and Revenue AgencyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Colleen Beaumier Liberal Brampton West—Mississauga, ON

Mr. Speaker, at the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency we are committed to providing fairness to our clients and to protecting their rights through a fairness policy.

The CCRA successfully manages one of the largest dispute resolution services in the federal government. The dispute resolution service deals mainly with issues relating to income tax, GST, customs and CPP/EI.

If clients were to disagree with an assessment, the CCRA would undertake a full professional and impartial review of their case. The voluntary disclosures program promotes voluntary compliance and gives the CCRA the discretion to help clients who cannot meet their tax obligations. It is a fairness program aimed at providing clients with an opportunity to correct past omissions and provides a greater level of fairness to all clients and stakeholders.

The CCRA's declaration and guide called Your Rights pledges the CCRA's commitment to client rights and fair treatment.

Carl RiddStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to Dr. Carl Ridd, a citizen of Winnipeg and of the world who died last Saturday.

As a young man he was known as King Carl for his excellence on the basketball court, playing with Canada's Olympic team in 1952. His love for basketball was great, but his love for justice and for the truth was even greater. As a professor of religious studies, a Christian in the prophetic tradition, and a social and peace activist, he made his mark on our community. His last public act was to oversee a protest against the war in Iraq on February 15.

As a friend, former student, and fellow Christian struggling to see the world as God would have us see it, I am sure I speak for many in Winnipeg when I express sincere condolences to Carl's wife Bev and his family. His enthusiasm for life will be an ongoing inspiration to all who had the good fortune to know him.

Invisible WorkStatements By Members

April 1st, 2003 / 2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Diane Bourgeois Bloc Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, April 1 is Invisible Work Day. I want to pay tribute to the contribution made by all the women and men who work behind the scenes, particularly those who work in the home and volunteers in the community.

Close to 70% of the work accomplished in our society is unpaid work done by women. Statistics Canada estimates the annual value of unpaid work to be between $235 billion and $374 billion.

I am taking this opportunity to make hon. members, and particularly the federal government, aware of the need to recognize invisible work. The lack of measures remains an obstacle for women and, all too often still, it traps them in a spiral of poverty.

My Bloc Quebecois colleagues join me in paying tribute to the women and men who work behind the scenes to help build our society.

YukonStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, today, April 1, is a history making day in Canada's nation building. Today most of the residual provincial type powers have been transferred from the federal government to Yukon. Another great part of our Confederation has come of age. Now Yukoners, like all other Canadians, can manage our own natural resources, our own minerals, our own forests, our own lands and our own waters.

With great authority comes great responsibility but Yukoners are no strangers to great challenges, and we will prevail and thrive as we have for centuries.

It is therefore with great joy and gratitude that we accept the key to our own destiny and the fulfillment of our dreams.

Massi cho.

National 4-H Citizenship SeminarStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, this week in Ottawa, 4-H members from all across the country are attending the National 4-H Citizenship Seminar.

Those of us who have had the opportunity to be leaders in the 4-H movement, fully realize the value of being a member of this great national organization which instills such values in our youth. Pledging heart, head, hands and health for the betterment of the country is a laudable initiative.

We congratulate the leaders, the organizers and the sponsors of this event. We welcome all of them to the seminar, especially those from the great district of St. John's West and, on behalf of my colleague, of South Shore.

Figure SkatingStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Jerry Pickard Liberal Chatham-Kent—Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, this past weekend, Chatham's own Shae-Lynn Bourne and Vancouver's Victor Kraatz were victorious at the World Figure Skating Championships in Washington, D.C., coming home with the gold medal.

This victory crowns 13 years of outstanding Canadian athletes skating into our hearts, our arenas and Canadian history. The couple has appeared in three Olympic games, nine world championships and they hold 10 Canadian titles. The win represents Canada's first ice dance title in 51 years of championships. I can think of no better way to retire than carrying the world title as champion.

I congratulate them on their tremendous win and flawless, outstanding performance in Washington. I wish them well in their future endeavours. They have made us all proud.

Divas of Quebec ShowStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Guy Carignan Liberal Québec East, QC

Mr. Speaker, on March 22, the second edition of the show “Les Divas du Québec” was presented in Quebec City. The purpose of this blockbuster artistic event is to underscore and promote the cultural involvement of Quebec female singers in the Francophonie.

This time the show featured 17 Quebec performers with powerful and remarkable voices. Another goal of the event was to support the Quebec breast cancer foundation.

This top-notch artistic event was produced under the direction of Nicolas Lemieux, from the Agence Sphère. Mr. Lemieux, who is a resident of the Quebec City neighbourhood of Les Saules, created his agency two years ago and he has quickly established himself as one of the top producers in Quebec.

Mr. Lemieux is to be commended for his ongoing commitment to producing original and professional shows, and his involvement in the promotion of humanitarian causes.

Mr. Lemieux's determination to become a successful producer of high quality shows and his willingness to lend his expertise to a humanitarian cause should be an inspiration for all young entrepreneurs in Canada.

The best moments of the show “Les Divas du Québec” will be presented on Mother's Day, May 11, at 10:30 p.m., on TVA.

ElectionsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Walt Lastewka Liberal St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker, according to Elections Canada, only 25% of eligible voters between the ages of 18 and 24 voted in the last federal election. All parties in the House and indeed all citizens should be doing all they can do to encourage young Canadians to get involved in the political process.

At noon this Sunday, April 6, as part of the Juno celebrations here in the national capital region, a number of leading Canadian artists will lend their support to “Rush the Vote”, a national initiative that encourages young Canadians to become more aware and to effect change through their direct participation.

“Rush the Vote” will be launched with a block party in downtown Ottawa on Laurier Avenue, with live musical performances by Juno nominated artists, celebrity appearances and electoral information. I invite all members and all young Canadians to come out and help “Rush the Vote”.

Art ThompsonStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Carole-Marie Allard Liberal Laval East, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is with great sadness that I announce the passing of Art Thompson, the renowned aboriginal artist from the west coast of Canada.

He earned international recognition for a particular form of aboriginal art. Thompson is known for drawing attention to the free-spirited style of artists of the west coast of Vancouver Island, through his attention to detail and mastery of technique. Of a generous nature, he shared samples of his work and gave technical demonstrations, which also helped this form of art gain recognition.

A member of the Nitinaht first nation, Thompson actively supported the aboriginal people, dedicating time and energy to this cause and denouncing the treatment he received in residential schools.

He was one of our great west coast artists. Our deepest sympathies.

Canadian ForcesOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the issue of war requires moral leadership. We believe the government should stand by our troops, our friends and our allies and do everything necessary to support them right through to victory.

Others believe that the war is unjust and cannot condone putting our service personnel in mortal danger for a cause they do not believe in.

Which position of moral leadership does the Prime Minister intend to give to our military personnel: to bring them home or to back them up?

Canadian ForcesOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have a lot of people in that part of the world and they are fighting the war against terrorism. We have four ships in that area at this time. We have planes. They are involved in fighting terrorism and getting ready to move into Afghanistan in the months to come. It is the position of the government that we are supporting them. We appreciate the extremely good work they are doing there.

In the case of Iraq, we do not have soldiers there but there are a few who are part of an exchange program. They are performing their duties according to the agreement signed between the two countries.

Canadian ForcesOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, a real leader does not put his troops in the field and then wash his hands of their cause.

The defence minister said yesterday that Canadian troops were in combat but not really in combat. He said that they were armed but not allowed to fire. He said that they were in the war theatre but not really participating.

Why is the Prime Minister so incapable of being upfront about his position on this war?

Canadian ForcesOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we were very clear a year ago when we said that there would be no participation of Canadians in a war in Iraq if it were not approved by the Security Council. We were very clear. We said that to everybody. We delivered on what we said to the Canadian people and to the Americans and the British.

I had many discussions with the President of the United States and with the Prime Minister of Great Britain and there was no confusion at all. They knew Canadians would not participate unless it was approved by the Security Council.

Canadian ForcesOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, it may not be so clear to our troops as the bullets fly over their heads.

In the beginning, this government said that Canada would not take part in the war against Saddam, but our soldiers are taking part in it. The government also said that Canadian soldiers were not in Iraq, but now we know that they are. It finally admitted that our Canadian soldiers were in Iraq only to support the effort. Now we know they are there in combat.

Why does this government refuse to tell Canadians the truth?

Canadian ForcesOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have already told Canadians that there are, I believe, 31 soldiers on exchange programs that have been underway for several months with American, British and Australian troops. These are exchanges that have taken place between the various countries for generations.

When someone is on one of these exchanges, he or she must follow the rules of the troops to which he or she is assigned. Clearly this is a very limited number of Canadians who are carrying out these duties. As is always the case with Canadian soldiers, they are carrying out their duties very well.

HealthOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Canadian Alliance Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, SARS is a health issue that is significantly important to Canadians. The Ontario government has taken preventive steps. However, when the federal government was asked by the World Health Organization to screen all outgoing passengers, the minister said no.

I would like her to explain that.