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House of Commons Hansard #83 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was disease.

Topics

2 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 Niagara Centre.

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

Municipal Partnership ProgramStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Julian Reed Liberal Halton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to inform the House about an ongoing municipal to municipal partnership program. Over 1,500 Canadian municipal practitioners have shared their skills, experience and expertise with colleagues in the developing world.

From my riding the town of Milton has partnered with Santa-Maria in the Philippines, focusing on economic development, environmental planning and tax and financial systems. This has been so successful that a new phase on waste management is being prepared bringing in the region of Halton. Oakville has worked with the city of Sumperk in the Czech Republic to develop local municipal management practices.

These partnerships are tremendous opportunities to lend Canadian expertise in public administration and to gain a better understanding of development challenges and issues.

IraqStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rick Casson Canadian Alliance Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, on March 28 a rally was held in my hometown of Picture Butte, Alberta. The aim of the rally was to demonstrate support for the allied troops fighting in Iraq. I proudly stood shoulder to shoulder with many like-minded Canadians from across southern Alberta. They expressed disappointment and dismay that the Liberal government has chosen not to support our traditional allies in fighting for freedom and liberation from Saddam Hussein's brutal regime.

Of the many hundreds of people who attended the rally, Jan and Todd, parents of 11 children, brought a picture of their second oldest son, Caleb. Twenty year old Caleb is serving with the 1st marine division in Iraq. Since leaving to fight for freedom in January, Jan and Todd nervously await word as to the welfare of their son.

This family relocated to southern Alberta from Virginia three years ago. They, along with many Canadians, are confused by the position the government has taken.

We want to let Caleb, all the allied troops and the Canadian men and women fighting this war know that although the Liberal government may not be behind them, the Canadian Alliance is.

IraqStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Andrew Telegdi Liberal Kitchener—Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, at its meeting on February 26, the Regional Municipality of Waterloo passed the following resolution:

Whereas the threat of war in the current international situation is a concern for the residents of the region of Waterloo and for all Canadians;

Therefore be it resolved that the Regional Municipality of Waterloo urge the Government of Canada to make all possible efforts to achieve a peaceful resolution to this situation;

And be it further resolved that if the Government of Canada decided to take military action against Iraq that such action would only occur under the auspices of the United Nations and according to United Nations resolutions.

The Government of Canada worked hard for a resolution that would have bridged the two solitudes on the UN Security Council and would have averted war. Unfortunately we were not successful.

We must continue our efforts to seek an alternative to the present war and redouble our efforts to strengthen the cause of multilateralism and the United Nations.

Don StuartStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Bonwick Liberal Simcoe—Grey, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take a moment to recognize Mr. Don Stuart of Midhurst, Ontario, a constituent in my riding.

Mr. Stuart has participated as a volunteer in a number of assignments with the Canadian Executive Service Organization. Most recently he travelled to Davao City in the Philippines with CESO to assist a handloom crafts company operated by women in that community.

Mr. Stuart provided training in new weaving techniques and redesigned the looms to make work less tiring for the employees. The result will be a better working environment for the employees, an increase in production and employment of local women. Don has participated in at least six assignments with CESO and calls it an incredible program that sets Canada apart from the rest of the world.

I would like to acknowledge Don's commitment of skill and time and to thank him for his continued dedication to others in need around the world.

Frederick Forrest MoarStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Charles Hubbard Liberal Miramichi, NB

Mr. Speaker, it is my privilege to salute Frederick Forrest Moar of Miramichi who, with 14 other veterans, was honoured by the minister with the Veterans Affairs Commendation on Monday.

Fred Moar was a militia sergeant who volunteered for active service in 1940. Joining the North Shore Regiment he proceeded overseas in 1941. On D-Day, Lieutenant Moar landed at Normandy and was made company commander in August. He served in Europe until 1946 and later became commanding officer and honorary colonel of 2RNBR North Shore.

Since 1984 Colonel Moar has volunteered at least one day each week in the office of three Miramichi members of Parliament in assisting veterans and their spouses in their relationships with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

We thank him for his many years of dedication and service to his country and to our Miramichi constituents. All of us could learn from this example of one of the 15 recipients of the award on Monday of this week.

CurlingStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Carol Skelton Canadian Alliance Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, Saskatchewan has two more world champion teams. Our men's and women's teams captured the world junior curling titles in Switzerland with the cheers of all Canadians behind them.

The men's team, skipped by Steve Laycock, with Chris Haichert, Michael Jantzen, Kyler Broad and Ben Hebert, was strong throughout the tournament. The women's team set a new standard by going undefeated in 11 straight games. This made it only the fourth time that both the Canadian men and women have won the world's in the same year.

The women's team was skipped by Marliese Miller, third Teejay Surik, second Janelle Lemon, lead Chelsey Bell and alternate Tammy Schneider.

Teejay Surik is the second world curling champion to come from Biggar, continuing the legacy of the great Sandra Schmirler.

I would like to thank both teams for doing Canada proud by being such wonderful ambassadors and such great champions.

AgricultureStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

John Maloney Liberal Erie—Lincoln, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to offer my congratulations to Casco and the Ontario Corn Producers' Association who have recently created a new initiative which enables producers of corn to sell their product online. E-commerce for kernels has arrived. The initiative was launched on their existing website, went live on January 20 this year and has already received tremendous support.

The “Sell Your Corn on the Web” project was designed to increase the volume of corn purchased by Casco directly from Ontario corn producers by using the Internet. It is truly an innovative and modern initiative that promises great success for our corn producers and processors alike.

Casco and the Ontario Corn Producers' Association have been working together to promote growth in agriculture and agri-food and will continue to look for opportunities that will benefit all stakeholders and ultimately our Canadian public.

Casco and the OCPA are to be commended for having taken this important step to secure a role in the promotion of a sustainable and future driven agriculture market. People in our agriculture and agri-food industry continue to use modern technology to their competitive advantage.

Marie-Christine SalvasStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian tennis championships are underway in Montreal. They mark the end of the winter season for Marie-Christine Salvas, a student at polyvalente Jean Raimbault, in Drummondville.

Two weeks ago, she came second in the under-16 category at the Quebec championships, and also distinguished herself in the doubles finals.

During the winter, she participated in the Prince Cup and Junior Orange Bowl tournaments in Florida, where she qualified for the main draw for both, playing against players from around the world.

With her school administration's cooperation, Marie-Christine is able to combine studying with training and travelling for tournaments. She also relies on the experienced advice of coach François Champagne.

This day, April 2, is a special day for Marie-Christine Salvas: she is turning 15. I wish her a happy birthday, and good luck in pursuing her goals.

Canada-U.S. RelationsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to take this opportunity to acknowledge the special relationship between Canada and the United States, a unique partnership that has a long and colourful history, that is always respectful of each other's jurisdictions, principles and values. I speak about that relationship today as it very much reflects how we regard each other.

Canada does 87% of its trade with the United States. We want to ensure that those economic opportunities continue. Thousands of Canadian jobs depend on the U.S., just as American jobs rely on Canadian trade and industry. We are important to each other in many other ways.

Our success as a nation is built on relations with our neighbours, with all our trading partners and with our allies, as well as our role on the world stage.

The relationship between Canada and the United States is shaped by a deep friendship and understanding. Let us not forget our closest southern neighbours and what we mean to each other.

Merritt Mountain Music FestStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian Alliance Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to join with Canadians from coast to coast in congratulating the city of Merritt on earning the title of the “Country Music Capital of Canada”.

Nestled in the heart of the Nicola Valley in the federal riding of Okanagan—Coquihalla is the town of Merritt. Each year tens of thousands of music fans from across Canada, the United States and the world rock to the Merritt Mountain Music Fest to enjoy some of the top names in country music.

I am asking all my colleagues in the House of Commons to join me in congratulating my constituents in Merritt and the Nicola Valley, along with the organizers for this great achievement.

Mr. Speaker, as I am sure you are interested in attending, the Merritt Mountain Music Fest takes place July 18, 19 and 20. More information can be obtained by logging on to merrittfest.com. That will send people on their way to the country music capital of Canada.

Canadian International Development AgencyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

André Harvey Liberal Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the developing world, poverty is widespread, as 800 million people go hungry every day. Agriculture must play a key role in improving the quality of life of people in developing countries. That is why CIDA has made it a priority.

This morning, the Minister for International Cooperation published an important CIDA policy statement entitled, “Promoting Sustainable Rural Development Through Agriculture”.

CIDA will increase its total investment in agricultural programming from about $95 million to $300 million by 2005-06. CIDA will be consolidating its relationships with its partners both in Canada and in developing countries and continue to promote international partnerships to ensure its efforts are effective.

All the best on entering this golden age of international cooperation.

Margaret Mary SavageStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Wendy Lill NDP Dartmouth, NS

Mr. Speaker, at the beginning of Cancer Awareness Month, it is with great sorrow that I join with all people of Dartmouth and Nova Scotia in recognizing the passage of Margaret Mary Savage who died peacefully in her home in Dartmouth on March 31, 2003.

Margaret leaves behind her dedicated husband, John, her seven children, her many grandchildren and a community deeply indebted to her sense of love and caring for humanity.

Margaret played an active role in the life of her church, the Catholic Women's League and many interfaith initiatives. Along with her husband, John, she was the driving force behind such programs as Feed Others of Dartmouth, the Dartmouth Book and Writing Awards, initiatives for literacy, and the Christmas Full of Caring program.

Margaret saw value in everyone and made everyone feel valuable. Her patience, tolerance and non-judgmental acceptance of all viewpoints and people were an inspiration to her family and friends.

Today we offer our prayers to the Savage family and we commit to redoubling our efforts to eradicate this dreadful disease for all of our families and all of humanity.

Don CherryStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, once again, commentator Don Cherry is attacking Quebeckers, but fortunately, Canada's public broadcaster, the CBC, has distanced itself from Cherry's statements, and I quote:

We disagree with, and dissociate ourselves from, his comments, which we consider to be inappropriate and uninformed.

This is not the first time that Don Cherry has insulted Quebeckers. It is true that Quebeckers oppose the war in Iraq, because we consider this war to be illegitimate and illegal.

Don Cherry should know that many Americans, especially in New York, also oppose this war and consider it unacceptable and inappropriate.

So, Quebeckers are not against the Americans; they are against the war. We enjoy cordial relations with the Americans on both a personal and a business level.

Don Cherry's statements are unacceptable, erroneous and slanderous. Once again, he just does not get it.

Minister of National DefenceStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

David Pratt Liberal Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, since first being appointed the Minister of National Defence a little over 10 months ago, the hon. member for Markham has spoken out loudly in support of the Canadian Forces and the minister's words and actions have produced significant results for the men and women of the forces, including a pay raise, an improvement to their insurance policies and an infusion of well over $1 billion over the next couple of years.

At a time of heightened sensitivity around the world, the Minister of National Defence has called for a more non-partisan approach to these vital issues. Unfortunately, the Leader of the Opposition has proven that his party is more interested in name-calling than debating the issues in a constructive manner.

Actions speak louder than words, and the Minister of National Defence will be judged by his actions, not by the Leader of the Opposition's words.

Nova Scotia FloodsStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Gerald Keddy Progressive Conservative South Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, we have all seen the images on TV of the catastrophic flooding in Nova Scotia. In my riding of South Shore, two people have lost their lives. Businesses are destroyed, homes are ruined and 18 bridges across Nova Scotia are closed. This is the worst flooding Nova Scotia has seen in over 50 years.

Nova Scotians have always been there for our neighbours. Through ice storms, floods and even on 9/11 we stood shoulder to shoulder with other Canadians to help. This time we need some help and I would like to know if the Minister of National Defence, responsible for emergency measures, has contingency plans to help Nova Scotians, and exactly how he plans to help.

This is one time Nova Scotians need to hear from their federal government.

Canadian ForcesOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I want to return to the position of our Canadian troops participating in the war in Iraq.

Article 4.A.1. of the Geneva convention states that this convention applies to “Members of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict”.

The Prime Minister has told the House and Canadians, in fact he has told the world, including the Iraqi government, that we are not party to this conflict.

Has the Prime Minister bothered to tell our troops that they may not be protected by the Geneva convention?

Canadian ForcesOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have taken the decision after consultation and on the recommendation of our armed forces who told us that it was very important that we maintain our agreement with the different countries with which our soldiers are on exchange.

When they are in the army with another country they are covered by the rules of the army with which they are working at that moment.

Canadian ForcesOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, we do not know that. A soldier outside the Geneva convention is defined as an unlawful combatant. That was the U.S. position in the Afghan war for captured Saudis, that their government was not part of the conflict, and the Canadian government backed that position.

Frankly, being captured by the Iraqis will probably not be as easy as being captured by the Americans.

Could the Prime Minister assure Canadians that any soldier captured by the Iraqis would not be treated as an unlawful combatant?

Canadian ForcesOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, they are part of the British, the Australian or the American armies and they will be treated as part of those armies.

Canadian ForcesOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, they are serving in Canadian uniforms. We all know that having our troops in a conflict where the government said that we are not participating and that we are not a party to the conflict, is unprecedented and it is for good reason.

What authority can the Prime Minister cite to back his position that these troops are protected by the Geneva convention?

Canadian ForcesOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we are following the conventions that have been followed by every government in these exchanges. I have not been informed that there is anything illegal about this longstanding tradition that we have exchanges with our allies. When they are part of these armies they serve under the authority of the country in which they are serving as part of an exchange.

Member for LaSalle—ÉmardOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Canadian Alliance Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, in the 1994 budget the former finance minister closed the tax loophole to Liberia but left the Barbados loophole wide open.

The minister had big holdings in Barbados through Canada Steamship Lines which brings profits into Canada tax free.

If that is not a conflict of interest, what is?

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, the issues that are referred to were also referred to in the Auditor General's report of last December. As would always be the case with respect to such a report, we are looking closely at the Auditor General's recommendations.

A number of steps have been taken since 1992 in fact with respect to these kinds of situations. We will continue to review whether additional steps are required to be taken.

Member for LaSalle—ÉmardOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Canadian Alliance Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, let us go a little further in time.

In 1997 a panel of tax experts advised the former finance minister to close all offshore tax loopholes. He did not heed that advice, leaving Barbados open. The member for LaSalle—Émard benefited from that decision.

I will ask the question again. If that is not a conflict of interest, exactly what is?