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House of Commons Hansard #93 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was workers.

Topics

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Bloc Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is with a deep feeling of justice that I rise today to speak to the Bloc Quebecois motion that asks very clearly:

That this House recognize the urgency of amending the Canada Labour Code to ban the use of strikebreakers.

Everybody recognizes that in Quebec during the last 50 years of the twentieth century, 1976 was a turning point. That was the year René Lévesque came to power. The following year, the National Assembly passed an anti-scab law. I would like to talk about Quebec before and after 1977.

What happened in Quebec before 1977? Even though I was very young, I still remember very clearly the strike in Asbestos. I clearly remember the strike in Murdochville. I clearly remember the strike at Radio-Canada. Those strikes were long, tough and marred by violence, by a blatant lack of respect for workers and their families. Wildcat strikes such as those that occurred in Quebec before 1977 resulted in extremely violent clashes between workers and employers.

In life, when disputes occur, they have come to an end eventually and then we must move on together. After each violent strike, huge walls separated employers and workers. I do not know if there are many members in this chamber who have been on picket lines. For my part I was on a picket line three times. The first time was in 1963. It was the first time nurses were on strike, and it was an illegal strike on top of that. It lasted one month. There were no scabs because the workers to be replaced were nurses and naturally in those days nurses were just as scarce as today.

In 1973, I was still at the hospital, and the hospitals were again on strike. Therefore, there were no scabs that time either. I firmly believe that if there had been scabs, the hospital work environment after the strike would have been terrible. Patients would have paid the price of that terrible environment and that would have been unacceptable.

Quebec has had anti-scab legislation since 1977 and British Columbia since 1993. My colleague for Rivière-des-Mille-Îles has mentioned some figures that were not to the liking of our friend on the other side.

Maybe I should mention some figures on recent disputes in Quebec businesses governed by the Canada Labour Code.

An 18-month-plus strike with scabs forced Vidéotron to sell off a large number of shares. Mr. Péladeau was a little put out and not very happy. At Sécur, the strike lasted three months. At Cargill, the strike is entering into its fourth year.

I am so worked up that I have forgotten to say that I must share my time with my colleague for Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, since I will have to leave after oral questions.

The strike at Cargill is in its fourth year. At Radio Nord Communications, it has gone on for six months and we are wondering when it will be over.

One thing is quite clear. When a strike lasts, as it did at Vidéotron, more than 340, 350 person days, how do you think families can survive? How do you think social networks can hold up? These disputes create unacceptable social tensions. I believe that the present Canada Labour Code promotes these social tensions.

I will read you a quote from a worker at Cargill. This quote comes from an article that appeared in La Tribune in late January 2003. Here is what this man said:

I found work eight times.

When you are out of your company for many years, you try to find work to survive:

And in all eight of them, Cargill managed to have me fired. In the meantime, we are still tied to Cargill. We cannot get employment insurance or social assistance. If the lock-out lasts 10 years, I will not be eligible for employment insurance.

We know where the employment insurance surplus comes from.

Even if I worked elsewhere for six years, the day I am fired, I will still be considered to be in lock-out status.

This is a striker who is speaking. This is someone who must wonder every day if he will be able to put enough food on the table for his family, to pay his mortgage.

I will quote a professor of industrial relations at Laval University.

He is very clear. He states:

In the absence of federal legislation, a dispute turns into a war of attrition where the most powerful wins. This encourages traditional strategies that are disruptive and damaging for economic and social performance.

Furthermore, these traditional strategies are confrontational.

I would also like to address another issue. Canada takes great pride, and rightly so, in its Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Indeed, the charter is a wonderful piece of legislation and serves as a model to the whole world. I wonder if the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms does not give a worker, who is first and foremost a citizen, the right to respect and justice. I wonder if the Charter does not give a citizen, who is also a worker, the right to bargain in good faith.

In your opinion, Mr. Speaker, will the Charter of Rights and Freedoms create or recognize the need for arrogance or scorn, which are seen in disputes that last for months on end and during which employers do not hesitate to hire replacement workers to do the job? Will the Charter of Rights foster social and economic tension? I have great respect for the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and I am certain that it does not condone unfair social tension.

I encourage all members to support the motion put forward by the Bloc Quebecois and I ask all parliamentarians to strongly support Bill C-328 when it comes back to the House. Thus, Canada will follow Quebec's lead and I will be absolutely delighted.

AgricultureStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Steckle Liberal Huron—Bruce, ON

Mr. Speaker, today representatives of the Dairy Farmers of Canada, the Chicken Farmers of Canada, the Canadian Egg Marketing Agency, the Canadian Turkey Marketing Agency and the Canadian Broiler Hatching Egg Marketing Agency are in town. These groups represent agricultural producers engaged in supply managed sectors of our domestic farm industry. Essentially, they are here to remind all Canadians of the benefits of supply management.

Supply management has a long history of ensuring a safe, adequate and affordably priced food supply.

As a member representing a predominantly rural riding, the chair of the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food and a Canadian farmer myself, I would ask all members in this place to join with me in making a commitment today. As we continue to embrace processes, such as the WTO, let us work to ensure that supply management remains functional in the years ahead.

TaxationStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gurmant Grewal Canadian Alliance Surrey Central, BC

Mr. Speaker, the deadline for filing taxes has come and gone. The Liberal government's tax grab will rake in over $90 billion, almost $40 billion more than 1994, a 44% increase and results in a $20,000 tax bill for the average family.

Canadians carry the heaviest tax burden among the G-8 and must wait until June for tax freedom day.

Every Canadian feels the burden. Families have less money to spend, businesses struggle to survive and high taxes stifle economic productivity, but the Liberal motto is: Canadians were born to be taxed.

The tax and spend Liberal government blows our money on a billion dollar gun registry, advertising fiascos, GST fraud, corporate welfare and patronage. The Prime Minister just shrugs his shoulders when millions of dollars are stolen. That brings cold comfort to the taxpayer.

Here is a novel idea. Let Canadians keep more of their hard earned money. Let us raise the basic personal exemption, lower the overall tax burden and fire up the economy.

Why should Canadians pay for the government's incompetence, mismanagement, waste and fraud?

Riding of Saint-Léonard—Saint-MichelStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, on Saturday, April 5, I had the honour of attending a reception held in my riding of Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel to celebrate the national day of Senegal.

There were many cultural presentations, such as dances, poetry, a display of traditional fashions, and a multimedia presentation promoting African and Senegalese culture.

In attendance that evening were their Excellencies, Amadou Diallo, Ambassador of Senegal, Francis Loko, Ambassador of the Republic of Benin, and Amara Joubar Soumah, Ambassador of the Republic of Guinea, as well as members of the Italian and Haitian communities.

Once again, Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel has demonstrated that the traditions and beliefs of its residents from different cultural backgrounds are not only respected but also celebrated, and can serve as a model for everyone in our beautiful country.

It is a place where young people from various continents live together in harmony, forming a cultural mosaic that has become the pride of those who live there—a picture of Canada at its best.

Radio Nord CommunicationsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Guy St-Julien Liberal Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik, QC

Mr. Speaker, the strikers from Radio Nord, members of the Syndicat des employés en communications de l'Abitibi—Témiscamingue, have filed a complaint with the Canada Industrial Relations Boardconcerning unfair policies.

Despite the strike which began on October 25, 2002, Radio Nord Communications continues to operate its radio and television stations by using strikebreakers.

Radio Nord Communications is using more than 25 individuals or companies on contract to perform part or all of the work of the striking employees. Today, the union's president, André Anglehart, and many of the striking men and women, are here in the House of Commons to demonstrate against Radio Nord Communications, which is thwarting their bargaining power with the presence of strikebreakers.

Rosemary BrownStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Liberal Vancouver Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to mourn the death and pay tribute to the life of Rosemary Brown.

Rosemary Brown was the first black woman to be elected to a legislature in Canada. Yet that was not the sum total of her legacy. She was an ardent feminist and fighter for gender and racial equality.

Fiercely partisan in her politics as a New Democrat, she was a trailblazer, forcing Canadians to examine their traditional beliefs and prejudices, constantly advocating for justice and human rights locally and internationally.

She was a role model for all of us immigrant women, forcing us to be the best that we could be, challenging us to participate in the social and political life of our new country to change it for the better.

Then there was the warm, funny friend, Rosemary, the mentor.

To look back on a life lived is to examine the mark made by its brief passing flame. Rosemary Brown left a long and impressive mark. She changed Canadian society and, to quote the Vancouver Province 's recent editorial, “She helped build a better world”.

Battle of the AtlanticStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Roy H. Bailey Canadian Alliance Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, this years marks the 60th anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic, the longest continuous battle in World War II. It was Winston Churchill who emphasized the tremendous contribution of Canada though the merchant marines by saying, “Give us the tools and we will finish the job”.

Canada went from 13 naval vessels in 1939 with a personnel of 3,500 but when the war ended in 1945, we had 375 fighting ships and over 110,000 members, all of whom were volunteers, and more than 25,000 single merchant marine trips were made.

I am pleased these heroic veterans will be marching to the National War Memorial this Sunday to honour those who lost their lives and to all who served in this great battle, all the navy, air force and merchant marines who gave their lives and suffer today yet to give us the peace that we enjoy.

Lest we forget.

Evelyn SutherlandStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Serge Marcil Liberal Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to pay tribute to Evelyn Sutherland, a woman in her eighties from Huntingdon, in my riding of Beauharnois—Salaberry.

On April 28, Mrs. Sutherland was presented with the Caring Canadian award by the Governor General of Canada, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson.

Mrs. Sutherland has been a tireless and devoted volunteer for many years, and many groups, including Communic-Action, Meals on Wheels, the women's auxiliary of the Centre hospitalier d'Huntingdon, the Petite Bibliothèque verte and the parish, depend on her unwavering support. As active as ever, she continues to put in four days a week at her church and municipal library, in addition to accompanying patients to doctor's or hospital appointments.

Her smile and her kindness work wonders on all those who eagerly await her visits.

I want to pay her tribute today and send her my hearty congratulations for an award truly well-deserved.

International Workers DayStatements By Members

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

Bloc

Sébastien Gagnon Bloc Lac-Saint-Jean—Saguenay, QC

Mr. Speaker, International Workers Day is a time to salute those men and women who have made a special contribution to the Quebec society we hold so dear.

Our thoughts are also with the unemployed, who have been deprived, as a result, of such a fundamental right as the right to work.

Men and women from Radio Nord Communications in Abitibi and from Cargill in Baie-Comeau have come to the Hill today to tell us that they have been deprived of this right to work due to a lax Canada Labour Code.

The federal government must stop encouraging the use of scabs and right this wrong oppressing tens of thousands of honest workers.

The best way for the government to pay tribute to these men and women will be to vote in favour of the anti-scab bill.

Journey of Hope and HealingStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Speller Liberal Haldimand—Norfolk—Brant, ON

Mr. Speaker, on May 4, 2003, Mr. Rick Casey, a resident of Paris, Ontario, will begin an 8,000 kilometre bicycle trip across Canada to increase awareness of the need for community support for people with mental illnesses. Rick will travel across Canada without a support vehicle or companion riders. His amazing journey will lasthave lasted approximately 120 days when he reaches Cape Spear, Newfoundland.

Mr. Casey's goal is intensely personal. In September of 2001, Mr. Casey's 19 year old daughter, Kyla, died of a pulmonary embolism while a patient in a mental health unit. Mr. Casey's self-described “journey of hope and healing” represents his determination to find meaning in his family's tragic loss.

I ask all hon. members to join me in wishing support and encouragement to Mr. Casey as he completes his journey of hope and healing.

2010 Winter OlympicsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gary Lunn Canadian Alliance Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow morning the International Olympic Committee will release its evaluation report on the finalists for the 2010 Winter Olympics.

This will be an exciting day for Canada. I have no doubt that the IOC will note what British Columbians have known for years: Vancouver is one of the most beautiful cities in the world; Whistler is a world class facility for winter sport; and Canadians are ready to host the world.

All of us look forward to welcoming the IOC report, it is another step on our journey to Prague. We are confident that on July 2 the IOC will announce that Canada will host the Olympics in 2010.

The people of Vancouver, British Columbia and the rest of Canada are fully committed to putting on the best games ever and cheering the athletes from every corner of the globe.

July 2 in Prague will mark the beginning of a very exciting seven years as we prepare to host the world in 2010. Way to go Canada.

Jack DonohueStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Liberal Bras D'Or—Cape Breton, NS

Mr. Speaker, it is with great sadness that I rise in the House to recognize the passing of legendary basketball coach Jack Donohue, who died April 16 in Ottawa.

Jack Donohue came to Canada over 30 years ago from New York City, where he had been a successful high school coach. Unlike many foreign coaches, he chose to remain in Canada to bring up his family, while taking the Canadian men's national team program to heights never before experienced.

Along the way, Jack had a profound influence on the players and support personnel who worked with the team. This was appropriately and widely acknowledged in the press and at the funeral which was held April 22 in Kanata.

Through his countless speaking engagements, Jack's wit and wisdom entertained and taught his audience the value and meaning of sport in the context of our lives. His messages will forever live in the minds and the hearts of those who had the pleasure of knowing him.

Windsor-Detroit BorderStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, on September 25, 2002 the Ontario and federal governments launched a 60 day process to find short-term and medium term solutions to the Windsor-Detroit border problems.

Today marks day 219 of that process and not only do we not have solutions, the government will not tell us how or when decisions will be made. Last week yet another trial balloon was floated in the media creating more concern.

The government has taken so much time that the long term binational study is due to be released this coming month. This time the government has to show commitment to our community in Windsor and show some respect.

First, it must stop using the media to float trial balloons. Second it must move immediately to implement measures that have broad community support, such as increasing the truck ferry service and establish a truck staging area outside the city. Lastly, it must commit to establishing a truck bypass, like Ottawa and Orangeville, outside established neighbourhoods.

IraqStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Benoît Sauvageau Bloc Repentigny, QC

Mr. Speaker, recently the world witnessed the throes of war in Iraq. In all our communities, no one remained unmoved in the face of such a tragedy.

Marc-André Turcot, the president of the student council at Paul-Arsenault high school, together with Gaëtanne Garneau and Cathy Thibeault, initiated a petition which was signed by more than 500 students and staff, opposing the action in Iraq and calling on the Prime Minister of Canada not to take part in this conflict.

I want to acknowledge this show of solidarity which reflects our students' concern for and commitment to peace. With young people like then, the future will hopefully be more peaceful.

Also, I wish to thank the teachers for their cooperation and I commend their initiative.

National Volunteer WeekStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Yolande Thibeault Liberal Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, this week across the country we are celebrating National Volunteer Week.

On this day, I wish to express my appreciation and respect for these men and women who are only happy when others are.

Volunteers have had a major impact on almost all aspects of Canadian society. Quietly, they have helped shape our country and they will continue playing a major role in providing direction for the future. Their dedication and commitment are a real testimony to Canadian values and identity.

I take this opportunity to pay tribute to all the volunteers in my riding of Saint-Lambert, who give their time and talents in the service of others. These individuals make an invaluable contribution to strengthening the communities in my riding.

Disability Tax CreditStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Progressive Conservative Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, over one year ago I contacted the minister responsible for the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency and expressed my serious concern about the application form used for Canadians applying for the disability tax credit.

One year later I am standing here holding in my hands the denied application of Michelle MacDonald. Michelle suffers from multiple sclerosis that is both debilitating and constantly deteriorating. Her doctor from the Dalhousie Research Centre noted on her application that her condition was recurrent and “totally incapacitating”.

Despite the doctor saying she is totally incapacitated, due to the score card system she has been denied the disability tax credit.

I am again today providing the minister with more information. I am publicly asking that Michelle MacDonald's denial be reviewed and reversed.

National Volunteer WeekStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Mac Harb Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, this is National Volunteer Week, an occasion to thank the people who donate their time and talents in service of their fellow citizens. All across Canada much of our quality of life depends upon the commitment, compassion and generosity of volunteers. Now more than ever Canadians need to strengthen their sense of community.

The theme for National Volunteer Week 2003, “The Power of One, the Value of Many”, highlights the uniqueness of each volunteer and acknowledges the importance of their collective contribution.

I call on my colleagues to join me in celebrating the spirit of caring as we thank Canada's 6.5 million volunteers for the support they bring to countless causes every day, all year round.

Spruce BudwormStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Brian Fitzpatrick Canadian Alliance Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Speaker, Parks Canada has finally made a positive decision to combat the spruce budworm problem at Prince Albert National Park. Thankfully, common sense and an effective official opposition can declare victory.

The use of the organic agent BTK is both a safe and an effective means of control. It is in wide use across Canada. Yet this government almost gave in to the pressure of a vocal small minority for whom any form of environmental stewardship is unacceptable.

The Canadian Alliance has worked hard on this issue. However the real winners are the thousands of park users who have fought to save their forests. This decision shows that the average citizen can be heard in cabinet. This is truly a victory for grassroots democracy.

Asian Heritage MonthStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Sophia Leung Liberal Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, May is Asian Heritage Month, the month when we acknowledge the long and rich history of Asian Canadians and their contributions to Canada.

In Canada our cultural diversity enriches us socially, politically, economically and culturally in many ways. Asian Heritage Month is an ideal occasion to celebrate the beauty and wisdom of various Asian cultures.

Since the inaugural Asian Heritage celebration began in Toronto in 1993, cities across Canada, including Halifax, Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver, have been holding annual festivities. In December 2001 the Senate of Canada passed a motion designating May as Asian Heritage Month.

I invite every Canadian to take part in the festivities that commemorate the legacy of Asian Canadians and their many contributions which have helped Canada become the multicultural and diverse nation it is today.

HealthOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, one month ago the World Health Organization recommended that the government institute interviews with outbound passengers at Canadian airports. The Minister of Health consistently refused to commit to these recommendations up to and including yesterday here in the House of Commons. Yet now she has apparently issued a letter to airlines recommending that these and other procedures be instituted.

If the minister will not simply admit that she made a mistake, can she explain to the House why it is so important to implement these recommendations now that the SARS crisis is abating, as opposed to before when it was at its height?

HealthOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Victoria B.C.

Liberal

David Anderson LiberalMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the World Health Organization has clearly on a number of occasions indicated its support for what Canada is doing. For example, today, May 1, Dr. Guenael Rodier, the WHO's director of communicable disease surveillance and response said about Canada:

Canada has been a model of transparency in its reporting and public information, of determination in its contact tracing, and of heroic dedication on the part of its medical, health and scientific staff.

That is the World Health Organization's assessment of Canada today.

HealthOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I can only observe that this crisis has really aged the Minister of Health.

On another issue, just this spring the federal government signed a new health accord with the provinces, with the support of all the provinces and I should add, the Canadian Alliance. However, now the former minister of finance is suggesting that the accord should be ripped up, that it is inadequate, that it does not deal with fundamental issues.

Does the health minister still endorse the accord and does she agree that it is a basis for further health care reform?

HealthOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Madawaska—Restigouche New Brunswick

Liberal

Jeannot Castonguay LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, this is certainly an interesting question. Yes, we still endorse the accord, and I will explain why. It was very clear that what we wanted to do with this accord was to make changes to our health care system.

That is why $16 billion has been earmarked for the next five years to deal with the issue of exorbitant drug costs and also the issue of access to care outside of hospitals.

This is how we are bringing about reforms. We on this side of the House are still very proud to endorse the accord.

HealthOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, when the health minister starts answering questions again, we will see whether she agrees with the new boss or the old boss.

Apparently, the former Minister of Finance wants to rip up the new health accord. This accord enjoys the unanimous support of all levels of government, provincial, federal and territorial, and of the Canadian Alliance.

Does the federal government still support this accord, and has the Prime Minister spoken with Jean Charest, the new Premier of Quebec, to determine whether the Government of Quebec still supports the accord?

HealthOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Madawaska—Restigouche New Brunswick

Liberal

Jeannot Castonguay LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, obviously since agreement was reached earlier this year on this famous accord, the provinces will still ask for more. This is no surprise to us; the moment they say it is enough is the moment when they will start having problems.

Of course, with Quebec having a new government, I am sure that the Minister of Health and the other ministers involved will meet with this new government and discuss their concerns and their interests. I am sure that we will be able to cooperate and work together to take note of their interests.