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House of Commons Hansard #100 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was health.

Topics

HockeyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Bryon Wilfert Liberal Oak Ridges, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate and salute Canada's gold medal winners at the World Hockey Championships in Finland.

This is what being Canadian is all about: determination, pride and love of country.

Sean Burke who, rather than waiting for a call to play, phoned the organizers and said “If a goalie is needed, I am available”. He is always there for his country.

Ryan Smyth, who played 42 games for Canada and is a critical member of the team, stated “To wear that maple leaf on my chest and finally win, it is awesome. I have so much passion I could never say no to coming here.”

Coach Andy Murray, his staff and all the players are true Canadians, unselfish and prepared to demonstrate to the world that this is Canada's game.

Anson Carter's grit and skill came together with that great wraparound goal. He is the toast of Canada.

Roberto Luongo stepped in at a critical time and demonstrated that he is a world champion.

Congratulations. This is my idea of real hockey.

National Police WeekStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Randy White Canadian Alliance Langley—Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to join all my colleagues in saluting the men and women who protect our families and communities on a daily basis.

As part of the celebration of National Police Week from May 11 to 17, officers from across Canada will be participating in numerous activities promoting the concept of police and community working together to promote safety and security. They will showcase the latest in equipment and technology used on the front lines in the thankless job they do.

This is also National Road Safety Week. The RCMP and local police forces are joining together to target impaired driving, use of seat belts, intersection safety and unsafe driving.

I urge my fellow Canadians to support their police not only this week but every week. My congratulations to the Abbotsford police and the RCMP for a job well done in my area of Langley--Abbotsford.

NursingStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Sarkis Assadourian Liberal Brampton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, nursing is the art of combining skills, education, science and nurturing. It is the art of balancing emotional care as well as physical care. Nurses are present in our hospitals and nursing homes seven days a week, 24 hours a day sharing critical moments in their patients' lives.

The professionalism and dedication of our nurses were never more evident than during the recent SARS epidemic. Their efforts on the front lines on our behalf deserve our recognition and thanks.

I invite my fellow members of Parliament to join me in recognizing the tremendous contributions made by our nurses by celebrating National Nursing Week the second week of May each year. Congratulations to all the nurses.

InsuranceStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, since September 11, 2001 the world has changed in many ways. It has affected our society, as individuals and as a collective. In the world of business many companies have had to cope with dramatic consequences which often affect their business plans and viability.

Overlooked at times is the issue of the cost of insurance for people and business. Recently the Bank of Canada singled out rising costs of auto and home insurance as a significant contributor to core inflation. Moreover, many independent business owners are coping with increased costs and reduction or elimination of carriers for their services. Indeed, some policyholders with impeccable records have witnessed significant hikes in premiums or loss of coverage altogether.

The time has come for the federal government to examine this issue as it currently wanders without leadership in a bureaucratic wasteland. Canadian consumers and business owners need it reviewed to ensure fairness and integrity in these rising costs.

Softwood LumberStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Cardin Bloc Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, more than seven months have passed since the announcement of measures to help workers affected by the softwood lumber crisis, but we are still waiting for the second phase of the aid package.

In the meantime, sawmills are closing their doors; people are losing their jobs and are doubly penalized by the government's lack of empathy and the rigidity of the Employment Insurance Act, which does not recognize seasonal work at all.

The Minister of Human Resources Development should demonstrate some interest in these workers who are asking nothing less than for the seasonal nature of their employment to be recognized and the employment insurance rules to be relaxed during the softwood lumber crisis.

By refusing to recognize the very existence of seasonal work, and by dragging its feet on implementing the second phase of the aid package, the federal government is directly contributing to the impoverishment of the affected communities.

Crime PreventionStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to announce funding for four important community based projects in my riding of York West.

Conflict Mediation Services of Downsview, the Elspeth Heyworth Centre for Women, Youth Clinical Services, as well as the La Marsh Centre for Research on Violence will all receive funds under the national crime prevention strategy to help prevent crime, reduce violence, build tolerance and make our communities safer.

These four programs are designed to reach out to children and youth, visible minority women and high school students, as well as to bring together those community members who are the best able to develop solutions that will work for each unique neighbourhood.

The Prime Minister's caucus task force on urban issues recognized that community safety is an issue that affects the quality of life in our urban regions. I am delighted that the government is supporting local initiatives in the fight against crime and is acknowledging the efforts of leaders in our communities.

HockeyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the Progressive Conservatives congratulate Canada's hockey team on winning the World Hockey Championships.

From veterans like Ryan Smyth, who wears his country on his sleeve, Kris Draper and Cory Cross to youngsters like Jay Bouwmeester, Dany Heatley and Daniel Brière, they represented us well, as did the star, Anson Carter, holding the Canadian flag and singing O Canada from the heart. I mention in particular Sean Burke who asked to play so that he could wear the maple leaf one more time.

Why is it that 23 hockey players can do what 301 politicians cannot?

For six days last week we talked about Canada failing us as a country. Yesterday we stood together with pride.

Maybe it is not the country that is failing us; maybe it is the team leading the country. Maybe it is time to switch to a new team. Maybe it is time to switch to the team with the blue jersey.

Political FinancingStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Pierrette Venne Bloc Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, on January 29, the government introduced a bill on political financing that provides for the payment of a quarterly allowance to registered political parties

This is really just a bonus given to the established parties, so that they can build their election war chests with public money. This measure will hinder the emergence of new parties which, like independent members, will not receive any public funding but will be subject to the constraints in the new law.

Instead of worrying about keeping the existing parties in good financial health, the government should have followed the lead of Quebec and made provisions such that the allowance given to the parties would be contingent on producing accounts, in order to reimburse the real expenses incurred.

The government seems very timid when it comes to integrity, because it could have gone a lot farther, making it more difficult to get around the spirit of the law by such subterfuges as the “in and out” method which was favoured by a certain political party in the last general election, and which will no doubt be used once again.

Huntington DiseaseStatements By Members

May 12th, 2003 / 2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Aileen Carroll Liberal Barrie—Simcoe—Bradford, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to inform the House and all Canadians that May has been designated Huntington Disease Awareness Month.

Huntington disease is a hereditary brain disorder with devastating effects on both mind and body. One in every 10,000 Canadians has Huntington disease. One in every 1,000 Canadians is touched by HD, as a sufferer, a person at risk, a friend, a family member, or a caregiver.

The Huntington Society of Canada is a national network of volunteers and professionals united in the fight against HD since 1973. Their goal is to find new treatments and ultimately a cure for Huntington disease and to improve the quality of life for people with HD and their families.

Please join me in congratulating the many volunteers of the Huntington Society of Canada for providing Canadians with valuable programs and services. We wish them all the best for a prosperous campaign during Huntington Disease Awareness Month.

IndustryStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Rajotte Canadian Alliance Edmonton Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, last week the industry minister appeared before the standing committee to outline his plans and priorities.

What are they?

First, he is very focused on smart regulation, so focused that he has actually set up a committee. Second, the minister spoke about the importance of the auto sector to the livelihood of Canada's economy. This sector is so important that the minister has made the effort to set up a committee. Third, the minister spoke about Kyoto and climate change. Even though he completely failed to address any of the concerns of any industry during the debate over Kyoto, he informs us that he is now on top of the issue in cabinet because he is working on a committee.

I have a suggestion for the industry minister. Since he has such a love for committees, I would be willing to trade him positions. He can have my position on the industry committee and I will be the industry minister. I promise that as minister I would take some leadership on these issues and not set up any more committees.

Auberge Grand-MèreOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I want to ask questions about a new National Post story that gives new information on dealings between the Prime Minister, the Business Development Bank and the Grand-Mère hotel. The essence of this story is that the Prime Minister interfered to get a BDC loan to an insolvent company that owed him money.

Does the Prime Minister now admit that he received a direct financial benefit from the BDC loan to Grand-Mère, a loan that he engineered?

Auberge Grand-MèreOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, this has been looked upon by everybody for years and I have never received a cent from this company at all in my life, not a cent. It was looked at by the ethics counsellor and by the police. There is some document that was falsified and some people do not want to give this document back to the police to complete their inquiries.

I have been in public life for 40 years and I have never been accused of anything. I have a proud record. I have never received any money from anybody. It is my word after 40 years, so I am very surprised that the Leader of the Opposition would try to dig in dirt like that.

Auberge Grand-MèreOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, if the Prime Minister is as honest as he claims, he will not mind answering these questions.

The facts are these. The Prime Minister admits that he phoned the president of the Business Development Bank to get the loan. Before the calls there were no loans. After the calls there were. Apparently the manager of the branch of the bank now says that it was because of and only because of the Prime Minister's intervention that those loans were granted to the Grand-Mère hotel.

Does the Prime Minister deny that he engineered this loan?

Auberge Grand-MèreOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the facts of this case have been gone into again and again.

The hon. member has nothing new to add. He is raising questions that have been answered in the past. The ethics counsellor himself decided this very issue in November 2000 when he made it clear there was nothing improper done.

I urge the hon. member to pay attention to those facts and be very careful with what he does with a reputation of long standing.

Auberge Grand-MèreOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister can answer my question and this minister can answer about Joanne Meyer. That is what should be happening.

I want to ask about the other half, the direct benefit. Conveniently, the BDC documents indicating the Prime Minister's direct benefit are missing from the record. A page listing creditors beginning with the letter J has gone missing. BDC electronic records containing Grand-Mère financial records are also missing.

Does the government, does the Prime Minister expect anyone to believe that these records are missing for any reason other than that the name of the Prime Minister's personal company is on them?

Auberge Grand-MèreOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, there he is, the Leader of the Opposition, hip deep in muck, hoping that broad, unsubstantiated allegations will get him through the day when he has nothing worthwhile to ask in the House of Commons.

To these questions we say, they have been answered, there is no substance, and he should get on with something of significance to Canadians.

Auberge Grand-MèreOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Rajotte Canadian Alliance Edmonton Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, the reality is that the circumstances surrounding this loan are appalling. Let me quote from financial analysts at BDC who first reviewed this loan, their statement, not ours: “...the financials clearly indicated inadequate cashflow to service the current obligations of the” Grand-Mère inn.

Could the Minister of Industry, the minister responsible for the BDC, explain why this company received this loan when it clearly did not qualify, in the words of the BDC analysts themselves?

Auberge Grand-MèreOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the member might well reread the questions from Hansard posed in the past, asked and answered time and again, the same old questions and the same responses.

The answers are on the record. These matters were inquired into over time. All the facts are known. There is nothing new here.

The hon. member is asking them because he cannot find an issue of relevance to the Canadian people on which he has a position of any value.

Auberge Grand-MèreOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Rajotte Canadian Alliance Edmonton Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, this is relevant because it talks about respect for an independent crown corporation and respect for taxpayers' dollars.

A critical page of the Grand-Mère loan file has vanished. An electronic document has been erased from BDC computers. The missing page is the one on which any reference to the Prime Minister's family company would have appeared.

As the minister responsible for BDC, has he or will he launch an investigation into this matter?

Auberge Grand-MèreOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, there have been investigations into this matter. These matters have been looked into. They have been asked about time and again and responses have been given.

That is a party bankrupt of ideas, bankrupt of policy, with nothing to offer, which is revisiting matters that have been looked into in the past, and we say they should get on with something that is of relevance to the Canadian people.

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, since the softwood lumber crisis began, the federal government could have helped this industry by providing loan guarantees, as allowed under the international agreements, but it did nothing of the sort. After letting the companies struggle along for two years, the Minister for International Trade is now prepared to sell them out by negotiating a unfavourable resolution to this conflict.

Since our softwood lumber is not subsidized and since the WTO will uphold our claims in less than a week, why has the Minister for International Trade decided to back down and further undermine these companies?

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, we have no intention whatsoever of backing down. Since the start, this government has always said that forestry practices in all provinces had already passed the test and were legal. We are continuing before the WTO and NAFTA, and we have total confidence in the decisions these international tribunals will hand down.

However, to expedite matters, in partnership with the provinces, we sat down with the Americans to see if this situation could be clarified with regard to the future.

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, if it is true that the tribunals will rule in our favour and the government truly believes this, then why is it imposing an export tax? Why seek a resolution instead of continuing with its claims? If a resolution is reached, the claims will be dropped. The Americans will demand this. Why not continue since we are assured victory?

This means that, until then, loan guarantees should be granted to keep things running. The government is preparing to do what it did in the past. If we back down again, the same problems will occur in another four or five years. I call that backing down.

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, we have won many times with regard to softwood lumber, and we keep ending up back at square one. The government is trying to sit down with the United States and have a dialogue about forestry systems as a whole, precisely to avoid having to go through this again in three, four or five years.

The Bloc is telling us, “Continue before the tribunals, we are going to win”. Yes, we are going to win. But the next day, the Americans will start all over again with a new petition. We want to resolve this situation once and for all and ensure unrestricted free trade for softwood lumber.

Softwood LumberOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, the closer we get to the date of the WTO and NAFTA decisions on softwood lumber, the less definite the Canadian position toward the United States becomes, whereas it ought to be firming up instead.

Is the present strategy of the federal government not likely to weaken our position, and take us back to square one as far as the softwood lumber issue is concerned, since the minister is preparing to back down—as he stated this past week—mere weeks before decisions in favour of the Canadian softwood lumber industry are brought down? Will he stand firm?