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House of Commons Hansard #102 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was billion.

Topics

2:05 p.m.

The Speaker

As is our practice on Wednesday, we will now sing O Canada, and we will be led by the hon. member for Algoma--Manitoulin.

(Editor's Note: Members sang the national anthem)

National Nursing WeekStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Rose-Marie Ur Liberal Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, ON

Mr. Speaker, May 12 to 18 marks the celebration of National Nursing Week 2003. This year's theme is “Nursing: At the Heart of Health Care”.

Nurses deal with difficult circumstances daily, both emotionally and physically. Their jobs are extremely challenging and they face many difficulties every day. This is especially true this year with the outbreak of SARS. Nurses are invaluable at any time, but especially with the SARS situation in all regions in Canada, especially in Toronto.

The nurses of Canada truly have acted as champions, standing by, supporting and leading Canadians in a collective effort to maintain and improve health.

Home care programs in Canada is one area that nurses in Canada are trying to improve for all Canadians. Nurses are pleased with the promise of dedicated funding for home care made in the most recent federal budget. Now we need to ensure that the funding is used in the most effective manner possible. We need to ensure that home care can be available to all Canadians no matter where they live in Canada.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the nurses in Canada for their tremendous efforts on behalf of the constituents in the riding of Lambton--Kent--Middlesex.

CprStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Dale Johnston Canadian Alliance Wetaskiwin, AB

Mr. Speaker, every year 23,000 Canadians die from heart attacks, and more than half of those die before reaching hospital care. Lives could be saved if more Canadians were trained to administer CPR.

This year 600 grade 10 students from the Wolf Creek School District in my constituency of Wetaskiwin are learning how to recognize the early warning signs of heart attacks and strokes, and how to apply CPR. Just last week in British Columbia, the friends of a drowning 13 year old girl saved her life because they knew CPR. Like insurance, we hope that we never need it but CPR training is invaluable in an emergency.

Locally, the STARS Foundation donated 80 mannequins, the St. John Ambulance trained high school teachers to be CPR instructors, and the Ponoka News donated the printing of the student manuals.

Thanks to the ACT Foundation and the generosity of the private sector, this important technique is now part of the Alberta school curriculum. This is a win-win program for the community, and I want to commend all involved.

On a personal note, I would like to announce the safe arrival this morning at 4:30 Mountain Daylight Time of my very first grandchild, and congratulate my daughter Dalene and her husband Andy who have made us very proud.

West Nile VirusStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Julian Reed Liberal Halton, ON

Mr. Speaker, on Friday the House will break for a week, and all across the country Canadians will kick off summer with the Victoria Day long weekend.

In the riding I serve, the people of Halton recognize that it is also the start of mosquito season, which is public health enemy number one. Like many others from the riding, I will be doing my part to reduce the risks of West Nile Virus by draining standing water and ensuring that the door and window screens for my house fit tightly and have no holes.

Last summer there were 59 human cases of West Nile Virus in Halton. Avoiding mosquito bites is the easiest way to avoid infection. Protective clothing, insect repellents and draining standing water, these things are now as much a part of Canadian summer as barbecues and the cottage.

Women EntrepreneursStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Sarmite Bulte Liberal Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, as chair of the Prime Minister's task force on women entrepreneurs, I am delighted to announce that Mayor Mel Lastman has proclaimed May 16 as Women Entrepreneurs Day in Toronto.

In celebration of the day, the Women Entrepreneurs of Canada has proudly joined forces with the National Association of Women Business Owners from the United States to co-host an international conference in Toronto. In 2001 members of the international organization, Les Femmes Chefs d'Entreprises Mondiales, first began to lobby the United Nations General Assembly to officially declare a world day for women entrepreneurs for the third Friday of May.

In Canada women are creating businesses at twice the rate of men, and last year we contributed over $18 billion to the Canadian economy, and our task force will be making recommendations on how to enhance this contribution.

We believe supporting women entrepreneurs is good economic policy and sound economic development. Please join me in celebrating Women Entrepreneurs Day.

Severe Acute Respiratory SyndromeStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Derek Lee Liberal Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

Mr. Speaker, now that Toronto and Vancouver have overcome the challenge of the recent outbreak of the SARS virus, I want to recognize the contributions of so many in my own riding of Scarborough--Rouge River and the region.

First, there were those who fell victim to the virus, and their families. Then there are the hundreds of health care workers, some of whom got the disease and some of whom died serving our communities. Those doctors and nurses and other workers could have stood down but they did not, and they continue to work for us right through to today, knowing the risks and seeing some of their own fall victim to the virus.

There are also the many others across the community who have suffered losses. As a community in Toronto and York region, we have won the battle. We will recoup our losses. We have learned valuable lessons which will serve others and our people will reconstruct and re-engage economically. The Government of Canada has earmarked $100 million for this purpose and will work with other governments to ensure a clear and final victory for all of us.

March for LifeStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Maurice Vellacott Canadian Alliance Saskatoon—Wanuskewin, SK

Mr. Speaker, today marks the sixth annual March for Life celebration on Parliament Hill. Earlier this afternoon, thousands of Canadians from coast to coast came together outside this Parliament building to affirm their commitment to the value of life from conception to natural death.

Yesterday some members of parliament from all parties held a press conference in conjunction with this event. Women who shared the podium with us told of the harmful effects of abortion on their health and well-being.

These women want the same standards of informed consent to exist for abortion as are required in other areas of health care. Strong reproductive health policy needs to recognize these concerns. Public policy needs to be based on the most current research available. This would be consistent with a commitment to excellence in women's health.

I want to thank all those who are in town for the March for Life for keeping these issues before us while we legislate in this place.

Arab CanadiansStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Parrish Liberal Mississauga Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to acknowledge representatives from the Arab Canadian community who are here this week to meet members of Parliament in their first official lobby day on the Hill.

Today approximately 500,000 Arabs are proud Canadians who have contributed extensively to our economy and our culture. They have been part of the fabric of this country for more than 100 years.

Unfortunately, stereotypes and misinformation have been perpetrated by the Hollywood media, causing much stress in the Arab community. Hassles at border crossings and airports and unforgiving security laws have entered the lives of Arabs in Canada.

Rather than disrupt, Arab Canadians are making positive efforts to effect changes by coming to Ottawa to educate and to break down barriers.

I encourage all of my colleagues to welcome the delegates to their offices and give serious consideration to the policy recommendations being put forward.

Congratulations to Arab Canadians for having the courage to confront their difficulties head on and in a constructive way.

Jean-Philippe LeblancStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Bloc Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, it my pleasure to welcome to Parliament Hill the member for a day from Longueuil, Jean-Philippe Leblanc. He is the big winner in the “MP for a day” contest at Jacques-Rousseau high school, in my riding.

I want to congratulate all secondary IV students in the national history course who participated in the contest. Selecting a winner was not an easy task, but I chose Jean-Philippe because of his drive, his speaking skills and, of course, his keen interest in politics.

During his stay in Ottawa, Jean-Philippe, who is accompanied by his mother, Mrs. Lucille Lapointe-Leblanc, will explore and familiarize himself with the workings of Parliament.

By offering this opportunity, I wish to interest young people in the world of politics and create an awareness of parliamentary work.

Jean-Philippe, on behalf of all my colleagues, I welcome you and wish you an enjoyable stay among us.

Doris Boyce SaundersStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to Dr. Doris Boyce Saunders who passed away on May 3, 2003, at the age of 101.

In 1928 Dr. Saunders became the first woman to be appointed to the Department of English at the University of Manitoba. She became an assistant professor in 1941 and a full professor in 1959, the first woman in the faculty of arts to hold this position. Dr. Saunders was appointed registrar of the new University College from 1964 until her retirement in 1968. Dr. Saunders was an early member of the University Women's Club, serving on many committees and becoming president of the local chapter as well as President of the Canadian Federation.

Doris will be remembered for her intelligence and ability, her quick humour, her creativity and the strength of her character. She was a pioneer in her field and a role model for many women. As the University of Manitoba president said, “There is no question her independence and her courage helped bring some very new directions for woman. All academic women have her to credit”.

She was an inspiration for all who followed.

Office of the Auditor GeneralStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Williams Canadian Alliance St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, a gathering will take place on Parliament Hill this evening to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the Office of the Auditor General of Canada.

In 1878 the government of Alexander Mackenzie proposed a bill that would free the auditing of public accounts from any interference on the part of the administration. That legislation laid the groundwork for 125 years of dedicated service to Parliament and to Canadians.

From the first Auditor General, John McDougall, to the current Auditor General, Ms. Sheila Fraser, the office has been serving all Canadians with the utmost of professionalism, integrity and credibility. As parliamentarians, we know that when the Auditor General speaks, the nation listens.

As chair of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, I have had the privilege of working closely with the office over the years. On behalf of all parliamentarians and Canadians, I wish the Office of the Auditor General success in the future as it continues to assist parliamentarians and helps to protect the hard earned dollars of Canadian taxpayers.

March for LifeStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Steckle Liberal Huron—Bruce, ON

Mr. Speaker, today on the front steps of Parliament citizens peacefully demonstrated to show their desire for new laws to protect our unborn children. Without an abortion law on the books, every year in Canada we permit more than 100,000 innocent lives to be terminated without any consideration for the lost human potential.

I applaud the people outside who are taking the time to remind Parliament that it is our duty to protect those who are not able to protect themselves. I offer my support for the belief that all life is a sacred gift from the moment of conception to the point of natural death.

Most important, I would urge my colleagues to keep this philosophy in mind as Parliament considers issues involving embryonic stem cells and human reproductive technologies. In short, just because science says that we can do something does not mean that we should.

Status of WomenStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to women's equality this government should hang its head in shame. Consider the fact that the United Nations has recently issued a report condemning Canada for its failure to live up to the commitment under the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women. Shame on this government.

More evidence of this disgraceful position occurred yesterday with the release of the Statistics Canada report on income levels showing that as a nation we have a long way to go before realizing our objective of gender equality. While the income level has risen for single parent families predominantly headed by women, even the higher level leaves such families making less than half of the national average income.

End this disgrace. Put women's equality back on the political and public agendas. It is time the government responded to UN concerns and presented a strategy with measures to proactively address this unacceptable situation.

National Nursing WeekStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Bloc Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, during this National Nursing Week, I proudly salute my colleagues, the nurses of Quebec.

This year's theme “Nursing: At the heart of health care”, very accurately reflects the commitment of these health professionals who provide, often under difficult circumstances, quality care to patients and their families.

Not only do nurses have a demanding profession, both physically and emotionally, but now they have to cope with reduced staffing because of, among other things, cuts to health care due to the fiscal imbalance.

At present, in Canada, nurses are clocking 250,000 hours of overtime each week, or the equivalent of 7,000 full time jobs a year. It seems obvious to us that this is a situation that must be corrected as soon as possible, so that the quality of life of these nurses can be restored, both at work and outside health care facilities.

To the nurses of Quebec and Canada, on behalf of the Bloc Quebecois, I say thank you. We know that we can count on you.

Ukraine-Canada RelationsStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Walt Lastewka Liberal St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House of Commons today to welcome Mr. Viktor Yushchenko, former prime minister of Ukraine to Canada.

From 1993 to 1999, Mr. Yushchenko was governor of the National Bank of Ukraine, one of Europe's newest central banks, and he played a key role in establishing a solid banking system in the newly independent Ukraine. For his outstanding accomplishments, he received the Global Finance Award as one of the world's top central bankers.

During his 16 months as prime minister, he oversaw a series of key economic reforms that helped turn around Ukraine's struggling economy and improved conditions for foreign and domestic investment.

In January 2002 Mr. Yushchenko united a broad range of democratic parties and groups to create “Our Ukraine”, an electoral coalition that won numerous parliamentary elections that year.

While in Canada, Mr. Yushchenko will be reinforcing the good relations between Ukraine and Canada and will be meeting with members of Canada's million strong Ukrainian community.

Perth--MiddlesexStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Rick Borotsik Progressive Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

What a delight, Mr. Speaker. We had a Progressive Conservative victory in Perth--Middlesex. A determined PC candidate, Gary Schellenberger ran a hard fought campaign and won Monday night's byelection.

However it appears the Prime Minister has decided to blame his byelection blues on everyone else but himself and his government, saying that they had a problem in the riding and were unlucky. In typical Liberal fashion the PM blamed the previous Liberal member who held that riding.

Before the Prime Minister shrugs off this loss, perhaps he should realize that the voters of Perth--Middlesex have sent him a clear message: that they no longer tolerate the mismanagement of health care; the fishery; softwood lumber; agriculture; military; and the conflict in Iraq. The people of Perth--Middlesex chose not to reward the Prime Minister and his Liberal government for their continued mismanagement of national affairs.

The Prime Minister said the previous member stayed too long. Perhaps after 40 years this Prime Minister has stayed too long.

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Canadian Alliance Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador has joined other provinces to call for more control of provincial resources. The Prime Minister has been somewhat dismissive of that request. In fact, he said he will not be here fairly soon so he is just not interested.

He also dismissed Liberal MPs who expressed concern over the cod fishery. Will the Prime Minister reconsider and sit down with the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador about this issue?

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I said, and I repeat, that there is no desire of any provincial government to re-open the Constitution and go back to Meech Lake and Charlottetown, and debate all the problems of the Constitution of 10 years ago. We did not debate that. We discussed the real problems of the Canadian population and it is why Canada is in such good shape.

I met with the premier when he came here last week. I also met with members of Parliament and this morning in caucus the three of them said that it was not true that they were threatening to resign from the caucus. But that was not what was in the press.

Members should base their questions on real facts rather than pretensions that I do not want to be the Prime Minister and that members cannot express their views.

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Canadian Alliance Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has simply ignored the provinces' concerns, be they related to softwood lumber, duties on wheat or the fisheries in Newfoundland. Yet the provinces' demands are very reasonable. They want more control over their resources.

Is he now prepared to sit down with the Premier of Newfoundland to discuss that province's concerns, yes or no?

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as I just said in English, I met with the Premier of Newfoundland myself, in my office, a few days ago and I discussed this problem with him. There have already been some proposals concerning federal jurisdiction over the fisheries.

At the time, the Maritime provinces agreed that it would be best if the federal government managed the fisheries because the interests of the various provinces would be better served. Otherwise, there would be daily conflicts about the quotas in one province or another. What can I say; that is the way mother nature operates. Fish swim around, while the provincial borders remain the same.

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Canadian Alliance Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals are frankly in disarray on this file. The Solicitor General just over a year ago said that strong unilateral action by the government should be taken against foreign overfishing.

The only unilateral action that has been taken by the Prime Minister is to shut down the fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador. Why did the government choose unilateral action against fishermen in Canada instead of the foreign overfishing that really is a problem?

FisheriesOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I see how irresponsible members of the opposition are when they say, closing the fisheries.

In 1991 the fisheries in Newfoundland and Labrador represented $280 million of income. Last year it was $517 million. The industry is still progressing. It is doing better with some types of catches, but unfortunately, because of the balance of nature, some other species are less profitable. It is nature.

Compared to last year, there has never been more income coming to Newfoundland and Labrador from fisheries.

HealthOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rob Merrifield Canadian Alliance Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, the former finance minister has been crossing the country stating that the health accord did not deal with the fundamental issues of health care.

He suggests that he will rip up the health accord upon becoming Prime Minister. The Canadian Alliance, the provinces, and the federal government stand behind the accord.

Will the minister repeat today what she said last night, namely that the former finance minister was wrong about the health accord?

HealthOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, what I said last evening was very clear and unequivocal. In fact, the first ministers accord, in relation to the renewal and sustainability of our health care system, is a singular achievement of the government, our Prime Minister, and all first ministers in the country.

The terms of that accord not only speak to the federal government's commitment of 34.8 billion new dollars for health care, but it speaks to the important structural changes that must take place if we want to have a sustainable system for the future.

HealthOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rob Merrifield Canadian Alliance Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, the minister said last night she did not agree with the former finance minister.

He has said the health accord does not deal with the fundamental issues of health care. Clearly this means that the health accord is at risk of being ripped up in the future by the next Prime Minister. The former finance minister is the same man who gutted health care in the mid-90s.

How can the health minister guarantee Canadians that the former minister will not dump the accord?