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House of Commons Hansard #127 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was benefits.

Topics

World Forestry CongressStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Gérard Asselin Bloc Charlevoix, QC

Mr. Speaker, this week, the largest international meeting on forestry is being held in Quebec City. The XII World Forestry Congress, under the theme of “Forests, Source of Life”, will provide an opportunity to take stock of the state of forests around the world, to raise awareness among decision makers and to provide them with recommendations, the application of which will depend solely on governments and international or other organizations.

Last week, the papers reported the release of a study on Canada's wild forests. On Monday morning, Greenpeace held a demonstration in front of the Quebec City Convention Centre. Ecologists and scientists gave warnings.

The same thing applies here. We have to work on the protection and health of forests to ensure that they are here for future generations.

LiteracyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Cheryl Gallant Canadian Alliance Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, I wish to congratulate the Ottawa Citizen and its volunteers for the second annual Raise a Reader Day to help fund literacy programs in eastern Ontario and western Quebec.

Unfortunately, while the federal government has publicly stated that literacy is a priority, recent changes to the operational guidelines of HRDC's summer career placement program has penalized libraries across Canada.

Programs that operated for years have been cancelled because the government has the mistaken notion that public libraries make money. By revoking their non-profit status some rural public libraries were forced to cut their book budgets in order to continue their reading programs. Libraries in small Ontario communities provide an important service, and in the case of places like Douglas, Killaloe and Sterling, scarce summer employment.

Small rural communities do not have the funds to make up the loss by this arbitrary change in funding criteria. It is time for the government to stop this attack on public libraries and support literacy in Canada.

Thomas Roussel-RoozmonStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Liberal Laval West, QC

Mr. Speaker, allow me to acknowledge in this House the perseverance and talent of Thomas Roussel-Roozmon, a young man of 15 from Laval, who is currently battling for the highly coveted title of international chess grandmaster.

Thomas Roussel-Roozmon is currently ranked third in Canada in the junior division and he is number one in Quebec in the under 20 category.

Last summer, he also won his very first international match, a feat he will have to achieve many times to earn the title of international grandmaster.

Thomas Roussel-Roozmon is an example to us all of tenacity and I join the people of Laval in wishing him good luck. We all hope he earns the title of international chess grandmaster in Greece.

CancerStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Rex Barnes Progressive Conservative Gander—Grand Falls, NL

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak about a very serious medical condition in our country, that is the alarming number of cancer cases. An estimated 140,000 new cases of cancer and 67,000 deaths from cancer will occur in Canada in 2003. Right now there are more than 710,000 Canadians living with cancer.

In my riding of Gander--Grand Falls, Mr. Gerald Higgins has been on a one man crusade since his wife was diagnosed with cancer in May 2000. Mr. Higgins' crusade is about transformers and cancer. What is the connection? For example, in one community, 49 of 51 people were diagnosed with cancer; in another, 16 of 21 people were diagnosed with cancer; and in another, 21 of 23 people were diagnosed with cancer. In one community 35 residents have died from cancer.

What is the connection with transformers? All have transformers in close proximity to their homes. Is there a relationship--

CancerStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Terrebonne—Blainville.

Human RightsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Diane Bourgeois Bloc Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, this morning we were delighted to learn that the Islamic court of appeal in Katsina, Nigeria, had acquitted Amina Lawal.

In March 2002, this single mother of four was sentenced by an Islamic court to be stoned to death for giving birth to a child out of wedlock. She was to be executed in January of 2004.

Since Shariah law was adopted in 2000, a number of sentences of stoning for sexual relations outside of marriage have been brought down. None of these has been carried out, however.

Right from the start, the entire world has condemned this expression of violence and discrimination against women, of which the sentence against Amina Lawal is a tragic example.

The Bloc Quebecois wishes to commend Quebecker Pierre Brun of Lawyers without Borders for his excellent work on this case. He travelled to Nigeria to help defend Amina Lawal, and is certainly in part responsible for the fact that today we can celebrate her release.

Edward SaidStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Colleen Beaumier Liberal Brampton West—Mississauga, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is with great sadness that I rise today to pay tribute to a leading Palestinian intellectual, Edward Said.

Mr. Said was born in Jerusalem but lived most of his life in the U.S. He studied at Princeton and Harvard and went on to become a leading advocate on behalf of the Palestinian people.

As a professor at Columbia University, his writing and speeches made him a central voice in the Palestinian struggle. He was equally critical of corruption within the Palestinian Authority and Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

Professor Said died this morning at the age of 67 after a long battle with leukemia. He leaves behind an intellectual void that will be difficult to fill.

He will be greatly missed.

TourismStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Musquodoboit Valley—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of my federal and provincial New Democratic Party colleagues, I rise today to draw the attention of the House to the importance of tourism to Canada's economy, standard of living as a nation, and quality of life for all Canadians.

Tourism is worth $52 billion a year. It is Canada's fourth largest export industry and its eleventh largest industry overall, accounting for about 3% of the country's gross domestic product.

Canada's 159,000 tourism related businesses operate in communities from St. John's to Victoria and from Iqaluit to Yarmouth. They keep 1.8 million Canadians working, providing vital income for individuals and families, especially in rural Canada. They also generate an estimated $17 billion in tax revenues, which support government programs at all levels.

On behalf of all of us as we prepare to celebrate World Tourism Day, I urge all my colleagues on both sides of the House to support Canada's vital tourism industry and for all Canadians to travel our country and see what a truly wonderful country we are blessed with.

John MunroStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

John Bryden Liberal Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Aldershot, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to inform the House of the passing away this summer of one of its own, former health, labour and Indian affairs minister and great Canadian, the Hon. John Munro.

For 22 years Mr. Munro sat in this place as the representative of the people of Hamilton East, serving with distinction in the portfolios assigned to him by then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, but most of all serving Canadians and especially aboriginal Canadians with all his heart.

Mr. Munro was also very much a grassroots politician, of a kind that we rarely see today, and was ever mindful of his constituents. He looked to improve their lives by bringing opportunities to the city of Hamilton, the steel town that he loved. McMaster Health Sciences, the Canada Centre for Inland Waters, these are but two world class institutions that are part of the Munro legacy in Hamilton.

Well done, John. Well done.

Johnny CashStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rick Casson Canadian Alliance Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, two weeks ago we lost an icon in the entertainment industry. The Man in Black, Johnny Cash, has moved on to a better place.

Johnny Cash's career spanned 50 years. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1980. He followed that up with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992. He is one of only a handful of performers to be so honoured.

His hard living and torturous schedule took their toll, but his marriage to June Carter in 1968 turned his life around.

Johnny Cash worked with Elvis, Jerry Lee and Dylan. He recorded with Willie, Waylon and Kristofferson. He recorded gospel music and music for children. His fans came from all walks of life and all ages.

From Hey Porter and Cry, Cry, Cry in 1954, the hits never stopped coming. Teenage Queen , I Walk the Line , Ring of Fire , Folsom Prison Blues , A Boy Named Sue and, my favourite, Sunday Morning Coming Down , are just a few of his hits.

Although all country music fans will miss him, we know he is “walking the line” in a far better place.

Information TechnologyStatements By Members

September 25th, 2003 / 2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Stan Dromisky Liberal Thunder Bay—Atikokan, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians have been eager to adopt and make use of new technologies. We are increasingly turning to the Internet for government services, information and education, and to keep in touch with friends and family around the globe.

A study released yesterday by the Geneva based International Telecommunications Union found that Canada is now one of the most connected nations in the world.

Our government has pledged Internet access for all Canadian communities by 2005. One way we are doing this is the Broadband for Rural and Northern Development pilot program, which makes high speed Internet access available to communities where service does not already exist.

Thanks to the Liberal government's vision and ongoing commitment, Canadians across the country are able to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the Internet.

HealthOral Question Period

2:10 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, there is a new Liberal leader but already there are trial balloons being floated on the health accord. Reports indicate the government may withdraw from the $2 billion in health funding that it promised to the provinces early this year.

My question for the health minister is quite simple. Is the government firmly committed to delivering the $2 billion of new money it promised to the provinces?

HealthOral Question Period

2:10 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, let me read what the health accord said. The federal government committed to, and I quote:

provide up to an additional $2.0 billion for health for the provinces and territories at the end of fiscal year 2003-04, if the Minister of Finance determines during the month of January 2004 that there will be a sufficient surplus above the normal Contingency Reserve to permit such an investment.

We stand by that.

HealthOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, this government had money this week for the gun registry and for scandal ridden public works and HRDC departments. It should have money for health care.

This government should not be playing peekaboo with health dollars or with the health of Canadians and the minister should not be standing here like a corporate lawyer reading the fine print of the health accord.

Will he commit firmly that he will give the provinces the money they are expecting to implement the health accord?

HealthOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Yes, Mr. Speaker, we are giving them all of the $34.8 billion that we promised and, if they meet the conditions that are necessary, there will be more in January, but look at the table. It is only September.

HealthOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the government is reluctant to follow through on its promise to deliver $2 billion for health services. Hon. members will recall that the new Liberal leader has said that the health accord was a missed opportunity and does not address fundamental issues.

Is the government trying to gain some time because its new leader does not support this promise of $2 billion for the provinces?

HealthOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Ottawa South Ontario

Liberal

John Manley LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the answer is the same in French. This was a promise made in the accord, provided the money is available in January. We are not there yet; this is September. We are going to do exactly what we have committed to do. This is not complicated. Why is the leader of the opposition trying to confuse the public?

Technology Partnerships CanadaOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Rajotte Canadian Alliance Edmonton Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Industry thought it would be a good idea to hand out $4.9 million to Canadian Shipbuilding & Engineering in June through technology partnerships Canada.

The new Liberal leader until a few weeks ago owned a controlling interest in CS&E through his shipping company, Canada Steamship Lines. This TPC money was awarded while the new Liberal leader was still in charge of his company.

Why did the minister give the new Liberal leader $4.9 million while he was still in charge of CSL?

Technology Partnerships CanadaOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, technology partnerships Canada does careful due diligence before making any investment to promote innovation. It did due diligence here and found that this investment is a good use of money to commit to the development of new technologies in a shipbuilding sector that holds great promise for the region in Ontario where this company is located and for the sector as a whole.

If the member would spend more time looking at the merits of this investment rather than the cheap politics he is pulling here, he might be better off.

Technology Partnerships CanadaOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Rajotte Canadian Alliance Edmonton Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, the reality, and the minister knows this, is that there was a clear conflict there and he should have acted diligently in not awarding this until there was a clear schism between the former minister of finance and Canada Steamship Lines.

To add to this controversy, CS&E sits on Industry Canada's marine advisory committee, a group that makes recommendations to the Minister of Industry regarding shipbuilding and marine policy. Could the Minister of Industry confirm CS&E's advisory role? Did the CS&E representative on this advisory board lobby for this grant itself?

Technology Partnerships CanadaOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, first of all, the former minister of finance has been scrupulous over the last 10 years to avoid any conflict between the interests of the corporation and his political responsibilities.

Second, I am very proud to receive advice from CS&E and other excellent Canadian companies involved in the shipbuilding sector.

There was nothing wrong with this investment. It was made after due diligence by TPC. It is a good investment to promote innovation in Canada.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Quebec Minister of Municipal Affairs, who was a campaign organizer for the member for LaSalle—Émard, had a word of caution for the future Liberal leader. Instead of denying that a fiscal imbalance exists and using the surplus to deal directly with municipalities, Ottawa should give a portion of its gasoline tax revenue to Quebec, which will look after distributing it.

Will the Prime Minister admit that the stage is set, and that a simple transfer of funds, much more than the negotiation of a new pact, as advocated by his successor, would allow Quebec to quickly provide much needed assistance to the municipalities?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as the Minister of Finance always says, each level of government has its own taxation powers. Those provinces that choose to increase their taxes on goods such as petroleum products are entitled to do so.

As for us, if we have a surplus in January, the first $2 billion will go to health, as agreed to in the health accord. That is our policy. There may be different policies later, but for the time being this is the policy of the government that is in office at this time.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, my point is that the gasoline tax will be primarily used to interfere in municipal jurisdictions. Hence my question to the Prime Minister. That is what his successor intends to do, despite the fact that the Minister of Municipal Affairs told him, “Give us the money so that we can distribute it among the municipalities.”

Does he agree with his successor, who is talking about a fiscal pact directly between Ottawa and the municipalities instead of one between Ottawa and Quebec and the provinces, as it should be?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have an equalization system to help provinces when their tax bases are lower than those of other provinces. That is the system. One cannot tell what will happen one, two or three years down the road.

The current system is clear: there is a federal gasoline tax and a provincial gasoline tax. We have no intention of increasing our tax for the time being, but if the provinces want to increase theirs, they can do so, they have the power to do so.