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House of Commons Hansard #14 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was health.

Topics

Economic DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Conservative Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I was happy to precipitate that announcement by raising a question in the House. Nothing happened for five months. I contacted the ministry saying that nothing had happened and an hour later it came up with an announcement. That is what goes on with this ministry.

Let me tell the House how desperate the Ontario Liberals are to politicize regional development in this province. This week a senior Liberal source described cabinet level proposals that this minister was involved in for regional development in Ontario as being “packaged in terms of Liberal seats lost”.

Will the minister kill his vote buying scheme in the cradle by committing that any new regional development funds in Ontario take place through the highly non-politicized effective CFDCs?

Economic DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Thunder Bay—Superior North Ontario

Liberal

Joe Comuzzi LiberalMinister of State (Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario)

Mr. Speaker, I will respect that this is a new member of the House. Those accusations--

Economic DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Economic DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. The hon. minister of state has the floor. We will hear from the minister of state. A little order, please.

Economic DevelopmentOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

Joe Comuzzi Liberal Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will respect that this is a new member of the House. Those accusations are completely unfounded. The premise of his question is wrong. His accusations are wrong.

He should know full well that the community futures programs in this province are among the best administered. They are absolutely transparent and they are a credit to every Canadian in Ontario.

HealthOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of State for Public Health.

As we all know, diseases such as SARS know no boundaries and the next national public health epidemic may only be a plane ride away. I would like to ask the minister, what steps has the government taken to ensure the safety of Canadians in the event of an outbreak like SARS?

HealthOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

St. Paul's Ontario

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett LiberalMinister of State (Public Health)

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to report, in working with our provincial and territorial colleagues, all of the important improvements that we have made since the tabling of the comprehensive Naylor report a year ago that include the Public Health Agency for Canada, the new chief public health officer, as well as new surveillance guidelines, all of these things.

In fact, I invite the member and you, Mr. Speaker, to the new Public Health Agency next week. Dr. David Butler-Jones would be happy to explain it to everyone in person. Together we can all reassure Canadians--

HealthOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for New Brunswick Southwest.

Atlantic Canada Opportunities AgencyOral Question Period

October 22nd, 2004 / 11:55 a.m.

Conservative

Greg Thompson Conservative St. Croix—Belleisle, NB

Mr. Speaker, when Liberal MPs protest publicly about patronage and unfairness with ACOA funding, most of us would agree that the problem is real. Sadly, this minister continues to follow in his predecessor's footsteps. The types of cronyism and unbridled patronage the government pretends it wants to eliminate still exist.

My question for the minister is, what steps is he, his department, and the government taking to end that type of unbridled patronage?

Atlantic Canada Opportunities AgencyOral Question Period

11:55 a.m.

Egmont P.E.I.

Liberal

Joe McGuire LiberalMinister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Mr. Speaker, if the member is referring to today's press report about Norman Spector, who was Brian Mulroney's chief of staff, I find it passing strange that Mr. Spector was commenting on political patronage in ACOA when he presided over a whole layer of political appointments, where everything was viewed through the political spectrum.

Atlantic Canada Opportunities AgencyOral Question Period

Noon

Conservative

Greg Thompson Conservative St. Croix—Belleisle, NB

Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, I am referring to the Liberal member of Parliament for Miramichi who says the agency is out of control and he wants to shut down the types of activities that the minister is engaged in.

I might remind the minister that Mr. Spector was the head of ACOA on the present government's watch and he has specifically accused former ministers like Mr. Dingwall. Does that ring a bell on the other side of the House? I am afraid it does. He was a Liberal minister of the agency.

What will the minister do to stop that type of cronyism?

Atlantic Canada Opportunities AgencyOral Question Period

Noon

Egmont P.E.I.

Liberal

Joe McGuire LiberalMinister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Mr. Speaker, I think it was under Mr. Dingwall's watch that ACOA contributions to business went from grants to repayable loans. That was under Mr. Spector's watch and also under Mr. Dingwall's watch.

I want to thank the member for convincing his caucus to give unanimous support to our strategy on regional and economic development contained in the Speech from the Throne

AgricultureOral Question Period

Noon

Bloc

Sébastien Gagnon Bloc Jonquière—Alma, QC

Mr. Speaker, the mad cow crisis has done a great deal of harm to dairy producers because cull cattle are now close to worthless on the market. A farmer from Normandin, in the Lac-Saint-Jean area, received the ridiculous price of 7¢, once shipping and abattoir costs were paid. Yes, 7¢ for a 2,000-lb. cow.

Does this government realize that its aid package is clearly inadequate, since its $80 payment to farmers in distress simply does not compensate for their actual losses? Normally, they would be getting around $1,000.

AgricultureOral Question Period

Noon

Brossard—La Prairie Québec

Liberal

Jacques Saada LiberalMinister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec and Minister responsible for the Francophonie

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada has undertaken an extremely important initiative with respect to repositioning the industry. This four point plan includes two very specific financial measures.

The Government of Canada is, for instance, prepared to cover 60% of the funding required to support the industry, provided the provincial government comes up with 40%. As an indication of its flexibility, the government is even prepared to agree to a unilateral contribution of 60% if the province will assume administrative responsibility.

The federal government has done all it can to assist producers in difficulty in this instance.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

Noon

Thunder Bay—Superior North Ontario

Liberal

Joe Comuzzi LiberalMinister of State (Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario)

Mr. Speaker, I referred to my colleague from Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington as being a new member. I apologize. He has been here since around 2000. I apologize that I have never met him and I do not know what he has done.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

Noon

Conservative

Scott Reid Conservative Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington, ON

Mr. Speaker, on the same point of order, I am of course newly representing the new riding of Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington. I represented Lanark—Carleton in the last Parliament.

However I would encourage the minister to spend less time in Florida in order that he can watch what is being accomplished in the House.

Points of OrderOral Question Period

Noon

The Speaker

I thank both hon. members for their clarification.

Pursuant to the order adopted yesterday, the House will now proceed with tributes to Senator Jean-Robert Gauthier.

Senator Jean-Robert GauthierOral Question Period

Noon

Ottawa—Vanier Ontario

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger LiberalDeputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise today on behalf of the government to pay tribute to Senator Jean-Robert Gauthier as he retires from the Senate and to mark his 32 years in parliamentary life.

Senator Jean-Robert GauthierOral Question Period

Noon

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Senator Jean-Robert GauthierOral Question Period

Noon

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

The parliamentary career of Jean-Robert Gauthier has ended, but his work will endure for many generations. His legacy to the francophones of this country is important for many reasons.

For over 30 years, he has been an ardent defender of the linguistic rights of the French- and English-speaking minorities throughout the country. An experienced and clever parliamentarian, he succeeded in having a positive influence on the government decisions that shaped the development of Canada's francophone communities.

Senator Gauthier is a man unlike others. When I was a young activist in the Liberal Party of Canada, I had the opportunity to observe him in his role as the MP for Ottawa—Vanier, the riding which I now have the privilege of representing in the House of Commons.

I saw then for myself the virtues of the role of a member of Parliament. I saw a man at the heart of his community, a man always available to his constituents. I saw a man working tirelessly to help people overcome obstacles in their lives. Jean-Robert lent considerable nobility to the role of an MP and, later on, to that of a senator. He, better than anyone, exemplified the people's representative. In addition to the courage it took in his fight against sickness in recent years, he remained true to his principles and values.

I want to thank him for his advice and generosity. To me, he was a mentor, a confidant and a friend, and I will always be grateful to him for that.

Since he began his political career in this House, over 32 years ago, I would like to let him have the last word by quoting excerpts from his last speech in the Senate, which he delivered yesterday. He said:

I have tried hard to make life a bit more agreeable for Canadians. I have worked on many issues. I am very proud to say today that the issues I worked on were the people's issues...

Honourable senators, we have a commitment to Canada.

On behalf of the government and all my colleagues, I wish Senator Gauthier and his family a quiet, serene and happy retirement. So long Jean-Robert.

Senator Jean-Robert GauthierOral Question Period

12:05 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Conservative Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would also like to pay tribute to Senator Jean-Robert Gauthier, who served both Houses of Parliament for 32 years.

Mr. Gauthier is leaving the Senate because of a mandatory retirement provision in our Constitution. The fact that he is 75 prevents him from continuing his public service in the Senate.

Mr. Gauthier sat as the member for Ottawa—Vanier from 1972 to 1994, and as a senator from 1994 to the present. During this time, he was a vocal and consistent advocate for the rights of Franco-Ontarians and French language minority populations across the country.

The first time I met Mr. Gauthier was in June 1993, the same day Kim Campbell was sworn in as Prime Minister. Mr. Gauthier was the guest of honour, roughly one kilometre west of Rideau Hall, at another event that we both felt was just as important.

He had been asked to unveil a mural called “Tribute to Franco-Ontarians”, which my father had commissioned for the wall of the Giant Tiger store at the corner of Dalhousie and George Streets, which had once been the headquarters of Ottawa's French language newspaper Le Droit .

It seemed appropriate for a man who represented the centre of French Ontario for such a long time to unveil a work of art in honour of the Franco-Ontarian community. This mural had been commissioned by my family's business, which has achieved great success in the area of bilingualism.

Later, we sat together on the Standing Joint Committee on Official Languages. We did not always agree, but no one on the committee ever doubted Mr. Gauthier's sincerity when he was defending the rights of Franco-Ontarians and minorities.

Jean-Robert Gauthier has assumed many roles and has been involved in the work of many committees. He will be recognized especially for his work at sessions of the official languages committees of the House and the Senate. He devoted his career to the citizens of Ottawa-Vanier, of Ontario and the entire country.

In conclusion, I would like to offer him my best wishes for success.

Senator Jean-Robert GauthierOral Question Period

12:10 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, today we are paying tribute to all that Senator Jean-Robert Gauthier has accomplished in his 32 years in Parliament.

A man totally dedicated to representing his constituents to the best of his ability, he was elected here six times representing Ottawa East or Ottawa-Vanier, before moving on to that other place.

He will go down in history as a staunch promoter of respect for both official languages and a veteran of numerous battles to defend the French language within the context of linguistic duality.

He was, therefore, the author of many measures to remedy, promote and guarantee the use of French everywhere in Canada.

Francophone seniors in Ontario benefit every day from what yMr. Gauthier has done, as do all those who still speak French. Yet, he met heavy resistance in his tireless efforts to obtain official bilingual status for Canada's capital. We know that, despite his departure from the Hill, he will be continuing to battle for the respect of official languages, and for the bilingual status of the City of Ottawa, in particular.

Since his departure was announced, there has been an outpouring of public tribute and gratitude from his fellow citizens for all his efforts to ensure the continuance of our beautiful French language.

I will paraphrase what was written by one of them. Through his love of the French language, he is extending the life of this legacy which transcends our identity. Through suffering at times and in solitude, he carries the scars of difficult political struggles in his passionate patriotic heart and his embattled body.”

It is our hope that his example will inspire others to take up his torch and continue in the defence of our two official languages.

Have a wonderful retirement, Senator Gauthier.

Senator Jean-Robert GauthierOral Question Period

12:10 p.m.

NDP

Ed Broadbent NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, members of the House will not be entirely surprised, since I am a New Democrat, to learn that this is the first time I have ever publicly stood up to praise a senator, but I do so with a great deal of pleasure for my friend and former colleague for many years in the House and for his continuing work, I will add, as a senator in the other place.

It has been pointed out that Senator Gauthier has made a distinguished contribution to the battle for human rights in general, which he has, and I want to emphasize that. He is well known in particular for the struggle for minority francophone rights right across the country, as well as in the city of Ottawa, and in struggling for official bilingualism in the province of Ontario. He was an excellent worker for all of these causes.

Senator Gauthier is well known in our community. He served as honorary chair of the S.O.S. Montfort Legal Defence Fund in 1998. He is the recipient of such distinctions as the “Prix Boréal” from the Association canadienne-française de l’Ontario. Senator Gauthier also received the title of Grand-Croix de l’Ordre de la Pléiade in 1998.

He was, and will remain, I am sure, a terrific advocate for human rights. He has been dedicated to his community and his country. I join with all others here in the House in wishing him and his family a joyful and, indeed, an exuberant retirement.

Senator Jean-Robert GauthierOral Question Period

12:15 p.m.

The Speaker

I want to add a few words about my friend Senator Gauthier. I was elected to this House for the first time in 1988 and for a few years I served as the leader of our party in the House.

Senator Gauthier, for a while, was the House leader for the official opposition and I had the pleasure of working with him quite closely for a number of years, in the days when I took part in these things.

He taught me a lot about the tactics inherent in the House.

I now can sit and observe these tactics at work in the House, but he was an excellent instructor.

Of course, we all remember that Senator Gauthier ran to be Speaker of this House in 1993. It was a very interesting and very very close election. I was a candidate in that election but I was knocked out quite early, understandably, given the quality of the other candidates who were running.

It was a pleasure for me to have known him and worked with him while he was in the chamber and to continue our association while he worked in the Senate.

With his departure, the Parliament of Canada is losing one of its most knowledgeable members, but it is a matter of age in the Senate—not here—and this major change coincides with a significant birthday. Happy birthday, Mr. Senator, and on behalf of all the members of this House, I thank you very much for your service to our country.

I express our very best wishes for a long and enjoyable retirement for you.

Thank you very much.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the seventh report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs regarding matters relating to the electoral boundaries readjustment process.

Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to the report.

I also have the honour to present, in both official languages, the eighth report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs regarding the changes to the Standing Orders of the House of Commons that are necessary pursuant to the special order adopted on October 5.

Mr. Speaker, with the leave of the House, I move:

That the eighth report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, presented to the House earlier this day, be concurred in.

For clarification, this is the report dealing with the changes to the Standing Orders that are necessary pursuant to the motion adopted unanimously by the House on October 5.

(Motion agreed to)