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House of Commons Hansard #15 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was heritage.

Topics

TransportationOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Bloc Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, given the significant financial involvement of Quebec City's social and economic sector and the major economic and environmental impacts of such a project, could the minister tell this House if he intends to provide an answer quickly, and when he plans to do so?

TransportationOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Jean Lapierre LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I have no intention of wasting $150,000 on a study as long as the funding for the high-speed train is not in place. We are talking about billions of dollars.

I do not have that kind of money. We are not going to waste money on conducting studies just for the sake of conducting studies. They may benefit consultants and chambers of commerce, but I will not waste taxpayers money.

Firearms ProgramOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Garry Breitkreuz Conservative Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal brain trust over there is giving away free firearms licences to 770,000 randomly selected gun owners and is charging the other unlucky licence holders $60 each to renew their licences.

Does this Liberal lottery not violate their charter rights to be treated equally under the law? And for the 25th time in two years I ask, how much is the firearms program going to cost to fully implement and how much is it going to cost to maintain?

Firearms ProgramOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, I find it slightly passing strange that the party that ridiculed the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in the last election would now invoke it in this context, but I guess that is a party that is quite happy to have it both ways.

Let me reassure the hon. member that on this side of the House we remain committed to an effective and efficient gun control program. In fact we are working closely with firearms owners, users and other stakeholders to make--

Firearms ProgramOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Yorkton—Melville.

Firearms ProgramOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

Garry Breitkreuz Conservative Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, I think everyone in this country already knows that the last part is not true. This is just the latest example of poor program planning and nine years of Liberal mismanagement.

When will the minister admit there are better places to put $100 million a year than on a firearms program? How about clearing the backlog of more than 1,700 DNA cases in the RCMP forensic laboratories? How about clearing that away?

Firearms ProgramOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, this government's commitment to public safety is clear. That is why we are working on a number of fronts, including DNA. I guess the hon. member missed the press release from the RCMP recently indicating how successful our DNA identification program has been.

We are committed to public safety, whether it is DNA, whether it is the sex offender registry, whether it is gun control and dealing with smuggled guns and gun crime in our major cities. This government takes a back seat to--

Firearms ProgramOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Glengarry—Prescott—Russell.

MulticulturalismOral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, after the francophone minority, it is now the turn of the Canadian Centre on Minority Affairs which has described the Leader of the Opposition's efforts to weaken Canada as “opportunistic and irresponsible”.

Could the Minister of State for Multiculturalism provide assurances to our multicultural community that a Liberal government would never abandon our multicultural community by waffling them off to another level of government? This is very important because the Leader of the Opposition was seen chatting with the ambassador of Belgium as recently as Saturday night.

MulticulturalismOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Richmond B.C.

Liberal

Raymond Chan LiberalMinister of State (Multiculturalism)

Mr. Speaker, I can assure the hon. member that this government will always work to ensure that Canadians in all ethnocultural communities can participate in and contribute fully to our society. We will continue to remove barriers such that all Canadians can contribute and take an active part in Canada's social, cultural, economic and political affairs.

I will also strongly uphold the balance of equal opportunity and work to eliminate racism as laid out in the Canadian Multiculturalism Act and as protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

BroadcastingOral Question Period

October 26th, 2004 / 3 p.m.

Conservative

Rahim Jaffer Conservative Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, not only is the Liberal government manipulating and censoring public and private broadcasters, now it is moving on to the primary schools. The pupils at École du Bois-joli de Trois-Rivières have just learned this to their great amazement, as their amateur radio station was brutally and arbitrarily shut down.

When will the minister reassure these exemplary parents and teachers by renewing their broadcasting licence?

BroadcastingOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Jeanne-Le Ber Québec

Liberal

Liza Frulla LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage and Minister responsible for Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, I must admit that this is the first I have heard about this. We will look into this and find out whether the school administration is involved. If so, schools being under provincial jurisdiction, this is a provincial matter. If not, I will provide some reasonable response.

HealthOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Queensway-Carleton, a hospital in my community, is facing a funding crunch as it attempts to serve 400,000 people in our community. Yet, year after year the NCC charges this small community hospital tens of thousands of dollars in rent. There is about to be a massive rent increase which the hospital itself says could cost as many as 40 nurses.

Why does the government simply not resolve this problem by selling the land to the hospital for $1?

HealthOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Jeanne-Le Ber Québec

Liberal

Liza Frulla LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage and Minister responsible for Status of Women

First of all, Mr. Speaker, I would like to acknowledge the hard work my colleague for Ottawa West—Nepean has put into this matter. She has also made a commitment to discuss it with the National Capital Commission and the board of the hospital in question.

And now, in answer to this question, the hon. member for Nepean—Carleton must realize that the amount in question, the rent, is based on the assumption that the charges for leasing the land are based on the value of the land. I am told that this will not be the basis for determining future rental charges.

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Bloc

Maka Kotto Bloc Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, the mandate of the President of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is coming to an end. Rumours abound about his successors. In June 2003, the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage recommended to the Minister of Canadian Heritage that the criteria and directives for CBC appointments be improved.

Will the Minister of Canadian Heritage submit the appointment of the future President of the CBC to the scrutiny of the members of this House, thereby reducing the democratic deficit so strongly denounced by the Prime Minister?

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Jeanne-Le Ber Québec

Liberal

Liza Frulla LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage and Minister responsible for Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, I would like to welcome my hon. colleague. As for appointments, especially that of the president of the CBC, I can assure him that everything will be done according to the rules.

Presence in GalleryOral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

I draw the attention of hon. members to the presence in the gallery of the Hon. Matlapeng Ray Molomo, Speaker of the National Assembly of Botswana.

Presence in GalleryOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Presence in GalleryOral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

I would also like to draw the attention of hon. members to the presence in the gallery of the Hon. Rick Thorpe, Minister of Provincial Revenue for British Columbia.

Presence in GalleryOral Question Period

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-7, an act to amend the Department of Canadian Heritage Act and the Parks Canada Agency Act and to make related amendments to other Acts, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Canadian Heritage ActGovernment Orders

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to contribute to this debate and speak this afternoon on Bill C-7, an act to amend the Department of Canadian Heritage Act and the Parks Canada Agency Act.

On December 12, 2003, as we remember, control and supervision of Parks Canada Agency were transferred from the Minister of Canadian Heritage to the Minister of the Environment. This was done by order in council.

On July 20, 2004, another order in council regarding responsibility for built heritage came into effect. This was necessary in order to clarify the preceding orders. On the one hand, the control and supervision of the policy group on historic places were transferred; I will say something about that in a few moments. The powers and responsibilities and the functions of designing and implementing programs with built heritage as its primary focus, were transferred from the Minister of Canadian Heritage to the Minister of the Environment. Bill C-7 will amend the legislation to reflect these two changes.

I have the honour of representing the riding of Glengarry—Prescott—Russell. I often talk about it in this House. It has a very significant place in the history of Canada. Indeed, it is in the Glengarry area that Sir John Johnson and his disciples, if I can use that term, arrived in 1784. These people were refugees from the war between the United States and England, the war of American independence. At least, this is what the Americans are saying, because the British called that same war by another name. In any case, in the aftermath of that conflict, around 1784, there was this exodus of people living in the 13 colonies, but particularly the state of New York, in the Mohawk Valley. These people crossed the border to get to the area of Lancaster and, later, Williamstown. Incidentally, that town is named after Sir William Johnson, the father of Sir John Johnson, who was the founder of that region.

Mr. Speaker, if I am not mistaken, you are yourself a descendant of these people, some of whom came to my riding of Glengarry—Prescott—Russell.

Sir John Johnson's manor is still in Williamstown, in the Glengarry area. Unfortunately, it is no longer part of my riding. Following the redrawing of the electoral map, it is now located in the riding of Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry. Most of the other sites are located in the riding that I represent.

Talking about interesting historic sites, I do not need to remind hon. members of the flour mill of father Alexander Macdonell, after whom is named the town of Alexandria, in my riding. I should also mention the Macdonell-Williamson house, which proudly bears a plaque attesting to its status of provincial historic site. It is located east of Chute-à-Blondeau, actually in Pointe-Fortune, where part of the town is in Quebec and part of it is in Ontario. The Macdonell-Williamson house is right on the border. These are some examples of historic places in the riding that I represent and in the Glengarry area in general.

It is also interesting to note that the Longueuil seigneury, the one in Ontario, is located in the electoral riding that I represent. Jean Lemoyne, the seigneur of Longueuil, owned that seigneury, which later became the township of Longueuil. Indeed, after 1791, it became the township of Longueuil. We are talking about the region located in my riding. In fact, this means that a part of New France is now in Ontario, because this was a seigneury, the seigneury of Longueuil. I can see that some members opposite are surprised and even pleased by this.

I would also like to talk about some other aspects of the bill, which is, after all, about parks. I am among the lucky people who, because of my duties as a member of Parliament, have had the opportunity to visit a number of national parks, each one more beautiful than the last. I am thinking, for example, of some parks I visited in western Canada this summer, particularly in British Columbia and Alberta.

But I am also thinking about Gross-Île, that extraordinary place in Quebec. That, of course, is the island that saw the arrival of many Canadians of Irish origin, including my wife's ancestors. The hon. members who have met my wife will have noticed her Irish heritage, which is particularly visible in the colour of her hair. My grandchildren resemble her, with those special features. I had the pleasure of visiting Grosse-Île and I recommend such a visit to all my colleagues. It is a truly fascinating experience.

I have been describing some national parks as they exist today. I know there is talk of establishing new parks in a number of regions. For example, in the North there are interesting sites but there are other ecologically interesting areas that I think deserve to be national parks.

For example, here in the national capital region, there is a bog called the Mer Bleue. It is part of the National Capital Commission's lands. It is an NCC park. It is well protected. The NCC is doing a fantastic job and is well managed by its president, Marcel Beaudry, whom I salute and to whom I send my best wishes. The NCC's parks and areas are well protected.

There is another, still larger area of my riding, the Alfred bog. This is a highly sensitive ecological zone. RIght now, it comprises perhaps between 15,000 and 20,000 acres of land. In recent years, unfortunately—but not this past year or the one before, for reasons I shall explain in a couple of minutes—an ecological disaster was shaping up in that region. A group of entrepreneurs had the idea of digging up peat and bagging it for sale to be used as gardening peat moss for vegetable and flower gardens, lawns and the like. This had a very devastating effect on the bog, and on the flora and fauna of the region. Suddenly the people in the villages started to find deer and other smaller wild animals on their lawns. These animals were not able to negotiate the huge ditches dug to drain the peat bog and then excavate the peat. This was a very sad state of affairs. I appealed to the Minister of the Environment, the hon. member for Victoria, who is no longer a minister but one of the benched former ministers, like myself. I got a great deal of help from him in this matter, and take this opportunity to thank him.

Thanks to him, a group known as Nature Conservancy of Canada, or Conservation de la nature in French, bought outright some 3,000 acres of this bog, thereby protecting this huge area.

Just a few months ago, thanks to the United Counties of Prescott and Russell which spearheaded this effort, another large stretch of what was left of the bog that was not already in the hands of the public or para-public sector was purchased. As a result, virtually all that is left of the Alfred bog, in eastern Ontario, is part of this property, either public or para-public, if we include Nature Conservancy of Canada. We have at least protected this very sensitive area.

I am one of those who think the time has come to go further on this issue. The time has come to join our forces to convince the Government of Canada to turn this ecological area, now partly owned by the public, through the United Counties of Prescott and Russell, the South Nation River Conservation Authority, Nature Conservancy of Canada and others, into a park.

With this plea, today, I am taking a first step in advocating in the House of Commons the creation of this park.

Many members go through my riding to get theirs. Many parliamentarians go to Montreal or elsewhere. When they leave Ottawa, they go through the beautiful riding of Glengarry—Prescott—Russell. I hope that members making this trip will stop frequently and spend a lot of money to contribute to the local economy of my riding.

These members who travel in the region and go to the outskirts of Casselman or Saint-Isidore, before stopping to spend lots of money—I sincerely hope they will—will see this area. There is the Larose forest, the site of the Écho d'un peuple production, which talks about our Franco-Ontarian ancestors, and not far from there is the ecological area known as the Alfred bog.

The United Counties of Prescott and Russell and the others made these acquisitions with the support of yours truly and, of course, the then Minister of the Environment. I would like to reiterate my appreciation for everything the hon. member for Victoria did. Now that this has been done, I think it is time to move ahead to the second stage. In other words, the Alfred bog should become a national park.

Today is the first time you have heard this plea in the House of the Commons. It will probably not be the last because this is a very worthwhile project, in my opinion. Some might wonder why I did not raise this issue sooner. After all, I was a minister for a long time. As I just described in detail, the bog was not publicly owned at the time. It was private property.

Now that almost the entire bog has been acquired by government or quasi-government bodies, the project is possible. That is why we should now consider moving ahead with such a project.

Some might say it is not directly related to the bill before us today, but I say it is. We are creating, through legislation, the structure I described at the beginning of my speech and there is no better time to tell officials, ministers and anyone else interested, about the merits of the project I am undertaking for the Alfred bog.

I have thanked the minister and I thank colleagues for supporting the bill. I not only look forward to its speedy adoption by the House of Commons but I also look forward to the day when I can invite all members of the House to the official opening of the Alfred Bog national park.

Canadian Heritage ActGovernment Orders

3:20 p.m.

NDP

Bill Siksay NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, I listened with interest to the member's speech and his reflections about some of the historical sites that are in his riding and nearby and I wanted to ask him a question about those. I know the bill contemplates transferring responsibility for those sites to Environment Canada and that it has been back and forth a little between Heritage Canada and Environment Canada.

I also know that the Minister of Public Works has contemplated selling off some of the government's holdings in terms of buildings and other public facilities. Just this morning I had a phone call from one of my constituents who was very concerned about that possibility. He believes that those facilities are part of the birthright of all Canadians and that they should remain with the government, not be sold away only to be rented back or to be part of some other arrangement.

Does the member believe that this arrangement might actually protect historical sites, if transferring them to the Department of the Environment was a way of protecting them and ensuring they are part of the future of all Canadians?

Canadian Heritage ActGovernment Orders

3:25 p.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member seems confused about four or five different things.

First, nationally designated sites are not necessarily the property of the Government of Canada. A number of sites are privately owned by local organizations and are subject to a designation by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board.

Second, some sites are actually the property of the Government of Canada and are government assets. I have heard the discussion about those where the government feels that it should be selling them off, which concerns me as well. I share some of the concerns in that regard. I hope the minister is listening attentively to these concerns. However that is not the same thing at all.

Finally, what the bill would ensure is that the structure of Parks Canada is transferred from the Minister of Heritage Canada to the Minister of the Environment in terms of reporting and so on. I do not see in this bill how that would change an existing historic site from continuing to be an historic site. That is a very different proposition altogether. The bill does not deal with that, as far as I have been able to recognize.

Just to summarize briefly. First, I share the concern that we should not engage in a major way in disposing of government assets but that does not mean that they are all forbidden to be disposed of. That is equally wrong.

Mr. Speaker, you represent the beautiful and historic City of Kingston, where the city wants to acquire a vacant lot that is about eight feet wide and a quarter mile long. It somehow was divided that way 175 years ago and it needs to be transferred to the municipality. It is those sorts of things. Sometimes it could even be the private sector. We therefore cannot say that there is a blanket or should be a blanket interdiction in that regard.

The historic sites that we have are not always government owned. We are talking particularly about those designated by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board. These could be government owned, local government or agency owned, sometimes city owned, and sometimes they are completely in private hands, but they are still designated in the way that I have just described.

As the member can see, it is a little bit more broad than the way it has been described by the hon. member.

I do encourage the government to continue to protect our historical sites in Canada. I happen to have a bit of a passion for history, as well as rock music, but that is another issue. I do hope that we protect the historical sites that we have for our children and, shall I say, my grandchildren.

Canadian Heritage ActGovernment Orders

3:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gérard Asselin Bloc Manicouagan, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listened very carefully to the concerns of the member for Glengarry—Prescott—Russell regarding a part of the land in his riding. He talked about a peat bog that had been farmed. His main concern seemed to be that, if this was sold or assigned to the private sector, the peat bog might be farmed again.

In Quebec, there are organizations called RCMs, regional county municipalities. They are responsible for unorganized territory. There is also an organization called Protection du territoire. In Ontario, I do not know the protection structures, but if one wants to protect a piece of land, an area or a sector, it is not a good idea to hand over that piece of land or area to the federal government to create a park there.

In that case, can the municipality, which is an organization that has managed the lands in its territory, bring in urban bylaws? However, there is also the provincial government, through the Department of Cultural Affairs, that could ensure the protection of this land, because it seems that the land is part of the member's main concerns. In fact, this is important to him, and he seems to be saying that this causes a problem when peat bogs are in operation.

My question is as follows: would there not be another land protection organization that would meet the concerns that the member just outlined, without necessarily transferring responsibilities so that the federal government would inherit a part of the land to create a park? We know that, if this park is managed by Parks Canada, it would entail investment costs. It would also be an intrusion of the federal government in provincial lands.