House of Commons Hansard #24 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was industry.


Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.


Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Mirabel, QC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to speak to Bill C-16. I will start by saying that our position is clear; the Bloc Quebecois supports the bill, but with a reservation which I will explain later in my speech.

I will take the time to read the summary to Bill C-16. It says:

This enactment amends the Criminal Code to clarify that the reference to impairment by alcohol or a drug in paragraph 253(1)(a) of that Act includes impairment by a combination of alcohol and a drug. It authorizes specially trained peace officers to conduct tests to determine whether a person is impaired by a drug or a combination of alcohol and a drug and also authorizes the taking of samples of bodily fluids to test for the presence of a drug or a combination of alcohol and a drug in a person’s body.

The enactment also makes consequential amendments to other Acts.

You will have understood how important this bill is. Of course, to those who are listening to us, it is clear that clause 253 makes driving while impaired by alcohol illegal. Everybody knows that. Too often we see in the media horrific reports about the serious accidents caused by repeat offenders.

We now have a bill to deal with the issue, even though no matter how powerful our legislative assembly is, we cannot prevent the havoc caused all too often by impaired drivers. However we cannot stop there. The bill goes a little further.

We do have rather important statistics. A study by the Société de l'assurance automobile du Québec reveals that over 30% of deadly car accidents in Quebec were caused by drivers impaired either by drugs or a combination of drugs and alcohol. Of course, even though the current act deters or punishes drivers impaired by alcohol, a whole category of impaired drivers is not covered--those who drive under the influence of drugs. Bill C-16 is aimed them.

We must analyze this bill. Impaired driving is already an offence under the Criminal Code. The maximum penalty is a life sentence. At the present time, the Criminal Code does not give police officers the right to require a driver to undergo physical sobriety testing or to submit bodily fluids as part of an investigation under section 253a. That is what Bill C-16 is intended to cover.

This is why I was talking of vigilance. These analyses require police officers to be trained. At this time, it is estimated that it will take about $7 million to train police officers and to obtain the necessary equipment for testing.

Clearly, this will be a new way of doing things. Currently, a breathalyzer is used. The person blows into it to determine the alcohol level. Having never done this, and hoping never to have to, I do not really know how it works, but I do know that the same test cannot be used to determine whether someone is under the influence of drugs. More complicated testing, which may include taking samples of body fluids, is required.

So this is a change to a whole area of law, and we agree with that. Things must be done properly, so our police officers need to be trained and the money and resources must be available to achieve our goal and avoid any challenges.

I am going to go into this in greater detail. There is a reference to standard field sobriety tests. When there are reasonable grounds to suspect the presence of a drug in a driver's body, these tests are to test divided attention, ie assessing the ability to do several things at the same time. These are done at the roadside.

So, once trained, the police officer could check whether the person is really impaired. Too often, they test people if they have alcohol on their breath. With this bill, however, if they feel the driver is not in a fit state, they can use these standard field sobriety tests.

There are also the evaluations done by the drug recognition experts. When a police officer has reasonable grounds to believe that a drug-impaired driving offence has been committed, particularly when a driver has failed the standardized field sobriety test, these evaluations are done at the police station.

Here is how it works: the standardized field sobriety test is done at the roadside to check the driver's condition. Then, if the police officer is of the opinion that the test indicates that the driver is not fit to drive a vehicle, this person will be taken to the station where drug recognition experts, or DRE, will take over. The federal government describes the DRE evaluations as being effective enough to exclude drug-related impairment due to medical treatment and to help the authorities direct the drivers to the appropriate medical services.

Of course, it has to be understood that we do not want a person who has a non-drug-related medical problem to face the criminal consequences of impaired driving. The government is thus telling us that the drug recognition experts will be able to distinguish between a sick person and a person who is driving while impaired.

The third step would be to obtain samples of saliva, urine or blood when the peace officer determines, after the first two steps, that the impairment is caused by a specific type of drug. Obviously, one understands that the first test is the standardized field sobriety test which takes places at the roadside. Actually it is an aptitude test. In the event of failure, the peace officer takes the person to the police station where drug recognition experts will evaluate if the person is sick.

Obviously, if there is a medical condition, it is not a question of impaired driving. Conversely, if drug-impaired driving is established, then, samples of saliva, urine and blood would be taken to determine the level of drug contamination or level of impairment, in order to assess the person's ability to operate a vehicle.

As far as addressing the criminal offence, of course, in the event of impaired driving, the minimum fine would be $600 for the first offence and, for all subsequent impaired driving offences, the fine would be calculated accordingly.

As members will realize, this is where we now stand. When a study by the Société de l'assurance automobile du Québec tells us that 30% of drivers involved in accidents were under the influence of drugs other than alcohol, we can see that this is a serious problem in our society. The time has come to amend the Criminal Code. That is why the Bloc Québécois, my colleagues from Champlain, Trois-Rivières and Abitibi-Témiscamingue, join with me in stating that the Bloc Québécois agrees fully with this bill. We will never stop using our influence in this Parliament to promote progress in our society.

As I am being told that I only have one minute left, I will conclude this way. One of the key ways to foster the evolution of our society is by enacting laws. I only wish that the young women and men listening to us would understand that we do not enact laws for the mere purpose of being tough or to target a certain class or a certain category of society. We are not attacking young people. We are attacking drug users who, again, are responsible for 30% of the accidents on the roads and for which they are not charged, because they are not considered to be people whose driving is impaired by alcohol.

Hence, the best way for these young people of Quebec not to run up against this legislation is not to use drugs or alcohol when they drive.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

November 15th, 2004 / 1:40 p.m.


Jean-Claude D'Amours Liberal Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Madam Speaker, I am happy to see Bill C-16 before this House. I will be speaking in favour of sending the drug impaired driving bill to committee.

This bill would enable police to demand physical roadside tests. If an officer were to have a reasonable belief that a driver is committing an impaired driving offence, the officer could demand that the driver participate in a drug recognition evaluation by a trained officer back at the station.

If the drug recognition expert concludes that the person is impaired by a drug, the peace officer can demand that the driver provide samples of bodily substances to confirm the presence of the type of drug which, in the opinion of the peace officer, is the cause of impairment.

It would be a criminal offence to refuse to comply with any of these three demands. These new offences would be punishable in the same way as a refusal to provide a breath sample by a person who is suspected of being impaired by alcohol.

Clearly, members will want to be assured that the tests are based on solid science and will reliably detect drug impaired drivers. I am pleased to assure the House that the DRE program has been highly successful and has been validated by research.

Although the bill provides for the test to be set out by regulation, there is no secret about what those regulations would contain. The DRE program is now more than 20 years old. Since the early 1990s it has been operating under the aegis of the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

The IACP has a drug evaluation and technical advisory panel composed of scientists who are constantly working to refine the tests and make them more effective. The IACP holds a conference annually so that police forces and prosecutors can exchange information and hear directly from the scientists.

I understand that the regulations which will be developed when the bill is passed will adopt the IACP standards. By putting the standards in regulations, it would be easier for Canada to remain abreast of developments around the world. It would be simpler to amend the regulation than to have to put a bill through Parliament.

What are these tests? The standardized field sobriety test is a battery of three tests administered and evaluated in a standardized manner to obtain validated indicators of impairment and establish probable cause for arrest. These tests were developed as a result of research sponsored by the national highway traffic safety administration and conducted by the Southern California Research Institute. The three tests of the SFST are: horizontal gaze nystagmus, walk-and-turn and one-leg stand.

In the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, the officer observes the eyes of a suspect as the suspect follows a slowly moving object, such as a pen or small flashlight, horizontally with his or her eyes. The examiner looks for three indicators of impairment in each eye: first, if the eye cannot follow a moving object smoothly; second, if jerking is detected when the eye is at maximum deviation; and third, if the angle of onset of jerking is within 45 degrees of centre. If, between the two eyes, four or more clues appear, the American national highway transportation safety administration research found that this test allowed proper classification of approximately 88% of suspects. Besides impairment by alcohol, HGN may also indicate consumption of seizure medications, phencyclidine, a variety of inhalants, barbiturates and other depressants.

In the walk-and-turn test, the subject is directed to take nine steps, heel to toe, along a straight line. After taking the steps, the suspect must turn on one foot and return in the same manner in the opposite direction. The examiner looks for eight indicators of impairment including whether the suspect stops while walking to regain balance or does not touch heel to toe. NHTSA research indicated that 79% of individuals who exhibited two or more indicators in the performance of the test will be impaired by alcohol or a drug.

In the one-leg stand test, the suspect is instructed to stand with one foot approximately six inches off the ground and count aloud by thousandths, one-one thousandth, two-one thousandth, et cetera, until told to put the foot down. The officer times the subject for 30 seconds. The officer looks for four indicators of impairment, including swaying while balancing, using arms to balance, hopping to maintain balance and putting the foot down. Again, NHTSA research indicated that 83% of individuals who exhibited two or more such indicators in the performance of the test will be impaired.

The battery of tests is accurate in identifying 94% of drivers who are impaired by alcohol or a drug. Therefore, these tests are not subjective impressions by the officer who proceeds at random. The officer is making the suspect perform tests that have been scientifically validated.

I believe members will agree that this is sufficient accuracy to justify the officer in demanding that the person who has failed SFST and who does not have a blood alcohol content in excess of .08 participate in the DRE tests.

The process followed by the officer trained as a drug recognition expert involves 12 different steps that must be followed and recorded. I will not get into a comprehensive review of this process, but I am convinced that, when they review this legislation, committee members will want to get the opinion of scientists and RCMP officers who have been trained as drug recognition experts.

The officer trained as a drug recognition expert will make general observations on the condition of the suspect. He will ask him questions about his health problems, examine the size of his pupils and conduct an eye-movement tracking test. If, at this stage, the officer is of the opinion that the person has a medical problem, he will end the tests and the person will be taken to a medical establishment to receive medical attention.

If the person does not seem to have a medical problem, the drug recognition expert will check three vital signs, namely blood pressure, temperature, and pulse, and he will conduct other visual examinations, including tests to measure reaction to light in a dark room and ability tests relating to the person's attention.

It goes without saying that the drug recognition expert will put all his observations in writing. Once the tests are completed, the officer must form an opinion as to whether the person's ability is impaired by the effect of a drug and, if so, determine the type of drug involved.

Different drugs have different effects on the human body. Scientists know that certain drugs increase a person's pulse, while others slow it down. Some drugs have an effect on a person's eyes, while others raise blood pressure, among other changes.

Drug recognition experts can identify seven families of drugs: central nervous system depressants, better known as tranquilizers; inhalants, volatile solvents, aerosols and anesthetic gases; phencyclidine, which is a dissociative anesthetic; cannabis; central nervous system stimulants, better known as “speed”, for example cocaine; hallucinogens, including LSD and ecstasy; and narcotic analgesics, including morphine and heroin.

Drug recognition experts can also identify the use of several drugs.

The DRE officer must certify which drug is causing the impairment. A bodily fluid sample is then taken and is sent for analysis. If the analysis finds the drug that the officer certified was present, the prosecution will proceed. If it does not, the prosecution will be stayed.

Members will be reassured to know that research conducted in the United States on the effectiveness of DRE has been uniformly supportive of the program. In the original NHTSA study of the DRE program as it was operating in California in the 1980s when the DREs claimed drugs other than alcohol were present, those were detected in the blood in 94% of cases. Since then the program has expanded dramatically in the United States. In Arizona, DREs successfully identified 91% of cases; in New York, 92.4% of cases; and in Minnesota, 94% of cases.

I urge members to support referring this bill to committee.

Criminal CodeGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.


Bradley Trost Conservative Saskatoon—Humboldt, SK

Madam Speaker, it is a very serious piece of legislation that we deal with here today, which is not to imply that any other legislation is not serious. The core of the legislation, the attempt that is being made in the bill has at its roots an attempt to protect human life, something of which we must not lose sight.

Whenever people get behind the wheel of a vehicle while impaired, they not only threaten their own lives, but they threaten the lives and well-being of everyone that comes in contact with them. I stress this point because in parliamentary debate it is often too easy to forget the people involved. It is too easy to merely recite numbers, statistics and facts and forget that each person affected by our legislation is very real, has a family, has friends and has a vibrant life.

No legislation should just be for public relations purposes. Legislation that impacts on human life should be even more thoroughly reviewed so that we will not need to revisit the matter in the future and so that we will not need to fix areas that we had overlooked in the first consideration of a bill.

Having said all that, when I look at the legislation, the first question that comes to my mind is, how does this piece of legislation fit in with an overall strategy? How does the legislation fit in with the government's strategy for dealing not just with impairment of drivers, but with an overall drug strategy?

I pose the rhetorical question, does the government have an overall comprehensive plan in dealing with the drug abuse problem that Canadian society is dealing with, or is there only a piecemeal approach? Is there only a firefighter mentality, that when we have a problem, let us only then deal with it?

I think of some of the problems that have been reported in my home city of Saskatoon. According to police reports over the last year, the amount of crystal meth has quadrupled in the city of Saskatoon. The drug problems in Canada need to be tackled with renewed vigour. More than just minor tinkering with legislation is needed. We need an aggressive approach to deal with the entire drug abuse problem, a problem that extends far beyond drug impaired driving.

Having set the broad landscape in which the bill lies, let me deal with some of the specific elements of the bill. The aims and goals of the bill should be commended. I have spoken with substance abuse counsellors and a retired police officer and the reaction has generally been positive. They appreciate the enhanced ability of law enforcement officers to administer assessments of driver impairment. They view this as a necessary step, if only the first step.

It raises the question as to how we can implement this in the practical sense. How efficient and how accurate will the assessments be? This is relevant for a very simple reason. The law is useless if it cannot be brought into force. It will have no effect if it cannot be enforced in the very streets of our nation. It is for this reason that one must question the seriousness of the government's commitment to this issue.

According to my briefings on the legislation, the training of law enforcement officers in these techniques will not be completed until 2008, four years from now. If anything expresses my frustration, this is it. Drug impaired driving has long been a problem in Canada, yet the government seems not to have made it a priority. Any effort that the government can undertake to speed the training of law enforcement officials should be done. As I stated earlier in my speech, it is ultimately a matter of human life. It should be given the highest priority.

I would also like to offer my encouragement to the government to act with all haste on the technological front.

It is my understanding that for many of the drugs, there is no effective test, no effective technology. There is no equivalent to the breathalyzer for alcohol.

Be it in conjunction with other jurisdictions or through enhanced efforts of the government, all attempts should be made to prioritize and provide law enforcement officials with the technology they need to effectively enforce this legislation. There are two specific reasons that I understand this would be necessary.

First, it is my understanding it is more difficult for prosecutors to prosecute if they do not have the scientific technological evidence. While I am not a lawyer, this does seem to me to be a problem prosecutors may face. It goes back to my earlier point that for the law to be real, it must be enforceable.

The second reason is that the technology will help to catch impaired drivers that other techniques may overlook. No peace officer will ever be 100% accurate and no technology will ever be 100% accurate, but the combination of trained officers and enhanced technology should make for safer streets.

The final point I would like to make on this bill is its relation to other legislation. As I stated earlier, no bill can be seen on its own. It must be seen in the light of an entire legislative and policy agenda.

As seems clear from other legislation, the government seems intent on decriminalizing, and in my opinion I believe eventually fully legalizing marijuana. This legislation, Bill C-16, seems nothing but an attempt to deal with some of the problems that other legislation will cause. The bill seems to be a classic case of closing the barn door after the horse has escaped.

Will the legislation stand on its own merits? One must really ask why the government, after a decade in power, is only now bringing this legislation before the House. The answer is that this legislation is an attempt to cover for other failings in other legislation.

Let me close by offering the government some general advice on the bill and the overall policy with regard to drug abuse and drug impaired driving in Canada.

The government should deal with the root of the problem. By the time a driver gets behind the wheel of a vehicle, a failure has already occurred.

A tough law and order campaign might be a good start. Being tough on first time drug abusers not only helps society at large, but it also helps the abuser. In short, a tough love approach, an aggressive approach will help not only society but much more, the abuser involved.

Second, the government should not decriminalize marijuana. This is an area where we should show leadership. We should not enable drug abusers. We should not enable drug abusers to have a discount in purchasing their drugs. That is the effect of the government's overall agenda.

What the government seeks to control with Bill C-16 it seeks to encourage with Bill C-17. We must be consistent in our actions. We must move to defend the citizens of Canada from the dangers of drug impaired drivers.

This legislation in itself is a positive step, but we need to do more. We need a full comprehensive approach to this problem.

Gallanough Resource CentreStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Susan Kadis Liberal Thornhill, ON

Madam Speaker, on November 7 I had the distinct pleasure of attending the fifth anniversary of the Gallanough Resource Centre.

The Gallanough Resource Centre is the only such centre in Canada acting as an educational and recreational facility, which provides library type services and programming for children and adults. The resource centre is renowned in my community for its membership, which is over 3,000 people, its children's book collection and its newly added Russian collection.

Recently a local Thornhill newspaper named Gallanough as the best community resource, despite budget cutbacks, and commended the volunteers at the centre for keeping this local gem running.

Bravo Gallanough.

Family Doctor WeekStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Steven Fletcher Conservative Charleswood—St. James, MB

Madam Speaker, I am very honoured today to be given the opportunity to announce Canada's Family Doctor Week. As we do so, we celebrate the important roles that family doctors play in our health care system and in the 50th anniversary of the College of Family Physicians of Canada.

I would like to highlight the important role that my family doctor played in my recovery after my accident, which left me a quadriplegic.

Dr. Rick Ross, from the Parkwest Medical Clinic in the Charleswood portion of my constituency, has been my doctor and my family's doctor for 27 years. It was nine years ago when Dr. Ross helped my family and I the most. He visited me in the hospital and, after discharge, he came to my home for house calls. He helped my parents and my siblings deal with the major psychological and emotional issues that we faced. Not only did he treat my injuries, but he helped treat my entire family, as he does to this day.

Dr. Rick Ross has played a critical role in my life and I know family doctors from across Canada also play a significant role in the lives of individuals and their families. I would like to thank Dr. Ross and all family doctors throughout Canada.

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Alan Tonks Liberal York South—Weston, ON

Madam Speaker, the Arctic ecosystem is an integral part of Canadian history and culture. One cannot stress enough the importance of the Arctic ecosystem in the day to day lives of the people in the north and all Canadians.

On November 8 the Arctic Council released its Arctic Climate Impact Assessment report titled, “Impacts of a Warming Climate”. According to the report, the Arctic is extremely vulnerable to observed and projected climate change and its impacts.

The Arctic is now experiencing some of the most rapid and severe climate change on earth. Over the next 100 years, climate change is expected to accelerate, contributing to major physical, ecological, social, and economic changes, many of which have begun already. Changes in Arctic climate will not only affect Canadians, but the effect will be evident globally through increased warming of the earth's climate and rising sea levels.

I urge the Government of Canada to act upon the recommendations in this report and ensure a healthy and prosperous Arctic for not only future Canadians but a sustainable global community.

Prévost BusesStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Réal Lapierre Bloc Lévis—Bellechasse, QC

Madam Speaker, an extraordinary project is taking shape in my riding. A group of people have taken on the pleasant task of restoring a Citadin 1952, one from the first buses built by Eugène Prévost.

Some former employees of the company, under the direction of René Prévost, the founder's son, have volunteered close to 2,000 hours in tribute to a great Quebecker. Prévost buses ply the highways and byways of North America. In fact, most of the tourist coaches we see here on Wellington Street proudly display the Prévost insignia.

This historic vehicle will be part of a permanent exhibit by the Sainte-Claire heritage society on the life and work of Eugène Prévost.

I have the privilege of drawing hon. members' attention to the extraordinary contribution made by these pioneers of the North American transportation industry, since this company is located in my riding.

Business AwardsStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Ken Boshcoff Liberal Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

Madam Speaker, I rise today to congratulate the Fort Frances Chamber of Commerce on its ninth annual business awards banquet. The event featured the presentation of 12 awards of recognition to members of the business community in the Rainy River district.

Of specific note are the recipients of the James Paul Award. The origins of the Fort Frances Chamber of Commerce can be traced back to Mr. Paul who originated the Fort Frances Board of Trade in 1907. The award made in his name is given to individuals who have made an outstanding contribution helping the Fort Frances Chamber of Commerce serve its community.

This prestigious award was presented to two worthy nominees this year: Mr. Kim Metke and Mr. Mel DeGagne. It is a distinct pleasure for me to acknowledge these shining examples of community spirit. My deepest thanks to Mr. Metke and Mr. DeGagne for their efforts, and to the Fort Frances Chamber of Commerce for its significant community achievements.

Santa Claus ParadeStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Pierre Poilievre Conservative Nepean—Carleton, ON

Madam Speaker, I rise today with a crucial announcement. Father Christmas has been seen and he chose my riding of Nepean--Carleton to make his first presence known of this Christmas season.

This past Saturday I had the honour of participating in the very first Barrhaven Santa Claus parade along with the Southpointe Community Association, which won the best float award.

Community sponsors of the event included the Barrhaven Lions Club, Jack May Pontiac and Ross' Independent Grocer. Our local grocer, Ken Ross, awarded long time Lion and veteran of our armed forces, Gus Este, with a bursary for his hard work in our community.

I want to acknowledge the hard work of Lions organizers Ray Trudel, president, James Doyle, vice-president, Karen Doyle, past president, Jim Duff, second vice-president, Barb Maguire, and Al Tanner, Gerry Langevin and Larry Harding. All these people have worked hard in our community. I can assure you, Madam Speaker, that Santa Claus will be back to reward them on December 25.

Ellen FaircloughStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Madam Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to a great Canadian who died over this past weekend, Ellen Louks Fairclough.

Ms. Fairclough became Canada's first female cabinet minister in 1957, assuming the position of secretary of state and proceeding to other portfolios of citizenship and immigration, Indian affairs and postmaster general.

Prior to being elected federally in 1950, Ms. Fairclough was very involved in her community. She served as a Hamilton, Ontario city councillor for five years and held several executive positions in many organizations.

A member of Parliament for 13 years, she averaged 150 speeches a year in the House of Commons on a wide range of issues. She was determined to be more than just a token woman in cabinet. She introduced private bills for equal pay for work of equal value.

Many honours were deservedly bestowed on Ellen Fairclough culminating in that of a Companion of the Order of Canada. She also received the title of Right Honourable by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the Governor General's Award in commemoration of the Persons case.

Diabetes Awareness MonthStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


France Bonsant Bloc Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, the month of November is Diabetes Awareness Month. Diabetes is a chronic disease caused by a lack of insulin, which leads to an excess of sugar in the blood. Although there is not as yet any cure, the disease is controllable.

It is estimated that close to 500,000 Quebeckers are affected by this disease, a figure that could double by 2025, since seniors are most at risk.

I would like to draw attention to the work being done by Diabetes Québec. For more than 50 years, this organization, which now has more than 2,400 volunteers in 45 associations throughout Quebec, has been helping diabetics.

Diabetics and the organizations working with and for them deserve our support. I call upon the federal government to do its share by transferring to Quebec and the provinces the funds necessary to enable them to meet the many ongoing needs of those with diabetes.

VolunteerismStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Michael John Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, today I pay tribute to fundraising excellence by the Robertson-Surrette Group of Nova Scotia for the wonderful Izaak Walton Killam Hospital in my community.

In 2002 the Robertson Surrette Group agreed to be presenting sponsor of the IWK's premier fundraising dinner for three years. They decided that it would be a unique idea to have young people provide the entertainment at the gala and they christened it the “Great Big Gig”.

Over the past three years they have raised over $350,000 and the work has been done by the employees at the firm.

Young artists like the Cottars, Gary Beals and J. P. Leblanc have thrilled the guests over the years and have laid a foundation for Tom Smith and his team from Timber Mart who have agreed to be the presenting sponsor for the next three years.

Volunteers are the heart of our community. I congratulate Mark and Angela Surrette, Jeff Forbes and all the team at the Robertson-Surrette Group for the great work that they have done on behalf of Atlantic Canada's children.

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Jim Prentice Conservative Calgary North Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, last week the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment released its report on the impacts of a warming Arctic.

The report says that the Liberal government has failed in its responsibility to protect our north and Canada's environment. The Liberals are losing sovereignty over the Arctic. The Liberals are losing opportunities for economic and northern development. The Liberals have lost when it comes to managing the environment. If the Liberal government is not careful, its inaction will lead to the loss of a way of life that predates the existence of our great country.

The fact is the government has failed to put into place a realistic plan to address environmental problems. The result is that real damage can now be seen from the remoteness of the Arctic Circle to the smog that hovers over Canada's major cities.

Sovereignty is not about sending a ship through the Arctic waters once a year or conducting some military exercises. Real sovereignty is about working with aboriginal and non-aboriginal Canadians to ensure that development is done in a responsible manner. That includes environmental protection.

Once again, an independent report has highlighted the failures of the government--

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Bramalea—Gore—Malton.

PEN CanadaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Gurbax Malhi Liberal Bramalea—Gore—Malton, ON

Mr. Speaker, November 15 marks the Day of the Imprisoned Writer. Around the world today, over 200 writers and journalists are in prison.

In 1926 an organization was formed in Canada to speak on behalf of imprisoned writers. PEN Canada has since expanded to include journalists, playwrights, publishers, translators, editors and screenwriters.

PEN uses words as weapons in the battle against censorship. Nevertheless, violations of freedom of expression remain widespread in the world today.

I would therefore ask my colleagues to join me in saluting the efforts of the Writers in Prison Committee of International PEN which is monitoring over 740 attacks upon writers and journalists in 99 countries.

Ellen FaircloughStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians were saddened to learn of the passing of the Right Hon. Ellen Fairclough on Saturday, November 13. On behalf of the NDP caucus, all parliamentarians and all Hamiltonians, we wish to express our condolences to her family and friends.

Today Hamiltonians mourn their loss but are bursting with pride at her earned place in history. Mrs. Fairclough, Canada's first woman to hold a federal cabinet post, was an important political figure in the city of Hamilton as well. Before she was elected to the House of Commons, she was elected as a city councillor in 1946 and served as a Hamilton controller and deputy mayor for the year prior to her 1950 byelection win as the Conservative MP for Hamilton West.

Born in Hamilton in 1905, Ellen Fairclough was a leader, paving the way for a succession of notable politicians from Hamilton West, in particular Canada's first black member of Parliament, the Hon. Lincoln Alexander, and for the important women who have served and continue to serve as cabinet ministers in the Government of Canada.

Ellen FaircloughStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Stephen Harper Conservative Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, I also rise today to pay tribute to the late Right Hon. Ellen Fairclough who passed away this past Saturday, just two months short of her 100th birthday.

In her professional, volunteer and political life, Ellen Fairclough was a pioneer, trailblazer and a role model. After an initial business career in her hometown of Hamilton as an accountant, she was elected to this place in 1950 as a Conservative MP and at the time the only female member of Parliament.

She served with distinction for 13 years. Under Prime Minister Diefenbaker, Ellen Fairclough was the first woman to be appointed to the federal cabinet and the first woman to be designated acting prime minister.

As minister of citizenship and immigration, she was instrumental in revising the Immigration Act to completely eliminate racial discrimination from Canada's immigration policy. In her later years she was a passionate advocate for the involvement of women in political life.

Ellen Fairclough devoted her life to public service and the advancement of Canadian values. She will be remembered as an activist and humanitarian for her enduring commitment to this country.

Yasser ArafatStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Francine Lalonde Bloc La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Mr. Speaker, it was with great sadness last week that we learned of the death of Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat. Mr. Arafat symbolized the aspirations of the Palestinian people for more than 30 years. In 1988 he said in a speech to the UN, “We reach for the olive branch because it sprouts in our hearts from the tree of the homeland, the tree of freedom”.

In 1994, Yasser Arafat won the Nobel Peace Prize in conjunction with Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Pérès for paving the way to signing an accord between his people and the people of Israel. Unfortunately, the Oslo accords that had inspired so much hope in the Israelis and the Palestinians did not culminate in the creation of a viable Palestinian State under international law.

On behalf of the Bloc Québécois, I want to express our deep condolences to the Palestinian people. We share their pain and want to reiterate our hope for a fair resolution of the conflict and lasting peace for both peoples.

EidStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.


Rahim Jaffer Conservative Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, last month I rose in the House to wish all Canadian Muslims and people of Islamic faith a successful Ramadan. With the conclusion of Ramadan, Muslims are now celebrating Eid.

Eid ul Fitr is a period of joy and thanksgiving. Muslims show their joy for the health, strength and opportunities of life which Allah has given them to fulfill their obligations of fasting and other good deeds during the month of Ramadan.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish the Association of Progressive Muslims of Canada, led by President Mobeen Khaja, a successful eighth annual Eid celebration at Queen's Park in Toronto on November 19. This year the association will be honouring former Ontario Premier Bill Davis.

Since its inception, the association has been actively pursuing its mandate of building bridges of understanding between Muslims and other faith groups and projecting the proper image about Islam and its values.

On behalf of Canada's official opposition, may I finally add to all my brothers and sisters of the Islamic faith, “Eid Mubarak”.

Restorative Justice WeekStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.


Roy Cullen Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak in the House today to acknowledge Restorative Justice Week.

Restorative justice is a non-accusatory approach which addresses the negative effects of crime while meeting the needs of victims, offenders and the community.

The Correctional Service of Canada and Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada support restorative justice programs in communities across the country. The Government of Canada first recognized Restorative Justice Week in 1996 and since then other countries have followed in our footsteps. Canada continues to be internationally recognized as a leader in this field.

I would like to encourage all members of Parliament to join me in acknowledging Restorative Justice Week and the hard work of all Canadians who strive to build safer communities.

Technology Partnerships CanadaOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta


Stephen Harper ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, among the many unfulfilled promises of the government is the promise to clean up government boondoggles.

Today we learned through an Industry Canada report that under Technology Partnerships Canada $2.7 billion of taxpayer money has been loaned out over eight years and only 3% repaid. This report says that the government should finally admit that many of these loans will never be repaid.

Is the government still trying to convince Canadians the loans will be repaid?

Technology Partnerships CanadaOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Vancouver Kingsway B.C.


David Emerson LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. member should know that Technology Partnerships Canada is a program that was set up to provide funding for technology which would not take place if it were up to the banks and the financial institutions of this country. It is designed to step in where there are benefits to the public that are well in excess of the benefits to the private company. It is a good program. It takes a long time for any of those repayments to occur but the benefits are very strong for the economy.

Technology Partnerships CanadaOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta


Stephen Harper ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I guess the minister's answer is that the cheque is in the mail.

In the case of at least two recipients, Western Star and WorldHeart, they took the cash and left the country taking Canadian jobs with them.

Why is the Liberal government giving billions of dollars of hard-earned Canadian workers' money to companies that leave Canadians unemployed?

Technology Partnerships CanadaOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Vancouver Kingsway B.C.


David Emerson LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. member knows that there are a lot of cases out there where we invest in companies in order to protect Canadian jobs and the suppliers to these companies continue to thrive.

Does every single investment that we make succeed? No, of course it does not. That will never be the case. It is not the case for banks and it will not be the case for Technology Partnerships Canada.

We have to take more risks. We have to take risks that the private sector would not take.

Technology Partnerships CanadaOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta


Stephen Harper ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the report also said that the government was exaggerating the job creation. Once again, the minister keeps on exaggerating today.

Among the receivers of the TPC loans was the Prime Minister's own family company, which received $5 million after some rules were bent. We asked to see the agreement between the company in question and the government. What we got back on the repayment schedule was a completely blacked out repayment schedule.

I wonder if the government would be willing to table the repayment schedule so we could all see it here in the House of Commons.