House of Commons Hansard #25 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was competition.


Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.


Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to add a few comments on Bill C-6, an act to establish the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and to amend or repeal certain acts.

I understand the House has had the opportunity to hear representations from the parliamentary secretary and others to ensure that the substantive matters of the bill have been brought to the fore. Based on the debate that has been held thus far in the House it appears there is substantial concurrence, notwithstanding the issue of a report stage motion dealt with at committee.

I was in the same position when a committee on which I was a member made an amendment to a bill but during report stage a motion was tabled that reversed the work of the committee. As an ordinary member of Parliament I find that a little troubling but I also understand that if a deal is not struck with regard to the disposition of the motion the full House will have the opportunity to vote. I am sure the House will deal with it appropriately.

I appreciate the situation in which hon. members who are concerned about this find themselves. I might remind members that under the rules of this place within 90 sitting days of the commencement of a new Parliament there has to be a debate involving the procedures of the House. I think this might be an interesting example that can be dealt with.

I know members wanted to seek a precedent. In fact, on Bill C-13 in the last Parliament, after about two or three years of study and consideration of perhaps 100-plus amendments proposed by members, two amendments were passed by the health committee. When the bill finally was reported back to the House there were two report stage motions to reverse the two amendments that the committee had passed. After all of that work, the committee's work was basically reduced and the bill that came to it originally was the bill that ultimately went forward.

From the standpoint of the work of committees, I tend to think committees do excellent work. I appreciate that the issues that have been raised here in debate are not so broad that there is no concern but this is an important bill that we need to get on with.

The summary of the bill basically states, to establish the department. I have often thought that since September 11 Canada has not had the need to establish this type of departmental responsibility that would require parliamentary approval. However we now have a minister who is responsible and we have established relationships with the United States.

Last evening I was very encouraged to see reasonable developments with regard to border crossings, that Canadian citizens will not be unduly delayed, at least at the one border, which I believe is the Sarnia crossing, and that this will be implemented across Canada. We do continue to play our role.

As well, in the last month we have had the opportunity to welcome some of the senior officials from the United States to have discussions with Canadian parliamentarians to discuss our important relationship with the United States as it relates to the safety and security of Canada and the United States and North America as a whole.

The bill would provide a framework in which the department will operate. It would give the department the full authority to take action on behalf of the people of Canada.

I have not heard it yet but I am not sure if there are any lingering concerns about whether or not establishing some sort of a parallel framework and the collaboration that has been going on over the last number of years has in any way compromised the sovereignty of Canada. I know that from time to time we have issues that come before this place. One will be hurtling toward us, no pun intended, being the ballistic missile defence.

This raises the question about the elements of providing emergency preparedness and the safety and security responsibilities of this new department.

Emergency preparedness is something that we can learn from the examples around the world. We know many of the risks that have resulted in some tragic situations around the world. We are doing substantive work on putting into place some of those elements to ensure that emergency preparedness is something that we can be proud that we are doing the very best possible.

I do not think there is anybody who could give a 100% guarantee that we can be protected from all risk, at all times, at all places. It is just not possible. However we must take reasonable steps. I think the minister has shown that all reasonable steps have been taken with regard to that element of the file, the emergency preparedness.

The safety and security part of it becomes a little more difficult to deal with, particularly from the standpoint of the debate that will go on with regard to what constitutes defensive measures as opposed to what could be construed or maybe manipulated to be offensive measures.

Certainly there are examples where people feel that one of the best defences is a good offence. It will be interesting as we go through the process of developing safety and security measures on behalf of Canadians. It will also be extremely important for us to communicate in plain terms to the Canadian public the important work that is being done to ensure our safety and security, certainly with regard to emergency preparedness.

I think this is the first time I have come across a bill in which a new ministry has been created. The bill also has a number of transitional provisions because, like anything, responsibilities have to be taken into account. There are changes as well to the Access to Information Act, the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse Act, the Canadian Peacekeeping Service Medal Act, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act, the Citizenship Act, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, and it goes on. The point being that this is not a small change in the discharging of the responsibilities of the Government of Canada.

This House would also be seized with other matters. For instance, I mentioned the change in the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, which I believe is at committee, that deals with marijuana grow houses and the penalties related to the possession of small amounts of marijuana.

Some questions have already been asked as to the impact on trade and the border activity, et cetera. It goes to the very heart of the issue here, which is that we have to ensure that emergency preparedness is in very good shape and that the safety and security issues are also in place, but not to the extent that we impair the trade relationship that we have. Over 75% of our export trade is with the United States. Traffic must keep moving but safety and security is also a priority and balancing those priorities will be the biggest challenge for the Government of Canada.

Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness ActGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.


Richard Marceau Bloc Charlesbourg, QC

Mr. Speaker, one of the good news for our party as well as for this Parliament that came out of the June 28 election was the victory of our colleague from Marc-Aurèle-Fortin. He is a distinguished colleague who attracted a lot of positive attention during his career in Quebec's National Assembly, where he held various portfolios and brilliantly discharged his duties.

Our colleague from Marc-Aurèle-Fortin can now get an inside view of the federal monster. Because of the dysfunction of the federal system we live in, many of our fellow citizens support the creation of a separate country called Quebec.

Members will agree with me that June 28 also brought about a very significant change in what I would call the geopolitical face of the House of Commons. The Liberal government, the Liberal Party of Canada, took quite a beating across the country, and particularly in Quebec, where 54 ridings out of 75 are now represented by members of my political party, that is, the Bloc Québécois.

Unfortunately, it would appear that this change of massive proportions to the Canadian political map did not register correctly with our friends across the way. On June 28, the government was punished by the voters for two reasons among others.

First, of course, is what certain commentators in English Canada called the dictatorship of the Prime Minister, in reference to the inordinate control exercised by the Prime Minister over the federal administration or the government's political community, to the point that the House had become nothing more than an instrument rubber stamping the Prime Minister's decisions. Second, the voters rejected rather dramatically this desire to centralize and standardize that is at the core of the philosophy of the Liberal Party of Canada.

Let us start with the first component, namely centralization in the hands of the Prime Minister. A great many Liberal members spoke out and met with journalists, complaining about Prime Minister Chrétien's excessive control. They said, “With the new Prime Minister—the one we have now—all this will change. We, as parliamentarians, want our responsibilities as parliamentarians and lawmakers respected by both the House of Commons and our own government, naturally”.

Where are these members now? They are not speaking out against their government's attempt to reverse a decision freely made by a committee of this House. This means that they are in favour of having their prerogatives and rights as parliamentarians restricted and, worse yet, denied and negated by their own government.

That is what we are talking about here. A parliamentary committee decides to amend a bill. Unhappy with the decision freely made by parliamentarians and law makers in committee, what does the government do? It tries to have the decision overturned by the House. What a disgrace for a government and a Prime Minister who, day after day, meeting after meeting, used to say, “We will fix the democratic deficit in this House. At long last, we will let members who deserve it have their say again”.

And what do we see? We see that members across the way are quite happy to behave like eunuchs, to let themselves be led by the government as a herd of sheep under their Prime Minister. If they valued their prerogatives as parliamentarians and law makers, they would be the first ones to rise in this House and say, “We may not agree with what happened in committee, but Parliament should work in such a way that committee decisions are respected”.

But no, they keep quiet. They stick to this vision that everything is decided by the PMO. Shame on them! But what better example of the Liberals' double speak, who say on the one hand “We want parliamentarians to be shown respect”, but who, on the other hand, agree to this petty attempt to hijack parliamentary democracy. It is so sad it makes one feel like crying.

It is rather ironic that the division of powers and the Canadian Constitution are being defended by the same people who want out of it. My colleague from Marc-Aurèle-Fortin was an activist in the Rassemblement pour l'indépendance nationale, the RIN, created in 1960 by André d'Allemagne and later headed by Marcel Chaput and then by Pierre Bourgault. This very same sovereignist-independentist movement now has to defend the division of powers under a Constitution from which it wants out, because federalists, as embodied by the Liberal Party of Canada, are ignoring their own Constitution, their own founding document, which is rather incredible.

It should not surprise us, considering that 44% of federal spending is in areas of provincial jurisdiction. Despite that, when they have an opportunity to prove that they are true federalists and not centralizers, they might well say: “We agree that provincial jurisdiction should be respected and in the case of each legislative measure that comes before us”. Maybe the House should decide to put in every bill a clause saying that provincial and federal jurisdictions have to be fully respected, in order to quell the Liberal members' appetite for centralization and uniformity.

Therefore I would invite two groups in this House to do the following. To the opposition parties I say: “Let us stick together and make sure that we have a truly democratic Parliament. Let us make sure that our rights and privileges, as members of Parliament and legislators, are respected”.

I invite my Liberal colleagues, who are listening to me intently, to rise and say to their leader, to the Cabinet members and to the Prime Minister: “We are Liberals but, above all, we are members of Parliament and legislators. We will never allow our privileges as members of Parliament and legislators to be denied, shoved aside or exchanged for a handout, such as an appointment to some position by the Prime Minister of Canada.

I will end with the following story, because I notice the presence of the former government House leader, who is a fan of Winston Churchill. Winston Churchill told the following story: “When I was a child, a circus came to my neighbourhood. In that circus, there was someone called “the boneless wonder”. My parents had refused to allow me to see that person. They thought it would be inappropriate considering my young age.” Incredibly, we have “boneless wonders” in this House: they are the Liberal members who refuse to stand up.

Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.


Christian Simard Bloc Beauport, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to this important piece of legislation, Bill C-6 on the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.

Underlying the debate on this bill are issues of democracy, respect for jurisdictions and government effectiveness.

Democracy is an important element, but unfortunately this minority government has not quite realized it. This is a minority government that did not get 64% of the vote, since it went to electing 54 Bloc Québécois members.

The message from voters to this government then is to respect the opposition parties, the diversity of opinion and provincial jurisdictions. They do not want an imperialist, centralist, ineffective, heavy-spending government. They want a responsible government that knows how to be humble, modest and capable and to do its homework. Unfortunately, the message has not gotten through and this is not the case.

There is no respect for fundamental democracy. I even find this government—in addition to all the nice adjectives I use to describe it, such as imperialist, controlling and arrogant—to be a bit foolish. It is foolish in how it keeps coming back this assembly, the House of Commons.

I agree with my colleague from Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles—who respects the other hon. members when they are speaking, unlike some people in this House—when he says that when a committee addresses an issue, there has to be very good reasons to change its direction. In a way, the committee represents this House on a small scale. It is where bills are thoroughly considered. It is where, with help from witnesses, we think hard, often clause by clause, about the bill.

It takes a certain arrogance to go back on consensus or committee reports on such fundamental issues as respecting jurisdictions. This should go without saying.

Unfortunately, in its generalized intrusive practices, this government finds a way of being bad in its jurisdictions and being very bad when it comes to overlapping. It specializes in mediocrity.

Of course, this is done at the expense of the taxpayers, of the citizens who, beyond Bill C-6, beyond the amendments being counter-amended by this very strange minority government, which is too big for its britches, only want greater safety, better environmental protection and more respect for public funds.

In the rather artificial environment of Parliament Hill, people tend to forget about these things. As a new member, I can tell the House that a person can easily forget where he comes from. I think many government members have forgotten where they come from and who has sent them here.

We came up with a very simple amendment. We support the bill in principle, although we now realize that it can lead to abuses of power by the minister concerned. We are worried about that, but we hope that it will not happen. We hope that the bill will be passed with the amendment agreed upon in committee, and without today's amendment to counter the amendment, which is despicable. We hope that the bill will be passed in a spirit of cooperation and respect for provincial jurisdictions.

Last summer, the government was bragging about practising asymmetrical federalism, but now it has gone back to its hypocritical behaviour, as evidenced by the way it deals with all the legislation and the various measures. Its hypocrisy is reflected in this about face. I think the government will soon hit a wall. It will even--

Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness ActGovernment Orders

2 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Marcel Proulx)

I am sorry to interrupt the hon. member. When debate resumes, he will have five minutes remaining.

Family Physicians of Canada WeekStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Bernard Patry Liberal Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I inform my colleagues in this House that the week of November 21 to 27 is Family Physicians of Canada Week.

All members of the College of Family Physicians of Canada deserve to be congratulated on this very special occasion, namely the 50th anniversary of their organization.

Every day in Canada, family physicians diagnose people, treat illnesses and injuries, promote health, prevent disease, coordinate care and support their patients.

They provide not only primary health care, but also a large part of the secondary and tertiary care in many communities, whether it is in their office, at the hospital, at their patients' home, in seniors' residences and in other community facilities.

Family physicians also teach resident physicians and students in Canada's 16 medicine schools, and they conduct research that provides an important contribution to the practice of family medicine in our country and in the world.

I invite hon. members to join me in thanking our family physicians and in supporting the Family Physicians of Canada Week.

HockeyStatements By Members

November 16th, 2004 / 2 p.m.


Joe Preston Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Speaker, we are now into what would have been the NHL season. I would like to report that in Elgin--Middlesex--London fans are handling the withdrawal well. Minor hockey continues to flourish with a refreshing dose of more fun in the game. Perhaps without the million dollar role models' tantrums to mimic or the exorbitant prices of NHL game tickets to distract our young players, the game is returning to its roots.

Two very special teams are helping us all forget the NHL. The Aylmer Blues of the Senior A loop continue to lead the league. This second year team came very close to the Allan Cup last year. And who could talk about hockey in Elgin--Middlesex--London without bragging about the number one ranked London Knights who are still undefeated 21 games into the season? These are young men playing not for millions but for the love of the game.

Who needs the NHL? I have better hockey.

PolandStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Sarmite Bulte Liberal Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to commemorate an important event for Polish Canadians in my riding of Parkdale--High Park and throughout Canada. On November 7, I participated in the flag raising ceremony at Toronto City Hall to mark the anniversary of Poland's Independence Day.

Poland's Independence Day is celebrated annually on November 11. It was first established in 1918 following the end of the great war, when Poland was reconstituted as an independent country. This was a proud achievement, especially for a country with the world's second oldest constitution. Together with the Canadian Polish Congress, World War II veterans, and scouting organizations, Polish Canadians in Toronto celebrated their long struggle for freedom that has resulted in Poland being firmly established in the family of democratic countries.

Today, Poland is truly independent again. Poland is an active member of NATO and the European Union, and an example to other countries embarking upon building parliamentary democracies in the former Soviet bloc. We salute the Polish people for their continued efforts to strengthen democracy in their home country and in Canada.

Department of National DefenceStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Guy André Bloc Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, from 1952 to 2000, the Department of National Defence fired shells in Lake Saint-Pierre, which is a UNESCO world biosphere reserve.

It is estimated that over 300,000 shells are currently at the bottom of the lake, including 8,000 unexploded ones. These shells are an environmental threat and they also pose a problem to users. They are a handicap for commercial fishermen, shoreline residents and numerous ecotourism projects.

My constituents are concerned about their safety. Moreover, these shells are an impediment to their will to take charge of their region's development.

The government must assume its responsibilities by correcting the situation, particularly since the technology to remove these shells is available.

DiabetesStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Beth Phinney Liberal Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, November is Diabetes Awareness Month. Approximately two million people in Canada are afflicted with diabetes. The majority of these people have type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes, where one's body does not know how to use the insulin it produces, is preventable. Despite this fact, it is one of the fastest growing diseases here at home and around the world. This is unacceptable.

This year the Government of Canada will be spending $30 million on a Canadian diabetes strategy. People need to be educated and aware of the things they can do today, right now, to prevent type 2 diabetes. Preventable measures include regular exercise and incorporating healthier food choices into one's diet. While these choices seem simple, thousands of people do not make them.

This month, I would like to encourage and challenge all Canadians, myself included, to integrate these measures into our daily lives. The small changes we make today can have dramatic and positive impacts on the future.

DiabetesStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


James Rajotte Conservative Edmonton—Leduc, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize World Diabetes Day and Juvenile Diabetes Awareness Day on Parliament Hill.

Over two million Canadians have diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes occurs when the pancreas no longer produces insulin, which the body needs to survive. Many Canadian children suffer from juvenile diabetes of this type, and I salute the parents and the wonderful and patient children who came to Ottawa today to talk to parliamentarians about this disease.

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or when the body does not effectively use the insulin that is produced.

Gestational diabetes is a temporary condition that affects approximately 3.5% of all pregnancies.

We are extremely fortunate in Canada to have researchers and scientists at the University of Alberta who have developed something called the Edmonton protocol, a procedure for transplanting healthy islet cells into people with type 1 diabetes. The research and treatment conducted by this group offers a long term treatment option for diabetics.

I would like to pay tribute to all members of the Edmonton protocol team for their hard work and their continued research into this disease.

Child CareStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, this past weekend in Winnipeg I attended the Canadian Council on Social Development's conference, Child Care for a Change.

Close to 650 delegates from all corners of the sector representing researchers, policy makers, educators and parents had the opportunity to hear from some of Canada's top experts in the field as well as a number of well-known international experts.

Minister Ken Dryden opened the conference and spoke of the strong commitment of the government to work with the provinces and territories, stakeholders and communities, aboriginal governments and aboriginal communities to realize the vision of a national early learning and child care system. The minister received a standing ovation from the delegates, evidence of the strong support for this important government priority.

The Liberal commitment of over $5 billion over five years is a significant first step toward the national system.

I call on all parties today to work together for the benefit of our children in making this commitment a reality.

Child CareStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member was not referring to the Minister of Social Development when she was referring to someone on a first name basis like that.

Integration of the AmericasStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, in his speech to this House, Mexican President Vicente Fox made several references to the importance of shared development and to transforming North America into a region of cooperation and integration.

He also spoke of the idea he introduced during his September 2000 visit to Ottawa: a social development fund of the Americas, particularly North America, to help those losing out because of free trade.

The Bloc Québécois shares President Fox's conviction that it is important for there to be a series of measures in place, as North America and eventually the entire continent becomes integrated, in order to support regions and populations affected by the socio-economic changes caused by NAFTA and the coming free trade area of the Americas.

In order to reap the benefits of access to a wider market, there must be infrastructure in education, health and transportation. Unfortunately, the Liberals do not yet get it, that such a fund would enable all of the regions to become full-fledged partners as well as representing markets of interest to our exporters.

Juvenile DiabetesStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, today I had the honour of meeting one of my young constituents who came to Parliament Hill on a very special mission.

Brodie has juvenile diabetes. Every day he must have injections of insulin to survive. Brodie is part of the Kids for a Cure delegation, a group of youngsters from all across Canada who have travelled to Ottawa to deliver the message that with more research and more funds, a cure is possible.

Researchers from Canada are part of conducting very promising research that could lead to cure therapies, but this research can only succeed with continued funding.

I come from a family where this disease exists and I hope that my grandchildren never get it. I certainly hope for a cure for Brodie. Let us make that our mission. Let us accept the mission and let us contribute generously to juvenile diabetes research.

Citizenship and ImmigrationStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


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

Mr. Speaker, Mingli Lin, a former prisoner of conscience, continues to languish in China even though this House voted unanimously to permit him to rejoin his family here in Canada.

In October 2002 the Commons voted to permit the entry to this country of 13 Falun Gong practitioners, including Mingli Lin. In violation of the will of the House, a Canadian consular official in Shanghai refused to issue a visa to Mingli Lin. On April 21 of this year, I hand delivered a letter to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration advising her that her officials were acting in contempt of Parliament and requesting that she intervene personally.

The minister wrote back that she would not issue a ministerial permit, but that if Mingli Lin were to travel to a third country, which of course he cannot do, he could apply for entry to Canada as a refugee.

The minister should hang her head in shame for actively obstructing the unanimous will of the House and for preventing a model citizen from being reunited with his family on our shores.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary DiseaseStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Ken Boshcoff Liberal Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow, November 17, is World COPD Day.

COPD is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and affects 714,000 Canadians, mostly smokers or former smokers, and is rapidly rising among women. Tragically, it is targeted to be the third leading cause of death worldwide by 2020.

People with COPD often struggle for every breath and have difficulty performing simple tasks such as walking up stairs. The burden on the health care system is enormous. It is now the fifth major cause of hospitalization in Canada.

There is no known cure for this chronic disease, but it is treatable and preventable. Lung association staff and volunteers work very hard in the area of prevention to educate young Canadians about the dangers of smoking. If young people never start smoking, chances are they will never contract this disease.

I encourage us as parliamentarians to support the work of the lung association. Its slogan says it all: “When you can't breathe, nothing else matters.”

SudanStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Bev Desjarlais NDP Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, Human Rights Watch has released its fourth report on the genocide in Sudan. Ethnic cleansing by government supported troops is being consolidated, and 1.7 million people have been forced off their land into displacement camps where they decide daily whether to stay and starve or to return home and be killed.

On November 18 the UN Security Council is meeting in Nairobi to consider a new stronger resolution. If this fails, the world will face another Rwanda.

China's opposition has been the main stumbling block in the Security Council. China's resource interests in Sudan are large, and we know the Liberals never stand in the way of the Chinese government when it wants to acquire foreign resources.

There is no sitting on the fence and no middle ground in Sudan. The facts are that the Janjaweed militia are supported by the Sudanese government, that the Security Council has failed to take a strong stand against the genocide, and that the government has not applied pressure to help stop the killing.

It is time for the Prime Minister to show the world that Canadians value the lives of the people of Darfur. It is time for Canada to show leadership.

DiabetesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Rob Merrifield Conservative Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, diabetes is a disease that afflicts far too many Canadians. Two million Canadians currently struggle with this disease. The numbers are expected to increase as our population ages and as obesity rates rise. In some first nations communities the incidence of diabetes is three to four times the national average.

The government keeps saying that it is a priority, but where are the results?

The Conservative Party recognizes the need for a range of prevention and treatment strategies to combat this disease.

Canadian scientists are engaged in leading edge research, testing and treatment programs, including the exciting Edmonton protocol. We must do more to prevent diabetes by encouraging physical activity and healthy eating.

November 14 is World Diabetes Day, marking the birthday of Dr. Frederick Banting, one of Canada's greatest scientists.

On behalf of Canada's official opposition, I offer our best wishes to the Canadian Diabetes Association and to all those who strive to prevent, treat and find cures for this disease. We thank them for their good work and wish them success in the years ahead.

International SolidarityStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.


Diane Bourgeois Bloc Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am proud today to have this opportunity to draw attention to the eighth annual Journées québécoises de la solidarité internationale, from November 11 through 21 this year. This year's slogan is a highly original one and very much indicative of the desire of Quebeckers to combat the militaristic stance shared by most of the western world, “Choisissons notre monde: sans armes, citoyens”. Rather than a call to arms, this is a call to lay down weapons and shape our own world.

This is first and foremost intended as a reminder to parliamentarians and decision makers that the best weapon against terrorism and threats to security is improving the standard of living of third world countries and their populations. The 53 member organizations of the Association québécoise de coopération internationale are focussing their efforts on promoting a world without violence and without weapons.

As Canada's decision on the missile defence shield is forthcoming, the Bloc Québécois is taking advantage of this opportunity offered by the Journées québécoises de la solidarité to remind the Canadian government that the people of Quebec are strongly opposed—

International SolidarityStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Oshawa.

Foreign AffairsStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.


Colin Carrie Conservative Oshawa, ON

Mr. Speaker, as members know by now, Fairuz Yamulky, a Canadian citizen, was beaten, threatened with beheading, and held captive in Iraq earlier this year.

I, along with many Canadians, watched Ms. Yamulky recount a story of diplomatic impotence on television this past Sunday. We learned that Canadian officials in Amman, Jordan gave Ms. Yamulky scant attention or support during her terrifying ordeal. Embassy officials had the temerity to order Ms. Yamulky to pay for an emergency passport and her subsequent travel arrangements. The message we are sending is, “Thanks for having escaped your captors, now here is your bill”.

I am relieved that Ms. Yamulky is safely out of harm's way, but I would encourage the Minister of Foreign Affairs to launch an immediate review of this incident and report back to the House in the coming days.

Middle EastStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.


Russ Powers Liberal Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to share the optimism expressed in the wake of Yasser Arafat's demise that a moderate Palestinian leadership will negotiate a reasonable accommodation of this century old conflict. However, statements in Arabic by Palestinian officials may reveal an agenda of working toward the state of Israel's disappearance.

Last week the Palestinian ambassador to Iran on Al-Alam TV spoke to an Arafat legacy, and the English translation by the Middle East Media Research Institute stated, “And now he is gone...what will surely be the end of this Zionist entity? I will say to you that this entity will disappear one of these's a matter of time”.

The Palestinian ambassador then referred to international restraints and further stated, “Our phased plan is to establish an independent sovereign Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital. As for deciding the conflict, that's a matter for history”.

Our eyes must continue to focus on the Middle East.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta


Stephen Harper ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, you will recall that during the election the Prime Minister said he could not afford tax cuts. We now know the truth. He was hiding massive surpluses, overtaxing Canadians to support his spending habits.

I ask the Prime Minister, now that the surplus is over four times what he claimed it would be, will he commit to giving Canadians the tax relief they deserve?

TaxationOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec


Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition seems to have some difficulty with the fact that this country is in good financial shape.

I was in Europe when the finance minister announced the level of the surplus last year. The Leader of the Opposition was clearly unhappy with it. Let me say that Canada was the admiration of Europe as country after country wondered how in fact we had reduced our debt, increased our surpluses and, as a result of that, how we have been able to cut taxes on the one hand and increase jobs on the other.

TaxationOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta


Stephen Harper ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, what we would like to see and what Canadian families would like to see is that instead of all that tax money going into the pockets of Liberals' friends maybe it would go to the families of this country.

The Prime Minister has $2.5 billion in unpaid TPC loans to corporations, including to his own family corporation, and $1 million just spent on a Challenger photo op tour. With the $9 billion surplus, why can he not give Canadians some of their own tax money back?