House of Commons Hansard #27 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was food.


SupplyGovernment Orders

1:20 p.m.


Rob Merrifield Conservative Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the hon. member for Niagara West—Glanbrook.

This is an important issue and one on which the nation is becoming fast aware that trans fats are in our foods and are causing a significant amount of damage.

In the last Parliament, when I was the senior critic for health, we had the opportunity to look at this issue in committee. It was under the labelling review that we had initiated last spring. At that time we had an opportunity to hear witnesses. We had three days on this issue talking to a number of experts behind this and in the industry to discern for sure if trans fats were indeed a problem in our diet. I was alarmed at some of the testimony of the witnesses who came forward and the conclusive evidence, I would say without refute, that trans fats are not good.

We are here today discussing a motion brought forward by the NDP. It is not often that I agree with members of the NDP on the intent of a motion but on the intent of this one I give them good marks. I do challenge them not to play politics with this issue. It is a very important issue and it is more important that we actually do something constructive than to get headline news on the evening channels.

When I discern what had happened in committee, we were to examine all of the information with regard to this and bring forward a report to Parliament, lay it in the House so that all members from across the country would have the information that was given to us at the health committee and be able to truly discern, with many more facts, what was actually behind the issue of trans fats in our diet. The report was supposed to be done by September of this year but an election was called and nothing has taken place.

It is interesting to listen to hon. members from the NDP. They are so opposed to trans fats in the diet, which obviously are harmful to society, and yet as far as marijuana which is also very harmful to society, they want to legalize it. That is kind of like the pot calling the kettle black, but nonetheless, they will have to wrestle that through with their constituents as those issues come forward.

When it comes to this issue of trans fats in our diet, there are two issues: First, will we get rid of trans fats, which science and experience tells us is bad and harmful? Yes, I believe we should as a society and there is no argument there. Second, should we agree with the motion and does it actually achieve that goal in a way that is responsible? How will we achieve the goal that we want to eventually get to? That is where I have a considerable amount of concern.

We have to look back as to why trans fats are in our diet to begin with. It came forward in committee reports in the early 1970s that trans fats were not good for us and they should not allowed in our diets. They have only been around for the last 30 to 35 years and only in our diets for 30 to 35 years. Should we allow them in? The report at that time said that we should not, nonetheless, a decision was made to allow them because we were having a significant amount of problems with saturated fats. The saturated fats in our diet are increasing and are very harmful to us. We knew that and in those days the ParticipACTION program was in full flight. We remember those ads on television where the 35 year old Canadian was not as fit as the 70 year old Swede.

In our attempt to do something good and healthy for society, we decided to replace saturated fats with trans fats, which is pushing hydrogen through them so they solidify at room temperature, which others have described. We made a decision to replace them with something that was even worse than we had originally. This is not to say that saturated fats are good because they certainly are not. All of the science is very clear on that. We need to reduce saturated fats and trans fats.

Unfortunately, we have a population that does not know the difference between saturated fats, trans fats, polyunsaturated fats and semi-hydrogenated fats. All of those and more are on the labels but we have a population that really does not understand them. I would suggest that most people in the House do not understand the difference and the nuances of those different fats and yet they are on our labels. Some people would argue that we should have choice. Yes, choice is important but if we do not know what the choices really are and we do not know what it means when we say there are a certain amount of trans fats or saturated fats in our diet, then what good does it do?

The issue then becomes whether we should legislate trans fats. I think my colleague just finished saying that was a role that perhaps the government should play. Perhaps it is.

We spoke to the NDP with regard to some of the amendments and were able to get some of them in there. However we wanted to finish the work the health committee had started, which was to file a report and give all the information to the House so members could, with good knowledge and with the support of the health committee that examined this from all sides, make an informed decision on the impact it would have on international trade, on the domestic competitiveness of different industries and its affect on the different industries. All of that, and more, could have been examined and we could have brought that information to the House.

We asked the NDP to change the motion to read, “Let us have that report by committee in this House before March 31, 2005”, which is just a few months away. I believe that would have been a much more responsible way to have dealt with this motion, not to play politics looking for evening headlines but to actually move this agenda along in a much more progressive way so that we had all the facts before the House prior to making a decision on whether to bring forward regulation within a year and ban trans fats from our food shelves.

This issue could have repercussions in that we could make the same mistake today that we did back in the 1970s. We should lower saturated fats and trans fats in our diet but if we get rid of trans fats we could go back to perhaps palm oil, which is 50% saturated fat, which is industry's biggest fear. We would rather give our own industry, the canola industry, the opportunity to bring forward its new technology, which would allow 7% saturated fat, and replace it in a much more healthy way.

We have an opportunity to not only eliminate trans fats from our diet but to allow an industry in Canada to put its own hybrids of canola, which are much more healthy, on the shelves and solve the problem in a two win situation. We would win both by making it healthier and by producing an opportunity for industry within this country. Now, that is where we should be going.

One of the facts on trans fats and where we are at as a society is certainly the obesity problem. It is such a problem that it is estimated that it costs Canadians $6.3 billion annually because of poor diet, and $1.8 billion annually in indirect costs. Consumers, producers and the food chains are recognizing the need to change and the need to do something about this.

There is also trans fats in mothers' breast milk at average levels of 7.2% and high levels up to 17%. This is serious.

Just to get back to the canola industry, one of the new technologies, as I was saying, is this high oleic acid canola. I believe around a million acres of it was produced this last year. I am a canola grower myself, in my own riding, and I know quite a bit about the new technologies in canola. The industry is now putting out to contract at the present time for next year. This is a very low trans fat free canola. It is a tremendous opportunity for Canada and the Canadian industry.

The debate around this whole issue is twofold. The first is to get rid of it. I would agree with getting rid of trans fats from the Canadian diet. I think we should move as quickly as we can on that. However we should do it in the right way, with all the facts and knowing all the repercussions. We do not want to knee-jerk react like we did in the 1970s. We want to do something that would be productive and would allow industry to conform to the new legislation and to the new opportunities, I would say, for them. New York Fries is a perfect example. It has eliminated trans fats from its menu as a marketing opportunity.

More marketing opportunities are needed. I think we can do that, but we should follow the right process. I do not know which way I am going to vote on the motion; I will decide when the vote comes up. I agree with the concept but I am a little nervous about how we are going to get there.

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.


Bev Desjarlais NDP Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, when I was speaking earlier I mentioned how much the industry had done to address this issue. The member mentioned the canola industry. Let us get the figures down as they have been put out in the release. Over the past three years canola farmers have begun to grow a higher value type of canola called high oleic canola. It will have less trans fat. It actually will not have trans fat. It will have a different type of fat at the 7% value. Farmers are being paid a premium to grow that type of canola. As much as 50% of the 12 million acres of canola grown each year has high oleic content. Therefore, the industry has recognized this is a serious problem.

I am finding it a bit hard to comprehend that we know that something can take lives. There is no question about it. This is not like some issues where one person says it is not bad for us or the industry is saying it is not bad for us. The industry recognizes it is bad for us.

We cannot allow this to be delayed any longer. We know what happens in the House. My colleague mentioned being at the health committee. It was at the health committee and what happened? We ended up in an election and all that work is gone. We want to get on this in a timely manner.

Part of our motion reads:

And that this House hasten the development of replacements to processed trans fats by urging the government to enact regulation, or if necessary legislation within one year, guided by the findings of a multi-stakeholder Task Force--

We are not saying we are going to do this without involving the industry or other people. We want them to be there:

--including the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and following the consultation process with scientists and the industry currently underway--

How can the member not support that motion?

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:30 p.m.


Rob Merrifield Conservative Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, there are a lot of ways I could not support it. I am trying to support it, but it is difficult.

The recommendation was to have the health committee look at this and actually file a report in the House by March 31. This was the negotiation I tried to make with the mover and yet he said no to that.

If members are looking for legislation or regulation within a year, I am talking about taking three or four months to go through a process that would have advanced it much faster and would have had the weight of an entire committee to present it before the House.

I am glad the member talked about the canola industry. The canola industry is actually moving very fast to deal with this. The industry hopes that within five to ten years 50% of the 12 million acres in Canada will be producing the low trans fat oil, but that is genetically modified. Therefore the member is saying that she agrees with genetic modification of those kinds of oils because they are much healthier and lower with respect to pesticide use and so on. This was another debate that we had on the side.

I am glad to hear the NDP is talking with reason in this area.

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.


Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to take an opportunity to make a brief comment on this issue because I sat for a while on the health committee that dealt with this topic.

There is no doubt in my mind that we are talking about a substance that is highly toxic. There is no other way to describe it.

It is difficult for me and my constituents to understand why New York Fries, a small Canadian company, can make french fries that have no trans fatty acid, but that the world's largest restaurant chain, McDonald's, is not able to do it.

It is even more complicated when companies are able to do it in some Scandinavian countries and they are not able to do it spontaneously at the same time in Canada and in the United States. These things are very difficult for some of us. Is there speculation as to why these things seem to be so technologically able to proceed in some jurisdictions, yet they cannot at the same time by the same company in another jurisdiction?

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.


Rob Merrifield Conservative Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, that is a very good comment. I was there at the committee and we asked those same questions. How can McDonald's do it in Denmark but it cannot do it here? Companies can do it here and we have to move them toward making that happen. The public is starting to demand it. The processors know that is the direction they are going. I told the Canola Council to be prepared because this is coming down. It is already ahead of the game.

We have to understand that New York Fries did it by starting to use canola oil in the oil base. It was a very simple thing to do in order to make it happen. That is what we should do right across the country.

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.


Dean Allison Conservative Niagara West—Glanbrook, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to once again reiterate my support for the intent of the motion. As we move forward as a society and we find things that are harmful to us, it is important to take the time to debate the issues, to figure out what it is that we can do to make our food supply and those kinds of things safer. It is with that intent that I support the notion that as a government we should be looking at ways to reduce trans fats in some of the food products.

Where I have a bit of a challenge and where I see that the motion is a little vague on details is in terms of the implementation strategy. Even though I think that the motion makes some sense in terms of being able to discuss the awareness of trans fats and looking at ways we can reduce them, we need to look at how exactly we are going to do that. It is the details which sometimes cause us a challenge in terms of how that happens.

My colleague talked about saturated fats and trans fats. The motion talks about looking at trying to eliminate processed trans fats. It talks about how processed trans fats are harmful and more likely to cause heart disease than saturated fats. We could go back to what happened in the 1970s and 1980s with the whole issue of saturated fats. We ended up going with trans fats, and here we are some 15 to 20 years later talking about this issue and once again looking for a very quick resolution.

Finding the real answer to this problem of taking out trans fats is going to take some time. It is not going to happen overnight. There is going to be further research. As colleagues on both sides have said, that process is in place right now. People are looking at alternative forms, whether it be through canola or other fats. However, if we just rush from one thing to the next, we may be in the same situation 10 years from now, not having fully tested it and not having looked at ways to ensure that trans fats have been properly replaced with something more feasible.

Not only do we need to identify those products, but we need to make sure there is a sustainable supply. The member on the other side talked about New York Fries, one of the companies that has been able to successfully do this. The challenge with some of the larger companies is being able to find that sustainable supply for the kind of demand that they have across the border. Certainly New York Fries is a smaller company that has been able to harness some of the smaller products that are available.

If we are going to really make this happen in a meaningful way, we need to look at the long term effects and availability, and make sure that we are able to harvest this product in Canada. It is important to realize that when we replace these trans fats, we will have ended up just complicating the problem and not fixing it for a generation.

Trans fatty acids are like saturated fatty acids, or LDCs or bad cholesterol levels in the blood. Trans fatty acids, unlike saturated fatty acids, also reduce the blood levels of HDL, or the good cholesterol, further increasing the risk of coronary heart disease.

An opinion published by the scientific panel on dietetic products, nutrition and allergies, for the European Food Safety Authority in September 2004 concluded that at equivalent dietary levels, the effects of trans fatty acids on heart health may be greater than that of saturated fatty acids. However the current intakes of trans fatty acids are generally more than tenfold lower than those of saturated fatty acids whose intakes in many European countries exceeded the dietary recommendations. The opinion also reports that the available evidence does not provide a definitive answer to the question of whether TFAs have an effect on the LDLC different to a mixture of saturated fatty acids on a gram per gram basis.

In the whole process of trans fats there is no evidence of a difference in the health impacts of an industrially produced trans fat and naturally occurring fats. In addition, according to the opinion published by the scientific panel on dietary products, nutrition and allergies for the European Food Safety Authority in September 2004, there are no methods of analysis applicable to the wide range of foods that can be distinguished between TFAs which are naturally present in foods, ruminant products, and those formed during the processing of fats, oils and foods.

What I am saying is that there are natural fats that occur in things as well as the trans fats and one of the challenges is trying to distinguish between the two. In order to effectively figure out how to reduce some of these things, one of the first steps is to make sure that we are able to measure that.

Members of the scientific panel of the Heart and Stroke Foundation also expressed concerns about the exclusion of natural trans fats in legislation since there is no feasible method to detect the differences between natural and man-made fats. Some felt the legislation would lack credibility if it did not include natural trans fats, that it would be unfair for some companies because it would create an uneven commercial playing field. It is very important to highlight the need to be able to distinguish between the two.

I cannot emphasize this enough. If we are going to look at changing what we are providing in our products, we need to look at the whole supply. I mentioned that before but I think it is critical.

We have talked about some other forums coming onside but we are not quite up to speed in terms of what we are able to transfer out at this point in time. We need to be mindful that we are not just looking at one industry but we are looking at all our supply. A whole range of suppliers needs to be in the loop as far as this goes.

I appreciate the intent of the motion in that it talks about a multi-stakeholder consultation process. That will be very important as we move this forward.

Members should understand that a huge number of stakeholders are involved, whether they be in the health sector or people involved in the food process. There are food service operators and food manufacturers who are working closely right now to develop these things. Some of the companies were mentioned earlier. We talked about some food manufacturers and food service companies that have made progress in the transition to trans free products, such as New York Fries which says it has removed all the trans from its fries. As well, Pizza Pizza has removed trans fats from its pizza dough.

We need to be mindful that finding a suitable replacement for oils that contain trans fats is a significant challenge. This is not something that can be done overnight. Also, we need to understand that in some cases alternative oils also present health risks, such as an increased polymerization of fat if the polyunsaturated oils are used for frying. Some replacement oils are only available in limited supply. I think we touched on that earlier.

Some TFA alternatives remain cost prohibitive while others cannot be easily substituted without changing the products, their taste, texture and shelf life. We need to realize that it does take time to develop and test these new products. In addition to ensuring the alternative products provide the same flavour, texture, taste and structure characteristics, food companies and food service operators must be able to secure a reliable supply of the ingredient that is being substituted.

In conclusion, we support the intent of the motion but we need to be very mindful of the consequences on the whole food chain.

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.


Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, I listened attentively to the member's remarks. He seemed to be indicating favour and caution at the same time, and there is nothing wrong with that. We want to ensure that we make things better and never worse.

Where I have some difficulty, though, is where the hon. member expresses that he is of the opinion that we do not quite know the effects of things perhaps untested, and I am paraphrasing here and those were not exactly his words. However, given that Scandinavian countries are already doing a lot of this, surely we are talking about things that are at least in some regard tested. This is the first issue I want to raise with the hon. member.

My second issue is that I recognize, and I do not know if we want to call it micro amounts, that trace amounts occur naturally. If I remember the testimony before our committee, and I see the hon. member from Winnipeg is here, I think he will recall, as I do, that those trace amounts that occur naturally do not, and for reasons that I do not understand, produce the same side effects. In other words, they do not seem to produce the toxicity, if I can refer to it that way, as the product that we make into a trans fatty acid artificially, if that is the correct word for it. So there is that difference. I think that has been provided to us in testimony before.

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1:45 p.m.


Dean Allison Conservative Niagara West—Glanbrook, ON

Mr. Speaker, the first question he asked was in terms of this not been proven through technology and in other countries. I think once again we understand that this is happening. We have examples of where this is already happening in the industry right now.

I guess the concern that I would have would be the fact that although we do have this technology and we are able to see that it is happening in some companies so far, the real challenge that remains is that we do not have the ability all the way through to ensure we have the kind of supplies that we need for a whole industry.

The other concern I have is that we really need to look at studying the impacts, not only of our food processes or our end users here in Canada but at what kind of implications this will have as we do trade and as we look across the borders on some of these things.

I think once again the question was correct in saying we do have some of this available. Our challenge is trying to ensure that we have enough available at this point in time with such a short lead in timeframe.

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1:50 p.m.


Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I listened with interest to my colleague's speech. One of the points he was making was that we do not want to cause a situation where food production companies have to compromise quality or taste in using an alternate oil product. The second point he made was that we need to ensure that there is an adequate amount of alternate oil product, so that they can reformulate their manufacturing process.

In the first instance, we now know that companies do not have to compromise either quality or taste to get away from trans fats and go to a healthier alternate oil. I use as an example the Voortman Cookie company, a Canadian cookie manufacturer with 120 product lines. It is still on the market. Its products are 100% trans fat free now because the company listened to Canadians and to the body of science that there is in fact a healthy alternate.

As far as the amount of product, this is why there is a lead in period contemplated, not only in this motion, but in any regulation that may stem from this motion. There would be a phase in period of one, three, five years, or whatever the stakeholders deem necessary.

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1:50 p.m.


Dean Allison Conservative Niagara West—Glanbrook, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would agree with that. In terms of a phase in period, one of the things we want to be clear on is what type of timeframe we are talking about. I guess that is not what is a part of this motion. I want to ensure that we have enough time to consult, as the member for my party has mentioned, with all the key stakeholder groups.

They must have a chance to talk about all these issues, meaningful and otherwise, and ensure that there are enough products available. They must be able as well to distribute them and make them available all the way through the food process.

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.


David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Nanaimo--Cowichan.

I appreciate the opportunity to join in this debate today. A couple of my colleagues mentioned earlier that members of our caucus were not necessarily gung-ho that this should be one of our lead issues, particularly on an opposition day since we do not get that many of them. However, we have heard them say that after doing their own research and after talking to colleagues, particularly the member for Winnipeg Centre who has provided leadership on this issue within our caucus, they have become convinced of this issue's importance.

It is not usual that caucuses, particularly in the climate we are in these days where an election could be called at the drop of a hat, push key signature issues that they want to take into an election. Canadians decided they wanted a minority government and not a majority government, and our priority is to prove to Canadians that minority governments not only work, but in many ways work best for Canadians.

We want to take issues that make a difference in the lives of Canadians and move them forward. We want to get them into law. Our objective, and we make no bones about it during this minority government, is to take issues that matter to our constituents and to Canadians across the country and bring them forward. What could be more important that dealing with the health of Canadians, particularly our children?

Those who are still unsure have asked whether or not the science has been done? Do we need to do more studies? It would appear that science has reached its conclusion. We mentioned the fact that the World Health Organization, the leading organization on this planet for dealing with public health issues, crosses all party lines, national lines and continental lines, is concerned about the public health of citizens. It has said this ban is the right thing to do.

Is there a member in the House who would not consider supporting and being active in the Heart and Stroke Foundation in his or her riding? Does anybody here ever say anything negative about the Heart and Stroke Foundation, a motherhood organization? It is providing the lead on this. It is not doing it because it has a lack of issues to deal with. It is doing it because this is a priority health matter for Canadians, particularly children.

Dr. Walter Willet of the Harvard School of Public Health has said that the consumption of trans fats is a recipe for disaster. What is the Canadian context? One gram of trans fats a day increases the risk of heart disease by 20%. One of the leading causes of death in Canada is stroke. Canadians have the highest consumption of trans fats in the world. Canadians on average are ingesting about 10 grams a day. One gram increases the chance of a stroke by 20% and yet Canadians are ingesting 10 grams a day. If ever there was a health issue that required leadership, this is it.

My friend from Vancouver East raised the issue earlier about children in the context of choice and in responding to the issue of labelling. As long as there is a choice and the public is informed that is enough. In many cases it is enough.

We had this debate many years ago. This is not a new argument. When something is a poison for Canadians, we do not put a label on it and say, “Be careful, this is a poison”. We say, “You can't sell that product in Canada”. This is the same thing. Again, let us cast our minds forward. In 20 years this debate is going to seem so ancient and behind the times.

I would just mention that there are two senators, both a Conservative and a Liberal, who are cardiologists and are also trying to do something in that place on this issue. There is no question that we have an obligation to deal with this on behalf of all Canadians and in particular for the health of our children.

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member will have a couple more minutes after question period to resume his debate and have questions and comments. Statements by members.

AgricultureStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Peter Adams Liberal Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise to thank the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food for taking the time to meet with farm leaders of Peterborough county. We particularly appreciated the minister's time within a week of the birth of his son, J.D. Our congratulation to J.D. and his parents.

The minister discussed the BSE issue and other matters with farmers representing the beef, dairy, sheep and bison sectors, all hard hit by the closing of the border. He was presented with a proposal for a regional abattoir and suggestions on designing help for BSE affected sectors in such a way that the sectors would be fully sustainable when the border problem is resolved. He received a brief on the CFIA. The minister was commended for his efforts to diversify markets for Canadian products, especially in Asia.

The BSE crisis is an ongoing tragedy which cannot be solved by Canada alone. We are glad we have a Minister of Agriculture who listens. We urge all parties to support him in his efforts on behalf of Canadian farmers.

The SenateStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Andrew Scheer Conservative Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

Mr. Speaker, in a few days voters in Alberta will have the opportunity to vote for candidates running to be that province's next senator.

Prior to the election campaign, the Prime Minister made several statements indicating that he would work to end western alienation and bring about real Senate reform. However, like all his promises, they lasted only as long as the 36 day writ period. Just as his promise for 5¢ a litre to cities and municipalities and his promise to allow the Atlantic provinces to keep 100% of their offshore resources, his commitment to addressing the democratic deficit has evaporated.

Recent statements by his cabinet stating clearly that the government will not appoint the successful senatorial candidates is Liberal backpedalling at its finest. Far from being one of his dozens of top priorities for the Prime Minister, ending western alienation is clearly on the back burner. As long as the government does not trust Canadians to choose their own representation in the Senate, the democratic deficit will continue to grow and western Canadians will continue to be alienated from the Liberal Party.

Aliments de santé LaurierStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Roger Clavet Bloc Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, as this is National Health Food Month, I would like to recognize an initiative by Aliments de santé Laurier to protect the environment.

Eager to help protect the environment, this business announced the introduction of a plastic bag that is completely biodegradable through bioassimilation. The material it is made of disintegrates within six months to a year on exposure to heat, humidity or UV light.

In spite of the additional cost of using this type of bag, Aliments de santé Laurier decided to take the extra step to promote health by protecting the environment.

The Bloc Québécois congratulates the owners and staff of this business located in the riding of Louis-Hébert on this worthwhile initiative.

Eleanor HuntingtonStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Rodger Cuzner Liberal Cape Breton—Canso, NS

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to stand in the House today and recognize the passing of a great Canadian.

Eleanor Huntington was born in 1904 in Huntington, Cape Breton along the shores of the Mira River. A graduate of the Nova Scotia Normal College, she taught at various schools throughout the province early in her career. She joined the staff of the Cape Breton Post in the early 1950s as a proof reader before moving into the editorial department, beginning a remarkable career in journalism.

At her 100th birthday this past summer, she shared with many friends the numerous highlights of her career, which included covering stories like the unveiling of the world famous Cape Breton Tartan as well as an interview with Olive Diefenbaker when then Prime Minister John Diefenbaker visited Cape Breton Island.

An avid researcher and genealogist, she authored a number of books on local and family history. A true role model for Canadian women, I ask this House to join me in remembering Eleanor Huntington on a long, full and productive life.

The Greatest CanadianStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Gary Schellenberger Conservative Perth—Wellington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today on the matter of the The Greatest Canadian contest being run by the CBC. While each of the nominees is certainly a great Canadian, to me the person most deserving of this title is Sir Frederick Banting.

Dr. Banting served Canada in World War I, and is responsible for one of the greatest discoveries in history, insulin. The discovery of insulin meant that millions of people around the world, who would have succumbed to diabetes, would be able to lead productive lives while managing the disease, a disease that before Dr. Banting's contribution meant a certain death sentence. To put the importance of Dr. Banting's discovery into perspective, it would be like discovering the cure for cancer today.

I want to thank the CBC for this initiative because it represents an exercise that unites Canadians from coast to coast. I want to encourage every Canadian to visit and vote, and remember the great contributions of Sir Frederick Banting.

Governor General's Literary AwardStatements By Members

November 18th, 2004 / 2 p.m.


Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is with great pride that I pay tribute to one of my constituents today, Ms. Mariam Toews, who was awarded the Governor General's Literary Award on Tuesday.

Her third published novel, A Complicated Kindness , follows a rebellious teenage girl as she copes with the disappearance of her mother and sister in a fictional Manitoba Mennonite town. Since its release in April, the novel has been a fixture atop the Canadian bestseller list. A Complicated Kindness is receiving acclaim overseas as well. Ms. Toews has recently been awarded the British YoungMinds Book Award, and the movie rights for the novel have been sold to Channel 4 Films.

Ms. Toews' two previous novels have also received accolades: Summer of my Amazing Luck and Boy of Good Breeding , which won the McNally Robinson Book of the Year Award in 1998. In 1999 Ms. Toews won the National Magazine Award Gold Medal for Humour.

On behalf of all Manitobans, and indeed on behalf of all Canadians, I want to extend our heartfelt congratulations to Ms. Toews.

Entraide Bois-de-BoulogneStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Eleni Bakopanos Liberal Ahuntsic, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour of hosting today Claudie Ayas, the president of Entraide Bois-de-Boulogne, and the members of the organization who are visiting Ottawa today.

This organization located in Ahuntsic is celebrating this year 40 years of operation, that is, 40 years of facilitating the integration of new and former immigrants from the Middle East; 40 years of fostering dialogue between cultures and generations to ensure a smooth integration; 40 years of passing on cultural heritage and memory and developing projects that bring the community together.

On behalf of my constituents in the riding of Ahuntsic, I thank them for their work and devotion, and wish them all success in the years to come.

Congratulations and long life to l'Entraide Bois-de-Boulogne.

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Robert Vincent Bloc Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, because of the efforts of the Bloc Québécois, the Standing Committee on Justice, Human Rights, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness has adopted a motion that will enable the mayors of municipalities affected by the closure of an RCMP detachment to make their voices heard.

And so the file remains open. A reprieve has been granted, and perhaps we will be able to compel the government to halt the closures planned by the RCMP.

Despite the fact that the Liberal member for Brome—Missisquoi tried to take all the credit for this decision, the public realizes that this latest reprieve is the work of Bloc Québécois members who introduced the motion and worked hard to ensure its adoption.

Aboriginal Youth ScolarshipStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Brent St. Denis Liberal Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to acknowledge the contribution of the MuchMusic aboriginal youth scholarship program and to congratulate Brent Wesley, a constituent from my riding, this year's aboriginal youth scholarship winner. The $3,000 scholarship, created in partnership with the Aboriginal Youth Network, helps students with tuition for the school year at the institution of their choice.

This year's winner, Brent Wesley, won thanks to his letter that outlined his passion and devotion to first nation issues and desire to learn and work in the broadcast industry. He is 24 years old, of Cree and Abenaki descent, and a band member of Constance Lake First Nation near Hearst, Ontario in my riding. This kind of initiative is a positive force aimed at helping Canada's aboriginal youth.

I commend MuchMusic and the Aboriginal Youth Network for their efforts. I congratulate Brent Wesley on his win, and on behalf of all members, wish him the very best of luck in his new and blossoming career.

Street RacingStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Werner Schmidt Conservative Kelowna, BC

Mr. Speaker, in August of this year the Ferguson family and the community of Kelowna lost a dearly loved and active member when Mary Lou Ferguson was killed by an alleged street racer.

Our community is not the only one to experience such a tragedy. In the last four years, more than 150 people in Canada have been killed in street racing crashes, some of them innocent victims, some of them young people, all of them unnecessary.

Bill C-230, introduced in the House on October 20 by the member for Surrey North, aims to change these statistics by taking a tough stance against street racing and allowing for tougher sentencing.

I ask all members of the House to support Bill C-230 to prevent street racing and to send a clear message that those who endanger the public will face long term consequences. Let us ensure that our streets are safe for all Canadians and not let Mary Lou Ferguson's death be in vain.

Aboriginal AffairsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, today's Supreme Court decision once again highlights the government's refusal to take leadership in matters of importance to our country. For decades now, the Canadian government has dragged its feet on settling first nations treaties that would provide clarity on the land base. Instead it has deferred to the Supreme Court time and again on important issues that it should be dealing with.

Now the Supreme Court has been clear. The government has a duty to consult and accommodate. This is not an opportunity for the Liberals' infamous lip service, but a call to get to the table and begin the hard work of negotiating settlements. No longer will it be acceptable for the Liberals to pretend to listen to the concerns of first nations while at the same time making deals with their corporate friends behind closed doors.

I call on the Prime Minister and the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development to take this decision very seriously, to understand that it calls for a dramatic shift in the government policy and to finally step up to the plate. The time to get serious is long past. It is time to get to work together, finally deciding justice for Canada's first peoples.

LatviaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Sarmite Bulte Liberal Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today, November 18, to commemorate Latvian Independence Day. It is one of three Baltic countries with a sizeable community in my own riding of Parkdale—High Park and throughout other major urban centres in Canada. I am also proud to say that Latvia is the birthplace of my parents.

For Latvia, Independence Day has special meaning. Within living memory, citizens of Latvia fought two world wars and struggled for decades under the Soviet occupation, enduring persecution and the risk of being overwhelmed in their own country by Soviet resettlement.

Today Latvia is a member of the European Union and NATO. This country has rebuilt its democracy and economy and maintains strong ties with Canada where many of its expatriates live. In fact, Ms. Vaira Freibergs, a Toronto educated former Canadian citizen, is the current president of Latvia.

In commemorating the Latvian Independence Day, celebrated since 1918, I would like to celebrate with my fellow members of the Latvian community in Toronto and elsewhere. With a home country like Canada and a heritage country like Latvia, I am doubly blessed.

Liberal Party of CanadaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Merv Tweed Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, here are today's top ten ways to know that a person is a Liberal.

Number ten, the person thinks that the public purse is his or hers to match with his or her shoes.

Number nine, the person hears rumours of civilization outside Canada's major cities, but dismisses it as Conservative propaganda.

Number eight, the person knows the firearms registry is really just a ploy to supply our armed forces with registered guns confiscated from hunters.

Number seven, having the person's spokesman threaten only one province is that person's idea of asymmetrical federalism.

Number six, upon finding a wallet, the person removes half the cash as the government's share before returning it.

Number five, the person thinks moron, bastard and idiot are terms of endearment.

Number four, the person thinks the government's number one priority means every campaign promise.

Number three, a campaign promise is more of a theoretical concept than a commitment.

Number two, a person is surprised that the red book is in the fiction section of the parliamentary library.

The number one reason a person knows that he or she is a Liberal is when fast-tracking immigration claims, stripper tops his or her list of a skilled trade that Canada is desperately lacking.