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House of Commons Hansard #11 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was cabinet.

Topics

Resumption Of Debate On Address In ReplySpeech From The Throne

1:50 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to make two comments. The difference between the NDP and the Bloc Quebecois is that we believe in intellectual property. We know that if pharmaceuticals make $800 million investments, we agree with the 20 year patent protection, but we say that it should not be more than 20 years.

My seatmate, the critic for industry, also agrees that we should stop the abuse by pharmaceuticals, but never in the way that the NDP would like, which is by providing no intellectual property. We believe that any research deserves to be rewarded and protected. We want the patents to end after the 20 year period. This is what the health critic and the industry critic say.

Resumption Of Debate On Address In ReplySpeech From The Throne

1:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Randy White Canadian Alliance Langley—Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am interested in one of the statements made by the member opposite. He said that seniors' poverty has never been more acute in this country. We have watched recent events with the government imploding over the fact that it has virtually stolen money out of the pockets of taxpayers of millions and millions of dollars.

I find it hard to put it into perspective how government members can say that seniors' poverty has never been more acute, yet they just steal some of their money, give it to some of their buddies and pound it back into the Liberal Party's coffers. If they were so darn concerned about seniors' poverty, perhaps they should not have stolen from--

Resumption Of Debate On Address In ReplySpeech From The Throne

1:55 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)

Order, please, the hon. member Hochelaga—Maisonneuve,

Resumption Of Debate On Address In ReplySpeech From The Throne

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Bloc Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

Mr. Speaker, I agree with our colleague's statement. Of course, this group of patronage people who are in the government seats has not always served the interests of Canadians and Quebeckers.

My colleague from Champlain led a praiseworthy campaign to ensure that the guaranteed income supplement would go to the elderly. It is ironic, to say the least, that a Liberal member would rise in the House to talk about poverty among the elderly, when 68,000 Canadians were deprived of the money they were entitled to. And they are being refused payments retroactive to 1994.

In this House, the person who defended the elderly is my colleague, the member for Champlain.

Eel FisheryStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Charles Caccia Liberal Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, according to scientists, the latest victim of overfishing in Lake Ontario is the commercial eel fishery.

Forty years ago, there were 30 eels per hectare in the inshore waters of Lake Ontario. Now there is only one eel for every 5.6 hectares. Furthermore, at the height of the commercial fishery in 1980, about 225 tonnes were caught per year. Now the annual catch in Lake Ontario is less than 10 tonnes.

As with northern cod, overharvesting hastened the depletion of eel stocks. Habitat destruction, dams, seaweed harvesting, invasive species and water pollution: altogether they have taken their toll.

Therefore, as a matter of urgency, provincial, state, and federal governments should adopt the scientists' recommendations aimed at taking immediate protective action of the depleted eel stocks before it is too late.

Auto TheftStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Cadman Canadian Alliance Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, my City of Surrey, although it is a wonderful place to live and work, unfortunately has the dubious distinction of being a North American leader in auto crime. While joyriding youth contribute to the problem, criminals stealing cars to commit other crimes are a major factor.

The typical Surrey car thief is a drug addicted adult male with multiple prior convictions. They steal vehicles, preferably SUVs, for personal transportation and for use in drug trafficking, home invasions and drive-by shootings, among other crimes.

The city plans a number of measures to reduce auto thefts, including bike patrols and a bait car program to bolster current efforts. However, liberal laws and lenient courts allow B.C.'s estimated 300 car thieves to commit up to 90% of thefts each year. There is rarely jail time even for multiple convictions, no deterrence, and no incentive to stop stealing.

On Wednesday, a public forum will be held at the Surrey Arts Centre to discuss the facts and the measures everyone can take to protect their property. I urge the citizens of Surrey to attend this event and become part of the solution to auto crime in our city.

Foreign AffairsStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Liberal Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise to report concerns in my riding about Canada's involvement in the ballistic missile defence system. As there is still widespread public misunderstanding about this matter and about Canada's possible participation in it, I have supported the idea of a debate in the House so that decisions can be made with full public involvement.

One of the concerns my constituents voice is that the establishment of such a system encourages nuclear proliferation around the world. However, if a system is to be put in place by the United States alone, would we be better or worse off?

I urged the Minister of National Defence to bring this matter to the House in a special debate. I am delighted that there will be such a debate this very week.

Government ContractsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Guy St-Julien Liberal Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik, QC

Mr. Speaker, in June 2003, as a Liberal member of Parliament, I tabled a question in the House concerning sponsorship programs so that the people of Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik could find out the answer today.

I have received an answer from the House of Commons which reads as follows:

The amounts shown represent the amounts committed, including the commissions paid to the coordinating agency—3%— and to the communications agencies—12%—for the events approved before May 27, 2002.

Here is an example: the Liberal riding of Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik received only $65,000 under this program, while the riding of the leader of the Bloc Quebecois, the hon. member for Laurier—Sainte-Marie, received over $5 million. Is that what they call a parallel culture for those in the Bloc Quebecois, who received 500 times more in sponsorships than the remote regions?

Government ContractsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Monte Solberg Canadian Alliance Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, it would be so hard for this Prime Minister not to have seen the unfolding of the advertising scandal in Quebec. It would be kind of like not noticing a three tonne pink elephant in the middle of the living room.

Consider that to pull off this scam required the cooperation of people in the offices of cabinet ministers, crown corporations, the federal public service, four ad agencies and the Liberal Party. That is a lot of people who had to stay quiet over a four year period.

One letter said that Liberal Party activists had been talking about possible criminal activity in the sponsorship program in the fall of 2001. The letter was sent to our current Prime Minister in February 2002, but he just cannot remember it. Despite its allusion to criminal activity, no one in his office thought to call the police.

Oh, yes, and remember too, Mr. Speaker, that he was also vice-chair of the Treasury Board, which had responsibility for spending oversight, and a Quebec cabinet minister who had even employed one of the notorious ad firms in his first leadership bid back in 1990.

All this proves is that we can lead a minister to this scandal but we cannot make him look.

Algoma SteelStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Carmen Provenzano Liberal Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Mr. Speaker, there are not many good news stories in the Canadian steel industry. However, I am happy to report to the House that Algoma Steel Inc., which was recently restructured with the help of $50 million in loan guarantees from the federal government, is just that: a good news story.

The largest employer in the Soo, Algoma Steel Inc. reported this month a net income of $10.1 million for the three months ending December 31, 2003, or 33¢ per share. Algoma Steel is now on its way to sustained profitability.

On another high note, the share value of Algoma Steel on the Toronto Stock Exchange has grown to more than eight times its share value in June 2003. This latest financial news for Algoma has uplifted the spirits of our community, which is grateful for our government's participation in the restructuring of Sault Ste. Marie's main economic engine.

I would like to congratulate the board of directors for Algoma Steel Inc., its president, Denis Turcotte, and all of Algoma's employees for this amazing turn of events at one of Canada's largest steelmakers.

National Flag DayStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Sarkis Assadourian Liberal Brampton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, National Flag Day provides all Canadians with an opportunity to reflect on this great nation.

On February 15, my constituents in Brampton Centre joined millions of fellow Canadians across every region as they paid homage to the colours of our flag and celebrated what our flag represents to us.

With their drawings of our flag, poems about our flag, and posters, paintings and skits all dedicated to the celebration of the Canadian maple leaf, the children in the schools in my riding exhibited the greatest enthusiasm toward our national flag.

I wish to extend congratulations to tomorrow's leaders for showing their patriotism toward the flag and also to all Canadians who took the time to honour our flag and, by doing so, honour Canada and Canadians.

HealthStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, the federal government's withdrawal from health care funding, the aging population, the increasing costs of health care in our hospitals, and the fiscal imbalance all threaten the very existence of the universal health care system.

Luckily, there are still men and women in our communities who are concerned with the quality of life of their fellow citizens.

Today, I would like to acknowledge a significant financial contribution of $100,000 from the Cascades company so that the Hôtel-Dieu d'Arthabaska can continue to serve its population.

I salute the initiative of the President and Chief Executive Officer of Cascades, Alain Lemaire, and the participation of all the people at Cascades, and remind the House that improvements in the effectiveness of the health system are also dependent on effective funding.

Economic DevelopmentStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Gilbert Barrette Liberal Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, on February 5, I attended the opening of a vine tomato production complex at the Serres coopératives de Guyenne in Abitibi-Témiscamingue.

I saw for myself the significant impact the Softwood Industry and Community Economic Adjustment Initiative had on this rural community.

With innovative technology, this cooperative will offer a new product, expand its market and provide jobs in this region that has been affected by the softwood lumber crisis.

Members of the cooperative told me personally that without the support of this program, they would not have been able to carry out this project. They also commented on the efficiency of the staff at Economic Development Canada.

I would like to thank my government and the minister responsible for Industry Canada and Economic Development Canada for supporting structuring projects in rural communities.

Heart and Stroke MonthStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Greg Thompson Progressive Conservative New Brunswick Southwest, NB

Mr. Speaker, this month is Heart and Stroke Month. The Heart and Stroke Foundation warns that fat is the new tobacco. Although smoking rates have dropped by half during the last three decades, we are still not out of the woods with this killer.

But now, overweight and obesity are on the rise. Obesity and smoking, when combined, are a double-barrelled threat, shortening people's lives by years and costing billions of dollars.

All three levels of government must support strategies to encourage healthy living, such as urban planning that supports recreational activity, quality daily physical education in all of our schools and, most important, a public health system that has the resources to address overweight and obesity and the prevention of chronic diseases.

Let us as Canadians work together to improve our lifestyles.

Aiden DoironStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, I rise to say a few words about Aiden Doiron of North Rustico, who passed away recently as the result of an accident.

Aiden was well known and respected in the fishery and throughout Atlantic communities. In the 1950s, he had the foresight to start a deep sea fishing business that has proved successful to this day, providing not only an economy for the area but an education and a great experience for those tourists and locals fortunate enough to fish from his boats.

When the local fish co-op shut down, it was he who supported the local fishermen by buying and selling their product. If one wanted fresh fish or lobster, Doiron's was the place to be.

With his vast knowledge of the fishing industry, he was the voice of experience. When he spoke, we on the political side ought to be listening.

An avid sportsman, particularly fond of snowmobiling, Aiden was foremost a family man who loved so much to spend quality time with his family.

On behalf of all members, I wish to extend my condolences and pay my respects to his wife Beverley and his family.

Immigration and Refugee BoardStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Svend Robinson NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday in Toronto I met with Korean refugee Song Dae Ri and his young son, Chung Il.

Mr. Ri fled to Canada with his family from the terror of the brutal North Korean regime in 2001. Both his wife and his father were executed in North Korea, and now a Canadian officer of the Immigration and Refugee Board has ordered that Mr. Ri be sent back to North Korea even though he faces certain death himself.

I call on the immigration minister today to immediately reverse this outrageous, cruel decision and allow Mr. Ri to remain in Canada with his beloved son. It is cruel to keep him waiting any longer.

The minister should also reprimand Bonnie Milliner, the officer who made this incredible decision, and change the blatantly political IRB appointments process.

Song Dae Ri is not a war criminal. I join with thousands of Canadians in appealing to the minister to show compassion and humanity and grant Song Dae Ri and his son permanent residence in Canada today.

St. Lawrence SeawayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday in my riding of Rosemont—Petite-Patrie, more than 150 people attended a conference on the U.S. Army's plan, which is supported by the federal government, to widen and deepen the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Speakers Alain Saladzius from Rivers Foundation, Luc Bergeron from Stratégies Saint-Laurent, and Nicolas Milot, a Master's student in environmental science, talked about the environmental impact the U.S. project would have on our St. Lawrence. The erosion of banks, toxic sediment resuspension and an increase in invasive species are just a few examples of the likely consequences to our ecosystem.

I call on all Quebeckers to join the coalition started by the Bloc Quebecois and six environmental groups to oppose the expansion of the St. Lawrence Seaway. Let us send a clear message to the federal government to keep its hands off our river.

Canadian HeritageStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Serge Marcil Liberal Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, every year in February, Canadians from coast to coast recognize our culture, our history and our values by celebrating Black History Month, National Flag Day and Heritage Day.

Today, to mark Heritage Day, the Heritage Canada Foundation has chosen the theme “Defending Canada: Our Military Heritage Sites and Buildings”. We can all take part in that theme by preserving personal objects and public collections that symbolize our military heritage. Let us never forget.

Canadians can celebrate by accessing the virtual exhibits on New France and Dieppe through the National Archives site, or by viewing masterpieces depicting the battlefields of Europe in the Canadian War Museum collection. It is also possible to discover stories in our communities, through our public libraries, historical associations and dedicated volunteers.

Proceeds of CrimeStatements By Members

February 16th, 2004 / 2:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Randy White Canadian Alliance Langley—Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, the great Canadian dream is to own one's own home after years of hard work to pay the mortgage. I want to tell Canadians what is really going on so I will use just one example of many.

Phu Son came to Canada in 1994. He was 38 years old and had no money when he arrived. He has been on welfare from the time he arrived 10 years ago. He recently got busted for drug dealing. Now I find he owns three homes, not one but three: one in Abbotsford, another in Aldergrove, and yet another in Langley, British Columbia.

How does a person come to Canada and stay on welfare for 10 years? How does a person living exclusively on welfare come to own three houses? Why are these houses not seized as proceeds of crime and used for rehabilitation of drug addicts?

I do not know the answers, but the government of British Columbia and the federal Liberal government have a lot of explaining to do. This situation is becoming all too common in this country.

Liberal Task Force on SeniorsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Yolande Thibeault Liberal Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to announce that, last week, the Liberal task force on seniors tabled its report on the means through which seniors' lives could be improved.

As chair of this task force, I wish to point out the excellent work of my colleagues, who have held consultations across the country and who have met with over 325 stakeholders, including local groups, experts on issues relating to seniors and, of course, the general public.

The concerns of our seniors can be summed up in these words: health, dignity and safety. As citizens, we have a duty to see that the rights of all those who have built our country are respected. We hope that this report will help decision makers ensure that seniors obtain the services they need, when they need them, and are able to take an active part in community life. It is by creating favourable conditions for them that we will continue to benefit from their contribution—

Liberal Task Force on SeniorsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Edmonton—Strathcona.

CISN RadioStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rahim Jaffer Canadian Alliance Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate CISN radio in Edmonton. CISN radio has been a pillar of support in our community, contributing to numerous charitable and local projects.

Among the many honours it has received were the president's award from CORUS Entertainment, and afternoon DJ Chris Scheetz's nomination for “on air personality of the year” from the Canadian Country Music Association.

The crowning achievement was the awarding of the Canadian Country Music Station of the Year.

For the community, Chris Scheetz lived in a tractor for five days to raise over $103,000 for struggling farm families. CSIN's efforts with the “Mad Dash to the Border” rallied Canadians to support Alberta's beef industry.

Most recently, CISN raised over a million dollars during a radiothon for Stollery Children's Hospital Foundation.

I am proud CISN FM is located in Edmonton. I congratulate the station on a very successful year.

The next time members are in Edmonton I ask them to remember to turn their radio dial to 103.9 FM.

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has launched his pre-election damage control tour. Who is paying? The taxpayer, of course.

However it would be nice if we could clean up some of the scandal here at home.

My question is for the Deputy Prime Minister. Has the Prime Minister asked all his cabinet ministers who sat at the table what their involvement was in this scandal?

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister and the government have been absolutely clear. We want to get to the bottom of this matter for the Canadian public. That is why we have instituted what can only be described as the most comprehensive action plan that probably any government has ever put in place: a public inquiry; a public accounts committee; the work being undertaken by my colleagues, the Minister of Public Works and the President of the Treasury Board.

This is a government and a Prime Minister committed to getting to the bottom of this situation.

Auditor General's ReportOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, did anybody in Canada hear the answer to my question, which was pretty specific?

The Deputy Prime Minister sat on the cabinet's unity committee and communication committee. In those positions, she had to have precise knowledge of what was going on with the sponsorship program in Quebec.

I am asking her specifically now. When did she know about the sponsorship problem and why did she not speak up?