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House of Commons Hansard #12 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was liberal.

Topics

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Vic Toews Canadian Alliance Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to respond to my friend from the great province of British Columbia.

The issue here is not as much a legal issue when it comes to dealing with the role of the Prime Minister. In my opinion, this is consistent with what the Prime Minister has been trying to do from the day that he first sought the leadership of the Liberal Party, which is trying to be on both sides of any issue in order to garner the most support that he possibly can.

When he is government and some good things appear to be happening, he takes the credit. When the bad things are happening, he says that he did not know what was going on.

The tragedy of the situation is that this whole scandal was perpetuated by raw politics, trying to get one man into the office of the Prime Minister. He has succeeded now but he is reaping the rewards of the inconsistencies that he made in terms of trying to be everything to everyone without taking a principled stand on anything.

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Alan Tonks Liberal York South—Weston, ON

Mr. Speaker, I suggest that we are getting a different kind of lesson in raw politics from the former attorney general and my colleague.

As a former attorney general and as a lawyer, I take it that he would be aware of the concept of innocence before guilt. Does he not believe that there is a deprivation of natural justice here and that it puts a cloud over Parliament and this whole government to not allow the institutions of Parliament that have been invoked to come to grips with those issues? Does he not think that would be the fair and even-handed way to proceed?

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Vic Toews Canadian Alliance Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, that is very interesting and again another example of how they are on both sides of this issue.

In their haste to extricate the Prime Minister from this whole mess, what do they say? They say that it is the heads of crown corporations and that those heads will roll. There has not been an inquiry and yet the Prime Minister has obviously found these public servants guilty. The 12 or 14 hidden bureaucrats in the basement who are handing out government money to the Liberal Party are obviously guilty, according to the Prime Minister and according to the Liberals.

The only person who, apparently, is not guilty, even before we get into a public inquiry, is the former prime minister. He stands up and says that the former prime minister is a man of great integrity, and I will not dispute that here. We will find out all about that in the public inquiry. What I am saying is that he is so quick, for political reasons, to exclude any aspersions being cast on some, and only so willing to pass them on to those whom he knows are disposable in this political game.

National DefenceStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Charles Caccia Liberal Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada's participation in the proposed missile defence system should be turned down because: first, Canada has no enemies and is not threatened by any nation; second, should Canada become part of a missile defence system, the alleged, yet unknown, enemy would have every reason to include Canada among its targets; third, there is ample evidence the U.S. intends to weaponize outer space; and, fourth, once the Government of Canada enters into discussions and negotiations with the U.S. administration, it would be very difficult to extricate itself.

For all those reasons I urge the government to keep Canada out of the missile defence venture and to concentrate its energies instead on peace rather than on belligerent measures called defence systems.

Canada's interests are best served by being at the disarmament rather than at the armament table.

AgricultureStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Kevin Sorenson Canadian Alliance Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, in the throne speech the Liberal government claimed that farmers would not be left “to bear alone the consequences of circumstances beyond their control”, and yet there was no action plan. There was no compensation scheme or remedial ideas to get the border open. Nothing. Zilch.

There was only a conglomeration of empty words, and once again ranchers and farmers in this country have been left holding the bag.

The bright light of our once prosperous cattle industry is all but extinguished, as nothing except financial ruin appears on the horizon for many cattle ranchers.

I implore the government to do everything and anything within its power to get those borders open. Also, it is imperative that there is a concrete plan in place in the event that the borders do not open, a reality that farmers and ranchers may soon face.

Please, for once, make good on a promise. Do not leave cattle ranchers and farmers alone to bear the consequences of this disaster, which is far beyond their control.

Canadian Guide and Scout WeekStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Christian Jobin Liberal Lévis-Et-Chutes-De-La-Chaudière, QC

Mr. Speaker, the week of February 15-22 is Guide and Scout week in Canada.

Throughout the country, guides and scouts are taking part in celebrations brimming with camaraderie and friendship among the members of these two organizations.

The festivities will culminate on February 22, which is the birthday of both the founder of scouting, Lord Robert Baden-Powell, and his wife, Olave, the first World Chief Guide.

Scouts and guides across Canada provide generous help to many Canadians, whether as part of their daily good deed or through specific initiatives. I am thinking in particular of the 70 million trees they have planted nation-wide since 1970. Scouts and guides make a dynamic contribution to the quality of life in Canada.

I invite my colleagues to join me in sending their best wishes and sincere thanks to the scouts and guides of Canada.

LithuaniaStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Sarmite Bulte Liberal Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, on Monday, February 16, the people of Lithuania and Lithuanian Canadians gathered to celebrate the independence of the land of their heritage.

This year they celebrated the 86th anniversary of the independence of Lithuania. February 16 is and always will be a significant and meaningful date for Lithuanians. It is on this day in 1918 that Lithuania declared its independence from czarist Russia and re-declared its sovereignty yet again in 1990.

A small nation achieved freedom in the aftermath of World War I. Proclaiming the Lithuanian Republic, its founders stepped forward on February 16, 1918, to assert their country's independence and commitment to a government based on justice, democracy and the rights of individuals.

For decades, Lithuanians have been commemorating this event, during Lithuanians' oppression and subsequent independence.

I would like to offer my congratulations to President Paksas, the Lithuanian Parliament and to the people of Lithuania on this momentous occasion.

Quebec Winter CarnivalStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Claude Duplain Liberal Portneuf, QC

Mr. Speaker, for the fiftieth year, Quebec's winter carnival has given Canadians an opportunity to experience happiness and a zest for life during the dreary days of February.

The popularity of this event has not waned: initial estimates set the number of visitors at 450,000 during the carnival's 17 days. Most of these visitors made more than one visit to the site.

Even Mother Nature cooperated this year, with generally mild temperatures during the event.

The carnival's organizers were brilliantly successful in providing a fitting celebration of the event's fiftieth anniversary.

I feel it would be appropriate for this House to send its sincere congratulations to the carnival's chair, Danielle Chamberland, and her entire team, in making this 50th carnival a resounding success.

Kam HighStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Betty Hinton Canadian Alliance Kamloops, Thompson And Highland Valleys, BC

Mr. Speaker, this summer will mark 100 years since 20 students, the first high school class in Kamloops, gathered above a livery stable.

To commemorate this historic event and reunite old classmates, the Kam High Centennial Homecoming will be held from July 16-18. So far, 1,600 former students and educators have registered to attend.

Kam High graduates are coming home from as far away as China, Japan, Mexico and all points of the world. Organizers have so far located 5,500 Kam High graduates, but there are another 10,000 we have not yet found.

If persons or someone they know attended Kam High and would like to attend the centennial reunion, please visit the events website at www.kamhigh.com for information.

I look forward to welcoming home several generations of Kam High graduates this summer.

Human RightsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to inform the House that the General Assembly of the United Nations has declared 2004 the international year to commemorate the struggle against slavery and its abolition.

Mr. Speaker, 2004 marks the 170th anniversary of the abolition of slavery in Canada. It was in Canada, over 200 years ago, that the first anti-slavery legislation in the British empire.

We can be proud of the fact that slavery is now prohibited. Unfortunately, more than 25 million people around the world are still suffering today because of illegal slavery. As we commemorate today the formal abolition of slavery in the 19th century, let us not forget those still victims of it.

Charlevoix LambStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Beauport—Montmorency—Côte-De- Beaupré—Île-D'Orléans, QC

Mr. Speaker, widely recognized by epicureans, Charlevoix lamb long ago acquired nobility status in Quebec. Considered a high-end product, Charlevoix lamb is different from other meats available on the market because of its original taste and distinctive flesh.

I recently learned that some 10 producers from Charlevoix have been selected to take part in a pilot project in Quebec to establish the first reserved designation of the type “protected geographical indication” for Charlevoix lamb.

I sincerely hope that the pilot project will open new doors for recognized Quebec producers. Like Charlevoix lamb, local products from Île d'Orléans are refined and sought after. Promoting reserved designation products will no doubt benefit both producers and consumers.

I therefore call on the federal government to take the necessary steps to harmonize its positions with that of Quebec, as recommended by the working group on reserved designations and local products. This would promote greater access to international markets for these products.

Canadian Urban Transit AssociationStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Alan Tonks Liberal York South—Weston, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise to welcome the executive of the Canadian Urban Transit Association to Parliament Hill.

Today CUTA released a study announcing that transit systems across Canada need $21 billion over the next four years to renew and expand infrastructure to meet the needs of our growing cities.

Without making these critical investments in transit, tackling transit traffic congestion, improving air quality and meeting Canada's Kyoto commitments will be impossible.

A reliable and sustainable infrastructure program that recognizes the benefits to be gained from improving transit is the logical next step. The government's new deal for cities is providing a down payment to transit systems and shows the government's commitment to transit as an overall investment in the lives of Canadians.

The government is to be congratulated for following CUTA's lead in recognizing the overall role that healthy cities play in Canada's economic and social success.

Liberal Party of CanadaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Strahl Canadian Alliance Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the moment we have all been waiting for, we have in our hands this year's nominees for our very own “Parliamentary Academy Awards”.

Nominated in the category of the white knuckle, podium clenching press conferences: the Prime Minister of Canada for his ongoing starring role as “The Pirate of the Caribbean”, a swashbuckling political adventure that starts in the Barbados and ends up in the office of the Auditor General.

Nominated for his supporting role in the horror film, “The Day the Liberals Imploded”: Alfonso Gagliano. While not yet rated, taxpayers with blood pressure problems are warned not to watch this film without medical supervision.

Nominated for the best theme: the Liberal Party of Canada for its long running money laundering soap operetta, “Mister, Can You Find It in Your Heart to give Me a Dollar”, or in this case $100 million.

Nominated for the full-length flick: “Cheaper by the Dozen”, the RCMP for the number of files they have opened on the federal Liberals.

And, the winner is, and there are no surprises here, the Liberal Party of Canada for its recent screenplay: “If Life is a Bowl of Cherries, What am I Doing in the Pits?”

The losers are Canadian voters who unfortunately have to put up with these bad Liberal actors for another general election.

Identity TheftStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Julian Reed Liberal Halton, ON

Mr. Speaker, as we approach tax season, Halton regional police have issued a warning to the residents of Halton riding, particularly those in rural areas, which should be a concern to all members.

With a large number of sensitive documents being mailed out from employers, financial institutions and government agencies, citizens are at risk for identity theft. Criminals target the mail because it contains valuable personal and financial information.

Common sense measures are helpful. People should always use a locking mailbox, approved as secure by Canada Post. Mail should be removed from the box promptly, or if people are out of town, they should have the post office hold their mail. Police should be notified if someone is seen tampering with a mailbox.

Black History MonthStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—St. Clair, ON

Mr. Speaker, as many know, February is Black History Month, a month in which we officially acknowledge the important contributions black Canadians have made and continue to make to the national mosaic.

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend the 2004 Black Community Leadership Award banquet in Windsor. This year, the award, sponsored by the Windsor and District Black Coalition, honoured the contributions to the community of Dr. Charles Quist-Adade, a former professor at the University of Windsor.

In Windsor and across the country Canadians of black heritage have made significant contributions in the fields of academics, law, medicine and government. My predecessor and fellow New Democrat, Howard McCurdy, was one of the first black members of Parliament.

Indeed, in all walks of life, the black community has helped to make our communities and our country better places to live.

Middle EastStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Pat O'Brien Liberal London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, I recognize that Israel is within its rights to construct a security barrier on its own territory. However, the Sharon government is constructing the provocative security wall on territories occupied by Israel in direct and deliberate contravention of international law.

Again today, I join my voice to that chorus of voices, including many Israeli citizens and security experts, who are demanding that the Sharon government stop its unilateral and counter-productive action.

This wall denies basic human rights to the Palestinian people and further reduces the West Bank and the Gaza Strip to the status of concentration camps. The deplorable impact on the daily lives of Palestinians is unconscionable. The Government of Canada must not just speak against this atrocity, it must take concrete action to impress on the Sharon government our grave concerns.

It is neither anti-Israel nor anti-Semitic to criticize the inflammatory actions of the Sharon government. Like most Canadians, my hope is that Israel and its Arab neighbours will agree to coexist peacefully and build bridges of justice, not walls of desperation.

Softwood LumberStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Kamouraska—Rivière-Du-Loup—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, between May 23, 2002, and January 23, 2004, the softwood lumber crisis has affected more than 10,000 jobs in Quebec alone. In the week of January 23 alone, more than 1,676 jobs were affected. Regions that rely on the forestry industry are running out of steam and the current attitude of the federal government fuels this sense of despair.

Jobs are lost by the thousands and Quebec sawmills cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel, yet there is no news from the federal government about implementing a real plan for supporting the industry in the affected regions.

The case is not closed. Forestry, industrial, regions and the workers in the lead feel like they have been sent to the front line without being given the means to cope with a prolonged crisis. The federal government has to announce the budget soon for its strategy so that, once free trade resumes, the forestry industry in Quebec will not be death's door.

What we need is loan guarantees for companies, aid for the affected workers, and renewal of the economic diversification program for the affected regions.

Foreign AffairsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian Alliance Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Mr. Speaker, governing in general by the federal Liberal government is finally being exposed as the disaster we have always known it to be. Now the Governor General herself, who personally fulfills her duties honourably, is being tainted with the Liberal broad brush of overspending and lack of focus.

The questionable direction given by the Minister of Foreign Affairs has cast a pall over her office. If the Minister of Foreign Affairs had been transparent last year at the launch of the 59-person circumpolar trot, the $5 million dollar travelogue would probably have been stopped in its tracks before the public got railroaded. However, as usual, we had to discover the true cost of this Liberal overrun after the fact.

While Canadian ranchers and grain farmers face extinction because of failed foreign trade negotiations with the United States and Japan and when our foreign policy on national defence underfunding raises questions among our NATO partners, it is not the time to waste money and credibility on questionable super sized foreign junkets.

It is time we had a government that got the country back on track with sound policy and respect for taxpayers dollars.

Sponsorship ProgramStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Larry Spencer Canadian Alliance Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, there are big scandals and then there are big, big scandals. A big scandal was the Enron disaster that was about cooked books and altered assets. Millions of dollars disappeared and people went to jail. This sponsorship scandal is a big, big scandal. It is hurting Canadians.

The Prime Minister says that he is madder than hell. I can tell him that Canadians are madder than he can imagine. After all, they are not putting their heads down on a silk pillow at 24 Sussex. They are going to bed at night wondering where they will be getting the next month's mortgage payment.

While the Prime Minister was minister of finance, he authored CPP increases for the largest tax increase Canadians have ever experienced. He slashed billions of dollars from the health care budget. He took money out of the pockets of Canadians and out of their hospitals. He overcharged workers by billions of dollars in EI funds, and all the while he kept writing cheques for bogus sponsorship deals.

Canadians are mad and they will let the Prime Minister know just how mad they are when he decides to call the next election. I say, bring it on.

Ray Lewis Elementary SchoolStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Beth Phinney Liberal Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, the trustees of Hamilton--Wentworth District School Board recently named Hamilton Mountain's newest elementary school Ray Lewis Elementary School.

Ray Lewis passed away last year at the age of 93, but his legacy will last a lifetime. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Vivienne Lewis. Raised in Hamilton, Ray attended Hamilton Central Collegiate, and went on to become the first Canadian-born black athlete to win an Olympic medal. As a member of the 4x400 relay team, he brought home a bronze medal for Canada.

Ray spent considerable time talking to school-aged children about racial prejudice and overcoming adversity. Ray has been immortalized on the Hamilton Wall of Fame, and received the Order of Canada in 2001.

I am proud to announce that 700 students will be entering this new school in September, with Ray Lewis as a constant reminder and example of how all challenges can be overcome.

AgricultureStatements By Members

February 17th, 2004 / 2:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Garry Breitkreuz Canadian Alliance Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, I would like to share a nightmare being lived out daily by farmers and ranchers across our country. While the government tries to cover up its scandals, these people are struggling just to get through each day.

Mr. Brian Patron, a young cattle producer from my riding, is on the verge of losing everything he owns. He needs financial help to keep his cattle but is being told no by lending institutions. If he were to sell his cattle today, he would lose $600 per calf. On a herd of just 75 animals, that is a loss of $45,000.

The bank advised him to just give up and look for work on the Alberta oil fields. Without support from the government, that will be his only option. He, like countless other farmers, will be forced to leave his home, his family and his livelihood.

The food providers of this country are desperate for financial aid now. When will the Prime Minister get serious about governing this country?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has been in his job now for 67 days. He has had time for a big media blitz and a cross-Canada tour to try and do damage control, but apparently he has not found time yet to pick up the phone and ask his cabinet ministers what they knew and when they knew it about the sponsorship scandal.

Why has he not done that?

Sponsorship ProgramOral 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, as I said yesterday, what this government is committed to doing and what this Prime Minister is committed to doing is getting to the bottom of this situation and making sure Canadians have the opportunity to know what happened.

That is why we are having a public inquiry. That is why the public accounts committee, chaired by the hon. member for St. Albert, is hard at work. That is why we are introducing whistleblower legislation. That is why we are conducting a review of the FAA. That is why we are conducting a review of the relationship between crown agencies and the government.

We are committed--

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Leader of the Opposition.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, if the polling numbers are any indication, they will get to the bottom pretty soon indeed.

The Prime Minister has said that he wants to get to the bottom of the scandal and to leave no stone unturned. Cleaning this up could start right here. Why has the Prime Minister not simply let his fingers do the walking and his cabinet do the talking on the issue of the sponsorship scandal?