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

Topics

2 p.m.

The Speaker

It being Wednesday, we will now have the singing of the national anthem, led by the hon. member for Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Aldershot.

[Editor's Note: Members sang the national anthem]

Automobile InsuranceStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Liberal Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, there is a crisis in insurance all across Canada. Auto insurance has received a great deal of attention in recent provincial elections but in fact the problems extend to most facets of business and social life in Canada.

I have heard concerns about the cost of insurance, about a reduction in insurance coverage and a limited choice of insurers from small business people, health professionals, school bus operators, municipalities, realtors, farmers and homeowners.

I realize that insurance is a provincial matter in Canada but the time has come for a full scale national inquiry. The variety of auto insurance programs across the country alone merits national study. All provinces, territories and citizens would benefit from this.

I urge the government to initiate a national inquiry into insurance at the earliest possible opportunity.

Conservative Party of CanadaStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Diane Ablonczy Canadian Alliance Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, the new Conservative Party of Canada is an historic move forward for Canadian democracy.

Voters will now have a broad-based, competitive and energetic alternative to the tired and troubled Liberals.

The coming together of renewed Conservative forces has been achieved by significant goodwill at the constituency level.

My riding of Calgary—Nose Hill has proven to be a superb example of this forward thinking.

I would like to pay tribute to the leadership and dedication of Calgary—Nose Hill constituency president Dr. John Huang and vice-president Mel Johnson. Led by these two fine and capable Canadians, our board includes executive officers Jason Hatcher, Stephen Bin, Jeff Henwood, Gerrie van Ieperen and Frank Hickey, as well as a large number of other committed and hardworking members.

It is with great pleasure and anticipation that I enter a new chapter in public life working with this dynamic group of people for the success of the Conservative Party of Canada.

Canadian Transportation AgencyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Jim Karygiannis Liberal Scarborough—Agincourt, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Canadian Transportation Agency, as today marks the centennial anniversary of the CTA's 100 years at the heart of transportation.

We Canadians have benefited greatly from the work of this independent agency. I congratulate its chair, Ms. Marian L. Robson, its members and staff for their continuing efforts and success.

The origins of this agency can be traced back to the 1903 Railway Act. The first board of railway commissioners took up their tasks in 1904. Through its long history, it has evolved to become the Canadian Transportation Agency that we know today. Originally it was only to cover rail. Today it includes marine and air sectors. It is also responsible for the accessibility of the federal transportation network to persons with disabilities.

Thanks to the Canada Transportation Act, the agency's enabling statute, it can implement the federal government's transportation policy which subsequently makes the CTA an important part of the Canadian transportation hierarchy.

White Cane WeekStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Jerry Pickard Liberal Chatham-Kent—Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, thousands of Canadians suffer from print disabilities. They include people whose vision is impaired, those with perceptual or eye problems and people who suffer from blindness.

All Canadians must have the right to access print material in our society. For those Canadians, alternative print material, such as large print books, magazines, Braille, audio materials and specialized electronic resources are tools to help keep visually impaired people informed.

During this White Cane Week I encourage the government to continue to help those Canadians to function more independently with adequate resources in order to better serve the visually impaired.

Black History MonthStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Yolande Thibeault Liberal Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise today to recognize Black History Month.

This is a time to celebrate the numerous achievements and contributions of African-Canadians who, historically, have done so much to move Canada toward becoming the culturally diverse, humanitarian and prosperous country that we live in today. It is also a time for most people in Canada to learn more about the experiences of black people in Canadian society and about the vital role this community has played throughout our history.

This year again, as in the past nine years, activities will be organized across Canada. My wish is that these activities have a positive impact on the lives of Canadians. Openness to other cultures enriches all who experience them.

HealthStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Roy H. Bailey Canadian Alliance Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, most people, including myself, began smoking cigarettes at a young age because of peer pressure. The town in which I was living at that time was a military town and not only were the uniforms very attractive but also the fact that many of the soldiers smoked.

At that time no one thought of the dangers of cigarette smoking. Today the government spends millions in providing educational warnings to all cigarette smokers.

Today's new danger is one now considered by the scientific community to be even a greater danger than smoking cigarettes. It has been widely proven by competent researchers that marijuana smoking is more dangerous to our health than cigarette smoking. Where are the government's educational facts about the dangers of marijuana and hashish smoking?

Today we have a health care system already overburdened. The government should be educating the public on the hazards of the use of these two illicit drugs.

Yechezkel GoldbergStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Elinor Caplan Liberal Thornhill, ON

Mr. Speaker, on the morning of January 29, Canadians woke to the tragic news of another horrific incident of a bus blown apart in Israel.

Dr. Yechezkel Goldberg, of Blessed Memory, was on Jerusalem bus 19. He was murdered in a senseless and appalling act of terrorism which targeted, once again, the innocent.

Dr. Goldberg, of blessed memory, a Canadian, grew up in Toronto and sang with the Toronto Boy Choir which celebrated Jewish music. He was an observant Jew, graduated from the University of Toronto and was an internationally renowned psychologist who tried to help and specialized in helping troubled teenagers.

I paid a shiva visit to his family in Thornhill and I could not find any words of comfort because of the outrage and terrible sadness that is shared by all of the Jewish community and all civilized people everywhere.

I say to his wife Shifra, their seven children, his brothers, sisters and mother, that their unbearable pain is shared. We pray for an end to violence and bloodshed and pray as well for a return to sanity in our world and peace in Israel.

Sources of InformationStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, January 22 was a sad day for our democracy when the Royal Canadian Mounted Police raided the home and office of Juliette O'Neil, a journalist from the Ottawa Citizen , under the Security of Information Act.

This police action challenges one of the pillars of our democracy, namely freedom of the press and the protection of sources.

The president of the Fédération professionnelle des journalistes du Québec, Anne-Marie Dussault, finds it disturbing and shocking that police would seize journalistic material collected in good faith. She had warned the government, in the fall of 2001, when the controversial anti-terrorism bill was passed, that things might get out of hand.

The Bloc Quebecois believes that such interference in the affairs of the Ottawa Citizen is a threat not only to the public's right to know but also to the right of journalists to carry on their profession freely.

The Bloc Quebecois therefore calls on the government to do everything in its power to ensure that these principles remain sacred.

Rivière des PrairiesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Liberal Laval West, QC

Mr. Speaker, for some time now the residents of Laval West have been battling floods from the Rivière des Prairies.

Because of the ice jams, the residents of Sainte-Dorothée have had to leave their flooded houses and seek shelter with friends and family. I saw for myself that everyone is working flat out to ensure the safety and well-being of those affected.

Along with the people of Laval West, I offer my help and my concern for the disaster victims. I hope that the measures being taken to correct the situation will take effect rapidly so that the victims will be able to go home very soon.

Jamie Brendan MurphyStatements By Members

February 4th, 2004 / 2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Norman E. Doyle Progressive Conservative St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, yesterday I, along with the Minister of Natural Resources, attended the funeral of Corporal Jamie Brendan Murphy of Conception Harbour, Newfoundland, who tragically lost his life in the line of duty while serving with the Canadian armed forces in Kabul, Afghanistan.

I am sure all members of the House join me in conveying sincere condolences to his family, comrades, friends and community.

We often debate foreign policy in the chamber but it takes a special kind of courage to carry out that policy by standing in danger half a world away. During this time of reflection our thoughts and our prayers go out to the men and women of our Canadian armed forces and their families as they stand on guard for us at home and abroad.

Corporal Jamie Murphy is a Canadian hero.

At the going down of the sun,

And in the morning,

We will remember him.

Chinese New YearStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Peschisolido Liberal Richmond, BC

Mr. Speaker, Chinese New Year is an elaborate, colourful and joyous time when families and friends gather to celebrate over traditional new year foods and delicacies.

As the third largest ethnic group, with over one million Chinese Canadians, Chinese New Year has become a major celebration for many Canadians. Residents in my riding of Richmond, British Columbia invite all Canadians to join them in celebrating Chinese New Year with a national holiday across our land.

Please join me in wishing all Canadians a healthy, prosperous and successful Year of the Monkey.

Gladys StrumStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, today marks the 98th birthday of Gladys Strum, CCF member of Parliament from 1945 to 1949. Gladys was only the fourth woman elected to this place and the very first woman to head a provincial political party.

A strong advocate of women's equality, Gladys must be aghast at this government's failure to act on women's issues.

Just look at the throne speech. Women were practically invisible. Then there is the cabinet. To set himself apart, the new Prime Minister has added one--that is right, one--more woman to cabinet. And in his array of parliamentary secretaries? We are at 15%.

Not only did he leave experienced women out of cabinet, he is trying to drive them right out of politics.

Instead of patronizing platitudes, why does this government not act? It can start by establishing a parliamentary status of women committee, a standing committee in this place. Then at least Canadians would have a permanent place to pursue women's equality and we would have a forum to address Canada's failure to live up to UN obligations.

Give equality a chance, Mr. Speaker, and happy birthday to Gladys Strum.

Cynthia PhaneufStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Bloc Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, as of January 9, Quebec boasts the new women's Canadian figure skating champion. Fifteen-year-old Cynthia Phaneuf, from Contrecoeur, gave a dazzling performance in Edmonton to dethrone six time champion Jennifer Robinson, from Ontario, and take the crown.

A person's dreams can come true at any age, and we know that Cynthia's success is due to more than just luck. Her many hours of practice and her constant efforts over a decade have a lot to do with it.

Heroes can be any age. Throughout history, they have achieved immortal glory in their own way. All peoples and all communities need a hero to act as their model and source of inspiration for their lives. Cynthia, you will provide very tangible inspiration to the thousands of young Quebeckers who regularly lace up their skates and glide off down the ice to glory.

Speaking personally, and on behalf of all hon. members, I would like to offer warmest congratulations to our champion. Bravo, Cynthia. I am sure that you will be a shining star in figure skating for a long time to come.

AcadiaStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour—Petitcodiac, NB

Mr. Speaker, this morning in Fredericton, the Royal Canadian Mint unveiled a commemorative silver dollar recognizing the 400th anniversary of Acadia.

Herménégilde Chiasson, the Lieutenant-Governor of New Brunswick, the New Brunswick Minister of Intergovernmental and International Relations, and David Dingwall, the President of the Royal Canadian Mint, attended this event.

The 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first French settlers in North America will be celebrated all year long, with special recognition for Sainte Croix Island, the cradle of Acadia, on June 26, which is the date the first explorers landed.

We thank the Royal Canadian Mint for this important recognition.

Parliamentary ReformStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Scott Reid Canadian Alliance Lanark—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, several years ago Fair Vote Canada coined the phrase “democratic deficit” to describe the sad state of Canada's parliamentary and electoral systems.

During his year in exile, the Prime Minister took over this phrase, without attribution, and declared that he was the man to set things right.

So what is his record so far? What about an elected Senate, for example? Well, in December the Prime Minister announced that he will never appoint Alberta's two elected senators and will not permit elections in any province.

What about fixed election dates to the Commons? Not under this Prime Minister. He is planning to advance the date of electoral boundaries changes in order to call an election long before his government has served a four year term.

If there were time, we could dwell upon the Liberal Party's internal democratic deficit in the nomination races in some of those redistributed ridings, but that would keep us from the final topic.

The crowning achievement of the Prime Minister's democratic agenda; that is the three line whip. Under this daring new proposal, MPs will now be allowed to vote freely on anything the Prime Minister decides to designate as a free vote, but not on anything else.

How this differs from how Jean Chrétien did things beats me.

Canada Steamship LinesOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, after only 20 minutes of questioning in the House of Commons on his business dealings, we hear that the Prime Minister wants to take this issue to the Auditor General and all her resources for a study that will not be clear until fall. That does not smell like transparency. That smells like something else.

Why is the Prime Minister trying to hide this issue from the Canadian people until after the next election?

Canada Steamship LinesOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, it is very difficult to understand that kind of an allegation against the integrity of the Auditor General.

Let me just say that yesterday I offered to refer this matter to the Auditor General. I am pleased to say that I spoke to her this morning. I have asked her to review the matter. I have also asked her to review whether the answers provided by the government to Question No. 37 on the Order Paper were satisfactory based on the information the government possessed. I also asked her to review whether the solutions in terms of the future, which were suggested by the House leader, were satisfactory.

Canada Steamship LinesOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, there is a pattern here. First, we have the definition of marriage pushed off to the Supreme Court. Second, the Arar issue was pushed off to a public inquiry. Now we have dealings directed at the Prime Minister and they are pushed off to the Auditor General until after the next election.

My question is straightforward. Why does the Prime Minister not answer the question? How much money did his company get from the federal treasury? Why does he hide behind the Auditor General?

Canada Steamship LinesOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the question is, why is the Leader of the Opposition afraid of having the Auditor General review this matter? Why is he against openness and transparency?

Let me just say that in addition to asking the Auditor General to do this, I have also asked that all future dealings with the company will be posted on the website so Canadians can view this.

The Leader of the Opposition may not believe in openness and transparency, but Canadians do and so do I.

Canada Steamship LinesOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Macleod Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Why do we need the Auditor General, Mr. Speaker? This would be so simple for the Prime Minister to take care of.

All he has to do is pick up the phone, talk to his sons at the company and ask, “How much money did the company get when I was the finance minister”? Why does he simply not do that? Telephone the boys.

Canada Steamship LinesOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Brossard—La Prairie Québec

Liberal

Jacques Saada LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister responsible for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, the party that claims to be seeking integrity is asking the Prime Minister to breach the code of ethics that applies to all ministers as well as the Prime Minister by making inquiries about something that is completely out of his control.

This is utterly inappropriate.

Canada Steamship LinesOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

That is more feigned indignation, Mr. Speaker. If the Prime Minister has been telling Canadians for 15 years that he was not involved in the running of his own steamship company, why did he later admit he had 12 meetings with the ethics counsellor? That number later rose to 33 meetings. It was one more administrative error, I suggest.

The Prime Minister asserts that he is not involved with running his business, yet he seemed to know last week that the figure of $137,000 was incorrect. He knew that immediately.

If he were adhering to the blind trust rules, how did he know?

Canada Steamship LinesOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Brossard—La Prairie Québec

Liberal

Jacques Saada LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister responsible for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, the figures are on the Internet, on my website. All the tables are on my website. The letter I sent to my hon. colleague is on the website. I cannot help it if people do not see what is on my website. They must be blind.

Canada Steamship LinesOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, we have a blind trust with a lot of peripheral vision in this case. Calling for the Auditor General to now give her input is simply another attempt by the Prime Minister to divert attention away from the truth.

The Prime Minister failed to close loopholes that sheltered his shipping empire. The Prime Minister placed most of his CSL shipping assets offshore to avoid Canadian taxes.

Is the Prime Minister telling Canadians now to just trust him and that in fact he did not have financial relations with that company?