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House of Commons Hansard #26 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was liberal.

Topics

Government of CanadaStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Deepak Obhrai Canadian Alliance Calgary East, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians in my riding of Calgary East share the same goals like other Canadians: families raising their children; senior citizens looking forward toward quiet retirement; new immigrants looking forward to settling in their new country; and youth aspiring for a brighter future.

They all work hard and pay their taxes. In return, they expect responsibility and fairness from the federal government. But what do they get in return? They get patronage, self-promotion and abuse of taxpayer dollars, for example, the sponsorship program, the Liberal flag scandal, an immigration scandal due to patronage appointments, and Gagliano crying to Canadians that he is poor, while we know that is not the truth.

It is time to get rid of this government. It clearly does not deserve the confidence of honest and hardworking Canadians.

Riding of Compton—StansteadStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

David Price Liberal Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to invite my colleagues to discover for themselves the beauty of the riding I have the honour to represent.

Those who would like a preview of the magnificent landscapes and superb historic buildings that are found all over my riding can go to see two films which have just been released and which were filmed in Compton—Stanstead last summer.

The first, Taking Lives , starring Angelina Jolie, was filmed in the heart of the town of Stanstead. Hollywood worked its magic, for the film crew arrived in July to shoot wintry scenes in this charming town.

The second film, The Secret Window , stars Johnny Depp. It was filmed in the picturesque village of North Hatley, where French President Jacques Chirac also vacationed last summer.

The riding of Compton—Stanstead is an extraordinary place.

Regional DevelopmentStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, on March 15, the Prime Minister of Canada went to Val-d'Or. He attended two meetings and had an opportunity to listen to many requests made by the people of the vast riding of Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik.

He was told about many things, including: the importance of assistance for mineral exploration and the mining sector; the urgent need to resolve the softwood lumber crisis; the need to help the agricultural sector; as well as the need for support for projects benefiting the James Bay Cree, the Inuit of Nunavik, the Algonquians of Kitcisakik and Lac Simon, and the native friendship centres in Val-d'Or, Senneterre and Chibougamau.

The Prime Minister was very attentive to the requests coming from our large resource-based region, and asked many questions about the issues.

In particular, he noted two major concerns of the region: the first is economic development, which involves the forestry, mining, and agri-food sectors, and the native peoples and Inuit; the second is the issue of native and Inuit education.

Toronto Jewish CommunityStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Art Eggleton Liberal York Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise to condemn the anti-Semitic incidents that occurred in my riding of York Centre over the weekend.

Twenty-two tombstones on Jewish graves were upturned at Bathurst Lawn Memorial Park. Swastikas and genocidal slogans desecrated the Pride of Israel synagogue and the Eitzchaim Jewish Day School. Numerous United Jewish Appeal signs were defaced.

This, only two days after 13 residences in neighbouring Thornhill were sprayed with anti-Semitic graffiti. This, on the weekend marking the 60th anniversary of the Holocaust in Hungary, where 500,000 Jews perished. This, on the day marked by the United Nations as the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. This, on the streets of Toronto, here and now.

The League for Human Rights of B'nai B'rith Canada reports that the number of anti-Semitic incidents in Canada has doubled in the last three years. This is unacceptable.

I call on all Canadians to stand with their Jewish neighbours to confront bigotry. I call on Canadian law enforcement officials to ensure that the perpetrators are held accountable.

I ask the Government of Canada to consider new measures to combat the rising tide of extremism targeting Jewish Canadians.

Rural CommunitiesStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Scott Reid Canadian Alliance Lanark—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, rural Ontario is under assault from federal and provincial Liberal governments that neither understand nor respect the rural way of life.

At the core of the Liberal attack is the belief that it is acceptable for governments to strip away the value of private property without providing compensation, or to arbitrarily adjust taxation levels in ways that amount to a confiscation of some or all of the value of private property.

In Ontario, this attack on rural property includes: the shutting of local slaughterhouses that cannot keep up with everchanging and arbitrary rules, the imposition of new sawdust disposal rules that may shut down many small sawmills, and the creation of nutrient management rules that make perfectly safe existing practices unlawful.

Finally and most egregiously, it is a year since the Liberals passed the Species at Risk Act without the amendment that I had proposed, which would have guaranteed full and prompt compensation for landowners who lose the use of lands inhabited by endangered species. The government promised that compensation would be assured in the regulations under the act. Today, it is clear that this was just another Liberal lie to rural Canadians.

Nobody disputes the right of governments to take property for public purposes or to limit its use, but depriving rural Canadians of full, prompt and just compensation is unjust and it must stop.

Progressive Conservative PartyStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, today is a day of mixed emotions in the political history of this country. The new so-called Conservative Party finally has a new leader as per the results from the weekend.

However, it is a sad occasion, because it marks officially the death of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada, the death of the party that was the home of memorable names such as Macdonald, Cartier, Borden, Diefenbaker and Stanfield.

Sadly, the new Conservative Party is not progressive. It simply demonstrates to all Canadians that the so-called merger was nothing more than an Alliance takeover, which is what we said.

There might be a new Conservative leader, but it is the same old Reform/Alliance Party with no Tories allowed.

Middle EastStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, this morning Israeli helicopters killed the spiritual leader of Hamas in an air strike as he left a mosque. Two of his bodyguards and five bystanders also died.

This has triggered an international outcry. The Bloc Quebecois agrees with the foreign affairs ministers of the European Union, who voiced concerns about the consequences of this assassination, in stating, “Not only are extrajudicial killings contrary to international law, they undermine the concept of the rule of law, which is a key element in the fight against terrorism”.

We also support a motion today by four members who state that Canadian law must recognize suicide attacks as crimes against humanity.

The Bloc Quebecois considers that acts of violence by both sides must cease and urges the Government of Canada and international organizations to step up their efforts to put an end to violence in the Middle East. The road to peace starts with an end to violence.

World Water DayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, today, the international community marks World Water Day. Water, which is the source of life, is a major concern for our government.

In my opinion, it is appropriate to highlight the numerous steps taken by my colleagues from Compton—Stanstead and Brome—Missisquoi to defend the quality of this country's water reserves.

In fact, at a time when there is a plan to expand a landfill site on the banks of the Black River in Coventry, Vermont, my two colleagues are doing everything possible to inform our American neighbours of the associated risks. The plan threatens the main tributary of Lake Memphrémagog, which supplies drinking water to hundreds of thousands of Canadians.

Unfortunately, my colleague from Sherbrooke does not deserve similar congratulations. While the quality of his constituents' drinking water is at stake, he prefers to take part in partisan spats.

Conservative PartyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rahim Jaffer Canadian Alliance Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians finally have what they need: a united Conservative Party doing what is right instead of a divided Liberal Party doing what is wrong and corrupt.

Our recent leadership convention attracted the strongest candidates for Prime Minister in a very long time. Tony Clement and Belinda Stronach proved that Canadians hunger for experience and change. Of course, no one better embodies both these qualities than the overwhelming winner, the member of Parliament for Calgary Southwest.

As Prime Minister, this man will lead Canada into a new era in which we will all be proud to call ourselves Canadians. It will be an era where Canadians are able to save for their families' future; an era where our streets are safe; and an era where being sick does not mean waiting months on end for necessary surgery or cancer treatment.

This is his vision for Canada. It is a Conservative vision. It is a vision all Canadians can share.

Mitchell SharpStatements By Members

March 22nd, 2004 / 2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Roy Cullen Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to pay respect to Mitchell Sharp and his remarkable life of public service.

Mitchell Sharp began his career in public service during the second world war when he joined the Department of Finance as director of economic policy division. Sharp notably helped negotiate Newfoundland's entry into confederation in 1949.

In 1951, Sharp moved to the trade department and after working briefly in the private sector he was drawn back to public service when he was asked by Lester B. Pearson to organize a Liberal thinker's conference in 1960.

This marked the beginning of his great political career. He was elected to the House of Commons in 1963 and served in cabinet for nearly 15 years. Even though he left politics as an MP in 1978, Mitchell Sharp continued to serve the government for another generation.

I invite all members in the House to join me in recognizing the brilliant career of a great man who served his country so well and who was respected by all Canadians.

Violence Against WomenStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, today the Native Women's Association of Canada launched its national campaign “Sisters in Spirit” to raise awareness and to demand action about the tragedy of over 500 aboriginal women who are missing or murdered in Canada.

The exploitation, murder and violence against aboriginal women, sex trade workers, and poor women is increasing at an alarming rate, but the government has failed to act. The 61 missing women in Vancouver's downtown east side, the closure of women's centres, and deepening poverty and violence all point to an ongoing failure of public policy.

The government shows its real intent in the federal budget. So what is it to be, the rhetoric of the debt or the real and desperate need of aboriginal women?

The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, March 21, is a time to express our solidarity for this campaign. Federal New Democrats will not allow these sisters to be forgotten. We will demand accountability from this government and its miserable record that has hurt so many women in Canada.

Employment InsuranceStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, I would like to come back to the answer from the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development given on March 9, regarding employment insurance.

The minister's answer to the question by my colleague, the member for Rimouski—Neigette-et-la Mitis, clearly shows the incredible lack of interest by the Liberal government in the fate of seasonal workers in Haute-Côte-Nord and Charlevoix.

These citizens have had more than enough. They have gone so far as to block traffic on route 138 in order to be heard and show the federal government just how exasperated they are. Yet, these workers are only asking for what they are owed: the $45 billion that was stolen from the employment insurance fund.

These workers have to cope with a gap every spring and the minister keeps saying that there are already training funds to help them. Nonetheless, does he not see that these funds do not meet their needs?

The minister has to open his eyes once and for all. He has to see that the current employment insurance system does not correspond in any way to the reality of seasonal workers.

In conclusion, I invite the minister to meet with these unemployed people and explain his reasons for not giving them what they are owed.

Harrison McCainStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Charles Hubbard Liberal Miramichi, NB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to a great New Brunswicker and a great Canadian businessman, Harrison McCain, who passed away last week at the age of 76.

He was one of four brothers who grew up in Florenceville, New Brunswick. In 1956, they started what today is an international food processing enterprise that employs more than 18,000 people on four continents. Its annual sales exceed $6 billion. McCain's French Fries is a household word around the world.

Today, the small rural community of Florenceville, on the Saint John River, and the headquarters of his company, McCain Foods, mourns his passing.

On behalf of all members in the House, I extend my deepest sympathy to his entire family and to the community of Florenceville. Harrison McCain's success shows to all Canadians the product of hard work, vision and determination.

The Prime MinisterStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Rajotte Canadian Alliance Edmonton Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, the first 100 days of office of the new Prime Minister have proved that everything old is new again. Despite spending 10 years preparing for the role and despite spending 10 years organizing to oust Jean Chrétien, the Prime Minister's agenda for the first 100 days is reduced, reused and recycled.

All 23 items of legislation being debated in the House are bills that were authored and championed by his predecessor, Jean Chrétien.

The Prime Minister promised to address the democratic deficit, yet he delayed the opening of Parliament by three weeks and then only six days later his government invoked closure to cut off debate in the House.

The real legacy of this Prime Minister is that for each day the Prime Minister has sat at his desk, $1 million went missing from the taxpayer and into the Liberal ad scam coffers.

With the election of the new Conservative leader, it is clear that we are in the twilight of this tired, old, and scandal ridden government. The first 100 days of the Prime Minister could very well turn out to be the first of the last for the Liberal Party of Canada.

Bill C-250Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

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

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Leader of the Opposition on his historic victory this past weekend. He has proven that he has the support of those within the Conservative Party of Canada. Now it will be his challenge to reach out and secure the support of all Canadians. Many social conservatives have trusted his leadership and hope he will continue to provide alternative social policy.

I would also like to address the current situation regarding Bill C-250. There is a movement in the Senate to delay the passage of this contentious bill. I would urge that other place to fulfill its role and provide real sober thought on this bill.

I ask the government to allow Canadians to have their voices heard on this issue. Many Canadians feel that the bill will seriously infringe upon the rights of freedom of speech and religion. The government should cancel the passage of this bill until after an election, allowing Canadians to consider this issue as they cast their votes.

HomelessnessStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Janko Peric Liberal Cambridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have been to the temporary Out of the Cold winter shelter many times in my riding and have seen the challenges faced by those who find themselves homeless.

In my riding, the Cambridge Shelter Corporation and the Cambridge Kiwanis Village Non-Profit Housing Corporation have come together to address this challenge by building and operating The Bridges. This permanent shelter facility, with transitional housing units and a drop-in centre, needs the support of the entire community to succeed.

I call upon the caring people and businesses in my riding of Cambridge to demonstrate their support by donating to the “Who Cares?” campaign. Let us all work together to make a difference in Cambridge by donating to the “Who Cares?” campaign.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I have to ask if anything happened while I was away. Two years ago my first questions as Leader of the Opposition were on Liberal waste, mismanagement and corruption. Two years later, we have no answers. Two years later, we have more Liberal waste, mismanagement and corruption.

My question is simple and it is for the Prime Minister. How long until Canadians get answers to who is responsible and the truth behind this Liberal sponsorship scandal?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, first of all, on behalf of the government, let me congratulate the hon. member for his ascension to the leadership of his party and welcome him back as Leader of the Opposition. May he have a long and compelling career in that role.

As the hon. gentleman will know, beginning on December 12 the Prime Minister has taken a series of very decisive actions, beginning with the total cancellation of the sponsorship program, the expedition of the work of the public accounts committee, the appointment of a public inquiry, and a number of other steps in order to ensure that, indeed, Canadians get the answers they deserve.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the member can talk about decisive steps, but Canadians are entitled to the truth. They do not have the truth today and they want the truth.

The Prime Minister was clear. He said that there had to be political direction. Mr. Gagliano said last week that it was not him. Who was it? Was it the former finance minister? Was it the former vice-chair of the Treasury Board? Was it the former senior political minister from Quebec? All are innocent, yet the money is gone.

Where in the government did the political direction come from?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has been very clear to ensure that all answers are in fact provided in the proper way and after thorough investigation.

In addition to the steps that I announced earlier, the Prime Minister has also appointed a special counsel for the recovery of money. He has moved to discipline the behaviour of crown corporations. He has announced a new system to select crown corporation directors, chairs and chief executive officers. He has implemented advertising reform measures to ensure transparency in competition and we have in fact cut the budget for advertising.

The Prime Minister is acting on all fronts.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, we do not want process. We want answers. I will ask again.

The Prime Minister made it very clear, stating “There had to be political direction”. Mr. Gagliano says it did not come from him. All the Liberals are saying “Not me, not me”.

Who will be held responsible, and when will Canadians find this out?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I would point out to the hon. Leader of the Opposition that both process and substance are important. This government has put in place the steps through a very detailed series of investigative measures that will make sure that first of all, process is followed, and second and equally important, that Canadians receive all of the answers that they are anxious to have.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, this weekend the Minister of Heritage described the sponsorship scandal as nothing but an opposition attempt to sully the reputation of the government. This is absolutely false. Her words notwithstanding, the scandal is a real problem and one on which Canadians expect some real answers before the election.

Does the Prime Minister also believe that the scandal does not exist?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I am not aware of the quotation to which the hon. gentleman refers, but I want to assure him that this government is taking this matter very seriously. That is obvious by the actions we have already taken, the most elaborate and detailed investigation ever conducted.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, in a recent illegal Liberal fundraising letter, the Prime Minister referred to the ad scandal as an unfortunate set of circumstances. It is reminiscent of the classic Chrétien “maybe a few million were stolen”.

For the average Canadians filling out their income tax forms next month, this is a huge problem. The minister of heritage's and the Prime Minister's flim-flam attempts to say that this is not a big deal shows contempt for Canadians' concerns and cash.

Will the Prime Minister unequivocally commit to getting to the bottom of the ad scandal before an election call?