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House of Commons Hansard #31 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was year.

Topics

HealthStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the former premier of Saskatchewan, Roy Romanow, says he agrees with Ottawa's decision not to increase funding for health in the federal budget brought down on March 23. He said:

Adding $2 billion to medicare without first agreeing on the reforms would be an unwise use of taxpayer dollars.

Money injected into an unreformed system would be swallowed up and the provinces would only demand more.

If Ottawa simply added to the base, as the provinces want...it would probably not be a very good idea.

Mr. Romanow said he agreed with the provincial premiers that there needs to be an increase in federal funding, but the provincial governments forget to mention that he recommended starting by introducing changes so that the health care system is able to meet the current needs of Canadians.

The Prime Minister of Canada said that a reformed system could improve the health of Canadians.

Montréal GamesStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I would like my colleagues to join me in wishing good luck to the 5,000 children between the ages of 6 and 12 who are participating in the 27th edition of the Montréal Games.

Since yesterday, these sports enthusiasts have been competing with one another in 24 sport disciplines, from track and field to water polo. The competitions are being held mainly at the Complexe sportif Claude-Robillard and will end on Sunday.

In addition to instilling healthy living habits in all these children, this event helps them to discover the rewards of setting personal goals.

On behalf of all the members of this House, I would like to congratulate these young athletes. Bravo.

Government of CanadaStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Strahl Canadian Alliance Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, there are currently three big federal issues in my riding. The first of which are the efforts to control the avian flu in the local poultry industry. On this front, I want to thank the agriculture minister for keeping me and my constituents informed about developments in this unfortunate saga, and also for intervening in an appropriate way when I have raised concerns on behalf of people affected by this poultry disease.

However, such cooperation is not evident in the transfer of the old CFB Chilliwack lands, a move that would permit the building of an impressive new education park. This would not cost the federal government a dollar, but holding up the paperwork could kill the project. Several universities are ready to start construction, and the provincial and local governments are ready to go.

We have been promised this transfer for years now. I urge the Treasury Board President and the Minister of National Defence to personally intervene to make this possible.

Finally, I urge the minister to start allocating funds under the softwood adjustment initiative, so that suffering communities and individuals in places like Boston Bar, Lillooet, Pemberton and Hope can plan and move ahead. Let us not wait until an election call to make it right. Let us do the right things, for the right reasons, right now.

Union des cultivateurs franco-OntariensStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, this past Saturday, March 27, the franco-ontarian farm community was in a celebratory mood.

The Union des cultivateurs franco-ontariens was celebrating 75 years of existence. The UCFO began life as the Union catholique des fermiers de l'Ontario in 1929. Concerned about the future of agriculture, these farmers held meetings, provided training for fellow farmers, and worked generally to improve their industry, making every effort to preserve their language.

Seventy-five years later, UCFO is as dynamic as ever. It publishes a newsletter, Agricom , and continues to provide services to its membership.

On the occasion of this 75th anniversary, we extend congratulations to the UCFO, and President Pierre Bercier, CEO Nadia Carrier, and Agricom Editor Pierre Glaude. Long may it continue to serve the francophone agricultural community of Ontario.

François BourqueStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Roy Bloc Matapédia—Matane, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to pay tribute to a young man from Gaspé by the name of François Bourque, who recently won the world junior downhill combined championship in Maribor, Slovenia.

His performance was one of the best at these championships, an additional honour on top of his previous two bronze medals plus a gold in the World Junior Super G in 2003. Quebec's hopes are pinned on this young downhill ski ace.

He has, moreover, been given the honour of having a run named after him at New Richmond's Pin Rouge ski resort.

François Bourque is Quebec's alpine skier of the future, and we feel it is a sure bet that he will have many more medals to his credit as the years go by. Congratulations to our Quebec champion; may he have many more equally great years ahead of him.

RAI InternationalStatements By Members

March 29th, 2004 / 2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Carole-Marie Allard Liberal Laval East, QC

Mr. Speaker, today, I would like to reaffirm my support for the Italian-Canadian communities of Laval East and of other regions of Canada that are asking to have access to RAI International, the Italian digital television broadcasting network.

On Tuesday, along with other Liberal members, I met officials from RAI International to discuss the application submitted on September 15, 2003 to the CRTC.

RAI International is accessible in 215 countries in the world, but not here in Canada. The Italian-Canadian community is getting impatient. It has already presented a petition signed by over 106,000 people and over 330 letters to the CRTC, urging the commission to approve the application to add RAI International to the list of eligible services.

I strongly support this application for RAI International in Canada, because I believe that the Italian-Canadian community in Quebec and Canada should enjoy the same rights as other Italian communities around the world.

Government of CanadaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Monte Solberg Canadian Alliance Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is the Liberal version of Fear Factor for soldiers. First, they fly in a 40 year old Hercules, followed by a hair-raising flight in a 40 year old Sea King. The final challenge is a trip to Afghanistan where they ride in a rusted out Iltis through minefields, while engaging Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters. Then it is back home again for six months before doing the same thing all over again in Haiti. Survive it all and they do not have to pay on their danger pay.

That is how the Liberals treat our soldiers in their flak jackets. However, if they are a Liberal flack their Fear Factor is that they might get left off the gravy train. In Liberal gravy train Fear Factor watch Earnscliffe, Groupaction and Groupe Everest go to a PMO dinner where the contestants will dine on fine French cuisine. Next comes a PMO wine tasting where contestants will consume $100 bottles of wine. Finally, it is the cash scramble where contestants grab millions in phony advertising contracts and untendered commissions.

The only losers in this orgy are the taxpayers of Canada. That is exactly why this reality show needs to be cancelled right now.

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Serge Marcil Liberal Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, the One Tonne Challenge announced on March 26 by the Minister of the Environment is very important if we want to achieve Canada's goals regarding climate change.

Every one of us produces greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. In fact, every Canadian produces, on average, about five tonnes of greenhouse gas per year.

Even though climate change is one of the most serious problems confronting our country and our planet, the good news is that each one of us can help by personally reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. Such initiatives will also provide numerous benefits locally, including cleaner air and more thriving and sustainable communities.

Canadians are proud of the role that they can play to protect the environment, whether it is through recycling, waste reduction or more energy efficient habits. The One Tonne Challenge is an invitation to all of us to take these next steps to achieve the national goal of reducing emissions by one tonne per person, or about 20%.

Softwood LumberStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Musquodoboit Valley—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, Canada's small and medium sized independent lumber producers are being driven out of business while the Liberal government dilly-dallies on the softwood lumber dispute. The situation grows worse with each passing day and the federal government does not care about the economic carnage being inflicted on the small operators.

A recent independent study confirmed that shipments from Canada's small and medium sized lumber operations dropped last year, while Canada's largest lumber producers were at record highs. The big are getting bigger and the small are being driven out of business.

What does the tired, old Liberal government do about the asymmetrical impact of the dispute and the disproportionate injury it is inflicting on Canada's small and medium sized independent lumber operations? It has proposed to make this permanent. That is right. Officials are proposing to take away market share from the little producers and give it to the big guys, under a poorly designed quota proposal based on a faulty reference period, the very reference period where the small operators exports are down while the big guys are up.

The Prime Minister says that he wants to end cronyism. Well, it must begin with the lumber file, and that begins with fair treatment of Canada's small and medium sized producers. We say to Canada's small producers, do not vote Liberal or Conservative, vote NDP--

Softwood LumberStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Terrebonne--Blainville.

Social HousingStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Diane Bourgeois Bloc Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, although there is a serious crisis in rental housing in Quebec, the federal budget provides nothing for the social housing units the Bloc Quebecois has been asking for, for a number of years.

This has terrible consequences for many families on modest incomes who—once again this year—will not be able to house themselves properly because the federal government has put no money into social housing between 1994 and 2003.

Thousands of families, including many single-parent families, are currently looking for affordable housing. The Bloc Quebecois has submitted a plan providing for a gradual reinvestment that would reach an annual investment of about $2 billion after three years, in addition to freeing up the $320 million over five years already announced in the 2003 budget.

Social housing is a need, a right, and an emergency.

Recreational Fishing AwardsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Shawn Murphy Liberal Hillsborough, PE

Mr. Speaker, this morning the 2004 presentation ceremony of Canada's Recreational Fishing Awards were held here on Parliament Hill. These awards honour the achievements of individuals and groups who work to enhance the country's recreational fishing industry.

This year's award recipients are: Kingfisher Interpretive Centre; Tributary Rehabilitation and Erosion Control Program of the Severn Sound Environmental Association; Salmon Association of Eastern Newfoundland; Yukon Fish and Game Association; and the late Rick Amsbury.

I would ask all members of the House to join me in congratulating this year's recipients on their tremendous contributions.

CurlingStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Gerald Keddy Progressive Conservative South Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, on Saturday the best junior curlers in the world competed for gold. Today I would like to offer my congratulations, through you, Mr. Speaker, to the ladies junior curling team of Liverpool's Jill Mouzar.

The 2004 Canadian junior ladies curling champions won silver this weekend at the world juniors in Trois-Rivières, Quebec. Their unbeaten streak was only stopped by Norway in the gold medal game. A win by Canada would have been our ninth junior women's championship since 1987.

The Mayflower rink's performance was Canada's best finish for a Nova Scotia rink since the 1997 world championship in Japan. Jill's teammates, Paige Mattie of Tracadie, and sisters Bliss and Chloe Comstock of Lunenburg had an extremely impressive season.

One does not get to the world championship unless one has the ability to stand on the podium, and I am sure the Mouzar team will be back for the gold medal next season.

Natural ResourcesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Charles Caccia Liberal Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, it stands to reason that we should do out utmost in ensuring that Canada's oil and gas reserves last as long as possible for the benefit of future generations.

In the absence of a national energy plan, we do not know with precision the answer to the following questions. How much oil and gas reserve do we have in Canada? For how long will we be able to rely on the supply of oil and gas before exhaustion? How long under the NAFTA agreement will we be able to supply the U.S. at the present rate? When will we reach the half-way depletion point? When we reach this point, the price of oil and gas is likely to rise because of decreasing supply.

Finding answers to these questions may partially offset the absence of an energy plan. One fact is clear. To act wisely on behalf of future generations of Canadians, we need an energy plan.

Student LoansStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Rex Barnes Progressive Conservative Gander—Grand Falls, NL

Mr. Speaker, the recent budget did not fully address all issues affecting post-secondary student loans.

The budget failed to eliminate parental income from the formula used to determine the amount of the loan. The budget also has failed to allow living expenses incurred by students who work away from home during the pre-study period as a deduction from pre-study period income. Both of these failures reduce the maximum amount of loans students are eligible to receive.

Furthermore, the budget has not provided assistance to those students whose loans are defaulted and placed with a collection agency. Students are hounded and harassed by collection agencies in a very unprofessional manner.

Student groups have indicated that the government has failed to address all concerns regarding student loan issues. When will the government get it right?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, there is growing evidence that Alfonso Gagliano's testimony before the public accounts committee was at variance with the facts, whether it is on his full knowledge of the sponsorship affair, his meetings with Lafleur Communications or his regular meetings with Chuck Guité. It is increasingly obvious that we need to have all of the former public works ministers' documents released.

Why is the Prime Minister continuing to block the release of the Gagliano papers to the public accounts committee?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I have given no instructions to the members of the committee. The committee is master of its own future.

The question is quite simple. If the committee wants to see Mr. Alfonso Gagliano again, all it has to do is call him before the committee.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister said in February, in regard to this scandal, “I take personal responsibility for dealing with this matter”. Rather than now hiding behind the committee, will he instruct the Liberal committee members to release those documents to the full committee?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Vancouver Quadra B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, the committee has full authority to call anyone it wishes before it who has relevant information with respect to its inquiry and to ask witnesses to bring whatever documentation is relevant to its questions.

That opportunity is open to the public accounts committee. It is also open to the public inquiry, which will commence hearings in the next couple of months.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, hiding behind a minister of cabinet is not personal responsibility.

The Prime Minister said he would release all pertinent information going back to the Korean war, if necessary. Now he has an opportunity to make good on those statements. Instead, he refuses to answer questions and blocks information.

Will the Prime Minister stand in his place and explain to Canadians why he will not send all of Gagliano's documents to the public accounts committee?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Vancouver Quadra B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I do not know how it could be any more plain to members of the opposition. The public accounts committee has full authority to bring whoever it wishes before it and to ask those people to bring documentation that is relevant to its inquiry.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, Norman Steinberg, the director general responsible for the audit and ethics branch of public works directly contradicted and dismissed the evidence of Alfonso Gagliano in testimony today.

This falls on the heels of Huguette Tremblay, another senior civil servant, who similarly called into question the veracity of the former minister's evidence. Two public servants have directly contradicted a disgraced former civil servant.

Will the Prime Minister admit that he is involved in this cover-up? Will he directly instruct his committee members to ensure all pertinent evidence is before the public accounts committee?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Vancouver Quadra B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, what could be more illogical than the hon. member's suggestion?

Evidence has been given of different views of the facts in this case. If the public accounts committee considers itself a fact-finding body, then it will be finding out the facts and reporting to the House at the earliest opportunity on its determination of the facts. That is its job. That is what we are waiting to hear.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, here is a fact for the Prime Minister's mouthpiece. There is $100 million missing and nobody over there has taken responsibility for it.

The government has a history of cover-up going back 10 years. Today the Federal Court of Canada determined that the agendas of the former Prime Minister should be released, yet the government persists in covering up the documents of a former minister directly involved in the sponsorship scandal. The presiding judge in that ruling said rules of disclosure are to be limited and specific.

Why does the Prime Minister not release these documents?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Vancouver Quadra B.C.

Liberal

Stephen Owen LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I am quite disappointed with the former prosecutor, who does not seem to know the difference between third-hand hearsay and evidence tested under cross-examination with a finding of fact. We have heard different accounts of different aspects of this case.

That is why the public accounts committee is sitting. That is why the judicial inquiry is going to, in a very disciplined way, come to some conclusions of fact, not wild accusations.

Let us bring the evidence together, let us have the fact-finders determine it, and then let us make a decision in the House.