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House of Commons Hansard #34 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

New Homes MonthStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Sackville—Musquodoboit Valley—Eastern Shore.

Visually ImpairedStatements By Members

April 1st, 2004 / 2:10 p.m.

NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, since 1918 the Canadian National Institute for the Blind has been helping visually impaired and deaf blind people throughout this country.

It would like to bring to the attention of the House two major recommendations. First, is the fact that only 5% of reading materials in this country are available in the other format to help visually impaired people. It is asking the government to initiate a fund, and work with libraries throughout the country and the provinces to have more reading materials available for those who are visually impaired.

Second, the CNIB hopes to have the government form a task force to help those people, who are visually impaired, with assisted devices such as canes and magnifying glasses so they too can participate and lead active lives.

The CNIB is a wonderful and great organization. The government should be doing more to help it help the most needy in our society.

Promenade de la merStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski-Neigette-Et-La Mitis, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects has just awarded Pluram Urbatique from Rimouski the National Merit award 2004 for its scenic parkway project called the Promenade de la mer.

This three-kilometre parkway evokes the maritime tradition of Rimouski, particularly with respect to marine sciences and technology. Inaugurated in 2003, the parkway finally gives the people of Rimouski a view of the river and Île Saint-Barnabé that a parapet had obscured.

I am pleased with the well-deserved recognition the designers received for this development, which showcases Rimouski and provides a magnificent lookout over the St. Lawrence estuary. You will find it easily if you go to Rimouski. If you are unable to see it in person, you can see it on the Internet.

JusticeStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Murray Calder Liberal Dufferin—Peel—Wellington—Grey, ON

Mr. Speaker, in January 2002 the federal government announced that former Quebec Court of Appeal Judge Fred Kaufman would review the Steven Truscott case.

Based on circumstantial evidence, Truscott was convicted of killing 12 year old Lynn Harper in June 1959 near the Clinton air force base. His death sentence was commuted to life in prison and in 1969 he was paroled.

Many people feel that Steven Truscott was wrongfully accused, citing shoddy police work, flawed pathology and evidence never brought to light. All but 14 years of his life have been spent under the dark cloud of a murder conviction.

Judge Kaufman's report was expected in January and has yet to be released. I would hope that this report will be issued as soon as possible so that real justice to Steven Truscott can be done.

Fred LaysStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise in the House and share another Pictou County success story with my colleagues.

Fred Lays of Eureka, Pictou County, Nova Scotia, is making Canadian musical history at the Grand Ol' Opry in Nashville, Tennessee.

Known by his stage name, George Canyon, this young, talented country music singer/songwriter is one of eight finalists performing in the first 2004 national star competition aired on USA Network and CMT.

After weeks of live performances on the national stage, George Canyon is still capturing the musical imaginations of Americans. Not only is he one of eight finalists still holding his own in this popular country music contest, he is the only Canadian to have earned a spot on the show.

I feel fortunate to represent the community of Central Nova where such talented dedicated artists are making a name for themselves and bringing hometown pride and joy every step of the way.

I congratulate Fred, his wife Jennifer, their children Kale and Madison for this massive achievement and our best wishes to Fred as he faces the April 4 competition and continues to sing his way into country music fame.

Princess JulianaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Catterall Liberal Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week when her Royal Highness Princess Juliana of the Netherlands died, and later this week during her funeral, the people of the Netherlands were joined by many Canadians, and in particular the people of Ottawa, in mourning her passing.

During World War II, Princess Juliana and her family lived among us. Her daughter, Princess Margriet, was born here at the Ottawa Civic Hospital, in an area of the hospital that was dedicated as soil of the Dutch people. The Woods family members were displaced from their home so that the royal family could have suitable accommodation in which to live.

We have lived with the memory and with a souvenir of that time ever since. In the fall of 1945, Princess Juliana presented Ottawa with 100,000 tulip bulbs. Every year since, those tulip bulbs have kept arriving and now over one million tulips bloom in Ottawa every spring in memory of her time among us.

We join the people of the Netherlands in mourning her passing.

The Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister keeps breaking his promise to end the democratic deficit. In his first press conference as Liberal leader, he said, “I really do believe that open nomination meetings are the best way to go”. Apparently that is only if his enemies within the party can be defeated, because today he is in British Columbia appointing candidates, appointing friends as Liberal candidates, abandoning the democratic process, and taking away a democratic vote.

Why is the Prime Minister in British Columbia today adding to the country's democratic deficit?

The Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:15 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, number one, we are very proud of his choices. Number two, it is not business of government and therefore his question is not admissible.

The Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the House leader has just made my point for me. They are obviously not interested in ending the democratic deficit.

The Prime Minister said he was in favour of open nominations, but apparently, only when his enemies can be defeated. In Quebec, he even refused the candidacy of Jean Chrétien's former deputy press secretary.

Why is the Prime Minister breaking the promises he made in the Speech from the Throne to put an end to the democratic deficit?

The Prime MinisterOral 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, I only have one question for the leader of the official opposition. What is he afraid of?

The Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I would have a comeback to that if I understood what it meant.

The Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

The Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. Perhaps we could go to the questions and answers instead of conversations. The hon. Leader of the Opposition has the floor.

The Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian Alliance Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Prime Minister could not name one single meaningful democratic reform that he had implemented.

Let us take Senate reform. The Prime Minister admits that the Senate is “undemocratic as hell”, but he has rejected any reform proposal. He will not even put Alberta's elected senators into the Senate.

Is the Prime Minister planning to avoid this issue as well by calling an election without filling Alberta's Senate vacancies?

The Prime MinisterOral Question Period

2:15 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, it seems to me that coherence should prevail in this House. When these people are talking about democratic reform, they are not even responding to the invitation that we on this side have made to them to rise above party politics and to deal with reform of Parliament. They refuse.

We have applied free votes here. They have refused. We want to reinforce committees. They have refused. They talk out of both sides of their mouths. It is just not credible.

National SecurityOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

That is just incoherent in the face of the facts, Mr. Speaker.

A recent all party Senate report has laid to rest any doubt about Canada's readiness to deal with national emergencies. The 200 page, two year study found Canada's security sadly wanting, chiding the Liberal government for lacking a credible plan to deal with attacks. Despite government efforts at damage control in the wake of the damning Auditor General's report and this scathing Senate report, Canadians remain at risk.

My question is for the minister. When will the government stop playing politics with Canadians' lives and work with our closest friends and allies, the United States, in establishing a North American security perimeter?

National SecurityOral 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, let me quote from one of the highest ranking officials in the Department of Homeland Security. Asa Hutchinson, undersecretary for border and transportation security, when asked, said that Canadian officials have offered their neighbours “extraordinary” commitment on the anti-terror front. He said:

Every time we've asked for something, the response has been there and not just in terms of rhetoric, but in terms of investment, and we're very grateful for that.

National SecurityOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, commitments are one thing and actions are another from this government.

I am surprised that the hon. member would quote some source other than going to her own Senate report and the Auditor General. This government decimated ports police. This government cut funding to the Coast Guard. It cancelled the Sea King program. It purchased faulty submarines and it has done little to enhance our border. Twenty five thousand Canadian passports are lost and over 36,000 immigrants are illegally at large in Canada.

How can the minister even pretend that security is a priority for her government in face of those facts?

National SecurityOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, not only is security a priority, we have actually taken the actions to back this up, starting immediately after September 11 with $7.7 billion worth of new investments to help enhance national security and safety.

What else has happened? On December 12, the Prime Minister created a new Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, for the first time a national security adviser, and the Prime Minister has asked me to prepare, for the first time in the history of our country, a national security policy. All of this speaks to the government's commitment to Canadians' safety and security.

HealthOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is using an advertising blitz to try to make people forget the last budget, with its total lack of any new federal transfers to improve patient care in 2004-05. The Prime Minister is telling Quebeckers, “There was nothing in the budget, but not to worry, there will eventually be increased transfer payments for health”.

Instead of making promises for later, as an election looms, why did the Prime Minister, since he has the means, not deliver the goods on health in last week's budget?

HealthOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, first, our government did invest $665 million in public health, which is a very high priority for a large number of people across the country.

We have confirmed an additional $2 billion for the provinces, bringing the Canadian government's total contribution to $36.8 billion.

But the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance have already acknowledged that we had sufficient leeway to be able, during the coming year, to continue to work with the provinces and find long-term solutions based on a plan. This is what we want to do in the weeks and months to come.

HealthOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, clearly, there is not one cent more in federal transfer payments for health services, and I quote the Quebec Minister of Finance, a Liberal minister, who said, “Despite the needs of the people of Quebec, the recent federal budget has announced no new money for health”. Those are the words of Yves Séguin.

Will the Prime Minister admit that his ad campaign is proof that he is prepared to play with people's health to win votes?

HealthOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, that same minister to whom the leader of the Bloc has referred also said that the health system of Canada and Quebec depended on more than money. It takes money, yes, but Minister Séguin himself acknowledged that a number of reforms were also necessary. It is on the basis of those reforms that our government wishes to commit, in partnership with the provinces, to ensuring that funding and reform to go hand in hand.

HealthOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Bloc Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is running an ad campaign in which he would have us believe he listens to everyone.

How can the Prime Minister promise to listen to everyone when, in reality, he has not listened to the ministers of health or the premiers of Quebec and the provinces, who keep telling him that the health care system is on the verge of collapse? Why pretend to listen in the ad campaign when in reality he listens to no one?

HealthOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, I can assure hon. members that the Prime Minister is very much aware that health is a priority. He made a personal commitment to the provincial premiers on January 30, when he met with them at a federal-provincial conference. He has already promised that there will be another federal-provincial conference on health and the health care system in the long term.

However, we are fully aware that it will take more than just money. Mr. Séguin acknowledged this yesterday in his own budget in Quebec. We must find long-term solutions based on a plan in partnership—