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


Westbank First Nation Self-Government Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Deborah Grey Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the debate today. We could look at all the political ramifications of the bill, whether it will be tossed through before an election. However, I do not think that is the point. We are in this place to make good legislation. That has to be uppermost in our minds, regardless of whether the House prorogues.

What we need to do is look at some of the pros and cons. There is never anything totally wonderful about any particular bill. There is also never anything totally wrong about a bill either. We need to weigh the pros and the cons. Although, there is a lot of good stuff in this bill, there are some concerns, and I would like to address a few of those.

I too, like my colleague from Nanaimo—Cowichan, have lived on a reserve and have been a foster parent of many native children as well. I probably bring a somewhat different perspective to the table. I am somewhat familiar with that culture because I have lived in it and, of course, had children as well.

What we need to do, first and foremost, is realize that these are real people who have real concerns. I know the Westbank area is a tremendously prosperous area. The people have done a really good job in ensuring that businesses operate well and effectively. As some people have brought out, it is a concern that this will be a template for other agreements across the country, and there may be areas where business wise they are not as prosperous.

We need to ensure that whatever template we set in place that it is productive, useful and effective for any other group or area across the country.

As this debate rages, there has been talk about whether the people will be protected under the charter, or whether they will have a right to vote or have a say in matters. We know that about 8,000 people resident there, with only 430 members, I think it is. I believe the vote to go ahead with this was 195 to 170. This is not exactly what I call a screaming endorsement of something by any stretch. However, 50% plus one always wins. If children are playing soccer in recess in grade three, the guys with the most points always wins.

We know though that this agreement has been endorsed. However, if I were either a resident of Westbank or had a business there and if I were paying taxes, I would want to have a say. I have always said that about people and elections. People grumble and gripe about whoever is in power, and they go on a rant. When I hear that, I ask them if they voted. If they say no, but they say that they still have their opinion, I tell them that they do not have that right because they did not vote or participate in the process. We can understand the flip side of that also, if people are paying taxes and running some very successful businesses there.

It seems to me that if I were one of those people, I would want my say. I might not get my way, but I would certainly want to have my say and be included at the table. I think there are some questions about the bill and whether that will happen.

In terms of the charter and what jurisdictional area is in place or what the powers are, if it is a municipal government or a provincial or federal government, I think there are some concerns from legal experts. These concerns are certainly not from me because I am not that familiar with the situation. I have however alarm bells that go off and I want to ask particular questions about things, such as would that law supercede federal law. Of course we have people on both sides of the issue saying whether it will or not. However, before we pass legislation, we ought to know the answers to those questions first and foremost, so we know exactly what we are getting into.

In terms of people having rights or if there is taxation do they get representation, I am reminded of something else that we went through in the House several years ago, with people who owned homes on the Musqueam reserve in Vancouver on the UBC grounds. If a long term lease is taken out or if there is a commercial operation and people enter into that lease, they have the right to say they are going to quadruple or multiply by 10 that lease. There was a long term lease in place and when people signed it, they thought they would be safe. It looked like there would be some retirement income for them as an investment. However, what happened was pretty frightening for many of the people who had very expensive homes.

We need to have some of these questions answered before this gets rushed through the House. We should not put something through and then ask later if we made a mistake. It is better to look at it ahead of time.

Westbank First Nation Self-Government Act
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)

The hon. member will have five minutes after question period.

Economic Development
Statements by Members

1:55 p.m.


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

Mr. Speaker, Canada Economic Development is taking part in a fish culture station project in an unused section of the Robert-Bourassa power plant operated by the Radisson Economic Development Corporation.

The aim of this three-year pilot project is to experiment with the controlled breeding of Rupert-strain brook trout using waste heat from the hydroelectric dam.

The Radisson Economic Development Corporation is to be applauded for its efforts to stimulate local entrepreneurship.

This fish farming project is eloquent testimony of the region’s creativity and daringness when it comes to proposing promising new avenues of development.

It is also a good way to generate greater economic spinoff from the operation of hydroelectric power plants in James Bay.

Statements by Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

David Anderson Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Mr. Speaker, spring is here and the land is coming to life. After a long, hard winter, the people of Cypress Hills—Grasslands are going into the fields.

Calving is done for many. Seeding is about to start. And, in spite of the tough times on the farm, people are looking forward, forward to better days for them and their families.

However they need help from the government. They need a government that helps on trade issues rather than is helpless; that allows freedom to do business rather than restricts it; that encourages farmers rather than discourages them; and especially, they need a government that will keep its word and deliver on the programs that it has promised.

Why is it so hard for the government to keep its word? It is not just the contracts, the advertising, the phoney excuses, the ridiculous lines and the lack of good leadership. There is something far more wrong with the government and it needs to be replaced. Until it is, Canadians, including our farmers, will be left without the help they need.

Canadian Sikh Community
Statements by Members

April 20th, 2004 / 2 p.m.


Gurbax Malhi Bramalea—Gore—Malton—Springdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, this month, Sikhs in Canada and around the world are celebrating Vaisakhi , the 305th birthday of the Sikh nation, Khalsa.

The founder of the Sikh nation, Guru Gobind Singh Ji, preached equality, truthfulness, tolerance, honesty, brotherhood and human rights. Thus, it is the duty of the Canadian Sikhs to come together in the footsteps of Sikh gurus and continue these efforts for social justice.

Canada's Sikh community and myself are deeply grateful to the Prime Minister for his continued involvement at the Vaisakhi celebrations on Parliament Hill, which he annually attended when he was finance minister and which he attended this morning as Prime Minister.

I am sure all members will join me in congratulating Canadian Sikhs on the birth of the Sikh nation and in recognition of their tremendous contributions in all spheres of Canadian society.

Information Rights Week
Statements by Members

2 p.m.


Derek Lee Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to inform the House that from April 16 to April 23 the Canadian Library Association is celebrating Information Rights Week.

Information Rights Week is an annual activity designed to bring attention to the importance of information issues and policy in Canadian life.

This year's theme, “You Have the Right to Remain Private”, demonstrates the CLA's priority to protect user privacy and confidentiality. The library profession has a commitment to an ethic of facilitating, not monitoring, access to information.

Libraries across Canada will be playing a leadership role in their communities by planning promotions and hosting programs highlighting confidentiality of user information.

We would like to thank the public libraries for their efforts and wish them success in this year's Information Rights Week.

Status of Women
Statements by Members

2 p.m.


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

Mr. Speaker, Canada's foreign policy priorities include eliminating violence against women and helping women become empowered decision makers.

To assist in these goals, the 2004 budget provides an additional $248 million for foreign aid. This is in addition to the $500 million Africa fund and is in keeping with our goal to double international assistance by 2010-11.

We have done this in Senegal, for instance, where CIDA supports a network of organizations that escort and protect women victims of violence, run literacy campaigns and hold legal information clinics.

Canada will maintain its commitment to reduce global poverty and strengthen democracy, justice and social stability, all of which will contribute to improving the situation of women around the world.

Statements by Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Diane Ablonczy Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, a suspected war criminal who entered Canada illegally is now living comfortably in Windsor, over the protests of many Canadians.

An 18-year-old Kosovo woman, Saranda Bogojevci , has travelled to Canada in hopes of reversing Canada's refusal to extradite this man, Dejan Demirovic, to be tried in Serbia.

Demirovic is accused of the massacre of Saranda's mother, two brothers and 11 other family members. Demirovic's alleged partner in this murderous crime has already been convicted and given the maximum sentence.

Saranda Bogojevci says, “I want to know why the Canadian government failed to send Demirovic to Serbia to face justice”.

That is a good question. The students of Bowness High School in Calgary also want an answer.

On behalf of Bowness High School students and other concerned Canadians, I urge the government to stand with the victims of this unspeakable crime. It will send an important message about the value we place on the pursuit of justice.

Canadian Prostate Cancer Research Initiative
Statements by Members

2:05 p.m.


Robert Thibault West Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. In Canada, at least one in eight men will develop the disease in their lifetime. One in four will die.

The Canadian Prostate Cancer Research Initiative is an alliance comprised of representatives of Health Canada and national cancer organizations that strives to stimulate new efforts in prostate cancer research across Canada and to strengthen existing efforts.

In a co-operative effort, I encourage Health Canada to give consideration and priority to the $10 million funding request to sustain the vital research activities of the Canadian Prostate Cancer Research Initiative.

Research is the key to a cure and the Government of Canada has a critical role to play in ensuring that Canada remains a world leader in health research.

Employment Insurance
Statements by Members

2:05 p.m.


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

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, in Forestville, I took part in a march by over 2,000 people from the Upper North Shore, Charlevoix and Manicouagan.

In solidarity, most of the businesses had closed for two hours to once again ask the Liberal government to amend the unfair employment insurance system, particularly with regard to workers in seasonal industries.

Not a single Liberal member of Parliament had the courage to represent the government at this demonstration of solidarity. For months now, attempts have been made to meet with the minister responsible, who systematically refuses to meet with the victims of this government's mismanagement.

I invite the Liberal government, which likes to create endless committees and task forces, to stop beating around the bush and implement a real universal employment insurance system. For the men and women of Charlevoix and the Upper North Shore, this is first and foremost a matter of respect, dignity and survival.

The solutions are obvious. The Liberal government must stop campaigning for votes, and this injustice must be resolved before the next federal election. The people of the North Shore and Charlevoix want the legislation changed now.

Volunteer Award
Statements by Members

2:05 p.m.


Maria Minna Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to welcome here today, Ms. Margaret Norquay, a constituent of Beaches—East York and one of this year's recipients of the Therese Casgrain Volunteer Award.

She has been an active and dedicated volunteer for more than 50 years. An advocate for women, children, immigrants and seniors, Margaret Norquay has spent her life working to create a more just and equitable society. I rise today to applaud Margaret Norquay for her invaluable contributions to our community and to the advancement of social justice.

This award is presented every year to two individuals from across the country whose pioneering spirit, social commitment and persistent endeavours have contributed significantly to advancing a cause and the well-being of their fellow citizens.

I ask the House to join me in thanking Margaret Norquay for her contribution.

Income Tax
Statements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Roy H. Bailey Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker:

Sit down my friend and just relax It's time to pay your income tax. For whether we are great or small They call us one, they tax us all. They tax the collar on the dog And tax the nose-ring on the hog. They tax the wing badge on the hen And tax the feeder in her pen. They tax the baby in his crib They tax his shirt and tax his bib. They tax the diaper on his seat They tax the bootees on his feet. They tax the mattress in his bed They tax the bonnet on his head. Thank God he cannot comprehend That they have taxed him end to end. They tax the coffin where you sleep Enough to make the angels weep. They tax the grave where you are laid And make darn sure the tax is paid. They tax the flowers friends sent for you Because they need the revenue. They tax you all the way through life When you are gone they tax your wife. To all taxmen I wish you well May each of you wind up in--well. Down there no doubt you can relax For the devil needs no income tax.

Holocaust Memorial Day
Statements by Members

2:10 p.m.


Anita Neville Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday I, along with others in the Winnipeg Jewish community and members of the larger community, were present on the grounds of the Manitoba legislative buildings to commemorate the Holocaust Memorial Day, Yom ha-Shoah.

It was a day of much significance. It was the first national Holocaust Memorial Day, a day that came about because of the efforts of all parties in the House of Commons.

We know that between 1933 and 1945 during the Nazi regime, the shift of anti-Semitism moved from speechmaking to policymaking, from policy to persecution, to ghettoization, and to the systematic mass murders at the camps. It was a process fed by many factors, not the least of which was what one historian described as “upon the collaborators far beyond the German border, and...upon the indifference of bystanders in every land”.

It is imperative that we remember that hatred of Jews and the resurgence of anti-Semitism at home and abroad is a malignancy that ultimately encompasses all vulnerable groups. It is the responsibility of all us to fight this anti-Semitism, intolerance and racism wherever and however it is manifested.

South Africa
Statements by Members

2:10 p.m.


Alexa McDonough Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, on April 27, South Africans will celebrate 10 years of freedom and an end to apartheid in their country.

The African National Congress and Nelson Mandela's successor, Thabo Mbeki, have just won a third landslide victory. And another reason to celebrate: almost 33% of South African parliamentarians are women.

South Africa faces daunting challenges, devastating poverty, the ravages of HIV-AIDS and an enormous gap between wealthy elites and the rest of its citizens but they are determined and courageous people.

Like Canada's honorary citizen, Nelson Mandela, South Africans inspire us with their commitment to justice and reconciliation.

Canada's New Democrats stand in solidarity with proud South Africans on their historic achievements.

Statements by Members

2:10 p.m.


Francine Lalonde Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, is history repeating itself? Ten years after the genocide in Rwanda, the international community continues to sit passively by as the situation in Sudan deteriorates. The situation continues to grow worse in Darfur in western Sudan for one million refugees who are in the grip of a humanitarian disaster that may spin out of control. Famine and epidemics threaten the region and the upcoming rainy season has people fearing the worst.

According to the UN, this situation is the result of the ethnic cleansing strategy engaged in by the Karthoum-backed Arab militia as they commit murder and rape, force people to relocate, and destroy villages, food and agricultural resources.

Violence has also resumed in the Upper Nile region, where 50,000 people have fled their villages in the past month because of systematic attacks against civilians by the government-backed militia.

“Never again,” we said after the Holocaust and after Rwanda. Canada must ask the Security Council to address this issue.