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House of Commons Hansard #38 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was land.

Topics

2 p.m.

The Speaker

As is our practice on Wednesday we will now sing O Canada, and we will be led by the hon. member for Saint John.

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

AgricultureStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Liberal Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister will be meeting with President Bush toward the end of this month.

Although there has been improvement in the BSE situation, I hope he will use this meeting, as he has in the past, to urge that the Canada-U.S. border be opened to all Canadian beef and other ruminant products, including livestock.

Most people now realize that the closing of the border had little or nothing to do with health or science.

A single animal with BSE that did not even get into the food chain in Canada and a single animal in the United States triggered a massive and disproportionate response.

It made little difference that both animals were rapidly traced. It made little difference that the U.S. and Canadian herds are genetically one and the same. It made little difference that international experts ruled that the border closing was unnecessary.

I urge the Prime Minister to convey such arguments to Mr. Bush and to stress that the border should be completely opened immediately.

The BSE crisis has been a tragedy for farm families across Canada.

Government of CanadaStatements By Members

April 21st, 2004 / 2 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Progressive Conservative Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, Canadians should be reminded about how this Liberal government has had to make serious corrections after their policies turned out to be highly inequitable and simply unfair.

First, the Liberals provided hep C funding for a very limited group of people: those infected between 1986 and 1990. Finally, they had to expand the funding program after an outcry from victims and their supporters.

Then the Liberals expanded the veterans independence program to support widows if their spouse passed away on or after May 12, 2003. However, all those widows whose spouses died prior to May 12 were simply disqualified from those programs. Following yet another outcry, the Liberals were forced to make changes again.

And now our troops. The Liberals have given needed tax breaks to some troops, just some troops, for serving in dangerous areas but denied many others the same consideration. Again, they had to retreat and expand the program after the troops demanded fair treatment.

The Liberals should apply the principle of equality in all cases and stop trying to cheat Canadians who need the help when they need it the most.

Member for ThornhillStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Sophia Leung Liberal Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, over 25 year ago, the hon. member for Thornhill saw a need to improve her community. Being a woman of action, she made a public commitment to her family and neighbours and was elected to the North York municipal council in 1978.

The hon. member was elected to represent the people of Oriole in the Ontario legislature between 1985 to 1997. As a member of a provincial parliament, she became the first Jewish woman to become a minister in Canada.

In 1997 the hon. member was elected in the newly created riding of Thornhill. For seven years she has spoken with passion and conviction, representing the views of her constituents here in the House of Commons.

In 1999 the hon. member for Thornhill became the first Jewish woman to serve as a federal cabinet minister when she was named Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, and was appointed to cabinet a second time in 2002 as Minister of National Revenue.

For 25 years she has been a strong voice for her community and her--

Member for ThornhillStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Parkdale—High Park.

BadmintonStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Sarmite Bulte Liberal Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, on Monday, April 12, 2004, I had the privilege of participating in the opening ceremonies of the 2004 Junior National Badminton Championships hosted by the Boulevard Club in my riding.

Keith Arthur, head coach at the club, and Stan Viezner, the tournament chair, hosted perhaps the most successful junior badminton tournament to date.

The theme for this year's tournament was “Playin' Proud” which reflects the individual efforts that all participants have made in dedication, commitment, discipline and fitness in order to compete at this level.

The week long event featured 217 of the best Canadian badminton players in the under 14 and under 16 age categories, representing eight different provinces.

There were 10 main events, with singles, doubles and mixed categories in each group. Ontario managed the top spot with six gold medals.

I wish to congratulate all those who participated in the under 14 and under 16 Junior National Badminton Championships.

Compton—StansteadStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

David Price Liberal Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, let me talk about Compton--Stanstead, the jewel of Quebec's eastern townships.

Do members know that Compton--Stanstead is the home of some great Canadians? Why one of Canada's greatest prime ministers, the Right Hon. Louis St. Laurent, called it home. In fact our current Prime Minister is our neighbour.

Folksinger David Francy, who just won another Juno Award, writes his award winning music from the inspiration drawn from its beauty and cultural harmony.

A little-known fact is that Bishops College School is home to Canada's oldest cadet corps. This year it will be celebrating 125 years.

Did I mention it is also the home of the Hon. Jean Charest, the Premier of Quebec; the Hon. Monique Gagnon-Tremblay, the Deputy Premier; and the Hon. Pierre Reid, Quebec's Minister of Education?

Even Hollywood is getting in on the act. Veteran Hollywood actor Donald Sutherland has a home there.

On top of all that, Compton--Stanstead is surrounded by some of the finest members in the House, such as the member for Shefford, the member for Frontenac—Mégantic and the member for Brome—Missisquoi.

Mr. Speaker, even you have sampled this wonderful corner of Quebec, Compton—Stanstead.

TaxationStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Garry Breitkreuz Canadian Alliance Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, the release of Monday's Statistics Canada report on the birth rate in the country should send a loud, clear message to the Liberal government.

Families are being forced to have fewer children because they cannot afford to be a single income family and cannot afford day care or even find day care.

The solution is simple: provide equal tax breaks for parents who choose to raise their own children. Parents should be given the option to raise their children at home without incurring a financial penalty.

Do we not trust parents to make the right choices for the children they love? The benefits would be astounding if we did. We could see the job market open as parents leave formal employment in favour of raising their children, waiting lists at day care centres would evaporate, and the birth rate would most certainly increase.

Our children, however, would receive the greatest benefit, as they would be brought up in the most nurturing environment, their own homes.

Instead of punishing stay at home parents, why not provide equal tax treatment to those who choose their families over their careers?

Bill C-260Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

John McKay Liberal Scarborough East, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is my happy task to thank a number of colleagues and supporters for their assistance on Bill C-260, an act to amend the Hazardous Products Act (fire-safe cigarettes). As we know, to take a bill from first reading through to royal assent requires a lot of hard work, patience and cooperation.

I would like to thank the Deputy Prime Minister, who was then the Minister of Health, and her parliamentary secretary, the member for Madawaska—Restigouche. As well, when the current Minister of Health took over the portfolio, he immediately saw the health and safety benefits of the bill.

I also want to thank the critic for the Alliance Party, the member for Yellowhead, the critic from the Bloc Québécois, the member for Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, the critic for the NDP, the member for Churchill, and the critic from the Progressive Conservatives, the member for New Brunswick Southwest.

The chair of the health committee, the member for Oakville, was very helpful in freeing up time for the committee. In the Senate, the ultimate sponsor was Senator Morin, who was very helpful, as were Senator Smith and Senator Kenny. I am running out of time, Mr. Speaker, and I will have to--

Bill C-260Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Drummond.

Rail TransportationStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday I learned that as of Saturday, Canadian National will begin work to extend a siding into the city limits of Drummondville.

The line will be 12,000 feet long, will cross Notre-Dame street near downtown, and will make it possible for a train capable of carrying dangerous goods to remain there for a period of 30 to 60 minutes, and disrupt traffic.

CN's own representatives admit that Drummondville will be the only city expected to live with such a situation in a highly urbanized area.

The people of Drummond remember the rail accidents at Saint-Basile-le-Grand and Saint-Hilaire and fear for their safety and their environment.

For these reasons, I call on the Minister of Transport to intervene and have the authority already granted to Canadian Nation suspended, in order to force the company to rethink this project.

I am in favour of improved rail service, but not at the expense of the quality of life of the people of Drummond and their environment.

Louise Arbour and Guy LalibertéStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Claude Duplain Liberal Portneuf, QC

Mr. Speaker, this week it was revealed that two Quebeckers are on Time magazine's list of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Guy Laliberté, president and founder of the Cirque du Soleil, and Louise Arbour, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, have made their marks in their respective fields on a worldwide scale. With his creativity, Mr. Laliberté has reinvented the world of the circus. Young and old all over the world have been amazed by the theatricality, athleticism and parallel reality in the Cirque du Soleil.

Ms. Arbour is recognized throughout the world as a leading light in international law. This brave and tenacious woman was able to bring Yugoslavian President Slobodan Milosevic to justice for war crimes in Bosnia and Kosovo.

Canadians are proud of their fellow citizens. I would like to thank and congratulate Ms. Arbour and Mr. Laliberté for their accomplishments.

Rural CommunitiesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Rick Borotsik Progressive Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, today I want to talk about a spirited member of my constituency, Deloraine's Lionel Laval, a volunteer whose work and community service have contributed to the growth and prosperity of southwestern Manitoba.

Lionel has always had a keen sense of community. Lending a hand to his church, school board, the Lions Club, numerous sports teams and the Chamber of Commerce, Lionel pitches in no matter what the project.

While Lionel Laval stands out in his community, he is not entirely a one of a kind person. In reality, he is the epitome of rural Canada, devoted to his community, its prosperity and its future. Rural Manitoba has many such devoted people.

Lionel would agree that rural life infuses people with a sense of belonging. It is a common thread that runs through rural Canada, a thread that weaves a strong fabric.

Lionel will be embarrassed when I tell him about this statement but that is just the kind of guy he is. Lionel does not do it for the glory or the recognition. What drives Lionel comes from somewhere deep inside him, a kind of pride found in the hearts of rural and small town Canadians.

SeniorsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Yolande Thibeault Liberal Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, some of Canada's best successes are its policies on seniors. They include, in particular, the retirement income system and programs to reduce the number of low income seniors by 90%.

We have improved seniors' quality of life, as the following facts prove.

We are the only G-7 country with a perfectly balanced public pension plan, the long term sustainability of which has been proven by experts.

Seniors in Canada benefit from our five year plan to cut taxes and grant over $2 billion per year in tax credits, such as the age credit and the pension income credit.

We fund the New Horizons program for seniors to enable them to lead active lives and contribute to their communities.

There are fewer seniors living below the poverty line than any other group in Canada. This Liberal government believes that it is critical for seniors to remain in good health—

SeniorsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Vancouver East.

Women VotersStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, “for every eight men in Parliament, there are only two women among them”. That quote is from the great website and campaign called YoungWomenVote.ca, initiated here on Parliament Hill by three interns: Chi Nguyen, Crystal Graber and Cloë Rowbotham. Their goal is to get 20,000 young women to pledge to vote and make their voices heard in the upcoming federal election.

We in the NDP applaud their campaign and the energy with which they approach it. This is long overdue, and this House needs to reflect the women of Canada. It is time to put patriarchal politics to rest and close the gap that has seen women so under-represented.

We are proud that in our party affirmative action and equality for women are key priorities of our leader, Jack Layton. We are determined to change the face of politics. It is critical to empower young women to engage in the political process to strengthen democratic and equality seeking goals.

YoungWomenVote.ca is a great initiative. We know they will achieve their goals.

National Volunteer WeekStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, during national volunteer week, I want to pay special tribute to the thousands of people of Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot and elsewhere in Quebec who, every day, put their time and skills to use helping their neighbours.

National volunteer week is a chance for the public to better understand just how much volunteers contribute to sports and recreation, community, institutional and cultural affairs. These individuals work tirelessly, and by working with local associations and agencies, they help tens of thousands of people attain a better quality of life, stay in touch with the rest of society and break the isolation and solitude that many suffer.

Volunteers are an essential resource in our society. I want to take this opportunity during this special week to thank all those who devote their time and energy to improving their communities.

Mental HealthStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Gérard Binet Liberal Frontenac—Mégantic, QC

Mr. Speaker, today I would like to acknowledge the excellent work of five mental health agencies in the Asbestos region. La Croisée, le Havre, l'Intervalle, the Asbestos general hospital and the CLSC-Frontenac received the Most Innovative Mental Illness Awareness Week Event award for 2003.

The Canadian Psychiatric Association awarded this honour to these agencies for the innovative and imaginative documentary called Je t'aime pareil .

I congratulate those who become involved in such innovative community activities to unmask mental illness.

Military HeritageStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Inky Mark Canadian Alliance Dauphin—Swan River, MB

Mr. Speaker, one would expect that Canada's cultural artifacts are secure in the Canadian Museum of Civilization, as it is the country's depository of history, but on Friday, April 2, a British collector discovered that the Victoria Cross belonging to Filip Konowal, the only Canadian of Ukrainian heritage to earn our country's highest military award, was for sale at an Ontario auction house.

Previously, officials at Canada's War Museum, which is part of the Museum of Civilization, insisted that Konowal's medal was simply misplaced in their collection. It was misplaced in 1973.

At a time when some would question whether a military career was an honour worth pursuing, Canada's response should be a proud showcase of our military heroes, not careless treatment of their artifacts. One has to wonder if the Victoria Cross belonging to Billy Barker, Canada's most decorated soldier from Dauphin--Swan River, remains secure.

Our military heritage must be protected and proudly displayed to remind all of us of how much we owe and value our brave men and women in uniform.

Stan DarlingStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

John Herron Progressive Conservative Fundy Royal, NB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to mark the passing of a most exceptional former member of the House of Commons: Stan Darling. He served the residents of Parry Sound--Muskoka with distinction for nearly half a century.

For 30 years, Stan Darling served as a municipal councillor. At the young age of 61, he was first elected to the House of Commons as a Progressive Conservative member of Parliament in 1972, serving the residents of Parry Sound--Muskoka for an additional 21 years, retiring in 1993 at the age of 82.

He was an admired and respected figure within his community and in the House of Commons, yet his greatest legacy can be seen in the lakes, rivers and ponds that we have today. For over 10 years he served as a crusader in raising the issue of acid rain to national prominence. His relentless pursuit resulted in a momentous accord with the United States on acid rain, resulting in dramatic reductions of emissions of sulphur dioxide both north and south of our border.

Canadians and our environment are both better today because of Stan Darling's contribution to public life.

Queen Elizabeth IIStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, 78 years ago today, on April 21, 1926, was born in London, England, Princess Elizabeth, the first child of the Duke and Duchess of York, who would eventually become King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.

After her father's death on February 6, 1952, she assumed the throne and her coronation was held on June 2, 1953. For 51 years she has been visiting Commonwealth countries continuously in order to meet her subjects in person.

On October 12, 1957, Canada welcomed the Queen for the first of her 20 visits. Millions of Canadians from the four corners of Canada had the opportunity to see and to meet Her Majesty.

On behalf of all Canadians, and I hope on behalf of all members of the House, I would like to wish a happy birthday to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has had 24 hours to study the documents referred to yesterday.

These memos from public works show the Prime Minister repeatedly breaking contracting rules, all set up to benefit his allies at Earnscliffe.

Why did the Prime Minister mislead Canadians with claims of ignorance and innocence, when he knew exactly how the system worked and he worked it?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Actually, Mr. Speaker, the documents show nothing of the kind.

What in fact happened was that the first contract was a contract that the government inherited when we took office. It was a contract that had been awarded to the previous Conservative government and we simply continued with it.

Following that, there were two extensions because public works was going through a new procedure. It said that instead of having open bids, they would be extended. Then, at the end of 1994, there was a competitive bid which was won. That competitive bid was adjudicated and administered by public works.

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, contrary to what the Prime Minister said yesterday and today, the memos from Guité and Kinsella were written after the Prime Minister said he ended his rule breaking practices. They show that the contracts were not subject to the kind of open tender that he claims.

Does the Prime Minister still deny the facts laid out in these memos?

Government ContractsOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I affirm the facts as they in fact were.

The fact is that the contract was bid on in an open tender. It was administered and adjudicated by the Department of Public Works, not the Department of Finance.