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House of Commons Hansard #41 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was sentence.

Topics

International Transfer of Offenders ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

After question period, the hon. member for Lac-Saint-Louis will have approximately eight minutes left in the period of questions and comments.

The Chair will now proceed to statements by members.

Lakefield MarinaStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Liberal Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, last summer was a difficult tourism season in Ontario because of SARS. On top of that problem, the people of Lakefield had their main dock closed while the township and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans negotiated over the cost of repairing it. I have received petitions from many residents about this.

I urge the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to continue to negotiate with the township of Smith-Ennismore-Lakefield. The dock must be refurbished and reconstructed so that it will last for many decades to come.

In the meantime, I urge the minister to have the dock tested immediately and, if it is safe, have it opened as is for this important tourism season. Let us do all we can to help the people and businesses of Lakefield now.

ElectionsStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Deepak Obhrai Canadian Alliance Calgary East, AB

Mr. Speaker, on the eve of our own federal election, the Conservative Party and Canadians would like to congratulate the people, election organizers and the elected governments of Malaysia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Spain, South Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia, Austria and Russia for having successful elections.

We would also like to congratulate those countries either undergoing elections or about to have them in the near future, such as India, the Philippines, Panama, the Dominican Republic and Malawi. These countries are fast closing the democratic deficit in their respective countries. The Liberals need to take notice of this trend.

Canada sends our best wishes.

Foreign AffairsStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Charles Caccia Liberal Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister of Spain, Jose Luis Zapatero, has made a decision of great political importance by deciding to withdraw Spanish troops from Iraq.

He has at the same time put into question the assertion by the U.S. and U.K. governments that the basic mission of the coalition troops is to bring democracy to Iraq. The question is, can western democracy be imposed with armed forces?

Mr. Zapatero's decision is based upon impeccable logic. Governments of countries, such as Denmark, Italy and Poland, may well wish to reflect on and adopt Spain's sensible decision. Parliamentarians in Denmark, Italy and Poland may well decide to press their governments because it is becoming more and more evident that the presence of foreign troops in Iraq is not helping the cause of democracy.

Women EntrepreneursStatements By Members

April 26th, 2004 / 2 p.m.

Liberal

Sarmite Bulte Liberal Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government recognizes how vital women-owned businesses are to the Canadian economy. The fact is there are 821,000 women-owned businesses in Canada which contribute in excess of $18 billion every year to our economy, quite a significant sector of our economy.

The government has a proven track record in supporting the growth of small businesses. Our five year tax plan helps them retain more of their earnings and enhances opportunities and incentives for investors.

The report of the 2003 Liberal task force on women entrepreneurs contained recommendations that were in fact included in budget 2004: accelerated initiatives to provide more quality child care; working to update labour market programming to better reflect the realities of work in the 21st century; and announcing venture capital investment programs through the Business Development Bank of Canada and Farm Credit Canada, totalling $270 million.

The government is proud to help women business owners across Canada scale new heights.

Cambridge Classic MileStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Janko Peric Liberal Cambridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, Run for Life Inc., a non-profit organization promoting grassroots running and fitness programs, is hosting the first annual Cambridge Classic Mile Run for Life on June 18 at Galt Collegiate Institute.

Hundreds of children and adults of all ages will participate in a day-long series of one mile races, with elite runners competing in a special invitational race to climax the event. The event marks the 50th anniversary of the historic breaking of the four minute barrier at Oxford University.

Special guests will include two-time Olympian Grant McLaren, and Dave Bailey, Canada's first sub-four minute miler. A GCI teacher, Bryce Macey, and his grade 11 leadership class will resurface the track with the same material used 50 years ago.

I am pleased to join the House in wishing Run for Life chair, John Carson, and all participants and volunteers every success as they compete and raise greater awareness about lifelong fitness.

ElectionsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jim Abbott Canadian Alliance Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, over the weekend I had the privilege of meeting hundreds of my constituents at the Cranbrook Trade Fair. It was very gratifying to get their positive response to me and to our new party but members should have heard what they had to say about the federal Liberals.

They cannot believe the way the Liberals squander taxpayers' hard-earned income. Incompetence, arrogance, waste and downright criminality are only what I can repeat in the House. However the number one issue on their hit parade, and I mean hit parade, was the breathtaking conceit of the Prime Minister as he toys with setting an election date. This is in stark contrast to the leader of the Conservative Party who is committed to establishing fixed election dates, thereby putting Canadians and Canadian interests first and foremost.

Canadians are truly in tune with what we are saying: demand better, vote Conservative.

Small Craft Harbours ProgramStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Georges Farrah Liberal Bonaventure—Gaspé—Îles-De-La-Madeleine—Pabok, QC

Mr. Speaker, I was delighted last week to be able to announce, on behalf of the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, an investment of $275,000, which must have also delighted the fishers of the Gaspé Peninsula.

This investment, within the Small Craft Harbours Program, will be used for dredging at the fishing harbours of Gascons, L'Anse-à-Beaufils, Cloridorme, Saint-Godefroi and Sainte-Thérèse-de-Gaspé.

As I have pointed out before, this investment is vital to the fishing communities of the Gaspé Peninsula. Local fishers require a well-maintained, operational harbour in order to successfully undertake their fishing season.

The dredging to be undertaken with the funding from our government will ensure that vessels have adequate water depth for safe navigation.

Dredging will begin in May, and harbour authorities should shortly be receiving work schedules so that they may inform the fishers of the expected dredging dates.

Older Worker Adjustment ProgramStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, the recently announced closures at Whirlpool in Montmagny and Abitibi Consolidated at Port-Alfred are sad examples of the importance and urgency of restoring POWA, the program for older worker adjustment. This program helps such workers live decently when they lose their jobs in circumstances beyond their control.

Often such workers have paid into EI for years, and never benefited from it. Quebec has seen its share of plant closings in recent years, with major lay-offs, and each one of these has been proof that a permanent support program like POWA is essential. These closures have affected thousands of older workers who have suddenly found themselves looking for work.

In the past, POWA has proven highly successful and the Liberal government ought to understand that additional employment insurance benefits are needed if older workers are to be able to make ends meet until they start receiving retirement benefits or find another job. Action must be taken now, as time is running out.

VaisaikiStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Sarkis Assadourian Liberal Brampton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House to join with Sikhs in Canada and throughout the world in marking the celebration of Vaisaiki .

From its origin in the Indus Valley, the Sikh faith has spread throughout the world, including Canada where the first Sikh pioneers settled over 100 years ago.

Over the past two weekends I joined with many of my Sikh constituents in a wonderful celebration of faith and pride in their culture. Congratulations to the Canadian Sikh community on the celebration of Vaisaiki .

[Editor's Note: Member spoke in Punjabi]

Sponsorship ProgramStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Diane Ablonczy Canadian Alliance Calgary Nose Hill, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are outraged that desperate Liberals have turned their guns on the Auditor General.

A Liberal member on the public accounts committee makes repeated efforts to distort the AG's concerns about the $100 million siphoned off to Liberal friendly ad agencies for little or no work. The President of the Treasury Board made an irresponsible statement in a bizarre attempt to minimize the $100 million figure. He hastily backed off when promised proof turned out to be a figment of his imagination.

The Prime Minister and the Liberal government have been caught red-handed in Liberal abuse of millions of tax dollars taxed from struggling Canadians. To escape justified anger, the Liberals are now trying to shoot the messenger by outrageous attacks on our respected Auditor General.

What does it say about a Prime Minister who engages in such disgusting tactics? Canadians will demand better in the coming election. The new Conservative Party is committed to cleaning up the Liberal mess. It cannot come soon enough.

CurlingStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

NDP

Alexa McDonough NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are celebrating the magnificent victory of Colleen Jones, Mary-Anne Arsenault, Nancy Delahunt and Kim Kelly on their gold at the women's world curling championships. Congratulations are also in order for the bronze won by the Canadian men's team, also from Halifax, of Mark Dacey, Bruce Lohnes, Robert Harris and Andrew Gibson.

For the Jones team there is no resting on their laurels. As the twice over world champions and six-time Canadian champions, they prepare to make their bid in Halifax to represent Canada at the 2006 Olympics.

Haligonians and all members of Canada's Parliament extend heartiest congratulations and thanks for putting Canada on top of the world.

TaxationStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, this morning the Bloc Quebecois released the third report of the committee chaired by Jacques Léonard, this time on the evolution of federal transfers to the provinces and to individuals. There are two main findings.

When the current Prime Minister was the finance minister, transfers for health, education, and social assistance decreased in Quebec, while they continued to increase in other Canadian provinces. The same is true for individuals with respect to employment insurance.

Moreover, during that same time, the Prime Minister of Canada mismanaged the national debt by quickly paying down the federal debt—the least costly portion—thereby causing an increase in debt for the governments of Quebec and the provinces.

From this study and the two previous ones, it is quite clear that the current Prime Minister has contributed to financially choking Quebec and that year after year, under the federal system, Quebeckers are increasingly losing the ability to determine their own future.

New Minas, Nova ScotiaStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, the village of New Minas, Nova Scotia has a long history that can be traced back to 1604, but it is the explosive growth of recent years that confirms its attractiveness as a great place to live.

The National Post newspaper, however, chose to portray the village in a different way. In a recently conducted survey, the newspaper invited readers to name the “crappiest town in Canada”. Based on a single anonymous letter, it picked New Minas as the winner.

New Minas is the home to the challenging Ken-Wo golf club. It is home to the largest annual soccer tournament in Atlantic Canada and is known as Canada's soccer capital. It has an abundance of recreational facilities and over 300 commercial outlets for eager shoppers.

It is truly the residents who make this community great. Earlier this month New Minas feted its volunteers at a volunteer luncheon. I salute them for making New Minas a great place to live. The National Post newspaper would do well to retract its slam on this community and salute their efforts too.

Kelowna Citizens AwardsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Werner Schmidt Canadian Alliance Kelowna, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to bring to the attention of the House the names of this year's outstanding citizen awards in Kelowna.

Woman of the Year, Beryl Itani; Man of the Year, Mel Kotler; Athlete of the Year, Sarah Charles; Team of the Year, the Kelowna Rockets; the Bob Giordano Memorial Award for sports volunteerism, Ken Wilson; Young Citizen of the Year, Rachel Leier; the Augie Ciancone Memorial Award for high school athletes, Katie Woodman and Kyle Murphy; KADAC honour in the arts, Roslyn Frantz, and in teen honours, Devin Roth; Organization of the Year, the emergency social services team; the Anita Tozer Memorial Award for outstanding community service, the city staff and firefighters of the emergency operations group.

Congratulations to all. They exemplify the heart and soul of our community. We thank them for their leadership and commitment.

Yemen Water ProjectStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Joe Clark Progressive Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, I draw to the attention of the House the signing by a Calgary company, Canadian Nexen, of the first community water project in the Middle East under the UN secretary-general's new global compact initiative. The pilot project in the rural village of Rassib in Yemen will be a model for other communities.

In rural Yemen only 17% of the people have access to safe water. Hygiene practices are poor. Sanitation and waste disposal facilities are inadequate. Children are particularly susceptible to water-borne diseases.

The agreement was encouraged by the government of Yemen and was signed in Sa'ana on April 24. Canadian Nexen will contribute up to $1 million U.S., and the UNDP up to $500,000 U.S.

As a corporate citizen, Canadian Nexen sets high standards for Canada and the world. Now it is taking the lead in making the UN's global compact initiative a reality, fighting poverty and improving the basic health of thousands of people in a part of the world where Canada can make a significant difference.

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Serge Marcil Liberal Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada recently launched the One-Tonne Challenge, which calls on Canadians to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by one tonne, or roughly 20%.

The challenge is to think about the little things we do each day and the more important choices we make less often, such as buying a new lawnmower. Until May 2, Home Depot stores across Canada, through the Mow Down Pollution campaign by the Clean Air Foundation, are offering Canadians the opportunity to get rid of their old gasoline mower and receive a rebate of up to $100 on the purchase of an electric, push power, or low emission gas mower.

In so doing, they will be taking a step toward meeting the One-Tonne Challenge.

University of OttawaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would be remiss if I did not mention an event as important as the 50th anniversary of the University of Ottawa's civil law program.

Last week, some 350 graduates of this program gathered together in the capital to mark this important milestone in the history of the university.

The most illustrious graduates of this program include of course the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada and her colleague, Michel Bastarache. A total of 13 provincial and federal current ministers are graduates of the University of Ottawa's civil law program.

I would invite hon. members to join me in urging Dean Louis Perret to continue the excellent work that has produced such fine results.

National Unity FundOral Question Period

2:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian Alliance Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, when the Liberals' secret national unity fund was revealed last month, the Minister of Finance assured this House that it amounted to only $40 million per year. However, we have learned today that the federal government actually spent twice the finance minister's original estimate.

My question is simple. Why did the Minister of Finance mislead this House regarding the size of this secret fund?

National Unity FundOral Question Period

2:10 p.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, it was my understanding that the estimate put forward was an approximate average. The amounts used varied from year to year. These programs were administered within existing departmental programs and the money was obtained through submissions to Treasury Board.

National Unity FundOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, more money, just like CSL all over again.

It is clear that this so-called unity fund was used when the Liberals wanted to hide questionable spending from Canadians: $4.5 million to top up the sponsorship program; $3 million for ministers to campaign in western Canada; $4.5 million to supposedly fight Quebec separatism in Europe, now all double the amount the minister claimed.

Why does the Prime Minister not simply come clean and admit to Canadians that the unity fund was a secret Liberal slush fund to hide questionable spending?

National Unity FundOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, this reserve was absolutely not secret. The very first time questions were put to the Prime Minister in the House by the member for Roberval, the Prime Minister acknowledged its very existence.

It has been very helpful. It helped the battlefield of the Plains of Abraham in Quebec City. It was a very solid investment to promote bilingualism in New Brunswick. It helped les Jeux de la Francophonie as well. It has done a lot of good in prolonging and extending some very legitimate programs in this country.

National Unity FundOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, if it was so legitimate, it would have been front and centre in the government's spending reports for the last 10 years.

Over the last 10 years the Liberal government has funnelled about half a billion dollars into the unity slush fund. That is in addition to the quarter billion dollars on the fraudulent sponsorship program; $1 billion for HRDC boondoggles; approaching $2 billion for the gun registry fiasco; and of course the money that went to Canada Steamship Lines. On all of these things, the Prime Minister claimed he knew nothing about the way the spending was going.

Why did the Prime Minister not speak up when all of these questionable cheques were being signed in the first place?

National Unity FundOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I was just drawing the attention of the Leader of the Opposition to the great work of this reserve used by the prime minister to help bilingualism. Is it a good thing or a bad thing? The Conservative leader, the real alliance leader, will not tell us whether he supports bilingualism. He will not tell us whether he believes that doing that promotion in New Brunswick was a good or a bad thing, so much so that the member from Calgary does not want that guy to become the prime minister of Canada because--

National Unity FundOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Pictou--Antigonish--Guysborough.