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House of Commons Hansard #45 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was parks.

Topics

Canada National Parks ActGovernment Orders

10:35 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Roy H. Bailey Canadian Alliance Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, when my career ends, I will have spent 55 years in public life, and so far I have not had time to visit national parks other than to drive through them. Let us hope that the future does provide the opportunity for me to visit this one in particular. I have never been there, but I would like to see it.

I am proud, generally speaking, of what Parks Canada has done. I am proud of the procedure that it took in my province with the addition of Grasslands National Park, albeit in two sections. What Parks Canada did there was far more in the way of an attempt to satisfy everybody than maybe this one. Therein lies my concern, not against the parks. I hope that it does not come back.

I may appear as a ghost if things do not go right, particularly with this bill.

Canada National Parks ActGovernment Orders

10:35 a.m.

NDP

Lorne Nystrom NDP Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

Mr. Speaker, I think the House is back next week, but I am not sure the member for Souris--Moose Mountain will be speaking then. I want to take this opportunity to wish him well when he retires from this place and to say publicly that he is a very decent human being. He has become a very good friend over the last number of years, and is one of those people we can learn a lot from.

Sometimes there are those of us in politics who are very partisan and let that partisanship affect our friendships. The member for Souris--Moose Mountain is a partisan Conservative politician, but that has never affected his friendships. He has become a very good friend over the years. I wish him all the best. I will miss him around this place.

Canada National Parks ActGovernment Orders

10:35 a.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, my colleague echoed the words I wanted to say.

I listened to the hon. member's speech and while I do not agree with the entire content of his speech, I want to comment on the individual as opposed to the material that he presented to us.

The member for Souris--Moose Mountain is someone I would like to consider as a friend. We have known each other for a long time. I had the pleasure of leading a delegation only a few days ago of which he was member. Actually it is the only time he ever accompanied me on a delegation. I have nothing but excellent memories, not only of sharing that time together, but all the other occasions we had the opportunity to meet here on Parliament Hill, including receiving delegations from his constituency.

When I was leader of the government in the House, from time to time he would bring his constituents to my office, which was very ornately decorated. The hon. member would bring his constituents to see it. We would sit and chat every now and then, and meet with his constituents. I know he served them well. I wish him the very best.

Over the next few days or weeks, however long it is between now and the next election, he intends to tour post offices and community centres in his constituency to thank his constituents. That is a fitting way to end one's career around here. It is an easier rite of passage than the one that some people are subjected to, which is to leave involuntarily.

I know he will have an excellent time meeting his constituents. I know they will show their appreciation to him over the next few days, which is what I am doing now, not only on my own behalf but I am convinced on behalf of all my colleagues as well.

Canada National Parks ActGovernment Orders

10:40 a.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to speak briefly on Bill C-28.

First, I too want to salute my colleague from Souris—Moose Mountain and tell him how much I enjoyed making his acquaintance. Even if we did not often have the opportunity to work together, we crossed paths numerous times in the lobby, and he was always truly kind to us. He always had a smile on his face. So I want to wish him a wonderful retirement.

That said, we support Bill C-28, first because it corrects a past error with regard to land transfer agreements. Furthermore, I also salute the initiative to expand the land base of the first nations in question.

Population growth among the first nations is nearly double that of non-natives. So their need for space and housing is also growing. As my colleague from Beauharnois—Salaberry indicated, I consider housing for aboriginals to be a top priority.

This bill appears to have the support of all the parties. When a group such as Greenpeace supports a plan, with regard to the environment, that says it all. It means that, environmentally speaking, there is almost unanimous support for this bill.

I was listening earlier to my colleague from Souris—Moose Mountain ask if the non-aboriginal communities in the surrounding areas were consulted. I have another perspective on this plan to transfer lands and negotiate for lands and shared lands, as under the draft agreement with the Innu in Quebec.

When the Europeans first settled here, they did not ask the first nations for permission. When the aboriginals were parked on reserves, 130 years ago, they did not give up their rights to their lands. However, non-natives thought they had and exploited those lands without asking for their permission.

So, when we talk about this kind of agreement and other negotiated land claim agreements and aboriginal land use agreements, we need to keep an open mind and be prepared to make reparations. Legislation like this one is an example.

However, this alone will not suffice. It is nice to make the reserves larger but, fundamentally, reserves as such are concepts that should be completely eliminated, and negotiations on self-government, along with a valuable land base for aboriginal communities in the future, should be accelerated.

This is called the inherent right to self-government, also known as ancestral treaty rights, which clearly established, for the most part, the lands that belonged to the first nations when the Europeans first arrived in Canada.

I am in favour of this bill. It is a step in the right direction as far as an agreement on housing is concerned but I would remind the government that aboriginal housing is in a crisis situation.

Here again are the statistics I have been bringing up virtually every day for the past month. There are 93,000 housing units on the reserves of Quebec and Canada, and a large number of them have problems with major construction defects or generalized mildew and mould.

Not only do most of the 93,000 units have potential problems, but they have to house 113,000 households. So there is a shortfall of 20,000 housing units at this time. On some of the reserves I visited with my colleague from Saint-Maurice—Champlain, there are close to two whole families living in one two-bedroom house. It is, for example, not unusual to see twelve to fifteen people under one roof. This makes no sense at all.

If memory serves, my colleague from Beauharnois—Salaberry has just referred to a project to construct 160 housing units and said that 36 units were needed in the very short term.

At the present time, thousands of units are urgently needed, so there is an absolute necessity to draw up an emergency plan for the construction of new housing for aboriginal peoples. In Quebec and Labrador along, there would have to be 8,700 built this year, and the plan is for only 450. The situation is becoming desperate.

It can be readily seen that the Bloc Quebecois is not here just for the sake of opposition. Despite what they say on the government side, when good government bills are introduced we support them. This has happened on a number of occasions. When, on the other hand, they are bad bills and do a disservice to the first nations, or to the population in general, naturally we come down heavily on the government.

Many people do not clearly understand the role of the opposition, and that includes people like Jean Lapierre, who goes around saying that we must vote on the right side, that is the side of the government, the side of power. Despite his great experience, he still does not get what the role of the opposition is. Our role is, basically, to make governments better.

If there is no opposition in a parliamentary system, there is bad government. Dictatorships is what they are then called. If Jean Lapierre sides with dictatorial regimes, then he has a problem.

It is the same for the President of the Treasury Board. He says, “Vote for the right party. Vote for the government. The opposition has nothing to offer”. That means he does not understand either and does not grasp the role of the opposition, which is to make much better governments and to reflect views that are slightly different from the government's, but that nonetheless represent the views of people who put their trust in us.

Even those who do not vote for us expect a strong opposition in order to avoid having a puppet government, a banana republic government that greases its own palm, or the palms of its friends.

Look at the sponsorship scandal. We did a public service. Had it not been for the Bloc Quebecois, no one would have known about the scandal. It would have been covered up. No government Liberal MP, no backbencher—not even a Liberal MP from Quebec—ever once stood up to denounce the sponsorship problem.

Yet on the opposition side, we have been talking about it for years. We have asked the government hundreds of questions. If it had not been for the opposition, we never would have known about the nearly $1 billion that was spent to promote Canadian unity and to steal the 1995 referendum from us. For that was what they did. It was a miscarriage of democracy. Nearly three and a half times more was spent than either camp was allowed to spend under Quebec's Referendum Act.

This did not bother the federal government. In this case we could say that the government was above the law. It took away Quebec's right to a referendum on sovereignty. Money from taxpayers in Quebec and Canada was used to skew the referendum in Quebec.

Is there any doubt that we lost the referendum by 30,000 votes because the federal government stole it from us? It used our taxes to deliver a hard punch, to thwart democracy and Quebeckers' freedom of choice.

Even federalists in Quebec should be upset because of what happened in 1995. Indeed, these people willingly took part in this democratic exercise. They wanted to debate the issue of Quebec's political and constitutional future, but the federal government came from behind, totally foiled this democratic debate and stole the referendum.

I feel that we are sovereign in fact, but that the federal government has covered up the result that we should have had in 1995. This is a shame. I am saying this calmly, but I am enraged. This rage will help me beat Liberal candidates in Quebec.

This aspect alone of what they did in 1995 is an incredible disgrace. It was an act of dishonesty, it was robbery, it was a denial of democracy and it was very reprehensible. They will pay dearly for that. In any case, I am making a commitment today to achieve sovereignty for Quebec and to work very hard in the coming years, regardless of their darn millions.

To top it all off, the President of the Privy Council is laughing about this. He is laughing because he stole the referendum in 1995 with the federal government's hundreds of millions. This is unbelievable. This is dishonest, these people are crooks—

Canada National Parks ActGovernment Orders

10:50 a.m.

The Speaker

Order. The hon. President of the Privy Council on a point of order.

Canada National Parks ActGovernment Orders

10:50 a.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would just like to say that I am not laughing at what he is saying; I am laughing at him.

Canada National Parks ActGovernment Orders

10:50 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Canada National Parks ActGovernment Orders

10:50 a.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, I was saying that the federalists stole the referendum from us in 1995. I can take the insults and abuse from the President of the Privy Council; it does not bother me one bit, because it concerns the future of my people.

As for the $38 million put into the referendum campaign, it is disgusting. It is shameful. It is a miscarriage of democracy. These are dishonest people. These are people who thwarted democracy. These are people who have deceived the entire population of Quebec and I continue to maintain that—

Canada National Parks ActGovernment Orders

10:50 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of the Environment.

Canada National Parks ActGovernment Orders

10:50 a.m.

Liberal

David Anderson Liberal Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have listened with great interest to the problems of Quebec as described by the hon. member, particularly the problems his party will have in the coming election.

Nonetheless, I thought we were talking about transferring a small piece on land in a park on Vancouver Island from Parks Canada to Indian Affairs. Perhaps I was mistaken.

Is Bill C-28 about Quebec referendum issues or is it about Pacific Rim and Riding Mountain parks?

Canada National Parks ActGovernment Orders

10:50 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of the Environment has raised a point of order on a matter I think is pertinent.

The hon. member for Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot should, indeed, be speaking to the bill before the House instead of discussing the issue of referendums and other things of that kind because, as the Minister of the Environment has pointed out, the bill does not concern referendums or anything of that sort.

The hon. member for Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot.

Canada National Parks ActGovernment Orders

10:50 a.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will conclude on Bill C-28. We support this legislation.

However, I want to say that I am upset this morning after reading in the newspapers that, in 1995, $38 million were spent to fight sovereignists in Quebec, to betray democracy. I will continue to say and maintain that each and everyone of those people over there is a robber of democracy.

Canada National Parks ActGovernment Orders

10:50 a.m.

The Speaker

When we read something in the newspapers it is always interesting, but it is not what this debate is about.

Therefore, if the hon. member wishes to talk about Bill C-28, he may do so, but he may not go on talking about the morning papers.

Canada National Parks ActGovernment Orders

10:50 a.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am done. We support Bill C-28. That is all.

Canada National Parks ActGovernment Orders

10:50 a.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to speak this morning on Bill C-28.

An allegation was made a bit earlier today that this bill, somehow, was brought back to the House in a manner that some have felt was premature. Of course, this is not true. In fact, this bill was introduced at first reading, went to second reading and was referred to a committee, which tabled its report on April 27.

I am convinced that members remember, as do I, Sessional Paper 8510-373-41, with which we are all very familiar and which states that the committee, in its meetings, made no amendments to the bill.

Furthermore, parliamentarians who are not members of that committee have the opportunity to move amendments at report stage, the relevancy of which, amongst other things, is then considered by the Chair. Since no amendments were introduced in the House, it is quite proper this morning to move forward with this legislation and send it to third reading, debate and then refer it to the other place, which will pass it in due course.

The context of the bill is as follows. On the one hand, as was mentioned earlier, it concerns withdrawing the 86.37 hectares from the Pacific Rim National ParkReserve in order to increase the Esowista Indian Reserve land base and remedy a serious housing problem.

I congratulate the parliamentary secretary for his excellent speech a bit earlier this morning. In passing, he always does a wonderful job in the House, as we all know. His constituents in Beauharnois—Salaberry are well represented, and he will no doubt be re-elected by a healthy majority. He told the House this morning that the changes are being made, not to the park perimeter but to the lands within that perimeter, meaning the lands that will be inside or outside the reserve. That is the sole issue.

I want to take a few minutes to address this treasure called the Pacific Rim National Park. Every year at Christmas, parliamentarians receive calendars from Western Canada Wilderness Foundation, I believe, which have probably helped us, better than anything else, to get to know this park. These calendars contain beautiful pictures.

I have had the opportunity to visit a very small portion of the park. It is not, of course, fully accessible to people using conventional means of transport. Some parts have only water access, for instance. I have seen part of the park, however, and it is absolutely extraordinary. In my opinion, all Canadians ought to make this pilgrimage—I would call it that—to Pacific Rim National Park. That region of our country, with its mammoth trees and its ecosystem, is absolutely amazing.

Then—and this of course relates to another park—there is the removal from Riding Mountain National Park of a small parcel of land, 4.75 hectares—which, as a member representing a rural riding, I do consider a small parcel. The reason for this is merely to correct an administrative error that occurred in the implementation of a 1994 settlement of a specific land claim.

In addition, there is the withdrawal of lands, which can be done only by amending the National Parks Act. In other words, this is the only tool available to us to correct that anomaly.

The support for this initiative is fairly broad, particularly from the first nations concerned, the provincial first nations coalitions, the local, regional and provincial administrations, and NGOs concerned with the ecology. There seem, therefore, to be very little concern about negative impacts on the parks from adjustments to their borders as set out in this bill. Such groups are always the first to let us know when they think we are doing anything to spoil a park. This is not the case in this instance.

As far as environmental impact is concerned, the removal of this small parcel of land will not unduly compromise the ecological integrity of Pacific RIm. There is no impact at all as far as Riding Mounting is concerned.

I believe I see your signal that it is 11 a.m., so I am prepared to come back after oral question period to continue my explanation of the merits of this bill to my colleagues.

Softwood LumberStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, Canada won a major victory in its dispute with the U.S. on softwood lumber. A special panel formed under the North American Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA, found the U.S International Trade Commission threat of injury determination to be unfounded and inconsistent with U.S. law.

The Quebec Forest Industry Council favours a long-term solution through a negotiated settlement as the road to lasting peace.

Any negotiated agreement needs to include the reimbursement of duties paid by Canadian companies since May 2002, with interest.

Failing a negotiated, long-term agreement and full reimbursement of countervailing and anti-dumping duties, I call on the Canadian government to take legal action against the United States.

TaxationStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Ken Epp Canadian Alliance Elk Island, AB

Mr. Speaker, this government knows no bounds when intruding into the personal lives of Canadians. It has come to my attention that if two people live at the same address, Revenue Canada is unilaterally determining that they are a common law couple and are having conjugal relations. This is preposterous.

How about a woman who has a female boarder living in her house? Revenue Canada determines that she is a lesbian and that she is having conjugal relations with this boarder. This is not true and it is very unfair to characterize her this way, to reduce her benefits, and to force her to appeal to get it reversed.

Let us consider a couple who are separated and divorced but unable to afford separate living quarters. She lives on one floor and he on another in the same house. Revenue Canada reverses their status and treats them as a couple.

Trudeau said that there is no room for the state in the bedrooms of the nation, but that concept is totally lost on this government and this minister. What a nightmare.

Canadian ForcesStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

Jeannot Castonguay Liberal Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, on Sunday as I was waiting for my flight at the Montreal airport, I happened to meet soldiers who were on their way back from Afghanistan for a three-week break at home. One of them was Daniel Dupuis, from the Gaspé and the other Ben Gale, from Cape Breton. Daniel phoned home and his little girl Marie-Christine said, “Daddy, I put on my pretty dress to come meet you at the Quebec City airport later”, and Daniel, this brave solider, had tears in his eyes.

Two hours later when I arrived in Ottawa on the same flight as Ben, I saw him on the floor with his two and a half year old son in his arms and I saw his less than six month old baby in mother's arms. This was the first time this family had been together in many weeks because of the father's service in Afghanistan.

That is when it became very clear to me what sacrifices military families make when their loved ones serve abroad in the name of peace and the fight against terrorism, just as these brave soldiers are doing.

On behalf of my colleagues in this House, I thank these soldiers and today I also thank their families for the sacrifices they make that far too often go unrecognized. I also thank the nearly 1,900 Canadian soldiers who are deployed to Afghanistan.

Thank you to all these service men and women and their families.

Corporation d'aménagement et de protection de la Sainte-AnneStatements By Members

11 a.m.

Liberal

Claude Duplain Liberal Portneuf, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in the House to report that on April 26 the Department of the Environment, through its EcoAction program, made a $34,044 grant to the Corporation d'aménagement et de protection de la Sainte-Anne. This contribution will help establish a project aimed at reducing drinking-water consumption in 1,692 homes, 215 businesses, and several institutions connected to the municipal water supply of Saint-Raymond de Portneuf.

In this way, the Government of Canada has renewed its commitment to the environmental policy it expressed in the throne speech.

I proudly congratulate the Corporation d'aménagement et de protection de la Sainte-Anne on the quality of its project. Such initiatives place the riding of Portneuf at the forefront, taking up the environmental challenges of today and tomorrow, while meeting the needs of the community.

75th Wedding AnniversaryStatements By Members

April 30th, 2004 / 11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Mark Eyking Liberal Sydney—Victoria, NS

Mr. Speaker, it is a great pleasure to announce the 75th wedding anniversary of two of my constituents, Walter and Regis Day.

Mr. and Mrs. Day were married on April 23, 1929 by Father Henry Barry in the original St. Joseph's Church in Little Bras d'Or, Cape Breton. They have 10 children, 44 grandchildren, 61 great grandchildren, 4 great-great grandchildren and 4 more on the way. That is a total of 119 offspring.

I was fortunate to be able to visit Mr. and Mrs. Day at their home to wish them a happy anniversary last Saturday, and what a pleasure it was. They shared a few stories and a few jokes, but in all seriousness, it is obvious why their marriage has lasted 75 years.

It is very rare that we have the opportunity to recognize such a wonderful, long-lasting marriage. Today in the House of Commons I would like to offer congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Day in celebration of their 75th anniversary. Along with the community, their family and friends, I wish for Walter and Regis many more years of continued happiness.

Railway SafetyStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Brian Pallister Canadian Alliance Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, there is an old baseball saying, “you can't hit what you can't see”, but when it comes to trains, one most certainly can. Fewer than one in four Canadian train cars has proper reflectors and Canadians are killed in preventable car-train collisions regularly because they simply did not see the trains. The railway companies like to blame driver error, but cars, trucks and farm implements have had to have reflectors for years, why not trains?

My urban colleagues need to understand that the rural crossings where most of these accidents occur are not equipped with flashing lights, with bells, with whistles, or with guard arms. The fact is no one in the Conservative Party is asking the government to equip each of the 50,000 uncontrolled crossings in such a manner. What we are asking for is that reflectors be placed on all trains.

I want the minister to immediately implement a rule which requires the immediate implementation of reflectors. The United States is planning a reflector program that will be phased in over 10 years. That is not acceptable to the Conservative Party. We--

Railway SafetyStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Davenport.

Endangered SpeciesStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Charles Caccia Liberal Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is most unfortunate that the first recommendation under the new species at risk law by the scientific panel, COSEWIC, aimed at protecting 12 species of cod and other aquatic species has been postponed by the Minister of the Environment. Apparently the Fisheries Council has intervened and objected to the professional opinion of COSEWIC, which is the scientific panel whose only motivation is to protect endangered species.

I urge the Minister of the Environment to reconsider his decision, or at least accelerate the consultative process so as to reduce to a minimum the damage caused to these aquatic species at risk.

International Labour DayStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, May 1 is a day to celebrate workers. Let us take this occasion to pay tribute to the women and men who work every day to build a better world, a fairer world, a world that lives up to our aspirations and ambitions.

Valiant struggles over the years have made it possible to obtain better working conditions, but there is a great deal left to do. We think of the need to add anti-scab measures to the Canada Labour Code or the urgent need to review the regulations covering precautionary cessation of work for pregnant and nursing women, in order to help them have healthy babies.

My thoughts today are with the employees of Bauer Nike, in my riding of Laurentides, who are in a time of uncertainty. Along with the firm's survival committee, I will spare no effort to ensure that these people keep their jobs.

Workers can count on the Bloc Quebecois to make their voices heard and to defend their rights in order to improve their quality of life.

Bill C-250Statements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to applaud the work of Canada's Parliament in passing Bill C-250 this week. Bill C-250 will amend the Criminal Code by adding sexual orientation to the list of groups protected by the hate crimes provisions of the Criminal Code.

The bill is a significant step toward protecting Canadians from hate based attacks. Bill C-250 will not infringe on the freedom of speech, nor will it limit the rights of individuals to disagree on lifestyle issues, nor will it criminalize religious text. What Bill C-250 does is to ensure equal protection under the Criminal Code regardless of sexual orientation.

I would like to applaud the good work of the members of the House who helped pass the bill. My thanks to all who helped pass the bill.