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House of Commons Hansard #52 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was services.

Topics

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Paul Forseth Canadian Alliance New Westminster—Coquitlam—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, does the member have any comments on the current court case winding through various levels of the courts? The case has to do with a charter challenge on the basis of discrimination and equality that attacks the principle that denies me purchasing services from a clinic in Vancouver where Canadians are being serviced by ICBC, accident victims or workman's compensation, and says that I cannot do that, which means I would have to drive to Bellingham, an hour south, and buy that service.

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, if there is a simple answer to that complex question, it is probably wrong.

This is part of the reason this debate is going on in terms of private for profit delivery. The ultimate question is, how do we provide the services that Canadians require when they need them? There are circumstances, clearly, when the timeliness of the need may require some other arrangements. I would see that as an extraordinary circumstance, not the norm.

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Progressive Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, how does the hon. member feel about what is happening right now in Manitoba to those who want to study to be a doctor and be part of the health care system if they are not pro-choice? We know what happened to the young man who said that he was against abortion. He was told that he could no longer study to become a doctor in Canada. I was truly shocked when I read that. I could not believe that we were doing this in Canada.

How does the hon. member feel about that situation?

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am familiar with that particular case where I believe the student would not be able to take his exam unless he, as a future obstetrician, would perform abortions. I do not agree with that position in terms of criteria, but, fortunately, the institution relented and understood there was a problem. It withdrew and that particular person was able to proceed with his education.

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, when the member for Mississauga South began his remarks he said that he was speaking about his own position. I am not sure if that was on everything he said or if at some point he began to articulate where his party stands. I am somewhat confused because I think either one supports our public health care system and the public delivery of services that have been ensured through that system or one does not.

We all recognize that there has been a huge encroachment on our public health care system and an enormous growth in these private for profit services and the delivery of those services.

The question I have for the member is, where does his party stand? It has been incredibly confusing.

I congratulate the member for Churchill who, as a member of the health committee, drew out the Minister of Health and actually made him articulate some of his own vision of where he thought health care was in terms of privatization. Maybe the member could enlighten us in terms of where his own party stands in stopping this encroachment of for profit private delivery of health care services because that is what we are seeing in almost every province.

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, earlier in a question to the mover of the motion, the member for Churchill, I asked her to please give me an example of where there has been a matter under the federal jurisdiction, the Canada Health Act, of medically necessary insured services where there has been private for profit delivery of those services. The member was unable to give the House one example. I therefore understand why the member is confused.

I also want to indicate that when I said I was giving my view, it was the terminology that I was using, but the view of the Liberal Party of Canada is to vigorously defend the five principles of the Canada Health Act.

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Wendy Lill NDP Dartmouth, NS

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Vancouver East.

It is a pleasure to take part in the debate today, especially on the day when the NDP leader, Jack Layton, is in Halifax delivering the health care platform for the New Democrats for the upcoming election. I would love to have been there but I am here instead taking part in this important debate that condemns the private for profit delivery of health care that the government has allowed to take root since 1993.

For the last 10 years, Canadians have been telling the Liberal government that they want innovative public health care that they can count on. I hear it all the time in Dartmouth. People do not want the long waiting lists. They fear the rising cost of drugs. They do not want to be put on a long waiting list for an MRI or for other kind of treatment. They want health care that they can count on and health care that will be there for them, their children, their grandchildren and their grandparents when they need it. That is a very simple and straightforward request.

There is no ambiguity in their statements and yet the Liberals have not listened to what people have asked over the last 10 years. They have been listening clearly to someone else. They have allowed for the private for profit delivery of health care to grow and, for practical solutions, to be ignored.

Today the NDP's platform has been released. We are saying that it is time to put new energy into health care and come up with practical solutions to fix the system and improve it, similar to the way Roy Romanow suggested changes and created solutions just over a year ago.

Included in the NDP's health platform are practical solutions for an innovative health care system that is improved through new ideas and investment, not privatization and not for profit delivery. The NDP is calling for restoring the federal government's capacity to act as a partner for innovation and practical delivery by increasing funding for health care to 25%, up from 16%, as recommended by the Romanow commission.

We are calling on government to prepare for the aging population and to relieve the burden on hospitals and families through a national home care program based on public and non-profit delivery. We are calling on implementing a pharmacare program to ensure Canadians have access to prescription drugs, starting with low income Canadians and people with catastrophic illnesses, and cutting health care costs through bulk buying of prescription drugs and clamping down on patent abuses by drug corporations.

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)

The member will have seven minutes after oral questions this afternoon.

Princess Patricia's Canadian Light InfantryStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, during the weekend of June 18 to 20 of this year, the 2nd Battalion Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry will conduct a variety of parades and activities in the city of Winnipeg.

One of these activities is to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the regiment's service to Canada. On August 10, 1914 the charter of the regiment was signed in Ottawa and in just over a week the regiment grew to 1,098 members.

Named after Her Royal Highness Princess Patricia of Connaught, the regiment is best known to the public as the Princess Pats or the Patricias.

The combat and peacekeeping record of the Princess Pats runs from World War I right through to last year's tours of duty in Bosnia and Afghanistan. Throughout this period, the regiment distinguished itself in a manner in which all Canadians take pride. The regiment deserves our thanks for duty well done.

It gives me great pleasure to offer my sincere congratulations to the Princess Pats on its 90th anniversary. While we will miss them in Winnipeg, we wish the 2nd Battalion well in its new regimental home in Shilo, Manitoba.

Equalization PaymentsStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Brian Fitzpatrick Canadian Alliance Prince Albert, SK

Mr. Speaker, Saskatchewan is being seriously mistreated. Academics say that the current equalization formula is grossly unfair toward the province of Saskatchewan. Who is responsible for this gross inequity? It appears that our new Minister of Finance is the culprit.

Academics say the problem could be resolved by removing the formula's reliance on non-renewable natural resources and moving to a 10 province formula.

The minister's response is that the formula is far too complicated to change in any significant way. In other words, he is saying to the people of Saskatchewan that they may as well get used to being treated in an unfair manner.

The Canada West Foundation says that of all the western provinces, Saskatchewan has the highest degree of western alienation. With the unfair treatment that Saskatchewan people are receiving from the Liberal government, is there any wonder that my province is alienated?

Notre-Dame-de-Grâce Community CouncilStatements By Members

May 11th, 2004 / 2 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I would like to recognize the Notre-Dame-de-Grâce Community Council's initiative in organizing the conference on the “Quality of Life” in NDG last Saturday.

The all day event attracted over 150 concerned citizens of NDG. They spent the day discussing how to improve the quality of life in our neighbourhood, in our city and indeed, throughout the world.

They touched on a variety of subjects important to life in NDG, mainly housing, youth, environment, public safety, community relations with law enforcement, recreational services and finally, local democracy.

I was truly honoured to take part in this event as it is true grassroots community initiatives such as this one, by the NDG Community Council, that make our communities liveable.

Police OfficersStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Progressive Conservative Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday Her Excellency the Governor General presided over the third investiture ceremony for the Order of Merit of the Police Forces.

The House will recall that this great honour was created in the year 2000 to recognize outstanding service by members of Canadian police forces.

I know that all members will share the sincere and heartfelt appreciation that I have for the selfless dedication of our men and women in uniform.

It is indeed a great privilege and pleasure to single out one recipient for specific mention. One of this year's recipients of this great honour is Chief Clarence “Butch” Cogswell of Saint John, New Brunswick.

I have known Butchy for many years and can personally attest to the fact that he is an outstanding police officer of the first order and truly deserving of every honour awarded to him.

The people of Saint John are fortunate to have such a fine officer in their service. I join with his friends and family in offering my hearty congratulations to him.

McMaster Children's HospitalStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Beth Phinney Liberal Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, on May 2 I had the pleasure of taking part in McMaster Children's Hospital Celebration 2004 in Hamilton.

McMaster Children's Hospital provides outstanding service and care for approximately 150,000 children every year. The 12th annual telethon raised $3.8 million that will be used toward establishing a neuromuscular and neurometabolic disease clinic. The funds raised will also provide the hospital with a neonatal echocardiography machine and ventilator.

This event would not have been realized without the support and involvement of those who generously donated their time and money. All participants should be proud of what they have accomplished.

I know that all the members will join me in applauding the efforts of the patients, staff, volunteers, corporations, and the Hamilton community for a successful telethon and celebration.

Member for Vancouver KingswayStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Charles Hubbard Liberal Miramichi, NB

Mr. Speaker, I had the pleasure of working closely with my colleague, the hon. member for Vancouver Kingsway, when we were both serving on the executive of the national Liberal caucus.

My colleague was first elected in 1997 as the member of Parliament for Vancouver Kingsway. She has brought to Parliament her vast experience in community service and the spirit of diversity. As a recipient of the Order of Canada, she also made history by becoming the first Asian female member of our Parliament.

As a true model in her nation she inspired young people from all over Canada. As the chair of the northern and western Liberal caucus she strongly voiced the important issues and concerns of western Canada. She courageously and persistently sought the attention and support of the Prime Minister, ministers, and other members of Parliament in our national caucus on behalf of western Canada.

I would like to pay special tribute for her seven years here as a member of Parliament on issues dealing with immigration, economics, finance, health, human rights, and education. I invite all my colleagues to join me in wishing her happiness and peace in her future endeavours.

National Nursing WeekStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rahim Jaffer Canadian Alliance Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow is the beginning of National Nursing Week. Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending a reception at the University of Alberta launching the first bilingual nursing degree program in western Canada.

The University of Alberta Faculty of Nursing in cooperation with Faculté Saint-Jean offers this program to meet the educational needs of bilingual students helping to respond to the needs of French speaking communities in western and northern Canada.

This program is a major step in honouring Canada's commitment to provide health services in both official languages. As we know, language should not be a barrier to access to medical care.

On behalf of the official opposition, I wish to congratulate Dean Genevieve Gray, Faculty of Nursing and Dean Marc Arnal, Faculté Saint-Jean for pioneering this program. This proves once again that the University of Alberta is quickly becoming one of the finest universities in Canada.

Employment InsuranceStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Gérard Binet Liberal Frontenac—Mégantic, QC

Mr. Speaker, my colleague, the hon. Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development announced this morning new measures worth some $270 million over two years to better meet the needs of employment insurance claimants.

The changes announced today will ensure that the program promotes greater labour force participation by encouraging workers to accept any available work.

In addition, the provinces that participated in the Older Workers Pilot Projects Initiative will be offered additional funding in 2004-05. The projects are designed to help older workers aged between 55 and 64 to remain employed or reintegrate into the labour force.

Today's initiatives are but the beginning of a solution. It is still our government's intention to implement more sustainable solutions as soon as the Task Force on Seasonal Work has submitted its final report.

The Prime MinisterStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, since his coronation as head of the Liberal Party of Canada, the Prime Minister claims to be change incarnate. Yet, he was finance minister in the Liberal government for nine years. He signed the cheques in the sponsorship scandal. He signed the cheques in connection with the firearms registry. He cut funding for health and education. He pirated $45 billion from the EI fund. He personally saved $100 million in taxes by registering his shipping company in a tax haven and amending legislation in his favour. He made off with $3.2 billion from the poorest seniors. He took $1 billion from Quebec families who use the reasonably priced child care centres. He refused to recognize the nation of Quebec.

The Prime Minister is not change incarnate, he embodies the usual traits of the Liberal Party of Canada: patronage, waste of public funds, demagoguery and anti-Quebec policy.

Employment InsuranceStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Andy Savoy Liberal Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Mr. Speaker, this morning's announcement about employment insurance by my colleague, the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, is remarkable in many ways.

The transitional employment insurance measures in the Madawaska-Charlotte regions of New Brunswick and in the Lower St. Lawrence and North Shore regions of Quebec will be extended. Thousands of claimants will have increased access to EI benefits and for a longer duration as well.

The minister's initiative could be extended to all regions that report an unemployment rate greater than 10%.

I want to congratulate my colleague the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development. His announcement this morning is great news.

This government ensured that transitional employment insurance boundary measures in the Madawaska-Charlotte, Lower St. Lawrence and North Shore regions were extended. Approximately 15,000 EI claimants will benefit from increased access and longer benefit duration. Moreover, these new measures could apply to any economic region where unemployment exceeds 10%.

JusticeStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Carol Skelton Canadian Alliance Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Mr. Speaker, the crime rate in certain areas of Saskatoon is on the rise. As the member of Parliament for Saskatoon--Rosetown--Biggar, this is of grave concern to myself and my constituents.

Limited resources, a failing justice system, and a federal government that turns a blind eye is making it worse. Break and enters and home invasion have people scared, and living in fear in their own homes. The whole community is suffering because of this.

About 82% of my constituents said child prostitution was a problem in their neighbourhood and 82% believed date rape drugs should be classified as a weapon. Some 18% knew a victim and 80% said mandatory minimum sentences would better protect the public. Close to 93% said current sentences were too lenient and 89% said the Liberals were soft on crime. Not a single person said they were doing a good job of running our prisons.

My constituents have spoken. Why will the government not listen?

Seasonal WorkersStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Christian Jobin Liberal Lévis-Et-Chutes-De-La-Chaudière, QC

Mr. Speaker, seasonal workers in several regions of Quebec have every reason to be pleased today.

Indeed, my colleague, the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, announced a series of measures aimed at meeting the specific needs of seasonal workers.

From now on, seasonal workers will be allowed to take part in a pilot project that will give them the possibility of receiving up to five more weeks of EI benefits, while encouraging them to find more work.

Our government is using a balanced approach that will not only consist in providing income support to workers, but that will also give them an opportunity to acquire skills which will allow them to remain employed, or to reintegrate into the labour force.

Canadians can congratulate the government on this initiative and may be assured that we are still contemplating other changes after the Liberal task force tables its final report.

National Nursing WeekStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Bev Desjarlais NDP Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, May 10 to 16 is National Nursing Week.

Nursing Week is celebrated each year throughout Canada and the world during the week of Florence Nightingale's birthday of May 12. This week is an opportunity for all Canadians to express their gratitude for the hard work and important role that nurses perform, and also for the courageous manner in which they expose themselves to the risk in the provision of essential nursing care such as during last year's SARS outbreak.

While this week offers all the opportunity to recognize the vital role nurses play in our health care system, we should respect the contribution of nurses and other health care workers year round by ensuring proper funding, and fair and equitable employment conditions.

It is an outrage that we as a country continue to face significant shortages of nurses due to a decade of funding cuts to our health care system, coupled with the continued lack of a coherent strategy for stable funding from the federal government.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all Canadian nurses for their hard work, often above and beyond their assigned duties. It is through their dedication and sacrifice that our health care system continues to be one of the best in the world.

Sponsorship ProgramStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, already back in 2000, the Bloc Quebecois had put its finger on the disturbing behaviour of the communications agencies run by friends of the Liberal Party of Canada and on the huge contracts that they were getting from the federal government. In fact, it is increasingly clear that, under the cover of Canadian unity, the Liberal Party used these agencies for electoral purposes in 1997 and in 2000.

Since then, the Bloc Quebecois has asked over 450 questions in the House on what was to become the sponsorship scandal. However, we did not get a single answer from this government.

What happened to the $100 million and who pocketed that money? Who is responsible for this disgusting scandal to paraphrase the Prime Minister?

The Liberal Party of Canada is now discredited. Cabinet ministers have lost the public's confidence. Today, the question is no longer whether the Liberal Party is corrupted. Everyone knows that. The only question that remains is: How badly is it corrupted?

Le BaluchonStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Yolande Thibeault Liberal Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government is ensuring that Canada is a country where people are treated with dignity.

On behalf of the Minister of Labour and Minister responsible for Homelessness, I announced yesterday in Saint-Hyacinthe a contribution of $350,000 for the Maison Le Baluchon under the National Homelessness Initiative.

This community organization provides shelter, support andassistance in response to needs expressed by young people between the ages of 12 and 17 who are facing difficult family or social situations. This contribution of $350,000 is for the purchase of two buildings to provide young people who are homeless with supervised shelter.

Since it was launched in 1999, the National Homelessness Initiative has produced tangible results. We are aware, however, that much remains to be done to provide the homeless with all the help they need, and which goes far beyond the basic—

Le BaluchonStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Athabasca.

Prime Minister of CanadaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Dave Chatters Canadian Alliance Athabasca, AB

Mr. Speaker, on May 5 the Prime Minister said that the Leader of the Opposition should prepare to be accountable for everything he has said over the course of the last eight years.

I am glad the Prime Minister has decided to take the idea of accountability seriously. The next election will be about accountability and he is a man unable or unwilling to take responsibility. We believe in ministerial accountability and the Prime Minister must be responsible for his record over the past 10 years.

Canadians will remember the former finance minister when they think of ad scam; CSL's tax haven; his use of the private health clinic; the GST flip-flop; the 5,000% cost overrun in the gun registry; the HRDC boondoggle; the Challenger jet purchase; Sea King replacements; tainted blood; the Bronfman billions; the Pearson airport debacle; and the list goes on.

The Prime Minister has much to be accountable for.