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House of Commons Hansard #53 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was gst.

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 Edmonton North.

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

Hybrid Fuelled VehiclesStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Charles Caccia Liberal Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, a few days ago in Edmonton a new diesel electric hybrid bus was tested to reduce fuel consumption and pollution. It is a hybrid engine driven bus which combines electric and diesel power with fuel savings of 35% compared to a traditional diesel powered bus. Emissions reduction includes a 50% drop in smog-creating nitrogen oxides and a 90% cut in particulates and carbon dioxide.

Hybrid buses require less brake maintenance, store energy in their batteries, are quiet, and accelerate faster than conventional diesel buses. With the rising cost of fuel, hybrid buses can help reduce pollution, improve air quality and cut the incidence of respiratory diseases.

Governments at all levels would be well advised to adopt hybrid fuelled vehicles.

Cattle IndustryStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Dale Johnston Canadian Alliance Wetaskiwin, AB

Mr. Speaker, May 20 will mark the first anniversary of the discovery of BSE in one Alberta cow.

From the outset the government failed to grasp the enormity of this problem and the poor political relations between Canada and the United States made a bad situation even worse.

When the new Prime Minister finally arrived, farmers hoped that mending fences with our most important trading partner would be a top priority. Some bone-in products under 30 months of age were moving across the border, but now that the Prime Minister is back from his long awaited Washington photo op, that market is again closed.

For all his dithering, they have not opened up any new or old markets. All cattle producers have to show for a year of devastation is a flawed compensation program.

If the Prime Minister thinks that he can buy farmers' votes with a few pieces of silver, he is in for a rude awakening. If he really wants to address western alienation, get the border open to live cattle exports pronto.

Polish Second CorpsStatements by Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Sarmite Bulte Liberal Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, on Sunday, May 9 I had the honour of attending the commemoration of the formation of the Polish Second Corps and the 60th anniversary of their successes on the battlefield in May 1944 at Monte Cassino, the turning point of the allied campaign in Italy.

This event was organized by the Polish Combatants' Association of Canada, the Canadian Polish Congress and the Kresy-Siberia Group, an organization whose members are children of the families deported to Siberia by the Soviets.

The history of the Polish Second Corps was documented by a display on loan from the Józef Pilsudski Institute. The display contains a wealth of unique photos documenting the experiences of prisoners of war in the Soviet Union as well as rare photos of the allied effort to form the Second Corps from those who survived the gulags.

I wish to thank and congratulate the organizing committee for this important commemoration.

Marine SecurityStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the Canadian government on its marine security initiative. On May 7, the government announced a contribution of $115 million through the Marine Facility Security Contribution Program. These funds, which will be allocated over a three-year period, will assist Canadian ports and port facilities in their efforts to modernize and strengthen marine security programs and systems.

This partnership will greatly help Canadian ports to maintain their competitiveness in the coming years by helping them ensure that their port facilities comply with the new international requirements on marine security.

This new program will strengthen the security of communications for civil and naval fleets and will increase cooperation with the United States on marine security.

This is a sound investment on the part of the Government of Canada, which clearly illustrates a desire to promote the economic development of the marine industry and to improve the security of all Canadians.

Member for HaltonStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Julian Reed Liberal Halton, ON

Mr. Speaker, since this occasion may be the last time I rise in this place, it would be appropriate to point out that our tenure here is the result of the enduring support of many: our constituents, who vote; our loyal party workers, who keep the dream of democracy alive; our loyal staff, who have made it all work so well; and most of all, our families.

I would like to express my appreciation to my bride of 44 years, Deanna, and our three grown children, Christopher, Robert and Melanie.

To Deanna who regularly endured the loneliness of an absentee husband and who often filled in when I could not be in two places at once, to our three children who often endured political commentary, some of it unsavoury and uncalled for, I thank them all for giving me 10 productive and satisfying years of service to Canada.

Health CareStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Gary Lunn Canadian Alliance Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, despite the federal government's claim that it has pumped billions back into our ailing health care system, the fact is it is more dysfunctional than ever. Among the many problems, there are longer waiting lists, lack of access to important diagnostic tests, and many others.

The government spent the last month trying to demonize the Conservative Party on health care issues through negative messaging. Canadians will not be fooled by this tactic. They want and deserve constructive ideas to address the future of medicare in this country.

The leader of the official opposition has announced a measured responsible approach to meeting this challenge and the future of medicare. Above all, it recognizes the Conservative commitment to universal public health care insurance regardless of the ability to pay. Unlike the governing party, we also recognize the need to work cooperatively with the provinces in their area of jurisdiction and not just dictate to them.

Now the government is discussing a new 10 year health plan, details of which have been sketchy at best. Frankly, I am not holding my breath. As the leader of the official opposition said, we have already seen the 10 year health plan and it--

Health CareStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Ottawa South.

Member for Ottawa SouthStatements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

John Manley Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to say farewell.

Might I say that I have never lost the sense of awe and privilege that I felt the very first time that I entered this chamber.

I came here with the conviction that a good government can be a force and a constructive tool for Canadians, and that our country can provide a unique example to the world. My view has not changed.

I have served in this place as Minister of Industry, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Finance, and as Deputy Prime Minister, great privileges bestowed by a prime minister to whom I shall always be grateful. But the greatest privilege was bestowed by the voters of Ottawa South who on four occasions entrusted me to take my seat in this place.

There is a time for every purpose under the heaven and I have other purposes to fulfill. I thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for their sacrifice and commitment, and my family for their love, encouragement and tolerance.

May God continue to bless Canada.

St. Lawrence RiverStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Bloc Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, despite repeated calls by myself and several of my fellow citizens to the ministers who have been responsible for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans since 1995, the problem caused by shoreline erosion is constantly getting worse.

The government tried to lull us with empty and falsely reassuring replies. We were told that the speed of the ships that travel through the most sensitive areas was monitored and that the industry had in fact implemented voluntary measures to reduce the speed of its ships.

However, thanks to the vigilance of a Contrecoeur resident, Dr. Jacques Desrosiers, who conducted a systematic check of the speed of the ships that went by Saint-Ours island between mid-March and April 2004, we know that this is not at all the case. Indeed, 25% of the 100 ships checked were travelling at a speed deemed acceptable under the standards set, while 75% were cruising at a high or very high speed.

What is the government waiting for to implement more strict and effective measures to monitor the speed of ships on the St. Lawrence River? The federal government has a responsibility regarding shoreline erosion, and it must assume that responsibility before the damage becomes irreversible, which is almost the case already.

Member for Vancouver KingswayStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Sophia Leung Liberal Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have had the honour to serve two terms as the member of Parliament for Vancouver Kingsway. It has been a special privilege for me to work closely with many colleagues here.

For the past seven years I have travelled between Ottawa and Vancouver weekly. I have gained many Aeroplan points while gaining many pounds.

My life has been completely controlled by House duties, meetings, voting bells and junk food, but it has been a most rewarding and challenging experience for me. I would not have traded it for anything else.

Above all, I want to thank my son, Ken, and my many supporters and friends for their support. I also thank members for their friendship and support and salute them all for their commitment and dedication to this land, the nation and the people of Canada.

[Editor's Note: Member spoke in Chinese]

Public Service of CanadaStatements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Scott Reid Canadian Alliance Lanark—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians who do not live near Ottawa are not even allowed to apply for half of the jobs posted on the government's employment website www.jobs.ca.

Under the heading “Who Can Apply”, most postings list only those people who have a postal code beginning with K1 to K7 or K0A to K0J, et cetera can apply. This is unfair and it is also bizarre.

In my new riding of Lanark--Frontenac--Lennox--Addington for example, people who live in Napanee can apply for jobs because their postal codes begin with K0J. On the other hand, people from Roblin, Camden East, Yarker, Selby, Newburgh, Centreville, Tamworth and Marlbank are ineligible because their postal codes begin with K0K. The fact that Yarker, for example, is closer to Ottawa than Napanee, or that Selby is part of the town of Greater Napanee, is somehow treated as if it is not relevant.

In the name of fair play, I urge the government to abolish all geographic restrictions on public service hiring.

Member for Don Valley EastStatements by Members

May 12th, 2004 / 2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Alan Tonks Liberal York South—Weston, ON

Mr. Speaker, I wish to express appreciation to the hon. member for Don Valley East and acknowledge his outstanding 25 year long contribution to public life as an MP.

We have all won or lost our share of elections. The member for Don Valley East contested seven federal elections, winning five of those. He was first elected to the House in 1974 in the Trudeau government and went on to serve under four different prime ministers. During his time in office, he distinguished himself as minister of national defence, minister of veterans affairs, minister of transport and minister of state for multiculturalism.

The House of Commons and this great country of ours will miss the member for Don Valley East as he leaves the political arena. Please join with me in applauding the hon. member, who in addition to his exemplary service, will be receiving his master of arts degree from York University this weekend.

New Democratic PartyStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is the custom of the NDP caucus on Wednesdays to make a statement to the House on issues of concern to women. Today, on behalf of the NDP caucus, I pay tribute to two particular women who have contributed greatly to the life and work of the NDP on Parliament Hill and who will each soon be leaving here for new challenges.

The hon. member for Dartmouth has been a valued member of our caucus and the House, and we give thanks for the quiet depth, the courage and the playwright's eye that she has brought to her work on behalf of Canadian culture, the disabled and the cause of social justice in general.

Sharon McLaughlin, originally from Transcona, Manitoba and long time assistant to NDP House leaders, came to the Hill over 10 years ago and has been a devoted, competent and caring compatriot of the NDP caucus. We give thanks for her organizational talent and the political enthusiasm that she brought to her job in the opposition lobby and to caucus events.

We affectionately wish both Sharon and the hon. member for Dartmouth all the best in their future endeavours.

International AidStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Francine Lalonde Bloc Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, joined by rock star Bono, who had come to Ottawa to attend an international symposium on HIV and education, the Prime Minister took pride in stating that the decision to increase the international aid envelope by 8% a year was made when he was finance minister.

Bono was quick to react by saying that, “In fact, 8% a year is not enough. We would prefer 15% starting this year”.

If Bono seemed disappointed when the Prime Minister bragged about his good deeds, then imagine how he would have reacted if he had known the whole story.

When the Liberals came to power in 1993, Canada devoted 0.44% of its wealth to development assistance. By the time the current Prime Minister left the Department of Finance, the figure was down to a mere 0.27%, which is a 40% decrease.

In fact, if the government continues to increase its budget for development aid by 8% a year, it will reach the UN objective only in 2033, 65 years after Lester B. Pearson's proposal.

Bono's reaction—

International AidStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Edmonton Southeast.

Human RightsStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

David Kilgour Liberal Edmonton Southeast, AB

Mr. Speaker, following the Dalai Lama's visit to Parliament recently, the subcommittee on human rights decided to look at human rights abuses in China, with particular reference to Tibet.

Last week Iris Almeida of Rights and Democracy testified before the subcommittee. She had this to say:

--we are not talking here about anything other than respecting human dignity and autonomy. We are not talking about independence...we are talking about the dignity of people who are isolated, marginalized and who are struggling within the context of known violent strategies to be heard by both China and by the international community.

Canada needs to play a more proactive stance and as an honest broker, as a mediator, as a peace-builder--

One hundred and sixty-five members of Parliament and Senators have called for Canada to act as a peace mediator between China and Tibet. The subcommittee plans to continue its work this afternoon. Many colleagues believe the government must address this in its upcoming international policy review.

Government PoliciesStatements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Gary Schellenberger Progressive Conservative Perth—Middlesex, ON

Mr. Speaker, one year ago today I became the member of Parliament for Perth--Middlesex.

One week later one mad cow was found on an Alberta farm. It has been a very trying year for the cattle industry and associated agribusiness.

The government has thrown money at agriculture without a plan to make sure the money actually gets to the farm gate. It forgot totally about agribusiness that was dependent on a healthy cattle industry. It had a cull cow program that did not even cull the cow.

I have watched for a year now as municipalities in my riding, which had previously requested federal funding for infrastructure, find themselves still waiting and wondering.

VIA Rail service in southwestern Ontario continues to be neglected while the gas prices go through the roof.

I have watched as the government was unable to improve health care for Canadians, was unwilling to address the culture of corruption and ignored rising tuition costs.

What a year.

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister will know that across the country Canadians are struggling with record gas prices. Canadian businesses are being hurt. Canadian consumers are burdened with the difficulties this is causing, but the government itself is rolling in record gas tax revenue.

Will the Prime Minister finally do the right thing and agree to lower gas taxes for Canadians?

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, before answering the Leader of the Opposition, allow me to say a few words about several interventions that have been made. I would like to thank the hon. members who will no longer be with us, should we have an election. On behalf of all Canadians, I would simply like to thank these members on both sides of the House.

Mr. Speaker, perhaps you will just allow me, given that a number of members have risen in the House to thank their colleagues on both sides of the House who have contributed so much, on behalf of all Canadians to thank those people who served with such distinction?

All members on this side of the House are obviously very concerned with the rising gas prices. It is for that reason that it has been referred to the Competition Bureau. The Competition Bureau is working with those agencies and the provinces which are concerned.

I can assure the House that the government will take every measure necessary to deal with this.

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, something is seriously wrong when Canadians are hurting from high gas prices and their own government is benefiting from their pain.

Not only is the government getting more revenue from the high gas prices, it even charges GST on top of its own gas excise taxes.

Will the Prime Minister agree to at least stop charging GST on top of other taxes? Will the Prime Minister agree to axe the tax on the tax?

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I am sure that the hon. gentleman would also agree with the government that, first, there has been no change recently in federal taxes. Second, the largest share of taxes is picked up by the provinces, not by the Government of Canada. Third, the important point is that our government has committed itself to work with municipalities across the country to deliver to them not just a full rebate of the GST, but indeed a portion of the fuel tax itself.

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, when all is said and done, the government seems content with high gas prices. The reason is the government does not want to reduce gas taxes, so it actually wants high gas prices.

The Minister of the Environment, when he was first appointed in 1999, issued an internal discussion paper in which he said, “The tax increases required to achieve the Kyoto target would more than double gasoline prices to about $1.40 per litre”.

Will the government admit that the real reason it does not want to do anything is that $1.40 is its actual target price for gasoline?

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, it is truly remarkable how the Leader of the Opposition can stir and stir around in his own brew and come up with such remarkable inebriation.

The fact of the matter is, since 1995 every measure taken by the government has been to reduce taxes, not to increase them.

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Peter MacKay Progressive Conservative Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS

Mr. Speaker, talk about stirring, while the Prime Minister and his gang continue to deny their role in the ad scam whodunit, Canadians are getting hosed at the pumps. The Prime Minister has pumped up his own record of fiscal acumen and revised history with false claims.

In reality the Prime Minister has downloaded costs to Canadians by cutting transfer payments to the provinces and by jacking up prices on gasoline.

When will the Prime Minister tell Canadians when they will get a break at the pumps? When will he stop pumping Canadians?