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House of Commons Hansard #54 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was witnesses.

Topics

The EnvironmentStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Charles Caccia Liberal Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, researchers at the University of Plymouth in the United Kingdom report an accumulation of plastic fibre pollution, from seabeds to beaches. Marine organisms are swallowing microscopic fragments of plastic from pop bottles, grocery bags, rope, fragments of nylon, and polyester. It takes between 100 and 1,000 years for plastic to disintegrate.

Researcher Dr. Thompson says that the evidence suggests we are dealing with a problem quite widespread in the oceans and expresses concern that there may be the possibility of food chain contamination.

Plastics contain various additives, such as hormone interfering compounds and are also known to aid in collecting, transporting and releasing of additional toxins into the ocean.

For the sake of future generations we should actively and firmly prevent plastic pollution.

University of Prince Edward IslandStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Shawn Murphy Liberal Hillsborough, PE

Mr. Speaker, the year 2004 marks the 200th anniversary of higher education on Prince Edward Island.

On May 8 the University of Prince Edward Island conferred honorary degrees upon three outstanding Island alumni. The individuals who were honoured have each made exceptional contributions to Canada and the world in their chosen field.

The first person was Dr. Arnold Hiltz, a graduate of Prince of Wales College in Charlottetown. His expertise is in chemistry and he has been employed by NASA.

The second person is quite familiar to the House, Senator Jacques Hébert. He attended St. Dunstan's University in Charlottetown, and later founded Canada World Youth and Katimavik Canada.

Finally, Madam Justice Ellen MacDonald graduated from the University of Prince Edward Island in 1970 and was appointed to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in 1991.

I have no doubt that members of the House will join me in congratulating all those who graduated from the University of Prince Edward Island last Saturday and especially those three distinguished Canadians.

Canadian Railway MuseumStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Robert Lanctôt Liberal Châteauguay, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am extremely pleased to draw hon. members' attention to the important contribution made by the Canadian Railway Museum to the riding of Châteauguay and the region of Montérégie. This museum, the only one of its kind in Canada, is located in the municipalities of Saint-Constant and Delson.

The Government of Canada is proud of its association with this museum. In March, it made a contribution, through Economic Development Canada, of $1.2 million for phase II of the museum's Exporail project. This is in addition to the October 2000 contribution of $3 million for phase I of this project.

Since its creation in 1961, the museum has managed to assemble the largest rail collection in the country. These recent investments will enable the Canadian Railway Museum to join the select ranks of the world's top five railway museums. It is source of great pride to our region.

Once the work is completed, the museum expects to attract 85,000 visitors annually. Its vital mission of education and raising awareness will thus continue to expand.

Samuel de ChamplainStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Gerald Keddy Progressive Conservative South Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, Samuel de Champlain was known to Canadian school children as the father of New France, yet those same students do not realize it all began on the south shore of Nova Scotia.

On May 8, 2004 a re-enactment celebrating the 400th anniversary of Champlain's landfall was held on Rissers Beach, including a ceremony of greeting by the Mic Mac.

Champlain made his first landfall at Cap LaHave, named after Cap de la Hève in France. He explored and mapped the coast of what would become Acadia. Names like: Rossignol, Cap LaHave, Port Mouton, Port Royal, Cap Negro, Isle Haute, Cap D'Or and Port Joli pay tribute to his travels.

In 1605 Champlain founded Port Royal, the first permanent French settlement in Acadia and later went on to found Quebec in 1608.

My congratulations to the festival Champlain committee in recognition of its hard work in celebrating this truly Canadian story.

Margaret Anna LawsonStatements By Members

May 13th, 2004 / 2 p.m.

Liberal

Sue Barnes Liberal London West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to Miggsie Margaret Anna Lawson, honorary president of the Lawson Foundation of London, Ontario. She passed away on May 5.

During her lifetime Miggsie brought her special vitality and dedication to a variety of community activities. She was a driving force behind making the Lawson Foundation what it is today.

Since the foundation's establishment in 1956 by Miggsie's father-in-law, Ray Lawson, it has donated over $43 million to charities across Canada. Today the Lawson Foundation honours the family traditions and focuses on early childhood competencies and the strengthening of communities.

Miggsie truly personified the foundation's values of respect, trust, family, community, faith, prevention, commitment, empathy and a strong work ethic.

I thank Miggsie for being a positive person and a shining example of the commitment to the London community. She will rest in peace.

Member for Trois-RivièresStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Yves Rocheleau Bloc Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to take advantage of my last intervention in this House to thank the people of Trois-Rivières for their trust in me and to share my feelings ranging from disappointment to confidence.

I am disappointed that after more than 40 years of activism, we still have not reached our goal; Quebec is still just a province within Canada. The Quebec nation is not recognized by Canada nor by the international community. Only in song is Quebec a country.

I am worried about the future of the Quebec people, whose survival is seriously threatened if it does not react quickly and decide to take full control of its destiny.

I am proud of my track record as the member for Trois-Rivières in terms of my initiatives and the role I played in many issues.

I am confident that a solid majority of Quebeckers will soon realize that the only decent and honourable option for them is sovereignty.

Vive le Quebec, vive le Quebec souverain.

Canadian ForcesStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Andy Savoy Liberal Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Mr. Speaker, with service comes sacrifice. This past January Canadians were all deeply saddened by the death of Cpl. Jamie Brendan Murphy, a Newfoundland soldier serving with the 3rd Battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment who was killed by an explosion while patrolling near Kabul, Afghanistan.

Today, we have in Ottawa one of the three survivors of that tragic attack, Cpl. Richard Michael Newman. Cpl. Newman is stationed at Canadian Forces Base Petawawa, but proudly calls Hartland, New Brunswick his hometown.

I would like to take this opportunity to recognize Cpl. Newman and all the brave men and women for their loyal service to Canada in the interests of peace. We are very proud of the contributions our soldiers have made to the stabilization and reconstruction of Afghanistan.

To Cpl. Newman and all members of the Canadian Forces, we express our thanks. We thank them for fulfilling Canada's important role as a world peacekeeper.

Member for Nanaimo--CowichanStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Reed Elley Canadian Alliance Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, it has been my privilege for the past seven years to represent the beautiful British Columbia riding of Nanaimo—Cowichan. It has been an incredible experience to participate in the Parliament of Canada with distinguished colleagues on all sides of the House.

I have worked on many different issues. Some of the most notable ones for me personally have been to represent the victims of hepatitis C, who were excluded from the 1986 to 1990 window; to fight for compensation for workers and aid for the forest industry damaged by a prolonged softwood lumber dispute; to work on behalf of disabled Canadians who were in need of better disability benefits; and to listen to and represent many grassroots aboriginal people who found no compassionate ear to listen to their voice in this government.

I would like to pay particular thanks to my wife Louise and family members who have endured my long absences from home. I thank them for their understanding and support.

My thanks to the voters of Nanaimo—Cowichan who twice elected me to represent them here in this place. It has been a privilege and a pleasure. Now I am retiring from this place to take up another vocation.

I wish to thank all my colleagues. God bless them and God bless Canada.

Member for DavenportStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, today we thank a friend who came to Canada from his native Italy to seek a better life and by his presence here he enriched the lives of all of us.

He was elected to local government in his new adopted city of Toronto in 1964. In 1968 he was elected to the first of his 10 successive and successful mandates to the House of Commons. He became a parliamentary secretary, and later in 1981 he was appointed to cabinet where he eventually found what most of us would consider his true calling, the environment.

He is currently the chair of the House of Commons Standing Committee on the Environment and Sustainable Development. He is the president of the Canada-Europe Association. He is the dean of the House of Commons and of course of our caucus.

He is the hon. member for Davenport to whom today we say: thank you very much, grazie mille.

JusticeStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Dick Proctor NDP Palliser, SK

Mr. Speaker, 13 years ago Kevin Ross Ferris turned police informant enabling the OPP to recover hundreds of thousands of dollars in stolen goods, narcotics and sending several individuals to jail.

His life in danger, Mr. Ferris was placed in the witness protection program, given a new identity, and relocated to British Columbia. Believing he was not receiving adequate protection and fearing for his life, Ferris fled Canada, creating his own identity.

Returning in 2002, the RCMP arrested him for parole violation under the name of Kevin Ross Ferris instead of his witness protection name, thus putting his life in danger once more.

Last year the National Parole Board ruled his sentence had been fully served back in 1992, yet for 15 months Mr. Ferris has been unable to work as he is without either a social insurance number or driver's licence. Throughout this time neither the RCMP nor the witness protection program has provided any meaningful assistance.

Kevin Ross Ferris wants his life back.

Member for Rimouski—Neigette-et-la MitisStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Suzanne Tremblay Bloc Rimouski-Neigette-Et-La Mitis, QC

Mr. Speaker, just hours away from taking my leave, I want to express my gratitude for the moments of intensity we have shared in this place with its words, images and sounds, where my words could echo the passion of my thoughts, based on my convictions and my desire to serve my fellow citizens, whom I thank for having put their trust in me three times, and doing so each time wonderfully.

To those who are carrying on, I wish rewards to match the demands of this sometimes chaotic service, which also has its moments of lack of alternatives or vision, as well as moments of renewed delight.

I thank everyone who has assisted me—my family, my colleagues, my staff and every service on the Hill—and one and all for your thoughtfulness, regardless of political or personal opinions.

Member for Vancouver South--BurnabyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Colleen Beaumier Liberal Brampton West—Mississauga, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to my colleague, the hon. member for Vancouver South--Burnaby.

First elected in 1993, the hon. member has held numerous portfolios, including Minister of National Revenue, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, and Minister of Natural Resources.

Most important, the hon. member has the honour and distinction of being the first South Asian to hold a ministerial portfolio in any western democracy, and his lobbying efforts led to the opening of a Canadian consulate general in Chandigarh, India.

Born in Chiheru, Punjab, and coming to Canada at the age of six, the hon. member for Vancouver South--Burnaby is a perfect example of the opportunities available to new Canadians. He has been a successful businessman and entrepreneur, as well as a successful member of Parliament.

I would like to invite all members to join with me today in wishing the hon. member for Vancouver South--Burnaby all the best in his future endeavours. His contributions to the House will be missed.

Liberal Party of CanadaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Canadian Alliance West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

Mr. Speaker, “No democracy. No respect. So we all quit”. Eight words from Liberals in British Columbia but they convey a powerful message. The democratic deficit has become an albatross hanging on the neck of the ancient mariner.

Do members remember those heady days when the Prime Minister promised he would do things differently? There are 14 former Liberals in Burnaby--Douglas who remember that promise. They all quit the Liberal Party because the Prime Minister parachuted his own candidate into their riding.

After a year of work of organizing and fundraising, two outstanding Chinese Canadian nominated candidates were told to take a hike. That has upset the Chinese community from coast to coast and overseas. They and their supporters will find the welcome mat out if they want to join the Conservative Party.

Speaking of mats, the Prime Minister, with this brutal undemocratic move, has yanked the rug out from under every Liberal candidate in British Columbia. Now we hear news reports that there are membership lists burning in Vancouver Centre as we speak.

Things just keep on getting better and better in British Columbia with a bad moon rising over the Liberal Party.

Member for Ottawa--OrléansStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Eugène Bellemare Liberal Ottawa—Orléans, ON

Mr. Speaker, allow me to say farewell to you today. I will be leaving my seat in the House of Commons shortly, at the next election.

I thank the constituents of Ottawa—Orléans for having permitted me to represent and serve them in Parliament, by electing me four times in a row, starting in 1988, then in 1993, 1997 and the year 2000.

I will miss this House, its debates, its committees and its members greatly. It was a pleasure to serve on various committees at various times, be it as vice-chair of government operations, industry or human resources, or as member of the Committee on Official Languages or the Standing Committee on Public Accounts.

I acknowledge all the members from both sides of the House who have shown me that they are committed to the well-being of all Canadians. I thank my late wife Roberte, who passed away in 2002, for her unqualified support during all those years, as well as my four children, Liette, Michel, Martine and Josée, not to mention my sons-in-law, Louis and Gary, and my daughter-in-law, Nathalie, and my loyal staff.

God bless you all. I wish you every happiness. Long live Canada.

Government PoliciesStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Brian Pallister Canadian Alliance Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, this week we learned that the Liberal government could not come up with a title for its throne speech. After considering various titles, with no apparent frontrunner, the government opted for a generic white cover with no title at all, which illustrates the fact we can indeed judge a book by its cover.

Having a blank page was an ideal choice. However, one has to wonder why the government would give $50,000 to a Quebec research firm to tell it what everyone already knows: that it is adrift; that when it says everything is a priority, it means that nothing is; that when the Prime Minister says, “Let me be perfectly clear”, he most often is not; and that when the Liberals rush out pre-election press releases and promises, they are insulting Canadian voters by assuming that they can be bought.

The Liberals erred in using white paper on their throne speech. There was nothing innocent or pure about this. The correct colour was scarlet.

Member for Laval CentreStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Bloc Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, as there are only a few hours left before I leave this place, where I have had the privilege to make a modest contribution to parliamentary democracy for the past ten years, I would like to pay tribute to the people of Laval Centre. The trust they have placed in me has allowed me to serve them to the best of my abilities and to see just how many generous, courageous and determined people there are in our society.

Thanks to them, I have learned that the quality of the work of an elected representative goes hand in hand with an active presence within the community, support of the various socio-cultural organizations and excellent service to one's constituents.

I must thank the House staff for their professionalism and readiness to help, which have made my life a lot easier, in this world where the great and the small rub shoulders for better or for worse. To colleagues who are moving on, I wish the excitement of new challenges; to those who soldier on here, I wish the success they deserve.

In looking back on these ten years in the other capital, I will have fond memories of respect, friendship, and why not, complicity.

Member for Vancouver KingswayStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Elinor Caplan Liberal Thornhill, ON

Mr. Speaker, born in China, she emigrated to Canada in 1962, received the Order of Canada in 1994 and, when elected to the riding of Vancouver Kingsway in 1997, became the first Canadian woman of Chinese origin elected to the House of Commons.

We were elected together and we worked together. We travelled to China and successfully secured travel documents for the misguided youths who boarded boats for a dangerous journey that led them to detention in a Canadian jail for a year, but saved them from a life of slavery.

I was moved by her impassioned plea to the most senior Chinese officials to help their children return home and alert other youths of the perils of the snakeheads. She said, “They are your children and your future”.

The House of Commons is losing a strong voice, an individual whose dedication and commitment to her constituents and this country have been an inspiration. She really made a difference.

We wish success to the member for Vancouver Kingsway, my dear friend and colleague.

Member for York CentreStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Art Eggleton Liberal York Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise to inform hon. members that after much thought and reflection, I have decided not to seek re-election in the forthcoming general election.

It has been an honour to represent the people of York Centre in the House of Commons these past ten and a half years. I want to thank them for their support and confidence. This decision draws to a close 32 years in elected office, starting as an alderman in the city of Toronto in 1970, mayor of Toronto in the 1980s, and then a member of Parliament, including eight and a half years as a cabinet minister in three portfolios.

I have always worked hard to make a difference in the lives of individuals and for the betterment of my city, province and country. Whatever endeavours lie ahead, I hope that in one way or another, service to the people of Canada will continue to be a part of my life. After all, as King George VI once said, “the highest of distinctions is service to others”.

In that spirit, I extend best wishes to all who serve in this House in future years.

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, in Quebec the CAA is receiving letters from consumers who are furious about gasoline prices. For every cent the price of gas goes up, this government collects $32 million in extra revenue. It even collects GST on the excise tax on gasoline.

Why does the Prime Minister refuse to eliminate this tax on a tax?

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, in terms of our relationship with municipalities, of course all the GST is remitted to municipalities through a refund. We are now working on remitting a portion of the fuel tax to municipalities as part of our new deal for communities across the country.

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, that may be on the GST that the municipalities pay, but it is certainly not on the taxes that consumers pay.

Yesterday, in Liberal fashion, the government blamed everyone else for high gas prices. It blamed the provinces, the oil companies and it slammed the opposition, yet it refused to do one thing to help consumers. That would be to eliminate the GST on fuel excise taxes.

Why are the Prime Minister and the government refusing to axe a tax on a tax?

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the hon. gentleman knows the principles of taxation underlying the broad based GST because the party he now leads introduced it.

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, what I know about taxes is that our taxes are too high and we should be getting them down.

The finance minister claimed yesterday that communities would benefit from higher gas prices, but there is still no deal with the cities to transfer gas taxes. It is just another unfulfilled promise. Only the federal government is actually getting the benefit out of these gas taxes.

Why will the government not admit it just is not right to raise gas prices by charging tax on top of tax?

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the hon. gentleman said there has been no agreement with Canadian cities. In fact there is agreement.

First, we are rebating to the municipalities 100% of the GST that they pay. That is worth $7 billion over the course of the next 10 years.

Another part of the agreement with communities is the acceleration of infrastructure. That is an acceleration of 50%, bringing forward our infrastructure programming into the next five years as opposed to the next ten.

The third part of the agreement is the arrangement with respect to the fuel tax and we are working on that.

Gasoline PricesOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Monte Solberg Canadian Alliance Medicine Hat, AB

No, Mr. Speaker, the government broke its promise to give a share of that gas tax to the municipalities. That is the promise it has broken.

Let me quote from a document that we received from Environment Canada under an access to information request. It states:

The tax increases required to achieve the Kyoto target would more than double gasoline prices--from about $0.54 per litre to about $1.40 per litre by the year 2010.

How is that going to go over in Victoria? Is it not true that the environment minister's only concern with $1 a litre gas is that it is too low?