House of Commons Hansard #47 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.


Persons with Disabilities
Statements by Members

2 p.m.


Susan Whelan Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government has worked hard to break down the barriers Canadians with disabilities face on a daily basis.

Since 1996, tax relief for Canadians with disabilities and the persons who care for them has more than doubled, from $600 million annually to approximately $1.2 billion. Budget 2004 provides even greater tax relief for those who incur disability support expenses, such as sign language interpreters or talking textbooks. It also includes tax relief for caregivers who incur medical expenses and disability related expenses.

Canadians with disabilities want to be equal participants in the social and economic life of this country. The Liberal government is committed to helping them break down the barriers to mobility, employment and independence.

Statements by Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jim Gouk Kootenay—Boundary—Okanagan, BC

Mr. Speaker, democracy is defined in part as a government that is periodically elected and thus controlled by the people who live under it and the ideals and principles of such a government, such as the rule of the majority. How does that square with the current Prime Minister?

He is the man who voted in favour of preserving the traditional definition of marriage before being elected leader, then reversed his position after being elected. When asked about a referendum to let the people decide, he said there was no doubt that Canadians would vote to uphold the traditional definition of marriage and he could not allow the majority to override the wishes of the minority.

He is also the man who claimed he wanted democratic reform in the House but refused to allow a free vote on the useless, money consuming firearms registry. In fact there has not been a free vote on any legislation since he became PM.

This lack of democracy even reaches the Senate where the PM's Liberal lackeys used closure to force through Bill C-250 which stifles freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of expression.

About the only chance for democracy is for the Canadian public to replace the Prime Minister with a leader who will follow the real concepts of a true democracy.

European Union
Statements by Members

2 p.m.


Eleni Bakopanos Ahuntsic, QC

Mr. Speaker, May 1, 2004, was a historic day for Europe. Ten new member countries and 75 million new citizens were welcomed into the European Union family. This is the most significant expansion so far, both in its size and in its diversity.

Yesterday I was honoured to attend the joint celebration in Ottawa organized by the heads of mission of the enlarged European Union marking the Enlargement and Europe Day.

The 10 new member states from central and eastern Europe, together with Malta and Cyprus, are now legitimate members whose peoples are united in their diversity and share the very same values we share here in Canada, of lasting peace, democracy, stability and prosperity.

Having worked on the Cyprus issue for as many years as I have been in the House, in pursuit of a just and peaceful resolution, I, along with constituents, family and friends of Greek Cypriot origin and Turkish Cypriot origin remain optimistic that Cyprus' accession to the EU will soon be followed by the island's reunification.

I invite all colleagues to join me as we welcome and congratulate the union's 10 new member states.

Father Anselme Chiasson
Statements by Members

2:05 p.m.


Stéphane Bergeron Verchères—Les Patriotes, QC

Mr. Speaker, the funeral service for Father Anselme Chiasson, who died on April 25 at the age of 93, was held in Montreal yesterday.

Born in Chéticamp, Nova Scotia, he undertook classical studies in Ottawa and theological studies in Montreal. He joined the Capuchins in 1931 and was ordained before going on to found a Capuchin convent in Moncton, as well as the Société historique acadienne and the Éditions des Aboiteaux publishing house where some 15 of his works were published.

The recipient of many prestigious awards, he was associated with the founding of the Université de Moncton and, in particular, the Centre d'études acadiennes, which, under his influence, became a leading authority for Acadian history, culture and genealogy.

I had the pleasure of meeting Father Chiasson twice. It was a huge honour for me, because that man will remain in our memory as a great Acadian patriot. His legacy is colossal, an inestimable contribution to the development of a national identity, for which the Acadian people all over the world will eternally be in his debt.

Statements by Members

2:05 p.m.


Karen Redman Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the cost of housing has a dramatic impact on most families, but particularly on low income households, those often headed by women.

The Government of Canada recognizes the importance of housing and provides $1.9 billion annually to support 640,000 Canadian households living in existing social housing units. We are also investing $1 billion for the affordable housing initiative, more than $500 million for housing renovation programs, and $320 million more in the existing affordable housing agreement with the provinces and territories.

The estimated $7 billion in GST relief to municipalities will benefit them over the next 10 years to help them provide better housing for their residents.

Adequate affordable housing can be an effective tool in reducing poverty, especially child poverty. The Liberal government will continue working with community partners and other levels of government to meet this need.

Statements by Members

2:05 p.m.


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

Mr. Speaker, I wish to speak once again about the three Palestinians who have taken sanctuary in the Notre-Dame-de-Grâce church in Montreal.

These three individuals, all in their 60s, have for almost 55 years lived in refugee camps, the last of which we know is under the control of internationally recognized terrorist groups. If we were to refuse them permanent status, we would be condemning them to a lifetime of risk and danger.

Thousands of Quebeckers have signed a petition on their behalf and many parliamentarians have indicated their support.

I ask the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to personally review the details of their applications for permanent residence on compassionate and humanitarian grounds. I hope she will use the authority which is granted to her by law to render the only decision which I believe is warranted. Yes, I hope she will authorize soon the ministerial permits which will allow these three Palestinians to remain safe and sound in Canada.

Marijuana Grow Ops
Statements by Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Randy White Langley—Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, drugs are a serious problem in British Columbia and marijuana grow ops are causing much damage to houses.

I wonder why people like Phu Son, who has been on welfare since entering Canada, now owns three houses in my riding and who financed these mortgages.

Is it really a significant coincidence that Maple Trust of Toronto often approves mortgages to many of the grow op houses in the lower mainland? Is it a coincidence that the Superintendent of Financial Institutions is aware of the many marijuana grow ops financed by Maple Trust and has yet to take action?

Is it a coincidence that many of the people qualifying for mortgages with Maple Trust are in low paying jobs and identified as “salal picker” or just plain “worker”? How many banks would support a mortgage based on those jobs?

Is it a coincidence that the mortgage business and the marijuana business are thriving in British Columbia?

Genie Awards
Statements by Members

2:05 p.m.


Sarmite Bulte Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, on Saturday, May 1, I had the honour of attending the 24th Annual Genie Awards celebrating outstanding achievement in Canadian cinema. The show was produced by CHUM Television. For the first time in Canadian awards television history, the awards were broadcast interactively on Bell Expressvu online.

Canadian director Denys Arcand's film Les Invasions barbares was this year's major winner, receiving a Genie in five different categories.

The Genie awards are brought to us by the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television, a national non-profit professional association designed to promote, recognize and celebrate exceptional achievements in the Canadian film and television industries. Created in 1979 and today unifying over 4,000 industry professionals across Canada, the academy has proven to be a vital and integral force representing all areas of film and television.

I would ask all my colleagues in the House of Commons to join me in congratulating all the nominees and recipients of this year's Genie Awards.

Tulsequah Chief Mine
Statements by Members

2:10 p.m.


Peter Stoffer Sackville—Musquodoboit Valley—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, in northern British Columbia in the Taku watershed lies the beautiful Taku River which is being contaminated by the Tulsequah Chief Mine.

In 1995 the Department of the Environment insisted that the British Columbia government negotiate with Redfern Resources to clean up the site immediately within one year. It is now 2004 and there still has been no action. The law is being broken and wild salmon and a viable commercial fishery are being put at risk by ongoing toxic contamination from the site. It should have been cleaned up years ago.

The contamination of this transboundary river could put Canada in violation of agreements we made under the Pacific Salmon Treaty and the International Boundary Waters Treaty.

Environment Canada is not enforcing Canadian law. At this time we would like to thank David MacKinnon of the Transboundary Watershed Alliance, and the Tlingit people of the Taku for bringing this issue to the attention of members of Parliament.

Clean up the site once and for all.

Employment Insurance
Statements by Members

2:10 p.m.


Sébastien Gagnon Lac-Saint-Jean—Saguenay, QC

Mr. Speaker, on Friday, the Liberals once again showed that the public cannot trust their promises. They refused to adopt a motion put forward by the Bloc Quebecois to implement the 17 recommendations of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills Development, Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities in order to rid the system of its many injustices.

In so doing, the federal Liberals have shown that they are only trying to buy time so that they can again campaign with false promises of reforming employment insurance, promises they will not keep, like the promises made by the former finance minister, the current Prime Minister, during the 2000 federal election.

The Bloc Quebecois and the labour unions are calling for justice for workers who are victims of the employment insurance program, especially seasonal workers. With the election looming, Quebeckers and Canadians will be deeply suspicious of candidates whose party is so opportunistic and disdainful of the public.

Statements by Members

May 4th, 2004 / 2:10 p.m.


Lynn Myers Waterloo—Wellington, ON

Mr. Speaker, today is World Asthma Day, a day that we need to recognize.

This disease leaves 12% of Canadian children and 8% of Canadian adults struggling to breathe and 300 million people of all ages and all ethnic backgrounds worldwide suffering.

The Lung Association is working with health professionals in Canada to educate those with asthma. It continues to be a major cause of hospitalization for children.

The best way to manage this disease is by individuals being actively involved in their own treatment.

The global burden of asthma to the health care system, to the patients and their families is increasing worldwide. In many countries the prevalence of asthma is rising 20 % to 50% every 10 years.

Further research and funding is needed to identify the factors responsible for increased prevalence rates, to study the primary prevention of asthma and to support increased education in the area of asthma management.

On behalf of The Lung Association I thank my fellow colleagues in the House for their time and attention to this most important health matter.

Remember, when we cannot breathe, nothing else matters.

Health Care
Statements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rob Merrifield Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister and the federal Liberals are sowing confusion and dishonesty on health care.

The health minister spoke about what is allowed under the Canada Health Act, but the Prime Minister forced him to recant.

The Prime Minister said that he opposed chequebook medicine, but nobody is advocating that.

The Prime Minister said that he is not going to play politics with health care, but he is trying to demonize the Conservatives with false allegations.

The Prime Minister wants a mandate just to negotiate an unseen 10 year deal to save health care, but he has been neglecting the five year deal that is already on the table.

Canadians want clarity and honesty on health care. The Conservative Party of Canada is committed to universal public health insurance, regardless of ability to pay. We recognize that the issue is not delivery, but access.

We have endorsed last year's health accord as a good faith agreement to move forward on health reforms. The Conservative Party of Canada is prepared to make additional investments into health care, investments which are affordable and within a fiscal plan.

The Conservative Party will put the patient first. It is time for new leadership on health care.

Hospice Palliative Care
Statements by Members

2:10 p.m.


Janko Peric Cambridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, this is National Hospice Palliative Care Week, a time when we recognize the vital role of hospice palliative care in our communities. Each year 160,000 Canadians require end of life care and with our population aging, the number is expected to rise.

Hospice palliative care programs give patients more control over their lives, manage pain and symptoms more effectively, and provide support to caregivers. The recent introduction of the compassionate care benefit by the government is an important initiative that supports families caring for loved ones who are gravely ill.

Many hospice palliative care programs are supported by charitable giving such as Lissard House, a hospice for terminally ill cancer patients located in my riding of Cambridge and established through a generous donation by Val and Sheila O'Donovan.

As we reflect during National Palliative Care Week, I would like to thank the countless caregivers, volunteers and professionals.

Racial Discrimination
Statements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Deepak Obhrai Calgary East, AB

Mr. Speaker, when I came to Canada in 1977, I found myself on many occasions a victim of racial discrimination. At that time it was widespread in Canadian society.

Since that period I have noticed tremendous improvements in Canadian society as the evils of discrimination were exposed, but the battle is far from over. There continues to be pockets where hidden discrimination or systemic racism as it is known, rears its ugly head.

My colleague in the Senate, Senator Donald Oliver, has raised the alarm of systemic discrimination in the public service. The statistics are discouraging. While minorities make up 13% of the Canadian population, only 7% of the federal public service comprises visible minorities, as he pointed out.

I commend my colleague, Senator Donald Oliver for raising this issue.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest

Canadian Alliance

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I see the government is planning a dirty advertising program, but we are still trying to clean up the dirt from the last advertising program.

Liberal members are trying to sweep the sponsorship scandal under the rug by discrediting the Auditor General, accusing her of misleading Canadians, jumping to conclusions and even self-aggrandizement. As one newspaper said today, the Auditor General's “strength in the face of these cowardly attacks remind us all of our duty as citizens and voters: the duty to speak out when something is not right; the duty to demand real answers instead of political excuses and spin”.

Is it still the government's position to attack the credibility and integrity of the Auditor General?