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House of Commons Hansard #60 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was federal.

Topics

Economic DevelopmentStatements By Members

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Raymond Simard Liberal Saint Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, from February 25 to March 4, 2005, a Franco-Manitoban delegation will participate in an economic mission to Alsace, France. The Premier of Manitoba, the provincial finance minister and I will accompany 75 delegates from the economic, cultural, research, health and environmental sectors.

Led by the Economic Development Council for Manitoba Bilingual Communities, this mission aims to develop business ties with companies in Alsace and encourage commercial immigration to Manitoba. In addition, it aims to position Manitoba as the gateway to western North American and to promote Manitoba's francophone culture.

This is the first time a delegation this size will go to France. This mission is the result of a historic agreement on non-invasive surgery reached between the St. Boniface general hospital and the IRCAD research institute in Strasbourg.

I am proud of the contribution by this group of dynamic francophones living in a minority situation. It is tangible proof of the importance of the francophonie's added value to this country's economic development.

Post-Secondary EducationStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

NDP

Bill Siksay NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights came into force and was signed by Canada in 1976. One of its provisions is that higher education shall be made equally accessible to all on the basis of capacity by every appropriate means, and in particular by the progressive introduction of free education. The Simon Fraser Student Society in my riding is calling on the United Nations to investigate Canada's non-compliance with this agreement.

The federal Liberals cut over $3 billion to the provinces for post-secondary education. The B.C. Liberals have failed to maintain the NDP's freeze on tuition fees, forcing tuition up by over 70% at universities, and over 150% at colleges.

The time for action is long past. Access to post-secondary education in Canada is threatened. Student debt is way too high. Families are frustrated in the hope to ensure the best education for their children. Post-secondary institutions must be fully funded. The government must act now.

TransportationStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Nina Grewal Conservative Fleetwood—Port Kells, BC

Mr. Speaker, the traffic conditions on B.C.'s lower mainland have gone from bad to worse. It not only affects the orderly flow of local traffic, but the gridlock impacts on the transport of goods to and from our major ports, railway terminals and the U.S. border.

The delay and inconvenience affects our competitiveness. Residents and businesses, including the Surrey Chamber of Commerce, have been pressing for a south Fraser perimeter road linking the Fraser docks, railway terminals and highways 1, 99 and 15.

Provincial and municipal governments and the GVRD are already on board, but the federal government has not yet committed to its funding. We also need money for initiatives like the twinning of the Port Mann bridge, widening of Highway 1 to Langley, and improved interchanges and overpasses.

I ask the transport minister and the federal government to make that commitment without any further delay and to pay their share now.

Mont Garceau'sStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, 40 years ago, a pioneer and true visionary from the village of Saint-Donat cleared several acres on a mountainside so that the young and not so young could have fun sliding on wooden boards on the snow. That pioneer's name was Lauda Garceau and, thanks to him, we have Mont Garceau, which is celebrating is 40th anniversary this year.

The entire team at Mont Garceau, including the owners Marcel and Claudette Gauthier, are extremely proud to celebrate this 40th anniversary with their customers, with the addition of a new quad chair lift, increasing lift capacity to 6,000 skiers per hour.

Since opening in the winter of 1964-65, this small family business has slowly grown into an important and modern intermediate ski resort serving 120,000 skiers each year. It has greatly contributed to the development of tourism in Saint-Donat and the Matawinie region.

Happy birthday Mont Garceau and bravo to its owners and the entire team.

The Prime MinisterStatements By Members

February 18th, 2005 / 11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Monte Solberg Conservative Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, The Economist magazine has noted that our Prime Minister has earned the nickname Mr. Dithers. Sadly it is true and now he is taking his dithering global. Yesterday he told us that Syria was in Lebanon to keep the peace. Then he said that Syria should get out of Lebanon. Then he said the Syrians should get out of Syria. It is just so hard to decide.

And what of Kyoto? If you ask him, the Prime Minister will say that he is very, very concerned about greenhouse gas emissions. He is probably even mad as hell about greenhouse gases. I expect he wants to get to the bottom of greenhouse gases and will leave no stone unturned. I know he thinks that greenhouse gases will lead to hell or high water, but still he cannot actually decide what to do about greenhouse gases.

I know it is hard being the Prime Minister, what with having to make all those decisions, but if making a decision is too difficult for him, I have a solution. Instead of urging the Syrians to leave Syria, how about the PM leaves the PMO?

William HallStatements By Members

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

Navdeep Bains Liberal Mississauga—Brampton South, ON

Mr. Speaker, as we mark Black History Month I am proud to draw my hon. colleagues' attention to the heroics of William Hall, the first Nova Scotian and the first black person to earn the Victoria Cross, the Commonwealth's highest award for bravery.

Mr. Hall was born in Horton Bluff, Nova Scotia and enlisted in the Royal Navy in 1852. Mr. Hall served aboard the HMS Shannon when it was dispatched to Lucknow, India and came under siege. When all others on board were either killed or wounded, Mr. Hall and a young officer kept loading and firing their 24 pound howitzer until the relief of Lucknow had been secured. Mr. Hall received the Victoria Cross in 1859. A permanent memorial in his honour was erected in Hansport, Nova Scotia in 1947.

In this special Year of the Veteran, we cherish the memory of this outstanding Canadian.

Aboriginal AffairsStatements By Members

11:15 a.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I suggest that the terrible legacy of the Indian residential schools is Canada's greatest shame. There has never been an injustice on this scale or of this duration in the country. In spite of a national consensus to apologize with compensation and reconciliation, of the $125 million spent, only $1 million has actually gone to compensation of the victims. The rest has been burnt up by administration costs and legal fees fighting these claims.

I wish all members could have heard the testimony of 88-year-old elder Flora Merrick at the House of Commons Indian affairs committee yesterday. Her award of a paltry $1,500 is being appealed by the federal government. It cost the government $30,000 to fight her claim. She was awarded $1,500 and the government is appealing.

I implore the government to stop victimizing the victims of the residential school tragedy; stop spending millions of dollars trying to paint the abuse victims as liars. Eligibility for compensation should be based on attendance at the school. We believe the victims.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

Peter MacKay Conservative Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, once upon a time the Prime Minister promised he would provide Canadians with a step by step plan to achieve the international commitments of Kyoto, and yet the Minister of the Environment has said, quite clearly, that there is no firm plan to meet the targets.

It has been eight years since Kyoto was signed and two years since it was ratified. While Mr. Dithers and Dithers junior dawdle on decisions to decrease emissions, greenhouse gases continue to rise.

Will the Prime Minister stop his pathological dithering and lay out a specific made in Canada plan to give Canadians clean air, clean water and clean land?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, the opposition needs to clean out its ears. For once, it would be nice if they understood that there is a plan. It has been in place since 2002, and has resulted in progress. We rank third world-wide in terms of improvements in energy efficiency.

The plan exists. We will improve it. Why is it so difficult to understand?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

Peter MacKay Conservative Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, in English we say that the minister is full of it.

The Liberal government has spent $4 billion on Kyoto measures and emissions have actually gone up 30%. Next week the government will announce that it will recycle $6 billion, dump the term Kyoto and recycle the term sustainable development.

What does it all mean? There is still no plan and the details are sketchy on Kyoto. Media reports say that the real program is aimed at attracting voters in British Columbia and Quebec.

Why is the government once again trying to buy Canadians with their own money, and when will it come up with a specific plan?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, he understood and he knows but since he does not have any critique to formulate he is repeating the same thing.

There is a plan. It will be improved. What is a shame is that I have asked the finance critic of that party many times what he would suggest to the Minister of Finance for the environment. The truth is that he has suggested nothing, not a penny, nothing for the environment, nothing for climate change and nothing for the parks. It is a shame that party does not care about the environment.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

Peter MacKay Conservative Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, The Economist magazine has joined the parade of people who refer to our Prime Minister as Mr. Dithers. It says that the federal government has been slow and hesitant.

By continuing to be timid and indecisive, the Prime Minister is hurting Canada's international reputation. From federal appointments to international commitments, the Prime Minister just cannot make up his mind. We have had the mad as hell tour, the what the hell tour and now Mr. Dithers goes global.

While the Prime Minister and his gaseous emissions minister continue to dither, emissions are rising. When will the dithering stop and some decisiveness begin? What's the plan, Stéphane?

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Central Nova knows that referring to hon. members by other than their title is not proper and we have had a bit of a string of it during the question period. Although it is not for the Speaker to decide who some of these characters mentioned by the hon. member may be, the name Stéphane does refer to a person who has been answering the hon. member's questions and, of course, it is the Minister of the Environment, as the member for Central Nova knows, and he will want to comply in every respect with the rules of the House and address the minister correctly.

The hon. Deputy Prime Minister will answer this question.

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, let us look at what the Prime Minister and the government have been doing.

First, an historic health agreement, an agreement to which 13 provinces and territories placed their signatures. Let us look at the new relationship with our cities and communities. Let us look at the redefinition of Canada's role in the world. Let us look at redefining our relationship with aboriginal peoples so that they have an economic and social sustainability for their communities across the country. Let us look at what we are doing in relation to child care, to help families all over the country.

I think this government--

The EnvironmentOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Carleton--Mississippi Mills.

Canadian ForcesOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Conservative Carleton—Lanark, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government has $6 billion to blow on a phantom Kyoto scheme but only spare change for our military, leaving them barefoot in the barracks.

The rumoured budget increase is approximately $750 million. This is woefully inadequate to meet the needs of the current military and the one described by the new Chief of the Defence Staff. It is less than one-quarter of what the military needs to overcome the decay of the air force, army and navy.

Does the minister plan to muddle on and watch the military decline, or does he plan to eliminate significant military capabilities?

Canadian ForcesOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca B.C.

Liberal

Keith Martin LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, as the member knows very well, the Prime Minister, the Minister of National Defence and this government have a firm commitment to support all three elements of our Canadian Forces. I am sure the member will look very favourably next week when the budget comes out and we will have a new investment into our military to strengthen their capabilities, not only here at home but abroad.

Canadian ForcesOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Conservative Carleton—Lanark, ON

Mr. Speaker, that is classic muddling.

They talk about their commitment to the military but they never follow through. It is always talk, talk, talk, but Liberal talk is cheap. They make promises without commitment. Canadians expect our military to defend our interests but the government never provides adequate resources. They hope to muddle through from crisis to crisis.

Will the minister acknowledge that $750 million is inadequate and that the military needs a much larger baseline funding increase?

Canadian ForcesOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca B.C.

Liberal

Keith Martin LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I thought the member heard what the Prime Minister has already said. We are making a strong commitment. For example, we have made $7 billion of financial commitments into critical areas, such as new search and rescue planes, new mobile gun systems and new helicopters.

Furthermore, as the member would appreciate, being a general himself, the Prime Minister made a commitment to add 5,000 new members to our regular forces, plus another 3,000 members to our reserves.

Parental LeaveOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, today is the deadline for reaching a final agreement in the matter of parental leave. If there is no agreement today, the implementation of the program will be compromised for 2006, and Quebec families will once again be paying the price for the federal government's stubbornness.

Does the minister realize that by refusing to reach an agreement with Quebec beginning this year, he is delaying by one more year the date when Quebec families will be covered by an improved system? Do we have to wait until 2007 for some action in the parental leave file?

Parental LeaveOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Peterborough Ontario

Liberal

Peter Adams LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, the government has been very supportive of the negotiations with the Government of Quebec with respect to parental leave. Our current offer is financially much more advantageous than the offer of 1997. We have high hopes of a successful conclusion to these negotiations.

Parental LeaveOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, an agreement with Quebec is still $275 million away. Since 1996, no less than four federal ministers and four Quebec provincial ministers have attempted to negotiate a parental leave agreement, but without success. The ministers may change, but what does not change is the federal government's refusal to negotiate an agreement that satisfies Quebec. The deadline is today.

Can the minister tell us—yes or no—if an agreement has finally been reached with Quebec?

Parental LeaveOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Peterborough Ontario

Liberal

Peter Adams LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, as I said, we have been very supportive of the negotiations and we know the negotiations are reaching a critical stage. We believe our offer will allow the Government of Quebec to develop its own program. We are looking forward to a successful conclusion to the negotiations.

Parental LeaveOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Yves Lessard Bloc Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, as we see, they have many excuses for delaying the signature of the agreement on parental leave. When it is not the legal aspects, it is the financial questions that pose a problem. Fewer excuses were found when they had to reach an agreement with Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia on natural resources.

How can they be so quick to transfer billions of dollars to Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia, and still refuse to return $275 million to Quebec for parental leave?

Parental LeaveOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Peterborough Ontario

Liberal

Peter Adams LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, our objective in these negotiations is to reach a fair and equitable solution, a solution that will help the parents of the province of Quebec, and we have every hope we will reach such a solution.