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House of Commons Hansard #53 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was trade.

Topics

2 p.m.

The Speaker

It being Wednesday we will now have the singing of O Canada, and we will be led by the hon. member for Essex.

[Members sang the national anthem]

Persons with DisabilitiesStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Andy Savoy Liberal Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Mr. Speaker, in today's integrated education system, children with disabilities are usually able to achieve the same academic successes as other children. In years gone by, this was not so.

For that reason, Donna Giberson, legally blind and suffering from epilepsy and physical disabilities, struggled with her studies and eventually quit school in the seventh grade.

Now, at the age of 62, Ms. Giberson has re-entered the seventh grade in hopes of obtaining her high school diploma.

Ms. Giberson lives in Lakeville, New Brunswick, and studies by correspondence. She spends eight hours a day, six days a week, studying with the aid of a high resolution magnifying glass.

Her hard work is paying off. She recently achieved marks of 100% on two tests and she will finish the seventh grade in the very near future. From there, it is on to the eighth grade and so on, until she receives her high school diploma.

Donna Giberson's story is an inspiration to all those who believe that learning is a lifelong experience. She has made her church, her community and her member of Parliament very proud.

National ParksStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Merrifield Conservative Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, our national parks, including Jasper National Park in my riding, are being neglected by the government. Infrastructure is crumbling and maintenance is suffering. Park employees are doing their very best with the little they have but the problems are only mounting.

All we have heard about parks from the government is that it wants more of them, but it is failing to care for the ones it has. More money is needed in the upcoming budget to maintain and improve the parks' crumbling infrastructure.

One question should be asked: Why is Parks Canada's budget being used to maintain interprovincial truck routes, like the Yellowhead Highway? If the federal government expects Parks Canada to continue to maintain the Yellowhead Highway out of its operating budget, it should increase Parks Canada's budget accordingly.

Jasper Park is a jewel of the Rockies and a national treasure. Let us keep it that way.

Kroeger College AwardStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Derek Lee Liberal Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

Mr. Speaker, today at Carleton University, Mr. Gerald Vandezande of Toronto will be awarded the Kroeger College Award for Ethics in Public Affairs.

This award is given to an individual or organization that has provided an inspiring example of the importance of ethics and values in public life, and Gerald Vandezande is truly a well deserving recipient.

Named to the Order of Canada in 2001, Mr. Vandezande served for 35 years as executive director and national public affairs director for Citizens for Public Justice, an organization he helped found.

Since his retirement in 1998, Mr. Vandezande has continued to volunteer his time as spokesperson with the Campaign Against Child Poverty and the Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition.

On behalf of my constituents in Scarborough where he resides, I congratulate Mr. Vandezande for this recognition of his lifelong commitment to helping those less fortunate in our society.

Pierre-Nicolas Tanguay-LévesqueStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Jean-Yves Roy Bloc Matapédia—Matane, QC

Mr. Speaker, Pierre-Nicolas Tanguay-Lévesque, a young 14-year-old downhill skier from Saint-Anne-des-Monts, recently won the prestigious Taschereau Cup giant slalom ski race at Mt. Tremblant.

Pierre-Nicholas stood out in a field of some 160 elite skiers aged 13 and 14 from Quebec and Ontario clubs. This competition is the first step toward the top level of alpine skiing. Usually, the competitors who end up at the World Cup first ski the Taschereau Cup.

It is Pierre-Nicolas Tanguay-Lévesque's dream to take part in the 2010 Olympics. He intends to do whatever he has to do to get there. The determination of people from our region to face the greatest challenges is one of the qualities that defines us.

My sincerest congratulations, once again, to Pierre-Nicholas, from Sainte-Anne-des-Monts. He truly deserves this honour.

Songwriters Hall of FameStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Sarmite Bulte Liberal Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, last night I attended the second annual Songwriters Hall of Fame gala in Toronto, at which seven songwriters and twenty-two remarkable songs were inducted.

In addition, I had the opportunity to take part in the induction of our national anthem, O Canada , into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame.

In 1980, O Canada was officially proclaimed our national anthem, but even then it is a song with a history. It had been composed 100 years earlier, in 1880, by Calixa Lavallée, with lyrics by Sir Adolphe-Basile Routhier. The song caught on, gained popularity and several English versions were produced.

In 1908, Robert Stanley Weir wrote the version on which today's anthem is based. The stirring melody and patriotic lyrics in both official languages still resound with all Canadians who, “with glowing hearts...stand on guard” for this great country.

I want to commend the Songwriters Hall of Fame for its recognition of our national anthem, O Canada .

Blind Curling BonspielStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Werner Schmidt Conservative Kelowna, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Blind Curling Bonspiel, an event that is being held this week at the Ottawa Curling Club, has brought together some of Canada's finest curlers from the west coast to the east.

The exciting tournament launches White Cane Week 2005, hosted by the Canadian Council of the Blind to raise awareness for the blind and visually impaired in Canada. The bonspiel is a testament to determination and self-sufficiency, proving that blind and visually impaired Canadians are equally active in their communities, equipped with many abilities, not disabilities.

I wish all the curlers, in particular the team from my constituency of Kelowna, a great week of competition and thank them for their efforts in raising awareness of the challenges facing the blind and visually impaired. What they may lack in sight, they do not lack in vision.

HealthStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Bernard Patry Liberal Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, over the past few months, this government has worked with provincial and territorial partners on the Canadian Healthy Living Strategy encouraging Canadians to eat a balanced diet and be more active.

I am pleased to highlight the initiative announced today by the Canadian restaurant industry. In fact, the major restaurant chains have made a voluntary commitment to apply the industry guidelines aimed at making nutritional information available to their clients.

The program will begin with 23 restaurant chains representing nearly 9,000 establishments throughout the country. And this is just a start. Other companies will be joining this initiative in the months that lie ahead.

By year's end, these restaurants will be providing brochures detailing the nutritional information on the main items on their menus.

The information will be provided in the same format as for food products sold in stores.

Some restaurants have already been providing nutritional information for years but now this information will be more accessible and consistent for clients.

I would like to congratulate the restaurant industry for this excellent initiative.

Saint-Hubert Pee-wee Hockey TournamentStatements By Members

February 9th, 2005 / 2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Lavallée Bloc Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, on Sunday, February 6, the 25th Saint-Hubert provincial pee-wee hockey tournament got underway. By the time the final game is played on February 20th, more than 800 players on 52 teams from all over Quebec will have faced each other on the rinks of Saint-Hubert.

The theme of the tournament is winning fair and square. Over the next few weeks the tournament will welcome many sports and media personalities. In addition to supporting the development of minor hockey in Saint-Hubert, the various tournament activities will also be raising money for cystic fibrosis.

Credit for many successful years of this event goes to the organizing committee and the 250 volunteers who contribute to making this a memorable experience for these young athletes.

The Bloc Québécois wants to pay special tribute to the exceptional work of the 13th president, Mario Beaudoin.

Tsunami ReliefStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Eleni Bakopanos Liberal Ahuntsic, QC

Mr. Speaker, on December 26, we witnessed the destruction caused by the tsunami and the despair it left in its wake in South Asia.

Once again, Canadians from coast to coast showed their compassion and readiness to help those who lost everything.

That is why I rise here today, to pay homage to two of my constituents for their exceptionally hard work to help their fellow Sri Lankans. It is Mrs. Malarvilyhi and Mr. Ratnasamy Thevasigamany, as well as two leading members of the Sri Lankan community in Montreal, Ramani and Perry Balendra.

On my behalf and on behalf of all the members, I want to thank them. I also want to thank them for their input and comments which helped us to understand the pressing needs in the affected areas.

I want to add also that we were deeply moved by this tragedy. Once again Canada has demonstrated that its humanitarian reputation is well deserved.

Bruce--Grey--Owen SoundStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Larry Miller Conservative Grey—Bruce—Owen Sound, ON

Mr. Speaker, this week Sean Edward Sprague, a 15 year old young man from Meaford, Ontario, received the Governor General's Medal of Bravery.

Sean helped rescue a teenager trapped under a wall that had collapsed in a house by digging the rubble with his bare hands for 40 minutes. I would like to commend Sean for his selfless act while putting himself in danger. Sean is a fine example of the youth of the country and the leadership of the future.

I would also like to pay tribute to the city of Owen Sound and the Owen Sound Police Services for securing the bid to host the 2007 Ontario Special Olympics Provincial Winter Games. More than 450 people will come to Owen Sound to compete in six sporting events from February 1 to February 4, 2007.

This is the first time a provincial games has been awarded to a community in the Bruce-Grey area and the first time a community the size of Owen Sound has been awarded the Ontario provincial games.

On behalf of my constituents, I would like to congratulate everyone involved in bringing the Ontario Special Olympic Winter Games to our community.

Ottawa CitizenStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, all of us in public office have a responsibility in what we do and say, not to use language that is hurtful or which can cause social unrest. The same applies to the media.

On January 13, the Ottawa Citizen headlined the following, “Clarence-Rockland hires language police”. It was false. The city in question was merely passing a bylaw about commercial signage.

The following day the same newspaper headline was, “French revolution”, an equally irresponsible message. Since then there have been bomb threats at city hall and at the day care centre in the municipality, police protection for municipal elected officials and hate messages to all of us in public office in the region.

I call upon the once proud Ottawa Citizen , on this its 150th anniversary, to issue a public front page apology to my constituents, and to its readers generally. Nothing less is acceptable.

Pay EquityStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, on February 14, the Pay Equity Network, a group of national, provincial and local women's equality-seeking organizations, will launch a campaign, calling on the Liberals to introduce federal pay equity legislation.

The Pay Equity Network was established because of the government's inaction when it comes to ending the salary discrimination faced by women in the country.

The work has already been done. In May 2004 the federal pay equity report was issued. It concluded that pay equity was a fundamental right. Yet Canadian women are still waiting. The time has come for the government to take action and implement its own report.

The Pay Equity Network has requested meetings with the Ministers of Labour, Justice, the Minister responsible for Status of Women and the Prime Minister to present a call for action which has been endorsed by over 150 organizations across the country. I encourage the ministers and the Prime Minister to take time and meet with them.

The message to the Liberals is clear: this Valentine's Day, show her that they really care; give her equal pay.

Val O'Donovan and Klaus WoernerStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Gary Goodyear Conservative Cambridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to two outstanding community leaders from my riding of Cambridge and the region of Waterloo who sadly passed away this week.

Val O'Donovan was the founder of Com Dev, a company based in Cambridge, and the largest Canadian-based designer and manufacturer of space hardware subsystems.

Klaus Woerner, a personal friend, was the founder, president and CEO of ATS tooling of Cambridge. Klaus was a supporter of the arts and our education systems and an innovator in both tooling and solar power.

Both gentlemen immigrated to Canada with humble beginnings. They truly represented the epitome of the Canadian dream.

The world has lost two innovative business leaders. The country has lost two adventurous entrepreneurs. Our community has lost two generous philanthropists. And I have lost a friend.

I know the House will join me in my sincere condolences to their families.

Monique Fitz-BackStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, we were greatly saddened to learn of the passing of Monique Fitz-Back.

Trained as a teacher, she had worked as a co-operant in Africa and was long involved in the CSQ, but she mainly made a name for herself by co-founding the green schools program, Établissements verts Brundtland.

She spearheaded a real crusade to make these schools places where people think globally and act locally to protect our future and keep our ecosystems intact.

In 1999, she was inducted into the Cercle des Phénix de l'environnement and in 2002 she received Silver in the environmental learning category in the Canadian Environment Awards. In 2004 she was named one of the Coalition Eau Secours honourary water carriers.

The Bloc Québécois extends its most sincere condolences to the family and friends of Monique Fitz-Back.

Chinese New YearStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Gurmant Grewal Conservative Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, today marks the start of the Chinese New Year, the Year of the Rooster. This is the biggest, most important festival of the year.

Chinese, Koreans, Vietnamese and other Asians around the world are celebrating the lunar new year with traditional festivities to ring in spring, until the full moon, with the Lantern Festival. It is an important time for fresh starts. It includes customs that date back thousands of years, from honouring ancestors to cleaning houses to colourful parades.

We should be mindful of the many contributions made by Chinese-Canadians, including to the Canadian railroads. We also remember the difficulties and discrimination they have endured, including the head tax and Canada's exclusionist immigration policy. This is a time for Canadians to appreciate all that multiculturalism brings to this great nation and to remember that our diversity is an asset.

On behalf of the Conservative Party of Canada, I wish everyone a Happy New Year.

IndustryStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Don Bell Liberal North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, on January 25, I was extremely pleased to announce, on behalf of Minister of Industry and Industry Canada, a contribution of up to $4.2 million toward the refit and modernization of the Queen of Oak Bay ferry in my riding of North Vancouver. This financing support will be delivered through Industry Canada's structure financing facility, SFF, program, to Victoria-based ferry operator British Columbia Ferry Services Incorporated.

I am pleased to report that this work has already begun, and is scheduled to be completed in June.

The ferry transportation system on the west coast is a critical service to residents and to the tourism industry. By supporting this project, the Government of Canada is helping to create and maintain jobs for B.C. shipyard workers.

This project is valued at approximately $40 million and will provide 214 person years of employment for the local industry.

It is this kind of commitment to one of our province's most vital industries that further highlights the government's steadfast commitment to creating prosperity in British Columbia.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, yesterday Mr. Chrétien demonstrated contempt for the inquiry, for the truth and for taxpayers. He stonewalled. He showed no remorse. He took no responsibility. He gave flippant answers, and of course he had the support of everyone in the Liberal Party while he did it, cheering him on.

Does the Prime Minister condone this attitude of his predecessor?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, yesterday Mr. Chrétien appeared before the Gomery commission as an individual. As an individual, he has rights to defend himself before a judicial inquiry. I am appalled that the Leader of the Opposition does not understand the rights of individuals to defend themselves before a judicial inquiry.

Last week the hon. member asked the Prime Minister to involve himself in witness tampering, to tell Mr. Chrétien what to do in front of a judicial inquiry. It was inappropriate then. It is inappropriate today. We believe in the independence of the Gomery commission.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Party showed its contempt for the judicial process yesterday, and the Prime Minister is showing his contempt by not being here to answer questions today, and he should be--

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Leader of the Opposition knows that it is improper to refer to the absence of members in the House. While he may wish to make that point, it is improper to do so in the course of debate in the House. If one member can refer to the absence of another, we will have a free-for-all on who is not here every day. This is quite out of order and I would ask the Leader of the Opposition to refrain from comments of that kind. He can refer to the fact that the Prime Minister perhaps did not answer the question, but that is about as far as he is permitted to go.

The hon. Leader of the Opposition will put his question.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Stephen Harper Conservative Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, I guess his presence would not make any difference on that score.

Mr. Chrétien may not have provided much information, but he had no difficulty pointing the finger at his successor, saying that his successor had been part of approving all unity and sponsorship programs and partisan use of the money.

Let me read my question into the record. Is the Prime Minister saying that Mr. Chrétien lied to the inquiry?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, as the Prime Minister has said previously, he was aware of the unity fund. In fact the unity fund existed going back to the early 1990s. It was created by the former Progressive Conservative government. When the Liberals came to power, there were reserves across the government, most of which have in fact been eliminated. The reserve was maintained in keeping with established accounting principles and budgetary practice. Our government has chosen a different approach, and consequently the unity reserve was eliminated in the last budget.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, of course the Prime Minister only acknowledged the existence of the fund after he first denied it.

Yesterday, Mr. Chrétien said that in order to help the federal Liberal Party, millions of taxpayers' dollars could be used for Canadian unity.

Can the Prime Minister confirm that Mr. Chrétien's version is accurate?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I am surprised that the member can even stand in the House and utter the word unity when in 1994, when Canada was teetering on the edge of the abyss before the referendum in Quebec, we had the Leader of the Opposition, at that time as a private citizen, giving a speech saying that he did not care whether Canada ended up with one national capital, two national capitals or three national capitals. He did not care about national unity then, and he does not care about national unity today.