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House of Commons Hansard #80 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was billion.

Topics

AgricultureStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Rivière-Du-Loup—Montmagny, QC

Mr. Speaker, having taken part in the parliamentary conference on the WTO, organized jointly by the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the European Parliament, I am convinced that Canada needs to double its educational efforts in order to show the rest of the world that the agricultural supply management system is one of the ways to put a human face on globalization.

Agriculture was, of course, at the heart of those debates, but the focus was far more on market access than on the producers' quality of life. The position I defended was that we ought to focus on greater market fairness for all and, at the same time, respect the status of those involved in agriculture, that is the producers and farm workers.

The WTO is slated to table the outcome of the process in Hong-Kong this December, and this ought to result in some considerable progress in the negotiations.

I invite all members of this House to take ownership of this debate, since it is the responsibility of us all as elected representatives to ensure that the new rules for the global market are democratic ones.

Coast GuardStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Michael John Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, recently in my riding of Dartmouth—Cole Harbour my colleague, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, announced that the Canadian Coast Guard would become a special operating agency, the largest SOA in Canada, which recognizes its unique and important role to Canadians.

This special designation allows the Coast Guard to focus its resources on providing excellent marine services while enhancing its responsibilities in the areas of national security, environmental response and the facilitation of maritime commerce. The Canadian Coast Guard will continue to play an integral role in scientific research, conservation and protection of our fisheries.

The Coast Guard is an important agency. It is important to the people of Dartmouth. While more operating dollars are critically needed, this new status along with over $400 million invested in this year's budget for new vessels will ensure that this proud organization will continue to be a world leader in providing marine services to Canadians.

Men's World Curling ChampionshipStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Ken Epp Conservative Edmonton—Sherwood Park, AB

Mr. Speaker, there is great joy in Edmonton—Sherwood Park these days. We are all excited about Randy Ferbey's fabulous victory in the Ford Men's World Curling Championship in Victoria this past weekend.

Randy and his teammates, David Nedohin, Scott Pfeifer and Marcel Rocque, kept Canadians on the edge of their seats during most of the games in this tournament. We all heaved a collective sigh of relief when they won their last game, beating Scotland 11 to 4.

These curlers from my riding are absolutely fabulous. They have won 30 of their last 35 games, coming out victorious in the provincials and the Canadian Brier. Now they are the world champions for the third time.

We congratulate them and wish them success as they move toward representing Canada in the 2006 Winter Olympics. They truly are world champions.

ImmigrationStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Russ Powers Liberal Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to reflect on last month's observation of Anti-Discrimination Day and to honour the men and women of the Settlement and Immigration Services Organization of Hamilton, our outstanding community based centre dedicated to the well-being of new Canadians who choose to settle in the greater Hamilton area.

Hamiltonians are very proud of the diversity of immigrant services offered by this organization. Highlighting its work are the programs directed at the promotion of social justice, equality and equity. It is family sensitive and well networked. All federal and provincial stakeholders mandated to spearhead the integration of almost 4,000 new immigrants who arrive in Hamilton annually participate.

The professionals at SISO break down barriers that immigrants and refugees inevitably face as they seek to become Canadians. As a member, I along with others salute those committed to this wonderful program in Hamilton and to those beyond, from coast to coast to coast in our great Canadian home.

Place aux jeunesStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

France Bonsant Bloc Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, on March 20, I had the pleasure of attending the final day of the activities of the 2005 edition of Place aux jeunes in the Haut-Saint-François region.

The purpose of this familiarization program is to stem the exodus of our young people. It encourages social commitment, facilitates job entry and stimulates the creation of businesses in the outlying regions, while raising the awareness of young people and local stakeholders of the impacts of relocation.

These familiarization visits, organized by the Carrefour jeunesse du Haut-Saint-François and spread over three weekends, give more than a dozen young people a chance to explore the region. In past years, they have resulted in several dozen young people deciding to relocate to the Haut-Saint-François regional municipality.

We congratulate Christian Gauthier, the director of the East Angus Carrefour jeunesse-emploi, and Nadia Latulippe, Eastern Townships migration officer, for their commitment to this cause and for helping entice young people back to our fine region.

Terry FoxStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Maria Minna Liberal Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, on April 12, 1980, 25 years ago today, Terry Fox began his Marathon of Hope to raise funds for cancer research.

As a young athlete who had lost his leg to cancer, Terry crossed 3,339 miles over 143 days on his incredible journey. Many said that the idea was ridiculous, but Terry proved them wrong.

When he arrived in Toronto, Terry Fox was greeted as a national champion by some 10,000 people gathered in Nathan Phillips Square.

On the morning of September 1 the Marathon of Hope came to a tragic end when Terry collapsed outside of Thunder Bay. Cancer had spread to Terry's lungs. Nine months later, one of Canada's greatest heroes passed away.

Terry's philosophy was simple: research money equals hope. I encourage all Canadians to reflect on the remarkable life of this young man and give generously until a cure is found.

Capital Hill ExperienceStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

David Tilson Conservative Dufferin—Caledon, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the pleasure of introducing several guests from my riding of Dufferin—Caledon who are in the House today. For the past three days, students Pavan Sapra, Michael Lucci, Marissa Hunter, Angela Davenport, Bartosz Junik, Rebecca Snelgrove and Nathan Wynes, as well as chaperones Nicole Robins and Real Gagnon, have been touring our nation's capital and learning about our Canadian government and Parliament on the Capital Hill Experience.

Not only have these students had an opportunity to tour Parliament Hill, but they have visited the Supreme Court of Canada, the Canadian Museum of Civilization, the CBC studios, the New RO, and attended a lecture at the British High Commission.

This experience has been made possible through funding by the rotary clubs of Shelburne, Orangeville, Caledon West and Bolton. These rotary clubs have worked with my office to select students and provide a capital hill experience these students are sure to remember.

Mr. Speaker, please join me in welcoming these students to Ottawa.

Etobicoke Business Excellence AwardsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Augustine Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the residents of Etobicoke—Lakeshore, I would like to congratulate those who were honoured last night at the eighth annual Etobicoke Business Excellence Awards gala.

The black tie event was co-hosted by the Etobicoke Chamber of Commerce and the Etobicoke Guardian to recognize businesses and business persons for their exemplary accomplishments in the Etobicoke community.

I wish to congratulate Gino Piscelli, Don Gain, Greg Flagler, Ron Crosby, Naresh Bangia, John Lyon, Ignacio Musalem, Gerry Vandergrift and Paul Floyd. Through their hard work, diligence and integrity, they have achieved excellence.

They and their employees and employers may all take great pride in their accomplishments. Congratulations to all of the Etobicoke Business Excellence Awards recipients.

LandminesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to rise in the House today to congratulate the Royal Canadian Legion Mount Pleasant Branch 177 in my riding of Vancouver East. The branch marked its 60th anniversary in a remarkable way by an important landmine clearance project.

Its contribution will support demining operations for a 12 week period in Afghanistan, one of the most heavily mined countries in the world. As part of the Adopt-A-Minefield global campaign, this project will fund the work of a 30 person team from the Afghan Technical Consultants.

The Mount Pleasant Legion has a long history of contributing to the community. This latest initiative is another fine example of its service and commitment to human security and peace. The global landmine crisis has killed or maimed tens of thousands of people worldwide. The eradication of anti-personnel mines is a vital task facing the international community and action needs to be taken.

I applaud the Mount Pleasant Legion's initiative. This is an excellent project taken up by this branch and it most definitely lives up to its motto, “We joined to serve; we're serving still”.

Terry FoxStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

James Moore Conservative Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, 25 years ago today, Port Coquitlam's Terry Fox began his inspirational journey to fight cancer. On April 12, 1980 Terry dipped his artificial leg in the Atlantic Ocean and began his Marathon of Hope.

He ran 26 miles a day, seven days a week, through the Atlantic provinces, Quebec and Ontario. It was a journey Canadians will never forget.

On September 1, 1980, after 143 days and 5,373 kilometres, Terry was forced to stop running outside of Thunder Bay because cancer appeared in his lungs. An entire nation was stunned and saddened. Terry passed away on June 28, 1981. He was only 22.

Cancer research and treatment has come a long way since 1981, in part because of the courage of Terry Fox. Some $360 million has been raised worldwide in Terry's name to fight cancer, and he inspired millions.

When he died, Terry Fox said, “Even if I don't finish, we need others to continue. It's got to keep going without me”. That is our challenge. Let us never give up doing all we can to fight cancer. It is the only way to truly honour Terry's legend, courage and memory.

Rail TransportationStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Raynald Blais Bloc Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

Mr. Speaker, two organizations, Dignité rurale and Vision Percé-Gaspé, recently presented me with a petition signed by more than 2,200 people concerned about the future of rail transportation in the Gaspé Peninsula.

For 15 years we have been living with a threat over our heads about the future of Via Rail's Chaleur route. The once daily service has been cut to three trips a week.

In 2004, the federal government asked Via Rail to reduce its operating costs and it has been confirmed that various scenarios were considered, including eliminating its service to the southern Gaspé Peninsula.

In the Gaspé Peninsula there is a close connection between passenger trains and freight trains, which rely on well-maintained tracks. Without adequate funding to maintain the Gaspé network, both services are threatened.

It is time to put an end to this suspense and for the federal Minister of Transport to tell us clearly and precisely his plans for the future of rail in the Gaspé Peninsula.

Elmvale Maple Syrup FestivalStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Helena Guergis Conservative Simcoe—Grey, ON

Mr. Speaker, Saturday, April 23 marks the 39th annual Elmvale Maple Syrup Festival in my riding of Simcoe—Grey.

Each year the Town of Elmvale explodes in a celebration of nature's rites of spring. Close to 30,000 visitors line the streets to enjoy sugar bush tours, fresh maple syrup, shopping, the all day pancake breakfast and the midway, of course.

I would like to thank the organizers, Tony Hope, Dave Stewart, Ted Hore, Peter Cowcola and Heather Sewell for their hard work and dedication in making the festival such a success.

Through the efforts of hundreds of volunteers, $20,000 is raised each year for local organizations: the library, minor baseball, Girl Guides, Community Living, the Dare program, the Legion, the fall fair youth program and the Elmvale co-op nursery.

On Saturday I will have the opportunity to challenge Mayor John Brown in a log sawing contest. I invite all members to join me in what promises to be a fun filled weekend for the entire family.

Royal Canadian Mounted PoliceStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Susan Kadis Liberal Thornhill, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada has one of the most respected national police forces in the world. The RCMP is renowned across the globe as a historical symbol of law and order in this country.

Yesterday the deputy leader of the official opposition called into question the integrity of the RCMP, claiming it is not competent. Being the son of a former solicitor general, the comments were even more surprising.

Clearly the Conservatives are willing to attack anyone or anything in the name of political expediency. They have already dragged the charter through the mud, condemned the role of the Supreme Court, and do not support the Canada Health Act, official bilingualism and the federal government's proper place in the Canadian federation.

How many other symbols that are integral to the hearts and minds of Canadians will the Conservatives tear apart in the name of political opportunism?

Aboriginal AffairsStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis NDP Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, at the beginning of the sponsorship scandal the Liberals claimed the problem was just a couple of isolated bureaucrats. The political stench coming out of the Gomery inquiry has shown just how misleading this claim was. Still, they want us to believe the same thing about one of their other scandals, Health Canada's dealings with the Virginia Fontaine Addictions Foundation: tens of millions of public dollars misdirected at the highest levels of the department.

Just as they tried with the sponsorships, the Liberals have stonewalled and played down this scandal. They say, “One bureaucrat convicted with a minimal sentence. End of story”. That is not good enough. That is not accountability. Lots of questions remain. Who else knew? Why did they not act? How does this fit with the pattern of Liberal corruption and scandals?

Canadians deserve to know. The NDP has repeatedly called for a public inquiry. If the Liberals have nothing to hide, why will they not help us get to the truth and call an inquiry?

Federal-Provincial RelationsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, Dalton McGuinty is quoted today as saying the Prime Minister will not meet with him. Mr. McGuinty is a Liberal, and I know the Prime Minister now wants to be careful with which Liberals he associates, but I am sure the Premier of Ontario is not looking for sponsorship money.

Will the Prime Minister meet with Premier McGuinty at the first opportunity?

Federal-Provincial RelationsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, obviously I will meet with Mr. McGuinty. I am prepared to meet with any premier. In fact, it is either this afternoon or tomorrow that I will be meeting with Premier Lord. I have met with Premier Williams. I have met with Premier Calvert. It is part of my job. I would be more than happy to discuss the affairs of state with a provincial premier.

Federal-Provincial RelationsOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Stephen Harper Conservative Calgary Southwest, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am sure when that meeting eventually happens, the Premier of Ontario, like the Liberal Premier of Quebec, will want to discuss the fiscal imbalance which the Prime Minister should start to take seriously.

Air-IndiaOral Question Period

April 12th, 2005 / 2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, this past weekend Senator Terry Mercer, a Liberal senator, suggested that racism is the real reason for the government's refusal to call an inquiry into the Air-India tragedy. He said:

If there were 350 white people on that plane, would we be waiting for an inquiry?

Will the Prime Minister change his position and vote with the Conservative Party on a motion today that calls for an Air-India inquiry?

Air-IndiaOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, any notions of racism are odious and any accusations of such are simply not acceptable.

I would simply point out to the hon. member that today the Deputy Prime Minister is in the process of meeting with the families. She has said that she will take action. She is seeking the best way to do so. She is seeking the questions that the families want to have answered. Unequivocally, the government will take action in an appropriate way.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, judging from the families' comments after that meeting, they were not terribly impressed.

Yesterday the Prime Minister wrongly suggested that the Liberals were not responsible for shutting down the public accounts committee looking into Liberal corruption prior to the election. For the record, I checked. The then Liberal majority voted to produce a premature report before hearing all the witnesses on May 11. On May 13 it voted against hearing further committee witnesses.

I have a simple question. Did the Liberal members act on their own, or did they act on the Prime Minister's instructions?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition is acting in total disregard of the facts.

Let me point out that on April 6, 2004 Liberal members of the public accounts committee proposed a schedule of witnesses of which Jean Brault and Groupaction were the first on the list of the advertising agencies to be heard. On May 11 the Liberal members had a motion to have an interim report. The opposition voted against it. Then the opposition began a lengthy filibuster and the chairman of the committee went to Mexico.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, once again the Prime Minister omits the fact that the Liberal Party voted against hearing further witnesses.

Yesterday the government misled the House on another matter. It claimed full audits were done on the Liberal Party's books to find dirty sponsorship money. That is not true. PricewaterhouseCoopers even stated emphatically that what it did did not constitute an audit.

Will the Prime Minister admit that an audit was never done, only reviews?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Deloitte were engaged proactively by the party to get to the bottom of the issue. The reports were provided to Justice Gomery. We are cooperating fully with Justice Gomery.

It is also notable that the reports did say that all contributions were handled and receipted properly. If there were profiteers who were operating below the radar screen of the party, we want to ensure that those individuals are punished.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister declined to answer this question and he should, because after all, he has told the country he is “the moral authority”.

So let me ask the moral authority this. PricewaterhouseCoopers says that what it is doing here does not constitute an audit. Deloitte says its services were engaged to perform a forensic accounting review, no audits. Will the Prime Minister admit that, contrary to what the government has told Canadians, they never performed an audit?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, a forensic accounting review is a very thorough review of all accounting. That is exactly what Deloitte did and that is exactly what PricewaterhouseCoopers did. I would urge the hon. member to stick to politics and not try business if he does not understand anything more about accounting than that.