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House of Commons Hansard #100 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was ndp.

Topics

Speech and Hearing AwarenessStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Paddy Torsney Liberal Burlington, ON

Madam Speaker, many of us take our hearing and ability to speak for granted. Whether we are talking to others directly, on the phone or in this chamber, our ability to speak and hear is vital to our everyday activities.

For one in ten Canadians, speech, language and hearing problems are a daily challenge in their work, school and recreational activities. For the thousands of Canadians of all ages who have communication disorders, we will never know the isolation and frustration they face.

May is Speech and Hearing Awareness Month. The Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists and their 4,800 members across the country are working together throughout this month to raise public awareness concerning their professions and the many issues surrounding communication disorders.

I encourage all members of the House and all Canadians to join me in supporting the association and encouraging others to understand what these issues relate to.

I wish to thank CASLPA members. Their professional contributions to the health of our communities and our country enriches everybody. They allow Canadians to learn, succeed and enjoy their lives. We celebrate their many achievements.

AgricultureStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Madam Speaker, the special interest group R-CALF filed another court challenge on May 9 against Canadian farmers and ranchers. R-CALF is trying to shut down Canadian imports of boxed beef. We already know that Judge Cebull was sympathetic to its cause when he shut down the border 24 months ago and banned the idea of further opening up the border in March of this year.

The Liberal government and the agriculture minister have dithered and delayed in the past on this issue which has devastated farm families across this country. The Liberal ministers of trade and agriculture have not used any of the tools under WTO or NAFTA to reopen the border or tried to overturn the Montana court decision, nor do they have any plans in the likely event Cebull completely shuts down the border again.

I am proud to be part of the Conservative caucus which continues to act on behalf of Canadian farmers and ranchers, and stepping up for them while the Liberals have stepped back. As a farmer, I am glad that the Conservative Party is looking out for me, my family and my friends in agriculture since the Liberals have not.

HealthStatements By Members

May 17th, 2005 / 2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Michael John Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Madam Speaker, a new private medical clinic is scheduled to open in the metro Halifax-Dartmouth region. This proposed clinic apparently will target medical procedures that do not fall under the provisions of the Canada Health Act, such as certain cosmetic procedures, but if services provided are contingent on human resources that work within our publicly funded system, that is a concern. Our public system must be the priority.

Canadians and the residents of Dartmouth—Cole Harbour do not want to stifle innovative approaches to health care delivery, but are firm in their resolve that our health care system must be publicly funded and publicly delivered. I believe in the Canada Health Act and Canadians believe in the Canada Health Act because it goes to the core of who we are: a nation that believes that our strength comes from our commitment to provide care to all.

Access to health care must be based on need and not one's ability to pay. There can be no compromise on this issue.

Alan B. GoldStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Serge Ménard Bloc Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Madam Speaker, Alan B. Gold, a former judge, passed away on Sunday. He was a great humanist who loved both social harmony and classical music.

He was a great judge and an effective judicial administrator. Beyond applying the law, he was, for me, the incarnation of one of the ideals of the judicial system: peaceful conflict resolution.

Justice Gold gave expression to this intrinsic value through his great talent as a negotiator. The strikes by longshoremen at the Port of Montreal, Canada Post workers, Vidéotron employees and the Oka crisis were all mediated by him and are conclusive evidence of the importance he ascribed to social harmony.

He was considered a wise, empathetic, funny and simple man who had an extraordinary sense of civic duty and was a example for us all. Our society has suffered a great loss.

Conservative Party of CanadaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Susan Kadis Liberal Thornhill, ON

Madam Speaker, when the leader of a federal political party joins forces with the separatist Bloc, Canada suffers. During the last election campaign the Leader of the Opposition stated, “I've been very clear there will not be any kind of coalition or alliance with the Bloc”. It has become clear that the Conservative-Bloc alliance is alive and well, despite the Leader of the Opposition's claims to the contrary.

Over the last few weeks we have seen the Conservative-Bloc alliance working opportunistically together to force an election Canadians do not want. We have seen the Conservative-Bloc alliance walk out of Parliament hand in hand trying to tear down this government and we see them uniting again to defeat a budget that Canadians support.

What is good for the separatists is not good for Canada. If the Leader of the Opposition could remember that rule of thumb, Canada would be much better off.

AgricultureStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Garry Breitkreuz Conservative Yorkton—Melville, SK

Madam Speaker, I would like to draw to the attention of the House the serious implications of the crisis in agriculture. Lives and families are being devastated. We have just had more funerals for farmers who have committed suicide in southern Saskatchewan. These are farmers desperate for a solution. These are agriculture producers failed by the government.

The Liberals have wasted nearly two years waiting for another country to solve a problem affecting the livelihood of Canadian agricultural producers. Support lines, like the farm stress line in Saskatchewan, have been inundated with calls from farmers on the edge. Not only is this a battle for financial survival; for some it is a battle for survival.

The enormity of the agriculture crisis is affecting more than just pocketbooks. Many farmers see no hope under the present circumstances. My sincere hope is that this cry for help within the agricultural community will finally reach the ears of the Liberals. Lives are hanging in the balance. Why does the government not do something?

SudanStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Bernard Patry Liberal Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Madam Speaker, the Darfur region in western Sudan is experiencing one of the world's worst humanitarian emergencies. Over one million people have fled their homes because of the ongoing conflict and sought refuge in makeshift camps in Sudan and Chad.

In September 2004 the Liberal government supported Canadian Red Cross efforts in Sudan with a $1 million contribution. The money has been designated to help fund two mobile health units which will deliver primary health care to people in remote villages and internally displaced persons settlements. These mobile clinics will also transport the critically ill to other established health facilities.

I encourage our government to continue its commitment in this region and others in Africa that are so desperately in need.

British ColumbiaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder NDP Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, this is an interesting day in Canadian politics, not just here in Ottawa but also in British Columbia. Today British Columbians go to the polls to show their opinion of the direction B.C. has gone over the last four years.

Since the last election many issues have faced British Columbians, including the reductions in social programs that have cut deep and hard. Transition houses have closed in communities around the province. More than 8,000 health workers lost their jobs. Resource communities were betrayed by increased raw log exports.

However, it was not just spending cuts that caused dismay among British Columbians. There was also a referendum on treaty negotiations, ignoring decades of work. There was a plan pushed forward to allow offshore drilling for gas and oil in Haida Gwaii against the wishes of the majority of British Columbians. A deal was struck to build new B.C. ferries in Germany instead of Victoria shipyards. More and more open net salmon cages were allowed in waters that vulnerable wild salmon runs use, ignoring scientific evidence of the dangers involved.

Over 700,000 more British Columbians have registered to vote in this election than in the last provincial election. Many commentators have decided this increased interest in voting can be attributed to the fixed voting date or the chance to change how elections are run in B.C., but British Columbians--

British ColumbiaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for St. John's South--Mount Pearl.

Natural ResourcesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Loyola Hearn Conservative St. John's South, NL

Mr. Speaker, during the last federal election the Conservatives committed to give Newfoundland and Labrador 100% of its share of offshore revenues. The Prime Minister was forced to make the same commitment.

After the election, he reneged on his promise and it was only the pressure of the Conservatives and the work of Premier Williams that eventually forced an agreement. Then he stalled in bringing forth legislation. When he did, he lumped it in an omnibus bill with 23 other bills. He refused to bring forth stand-alone legislation.

He refused, despite the unanimous consent from the total opposition, to split the bill. Now he is making sure the opposition supports the budget by putting pressure on it, all in an attempt not to help the provinces but to help keep himself in power.

The Liberal GovernmentStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, last Tuesday, the Liberal government went down for the count. Poor sports that they are, the Liberal team stops at nothing, refuses to admit defeat and is clinging desperately to power. Yet, the Liberal team suffered a knockout after 153 opposition members indicated their lack of confidence in this government.

The referee will have to make the call. He will decide the ultimate fate of this government branded by corruption.

The Liberal government no longer has the authority and the confidence it needs to carry out its duties, and its stubborn refusal to step down is a slap in the face of democracy.

The Liberal government should have the humility to admit its defeat and accept the decision of the final referee: the voters. That will be the real vote of confidence.

Liberal Party of CanadaStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Rahim Jaffer Conservative Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, no one can stand the smell of the Liberals any more. Even the member for Honoré-Mercier admits it. Proof of that is his request that voters hold their noses and vote for the Liberals.

The actions of the Liberal Party are causing a stink throughout Canada. Three election campaigns run on tainted money, money laundering, brown envelopes, illicit contracts to Liberal friends, patronage beyond measure and phony volunteers. The member is right on one point: what the Liberals have done smells bad.

Does the hon. member really think the voters will plug their noses and close their eyes to this scandal?

Between corruption and separation, voters know very well there is only one party that can take office and govern a strong and united country transparently and honestly and this party is the Conservative Party.

Conservative Party of CanadaStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, as vice-chair of the public accounts committee, I was disturbed yesterday when Conservative and Bloc members refused to show up for work for the third meeting in a row. The committee was to deal with last week's so-called non-confidence motion which was referred to public accounts for direction. A motion that was urgent last week suddenly was not important this week.

It seems the only commitment of the Conservatives is to do nothing, nothing in committee, and in being against the budget, nothing for Atlantic Canada, nothing for cities and communities, nothing for the environment, and nothing for child care.

I am proud to be with a party that is here to work and take action on issues that Canadians care about.

Government AdvertisingOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Conservative Niagara Falls, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, Auditor General Sheila Fraser said that the same disregard for rules that created the sponsorship mess were also evident in the government's overall advertising program, and this one had an $800 million price tag. This has disturbed the Auditor General to the extent that she has now ordered a major follow up audit.

When did the Prime Minister first become aware of these problems, or is he going to make the claim that he knew nothing about it?

Government AdvertisingOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, we are pleased and welcome the Auditor General's attention to this important file. The fact is that since 2003 the government has implemented major changes in our advertising program and practices to create greater competition, improve value for taxpayers and greater transparency. The changes followed extensive consultation with industry.

I can assure the hon. member that we are absolutely committed to getting the best possible value for the Canadian taxpayer and at the same time ensuring that Canadians, through advertising from the government, receive a clear message as to the intention of our government.

Government AdvertisingOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Conservative Niagara Falls, ON

Mr. Speaker, I do not think Canadians are buying that. Under the government we have heard about the billion dollar HRDC boondoggle, the sponsorship fiasco, the billion dollar gun registry sink hole, the Earnscliffe mess, the list goes on and on, and that is not a complete list.

Yesterday we heard about another problem.

Does anyone ever lose his or her job in all these messes? How is it possible that the Prime Minister has gone all these years as a member of the government knowing nothing about it until someone gets caught?

Government AdvertisingOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to speak to the progress we have made within our advertising program as a government. In fact, we have increased the number of suppliers. We have made changes to the hourly rate of remuneration. There is a new agency of record. We use fairness monitors to ensure transparent, open and fair practices in terms of procurement. We have made changes to the rules regarding Canadian content and the posting of all advertising contracts.

Again, we have been ahead of the curve doing the right thing to ensure the best possible value for the Canadian taxpayer at all times. We are standing up for the taxpayer, not just--

Government AdvertisingOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Niagara Falls.

Government AdvertisingOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Conservative Niagara Falls, ON

Mr. Speaker, that is a bunch of nonsense. With all these scandals and all these contract irregularities costing Canadians billions of dollars, I wonder if the Prime Minister could just make it simple for Canadians.

In his 18 months as Prime Minister, has he ever come across any contract process where the Liberals have followed all the rules, or would that be just too much to ask?

Government AdvertisingOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, again I welcome the opportunity to speak to the procurement reform that our department has implemented. I would like to take this opportunity to credit the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works, the member for St. Catharines, who has made tremendous changes. In fact, we have the greatest level of procurement reform and evaluation since the 1960s in terms of Government of Canada procurement that we will be saving over $2.5 billion over the next five years, which is $2.5 billion that we can invest in child care, in health care and in Canadian communities, all of which the Conservatives are opposed.

Government AdvertisingOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Rahim Jaffer Conservative Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, they will probably invest it in the Liberal Party of Canada.

It is incredible that the minister is attacking witnesses like the Auditor General. Every time she opens the Liberal Party closet, she finds skeletons. When he was the Minister of Finance, the Prime Minister signed cheques for over $200 million to Liberal friends. He signed cheques worth over $800 million, without appropriate documentation.

How can we once more put our confidence in the Prime Minister, when he did nothing to put an end to this scandal while he was Minister of Finance?

Government AdvertisingOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, is it necessary to remind the House and the official opposition what this Prime Minister did. Upon receipt of the Auditor General's report he called for a public inquiry. He is the one who is asking that Mr. Justice Gomery be allowed to finish his work so that all Canadians have a complete picture of what happened. He is the one who put in place new financial controls within our departments of government. He is the one who called for whistleblower legislation. He is the one who removed certain heads of crown corporations and put in place a new transparent process of appointments.

This Prime Minister has been pretty clear in terms of where he--

Government AdvertisingOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Edmonton—Strathcona.

Government AdvertisingOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Rahim Jaffer Conservative Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, that does not excuse his actions before he was Prime Minister, that is for sure.

Once again the Auditor General has exposed the incompetence of the Prime Minister. When he was finance minister he spent $800 million on advertising without the proper documentation and receipts. She testified at Gomery that “there were major problems in advertising activities”.

In fact, during his televised address last month, the Prime Minister admitted to being asleep at the switch. Why should we trust him to clean this up now when he chose to do nothing about it as finance minister?

Government AdvertisingOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member was actually doing his job regarding what the government has been doing on an ongoing basis in terms of advertising, he would know that since 2003 we have overhauled our advertising practices to ensure greater competition, greater value for the Canadian taxpayer and greater fairness and transparency. We believe in openness and accountability. We believe in ensuring greater value for the Canadian taxpayer. We have made the fundamental changes to our advertising practices that are delivering on those principles.