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House of Commons Hansard #101 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was chair.

Topics

2 p.m.

The Speaker

As is our practice on Wednesday we will now sing O Canada, and we will be led by the hon. member for Timmins—James Bay.

Canada Day Poster ChallengeStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Shawn Murphy Liberal Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, each year the Department of Canadian Heritage invites Canadian students from across the country to submit their artwork to the Canada Day poster challenge. Students were challenged to come up with a design and a statement that celebrated their pride as Canadians within the theme “Canada from east to west”.

I would like to congratulate Anthony Yu, a 13-year-old student from Queen Charlotte Intermediate High School in Charlottetown for being the Prince Edward Island winner. Anthony's winning design captures the spirit of Canadian identity from east to west to north. He will be joining the contest winners from across the country in Ottawa to celebrate Canada Day.

I would also like to congratulate Moonkyoung Cho, Carley McQuaid and Nicole Arsenault for being the other top finalists from Prince Edward Island. These students, and their peers across Canada who participated in the poster challenge, show us all the true meaning of Canadian pride.

Gananoque RemembersStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Gord Brown Conservative Leeds—Grenville, ON

Mr. Speaker, this year marks the 60th anniversary of the end of the second world war and around the world people are remembering. It is also the Year of the Veteran here in Canada.

I rise today to recognize two people who worked diligently over many months to publish a book that remembers residents of the small town where I live who gave their lives in service to their country. Earlier this spring, at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 92 in Gananoque, Bill Beswetherick and Geraldine Chase unveiled their new book Gananoque Remembers .

Thanks to their efforts, we shall never forget.

Craig ManufacturingStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Andy Savoy Liberal Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Mr. Speaker, on Saturday May 7 one of Hartland, New Brunswick's oldest businesses and largest employers burned to the ground. Craig Manufacturing, a plant which builds industrial attachments for heavy equipment, employs approximately 90 people in my riding.

Having that many people out of work could have had a considerable economic impact on the entire riding, but instead, John Craig, Betty Lou and their team began immediate plans to resume business. A temporary office was set up less than 48 hours after the fire to continue serving customers, employing office staff and organizing the rebuilding.

I commend everyone at Craig Manufacturing for staying positive and looking to the future in spite of this disaster. But even more so, I commend the bravery and selflessness of the volunteer firefighters in Carleton County. They worked together and risked their lives to prevent what could have been an enormous tragedy. Several blocks of downtown Hartland were at risk of being blown up by giant propane, argon and oxygen tanks. Thanks to the skill and courage of the volunteer firefighters, such a catastrophe was fortunately avoided.

I thank the volunteer firefighters for their indispensable service and I wish everyone at Craig Manufacturing the best of luck.

Tembec MillStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Guy Côté Bloc Portneuf, QC

Mr. Speaker, for years, the Bloc Québécois has been calling upon the government to come up with an effective plan to assist the forestry products industry in Quebec.

Some 403 workers have been hard hit by this government's inaction and incompetence. Tembec has announced it is closing three sawmills in Quebec. When the Tembec mill in Saint-Raymond ceases operations on May 28, 165 of my constituents will lose their jobs.

However, both Tembec and the workers tried to keep the mill profitable and operational by proudly manufacturing a high added value product. These many families earn their livelihood doing this work.

The government's failure in international trade and the forestry industry undermines the ability of our companies to compete. To add insult to injury, the Liberal government is accumulating astronomical surpluses in the EI fund, dipping into it freely and steadfastly refusing to correct this program's inequities.

This says a great deal about the Liberal government, which is more concerned with staying in power artificially than with giving any thought to the financial insecurity of workers who lose their jobs.

Women VeteransStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to rise in the House today to honour Canada's women veterans during this Year of the Veteran.

Women played a major role in our nation's military history. Nurses were the first women to be welcomed into the Canadian military. During the first world war, more than 3,100 nursing sisters served in the medical corps.

Women played a greater role during the second world war. Approximately 50,000 women served our country, as members of the armed forces or the ladies' auxiliary and on the home front.

This afternoon at 4 p.m., the Minister of Veterans Affairs will be hosting a celebration of Canada's women veterans at the National Arts Centre. I invite all my colleagues of the House to join us in saluting our women veterans and honouring their achievements.

Dental TechnologyStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Carrie Conservative Oshawa, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to pay tribute to the Association of Dental Technologists. I am pleased to welcome here today the president of the association, Stephen DeLuca, and Al McOrmond of Oshawa.

The Association of Dental Technologists is an often overlooked but critical association in Canada. It advances the dental profession through education and communication, and is instrumental in pursuing excellence in dental technology services.

Canada is a world leader in dental technology, in large part due to the work of this association. Its members continuously work to improve the standards of their profession nationwide, ensure the health of the public, and continue to advance their professional knowledge. It is instrumental in setting and maintaining the high standard of laboratory skills increasingly demanded of dental technicians in Canada.

The ADT is working to keep Canada at the forefront of the profession. I am honoured to have these members here today.

Niagara Folk Arts FestivalStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Walt Lastewka Liberal St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker, I take pride in rising in the House of Commons today to acknowledge and congratulate Mr. Stephen Ruf, the founding father of the Niagara Folk Arts Festival.

The festival is the oldest cultural festival in the province of Ontario and opened its 36th annual edition on Saturday, May 14.

Stephen Ruf's early years certainly shaped the man that he is today. During the second world war he lived in the Freiburg orphanage and saw first-hand the ugliness of racial and cultural discrimination. After immigrating to Canada and settling in the Niagara region, he sought a way to foster and showcase multiculturalism and the Folk Arts Festival was born in May 1969 and is still going strong today.

During the next two weeks, visitors can attend many open houses, allowing them to get an indepth appreciation of the customs and traditions of the various ethnic groups in the Niagara region.

Stephen Ruf's vision of multiculturalism is to be commended. On behalf of the people of St. Catharines and the people of Canada, I thank him for his 36 years of dedication to this wonderful event.

Canadian Federation of Independent BusinessStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year. The federation's mission is to act as an advocate for small and medium size businesses. It represents and defends the interests of over 24,000 small and medium size businesses in Quebec.

The federation's policy direction is based on the opinions of its members, which are gathered through regular polls conducted according to the one member, one vote principle.

The growth of the federation and of small and medium size businesses has been remarkable. In addition to being instrumental in job creation and economic growth, small business makes an enormous contribution to the development of communities throughout Quebec.

The Bloc Québécois is proud to draw attention to the 35th anniversary of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business; we wish it every success.

Etobicoke--LakeshoreStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Jean Augustine Liberal Etobicoke—Lakeshore, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am very proud to represent the people of Etobicoke--Lakeshore. They have an incredible sense of civic pride and every one of them contribute to making our community the great place that it is.

This weekend we planted flowers in Farrah's Garden. Farrah is a young girl whose life ended tragically at the hands of her father.

We watched the moving of the original Mimico train station, which represents a great part of our local heritage.

We participated in a local waterfront cleanup. So many people rallied together to pitch in and clean up our neighbourhood.

I joined with community members at the sixth annual Lori's Room Walkathon in the name of Lorna-Lynn Martin, a young a girl who battled with and succumbed to cancer.

The numerous local activities show the great spirit in Etobicoke--Lakeshore. Let us continue to make not only Etobicoke--Lakeshore a better place, but our entire country and the world a great place to live.

Customs OfficersStatements By Members

May 18th, 2005 / 2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Jim Abbott Conservative Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, at 7 p.m. Sunday May 1, only 100 yards from the Canadian port of Roosville, a man was murdered.

A U.S. sheriff, who just happened to be at the Canadian crossing, took charge of the crime scene. The RCMP were called but they did not arrive until 8:15 p.m. They checked all around both the Canadian and U.S. ports with a dog while a single Canadian inspector manned the port.

In response to the murder, management wanted to double staff that evening but no one would come to work. Why would they when a man had been fatally shot in the head? Canadian customs officers are denied access to weapons for their self-defence.

The inspector on shift had to work alone until 7 a.m. the following morning.

At this same port of entry just months ago, Adam Angel, customs inspector, while also working alone, also died.

When is the minister responsible for emergency preparedness finally going to respond to the dangers faced by customs inspectors at ports of entry where employees have to work alone, isolated and in danger?

Official LanguagesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Raymond Simard Liberal Saint Boniface, MB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, there was an incident in the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates that demonstrates just how hollow the Conservative Party's so-called commitment to official languages is.

Yesterday, a member of the Conservative Party was questioning a witness in English. The witness chose to respond in French. The Conservative member then asked him, “I understood you're fluently bilingual, sir, is there any reason that you're responding in French at this time?” The Conservative member then asked, “Is there any reason you're responding in French to my questions?”

At their recent congress, the Conservatives voted against a resolution in support of the advancement of francophone and anglophone minorities in Canada. They kept repeating that, at least, they support bilingualism in the Parliament of Canada and other federal institutions, this some 40 years after the bilingualism policy was implemented.

Even that commitment is not so sure anymore. This goes to show once again that old Reform-Alliance attitudes die hard.

B.C. New DemocratsStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, B.C. New Democrats, led by Carole James, stole the show last night with a fabulous win. With enormous credibility and a progressive platform, she took on the B.C. Liberals' mean policies and won the confidence of B.C. voters.

There will be a huge change in our B.C. legislature as 33 strong New Democrats advocate for progressive values, a sustainable environment and fairness and justice. It is time to end the reckless cuts and decimation of social programs that have hurt women, workers, poor people and aboriginal people.

The strong message from B.C. voters on democratic reform must also be heard. As federal New Democrats, we will redouble our efforts and continue to push the federal government to implement democratic electoral reform in Canada.

On behalf of our leader and all our members, I want to thank Carole, Joy McPhail and Jenny Kwan, who, for four lonely years, battled it out and stood up for all of us.

I congratulate Carole James and her new team for a great win. She led the way and the five B.C. NDP members of Parliament are ready to do the same.

Member for Newmarket—AuroraStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Helena Guergis Conservative Simcoe—Grey, ON

Mr. Speaker, I can see many unhappy Liberal faces today as they realize they have fallen prey to the ultimate example of privileged queue jumping.

I am sure many Liberals feel stabbed in the back by their leader after he let the member for Newmarket—Aurora slide straight into cabinet without doing the hard work so many of her new colleagues have done over the years.

Does the Prime Minister really understand what he is getting?

During her leadership campaign, the member advocated term limits for prime ministers. Is she hoping the Prime Minister will accept her idea and resign?

In March 2004, the member for Newmarket—Aurora said, “We have gathered here from all different regions across the country and from all different backgrounds but we have one common goal, and that is to get rid of the tired old Liberal government”.

The member for Newmarket—Aurora has referred to herself as the Prime Minister in a cocktail dress but one who could bake a better economic pie.

I wonder if her new colleagues realize how much of that pie the Prime Minister is taking from them and giving to their new friend.

Speech and Hearing Awareness MonthStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Bloc Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am deeply committed to the cause of advocating for the deaf and hard of hearing, who account for more than 10% of the population.

The CRIM, a computer science research centre in Montreal, has made a significant breakthrough; it has developed a captioning system using voice recognition technology.

Despite such advances, much remains to be done, particularly with respect to French captioning, which is miserably lagging behind.

It is not right that, in 2005, francophones who are deaf or hard of hearing do not have access to programming in their own language. It is the federal government's responsibility to take action by requiring all broadcasters to fully caption their television programs.

Since the heritage minister and her government have failed to act, I will be introducing a bill today to amend the Broadcasting Act to make captioning mandatory.

As this is speech and hearing awareness month, I urge every parliamentarian to take concrete action to ensure that silence is no longer a barrier to the development of people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Nappan Experimental FarmStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Bill Casey Conservative North Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, on May 29 the Cumberland County Federation of Agriculture will hold a rally at the Nappan Experimental Farm. The farm has been serving the farming community since before Confederation but now the Department of Agriculture has announced it will close.

The Nappan Experimental Farm enjoys soils and terrains that are unique to the maritime provinces and are not available at any other experimental facility in Canada. The farm also has a close association with the maritime beef testing station that does necessary research on cattle. The beef testing station needs the farm to survive.

At a time when farmers are hurting, mostly for reasons beyond their control, research should be expanding, not contracting.

I have asked the minister to come to this event, have a tour of the Nappan Experimental Farm and the beef testing station, and meet with farmers who are affected.

Under no circumstances should the farm close if the minister has not even visited the facility.

The BudgetStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Bill Matthews Liberal Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, a few weeks ago, when members of the Liberal Party stood up and voted for the budget, members of the Conservative Party sat in their seats and abstained.

Now, in a sudden turnaround, the Conservative Party wants to vote for one part of the budget implementation bill and vote against another part.

Surely the Conservative members from Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia know that voting for one part of the budget and defeating the other will result in defeat of the government and the entire budget.

The Atlantic accords will be lost with it. If this happens, I hope the Conservative members across the way do not have the gall to go back to their ridings and say that they voted for the Atlantic accord.

Premier Williams said earlier this week, “A vote for the budget is a vote for Newfoundland and Labrador”. That is the entire budget and not selective parts of it.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Conservative Niagara Falls, ON

Mr. Speaker, there have been reports that the Liberal government is now considering a plan whereby donations that it receives from ad agencies up to their neck in the sponsorship scandal will now be put into a separate trust fund.

Maybe miracles never cease. The Liberals have been resisting this idea for several weeks but a deathbed conversion is better than nothing.

Could the government today commit to putting all the money it has received from ad companies into a separate trust fund?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, once again the party has been clear from the beginning that if in fact funds were received inappropriately those funds will be returned to the Canadian taxpayer. In fact, it is impossible to complete that transaction to the Canadian taxpayer until we have all the facts, until all the analysis has been conducted and until we have Justice Gomery's report.

If the party establishes an interim action in terms of a goodwill approach, that will establish goodwill, but that will not return the money to the Canadian taxpayer any sooner than the report from Justice Gomery.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Conservative Niagara Falls, ON

Mr. Speaker, that is a bunch of nonsense. All they have to do is just check their records.

Last month the Liberals lost a motion that mandated them to put that money into a separate trust account.

Three elections have been fought on that dirty money. Surely Canadians have a right to know that this next election will not be fought with this dirty money.

Will they do the right thing now and put that money into a trust account?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia

Liberal

Scott Brison LiberalMinister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, once again, the party leader this afternoon will be making an announcement and that announcement will establish and affirm a goodwill through that.

Beyond that, the actual transaction, in terms of the transfer to the taxpayer, cannot occur until we have all the facts and we have Justice Gomery's report.

In Stevie Cameron's book, On the Take , there are allegations that the Conservative Party operated a tollgating operation in the province of Quebec. Perhaps it ought to establish some sort of trust fund as well or perhaps those members over there ought to take some responsibility for their actions.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Rob Nicholson Conservative Niagara Falls, ON

Mr. Speaker, there is one bit of good news. Apparently Elections Canada is in the process of sending out party subsidies to all the parties and the Liberal Party is supposed to get a little over $2 million.

I can appreciate, if all the stories about the Liberals' financial troubles are true, that they did not have the money before, but now that they have the cheque, why not do the right thing and let Canadians put their trust back into the electoral system, and put that money into a trust account?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

I think perhaps if the member had phrased his question as to whether the money was being returned to the government, it might be in order, but it seems to me that asking a party to do something with money it is receiving for election returns is another matter and we will leave it at that.

The hon. member for Edmonton--Strathcona.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Rahim Jaffer Conservative Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, this Liberal government lost a vote which obliged it to create a trust fund for the dirty sponsorship money. So far, it has not done so. Elections Canada is now preparing to pay $2 million back to the government.

Can the Prime Minister tell us whether he is going to put that dirty money into a trust account, or fund a fourth election campaign with it?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

The Speaker

I have the same reservations on this question as on the previous one. The question must be asked in other terms. Calls have often been made in this House for the Liberal Party to reimburse the government. I trust that the hon. member will be able to use acceptable language for his second question.