House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was place.

Last in Parliament May 2004, as Liberal MP for Mississauga West (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2000, with 63% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Kyoto Protocol December 2nd, 2002

Mr. Speaker, I am told it will be -22°C in Ottawa tonight and if we are going to have people waiting out there, I hope they have the car running because we may not have to worry about whether they are capable of driving it if we leave them out there too long.

However the member makes a point in all seriousness about the issue of idling vehicles. I want the member to know that the entire city of Mississauga was the first city in Ontario, if not Canada, to declare itself a no-idling zone. We have ads in all our bus shelters and billboards throughout the community that say, “Turn your car off while your're waiting”.

The member's colleague who spoke for 11 hours made a reference, once every 15 minutes, to the vehicles outside this place waiting for the cabinet ministers. It is a little simplistic to refer to the fact that there are a dozen or so vehicles sitting outside for a period of half an hour or whatever waiting for their bosses to come out. It shows that from time to time the opposition is looking for trivial examples to do exactly that, trivialize the debate. This is not about changing light bulbs which is another point I heard the member's colleague make; that we could solve this by getting everyone to change their light bulbs down to 25 or 40 watts.

This is a comprehensive plan that shows leadership by the government and that all Canadians can indeed be proud of. Ten years from now Canadians will stand up and say, “what in the world was all the fuss about? We are world leaders in climate change”.

Kyoto Protocol December 2nd, 2002

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to put a few thoughts on the record about the government's position, my position and my feelings about Kyoto.

One of the unfortunate things that is happening is the attempt to create the concept that when we vote on Kyoto and presumably ratify the accord, that somehow something magical will happen, that jobs will fall off the frontier, that costs will rise, that we will pay more for gas, et cetera.

The reality is, and members opposite know, that the decision to ratify Kyoto and the vote at the point that it is taken is not the end of this process. In fact, it is quite the contrary. I suggest that is the beginning of the process of Canada becoming a world leader in the reduction of greenhouse gases and in the improvement of the quality of our climate, our atmosphere, our air, everything that matters to our future.

People opposed to our ratifying the accord tell us not to wrap it around an emotional issue. It is not only the people who support ratifying Kyoto who care about their grandchildren, and I acknowledge that quite clearly, we all care. Perhaps many members opposite really do believe some of the propaganda that has been put out on this issue such as it will somehow cost us jobs and hurt our economic growth. I do not believe that members opposite are so disingenuous that they would simply argue against ratifying an accord that is so important to the future of this country and the entire world without believing their concerns to be real.

This issue is not about whether we have hugged a tree lately. This is about finding out what the best thing Canada can do as a sovereign nation to show some leadership and some courage because it does take some courage.

People ask what the hurry is and why does this have to be done before Christmas. I get the question from people in my own riding. The fact that we are only a couple of weeks away from adjourning for the Christmas session would seem to make that question a little more urgent.

The reality is that the decision to move ahead on the ratification of Kyoto has been a longstanding desire and the position of this government and this Prime Minister is that it is time to bring it to a head. How many times do we get calls on any given issue in our ridings from people telling us that all we do is talk? How many times do we get calls asking us to finally do something and to make a decision, or to stand up and fix this or fix that? Lo and behold a decision has been made to put a timeframe in place, to allow Parliament to debate and to hear from Canadians all over the country on this issue. We are having this huge public debate but all of a sudden we are moving too quickly. It does not seem that there is a way to satisfy everybody.

Canada is obviously a country that is very difficult to govern. What is needed is leadership. That is what we are seeing from the Prime Minister, the Minister of the Environment and the government. Members may not agree with the leadership, and I do not have a problem with that, but they cannot deny, and Canadians should recognize, that the government is telling people what it will do.

People are asking to see the plan. I submit this is a bit like some of the debates in this place where people ask to see documents and then when they see them they say that is not good enough and they ask for more. We show them more and still they say that is not good enough and they point out what is wrong. This is a bit of a mug's game.

The fact of the matter is that a plan is in place and the provinces have been working with the federal government. Municipalities are way ahead of us. It is time we got on the bus and caught up to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

The government invested in the municipal sector by providing a green fund of $250 million. I thank the member for pointing out the fact that the government has shown that kind of leadership. That only makes sense. The municipal sector is already there. I would suggest many people in the private sector are already there.

One of the things that is disturbing is that this whole debate is being framed as an us versus them scenario: central Canada against western Canada; Canada against the United States; government against business; the feds against the provinces; politics against science, and Lord knows there are not too many scientists in this place; and the government against the opposition, which is the norm. It should be none of those things because this is for all Canadians.

The plan that is being discussed would be a living plan. It would be necessary for us to continue looking for new ways to help people insulate their homes. Perhaps put in place a policy, something that I intend to fight for in my role as parliamentary secretary for crown corporations, where any project that is developed for affordable housing, or any housing, that involves federal dollars would be built to at least a level of R-2000. We should ensure that level of insulation takes place wherever we can. We must show that kind of leadership as the national government, as I believe we will.

I want to talk about the fears that I have had expressed in my riding. People write or phone and say they do not understand at all. They understand that the United States is not ratifying and everything that we do, that we give and suffer for, may be lost because we live next door to the elephant, and there is no benefit in it. However, let me make some points if I may.

At both the federal and state level, the United States has already taken significant action to address climate change, and will continue to do that. I believe as many as 42 states in the U.S. already have legislation in place that goes a large measure toward the exact same goals of Kyoto. President Bush has appropriated $3 billion from the United States Congress to spend on Kyoto initiatives.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that President Bush, being from Texas, may well want to stand up publicly and say that he does not support Kyoto, notwithstanding that the former president, President Clinton, in fact did. So he has officially pulled out. However, let us not be misled. The states of California, Washington, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Maryland, and even Texas to a certain degree, have put in place changes to recognize the need to stop emitting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

I want to address the issue of science. None of us in this place, to my knowledge, or very few, are scientists or capable of debating this issue from that perspective. But at the end of the day, we have a responsibility that goes beyond science. We are not elected to be scientists; we are elected to be pragmatic. We are elected to look at the argument from all sides. We are elected on all sides of the House to examine the principles that are in place and to decide whether or not we believe they are the best for our country, for our ridings, and for the international world in which we live.

Canada was not supported by the United States in the landmines treaty, and yet we moved on the landmines treaty. We are recognized as one of the leading nations in the world on that particular issue. We should not, and cannot, and will not, shirk our duty as it relates to the environment. That is why the government is committed to ratifying Kyoto, so that we can begin the process. It is not an end. It is the beginning of a process that would see us lead to show that kind of international leadership that Canada is well known throughout the world for and that we can all be proud of.

Parliamentary Reform November 21st, 2002

The hon. member said that it takes a while to catch on. No, I knew it right from the start.

I tried to say to my colleagues in caucus, let us not be fooled. The opposition was not sent to Ottawa to help us. When the opposition puts a motion on the floor, it does not do it so it can say to Canadians, “We love those guys over there in the government. We think they are really good folks and we are putting the motion on the floor so we can support them”. That is not the role of the opposition.

The role of the opposition, obviously, is to oppose but when it does that, it should try to put forward some alternatives. That is what we do not see from the opposition. Day after day we see carping and attacks, and for much of the time personal attacks on members on this side, not only members of the cabinet, but it is even to the point where recently a parliamentary secretary was personally attacked for comments he made in debate in this place.

I close by saying that it is unfortunate we cannot take the time in this place to debate matters that are of concern to Canadians, not parliamentary reform which frankly I think makes most Canadians want to stick pins in their eyes.

Parliamentary Reform November 21st, 2002

I will tell the member why, and I thank him for the question, because the opposition decided that it will not allow committees to travel. Why? Because when the secret ballots happened, after that last illustrious vote, five committees did not elect people to the position of vice-chair from the official opposition.

What do we have? We have the defence critic for the official opposition and another one from the Bloc Quebecois saying that is it, committees are not going to travel and they are going to shut them down. Is that not ridiculous? People should also know that those vice-chair jobs come with an additional emolument of $5,000. I guess their noses are out of joint and their pockets are a little lighter because they did not get elected. However, they are the ones who forced the issue to come to this place. They have the power.

That is another misconception, that somehow opposition members have no influence. I would suggest that if members on that side of the House or this side of the House really believe they have little or no influence around this place, they should go home. They should resign their seats. If members believe that they are ineffective, that they cannot make things happen in this place by working through committees, by working with ministers and colleagues on all sides of the House, then they are doing a disservice to the people who sent them here to make a difference.

Let me provide another point of view. Members say they want to reduce the partisanship. Sure they do. We were elected as Liberals and they were elected as Reformers. They swapped over and became the Canadian Alliance. Perhaps there was another party in the middle, I cannot quite remember. Those folks were elected. There are some newly converted Progressive Conservative members as well.

Everyone is elected by participating in his or her party and by winning a nomination in a riding. Then when a member arrives here, that person is expected to denounce his or her party, to say that member is not going to support the party. I have news for them. If a person on my hockey team intentionally shot the puck in my team's net, I would not want that person on my team any more. It is pretty simple.

Does that mean it is mindless? Au contraire. I have a benchmark with which to compare the caucus system in this place because I served and worked for eight years in the caucus system at Queen's Park. At Queen's Park it does not matter who is in office. The command and control is in the corner of the pink palace, as it is referred to. They let people know what they think people need to know. It is a system that needs some opening up.

I have been very impressed with the caucus system here. We sit in our regional caucuses. In my case in the greater Toronto area on a Tuesday night colleagues get together to debate issues. People would be astounded at how often we disagree with one another. It is a very healthy atmosphere. We receive reports and we hear from other people outside. People come to talk to us at the GTA caucus. Of course there is the rural caucus, the western caucus and the Atlantic caucus. We meet with all of these people.

Then on Wednesday morning we meet, in my case, in the Ontario caucus, which includes the southwest Ontario, northern Ontario, and GTA caucuses, as well as the central and eastern Ontario caucuses. Everyone reports there. Once again we have all the opportunities for discussion. My point, of course, is that we are a team. We get together every Wednesday morning.

Our Prime Minister claims that Wednesday is the most important day of the week and he is absolutely right. If a caucus member wants to make a point, fight an issue, go after something that is important with a ministry, if a caucus member wants to take on a minister, he or she can. Our Prime Minister says not to stand up and make general statements but to name names.

Once we are finished in the Ontario caucus we go across the hall to the national caucus. That is where every member of the Liberal caucus should be on a Wednesday morning unless there is pressing work outside Ottawa and a member cannot be there. Even the senators attend. Lo and behold, it is quite remarkable that we disagree from time to time.

With regard to reform, I would like some kind of confidence that what I say at the microphone in caucus does not appear in the Hill Times literally word for word within a matter of hours. That would be nice. But we are dealing with a large group of men and women and it is pretty difficult. They have their relationships with the media and we get some leaks from time to time. It is a little frustrating. Of course the media and the opposition love to take advantage of that particular situation.

However, this caucus system works. Stand up. Show me what the rules are. That is what I said when I was elected. Show me where the doors are and I will figure it out. I do not need to come in here and whine poor me, I do not have enough power, I do not have enough authority, I need to change the rules around this place. I know what the rules are and I make them work for my constituents. Any member in here who does not do the same thing, in my view respectfully, does not deserve to be here.

Let me talk about another example. Earlier I believe it was the member for Burnaby—Douglas who asked a question of the member for Yukon about whether we should have a debate and a vote on whether or not we should participate in the war in Iraq.

Are we are going to abdicate that kind of decision making authority and responsibility by the government to 301 people, and maybe some of them will not be here, and simply go by the results of that vote? The government and the country would become laughing stocks.

We have been elected to do a job and we will do the job within the rules that exist. If we want to make some changes because some people feel they cannot get in the back door, we can discuss it but why do we have to take up so much valuable time? We should be dealing with issues that are important to all Canadians, issues that matter to them.

I was not going to debate on this particular issue because I found it frustrating. I want to be careful of the wording I use here, but it is something retentive. We tend to look inward at ourselves and ask what can we find that is broken, what can we find that is wrong and go around like nest pokers. That is what we called it in my municipal days. Someone would go around with a long pole and poke nests to see if there were any birds in them. That is what is happening here.

There are a bunch of nest pokers on the other side of the House who are going around and saying, “Let us see if we can poke some trouble out of there”. Why do we not deal with substantive alternatives?

The vote on electing chairs and vice-chairs to committees carried. Fine, it is over and gone. What is really interesting about that is that members should have the experience of running to be caucus chair in a caucus the size of this one. That is done by secret ballot. People will look at someone right in the eye and say they will vote for him or her but we know that they did not, or we do not know because it was by secret ballot. Now we are going to perpetuate that problem all the way down to every committee.

In fact we did have one of our colleagues who was nominated after that vote took place to become vice-chair of a committee. Contrary to the wishes of the consensus from the Liberal side she was nominated by the opposition, except that after the nomination there was a secret ballot and she is now vice-chair of the committee. In essence, with her vote and the opposition vote, they actually defeated the government side. It is brilliant strategy. I wish when I was in opposition I had thought of it but in reality it is just a way to try to upset the apple cart and to turn things on their ear.

Parliamentary Reform November 21st, 2002

Mr. Speaker, one of the first things we should change around here is we should stop wasting an entire parliamentary session talking about change. It is interesting because we have a system where we could actually do this in committee. The problem is it is not on television and it is not what the opposition wants.

I want to congratulate the opposition for actually having taken over the agenda and forcing us to go through an entire parliamentary debate. The point was made, although somewhat disingenuous, by a member opposite that we could be debating Kyoto, Iraq, health care, housing, seniors or immigration. These are things that matter to people outside of the beltway.

We live in the beltway, so what do we do all day long? We say that we are frustrated. We cannot get anything done. We are lonely backbenchers and so we want to change the system. What is interesting is that, in my experience of having spent eight years in a provincial legislature and five and some here, it is usually the people who lose that want change.

Let me give the House an example. From 1987 to 1990 I was part of the David Peterson government in the province of Ontario. The leader of the opposition was the hon. Bob Rae. Mr. Rae and his caucus would put out platforms on parliamentary reform saying that they needed more free votes, more power for backbenchers and more power to the people. They would stand on their hind legs and make these pronouncements. Then we all remember what happened. It was an accident in history. All of a sudden that same Bob Rae woke up as the premier of Ontario one morning and said, “Holy smokes, how did that happen?” There is nothing more fearful to an individual or more frightening than when he or she actually wins when not expecting to. Hence, he became premier.

Did we see changes? What we actually saw in the Ontario legislature was a tightening of the screws. Members of that caucus and party could not go to the washroom without permission from the whip never mind having the freedom to stand up and speak their minds and do as they wished. He went from being a loser, whining about not having enough freedom to express views, to having won the responsibility to govern.

Let me address that for a moment. What I hear in this place, particularly from the opposition members in an attempt to discredit the government which I understand is their job, is that we should have votes on everything in parliament. They feel that the government should not have the authority to go out and make a decision when in fact the government, which is the Prime Minister and the cabinet, not only has the authority to make a decision it has the responsibility.

If we were to put every issue on the floor of the House of Commons and only move on that issue, and if we had a majority vote each and every time, we would polarize this nation. We would put ourselves in the position of being unable to act in the best interests of the majority government that was elected by the people of this country. It would be an addication of the responsibility of the Prime Minister, the cabinet, and of those on this side of the House who support the government.

A backbencher is technically not part of the government. One can declare oneself to be a backbencher in support of the government or, in the case of the opposition, to be a backbencher not in support of the government. As we have seen from time to time there are members on this side of the House who would call themselves backbenchers not in support of the government. It is the way the system works.

We talk about reform. We can have one-, two-, or three-, line. I was a whip for five years in Ontario. I understand the process. I was a candidate for the leadership of the provincial Liberal party in Ontario in 1991 and I had a platform. I had a platform that came from Jim Coutts who was one of the advisers to the Hon. Pierre Elliott Trudeau. Guess what the platform included? It was unbelievable. It could have been, should have been, might have been but was not. What can I tell the House. It was not my decision. I voted for me, although there is no proof because it was a secret ballot.

Let me go to the issue of secret ballots in committees. What a farce. To suggest that somehow it is the democratization of this place is the most laughable fraud that has been perpetrated upon the people by the people in this place, that somehow it has freed us up and we are running down the street yelling that we are free, we can vote the way we want.

I was not here for the vote. I was in Norad doing something that I thought was important: learning about the North American defence system; learning about what we would do in case of a missile attack from North Korea; and learning about what Canadians do in the military to help support the United States to keep North America safe. I thought that was more important than worrying about how we elect vice-chairs and chairs of committees. I was not here for the vote, but if I were I would have voted against the motion. Someone who does not live in the beltway, who does not totally understand the issue, might ask me why I would vote against secret ballots.

Every time we vote in this place we should be required to stand up and say, “I am the member for Mississauga West and here is my vote”. We should not have the option of doing it in secret. The only secret ballot that should apply in a democracy, and with respect I know we have made an exception to elect the Speaker, is the one that is in the hands of the people. They will cast their secret ballots and that is exactly what they have done.

In 1993 they cast secret ballots and they sent a majority to this place that is represented by the Liberal Party. They did it again in 1997, through secret ballot, and again in 2000. My advice to the opposition is if it wants more power it should get more members elected. That is what it is about. It is not about coming here and saying “I ran on a campaign that said everything was rotten in Parliament and it is undemocratic but I lost, so now I am going to tear down the institution from within”.

That is what is happening with all of this. I respectfully suggest, and I might be in the minority, that this is a travesty and a waste of time of the talent of the men and women on all sides who should be working hard on behalf of Canadians instead of spending an entire day on this, and now the opposition wants more time. Our House leader has to negotiate with other House leaders in committee, so there is give and take. They give us this bill or that bill or that vote or let us get on with this and we will give the opposition more time. Then it has the nerve to stand up and say it is our idea.

We want to get on with the business of the government, the business of the people of Canada. We want to get on with dealing with things that matter to Canadians. What has happened here through the negotiation process with the House leaders is that our House leader is finding himself shackled because the opposition members want the opportunity to stand up. They know it is a glorious opportunity to stand up and say that the government and the Prime Minister are awful as if the Prime Minister invented the parliamentary system. They say he is a dictator.

If we were to go back to the beginning to Sir John A., we would find that the parliamentary system has had a basic core based on the British parliamentary system that has not changed. One might argue then should we change? Well sure, let us make some changes that take ideas to committees. What is interesting is that if a committee wants to do that it can order its own business. Committees should travel more, get out into the countryside. They should meet with Canadians and hear what they have to say. However, what happens?

Question No. 25 November 19th, 2002

Homegrown Solutions is a housing initiative funded through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and managed by the Canadian Housing Renewal Association. Other partners in this initiative are the Canadian Home Builders’ Association, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the Cooperative Housing Foundation of Canada.

The intent of Homegrown Solutions was to encourage the development of innovative ideas to enable grassroots organizations and communities to find local solutions to solve their housing issues. Since 1995, four proposal calls have been held and 67 groups across Canada received grant commitments of up to $20,000 each. The last proposal call was held in 2000. No further funding rounds are planned by CMHC.

Each selected applicant received a commitment of research funding of up to $20,000 to develop the submitted affordable housing idea. Access to this funding was made through a call for proposals on self-help approaches to housing needs from community organizations and non-profit groups. Participation was open to individuals, organizations and communities, private or public, seeking affordable and practical solutions to their housing needs. Each of the grant recipients was required to document their findings in a research report.

During the 1997 request for proposals, the Ottawa-Carleton Federation of Tenants Associations was one of the successful applicants. Their proposal was to develop a pilot project to involve tenants in maintenance and repair activities in their rental building. They intended to evaluate the potential for their form of sweat equity to offset rent increases and help retain affordability.

The federation received an initial advance of one-third, $6,266.67, of their grant commitment upon contract signing, to help offset initial research and study costs. The contract stated that a second advance of $6,266.67 would be paid to the federation upon receipt of an acceptable interim report. The final advance of $6,266.67 would be paid upon receipt of an acceptable final report documenting their research findings.

The review of the Ottawa-Carleton Federation of Tenants Associations interim report found it to be less than satisfactory and they were unable to provide acceptable documentation to justify any further advances of funds. Subsequently, the Ottawa-Carleton Federation of Tenants Associations was dissolved. No further advances have been made beyond the original $6,266.67 that was paid to them upon signing of their Homegrown Solutions contract. The unexpended money remains in CMHC's budget.

Question No. 21 November 18th, 2002

Madam Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise today to address some of the issues of concern that I think a number of people have rightly expressed about the actions of the government. I say rightly expressed because there is nothing wrong with people pointing out concerns when we are dealing with something as precious as the freedom of Canadians and the freedom of movement. There is nothing wrong with asking tough questions even on the government side about certain issues that affect the rights and privacy of Canadian citizens.

However at the same time we have some obligations in this place that go far beyond the original anti-terrorism act, an act coupled with the budgetary infusion in the last budget of some $7.7 billion, to try to respond to the new atmosphere in which we found ourselves. That atmosphere followed the attacks on the World Trade Center and other parts of the United States on that fateful September 11.

We live in a time that is somewhat frightening. People have said that we should not allow the terrorists to win and that if we stay home and keep our heads down and do not continue to live the normal aggressive lives that Canadians are known to live throughout the world, the terrorists will win at the end of the day.

There is some legitimacy to say that the actions of terrorists and the fears of people have had an impact. I would not say they have won but I would clearly say that they have had an impact on the economies of the free world, particularly the United States. Our economy, some would say surprisingly, seems to have survived at least the recession that the Americans have suffered through. It probably is due to the strength and underpinnings of the economy in terms of the debt to GDP ratio and the surpluses that we have been running for the last 10 years in this government.

If we recognize that there has been this kind of impact, fiscally and in the behaviour patterns of North Americans, then there has to be an acknowledgment that more needs to be done. We recently saw the announcement where there were targets identified in Canada. That should not come as a great surprise. Any of us who are aware of the different service provision levels, whether it be in the area of nuclear power or communications, or someplace like the CN Tower or other areas like Niagara Falls, would recognize that these might be attractive areas for a terrorist to target. Therefore we should not be shocked if that happens. However what we must do is ensure that we are reacting in every possible way to provide the safety for average Canadians so that not only can they travel within our country but they can feel somewhat safe travelling abroad.

The expanse of this bill is quite interesting. I would just like to share the necessity of the acts that need to be amended. We have the Aeronautics Act. It would be obvious that there might be some requirement to make changes in the area of aeronautics. We have the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. If we think of the eco-terrorism that could take place, it could have an impact on our economy, on our wildlife and on the atmosphere. Obviously we would have to look at that.

It is the job of the Department of Health to regulate foreign substances, perhaps contamination of food or anything of that nature. Therefore we would have to look at that. We have food, drugs and hazardous products. We all know from just watching the nightly news the potential for some type of terrorist action to be taken in the area of biological weapons.

We have the Navigable Waters Protection Act. Interestingly enough I spent three days, two in Colorado Springs at Norad and the third day in Winnipeg at the Canadian headquarters where we examined what amounts to Fortress North America.

This is something that was started in the late 1940s, culminating in the construction of Cheyenne Mountain. It consists of three large buildings inside a mountain with the capability to identify the launch of any missile anywhere in the world. It is a bilateral operation with Canada and the United States working together to ensure that we have as safe as possible airspace throughout North America.

One of the interesting aspects of Norad, and I mention this because we are talking about the waters and the ports which are not covered by Norad, Norad is basically air defence. It is not even a defence; it is more of an early warning mechanism. If for example a missile was launched out of Baghdad and was headed toward Israel, the folks in Norad at Cheyenne Mountain would know instantly and could warn Israel in case Israel was not aware, although I am sure in that particular case it would be well on guard and well aware of what was happening. It is an interesting capability.

What we do not have in that is the ability to deal with our ports and oceans. That is another area where we need to address some safety concerns and we would be doing that in this bill.

The bill refers to the Pest Control Products Act, again the concept of using some form of germ warfare, the Quarantine Act, the Radiation Emitting Devices Act, the Canada Shipping Act and the latest revision to the Canada Shipping Act in 2001.

In addition to those specific acts that need amending, we also look at various departments. Obviously the Department of Foreign Affairs would be a major player in this issue, particularly given the status of high alert, I would say, with the inspectors going into Iraq to find out what kind of armaments Saddam Hussein has been building up. It would have a major interest, as would our Department of National Defence.

Much has been said about the lack of readiness of our Department of National Defence. I find that puzzling. When we get the opportunity to visit with our armed forces we realize that we have some of the finest trained personnel in the world. It is not just Canadians who say that; Americans are saying that.

To go back to my visit to Norad, there are three large doors which are set up to close on hydraulics in case of an attack at Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado Springs. The only time since that facility has been built that those doors were actually closed was on September 11. Interestingly enough, the lieutenant general in charge on that day in Cheyenne Mountain was General Pennie of the Canadian military.

Our people are so well regarded and well respected throughout the United States it is astounding when I hear the Armageddon attitude by some members in this place and by some people in the media. Yes, we need to invest more in our military, but as Canadians, we should be proud of the job that they do.

In addition to those departments, we would also have great impact on the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency because of its work at the border and last but not least, on the Department of Citizenship and Immigration.

One of the tragedies that has come out of September 11, in my view, has been the burden that legitimate refugees and new immigrants to this country have had to share, with the accusations and the aspersions that have been cast in their direction.

This is not a bill about immigration. This is not a bill against refugees. It is rather a bill that would provide safety and security for new Canadians and longstanding Canadians so that they can feel safe in their community and recognize that their government has addressed the issues that could be of concern given a future attack by terrorists. The government is committed to safety first and to respect privacy and mobility rights of Canadians, but without a doubt it is our primary responsibility to provide safety for all Canadians.

Questions on the Order Paper October 11th, 2002

Madam Speaker, as the parliamentary secretary for crown corporations, I ask that the remaining questions be allowed to stand.

Government Response to Petitions October 11th, 2002

Madam Speaker, just for the record, I am the parliamentary secretary responsible for crown corporations.

Pursuant to Standing Order 36(8) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to two petitions.

Citizenship Week October 11th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, next week the Department of Citizenship and Immigration has organized a series of events to celebrate Citizenship Week.

During Thanksgiving week we should think about the fact that Canadian born citizens may sometimes forget the benefits and privileges of being Canadian. In fact, sometimes it takes new Canadians to remind us of the value of Canadian citizenship.

The chance to reaffirm our citizenship is one of the best ways for those of us who are already Canadian citizens to think again about what it means. I encourage those of us who are able to attend to attend one of the many ceremonies scheduled next week during which new Canadians will take the Oath of Citizenship and where all Canadians can reaffirm their commitment to this country.

Being a Canadian citizen means many things, but mostly it means freedom, respect and belonging, belonging to the greatest country in the world.